Monday, July 18, 2011

No soup for you!

A dinner date is always a pressure test for the man. Will I be getting into her pants tonight? It might look like I’m deeply interested in her story about spending a summer teaching Telugu to a bunch of homeless, dyslexic Chinese kids in Guatemala, but all I’m actually doing is wondering if I’ll be getting into her pants. And what heightens the pressure is that only she knows the answer to that question even before the date begins.
What makes the dinner date even more difficult is if the woman across the table was born with cutlery for arms, someone who can descale, devein and debone hilsa with a butter knife. And you, on the other hand, are the dining equivalent of a monkey trying to type out Macbeth*, someone who finds it difficult to digest any form of dining etiquette. 

Pressure of being deft with cutlery added to the conventional date stress. 

There is too much tension.

If you do not know a salad fork from a pitchfork and are trying hard to get it on with Edwardina Forkhands, you will only end up biting off more (foil) than you can chew. True story.

Really, why do chefs wrap the foot of a Tandoori Chicken in aluminium foil? Are they being humane by wanting to bandage, albeit in shiny foil, the amputated chicken leg? Really, why?

There is too much pretension. 

Last night I was served verbose literature for dinner at Punjab Grill. The level of pomposity and pretension in the menu made the Bible look like a marginally long Aesop fable.

What in God’s name is “Free Range” Chicken? 
“Sir, we set the chickens free to run about in a farm and be merry,” said the server. 
But still, magically, stripped of her freedom, she ends up on my plate, dead. 
“You’re absolutely right, sir!”

The management has clearly taken it upon itself to educate its patrons on trivial snippets of historical and geographical trifle. I’m finicky when I have to decide on an order, but thanks to the Cook Swap Treaty signed immediately after the Treaty of Mangalore I am no longer undecided. For now I have a piece of history on my side (plate?). After all who can resist a meal where one does not even have to so much as chew?

My travel agent once misunderstood my request for a ticket to Chandigarh. I had lazily abbreviated it as CDG and was almost booked on a flight to Paris (Charles de Gaulle). I hope she never dines in this restaurant. I do not want to be flown to Lahore because she learnt that it’s the Paris of the East and not the Abottabad of the South as I had taught her.

Even if I let the onion misspelling pass, I am neither comfortable with the usage of 'kid' in my meal nor with the suggestion that I must consider sharing my meal with a certain 'Ratanjot'

When the main course arrives, I have no idea which dish is which. All the dishes seem to be engaged in a competition of towering verticality. They've been arranged like they’re sections of a ridiculous architecture exhibition diorama. The lamb-chop is delicately balanced on end, ready to take a swan dive into its broth which I’m told originated on a dangerous hunting expedition involving Maharaja Ranjit Singh and some herbs. I am sure. 

My date for the night thinks that perhaps Punjabi Cuisine is moving towards minimalism – which is apparently meant to explain the lone towering structure in an otherwise vacant plate. “Just like the iPhone,” she says, “where less is more. It’s minimal and functional.” Just like your brain. Strange. 

The kitschiness had diseased my dessert as well. The kulfi was suggestively erect, swimming in a pool of corn flour ‘noodles’ and flecked with microscopic dollops of something pink. “Just like a piece of installation art that surprises you by being complex and simple at the same time.”

I have a headache. 

I need to lie down.

So that I can go here, where WYSIWYG.



Red Handed said...

Even i hav no clue why they wrap the chicken leg in aluminium. Atleast name it THE SHINY CHICKEN. Perhabs then thr might b a reason behind the phenomenon.

Ok..reading this, my brain has become numb... Yes coz i laughed and then had a brain death.

Nice read.east name it THE SHINY CHICKEN. Perhabs then thr might b a reason b

subbulakshmistoned said...

HAHAHAHA! Howlarious. You should write more.

Sowmya said...


And yes... I hate pretensions too... some of them... I mean most of them... definitely all of them at the dining table.

I love the adage 'A man's best friend are his five fingers"

notgogol said...

