Eating out

“You should try this place around the corner. It has the best dinner in Brussels”. I was being driven to Gare du Midi one Friday evening on my way to Germany. The taxi drivers in Brussels speak English – some with difficulty providing me to try my three words of French and some quite easily providing me with insights into immigrants lives or into some Brussels life in different strata of the society. So it was that as we crossed the intersection of Chaussée de Waterloo and Rue Washington, he gave this all sweeping comment about Hector’s chicken.

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I resolved then that I should end my self imposed exile from these joints which in my mind were fast food. Yet, my schedule and my laziness prevented me from walking out to one of these.

After a week of staying away from any serious non vegetarian except fish, I talked my husband to visiting this corner fast food with red signs proclaiming the chicken chef. As I ordered, a basket of chicken tenders was thrown into hot oil to fry itself out. I paid and picked up the bag and walked home in complete anticipation. Tripping over my saree in my hurry to reach home, I swore in impatience as the traffic lights turned red as we approached.

Perhaps it was the anticipation, perhaps it was the amazement that a fast food could really serve the best food in Brussels, I am afraid to say that Hector’s chicken as only confirmed my view about oily deep fried chicken tenders and it will be sometime before I remove my lack of faith in fast food chicken fries joints.

Will I listen to recommendation from taxi drivers in future? – I think I will – you never know where there is a hidden gem.

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The other day I had been to Nespresso to get their new flavours. I had seen 5 new colours on the window of the Nespresso shop in Milan and my curiosity was aroused. So I took the liberty of a free Saturday morning to get my new flavours.

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What caught my eye was Indriya from India. I had tasted their previous flavour from India when they had brought out the limited version. It had been too strong for me but there were others who had loved the strong coffee. The colour of the Rosabaya from Columbia caught my attention than any other feelings besides knowing that Columbia had a big coffee production. There was nothing of interest in the Dulsão though… I do not know why I was intrigued by this – perhaps because I did not know before about Brazilian coffee.

I also bought 2 packs of the lungo new varieties. Again, I do not know why – was it my inherent loyalty to the brand or was it George Clooney? There were untried Lungo varieties still at home. Yet, the compulsive buying disorder played up just when I was ordering.

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Once I was there I picked up two Dolcettis (Framboise-Gingembre or Raspberry-Ginger and Fleur d’Orange or organge flavoured) at exorbitant prices.

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In anycase, one box of Columbian is almost over. Indriya is not as strong as the last one – though I agree with Nespresso that it is probably best used in Capuccino rather than as espresso.

I do love the Framboise-Gingembre and I have not yet opened the other Dolcetti – it says it needs to be finished quickly after the bag is opened.

and yes, Parmanu can make out now which capsule I use – I tried to cheat him to finish the most unpopular one in this household – the strongest “Ristretto”. He patiently put up with it for 2 days before venturing out with the courage to say it – “there is something different about the flavour you have been giving me – can I have the Columbian in future?”… sigghhh… I still have another 5 capsules of the Ristretto. Any volunteers to drink it?

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As I was returning from the Nespresso shop, I noticed the Sushi Shop which had escaped my eye before. I ventured into it and found a few intriguing things. It was quite affordable, the take away did not seem to have wilting fish, the menu could satisfy a few of my cravings and yes! they deliver at just 2 Euros extra. I went away with a Menu box and a book of Menu. The next two weeks I would have no chance to eat Sushi, I assumed.  

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My husband is revelling in his new found skill. These holidays he finally learnt how to cook and made the full meal all by himself (before all my readers go into wonders let me explain – in his own terms “Even when I cook these things it tastes so good – you must have taught me the easiest things”). So there was really no chance to eat out with all the culinary experiments ongoing. So finally day before when we were both tired, I picked up the phone and ordered Sushi for myself and California rolls with cucumber and avocado for him. 

I normally deplore delivered Sushi – they are not that fresh by the time they arrive from RestoPresto even if ordered from Shogun, one of the better Sushi restaurants I have been to. So when my door bell rang just in 20 minutes, I was astonished. As I stirred a mount of Wasabi into the soya sauce, I realized that my worry about not ordering extra wasabi was unnecessary – there was enough wasabi even for the wasabi smoker like me (infact there was even some left over at the end).

Yet, when I closed my chopsticks around the Sashimi, I realised that the pieces had not been disjointed from each other. I am a poor chopstick user and it took me a bit of struggle to pry the piece I was targeting free from the next one. The thin thread joining them should not have been there if it had been cut as Sashimi should be carefully cut (I learnt from a bit of research later).  Apart from this grave mistake, the fish was as fresh as it could be when delivered. As I smoked the wasabi in pieces in between, the tuna and the salmon melted into my mouth. With 4 different types of fishes, I was a satisfied customer for the money I was paying. Of course I could have had better one if I had gone to a couple of other restaurants – I would have also ended up paying 3 times as much as I paid.

So I think after two years, I have found myself a place to order dinner from, get it quickly and still have the satisfaction of getting my return on investment. If I feel like it, this place is close enough for me to walk to and sit with other people around me.

Altogether, I think it is a good discovery for a normal evening eat out – not for a special evening though.

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A new shop has opened 2 streets away from my apartment. With a name like “Kerala” there was no doubt I was going to enter it. I now get the special bananas and some pickles and spices without having to talk myself to going all the way to Chaussée de Gand. Best of all – I get to speak in my own language, Malayalam and with a weather and atmosphere as in Bangalore, I can even imagine that I am back in Bangalore. Altogether, it has been a good 2 weeks with respect to food.

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