So it’s been over a month since I’ve last posted.
I’m sorry. Truly I am.
I’ve been trying to think of reasons why I haven’t updated in so long.
But the thing is, there aren’t any; it’s kind of inexcusable that I’ve abandoned my blog for so long.
Would you believe me if I said that I’ve been swamped with work? That as soon as I came back from spring break (which ended March 28…) that I’ve been so busy on both weekends and weekdays, and things have literally just began to slow down? Right before finals week?
I know. It’s ridonkulous.
But before things get all stressful and rushed and crazy again, I want to put at least a few words, apologies and a post up here. Because I’ve got things that have been sitting around since spring break that need to go on here.
I’M SORRRRRY. PLEASE FORGIVEEE MEEEEE.
Will it be ok if I tell you a secret? How about I share this little-known, magical, hole-in-the-wall Indian restaurant I found in my neighborhood with you guys?
No. Seriously, that’s the name of the restaurant. Fun, huh?
I found this place in my Yelping mania a few days before break started (gotta search for some good local eats!). There weren’t a lot of reviews, but it was rated really well, and furthermore it was only 3 MINUTES AWAY FROM MY HOUSE. Literally. How had I never seen nor heard of this place before?
Well, it turns I had seen it. In fact, if you live in the Valley, you’ve probably passed by it too. It’s just a very low-key kind of place, one that you would drive by without noticing it.
Hence why I’ve never been there before.
BUT I WAS DETERMINED TO CHANGE THAT DURING SPRING BREAK. I had my first taste of Indian food on my trip to Providence, and LOVED it. So because I wanted to expand my Indian cuisine repertoire and introduce my mom to the complex flavors of Indian food, we came here on a lunch date one random day.
The restaurant was pretty empty on a weekday, so as soon as we sat down, we were served these little fried cracker things. I think they’re leftover samosa (fried Indian dumpling) dough, cut out and fried to crispy yumminess.
On the side came a sweet, tangy dipping sauce; I think it was a thinned-out version of pomegranate molasses, but don’t quote me on that.
These were surprisingly addicting, and I finished off quite a few of them. Airy, crunchy bites with a slightly tart sauce – what’s not to like?
So while my mom and I were nomming away on these, we sat contemplating the menu. We’re obviously Indian food noobs, so even with the helpful descriptions next to each of the dishes, we couldn’t decide what to get.
Luckily, Ashwani came to our rescue!
The owner of Mark’s OohLaLa Yum, Ashwani is just an awesome person. You can read more about him here, but he made us feel totally comfortable and welcome in his restaurant.
After he gave us a few recommendations and explained what a couple of the dishes were, my mom and I made our orders. When Ashwani asked what kind of spice level we wanted, both of us asked for spicy-hot. I mean, we’re Koreans after all. Spicy food is in our BLOOOOD. But if you’re not as dare-devily as us, Ashwani is more than willing to alter the dish to your tastes :).
My mom got a classic – Chicken Tikka Masala.
Ashwani said this was a good dish for people who are newcomers to Indian food. I’m sure most of you guys have heard of chicken tikka masala – it really is a quintessential Indian dish. The menu describes it as “marinated chicken broiled in the tandoor and then smothered in creamy tomato sauce with onions and bell peppers.” Mmmm…
Since I was still fasting from meat, so I only tasted a bit of the sauce – it was so good; spicy, with different layer of heat and flavor hitting your tongue.
On the other hand, I got the Seasonal Fresh Vegetables dish. Sounds kinda vague, doesn’t it?
Vague, but delicious. It was made up of a bunch of different veggies that I’m guessing was sauteed in a bunch of spices. As you can see, there’s no real sauce, but they were coated in a delicious layer of spicy MAGIC.
Both of our lunch specials came on a huge platter with rice, salad, and a yogurt sauce. Thank God the yogurt sauce was there – it was the cooling element of the plate. At first it was ok, and I was really enjoying the complexity of the cooked veggies. But slowly the heat began to build, and build, and build… OMGOSH IT WAS SO HOT. It got so spicy that I stopped being able to taste the food because my palate was so blown out. Blegh. Definitely bit off more than I could chew when I asked for it to be really hot; next time, I’m gonna ask for it a little more toned down so I can enjoy it more.
My only gripe was that there was no poured water – you had to buy bottled water from the fridge. The lack of free refills didn’t help with the heat intensity; I could’ve chugged an entire gallon because of this dish. X(
Although he was the lone person working the kitchen, Ashwani made our food then and there – he said it was real, home-style Indian cooking, and not a kind you’d really find in most restaurants. I gotta say, other than the spice-level, the food was deelish. I really wanna go back and try some of the other stuff – spice level lowered, of course :).
Mark’s OohLaLa Yum!
551 Livingston Street
Norwood, NJ 07648