The waiters (refreshment supply executives?) at Rodeo in
I remember the leg of lamb at Rodeo from some years ago. Tender, succulent, served with baby potatoes and greens, a pot of sour cream and two kinds of hot bread. This time round, we were too famished to wait for the main order. Chicken wings, two minutes. In short order, we got … wings, minute. Four of them. Was the guy being funny? The leg of lamb, when it arrived, made up for our early disappointment. To judge by the size, the lamb in question must have pumped iron. Enough to feed three normal people, i.e., just about enough to keep us from starving before breakfast. As good as, perhaps even better than memory. I asked for herb butter and got it. Also enough sour cream to curdle an entire dairy. Most satisfying.
Given that the entrée was about 25 times as substantial as the starter, I expected a ginormous bill. The lamb was 500 bucks. DOWN from 4 years ago (when it was 700)? Weird, but who am I to complain? Waddled out feeling like an anaconda with the tapir's hindquarters still sticking out of its mouth. Totally happy. After a few double espresso shots at the nearest CCD, I was ensconced in nostalgic comfort in an upper bunk on the Kalka Mail. Peace, memories, repletion.
Friday night in Shimla, a chill breeze gusting under a sky washed clear of rain, I took a family friend to dinner at the
Saturday morning was beautiful, Saturday afternoon eventful. I can't tell you about the morning for fear of the Most Formidable Girl-Child (who holds that if she offers to buy my work it gives her seigneurial rights over just about everything else too; I don't contest that as long as she's on the other side of the country). This picture will have to suffice.
But the afternoon, gadzooks! What should have been a leisurely ramble down the slopes became a sweaty anxious re-take on Sholay. Ummm … after the Ram Gopal disaster, that’s a frightening analogy, but somehow more apt. We’d left Shimla with loads of time to make the train from Kalka. Even stopped to kill some time (and eat some sheekh kababs) at a nice place (some ‘ghat’, there’s a private university coming up a couple of hilltops away), had a couple of coffees and a stretch. Snoozing and rubbernecking took us down, the milestone said ‘Kalka 5 km’, we had 45 minutes in hand, then we come round a bend and BIM! The next 5 kilometres are one continuous snarl of traffic.
There’s just one road connecting the Kalka rail-head to the hills. And traffic is heaviest on weekends. So obviously the best time to repair this only road is … what, late at night? On a week-night? (Insert disparaging chuckle) Chhora bakhla gya re! Of COURSE we do it in the middle of a Saturday, how else will people SEE how hard we’re working? Tar-wagon, roller, sundry large ugly machines parked in series on a 200 meter stretch of new macadam, NO traffic police anywhere in sight, nosirree, just a bad-tempered trucker’s sidekick waving a rag on a stick and 3,946,502 vehicles honking at the hills. Strewth.
We managed to catch up with the train at
Things improved rapidly once in
Once back in Calcutta, there was also a nice evening at La Cucina, thanks to Slim Friend who Has His Own Food Show. Zanuso, the new chap at La C, is yet to prove himself the equal of Davide. Davide was Good. I shall go further, he was DaGoods. His carbonara … if there is better, I am yet to come across it.
After which, there was a bitch of a week. Never home from office before 9. But I had been fortified by good times, not to mention good friends. Rajarhat is full of kaash phool. And Mohalaya is Wednesday morning. Life holds hope.