Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Minar & NJ


The title makes it sound as if this entry is about some character (whimsical yet pensive) and his pal NJ, who smokes and is really dirty and love tomatoes. But no.

This past weekend was not only Mother's Day, it was Celebrate Hometown Day, an entirely made-up holiday strictly observed by going to eat Indian food, randomly running into many people from high school throughout the day, and discovering that part of the movie School of Rock was filmed in the ol' Hometown. (I've googled to no avail; I don't know what the connection is? Why Edison, Jack Black? Why?)

Edison and neighboring Iselin is always mentioned when the New York Times talks about any Indian food. It's got a huge south asian population, and there's a stretch of road that will spark recognition in knowing eyes all over the country. In a funny twist, it's been rare for me to actually go out to eat Indian food here. Indian food was always mom-made (let's face it, the best kind, especially tea) at friends' houses. So saturday, Mr. D, as his school-kids call him, or maybe I've made that all up as a wild inventor of lies, took us to Minar. They have restaurants in New York (more than one?) and just recently opened this one.

We started with a platter of vegetable appetizers. Samosas and things which I don't know the names for but basically, they're all the same: Fried Goodness. And I had a yummy mango lassi, something, like emails, that I can rarely turn down given the chance.

We talked about the Future, with a capital F, whether we were finally going to get cars that float and all that. And how those weird east asians are the only cultures not to have bread in their meals. Actually I don't even remember, besides a trip down Kaavya Lane. (Incidentally, she is from NJ, though not from our stomping grounds. And plus Mr. D should, like, totally ask her out. Doesn't he understand her pain?? He's nodding, I know he is.)

And then our main stuff arrived like a party. Garlic naan! Saag paneer! Some other paneer! I'm blanking out on it. Matar? I don't even know how to spell these things, but then, I can't really be wrong can I? with this whole transliteration thing? And my glorious lamb curry. The saag paneer was a little bland but everything else was quite tasty. Try to hold in your enthusiasm over my brilliantly descriptive words. Tasty, yes, TASTY.
Mr. D also let us in on the onions secret. As in eat them. I've never been served a plate of (raw? pickled?) onion pieces at Indian restaurants before. But they sort of, in a weird way, freshen up your palate for the strongly-flavored food at hand. So it sparked up the curry.
And dessert! Again, the failings of the brain translate to the err.. more failings. My friend got rasmalai, which was good and sweet and pistachio-y. And I had some sort of ice cream concoction that was very melty and had all sorts of things on top. Wooo! Brilliant! And that's all the details you'll get out of me today. Until floaty cars fly by next to pigs with wings.
So yeah, my corner of NJ has the culinary ups of a really diverse population and the downs of blah-yawn-suburbia (chains, indeed). And right now because it's super late and I've been talking about food, all of sudden, I'm craving some Grease trucks. I haven't had one in years.


walter said...

i like the new layout design
and the kids do call him mr. d

karla said...

dude! i totally spazzed when i saw stephenville parkway in school of rock. yay! i love edison! i love nj! 44 days and counting!!!!

deepal said...

i just got the Kaavya book in the mail!

Robyn said...

Although I'm pretty sure I've been to Edison before, I have no idea where it is in relation Hm. Sounds good. ESPECIALLY THAT DESSERT! Ehe.
I want Indian food now. Warh.
Some of School of Rock was filmed in my town too. YAY JERSEYYY.