My children have been to many restaurants, but haven’t tried many new foods. Most American restaurants have a children’s menu that consists of chicken nuggets, pizza, and a few other entrees not fit for human consumption. I am working hard to break my kids’ habit of ordering from the children’s menu, and I’d like them to enjoy foods that I don’t cook at home. So, with this in mind, we set out to try Indian food as our tenth New Experience of the year.
To be honest, I was a little nervous about this New Experience. Leah is an adventurous eater, but Luke is downright picky. As we drove to the restaurant, I made it clear that he was to keep any negative opinions to himself or risk insulting the waiter, the owner, and possibly the entire subcontinent of India. I realized I may have gone a bit overboard when Luke wondered how people in India would know if he said he didn’t like their food.
As soon as we walked through the threshold of Veda Grill in Somerville, the kids were immediately impressed by the restaurant. Leah looked up the huge brass chandelier hanging over the dining room and thought Fancy Nancy might like to eat at a restaurant like this one. Both of the kids enjoyed drinking water out of wineglasses and kept clinking them together, saying, “Cheers!”
The waiter brought us a basket of chips with bits of lentils and black beans in them. The accompanying sweet tamarind sauce was delicious, and all the chips were devoured in minutes. We ordered Tawa Tikki (potato patties stuffed with lentils) as our appetizer and Mango Lassis (a mango yogurt drink) to go with them. The kids absolutely loved the lassis. I had to keep reminding them to slow down. They asked me to scoop out the lentils, but they enjoyed the rest of the potato patties in the yogurt sauce. Luke said that Indian food was better than he thought it would be.
As we waited for our main course, Luke commented that he liked the music playing. It was Bollywood style, and both kids started dancing in their seats. The owner invited them to stand and dance, but they were feeling too shy to do that. Dinner was going so smoothly. Sure, Luke had used the tablecloth to wipe his mouth, and Leah had already spilled her water, but we were all really enjoying this ethnic experience.
By the time the main course arrived, Luke announced he was too full to eat any of it. He probably was. Those mango lassis are probably 300 calories each! (Mental note: order them for dessert next time.) He did somehow have room for Naan (a flatbread). Leah, as usual, ate more than Luke. She really liked the Naan and spiced rice. The Chicken Korma and Saag Paneer (spinach curry with cheese) were a little too spicy for her taste, but she took at least 2 or 3 bites of each before she said she was too full.
Even though we had lots of food still on the table, Leah asked if we could get dessert. I reminded her that she could barely take another bite of dinner. “But, Mom, we have to find out what dessert is like in India!” she whined. I almost caved in, but decided the mango lassis were sweet enough for one meal.
On our way out, we stopped to get a closer look at a statue of Ganesha, the Hindu god with the face of an elephant. One of the owners noticed we were looking at him, so she showed us a beautiful bell with pictures of other Hindu gods on it. She was so pleased that my kids were interested in learning about India and trying new foods. She said I had wonderful children. I already knew that, but it is always nice to get a compliment from a stranger.