Saturday, September 22, 2007

Cuckoo, How He Can Sing


WoW update on the new server, Maelstrom: Bug is 61 and I'm a lowbie 48.

For some reason, I started thinking about the song I used to sing when I was a kid. All I can very vaguely remember is:

Cuckoo, cuckoo - how he can sing
We like to hear him
And to be near him
Cuckoo, cuckoo...

It's probably wrong...maybe I'm just cuckoo!?

While I took a couple of days off work recently, the first thing I thought to do on my day off was to visit India's Cafe in Parma, an unassuming restaurant that we've passed many times. They serve a buffet that, like most places, is only served on weekdays at lunch. I figured what better way to taste a variety of food without much commitment, except for paying $5.95.

I really didn't know what to expect. The door was propped open and a man warmly greeted us as we entered into a scent of curries, basmati, and carraway. It is a very simple, small, and clean place with 5-6 tables covered with vinyl tablecloth. I looked over to the plainly visible kitchen. It was clean and more spacious than the dining area. A woman was kneading bread and another man in a turban busily cooking over a stove.

To the far end of the dining area (15 feet away) was the buffet table with warmers. At first, I was disappointed at seeing only 4 warmers and another table with a pot of soup.

We were offered nan. I ordered a mango shake, while Bug had a can of Mountain Dew. We walked over to the stack of deep-welled styrofoam plates and filled it with a deep-fried chickpea and vegetable ball; spinach and potatoes; lots of rice; papadum; and chicken masala. I also grabbed some soup.

My favorite was the chicken masala, at least what was left of it. Maybe it was because we came in at 1:00 p.m., but between Bug and I, we fought over 2 morsels of chicken that were left in the pan of the sauce was excellent over their tasty basmati rice. The rice had a subtle flavor that I couldn't clearly identify. It was a little smoky and had an essence of carraway. There was a big black rock in the pan. It was labeled as pilau, which made me chuckle ("filthy" in Hawaiian).

The soup was well-seasoned and probably chicken stock. It was okay, as far as my novice-to-Indian-food taste buds go.

The nan was fresh and piping hot, excellent with the cucumber yogurt raita and spicy pickled vegetables. I scarfed it down quickly. Those vegetables always make me want to blink, shake my head, and yell, "WOW!" While the food is not ornate, it is well seasoned and tasty, which is what counts (at least 90% of the time)! We were offered more nan half way through our stack. Definitely not like the stingy servings from Cafe Tandoor.

The rice pudding was tasty. I'm a sucker for desserts with warm coconut milk!

While the buffet choices were sparse, I did find a dish I thoroughly enjoyed with service that was wonderful. I left satisfied - palatte, tummy, and curiosity - and will return. The residual burn on my greedy little fingers from the hot nan was still felt two days later.

On my next trip, I'm ordering the chicken masala (unless they have lamb!), check out the rogan josh, and top it off with the rice pudding. Yum!

- Cassaendra

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Back in the Saddle Again

Well, we did it.

We went back to WoW and joined our fearless guild leader, Westleey, on a different server in the WoW chapter of Crimson Eternity. Ysall, our wonderful recruitment officer, has opened up Crimson Eternity on Lord of the Rings MMORPG.

It's been two weeks. Bug and I are presently levels 34(rogue) and 33(druid), respectively.

We had a lengthy discussion about returning to WoW and concluded that this would keep us out of trouble and end up saving us money. There isn't the temptation of walking outside or driving around with gasoline at $2.99/gallon.

One of my weaknesses is trying new restaurants; although, half the time we end up going to our usual restaurants since we can anticipate good service and food. Being out and about only intensifies the desire of checking places out where we happen to be hungry.

We've recently checked out Cici's, a pizza and salad buffet. Not being a pizza fan, I usually make up a plate of salad, drink a cup of soup, and eat a cup of spaghetti. I may try a couple of slices of pizza that intrigue me. Their cinnamon rolls fresh out of the oven are quite good. Mmmm!

The selection isn't as good as California Pizza Kitchen's pasta, pizza, and dessert, but I won't be walking out of CPK sated for $4.49, especially when I'm in the mood for something quick, substantial, and inexpensive.

Their Buffalo chicken pizza was surprisingly spicy. Their macaroni cheese pizza made me chuckle. I had to try it. Yep, it tastes like mac cheese on pizza dough.

I may be weird in feeling this way, but each time I've gone to Cici's, it reminds me of going to a ramen-ya in Japan. Every time a customer walks in, my mind hears, "Irasshaimase!" as they bellow, "Welcome to Cici's!"

When we leave, I almost feel awkward not brushing the noren aside as they shout behind us, "Thank you!"

- Cassaendra

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