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Thursday, January 12, 2006

This House Is Not A Home

I'm running out of veggie ideas, people.

To tell you the truth, I could spend forever in Chinatown eating and reviewing veggie dishes, but believe it or not, this blog isn't about Chinatown or Chinese food. It's about what I like to eat. Duh!

Nevertheless, I like to keep things interesting, for your sake, and keeping you in mind, I literally have to drag myself away from The Funky Chinatown to eat something different.

I've got a few ideas, but what I'm really craving now is potato gnocchi in a mushroom cream sauce. I'll look at the Italian joints in North Beach to see if any of them serve it, but if not, I may or may not hit them up, or I may spend a little bit more and go somewhere nice.

I'm also thinking about Salade Nicoise, although doesn't that have tuna in it?

After this lovely picture of the TransAmerica Pyramid I took today, I'll fill you in on what I did for lunch.

It really was a nice day.

My daily exercise routine generally consists of lifting the remote and moving it from one side of the couch to the other.

However, today I believe I walked the farthest I've ever walked for lunch for a half-eaten plate of the worst Indian food I know I have ever had.

Why, oh why didn't I insist on the gnocchi??

Instead, I walked to the suburbs of North Beach to a place called Kennedy's Irish Pub and Curry House - loosely pub (a frickin' bar is not a pub, ok?), loosely curry, and hardly a house.

(I'd like to issue a challenge to all of the poseurs and fakes who own and operate, or work in, so-called American "pubs"...You want to call yourself a pub? OK. Simple. Don't expect tips. Just pay your workers a living wage. And serve superior, but reasonably priced, food and provide an atmosphere for children to be in without forgetting you're a place for adults also. Close early, despite the fact that pubs in England are petitioning to stay open later - this is not England and we have a bar culture that is intensely fucked up. And serve local beer that is pulled from tap. Don't serve hard alcohol unless it's gin or single malt Scotch, and please don't dress yourselves up, but a little gold and glossy black paint never hurt anything.)

After the 25-minute walk, I was hoping that this was the place I'd heard served great Indian food in something closely resembling a pub. This place was not that place, at least, I hope to God it isn't.

After walking through the bar to get to the restaurant, my eyes had to adjust to almost complete darkness. There were a couple of customers seated and looking like deer caught in the headlights, or lack thereof. It was so quite you could almost hear a hairpin drop, had it not been for the incessant repeat soundtrack of the video games. If I wasn't so hungry, and had I not walked so far, I would've turned around and bought a damn cheeseburger. However, this is veggie week, and I sat my newspaper down on the table and prayed that the $5.99 buffet would blow my mind.

Uh, that didn't happen.

The basmati rice was just plain, white basmati rice with no flavor. The naan was super greasy and cold. I slopped some saag paneer and chana dal on my plate and threw on some onion bhaji.

Saag paneer is one of my all-time favorite Indian dishes and it seemed to me that no matter which Indian dive I happened to be eating at, at least the saag paneer would be good. This saag paneer, however, was so wretched I literally couldn't take more than two bites. It smelled rotten. In fact, I think it was. It was so foul that I couldn't even eat the food that touched it.

Health inspectors! Calling all Health Inspectors! Are you listening?

Mahatma Gandhi's unwashed loin cloth would've tasted better!

The chana dal was edible, only it was dull and too sweet. It didn't taste rotten, but it tasted old.

The poor excuse for onion bhaji looked like someone who's never made onion bhaji cooked it. None of it held its shape and looked more like those canned onion things you buy at Safeway to sprinkle on top of your green bean casserole.

Here's a picture of the horrible mess. Notice it was so dark that I had to turn on the flash. But I think I've figured out their schtick: if they can't feed this slop to you when you're too drunk to notice, they make it to where you can't see it.

You know, it's too bad this food happened to suck because the concept of beer and curry is a brilliant one; one that actually exists in England, and no doubt India.

One of my lottery winning fantasies is to open a bright and flashy and colorful restaurant in the Mission called Bollywood. In this restaurant only two things would be served: beer (maybe cider) and curry. Big plates of various curry and big pints of imported beer on tap. There would be a movie projector that projected Bollywood musicals across an entire wall. There would be sing-a-longs. There would be late night Bollywood dance lessons. As the owner, I wouldn't get rich, but then I wouldn't care since I was already loaded from winning the lottery.

Ah, well I can dream can't I?

Anything to take that nasty saag paneer off of my mind, cause Lord knows five Altoids later I still haven't removed the taste from my mouth.




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