@Red Handed: Thanks!
P.S. See what happens when you use mobile for reading blog. Android or symbian error? ;)

@subbulakshmi: Right back at you :)

@Sowmya: Thanks. :) But I haven't heard of this adage. What happens to his other 5 fingers?

kamna said...

wat fraudness... u r as pretentious as they come. all the places u dine in r always "some place nice" or "some place fancy"... wat complete hypocrisy!!!

ppl - do not believe a word of wat is written here...

p.s. i told u to stay away from "minimalist" sardarnis... c wat happens whn u dnt listen to me

notgogol said...

@kamu: Total pot calling kettle kaalaness. Too much.

P.S. I do not think we want to go down Road I-told-you-so. Do we now? ;)

anoushka said...

Since I've started, I'll finish -

3. This restaurant is not there in Chennai :-/
4. In case you did not know, minimalist chick is on my FB. I can forward this link to her?
5. "Just like a piece of installation art that surprises you by being complex and simple at the same time." - How profound I must say. Did you kiss her feet?

Shruthi said...

People who use knives and forks and make you feel like a damn villager, are people that I abhor. Like, ABHOR.

Being army daughter and english miss daughter does not help me either. The fact that I'm vegetarian eases this burden plenty. :P

So, did you get in her pants?

notgogol said...

@anu: Whatever happened to 1 & 2?
3. You're not missing out on something.
4. Go ahead :P
5. Lol. No.

@Shruthi: You're so lucky you don't have to deal with them bones and them critical eyes. :-|
And Lol. No. And I don't even wish I did.

pali tripathi said...

the chic with the 'e-tikets' the main issue or ur professed lack of 'em?:)

fun read

Gautham said...

So ... why the reference to the profound art of getting in at the beginning if that was never your interest ?

Loved the post :)

notgogol said...

@Pali: Lol. 'E-tickets' it seems.
None actually. So long as you can laugh it off in your head na.

@Gautham: Lol. It's not a profound art. You sound like one of those pick-up "artists" on television. And you've heard of the fox with them sour grapes?

kamna said...

she did it... lol... anu wrote abt the post and linked u on the surd chick's wall :DDD.. so much for eh??? :)))

@anu - :*

notgogol said...

As she says, there are biatches and there are bitches.
Fine line.

AtomicGitten said...

How about you embrace your carnivorous impulses and go at those dishes with tooth and claw!

(and I snicker as you cringe muahahahahahaha!!)

notgogol said...

When you say "dish" we're talking about the food here, right?

(Why do you have the evil supervillain laughter almost always?)

AtomicGitten said...

And laughter is the best medicine and evil laughter is more annoying to the bystanders (misery loves company and all that)

Rohit said...

//The level of pomposity and pretension in the menu made the Bible look like a marginally long Aesop fable.//

Absolutely classic.

Coming to the point, I cannot handle a dinner, so much so that my Motor Nerves refuse to go through a customary plate of fried rice without making a fool out of myself. Cheers.

- R.R

not here said...

write write!...this one can make me roll with laughter. Also, you have sufficiently discouraged me from visiting Punjab Grill.

Basically Blah said...

Chicken legs are wrapped in foil just to test the dexterity of a prospective.. err.. suitor. It's a nexus between shiny, happy chefs and women dating every-hopeful men, didn't you know? ;)

P.S. Nice one! (I know I am woefully late, but I'm back!)

Sushree Agyaatkrit said...

Kaash aap samajh paate ki hum aapke lekhan se kitna pyaar karte hain.

Akath kahani iss prem ki, kuch kahi na jaye; Goonge keri sarkara, baithe muskaye!

notgogol said...

@nothere: We all try to do our bit to make the world a better place.

@BB: Dexterity with what? Milady, please elaborate. I know not what you imply ;)

@JA: 'Sushree Agyatkrit' it seems :P You aren't allowed to go Hindi on me, remember? There will be consequences :D

notgogol said...

@Rohit: Thanks for hopping by. What exactly are these motorized nerves you speak of? I have no idea :-/