Monday, October 27, 2003

I woke up and showed Rahul the progress of the compost heap this morning. He left for Sunnyvale to see his brother. I was by then in a cheerful and energetic mood and had a banana for breakfast, then convinced Kyle to go for a bike ride.

Daylight savings time was awesome--I thought I was up so late, but it was still early because we had fallen back. I had a cup of bad coffee and worked in the garden--planted white and pale pink nemesia cascading with tiny flowers in a cloud of vanilla fragrance, like heliotrope, mixed with the cinnamon-scented soft ruffled spikes of stocks--cream, pink, lavender--and purple pansies, a mixture of bright and dark purples, like Roman robes.

We rode our bikes down to the animal shelter on Second Street and took a skinny, brindled pit bull for a walk down by Aquatic Park. There was another pit bull there named Kyle--she was a girl dog, and had a chest a mile wide with those funny bow legs you see in so many massively strong little bulldogs. There were guinea pigs, a brown and white one and a baby TSW hiding under newspaper, and a black and white-spotted, incredibly soft rabbit. We didn't pet any cats except for Squirrel, although we saw a little black cat make a run for it from the ferals room in the cat room. She was nabbed and brought back by the scruff of her neck yowling and complaining.

Then we rode over to Vik's Chaat House and had aloo tikki cholle, mango lassi, and masala dosa, which took forever.

The aloo tikki cholle were little fried mashed potato cakes drowned in a spicy watery sauce with garbanzo beans, tasting of tamarind and chile and cilantro. The savory flavor of the fried surfaces of the cakes stood out well against the spicy sauce. We ate them all while waiting for the masala dosa, which took ages to prepare. A small girl kept trying to get more water from the fountain. I was trying to let her fill up my cup and her parents came over and said it was her third cup of water and that she kept going back to the fountain.

When the dosa was done, we took it outside and tore into the two-foot-long lentil-flour crepe with its glassy, crisp, golden surface and slightly spongy white insides, scooping out the spiced potato filling, and dipping it into one of the two provided sauces--one a watery yellow color, laced with potato chunks and spiced deliciously with little black mustard seeds, and the other a spicier, thicker yellow pool the color and texture of a gritty ballpark mustard. I bought a 10-pound bag of basmati rice in an enchanting cloth bag with an elephant on it.

Next time I want what I think is the bhatura puri--a huge puffed fried dough ball, bubbly on the surface like fried won ton, the size of someone's head.

We ate caramel-laced brownies in the afternoon--far too many.

Then for dinner, late at night, I sauteed nameless Chinese greens (chopped) in a spoonful of garlic paste and red pepper flakes and olive oil, salted and peppered them, then stirred them into spaghetti along with a handful of chopped Italian parsley and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice. The spice was uneven--it clung to the greens--but all in all it wasn't half bad.

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