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13 July 2005

Aloo Gobi!

Daniel called me at the last moment, the sun's light starting to shift toward golden-orange as it arched over the mountains. Late evening. I had just returned from the airport, dropping off Gabe after a whirlwind visit. We had eaten gluten-free, but not that well. After all, we had sat in front of Macrina Bakery for hours, nursing iced coffees as we talked about his screenplay (translation: he read it to me, then I pointed out everything that was hackneyed or flabby). I enjoyed the conversation enormously, but all the while, I kept whiffing the baked goods from my memory. Those apple tartelettes still taunt me.

So when I returned home, I intended to make a big salad, prepare something gluten-free and healthy. And then Daniel called, pleading for me to come out to dinner. "It has been weeks, Shauna," and he was right. He's one of my favorite colleagues at work, and I'm used to seeing him between every class. But in the summer, time stretches weirdly, and I hadn't seen him since the last day of school. "Besides, we're going to Indian near you, at the top of Queen Anne." Okay, I can be tempted.

Well, the tastes may have tempted me, but this was no dare for me. I have always loved Indian food, but I hadn't yet ventured out to try it gluten free. Well, it turns out that Indian food is the gluten-free girl's best friend! Wheat is far more rare in India than in our own, super-saturated-with-white-flour culture, so most Indian recipes use flours that sound strange to Americans. Chickpea flour, for instance. While I couldn't have the garlic naan that arrived steaming to the table, I could eat the papadums, a thin, wafer-like cracker, dipped in golden chutney. Daniel is a vegan, so he appreciates how picky I have to be. We ordered the saag paneer (spinach and Indian cheese), aloo gobi (cauliflower doused in fiercy curry sauce), and one more vegan dish I can't remember at the time but filled me with delight.

Better yet, the waitress in this place was wonderfully accomodating when I told her all about the gluten-free thang. When I asked her if there was any wheat in any of these dishes, she looked almost offended. Of course not! When I explained that the food they prepared for me could not touch any surfaces where the naan or other foods were prepared, she smiled and waved her hand. That's taken care of. Their English is excellent, and they are thrilled to see you there.

Best of all, I was able to take great delight in the food I was eating, the spirited conversation I was having, and never once worry that I would get sick.

You should go.

8 Boston Street
Seattle, WA

(If you don't know the address, it's at the top of Queen Anne Hill, diagonally across from the Starbucks. Of course.)


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