Wednesday, March 18, 2009

"Desi" Party

By Carlos

So, this past Saturday I was invited by a new friend of mine to an Indian-themed party at a nice house in Pinecrest. Now, the first thing you need to know is that I live at the northernmost part of Miami Dade County, and Pinecrest is close to the southernmost point. This friend of mine, I had discovered, is very into food and cultures, like myself. He knows of and likes different ethnic restaurants all over Miami, especially Indian food. So, naturally when he said that his friend is a fantastic cook and that he was excited about the menu, I had high expectations.

The other thing about this party was that the hostess, who was celebrating her birthday, requested that guests dressed in Indian or Indian-themed attire. My friend, JP, went on a mission to find himself a kurta or, as he referred to it, a "tunic". He managed to find one at this store called Bhoom Shanti, which is Sanskrit for "overpriced Indian crap for gauras" (seriously, it's a nice store...but it is overpriced and only sells things that are "mystical" and "spiritual" and "hippy".....stuff that non-indians identify with India). I had told him that he could borrow one of my "tunics", but he insisted on buying his own, which turned out to be a cute batik, but definitely not something a desi would be caught dead wearing unless they were in a yoga class....but then again, you never know.

So, the time came to go to this party. I agreed to just meet JP and his girlfriends at the party. They had initially wanted me to meet them in Doral (the westernmost point of Miami), which I thought was ridiculous. In the end, it was better that I came in my own car, because JP ended up coming back home at 5:30 in the morning, and I had to work the next day. Anyways, i printed directions to the party and was on my way. It was a pain in the you-know-where to find the place because in Pinecrest and "Moral Gables" the street signs are on the ground because regular street signs are thought to be vulgar (I guess car accidents caused by peoples' eyes being glued to the ground are more elegant). I ended up passing the place, so i pulled off the side of the road to consult my directions, as well as the directions that JP had texted me. I thought he'd be there by now, when he called me to inform me that he was delayed and hadn't left Doral yet. I said it was okay because I was a little lost, and I would wait for him to get there because I didn't want to show up to a party where I knew about awkward. So I turned back around and waited on the said of the road and took a cigarette break. It was all cool until a cop car drove by me slowly and pulled into the parking lot behind where I was parked. I realized I looked really suspicious pulled over on the side of the road, smoking a cigarette outside my car, dressed in a black shalwar kameez with a full beard. I put out the cigarette, got back in my car and parked in an Episcopal church parking lot and smoked a couple of more cigarettes before JP called me to tell me that he was at the party.

So, I got into my car and drove to the house. There must have been at least 30 cars in front of this beautiful house. I got out of the car and called JP to meet me in the front. The house was beautifully decorated with sheer burgundy drapes, mosquito netting, candles, oil lamps, silk pillows, garlands, etc. JP was hungry, and I was a bit peckish, so we snaked our way into the kitchen. Being that it was an Indian-themed party, I was expecting to find at least samosas, maybe some pakodas. In it's place were half-moon shaped fried pockets. At first I thought to myself, "what strange looking samosas".....oh, how naive I was!!! They were Colombian empanadas. I look at the buffet table and see two bowls of unappetizing, possibly-basmati rice. There was a plate of pita bread cut into wedges (ended up that it was store-bought naan, but it tasted the same....and WHO CUTS NAAN INTO WEDGES?!). There was also a Thai-looking shrimp curry, which I didn't eat because I don't eat shellfish that's been sitting out. There were also pork cutlets (sorry, but I don't know any desi who eats pork except for Goans, and that's pork vindaloo) with a creamy sauce that turned out to be a spicy peanut sauce. The funniest thing, though, was the "pollo al curry" (chicken curry), which looked a lot like my mother's Mid-century modern dish (read 50's American-style a-can-o-this-a-can-o-that) of chicken and broccoli casserole with a cheesy crust. I asked what it was and the Spanish-speaking help said that it was chicken curry. I took a close look and asked "this 'chicken curry' doesn't happen to have cream of chicken soup in it, does it?" And the help replied, emphatically, "YES!!! And cream of mushroom, too!" I gave her an "mmhmm" look. I have to say that the food was very, very good, if not Indian. I didn't say anything about the food, though, because I was invited to this party and I had to be a grateful guest....but I was very pleased when JP said to me "God, I wish they actually had some REAL Indian food." It was good to know that someone was thinking what I was thinking. There actually was a somewhat authentic Indian dish: channa masala, which was okay.

The party was really good, though. Everyone dressed up in what each person thought was Indian style. Some people dressed up in belly-dancer costumes, some girls actually appeared to have spent a pretty penny on saris, chudis and bindis. Some girls, however, thought it was Indian brothel night, and some girls apparently missed the memo altogether or just came back from a pimps n' hos party. My little group of people was very cool, though. There was also a live 90s rock cover band, which we mostly ignored, and lot's and lot's and lot's of hookah with a hookah waiter, too. I've got to get my hands on some tangerine tobacco!!! There was also a henna "artist". Note that I say henna artist and not mehndi artist. This girl was okay, but Sheala and I are so much better. I was looking at her work and it was gauras, because they're just fascinated by this green paste that stains your hands....really, you could just poop henna paste onto them and they'll be all oohs and ahs. By the way, I realize that I'm talking like I'm a Desi. Okay, you guys, you caught me. I'm an imposter....but i really want it i could feel it lol. Anyways, I let this girl do a design on my palm, which now I'm embarassed to have because people know I do mehndi and are probably thinking "wow! he's really let his talent go....poor guy..."

I ended up meeting some very cool people, which didn't include this creepy Colombian guy who looked around my age but turned out to be 35 or 36 with a 12 year old child and wanted me to go with him with one of the hookahs and smoke weed out of it. Wow! Just wow! That's what drugs do to ya, kids: you want to smoke weed out of someone else's hookah in the bushes at a crowded party.

Well, until next time, you all take care.


Baji said...

Oh lord, I wish you could come with me to London and see what real desis party like. lol. and cream of anything is NOT a good ingredient for any desi dish lol

Carlos said...

Love the cheesy daler pic! that characterized the party entirely. Yeah, that dish was totally a less flavorful rip-off of my mom's dish, chicken divan. lol.

Baji said...

for some reason i got songs from "monsoon wedding" stuck in my head! help!!!