In 2005 I had the opportunity to travel to India as a speaker for the II World Forum on Free Knowledge.
It was a long flight (which I loved) with Lufthansa and Jet Airways to Frankfurt, then Delhi, Mumbai and finally Thiruvananthapuram in Kerala. I met with great people such as Marco Ciurcina, Anand Babu, Sasikumar, Aarti Sethi, as well as the staples, Juan Carlos Gentile and the Venezuelan team, etc. By the way, I think this is the only evidence of that event.
But I digress. This is a post about food.
I was way too young back then (just became 18) to actually care much about the deep roots of the Kerala cuisine and what I had there. It was very spicy, though, at a level that blacked out all other sensations. I recall I brought back to Venezuela different types of masala, and my dad (which has always been a foodie, and all about herbs and spices) was incredibly happy. I really liked the culture around the IT and I was amazed by everything I saw. But I never really digged into Indian food, and never had it back in Latin America.
This weekend I had the opportunity to visit Kastoori in Seattle. Well, not an opportunity per se, we really planned it. We researched a bit about the westernized Indian food and the options and we decided to take a late Saturday lunch there. We parked in 1st Ave, which seems to be a test of financial strength (I paid more for the parking than for the food) and a block away I could really start smelling the place. It smelled delicious.
And it tasted delicious, as well! They had their lunch buffet running (even though it was late) and we decided to sample from there. We had chicken tandoori, chicken tikka masala, spicy blackened chicken, basmati rice, lots of veggies and greens with tamarind chutney, dal soup and an amazing naan. We really liked it!
The tikka was great, especially with the naan. Tandoori had a flavor we never expected. All the vegetables were really savory. Dal soup was good although a bit heavy, and basmati rice makes a great side but it tends to overflavor other things with fragrance.
It was really a bargain, at about $10 per person, all you can eat. We left the fish and other things for our next visit, and we are now committed to start considering naan in our flatbread consumption. It was a great moment that took me back to our conference dinners, the hospitality from our hosts and an unforgettable trip to India.