And yet I had looked forward to the evening. Evening was promised to no-filter-chats, evening was promised to no-posing-for-photographs, evening was promised to no-talk-about-which-party-you-are-going-to-next, evening was promised to ambiance, allure, and acumen. Evening was also promised to gastronomical delights. As soon as I finished my classes for the evening, I couldn’t wait to put on the new heels, curl my hair, and head out.
It was a snowy evening, yet Archana and I were in heels knocking on Geeta’s door. For a few weeks, until that day, both Anna and Geeta were talking about how they were planning an evening for us. We were asked to bring our unfiltered selves to try their refined creations. One look at the table, and I knew I was going to have a swell time. Pink flowers, yellow plates, my name on a water glass that was only reserved for sparkling water, and the no-talk-of-where-did-you-get-your-outfit-from, I was delighted!
Because the company was heartwarming and interesting, the cheerful conversations flowed easily , and to top it off, the wines selected for each course were delish. Anna and Geeta had planned a 5-course dinner for us. Only when I was writing this article, I realized that each course was from a different part of the world.
The first course for the evening was beetroot tacos with passion fruit sauce. When we finally agreed with Rads that passion fruit is indeed found at a secret location in Jewel Osco, we took a bite into the taco; everyone nodded in absolute agreement that cottage cheese and beetroot indeed wed together nicely.
“Wed together nicely” is but a phrase for where happiness is. From a certain bhabhi to the current Ukraine crisis, to women not eating at all, to how everyone is an inch closer to their final….no discord, just discourse. As we discussed animatedly, the next course made it to the table;Chettinaad Mushrooms served with fresh butter noodles. A bite into the Chettinad Mushrooms, and I declared this was the best Chettinad sauce I ever had. “And this is happiness!” shouted Sunni and Padmaja. No disagreement there. Chettinad sauce with buttered noodles-this was a harmonious friendship.
Harmonious friendship is a thing. But losing yourself to blend with a group, losing yourself to escape FOMO -that’s thingummy. Who would disagree to such a noble thought; and in vino veritas, we laughed. The next course was a Turkish dish called Cilbur eggs. Cilbur eggs are keto-friendly, and if someday I am serious about losing weight, I will have it for breakfast. We all raised a glass to that!
Even though it was almost midnight, even though I was almost stuffed with the three scrumptious courses, I was still waiting for jackfruit arepas. Anna had made jackfruit arepas for me, for I am a vegetarian; all the others had pork arepas. When Padmaja asked for the recipe, Anna willingly obliged and also added, ‘ I know none of you will make it!” We laughed at Anna’s comment, and I was glad for the company of these charming women.
The final course was a French financier with honey pear compote. A sweet ending to an evening that I will cherish for a long time. We even forgot to take a picture of the dessert, just a testament to how much fun we had!
Entire credit for the evening goes to Anna Venkatesh from Amlu Tastings, and Geeta Rao, the uber talented artist. Both live in Naperville.