Ode to my dearly departed 7/11

This wasn’t the post I planned to write today, but I find that the grief in my heart begs to be expressed publicly. The 7/11 across the street from our apartment building suddenly shut down this weekend. It was unexpected, and it has left a gaping hole in my life. I didn’t know how much I needed it until it was gone.

 

Dear 7/11

You were always there when I needed you. Your brightly lit sign was like a beacon of hope on those nights when I realized that I really, really needed a Magnum bar. You sold me dietary staples such as eggs, bread, and fish sauce at prices that did not exceed what major grocery chains charged. Your beer was always cold, although you would not sell it to me between the hours of 2pm and 5pm. Sometimes I secretly thought that your chocolate bars had melted and re-solidified several times before I bought them, but you always had them in stock, which is the important thing. The air inside your walls usually smelled of the fishballs and fluorescent hot dogs that were so inexplicably popular with your Thai customers – how I miss those aromas. Your staff sometimes had a hard time counting change, and they loved to grab handfuls of my baby’s numerous thighs, but they were familiar faces in a cold, cruel world. I still have at least 100 of the plastic spoons that you snuck into my bag every time I bought yogurt – I use them to catch my tears. Truly, our neighbourhood has lost its most important landmark. Now I have to walk 5 extra minutes in the opposite direction to get to your inferior sister store. Please, please come back.

I’ll be waiting. So will the disgusting fleabag carpet dog that used to lie in your air-conditioned doorway. Don’t do this to us.

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A Week of Indian Food: Day 3 – Lassi

The lassi is a simple drink, but like many things in life, sometimes simple is best. Basically, it is a glass of puréed yogurt. That isn’t a great description, though, because Indian yogurt (known as curd) is quite different from Western yogurt. In the words of my Thai friends: “same same but different.” It isn’t as smooth or uniform as western yogurt, and it has a mild, sweet’n’sour flavour.

Our favourite lassis on the trip came from Lassiwalla in Jaipur.

This operation needs a lotta staff

Lassiwalla is the top-ranked restaurant in Jaipur on Tripadvisor, and it’s not hard to see why. For 17 rupees (33 cents), you get a cup full of bliss.

Ignore my grotty fingernail, and focus on the beauty in the cup.

Lassiwalla is so popular that no fewer than three knock-offs have popped up next-door. One night when Lassiwalla was closed, we tried the neighbouring lassiwalla, and it was also quite good, though maybe not quite as epic.

Same type of operation, but without the panache.

Both lassi shops begin by filling a clay cup with puréed curd, and then adding a piece of firmer curd to the mix. They serve it to customers with a spoon.

This is one happy customer.

When you’re finished, you huck the clay cup in the trash receptacle (an unusual feature for India), and bob’s your uncle. On to round two.