Tuesday, February 28, 2006

LA Summers Will Never be the Same Again

Guess what can prompt the laziest of all bloggers to post twice in 24 hours? The most unfuckinbelievable news I've heard all month. After all the pining, the nostalgia bouts, and anguish, finally the Indian mango is headed to US shores. Apparently we now have the technology to get around US paranoia about alien species like pesky weevils making their way into US soil riding on Indian mangoes. Those hard, tasteless, available year-round Mexican mangoes in US supermarkets used to make me weep. Now, they can make as much salsa as they want out of those mangoes (mango salsa tastes great, but that's all Mexican mangoes are good for). But when it comes to enjoying the fruit for its own sake, nothing beats an Indian mango. Sorry Thailand, with all my unbiased scientific rigour, I pronounce that your fruit is no match for even one of the several stellar varieties India comes up with.

(Rimi, I'm sure you guessed this was going to be about food as soon as you read the first line :) )

Oh, and continuing on the theme, I have seen the light and been converted. For years I was a sceptic, a cynic an agnostic, doubting the affectionate rapture with which the believers spoke of their encounter with divine revelation. Till last night, when I finally met perfection, which enveloped me in its throes. Yes darlings, I have discovered single malt whisky. Now I see why people have such reverence in their eyes at the mention of Laphroaig, Macallan, Glenmorangie, et al. Of course I still reserve the right to call anyone who yaks endlessly about whisky a pompous bore, but I can see what he's getting at.

For the record, what dazzled me and Em last night was Glenlivet, which we followed up by sharing a Cohiba cigar. This does sound a bit comical, but in fact neither Em nor I are smokers. One of Em's professors had gifted him an assortment of fine cigars for Christmas. The professor's very eccentric, grows his own coffee, is built like a pro wrestler, and is a famous published author and known as a rennaissance man among certain scientific circles. I had a bit of a crush on him for about a week when I saw him at someone's dissertation defence. But I've heard enough nutty stories about him from Em for the crush to wear off soon. He's gorgeous though, one of the handsomest men I've ever seen. Anyway, so none of us have ever smoked a cigar, so were curious to try. The verdict: I pick my poison, and it's alcohol. I never, ever enjoy smoking, even one of the finest cigars in existence.

Oh forgot to mention what a flurry the last weekend was. Met up with Fred on Saturday who told me all about the new love in his life. I don't know if it is too early to say boyfriend, but seems like they have a good thing going there. Although distance seems to be an issue, because Fred is moving back to Boston, and the boy is going to be based in Chicago. We had such a lazy lunch, chatting and eating and drinking wine, and then drinking coffee. While I was waiting for him, I took a leisurely walk around the neighbourhood, which is so gorgeous, and a dog lovers' paradise. Seriously, it seems to me that you need to have a dog to even buy or rent a house here. And guess what, I saw dog poop on the grassy part of pavements with fairly regular frequency. So Ani, you shouldn't be too harsh on the Calcutta dog owners, the Los Feliz moneybags and hipsters do it too. But apart from minor inconveniences such as this, the neighbourhood is beautiful. Gorgeous homes within walking distance of all the artsy cutey cafes, bookstores, and quirky designer shops your heart can desire.

At night I went to a party thrown by the four men mentioned in an earlier post, when I was at another of their parties. One of them is leaving for Singapore, the straight man was celebrating his birthday and the others are shifting to a new apartment. It was loads of fun, it's always great to chat up with Josh, one of the housemates who's very smart and gregarious. I became an inadvertent paparazzi when I was goaded by Josh to take a picture with my camera phone of flamboyant man streaking through their living room without a stitch on his body. Apparently, it's a bit of a house ritual, something he does to celebrate the birthday of straight man every year. I have promised not to post the picture online, thus showing heroic self-control in this day and age.

The next day S and I went sailing with family friends of his who live in the area. Very relaxed and a beautiful day to be out in the ocean. Without even realizing it, I've actually managed to learn some sailing tasks. At least, I know that I should be lunging for the nearest rope when I hear "tack"! And then we headed off for our first Greek dance class, where I learnt this, and this.


