I mentioned in a previous post that I am Marathi. This means most of my family cooks and eats vegetarian food not sold in Indian restaurants, speaks the language that is concentrated in the state of Mahrashtra, is frugal, precise, and does well in school.
We’re basically the kind of Indian known for being sticks-in-mud, but with hazel eyes (THAT I DIDN’T EVEN GET, THANKS MOM)
Of course, I’m kidding, and not trying to offend or distance myself from my cultural roots. That being said, I don’t think any of my Marathi relatives would have taken me for lunch at the hole-in-the-wall restaurant that I visited last week . It has been across the street from my grandparents’ home for over 50 years since they first moved in, but I may be the first from my family to step foot inside.
And guys, it was so. freaking. good.
Known to people in the area only as the store that belongs to the Irani family that lives in Hindu Colony, it’s the kind of place that you don’t pay attention to the kitchen hygiene or the local crowd because your better judgment may lose. They’re also eggceptional (WINK WINK) at omelets, scrambled eggs, and other such breakfasty/snackfoody things. Our upstairs neighbor took me for lunch, and ordered a spread of greasy spoon dishes that I ate with slight guilt (the oil! the dirt! the flies!), a whole lotta hunger, and great satisfaction.
My personal favorite was the unda bhurji – scrambled eggs done the Indian way, with plenty of spice and caramelized onions, served with soft dinner rolls. We also had an omelet, and lamb kheema, which is ground lamb cooked in a salty, spicy, oily curry.
Side note, there is no such thing as “curry”. If ever you’ve had the misfortune of asking me if my favorite food is curry (it is not) you will know I take it more personally than necessary, but I do believe it displays some ignorance. Curry is a general term for the saucy, spiced liquid in which any sort of vegetable/lentil/meat is suspended, to be eaten with rice or flatbread. It is not a dish, it is a category, made specific by name, i.e. “Chicken tikka masala”, or “mutton kheema”. And it gives me a lot of satisfaction to finally, FINALLY express this thought in a semi-permanent place.
(But I digress)
Bringing a camera into the shop was like wearing a badge that read “foreigner”, “outsider”, “everyone stare at this person” but I tried not to care and instead think of the my Insta-game getting stronger with all the HD, high saturation food pictures I was taking.
We finished the mid-afternoon lunch with a cup of Irani chai (my fourth cup of tea that day….when in Rome?) that was golden and sweet with a rich caramel aftertaste. The bill came to just about 300 rupees for 3 entrees, bread, and tea, so just around $5 (!!! for a 2 person indulgence), and I am happy to report that a week later, my bowels are still 100% intact. You’re welcome for sharing. Dreams do come true.