Archive for October, 2009

FUUD: Himalayan Kitchen in Kaimuki

October 30th, 2009

I'll be honest: I'm not a fan of Indian food.

My disinterest in the cuisine stems back to a single bad first-date experience at an Indian restaurant that involved watery curry and a guy who kept talking about his ex-girlfriend.

Suffice it to say, that didn't work out.

Ever since then — the date was nearly 10 years ago — I've associated Indian food with that bad experience. I don't even think John Cusack could get me to eat at another Indian restaurant.

Until I stumbled into Himalayan Kitchen earlier this year.

This Indian-Nepalese restaurant opened in March in Kaimuki.

Inside the restaurant, which is often packed during dinner.

Hidden in the municipal parking lot in Kaimuki — behind Big City Diner — this restaurant, which opened in March, boasts a blend of Indian and Nepalese cuisines.

The menu is provocative, with dishes like sherpa chicken chili (boneless chicken battered then cooked with bell peppers, onions, pineapple and a touch of mildly spiced tomato sauce, $13.95), chicken tikka (boneless chunks of chicken breast marinated in yogurt then baked in a tandoori oven, $12.95), Everest seakwa (tender lamb chunks marinated in solukhombu-style seasonings then grilled in a tandoori oven, $14.95) and aloo tama bodi (bamboo shoots, potatoes and black-eyed peas in a mildly spiced Nepali mix marsala, $12.95).

Its eclectic options — that don't skimp on flavor — is one reason Himayalan Kitchen earned the critics' pick in the 2009 'Ilima Awards.

And it made me a believer.

Here's what we ate:

The BF ordered the veggie samosa ($4.95), which are turnovers filled with potatoes, chickpeas, peas and mild spices. Surprisingly addictive!

Samosas are fried or baked and typically in this triangular shape. Non-vegetarian versions come with minced meat or fish.

The restaurant devotes an entire page to tandoori oven-baked bread such as naan and roti. We sampled two. This is the paratha ($2.95), buttered baked whole wheat bread.

It wasn't bad, just a little bland. But it's what I'd expect for whole wheat naan.

I wanted to try one of the restaurant's stuffed naan. This is the paneer kulcha ($5.50), stuffed with onions and homemade cheese. So delicious. This could've been my entire meal!

Here's an up-close look at the paneer kulcha. The restaurant also serves bread stuffed with everything from potatoes and peas to ground lamb.

The BF wanted to try one of the restaurant's curries and settled on the lamb madras ($14.95).

Madras curries are coconut milk-based, which he said tasted a lot like a traditional Thai curry dish. The lamb chunks were tender and well flavored. So good over rice.

If this restaurant could change my mind about Indian food, it has to be good. (And I'm sure my new "date" helped, too.)

Himalayan Kitchen, 1137 11th Ave., behind Big City Diner. Hours: Lunch, 11 a.m.-2 p.m.; dinner, Tuesdays-Fridays, 5:30-10 p.m. daily. Phone: 735-1122.


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When did we get so rude?

October 29th, 2009

A few weeks ago, I had asked — nicely — one of my student employees to tweak a design he was working on for me.

Instead of nodding his head and agreeing to make the change, he threw the design down and said, in so many words, "You do it."

I was shocked.

I had never talked to any boss, teacher or even adult — as much as maybe I would've wanted to — that way. Not only is it unproductive, it's just plain rude.

I've noticed that this condition — rudeness — isn't just confined to 27-year-olds at community colleges.

Incidents of rudeness abound, from Kayne West snatching the mic from Taylor Swift during her acceptance speech at the recent MTV Video Music Awards to tennis champ Serena Williams getting disqualified from the U.S. Open for allegedly threatening a linesman who called a foot fault.

Kayne West ruining Taylor Swift's moment in the spotlight at the recent VMAs.

Serena Williams threatens a linesman at the U.S. Open.

A recent CNN article posed the question: Does American need a time-out? And if rudeness is a chronic condition, is there something we can do about it?

