Thursday, August 10, 2006
OK, I'm sure that I'm flying in the face of all sorts of sage advice and etiquette here, but I'm about to blog while under the influence.
Yes, I'm slightly tipsy. More like pissed as a newt.
I've just had a splendid meal accompanied by splendid drinks at a splendid restaurant with better-than-expected company (it was a work shindig, after all) and I feel compelled to share this with you.
Vij's. Quite possibly the best restaurant in Vancouver. Not the priciest, not the most sumptuous, but the best.
Modern Indian cuisine done with thought and wisdom and artistry and verve and passion. And without pretense. Not a drop.
No reservations taken, but the 90-minute wait was passed happily quaffing pale ales and noshing on endless circulating platters of pakoras and cassava fries.
The genial Vikram Vij circulates and serves and buses and informs and frets over you.
Sweet, sweet, ripe, ripe mango and bitter gourd in a counterpunctual coconut and date sauce.
Perfect lamb tenderloin cooked as perfectly as a wee lamb tenderloin could hope to be cooked. Encrusted with pistachio and Indian spices, and cloaked in a light cream curry.
Pistachio ice cream laced with cardamom, a spice that makes me weep with delight.
And the drinks.
I was conquered by the Dark Army.
Appleton dark rum. Mango juice. Lime juice. Garam masala.
Ohboy. Two please. Right away. Like a real sour whiskey sour, or a mojito, with a dazzling spiciness.
Dear Friend, if you visit I will take you there and we will have a wonderful time.
And so, a grand reason to post a couple of tracks from a recently rediscovered East-Meets-West album, first heard on a fabulous mixtape made a dozen years or so ago by my Dearest Friend and sometimes commentor, Bishakh. Monsoon formed in the early 1980s as a serendipitous fusion of the delightfully evocative voice of Sheila Chandra and the pop sensibilities of an Indophile producer/writer Steve Coe. A beautiful album and a top ten UK hit ('Ever So Lonely') resulted in 1982, but stifling artist-label conflict ensued, the group shattered, and Chandra went on to pursue a successful, if sidestream, solo career.
So listen to the fluidity, clarity, and exotic lustre of these musical dishes.
Pity there are no Dark Armies to accompany them...
Monsoon - Third Eye and Tikka TV
Monsoon - Shakti (The Meaning of Within)
Monsoon - Ever So Lonely
(Buy the one and only Monsoon album here)
And I promise Camera Obscura next. Promise. You are so patient...
Posted by FiL at 8/10/2006 10:31:00 PM