Goat Curry

I used to get it from Indian Palace until they shut it down with no explanation. I made the 25 minute treck to find the building locked with the lights off and nothing inside. I felt sad and empty like so many buffet plates. I just thought Mr. Singh and his little shop would stick around. I stood there on the sidewalk of that strip mall and thought about the time I came in with a cast on my hand, and Mr. Singh told me what oils and spices to rub on it. I never tried the spice rub, but I am pretty sure it would have helped (or been really tasty on some chicken). A new place opened up in the same location - a kind of mix between restaurant and clothing store. I went once and never went back. The food was pretty good, but the goat curry wasn’t the same.

It didn’t take me back to the islands when I was running around in my grandma’s backyard with the cats and chickens. I used to play nintendo with my cousins back then. Straight up 8-bit-A-B really hard games until gramps would tell us to stop and go outside. We would jump on skateboards and fly down the almond covered driveway. It was really scary because if you hit an almond the board would stop immediately and you would fly off the skateboard onto the concrete.

Sometimes gramps would tell us to go catch dinner. My one cousin was practically an engineer by the age of 10 with the types of traps he was building for those chickens. There were springs and levers everywhere. I don’t know if he thought that we really couldn’t eat if we didn’t catch at least one chicken. Now when I see gramps I say “Guelo, donde esta el Machette?!” He digs it out, and gets a big jug. I look for a really big stick, and then my grandmother starts telling me where she keeps the special hook for the coconuts.

I had to have that goat curry after the Palace closed, so I did some recon. If it’s the weekend you’re in luck. New India Restaurant has goat curry during the Saturday and Sunday lunch buffet, and their goat curry is good. Sometimes they have samosas, and overall are consistent in quality. This is my ole-reliable go-to splot on the weekend. If its a Wednesday or Friday and you feel lucky, give AAB a call. The quality at AAB is better than New India, but they don’t always have goat curry. Therefore, call ahead and ask. If you call before 11:00AM, the staff may not know. Sometimes they will ask the chef, but I recommend calling after 10:45AM. The chicken tikka and saag paneer are rich without being heavy, and well seasoned without being overpowering. The goat seasoning is complex and balanced with a bouquet of fresh herbs and a thick long-simmered sauce. The meat itself is tender, and the food always tastes and looks fresh. The price is slightly higher, but justified since you can bike from the University.

People ask me why I’m all about goat curry. Well, there’s something about the magical blend of herbs and spices in goat curry that takes me to that time in the tropics. It’s not about some tasty meat for tasty meat-snack sake. Goat curry is a thing to be respected and appreciated. Mr. Singh was captain of the teleport train to grandma’s house, and with a bite of that goat curry I could see her smiling face and hear her really-fast spanish. And I wasn’t in his shop anymore in that strip mall, but somewhere and sometime much better.

Written on October 16, 2015