Saturday, October 17, 2009

Zaffron Tonight

Whenever an invitation from Zaffron proprietor Tai Khan comes our way, I fast after breakfast then head off at dinnertime for his Indian buffet in Downtown Honolulu. Tonight we dined with Tai, his wife Sheila, and friends Jason, Priya, and Stefan. The food as always delivered the best of North Indian flavors. The basmati rice topped with egg curry and spicy tomato chutney hit the epicurean spot, as did the keema beef curry, aloo sabzi, garbanzo beans, and fragrant biryani rice. The naan (white or wheat) was served steaming hot from their tandoor oven. I sampled the assortment of chutneys, and found the pineapple variety added the perfect punch to their tofu curry. As if that weren't enough, Tai and his wife Sheila reminded us to delve into the halwa for desert. Served piping hot, this semolina-based bowl of pure cardamom comfort, coupled with a second cup of homemade hot chai, lulled me into a blissful state of Indian La-La Land.

All the while, I'm sitting in front of a wall-to-wall Rajasthani horse mural on cloth, thinking to myself, I've got to find one of these on ebay...

Our dinner mates also lent to the magic. Jason and Priya, both scientists, gave us a taste of their technical lives as Priya described what exactly she does with computers, which unfortunately I cannot put into my own words...something to do's beyond me. Jason teaches nuclear physics at UH, so I didn't even attempt to go there with him.

(Priya and Jason)

Tai Khan is originally from Fiji and plays soccer with my husband. He gets to wear the gold shorts as he is past the age of 60, which I find hard to believe when watching him play. When his soccer buddy Stefan showed up, the conversation quickly turned into a mixed plate of soccer, rugby, and global warming. I had to snap a shot of the three of them and their matching hairdos...

(Tai, Noel, and Stefan)

We continued on for three hours, enjoying the food, the company, and the homey atmosphere. Noah felt so at home that he gave up on us and retreated to his sleeping quarters...

Since Tai's wife Sheila is also a teacher, we relished in the idea of Fall break. And somehow when the conversation turned to the eating of bats as an Asian delicacy, we both agreed that no matter how tasty they might be, we would have to pass. Even though I'm known as the one who will try anything once, bats would have to be one of those rare exceptions.

(Tai, me, and Sheila)

If you live in Hawaii and want to eat some real, down-home Indian food, get on over to Zaffron on the corner of King and Smith Street. Get there after 6:30 so you can park free on King and not get towed. When you go there, tell them Deb Tenney sent you.


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