Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Raja Rani for Mother's Day

Jeremy gave me a lovely present for Mother's Day: he joined me at an Indian restaurant for lunch.

Now, let me give you the history, to understand the magnitude of this gift.  Jeremy and I have a deal when we take turns picking where to eat: he won't make me go to White Castle, and I won't make him go to Indian restaurants.  Although Jeremy has eaten and liked a fair amount of Indian food, he holds a grudge against it; it's often too spicy for him, and buffets rarely identify what the offerings are so there's no clue what you might be eating.

But he was lured in on Mother's Day.

As we walked downtown past Raja Rani, Ann Arbor's oldest Indian restaurant with a famous lunch buffet, I thought, "Oh, man, that smells so good!"  I didn't say it, though; I'm a woman of my word, and I wasn't going to violate our long-standing agreement.

But then Jeremy said, "What do you think about having Indian food for lunch?"  Gasp!  Bestill my heart!  He said, "That smells really good!"  I told him that I wasn't going to pass up this momentous millisecond, and we immediately turned around to partake of a fabulous meal.

First and foremost, virtually everything at the buffet was not only labelled with a name, but there was also a brief description; so one could readily know, for example, that the Malayee Kofta were "cheese and vegetable balls in creamy sauce" and that the Navrattan Korma was a dish offering "nine vegetables with yogurt sauce."  Tandoori chicken, with its gorgeous red tinge, and breads hardly needed labels.

So, needless to say, I filled my plates (first helping shown above, the second was a bit more sparse) with a bit of everything: spinach with homemade paneer, potatoes, chicken, eggplant, dumplings, vegetable fritters, and all sorts of wonderful foods.  Nothing was particularly spicy, which was perfect for Jeremy; he enjoyed naan, rice, and several varieties of chicken, along with one of his favorite drinks - mango juice.

Beyond the generosity of spirit shown in granting me an amazing Indian feast for Mother's Day, Jeremy also had another shining moment that day: he ate goat.

Curried Goat, in a spiced tomato cream sauce, was on the buffet table.  And Jeremy, a braver man than I am, tried it first.  In fact, he couldn't believe a good eater like lil' ol' moi wouldn't have immediately leapt at it.  But whereas Jeremy wants his food identified for him, I do better if I don't know what's on my fork and headed for my mouth, so that I have no preconceived notions.  Not that there's anything wrong with goat - it's not like eating pussycat or something!  It's just not a staple in this country, or in my household, so I started with all my favorites - which were in plentiful abundance - before trying the less familiar offering.

But Jeremy went right for it: "I saw goat, I had to try it."  At first he thought it was "unique," but after a few moments he decided that "The goat is delicious!"  So I took a taste, and thought it was okay; it wasn't lamb-like at all, as I'd expected it to be.  I would eat it again if it were offered, but I decided that sweets were more enticing.

For dessert, there was rice pudding with just a hint of spice in a thin cream, and there was gulab jamun - tender fried balls of dough in a sweet, scented syrup.  If I hadn't already indulged to such a degree, I could easily have eaten several helpings of these lovely little treats.  And the syrup was really good when mixed with the rice pudding, too.

So my Mother's Day gift consisted not only of food, but of my very sweet son making a generous concession to join me in one of my very favorite cuisines ... and he enjoyed himself!  He loved it!  What more could I ask for?

Raja Rani Fine Indian Cusine on Urbanspoon


Unknown said...

Wow, that had to be one of the best Mother's day gifts ever! What an amazing son for sure! :)

Cranberry Morning said...

That sounds fantastic, Mary. And reading of Jeremy's reaction to the food, it sounds like his aversion to Indian food has broken down. Either way, it was a wonderful gift, and so special that the two of you get to eat together. How nice!

Debra Hawkins said...

I am so glad you got a wonderful meal for Mother's Day, what an excellent present! I have actually never eaten at an Indian restaurant before, I know, for shame.

Angela said...

I actually adore curried goat, and our favorite Indian buffet just started carrying it on a regular rotation--go Jeremy!

Candace said...

What a nice gift to join you for lunch at the Indian restaurant! The food sounds delicious; but I know you enjoyed his company even more. I don't know about goat though. It's on the menu at Mexican food restaurants in Houston; but I've never been brave enough to try it. I'm with you on preferring not to know what I'm eating.

Debra Kapellakis said...

I am so glad you all had that time and yumminess together.

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