02 October 2009

"Tanjore" in Princeton NJ

Do you want to know how to make something vanish into thin air? Totally?

Just make it my favorite.

Woodlands Drive-in in Chennai was a favorite from my student days. I had my first date with a young lady (currently my wife) there. (Just don’t believe her story about the mess I made savoring ice cream on a cone in a warm climate. Not all of it is entirely true. Don’t listen to my daughters either. Two reasons. One: They exaggerate. Two: They were not there). We continued to visit Woodlands Drive-in quite often in the later years. Pop. It was gone. It was as though Chennai is not any more fully Chennai.

Virgin Megastores in Oxford Street was another favorite.  I collect movies. Virgin had a great collection. You can count on getting stuff that you cannot get elsewhere. There was the additional joy of stumbling into a movie you have not heard of. And, discover a gem. When my daughter moved into her pad near Regent Park, within walking distance from the store, I was quite joyous. Pop. Virgin too was gone. Suddenly, for me, Oxford Street is not any more fully Oxford Street.

Tanjore in Princeton was a more important favorite. I spend a third of my time in the US; and half of it in Princeton NJ. Tanjore provided high quality vegetarian food. The couple who owned and ran it were warm; the waitress from Dominican Republic picked up enough insight about the various levels of crispiness with which you can make Onion rava oothappam. Bisi bele bath was prepared to Kamath restaurant standards (more vegetables than rice). The hour long drive from the City to Princeton in the soul-less New Jersey Turnpike had a reward en route at Tanjore. Pop. It has gone. I am re-evaluating whether Princeton should continue to be my base in the United States.

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