24.Eat at good Indian, Ethiopian, and Korean restaurants
Last week I drove to Louisville, KY for the NCADP conference. In the little bit of down time I had, I decided to take advantage of being in a big city and explore a few of its exotic restaurant offerings.
First on my list was an Indian place called Shalimar. I punched the address into my GPS and headed out for lunch on the day before the conference officially began. Usually TomTom does me right, but she hated Louisville, or perhaps she was simply acting out after suffering 10 1/2 hours of abuse the day before...in any case, I was grossly misled. Somehow I ended up in the general vicinity of the restaurant but couldn't find it; I spent nearly an hour driving around a one mile radius and even called them to get directions. It didn't make any sense. Ultimately, I called the hotel where I was staying and the front desk navigated me across the highway to the appropriate strip mall. I walked up to the door...and found it locked. The damn place closed about five minutes before I got there. I literally screamed in my car, and promptly decided that I might have anger management issues. Oh well. Fuck it, I'm almost 30. No sense in changing my shit up now.
Defeated and hungry, I made my way to the second place on my list - Shah's Mongolian Grill and Korean Cuisine. The "Open" sign was turned off, but the door was unlocked so I waltzed on in. A woman appeared from somewhere in the back of the restaurant to greet me. I looked her in the eye and said "I want Korean food." She laughed, almost maniacally, at my request. "You want KOREAN FOOD? Come in, come in. Sit ANYWHERE you like." The place was dead empty, and most of the lights were off. I sat down near the salad bar. She handed me a menu. "Have you had Korean food before?" The conversation that followed helped to mellow the strangeness of being alone in a restaurant with a suspiciously enthusiastic Korean woman. And the food was fantastic. I had the Hae Mul Soon Tofu, which came with four side dishes including kim chi, and an over=priced bottle of OB beer. I didn't have my camera with me, but it looked something like this:
Later, for dinner, I went back to Shalimar. I was still full from lunch, but I decided to go for it anyway. One stipulation of this item on my list was that the restaurants be good, which it was, but it wasn't great. I've definitely had better. There's a place in Charlotte that I might have to go back to.
At Shalimar I ordered vegetable samosas, naan, and chana masala. Chana masala used to be my jam. It was maybe the only thing I ordered when I went to Indian restaurants for quite some time, so I thought it a fitting choice.
It's an odd thing, taking picture of your food while dining alone. The server approached me after the flash went off and asked to see my camera. Then he questioned me about the camera's "value in the market." I was certain he was going to throw it on the ground and stomp on it, telling me that photography was strictly prohibited. Instead he smiled politely, handed it back, and refilled my water. I realized that I might be a little paranoid. Oh well. Fuck it, I'm almost 30.
On my last day, I decided to eat at an Ethiopian restaurant on the way out of town. Despite the intestinal risks involved in such a decision, I couldn't pass up Queen of Sheba, as a friend had specifically recommended that I eat there. It was great. I hadn't had Ethiopian since leaving Charlottesville. It was raining, so I ordered a hot tea and the vegetable sampler.
Overall I was very pleased with this particular 30/30 adventure. It was easy, relatively inexpensive, and absolutely a personal indulgence that I don't normally get to partake in.