30 July 2012

St. Paul: Everest on Grand

All the vegans talk about this place.  It was perfect for Matt and I, who, after our breakfast, never wanted to look at sugar again.

Everest on Grand
1278 Grand Ave
St. Paul, MN  55105
(651) 696-1666

Everest serves Nepali, Indian, and Tibetan cuisine of ridiculously high quality.  You'll take one bite of anything here and be all, "My dear, the only possible word I can use to describe this food's quality is 'ridiculous.'"  True story.

If you come for dinner, you can order off the menu.  At lunchtime, you lucky duck, you get the buffet. It's $11 on weekends and $10 weekdays.  And vegans can eat more than half of what's laid out!  There are only two meat dishes.  'Cause who even needs that stuff anymore.

Even better, when you sit down with your menu, the entire buffet is graphed out for you.  Each day of the week means a different variety of soup, salad, curries, rice, and bread.  Before you even lift your butt cheeks from your chair you'll know what to expect up there.  And once you get there, you'll see an amazing labeling system: the ingredients are listed right above the food!  Why didn't anyone think of this before?

Working with the Saturday buffet, I started with Chana Soup.  It's got chickpeas in a deeply flavored, yummy, authentic curry broth with hints of anise.  That sounds weird, but trust me.  It's amazing.  And not at all sweet, thank the great green earth.

The more solid foods I squeezed all onto one plate.  On the top left you can see white rice (boring), and at the top center is fried rice.  That's eggless fried rice.  Have you ever seen such a thing?  I hadn't.  I tried it.  Still boring.

On the right is Aaluko Sabji - boiled and sauteed potatoes.  THAT is good food.  Whoever did the spice job on those bad boys deserves a medal.  That familiar sauteed potato flavor paired with yummy onions and Himalayan spices was stellar.

On the bottom perhaps you can make out the yellow cauliflower - that'd be the Jogi Tarkari, a mixed vegetable curry.  It's good and a teeny bit spicy.  Not quite on par with the Aaluko Sabji, but it holds its own ground as a curry.

And the Pakoda was so good it needed its own picture.  Those are battered and deep-fried assorted veggies, my friends.  Uh, YUM.  They were fried, salty, delicious, fried, and fried.  The taste of each veggie still comes through, like in tempura, but this stuff is a little more... hm.  How can I say this?  More... deep-fried.

Unfortunately, the garlic naan had milk in it, as did the rice pudding.  I wasn't too put-out.  Look at that deep-fried masterpiece.

One trip to the buffet filled both our bellies to bursting.  That was the second-happiest meal of my life.*

* I'm just gonna be honest with you guys - I have a lot of second-happiest meals.

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