#NYVegPilgrimage Day 1: New York Indian Food

Indian vegetarian food

I’m technically in New York for a conference but I’ve decided that I’m also here on a food pilgrimage. I love trying new restaurants but, since my only vegetarian friend is more of a variations-of-bread-and-cheese kind of girl, I rarely get to explore adventurous meatless fare. While I’m always a good sport about having one to three options to choose off the menu when I go out with friends, I’m excited to check out places with more diversity.

I settled in to my hostel and set out to make my plans for the evening. My go-to move is to hang out in a common area near dinner time, start chatting with whoever comes by, and usually I get pulled into some kind of dinner/drinks arrangement. But this place is SO quiet. It’s cute, clean, centrally located, and more like a hotel than a hostel (except for the shared bathroom part). But being more isolated (i.e: there aren’t 12 people stuffed in a room of bunk beds) makes it much less social.

I checked out the communal area, perused the odds and ends books lining the cases (a bright orange Korean guidebook to New York was my personal favorite) and read over the bulletin board (I’m not sure how up-to-date it is after seeing one of the fliers claimed an event was happening in 2010). Only one person passed by and he was on his way back to his room with takeout.

I followed suit and went to my room to Yelp where I could pick up food. I decided on an Indian place a short walk away, bundled up in my makeshift winter-wear, and headed out.

As soon as I walked in the restaurant I decided to stay and dine solo instead of eating back at my place. I don’t know if it was because it didn’t look much like a to-go kind of restaurant or because there were tiny tables close together that would mask my aloneness or because I decided to seize the opportunity to people watch, but I prefer to think it was the last (least chicken) one.

I don’t know what is about eating at a restaurant alone that is so universally intimidating. But I like to do the things that scare me so I sat down and ordered a glass of wine.

I think the food must have had a level of authenticity because there were quite a few Indian pairs sitting around me – always a good sign. They ate expertly with their hands off of silver platters shaped like cafeteria trays. I took a wild guess with my order since I didn’t recognize anything on the menu. I think the restaurant’s origins may be from a different part of India than what I’m used to (though let’s be real, the only things I would have recognized on the menu are samosas and nan, so who knows).

Whatever I got (Something that started with a “P”? Damn, my ignorance is showing), it was delicious. My silver tray was filled with two large, round pieces of a slightly-fried flatbread. There were also two types of curry, neither of which looked like what would come to mind if I thought of curry.

It was a tasty start to my journey.

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