Blogger Vishnupriya said...

quick! whats your favourite mango? himshagar, lyangda, chausa or alphonso?

i guess it will be the alphonso that they export. most of the indian preserves you get are made from its pulp anyway.

8:43 PM  
Blogger thalassa_mikra said...

Lyangda :). I know if I had been a truer, bluer Bong I would have answered Himshagar. But hey they have lyangda from Malda too.

It'll be sad if it is mostly alphonso. I know I'll get lynched, but honestly I'm not that impressed by the alphonso. It seems to lack the complexity of flavour that most of the Gangetic belt varieties have. Anything from Malihabad, Darbhanga and Malda score over an alphonso! But in the absence of these, even an alphonso would do just fine.

8:52 PM  
Blogger AB said...


And good luck with the dance classes.

10:53 PM  
Blogger Patient Portnoy said...

What's up with everyone? Are all you bloggers foodies by default? Then I'm a bloger too :-)

Read on someone's Comments that you're still far from that perfect Mushurir Daal... me too, me too, even after a cooking session assisted by Ma on the mobile loudspeaker.

Lol. Imagine, daal-making empathy brings me avisiting... BTW, it's lyangda for me too

1:00 AM  
Blogger Kele Panchu said...

Unfortunately many bongs (including my parents) like lyangda/lyakda too! For me it is not smooth enough (too much fibre), I like Himsagar. :)
Glenlivet is wonderful and cheap(er). Try Glenfiddich sometime. Like 'himsagar' it is also smoother. (I'm not saying that I don't like Glenlivet).

10:31 AM  
Anonymous Ph said...

Ah the discovery of fine whiskey. I second Kele Panchu, try the Glenfiddich. And I love all the food talk on this blog.

2:57 PM  
Blogger Urmea said...

Lyangda! That faintest touch of a sour aftertaste gives it that complexity - no? Alphonso tastes a little bland or flat in comparison. Though I must say good Alphonsos are perfectly divine. We used to buy petis of them in Bombay, such memories! They will be bloody expensive here I bet!
Single malt eh? Snob :)

3:17 PM  
Blogger Bonatellis said...

I think George W Bush reads your blog, or at least one of his speechwriters do. I was watching his speech on TV, and he made a mention of mangoes (meaning he knows that such a fruit exists) and that it was being imported into the US from India ...
now isn't that wonderful ...

1:54 AM  
Blogger thalassa_mikra said...

Ab, thanks, I'm enjoying these immensely.

Portnoy, I spend an inordinate amount of time thinking about food, so that gets reflected in the blog :).
That mushurir daal business is very strange, I must have watched my mother make it hundreds of times, and yet.

Panchuda, what is a little fibre in the pursuit of a great mango! Oooh, Glenfiddich smoother than Glenlivet? That has to be special.

PH, two Glenfiddich recommendations, must go and buy some. Glad you liked the food talk, there'll be lots more of it here :)

Urmi, yes, yes, yes! You have put it so well. That's exactly what it is about lyangda. And snob? Who, me? I was planning to wash down alu-kabli with that single malt!

Bonatellis, Dubya and I seem to be agreeing on a lot of things these days. First the Dubai port deal, now mangoes. Ki hochchey ta ki? I think he really reads my blog.

10:43 AM  
Anonymous Sanity Starved said...

Have not acquired a taste of whiskey yet to like it. Will try single malt whiskey.

May God also shower LA with all the food TM craves for, or wherever she is!
Wonderfully written happy post! Okay, that makes it breaks and food.

3:17 PM  
Blogger Rimi said...

uff, himshagar is boddo mishti! khaoa jai na. i LOVE the tang of the 'true' lyangra/lyangda. but that's only when i'm in a mood for mangoes.

and i've never tried single malt. my dad thinks i'm an Alcoholic Untouchable because i told him scotch is detestable :P

5:59 AM  
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8:17 AM  

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