Friday, January 12, 2007

Viceroy of India

Viceroy of India: (Devon Avenue in West Ridge) Chicago
2516 W. Devon Ave.

Bleeding Heart Bakery with Dan and his pal, Michelle and Anita in background.jpgEating out vegan isn't just about enjoying good vegan food; it's about enjoying everything: the dining experience as well as details about the day that contains it, especially the people you're with.

The day began with the most gentle
cab ride - the way it should be: no nail biting wondering if you're going to arrive before or after crashing - and started to close, after a long day working to better banking, riding in the seat next to my friend who was driving through the alleys behind Devon Avenue Indian restaurants looking for place to park.

Earlier in the Day

Gustavo Rodriguez that the cabbie was cruising to providedViceroy of India with Rose.jpg smooth grooves perfect for waking up - reminding me of bossa nova gently thumping me out of bed. I met Dan and his pal at Bleeding Heart, where Anita told us as we ordered coffee, "obviously, I'm going to give you guys the bottomless cups." They know us - seriously. We talked about Dan's new vegan store that'll be opening in Cincinnati this year, called Park and Vine; and we talked to Michelle Garcia, the owner. I can't believe we know her; she's amazing. I loved everything about the morning, including Bleeding Heart's vegan cream cheese on scones and bagels, their "Legalize Frostitution" sign, and that they're making even more of their items vegan, including the previously not vegan pumpkin scone.

Going to Viceroy

My pal drove, Viceroy of India with Rose_3.jpgmaking me laugh and think I'm living in an episode of Seinfeld as she told me how she had to shop for something to wear on the way to her office. She had stopped off at the doctor's wearing yoga gear and left her change of clothes at home. She wore a shirt out of the store with tags still attached. None of this affected the taste of the food at Viceroy, but it did set an amazingly fun mood.

Just after we sat Viceroy of India with Rose_4.jpgdown, they brought us papad (crispy bread) with chutney. Viceroy was elegant and relaxing, including the friendly and hospitable way they brought out the candle holders that rested under and warmed our entrees: aloo gobi masala (cauliflower cooked with potatoes, tomatoes, garlic and cilantro) and bengan bhartha (eggplant barbecued in a clay oven and sautéed with onions, tomatoes, ginger and coriander). The flavors were smooth and deep, a good following to the smooth potato samosas we'd just enjoyed. My pal challenged me to eat with just my right hand, in preparation for my trip to Bombay and Bangalore in India - where the left is reserved for restroom duties. Ripping roti and scooping food with it using just one hand was quite simple so long as I didn't care how neatly the roti tore. Viceroy of India with Rose_15.jpgAs we rolled out, with two power adapter plugs for India (2 for $1) in my bag from one of many general stores on Devon, we stopped in Viceroy's adjoining cafeteria to be treated to a couple of afters: a coconut burfi for my pal and a jalebi for me. I think they recognized my pal from her take-away a dozen samosa days. I'd gone from a little treat in the morning to a little treat at night, wrapping up the day just as perfectly as it had begun - with amazing people.

Coming Home to new DIY Clothes

Viceroy of India (photo: Rose G.)Just before I walked up the stairs to my apartment, I picked up a bag Katy Keefe had left on top of my mailbox with the jogger she had prepared for me. She buys them wholesale from American Apparel, dies them in a pot of boiling water on the stove (in this case, colored terra cotta) and screens them (for mine, with the brown coffee pots I loved from her T-shirts at The Lot). The jogger goes perfectly with the Alison Rose cruiser bicycle T-Shirt I'm wearing as I write this.

Photos: Chris B. and Rose G.


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