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“Khali dose, two-by-three coffee”

Saturday, January 21, 2012

We’re simple people and we like everything to be plain and simple for us, even our food. We don’t want big restaurants or a buffet or those Tide-white napkins set on our table folded to a perfect triangle. 

That is why it made me happy to go have breakfast in the Janata Hotel near Lal Bagh. We went for a morning walk in Lal Bagh, then walked up to this tiny place just a few lanes away, and had the best plain dosa and coffee, ever. it was self service on plates of stainless steel and plantain leaf, the tables were plain, the food was absolutely yummy. 

Usually if my parents decide to “go out to eat!” I’m hardly excited about it. Not that I’m a big fan of ‘mane oota’ and don’t want to try anything new. No offence mom, I love your cooking. But the thing is, eating out is not as simple as it sounds at all!
First you have to get ready. Like we’re travelling to space, we have to wear jackets and scarves to cover as much skin as possible and be protected from the blazing sun and traffic-dust. Then we decide where to go (in our context this is read ‘we decide to go to ‘Shanti Sagar’ because my parents are huge fans). But usually it is a name that ends with ‘Sagar’ or ‘Bhavan’ or ‘Darshini’. And then we decide how to go.
 If we take the car there’s no parking space near the restaurant we want to go to. Or there is no right/left turn leading straight to the place and we have to take the U-turn which is like a tiny slit in the long stretch of road divider. It is literally like eating like ‘this’ (imagine the age old gesture… taking the food and twisting the hand behind the head to reach the mouth… its complicated!) Sometimes we park the vehicle a mile away from the restaurant, hence the elaborate dressing up I mentioned before.
If we take the bus then all that message therapy on the bus ride will get us so comatose with relaxation we tend to fall asleep on the table before our food is served. Aaand don’t even get me started on autos!!
Okay, imagine we reach a really good restaurant really quick. We don’t want to order the same South Indian meal (that’s mom and me. Dad is super loyal to Idli vade and full meals). But if we choose other cuisines we can’t even finish half of what is served. You see in the scale of munching, eating, gobbling and devouring, people in our little family usually peck on food. It is a poor eating culture. And we hardly get our money’s worth and we’d rather go home to our ‘anna saru’ than eat unauthentic but overpriced Chinese food.

With a bunch of friends I hardly notice all this stuff but when I’m out with parents all that is wrong with eating out looks highlighted with a yellow colour marker. I just wish we had a people’s (Janata) hotel in every area so sometimes mom can take a break from the kitchen and the three of us enjoy a good meal.