I never did get around to blogging about my California trip, did I?
While we are on the topic of food, one of the more fun parts of the trip (and unusual - given that I'm NOT a foodie) was the unrelenting focus on food, with the Bay Area being converted into my own personal smorgasbord. So there were Fontainebleau scrambled eggs in Haight-Ashbury, vegan sushi on Berkeley campus, chocolate hazelnut tarts at Tartine, dimsum in Milpitas, sardines and seafood stew on Cannery Row, arepas at the Coupa Cafe in Palo Alto, hummus and pita sandwiches in Mountain View, and, for New Year's Eve, a rum and chocolate cake baked by yours truly that didn't turn out half bad. Quite the culinary voyage.
Saravana Bhavan, Sunnyvale CA.
Falstaff and Z arrive. Listlessly eye invading hordes at the door.
Z: Well, I've put our name down for a table.
F: Did he say how long it would take?
Z: Fifteen minutes.
F: Dude, no way. Look at that waiting area. There must be a thousand people ahead of us.
Z: Don't exaggerate, there are only 994.
F: Ya, but two of them are pregnant.
Z: Look, he said 15 minutes. Let's just wait and see and if we don't get a table then we can always go elsewhere.
F: Sigh. Okay.
F: It's half past seven.
Z: Ya, I know. I guess he was wrong about the 15 minutes.
F: I told you so. Can we go now?
Z: What, after we've waited twenty minutes? Of course not.
F: But, but...you said.
Z: Look, I'm sure we'll get a table any moment now.
F: How? That line in the waiting area hasn't moved.
Z: Well, don't look at me, you're the one who wanted to come here.
Z: Sure. You asked for this place.
F: I did not. You asked me if I was okay with South Indian and I said "Sure, why not"
Z: See - exactly.
Z: Hmmm...this is getting ridiculous. It isn't normally this crowded you know.
F: *wounded silence*
Z: Maybe we should get it to go.
F: We can get it to go? Really? Why didn't we do that straight away?
Z: Because we were going to get a table.
Z: Well, I thought you might want to see what the place is like. You know, check out the ambiance.
F: What ambiance? The place is more crowded than Dadar station at rush hour.
Z: Well, you're the one who's always saying you miss Bombay.
F: Oh, never mind, let's just go order.
[Bloody but unbowed, F & Z arrive at the counter, having hacked their way through a tropical rainforest of arms and legs]
Z: ...and we'll have one plate of X as well*
Uncle-ji at counter: X? You sure you want X? Why not have Y instead? Very tasty. Absolutely fresh.
Z: Okay, one plate of Y then. How long will it take?
Uncle-ji: Oh, ten minutes.
[F & Z reduced to mere flotsam in sea of humanity, trying desperately to get the last molecules of remaining oxygen in the place into their lungs. F makes a break for it and goes stands in the parking lot. It's good to be back in the First World.]
Z: How long is that order going to take?
Uncle-ji: It's almost done.
Z: You said ten minutes. It's been half an hour.
Uncle-ji: Yes, I know. It's that Y you ordered. We'd run out so we're having to make a new batch.
Z: But you told me to take Y. You said it was absolutely fresh.
Uncle-ji: And it will be. When it's ready.
Z: *grits teeth. tries not to swear* What about the rest of our order?
Uncle-ji: Oh, that's right here. It's been ready for twenty minutes.
Z: Right, forget the Y then. We're going.
F: So, did the guy ever call our table?
Z: No. I asked him about that on the way out.
F: What did he say?
Z: He said it would be just fifteen minutes.
Delicious skate fillet followed by braised peaches with icecream and chocolate mousse, with De Sica's The Garden of the Finzi-Continis playing on a giant screen in the background. Ah, the good life.
*Sorry, I don't actually remember what we ordered. The food was that unmemorable.