"Robyn, I want to have French toast."
I opened my eyes. They weren't open before because I was sleeping, up until that moment. My mum and brother hovered over my bed. How often does my mum wake me up with the desire for French toast? [counts on fingers]...roughly never.
"It's past 3 PM. Do you usually sleep in this late?" Gee, this question is coming from someone who has a history of sleeping through alarms, taking naps at odd times and then requiring the aid of sleeping pills to get back on track? My brother already knows the answer to that question, which is...no, I don't usually sleep in after 3 PM.
I think my body was trying to tell me something after a week of eating way too much coupled with about 5 hour of sleep per night due to the fun that is commuting between NJ and NYC. (To the people who do that every day: I think you're kind of insane, but maybe you make a gazillion dollars a year.) I woke up a few times during the night to empty the ol' bladder and stop my lungs from wheezing. I'm not surprised that my asthma has gotten worse lately—you've seen what I've been eating. And even if most doctors don't talk about preventing asthma through diet (more like, "Don't smoke or inhale dust or stick your nose in pollen"—yup, thanks for the advice), I think there's a connection. It's the general connection between diet and health, nothing fancy.
So...after a week of eating too much, I want to rest. Just eat fruit. Andmaybesomecake. To clarify the opening dialogue, my mum and brother wanted to go to the Country Pancake House and half-heartedly asked if I wanted to go. They already knew I didn't. Staying in bed until 3 doesn't show much desire to do...stuff, especially when the stuff involves going to a restaurant that gives you four times as much food as you should actually eat.
On that note, here's the tale of my insane Saturday night Indian food binge.
Fellow Jersey inhabitant and only friend who's knowledgable about Indian food JD proposed the idea of going out for Indian food. Our initial idea to eat in Manhattan was replaced with going to Jersey City when JD realized that food is cheaper here. However, this change of location caused our East Village-based friend Nancy to back out of our "let's hang out because we're friends!" night because she was opposed to the idea of schlepping across the Hudson. [sigh] It was probably a good sign that I was disappointed because that showed that I really wanted to see Nancy after not having seen her in months. But could I really blame her for not wanting to come to NJ? Nah. (However, it would take her less time to get to JC than me. Grr!)
After circling the restaurant and unsuccessfully trying to park on two side streets where it ended up being illegal to park (revealed after we got out of the car, read the sign and went, "CRAP!"), JD shoved his super compact blindingly yellow sports car somewhere on the Indian business-lined Newark Ave where Rasoi was.
JD recommended the chicken tikka masala and I wanted something notably spicy. Solution: get chicken tikka masala and chili chicken masala, which as you can see almost look the same. They taste similar too, except that the chili chicken masala is spicier. (nod)
You probably could've figured that out on your own.
So what is this chicken masala stuff? Besides something that tastes awesome? WIKIPEDIA TO THE RESCUE! (Yes, you know I'm lazy when I only refer to wikipedia. Sorry.) Chicken tikka is described as small pieces of baked chicken marinated in spices and yogurt and chicken tikka masala is chicken tikka in masala gravy. The chicken pieces looked like tomato chunks at first since they were red on the outside. As for what's in masala, I don't know exactly. Lots of stuff. This recipe for chaat masala kinda scares me.
If I seem distracted right now, it's because I am. Problems with 1and1 involving NOT BEING ABLE TO UPDATE MY WEBSITE (actually, that is the only problem) made me somewhat impulsively grab a dreamhost account (with the money you so kindly donated, thank you thank you thank you x 1 billion), so now I'm trying to sort all the crap out, back up my website, set up the new crap, and pray it all works. The 1and1 account I had was actually free, so it wasn't a stretch to spring for new hosting even though my plan hasn't run out yet. Googling 1and1 customer service led me to a gazillion people saying that 1and1 sucks, so...avoid them. If you're reading this post then everything went A-OK and I haven't gouged out my brainmeats from dead website frustration.
Well then. Back to food.
You don't need naan bread to go with the meal, but the waitress asked if we wanted it and HELL YES, I LOVE BREAD, especially the soft, fluffy kind. The rice comes with the entree and you can get free "refills", not that we needed any since we had the naan. JD said that he could tell the naan was baked in a real tandoori oven as opposed to something else that might yield less tasty results.
The final bill was around $15 for each of us. We were stuffed to the point of explosion and had leftovers. Naturally, we went out for dessert.
"Indian sweets are reallly sweet," JD cautions me.
