I usually consider my palette to be as well traveled as my feet, there are stones that I have yet to turnover in this vast international scavenger hunt. Indian food has been a long abandoned child resting in the woods awaiting rescue. Maybe I shouldn’t use my mouth as a metaphor for EMT service. Its not that I have never eaten Indian food, but in most cases (save this one and Sherpas) it has been unpleasant. Maybe I shouldn’t say most cases, there was this one time I got pulled into a restaurant against my will and someone made me eat some Indian curry with veggies and I was more or less disgusted by the whole event. That said, I had sworn off the stuff until my trip to Boston with the PingVision crew.
While wondering the empty streets of Cambridge MA, near the MIT campus, Matt Al and were stopped dead in our tracks due to a salivating aroma wafting in front of us. We had been in transit for several hours getting to Boston and none of us had eaten for at least 5 hours. The delicately pronounced seasonings and warmth drifted through our brains like a spell. Resistance was futile.
Hunger stricken, we begged the gracious wait staff at India Castle to prepare us a spread of Vegetable and Meat Pockets, Lamb, Chicken, Curry and a mysterious beverage known as the Flying Horse.
As a non Indian food expert I walked into the meal thinking that everything would be horribly hot and over curried, but much to my surprise and delight almost every single morsel had a voice and dance around my palette all its own. A rhythm of flavor delivered in a sequence that steps delicately through complicated combinations of herbs and spices.
Our appetizer, featured the aforementioned array of meats and various vegetables, wrapped in a thin dough and then delightfully deep fried to crispy perfection. They truly reminded me of a chinese wonton in many ways. The light flakiness of the wrapper and the juicy burst of flavors inside. We were also served three sauces to dip our foods in. One was green and at first glance resembled the texture of guacamole, it in fact became my favorite of the night and the waiters had a hard time prying my fingers from the small dish at all. It had hints of mint and several other little splashes that I cannot begin to decipher. The second, was a red tomato and onion salsa of sorts but was not really anything more than a light sweet distraction. The third, was a brownish sauce that was smokey and savory and slightly sour. It also found its way all over my plate and the shirt I was wearing.
I ordered the Lamb sausage and regret nothing. I really like lamb, and I often find it to be a complicated protein to decorate. Most Americans are really trained into the idea that red = beef and this can lead to some surprises. Fortunately for me I had no problem really assimilating the flavors of this very unique dish. It arrived on a plate sizzling like fajita meat. Mixed into the meat itself were various herbs, looked to be parsley, sage and garlic, along with some spices that I am not entirely sure of the names. It was really amazingly well balanced. And it seemed that the more you mixed combinations of the main dish with the sauces the more ever bite became a majestic scene. Sampling angle after angle of this flavor landscape I soon became totally full and forced myself to return to the hotel with a little doggie bag for a midnight snack.
But my co-worker Matt T., insisted that I sample his chicken before throwing in the towel. I am so glad that I did. It was the most unbelievably tender, juicy chicken breast I have ever enjoyed. It was absolutely unnecessary to bring a knife to the flash, Matt was able to quickly separate a small portion with his fork by simply dragging the tines through it.
Unbelievably impressed and forever entranced by these eastern delights, I leave you with this salivating memoir of a dinner few will enjoy but really should.
special thanks to the folks at:
928 Massachusettes Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02139