Sunday, April 20, 2008

BorgenFest continues in NYC

My dad came out to NYC this weekend! It was great to see him here - we always have fun visits. There's a lot of eating and walking and theatre-going. You see, the New York trips are MY trips, meaning I plan everything (trying to take into account what he would like, but the activities are mine), unlike our camping trips, where he plans what he likes (hiking and other wilderness activities, trying to take into account what I would like). I asked some friends for recommendations and then ignored them, once I realized I knew exactly where he would want to go: the Jackson Diner (which is Indian, despite the confusing name).

My dad has always loved Indian food (really any kind of messy ethnic food - Thai, Vietnamese, Mexican - anything not pretentious that has good vegetarian options). My mom and sister used to hate it, and so I was the only family member who would join him for Indian food. One summer when everyone else was out of town, we went out to the Udupi Palace (Berkeley's best vegetarian Indian restaurant) several nights in a row, always followed by gelato and movies from Silver Screen Video (we made some weird choices - Funny Girl one night, Alice's Restaurant the next - can you tell we're ex-hippie Bay Area Jews yet?).

We hopped on the 7 train and rode it out to Jackson Heights. I'd been there before - it's really interesting out there - kind of like a mash of many Asian countries all smooshed into a few blocks of Queens. Need a sari? A giant jar of ghee? A ten pound bag of sushi rice? Jackson Heights is the place to go.

We got seated right away, since my Dad got hungry and wanted dinner at 6pm (not very New York). I've had to wait about 20 minutes for a table in busier times, but it's worth it. They start you off with papadum, which you get in any Indian restaurant along with your meal.

It was nice and crisp and a little warm. It comes with three sauces, one sweet, one hot, one a little creamy.

We decided on the Masala Dosa - a huge crepe filled with spiced potatoes, onions and peas. It's one of my favorite Southern Indian dishes.

It seemed like it was a million feet long (it was probably about three - I'm no good at measurements). I'd had this here before and it held up the second time. It's very filling and the crepe is crispy and a tiny bit sour (in a good way).

We decided against Naan for our bread (too on the nose) and picked paratha instead, which is a multi layered whole wheat bread. It was warm and chewy. I liked it a lot.

Then we ordered Sag Paneer (spinach cooked with chunks of Indian cheese) and my camera died. Curses! (I got new rechargeable batteries - I am unimpressed thus far) The spinach was great, but the cheese was a bit too firm for my taste - I like it a little softer. I've had the Sag Gosht (spinach with lamb) here in the past though, and I highly recommend that.

I've been here twice now and have always enjoyed the experience. It's worth the trip out to Queens, even if you live somewhere farther away. It's very close to the subway. Plus, you don't want to stay in your own borough all the time, right? Branch out, experience all of New York! Eat good food! You'll like it.

Tomorrow I review The Country Girl on Broadway. Stay tuned!


Kate said...

Saag Paneer used to be one of my favorite dishes...until I discovered that many indian restaurants 'spice' it with ground up cashews. After being rushed to the ER and kept on steroids for weeks because of half a bite...I don't eat it anymore. Once I can eat cheese again, I plan on scrounging up a recipe and trying to make it myself.

Meredith said...

Mmm... Indian... That paratha looks sinful.

As to the batteries- you have to make sure not to leave them in their charger after they're charged, especially if it's unplugged because it drains the battery. Could that be it? Also, you have to fully charge them or they won't hold their charge as well.

Also, I love that picture of your dad. Doesn't everything just look better in daylight? Thank God for summer...