RIP Stomach, Hello Happiness

Oh, how it has been such a crummy weekend.  The dreary rain has been a damper on my spirit.  I have also been in a foul mood all weekend because I have been sleeping terribly due to intense work-related stress dreams all night.  I am really trying to do something about that, but it may take some time.

On a Sunday like today, there is very little that will get me out of the house.  One of those would be Indian food with all the warm spices and goodness in my stomach.  Another one would be brunch.  I am a brunch gal.  If you say the word brunch within a ten mile radius of me, I will call you and ask when and where.  So, imagine my level of motivation to leave the house today for Indian brunch…Yes, I said Indian brunch.

We were celebrating our friend, Torsten’s birthday today at Indique in Cleveland Park, just four Metro stops from my apartment.  Torsten picked an excellent spot for his birthday brunch.  This was my first dining experience here (I had actually not heard of this place before).  I wasn’t even aware of any Indian restaurants in the area who served brunch, but you should really check out this menu.

If you are unfamiliar with brunch in DC, here are some of the basics.  Weekend brunch is a DC institution, especially bottomless boozy brunch.  If you walk into a restaurant in the area on Saturdays and Sundays from 10:00 am to 3:00 or 4:00 pm, there is a high chance you will be handed a brunch menu.  There are a growing number of restaurants (of a variety of cuisines) who offer a bottomless brunch, either food, alcohol, or both.  Most of the bottomless brunch options are served in small/shared plates style, so it’s very easy to share.

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When you go to a bottomless boozy brunch, that is the true DC brunch experience.  It is decadent and excessive, and oh so good.  This oddly tends to be the most economical choice, since an a la carte brunch menus with drinks added can rack up to about the same price for way less food and drink.  How can you argue with that kind of value in life?  I sure can’t!  The one downside though is that bottomless brunch can really knock you on your butt with the drunken food coma.

I love brunching, and I take it very seriously.  I normally set aside the whole day when I make brunch plans, because I know I will either spend the whole day eating, drinking, and wandering around the city, or I will end up back home after brunch passed out on the couch.  In fact, I took two naps this afternoon before I could actually start writing this post.  I guess tequila and endless Indian food was the cure to my sleep troubles.

I think I have now recovered enough to write about our dining experience.  The brunch at Indique is $25 for bottomless food plus $12 for bottomless drinks.  We had a group of 16, so we just asked for the wait staff to put in food items for us instead of ordering individually.  I’m sure this is a lot easier for the restaurant, but it also makes it less chaotic for guests trying to enjoy brunch in a large group setting.

Like many in the group, I started out with a rum lassi.  I commented that this drink could have been a whole meal in itself.  I knew I couldn’t go to brunch at an Indian restaurant and not get a lassi.  However, I can only handle one of these in a sitting due to my darn lactose intolerance.  (I could write an entire post about how much it sucks to be an Italian with lactose intolerance, but I’ll save that for another day).  After I finished my rum lassi, I switched to tamarind margaritas, and finished off with a brunch punch (white sangria).  The rum lassi and the brunch punch seemed to be the most popular drinks in our group.  However, my favorite drink of the day was definitely the tamarind margarita.  It had a little more punch and flavor than a traditional margarita.  Plus, I can do some real damage to tequila.

As for the food, I am not even going to attempt to list everything we got.  I will say that every single dish I tried was out of this world.  With some dishes, I had no idea what I was eating without looking back at the menu, but I did not care because it was all so delicious.  Even the basics, like the chicken tikka, were better than I have had at other Indian restaurants.  The chicken was cooked to a tender perfection, and I could eat that sauce all day long.  Just give me some naan and that sauce, and I will be satisfied for a good while.

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One of my favorite dishes was the achari chicken paratha taco.  I enjoyed the filling, but I was all about the wrap for this taco.  I described this wrap as what you’d get if you combined samosa dough with empanada dough.  It was thick like a samosa but chewy like an empanada.  I love both samosas and empanadas, so I was in heaven.  Anthony asked me if I was going to put that description in the blog, and I said absolutely.  (Shout out to you, Anthony).

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I also really enjoyed the vegetable shepherd’s pie (with a paneer bottom) and the samosa chaat.  Paneer is something that sits so well on my taste buds but not so well on my stomach.  That cheese always gets me, but I give in to the paneer every time.  It is worth absolutely worth it.  I also thought that using the paneer and lentils was a very creative way to make a shepherd’s pie filling.

I also may have had a spiritual, out of body experience when they brought out the stuffed naan with chutney spread.  My friends let me have a moment as I composed myself before we dug into this.  I must also say that my friends have been really good about humoring me and letting me take photos of our food in these group outings.  (If you are reading this, I appreciate all of you).

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Finally, no brunch would be complete without getting some sweets.  We enjoyed this beautiful cookie butter dosa (a lentil and rice crepe).  Cookie butter is such an underrated ingredient.  I should incorporate it more into my baking.  This melding of sweet and savory was the perfect end to our brunch, and it was so pretty!

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This brunch was the medicine my tired and aching soul needed before beginning another week.  These are the days that I live for: to have an opportunity to enjoy good food and great company and not worry about anything else.  When I have something like this to write about in my blog, my heart feels complete.  I get so much life from writing this blog, and I am so glad to have amazing friends to enjoy this experience with me.

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