"...Yeah, so? I still want them." [insert giant Robyn smile]
"Haha...ha...um, okay." [JD looks at me as thought everything is fine, but I know he thinks that I'm insane]
We chose four things from the cold case and chowed down. I don't know what the real names are, but I'll try to semi-describe them:
- orange thing: Made of carrot, but doesn't taste very carroty. Dense, wet and sweet. Has other flavors I can't identify.
- round yellow thing in middle: Also dense, wet and sweet, but wetter than the orange thing. No idea what it's made of. There's cream in the middle of the two yellow blobs, but I don't taste much of it because there's so much of the yellow part.
- yellow stuff on the right: Light, fried dough/noodly stuff coated in a sweet syrup. A little crunchy, in the way that something soaked in sweet syrup would be.
- white things on the bottom right: Dense, nutty, not as wet as the other things. Reminds me of marzipan or some other nut-based paste-ish thing else you may find enrobed in chocolate. JD told me there's a chocolate-covered Americanized version.
The shop showed signs of closing down for the night so we left in order to not be locked in a room full of sweets (although on retrospect, that would've been kind of awesome). CJ told us he would stop by so the three of us could hang out, but he ended up being too busy to make the 30 minute drive. God dammit. Don't my bastard friends know that I'm going to be away for four months and want to spend some time with people before I leave? ...Ah well, I still love em. Those bastards.
JD and I have eaten a few days worth of food by this point. Our bellies were full of chicken, rice, bread, dense sweet things made of mashed nuts, and god knows how many spices. Churning. In our bellies. Churn churn churn.
"God, I'm full," I moan while patting my belly, as though that'll somehow make the food digest more quickly.
"Yeah, me too. I have to stop eating with you!"
[gasp] "OH MY GOD, ICE CREAM!" I exclaim while excitedly pointing at the glowing awning.
"Want to go in?"
Two and a half gallons, oh yeah.
Although they have regular flavors, Kwality specializes in Indian flavors and touts that their ice cream is 100% vegetarian, contains no eggs, has no preservatives, and is made with all natural flavors. Some of their special flavors include:
- Kulfi Falooda
- Fresh Chikoo
- Kesar Pista with saffron
- Tropee Lychee
- Almond Dates
- Cashew Raisins
- Elaichi Pista
- Walnut and Figs
- Alphonso King Mango
- Green Guava
- Pistachio Nut
- Gulkland (Rose Petals)
I don't know what all those flavors actually are, but they probably taste good. I tasted the pistachio and saffron and settled on pistachio, partially based on JD's recommendation. JD went with saffron.
As far as I know, most ice cream (well...the kind I eat) is made with eggs. Is that supposed to make ice cream creamier? I wouldn't know that this ice cream wasn't made with eggs if they hadn't advertised it. It's not the creamiest ice cream I've had, but it's good stuff. I'm not sure how to describe the ice cream besides that...it tastes different from other ice cream I've had, as though they shove another flavor in there. Without knowing exactly what saffron tastes like, I'd guess that the saffron ice cream tasted like...saffron. There was another dimension to it; it tasted and smelled floral as opposed to just being a flavor that hits your tastebuds. You might know what mean if you ate it. Or I might be talking out of my ass.
"Comaaa," I moan as we sit in front of our empty ice cream cups.
"Yeah I don't feel too well."
"Me neither. Oh god. MY BELLY. WHAT HAPPENED?!"
We hobbled out back to JD's car, which he had to carefully parallel un-park with just a few inches of breathing room to spare. Miraculously, he didn't hit the other cars. And then the fun began.
"Wuh-uh-uh-uh-uh-uh," undulated my voice as the car lacked whatever it is that makes driving feel smooth while racing over the otherwise not-very-bumpy road. (And I do mean "racing"; JD happened to bring his racing car that isn't outfitted for normal driving, but is perfect for making a lot of noise and amplifying every bump that blemishes the road. I asked him if anywhe else ever goes "wuh-uh-uh-uh" while in his car just to annoy the driver and point out the ridiculous bumpiness of the ride, to which he unsurprisingly said, "...No.") My stomach didn't make any noises, but if it did (and if it spoke English) it'd sound something like, "Blub blub OH MY GOD, HOW IT CHUUURNS."
The result of the food-filled Saturday night was a Sunday spent in a comatose state. It was fun, but I don't think I can eat a normal meal for a few days.
maps, glorious maps
Bombay Cafe / Kwality Ice Cream
771 Newark Ave
Jersey City, NJ 07306