Wednesday, January 08, 2003

The Restaurant I Ate at Last Night XVII
Sunday: India Pavilion
Located on Central Square in Cambridge, this is self-described as the first Indian restaurant in Cambridge. Founded in 1979 by Mohan Singh Siani, who also runs Gandhi, Akbar India, the Taj Mahal, and India Food & Spices in the Boston area, India Pavilion is a comfortable, friendly restaurant. Sarah and I ordered the lamb vindaloo curry and the lamb pasanda, sharing a garlic naan and each ordering mango lassis. Not only did we make the mistake of asking for the food to be spicy -- the dishes were extremely hot, two lassis hot -- we ate way too much. We're not sure if it was all the yogurt in the lassis, but we were filled to bursting and had to ride out dinner on the big blue couch, glued to the television. India Pavilion isn't too expensive, and the food is good. But I'm surprised there were no Indian restaurants in Cambridge until 1979.

Tuesday: The Phoenix Landing
Even though I've lived in the Boston area since 1996 -- and on Central Square for more than a year -- I've never once gone to the Phoenix Landing, for dinner, for drinks, or for the DJ's. Last night, however, I met Andrea there for dinner. Surprised that the space is so large and open -- I was picturing a narrow bar-like space -- I was slightly confused by the Landing's equal trappings of bar and restaurant. Largely a bar, you can smoke in most of the space. But the menu -- and the ample table seating -- sings restaurant. Andrea got the apple-stuffed chicken, which appeared tasty, and I ordered the shepherd's pie. I've never had shepherd's pie before, and it's not really a pie, now, is it? Ground beef mixed with vegetables topped with mashed potatoes, and another order of mashed potatoes on the side really filled me up, so I didn't take too many tastes of Andrea's carrot cake. I also tried Boddington's ale for the first time. A little sweet for my taste -- I don't like hella sweet beers -- Boddington's blends smoothness with just a little bite. Not sure if I'll return too soon, but the restaurant seems to attract regulars from the neighborhood -- including a woman who works at one of the Central Square liquor stores. Oh, if you go and no one makes a move to seat you? Just seat yourself. They'll get around to serving you.

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