Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Curry Me Softly

Work has been fairly busy lately, leaving me little time to cook, let alone go on any food adventures. I hadn't gone on a food adventure in a while, until I found myself on one last Friday quite by accident.

The weather in New York on Friday was beautiful. Stunning. So fabulous, that no matter how busy your schedule, you simply had to make time to go for a walk outside. Here's the thing about the neighborhood I work in - the food pickings are not so hot. It's just South of the Empire State Building between Broadway and 5th, next to a McDonalds, Subway, and Quiznos. I don't get out for lunch much. On this lovely particular Friday I decided to "Google Map" the phrase, "New York Restaurants" and zoom in on my little area, within a certain radius. The results were as I expected. Sparse. Blah.* However, I did notice a concentrated cluster of dots at about 28th and Lexington, exactly 4 long blocks East of me. So naturally I decided I had to check it out.

As I reached my dotted destination, it suddenly dawned on me: I found Curry Hill.

Remember several months back you voted to send me to Curry Hill, I wound up with squid, but promised I'd go to Curry Hill at some point? Well, I went. The cluster of dots on the Google map was actually the high-concentration of Indian restaurants in the area, hence the original name, "Little India," now more commonly known as "Curry Hill" (because it's just South of the Murry Hill neighborhood. Ha ha get it?).

Let me quickly mention that I am, at this particular moment in my life, Obsessed (yes, capital "O") with Chicken Tikka Masala. It has become my ultimate comfort food. I adore it and long for it and savor it. The problem with this dish (which also happens to be the wonderful thing about this dish) is that there is no one way to make it, so every place you try it will be slightly different.

This is a problem for me because, being the food adventurer that I am, I really will need to try every single possible version of Chicken Tikka Masala before I am satisfied. So far my favorite has been from Tandoori on the Upper West Side. I have had many others that have been good. But not as good. Will I order from Tandoori again? Possibly. But as long as there are more versions for me to try, I will be out there trying them all. Which is all at once frustrating and exciting and disappointing and exhilarating.

This brings me back to Curry Hill, where I am trying to decide where to sample the Chicken Tikka Masala. I land on "Curry in a Hurry," because a.) that establishment helped give rise to the original neighborhood nickname and b.) I was in a hurry. I had to get back to work.

The dish was good. Still not my favorite. Wouldn't get it again. At least I know now that I am a short walk away from exploring more Chicken Tikka Masala recipes. If I find one that beats Tandoori, I'll let you know.

*I feel I should disclaimer this: There are a few bright spots around for midday lunches. Koreatown is lovely. Shake Shack is delightful. But I usually only have enough time to grab and go. And Shake Shack lines are at least a 45 min wait on a crap-weather day. I haven't even tried it on a nice day.


HH_Stl_Chi said...

Your work neighborhood sounds like mine. Right outside the Sears (Willis) Tower are 3 McDonalds, 3 Subways, 3 Dunkin Donuts, Sbarro, Panera and the list of boring restaurants goes on and on ... Glad you found Curry Hill :)

Anonymous said...

Did you try the "Easy Chicken Masala" recipe in the Feb. issue of Bon Appetit? I havn't tried it but it looks super fast and simple. Perfect for busy days of packing!
Happy face- Mom