That question -- "is rudeness on the rise?" -- implicitly suggests that we might be in the throes of an epidemic, that rudeness is contagious. Such a diagnosis implies we're not rude until we "catch" rudeness from someone else. You can't help catching a cold right? And if someone's rude to you, you can't help being rude back, right? Wrong. This notion of contagious rudeness absolves us of responsibility.

What do you think?


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ASK DR. DISH: Friend or boyfriend

October 28th, 2009

Question: I have a friend who I've been friends with since high school. We've gone through everything together, first loves, break-ups, failing chemistry, you name it. But it seems like everytime she gets a boyfriend, our friendship gets put on the backburner. I'm happy that she's in a relationship, but I'm also annoyed that suddenly I don't matter. Am I being too sensitive?

Answer: No, you're not being too sensitive. I've felt the same way, too. It bothers me when friends ditch their friends — the people who have been with them through all the good, the bad and the puking in the bathroom at Ocean's — for relationships. Especially since those often come and go.

But let's be honest: we do that, too.

I try not to put my friendships on the backburner, as you put it, when I'm
in a relationship. But that new relationship needs attention, too. So something has to give.

My advice would be to 1) explain how you feel to your friend, that you want to continue to spend time with her and 2) be a little understanding. Of course, she has to meet you halfway, too. But it's not impossible to have healthy relationships with both friends and boyfriends (or girlfriends). Like anything worthwhile in this world, it takes work.

Any other thoughts?


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Scariest movies ever

October 27th, 2009

Writer-director Oren Peli is living the Hollywood dream: Shot a movie for $11,000 — in his own house — and not only top the weekend box office list but get Stephen Spielberg to watch his movie and think the DVD is haunted.

That's the story behind "Paranormal Activity," the just-in-time-for-Halloween fright flick that went from free midnight showings in 16 college towns to wide release across the nation.

Over this past weekend, the low-budget film took in $21.1 million in its fifth week, beating out horror franchise powerhouse "Saw VI" with $14.1 million over the three days.

A scene from the film "Paranormal Activity." (AP)

Small budget, no-name actors, no Hollywood special effects.

So why is this movie, about a young couple who moves into a haunted suburban house, so addictively scary?

Made me think about what makes a good horror movie. Is it the storyline? The acting? The gore? The special effects?

TIME listed its Top 25 horror movies of all time. Here are the Top 10, many of which I've never even heard of:

1. "Shaun of the Dead" (2004)
2. "Red Dragon" (2002)
3. "Audition" (1999)
4. "Braindead/Dead Alive" (1992)
5. "Men Behind the Sun" (1988)
6. "The Fly" (1986)
7. "Alien" (1979)
8. "Halloween" (1978)
9. "Carrie" (1976)
10. "Jaws" (1975)

So what makes a scary movie so good? And what movies would you put on your Top 25 list?


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20 percent tip? Not in Hawaii

October 26th, 2009

A recent Zagat survey reported that Hawai'i (and Seattle) diners were some of the stingiest in the nation, leaving as tip an average of 18.4 percent. San Francisco was next at 18.5 percent.

The average tip in the U.S.? A whopping 19.1 percent, with St. Louis and Philadelphia diners averaging 19.6 percent.

I'm surprised — but then again, I'm not.

I'd expect people here to be more generous with their tips, considering many of us bring omiyage back from trips to Vegas and lug boxes of donuts into the office every now and again.

But I've been/seen/heard about the bad tipping that goes on not only in Hawai'i restaurants but in many of our service-oriented industries.

Personally, it's hard for me not to dish out a 20-percent tip. You would have had to done something mind-blowingly — is that a word? — horrible to get less from me. Like throw a still-hot chocolate souffle at my face or decide to ignore my order and bring me something else on the menu instead.

But I've been with people who take tipping very seriously. If the server wasn't friendly or the orders got mixed up, no 20 percent.

While it's encouraging to know that Americans, according to the survey, have become more generous over the past few years with their tips, it's sad to hear that Hawai'i is among the least.

What do you think about that?


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