June 11, 2008

Happy Meal

We had one of those dinners last night that could have been a disaster. We were meeting the best man from our wedding (Ben's old roommate and friend from high school) and his partner at a restaurant we've never been to before. I've seen Best Man about half a dozen times and neither of us has seen him in years. And we've never met Partner. It had the potential to be one of those stiff occasions full of reminiscing because no one has anything in common anymore. And I didn't know whether the food was going to be any good.

Oh, the food. If you get the chance, try Kafe 421 in Dinkytown. Small but diverse menu, and everything is good. We think it's run by the same woman our old roommate insisted on using for catering events--with good reason. Mmm, strawberry crisp.

There wasn't much reminiscing, just a couple of stories about the people we knew in common so Partner had some context while we were bringing Best Man up to date. We compared experiences buying rental property and having to hire an exterminator and renovate an entire room immediately on closing. We also talked about politics, religion, conspiracy theories, grad school and quantum physics--all those things you don't bring up in polite conversation.

But who wants polite? Polite isn't how you make friends. Dinners like last night? Now that's how you make friends.


Anonymous said...

Next time your hungry, come to Gandhi Mahal(behind town talk diner in S. MPLS) for a Napoleon Dworkin 25% "I saw the ad in the Citypages" discount;-)
I have a meat and a vegetarian menu, a platter dedicated to Gandhi, and great mango lassi--yogurt drink over ice

Anonymous said...

ooops...3009 27th Ave. S.....

Stephanie Zvan said...

I'll have to do that. I can't have the mango lassi (allergic to cashews), but the rest sounds great. And I'm sure I can get a plain or spiced lassi if I ask nicely enough.

Anonymous said...

I want to try Gandhi soon. I've heard only good things about it.

Stephanie Zvan said...

Feel free to holler when you head that way, Greg. I do love me some good Indian food.

Anonymous said...

Hey there... I promise I can make you a cashew free mango lassi, and yes, the spiced and salted are tasty too;-)
I am slogan-ing for the lassi bar and so far what I have is "Gandhi Mahal: a place for the lassi's to meet...some lassi are a bit salty, some a bit sweet but all of them are delicious..."

The Gandhi platter is selling like hotcakes...errr...hot sugared naan bread;-)

I had a woman come in the other day--she has been there since we opened--and she is always at least half in the bag, comes alone, and eats the Tikka; everytime she is there, she tells me the same story about how 'everyone thinks of Gandhi as a sexless man, but when he was young he was quite the ladies man yaknow...'
So I show her over to the picture of of Gandhi as a young S. African gentleman, and she says.." you know, even lonely old widows need someone to love..." and tells me about her dear husband who is four years gone...like the story, she is a bit sweet, a bunch sad, and salty to the tears...my first 'regular', Marny. She says "maybe next time I will bring all my friends..." I say "Or not: just come alone of you want to--but I don't see anything old about you..." Then I scheme on how my beetle nut toothed chef Baisop Ali was imploring me in broken english english just the day before "I think I ready now for life partner.."

Stephanie Zvan said...

OK, the dirty little secret is that I didn't like mangoes before I became allergic to cashews. Too sweet, not enough other flavor. But now I can just tell people I can't have them because they're too closely related to cashews. I get fewer strange looks that way. Well, for that.

I sometimes think that the stories a restaurant accumulates are as important as the food--part of the atmosphere, even if people never hear them. That one certainly isn't the kind you can put on a website. By the way, you need a website, even if it's just a pretty front page with hours and a phone number. I could probably help out there, including hosting, if you're interested. Since I like both salty and spiced lassis, I think we could come to reasonable terms. :)