Recon: In comparison to the Thai food I tried last month, I actually do see a great deal of Indian food in the greater Baltimore area. This never used to be the case. But we’ve been getting a little more fancy here, so with all the yuppies coming to town, comes all sorts of yummy new restaurants to try. I’ve been intrigued by Indian for a bit but not for the reason most people want to give a new cuisine a shot.
I have no aspirations of backpacking through India. I don’t dream about the spice markets there that seem to overflow with smells and textures. No, my dream is to move to England. Because of this, most people would be craving fish and chips or bangers and mash. But in my readings, and listenings (I’m a sucker for BBC radio), I’ve learned that the Brits do love a good curry. In fact, one of the national dishes of England, Chicken Tikka, is actually an Indian-esque dish. I say Indian-esque because this dish’s origins aren’t in India, but with Indian immigrants who fled to England for a new life. So naturally, in hopes of becoming a fully functioning perfect example of a British citizen, I just had to give it a try.
I went. Rangoli just opened in the new Arundel Preserve area of town and had garnered some pretty fantastic reviews from some serious foodies I know. I had high hopes of it being a memorable and delicious meal.
Rations: When trying new things, I always make sure that I go with a seasoned professional in whatever area I’m trying. This assures I only order the good stuff and that I don’t look/sound like an idiot. This time was no different. A friend who grew up in New York City surrounded by tons of delicious food from all over the world, was the perfect companion.
He suggested we start with vegetarian samosas as an appetizer. Samosas are sort of like a fried dumpling filled with chick peas and other vegetables, as well as some serious spice mixture (hot, hot, hot!). I requested Naan, since it was one of the only things I’d been craving from Indian cuisine, so we ordered garlic and plain. Naan is a form of Indian flatbread, a bit like pita bread, served plain or with a garlic and parsley spread. Then we both went with the Chicken Tikka Masala, cooked in tomatoes and cream with a bunch of other spices that I couldn’t pick out if you paid me and served over white rice.
Review: It’s hard to say whether I liked it or not. I’m still sort of up in the air about it. The samosas, which looked delicious, were quite spicy; a bit too spicy for my liking (I drank 6 glasses of water over the course of the evening…), and the consistency of the chick peas just didn’t do it for me. I’ve never been a fan of plain old regular peas, and chick peas pretty much taste and feel exactly the same to me, so that dish may have been doomed from the start.
The Naan was mild and good; though lacking in any real flavor. I think Naan is usually salt-less so it makes sense that it was slightly bland, but even the garlic didn’t really punch it up. Though, it certainly put out the fire from the samosas. Then there was the entrée which may have also been doomed from the start. I love, love, love tomatoes in just about everything, except in cream sauces. There’s something about the texture of creamy tomatoes that turns my stomach. Seeing as Tikka Masala is cream and tomato based, I should have avoided it, but no, I was trying to be all adventurous and stuff. The flavor wasn’t bad but I’m not sure I’ll be ordering it again any time soon.
I’d like to think that given the chance, I’d try Indian again. Afterall, it may very well have been the chain-ish restaurant we tried, and other more homestyle places could really teach me to love Indian cuisine. I’m sure the homemade varieties are so much better and probably spicier (oh dear!) But in the end, I may just have to commit to being a card carrying English girl by sticking to Fish and Chips instead.
Reveal: Dim Sum OR Ramen (whichever is easier to find in my not so food centric city…)
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