January 7, 2009

Cowboys Welcome Indians

Field Trip Alert! Today we'll be visiting Lewisville, just outside the Denton County line, my dears.

I'm sure everyone in every good town has a wish list of just small additions that would make their own town truly perfect. Even your friendly neighborhood Dentonista, who looooves Denton with her whole heart, has such a list. It's a shorty, I assure you, but it exists. At the top of that list? Indian food. I'm not talking about samp and pemmican; I'm talking about carrot pickles and dosas and jalfrazi and vindaloo. How a city, in North Texas, with two universities has no Indian restaurant is a complete mystery to me.

Happily, there IS quality Indian food available to you (maybe even to pick up on your way home from work) right up the road in Lewisville. Located in a shopping center at the corner of Round Grove Rd. & Mac Arthur Blvd, the extremely talented cooks at Kokila make masala vada just like your mom would make. If, you know, your mom was Indian. Serving both Northern and Southern-style Indian dishes, this is the best kind of "home cooking".
Do you know what I mean?
I mean freshly, freshly made and subtly different each time. I've never been disappointed with anything I've eaten. Take out? Buffet? A la carte? All delicious, and hard to say what's my favorite. I mean, the buffet gives you a ton of choices for making up a plate of choice bits (and the opportunity to eat your fool head off), but the take out (and a la carte) gives you leftovers!
If you go a la carte, be smart. Order at least one dish as thali (Indian for 'blue plate special'). In addition to your curry or main, you'll get rice, naan, two not-so-small soups, dahl, papadum, three or so chutneys, and gulab jamun. All the savory sides are more than big enough to share with a dining companion. If your friend gets an a la carte, y'all are looking at a feast that is easy to dish out and enjoy.

Please be aware, this spread will cover most of your dining table. If you are likely to eat at the 'casual dining table' (your coffee table), as I am, it will completely cover it.
New to Indian food but intrigued? Go for a weekend buffet. (I have it on good authority - weekend buffets tend to be just a bit more "A" game.)
Can't make that? Order a thali butter chicken (which is actually a rich, red sauce) with a side of masala vada and prepare for a life-long but pleasurable addiction.
Think I'm joking?

I was introduced to Indian food years ago, in a small town outside of London.
It was terrifying, featuring, as I recall, some kind of sweet, creamy meat. I may never have repeated the experience.
Luckily, a friendly vegetarian co-worker took me to my first lunch-time Indian buffet, here in NT, and my current passionate desire was ignited.

Much like vampiric blood-lust - I imagine - it has got to be quenched and requires regular feedings to keep it from overwhelming me. In fact, once you are converted, you may think back on your life as 'when I found Indian food' and 'everything before'.

If you're a newbie, you might also like to know that Indian food is traditionally eaten with your fingers (on your right hand). I've never been able to do that with out making a mess, but don't feel like you can't try.
Roll up your sleeves and get in there. Probably your kids (or your inner child) can help you out.
Not going that route? Then feel free to employ forks, spoons, chopsticks...Whatever gets that deliciousness from the plate to your gob.

Just go eat it!

Full disclosure - OK, I had heard tell of a small Indian buffet in an old gas station on Ave C, but a quick trip over there proved fruitless. The atmosphere and displayed food were so unappetizing, I left empty-handed, and just headed up the road to Lewisville. Others disagree though. If anyone with actual tasting experience wants to clue me in, please feel free to comment.


Anonymous said...

Lewisville is in Denton County. :) The food at the former-gas-station--Indian-place is actually pretty good, but you are right, it is not the place to go for ambiance. I get it to go.

Great blog!

-Your Friendly Neighborhood Dentonista said...

Well there you have it folks - a recommendation for the gas station Indian Place. I think I'll have to give it another chance. The excellent commenter is also correct, mostly about Lewisville. MOST of Lewisville is in Denton County, but there is a sliver that is not. Happily, Kokila IS a few miles INSIDE the county line, so it is ALL Denton-licious kids. Even MORE reason to get over there NOW!

Anonymous said...

I used to go get my cravings settle at the gas station also when i didn't want to hike it to Kokila, until I went in one day and witnessed the 'attendee' wipe her nose and scratch at some scabs repeatedly before giving me my food... will never return again thanks to that scar on my brain.
But GOOD NEWS!! KOKILA IS COMING TO DENTON!!! Hoorah!!! (taking Siam House's place)
No more nasty gas station.... !!

-Your Friendly Neighborhood Dentonista said...

It's true kids! I check every week to see it they're open yet. And, in case you were wondering, Siam House moved to just off the square (to Hannah's old location, as a matter of fact) on Cedar, I believe.