We needed to do a lot of planning. We still had no plans, at all, for our time in India. We were starting to see that a good area to visit would be Rajistan, so we began inquiring into a few tour agencies. Then we hired a car to take us around for the day to see some Delhi sights before our evening activities. Hiring a car is the best way to see India, so I'm told, and so far I believe it. If only for the mere fact that they drive on the other side of the road. But, along with that, it's like a MarioKart race of sorts, bobbing and weaving through traffic to get to the red light first. But, that's another thing. There were places where all the cars would stop, but I didn't see any stop lights, or stop signs. So, it seems as if there are secret rules. Did we mention we saw Batman driving around Delhi?
Anyhow, we hired a car. His English was quite minimal, so asking cultural questions and, really, any questions at all were not worth the time. At one point during the day we were trying to explain to him that we wanted to buy some water and snacks at a store. We used as many descriptive words as possible, "a place where they sell food/ things to eat/ water/etc and other variations of the phrase, and we ended up at a place where they sold textiles and handicrafts. Nope.
But, we did have a list of places where we we wanted to go that were well known, large monuments, and he was able to get us to those. We saw the Gate of India (basically Delhi's arc du triompf), the president's house and all the government buildings, we went to the Lodi Gardens, drove past the ultra modern Lotus Temple, and walked around Houmayoun's tomb. It was all pretty neat. It was nice to walk around the tomb and the gardens, but it was super hot and humid.
We made our way back to the hotel to shower up before our evening adventures. Seth found a street food tour online called Delhi Food Tours that seemed quite trustworthy. What sold us was that the wife, Aisha, was the tester. Aisha apparently has a very sensitive stomach, ever since she attended an American boarding school for high school. So, if she gets sick within 2 days after going to a restaurant, they take it off their list.
The first stop on the list was to a tea shop where we were invited to try a variety of teas from India. This is something Seth and I really enjoy and visiting the tea shop was an unexpected treat. There were light white teas all the way to rich, full bodied black teas. A nice start to the evening.
Our second stop was a restaurant that is spposed to have food from the area of Goa. That's a beach area in the south of India. I really liked the food there. They had a fried fish with chili powder and lime and it was so, so good. I also really liked their chutney.
The next place we went to was fabulous. There we tried something called a dosa. A dosa is kind of like when you take cheese and slap it on a fry top until it turns into a chip. But, it doesn't taste like cheese, it tastes like a cracker. And really good. And you use it like a nacho, dipping it into sauces. I really liked the sauce that was like a tomato lentil soup. So good! But, what I, also, really enjoyed here was the coffee. I don't normally drink coffee after about noon or so, but I was assured that this coffee would be different from any coffee I'd ever had. And it was. It was rich and caramelly and oh so good! And they do this thing to mix in the sugar where you pour it from glasss to cup, back and forth to mix in the sugar and make the coffee a bit frothy. I really hope to find that again.
We, then, went to a place that specializes in BBQ. I truly loved this place. We had BBQ chicken that was spectacular. It was perfectly cooked, not dry, but nice and juicy and jam packed with flavor. Seth's favorite was the spicy lamb kabob. I liked it too, but I was busy with the chicken.
Then there was the dessert place. But, before dessert we had to try some of their main courses as well! Seth and I each got lassi, one sweet, one salty. The sweet one was just like in the states, but the salty one was not just plain yogurt. It had spices in it like cardamom, black pepper, and salt. Both really interesting, but I liked the sweet one best. We then tried the 'grenades'. Seth tried one first, then waited for my reaction. It was like a little puff that you crack open at the top, so that you can fill it wit a potato mixture and a green juice. It explodes in your mouth and was quite reminiscent of eggs. Since, I've heard it described as having a septic like taste. Great. Then came what has been lovingly named 'the compost pile'. I truly liked that one. It was little flat dumpling type things covered in a yogurt and pomegranate, ginger, and some other stuff. Not sure. I really liked it. A delicious dish came out next with spiced chick peas. Oh so good! Finally it was time for dessert. The sweets were so decadent. My favorite was gulab jamun. Almost like a doughnut soaked in syrup.
We were beyond full after all that. It was a delicious evening and it was nice to meet some Delhi natives and some people from back home.