Tag Archives: Indian food

April 16, 2010 – Lunch at the Park and Dinner at Anarkali Indian Restaurant

16 Apr

9am

2 strawberry Pop Tarts

1 glass of water

3 pm

The Park

BBQ pulled pork sandwich

side of potato salad

1 bottle of Mexican Coke

I realized that I have never been to The Park in the four months of me writing this blog. That’s an oversight on my part. For the past year and a half, this was my go-to restaurant and I used to go every other week. I’d meet friends here, take dates as well and I’ve attended more than enough friend’s birthday dinners. The restaurant is in my neighborhood, prices are more than reasonable and the food is a bit more sophisticated than what you’d expect for this price point. The menu is simple enough with burgers, steaks and pastas. But the roast chicken is Jidori, the hangar steak is cooked to a perfect temperature and sauced with a technically competent bearnaise sauce, the pork belly is glazed with a caramel sauce made with sriracha and the chef loves accompanying dishes with bitter greens like kale and escarole that he picked up from the farmer’s market. It’s comfort food executed with grace, but with just a bit of rough edges to remind you that this is a modest neighborhood restaurant. But even that ramshackle nature is a bit endearing. If The Park resembled an actress, it’d be Zooey Deschanel.

To keep prices at a modest level, the space is pretty simple and the menu is small. That also means that there are a lot of deals. Tuesdays offers three courses for $15, Friday ups the price just a bit to $20, which is still cheap. Birthday meals are three courses for $25 with custom menus for the party. Wednesdays is $5 burger night, and they offer a formidable sirloin burger or a house-made veggie burger. And lunch offers about six or seven sandwiches for $5 (the side potato salad added another $1 to the bill). I went with the pulled pork today, and it was sizable and satisfying. I don’t know why I stayed away my go-to neighborhood place for so long.

7:30 pm

Anarkali

1 1/2 samosas (1 potato, 1/2 meat)

shared order of chicken tikka masala

shared order of sag aloo (potatoes and spinach)

shared order of bhindi masala (okra)

side of basmati rice

2 pieces of paratha bread

2 pieces of special paratha bread

1 large bottle of Taj Mahal beer

As you can see from the list above, we ate a lot. I love it when friends treat you to dinner and order a crapload of food for everyone. That’s exactly what my friends Frankie and Bobby did, and I have to offer my thanks for their generosity. I’m also thankful that despite the sheer quantity of food, Anarkali was surprisingly easy on my colon. They do like their Indian food a bit milder than I tend to eat, so that helped. The okra was especially good, with none of the sliminess that turns people off the dish. It was also the one dish that had some complexity of spices. The other dishes were a bit too mild for me, with the masala being somewhat sweet. Again, we purposely ordered the dishes on the mild side, so I didn’t get a true sense of this place yet. Anarkali’s one of those neighborhood spots that’s easily overlooked. I’ve driven by it many, many times and never actually been until my friends invited me. It seems that I’m not the only one who’ve missed this place, Anarkali is best known on Yelp for offering a ton of coupons to get people to notice them. Our $80 meal was only $30 after a Groupon deal. For the price, this is a pretty decent place to eat, and I’ll probably take advantage again at some point. If you somehow pay full price at Anarkali, the odds are that you probably aren’t the sharpest tool in the shed.

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Nov. 23, 2009

23 Nov

8:45 am

1 Korean red bean pastry

1 bottle of water

12:20 pm

India Sweets & Spices

#2 combination (2 vegetable curries, 1 side of raita, 1 side salad, 1 chapati, 1 papadum, 1 veggie samosa)

16 oz. Diet Pepsi

Ah, my first day of unemployment. Do you know what my lunch options are since I’m no longer limited to an hour? ANYTHING I WANT. As long as it’s not too expensive. I have a ton of extra cash sitting in my bank account from paid out sick days and severance. It is really tempting to buy a $45 lunch at Fogo de Chao right now. Or even the lunch buffet at a strip club. Usually, strip club lunch buffets consists of boxes of Domino’s Pizza that patrons can help themselves to. It’s about $20/person, excluding lap dances. Right now, I can afford to splurge.

But I probably should be more prudent. Who knows if I’ll be blaming the economy for a lack of income in 6 months. Last time I was unemployed was two years ago, and I had a rotation of cheap eats around my neighborhood I depended on. Today’s entry is devoted to one of them: the steam tray lunch counter at India Sweets and Spices. $5 gets you a tray with two choices of whatever vegetable curries is on hand. Today, I had cauliflower and green beans, and paneer (Indian cheese with a tofu-like consistency) and peas. Also included is a salad topped with an extremely pungent pickle that I honestly have no idea what it’s made out of, a very tart side of raita, a heaping scoop of rice and a really rubbery piece of chapati (flatbread). Oh, and a fountain drink with free refills. Is it any good? Well, it’s $5. And it’s a LOT of food. But it’s also a lot better than what it should be for that price. An extra $1 gets you a horribly leaden samosa and a papadum (chickpea cracker) that’s like an over-sized Munchos chip. Another $1 on top of that gets you a pretty good lassi (a yogurt drink) and kheer (rice pudding). They have even better food that’s not in steam trays, especially the South Indian specialties. But, I usually just go there with only $5-$6 in cash at lunch. One day, I’ll have enough to buy a $7 dosa.

2 pm

1 cup of Dreyer’s cookies n’ cream ice cream

6:45 pm

Pork mandoo (Korean dumplings)

2 cans of Diet Squirt

10 pm

1 bowl of Boo Berry cereal with skim milk

Boo Berry! This was a sweet going-away gift from my former co-worker Robyn. Boo Berry used to be in every supermarket along with fellow dark breakfast minions Count Chocula and Frankenberry. Now they’re all really hard to find, which is probably for the best. I mean, Boo Berry is mostly sugar. And it’s purple. It is one of the tastier cereals with fake marshmallows though. Fuck Lucky Charms and it’s smug leprechaun. Your cereal sucks, just like Notre Dame football. I have one general rule about cereal with fake marshmallows; don’t eat it unless it has your name in it. So for me, Boo Berry is perfectly acceptable. Especially at 10 pm.

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