CholaNad, Chapel Hill


Chapel Hill has recently gained another Indian restaurant in the old Cypress on the Hill space.  A couple of weekends ago we checked out the new CholaNad for lunch.  The room is simple and modern with exposed duct work, sleek wooden furniture, and crisp white tablecloths.  It is basically the same as it was before with a few Indian wall hangings.

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Kandas, Morrisville

G’s family was in town a few weeks ago and they love to go out for Indian food.  Since we haven’t established our favorite Indian place yet we did some research online and decided to try Kandas in Morrisville.  The restaurant is in a strip mall and is very basic in décor.  The menu is primarily focused on the North Indian dishes typically seen on restaurant menus.  They did, however, have a section of a few Indo-Chinese options.  We tried the Chicken Tikka Masala, which is chicken cooked tandoori style (marinated and cooked in a clay oven) served in a creamy masala sauce.  It was tasty with just the right creaminess.  We tried the Dal Tadka, which is a simple dish of yellow split peas spiced with cumin seeds.  It was very comforting and simple.  The Karaikudi Mutton Masala was a nice goat curry which was spicy and rich.  The Fish Moilee is a curry of sautéed fish flavored with turmeric, ginger, green chilies, mustard seed, fenugreek seeds and tempered with coconut milk.  It was a rich creamy dish with a flavorful sauce.  Overall, the food was tasty and well prepared but nothing amazing.  I was a disappointed in the minimal amount of meat in each dish.  I would like to try some of the Indo-Chinese dishes one day.  If it was closer to us, I could see it as a go-to for take out however, I am not sure it is worth the drive.

10255 Chapel Hill Road
Morrisville, NC 27560

Punjab, Arlington

For our NRT outing in May we tried Punjab in Arlington.  The space is beautiful!  It is a very large spacious room decorated in warm tones of brown, orange, and yellow.  The room is separated into smaller dining spaces and a long bar.  The menu is quite extensive with dishes not only from the Punjab region but also from other areas of India.  I was sitting with the vegetarian table and we tried a few dishes.  The Malai Kofta is a dish of balls made of mined vegetables and cooked in a mild cream sauce.  The kofta balls were tasty however, the sauce itself was too creamy and was not well balance with the spices.  We also tried the Dhal Makhani which is a lentil dish which was nice with a good balance of spice.  We also tried the Paneer Vindaloo.  Vindaloo is a Goan curry dish which is typically prepared with lamb or chicken and is very spicy.  I was excited to try a paneer version of this dish.  However, it was extremely bland and not spicy at all!  It was a disappointment.  The consensus of the group was that the food was average and comparable to the majority of Indian restaurants in town.

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Nikisha’s Roti Shop, Dorchester

After a break in January we reconvened our NRT outings this past week with a trip to Nikisha’s Roti Shop in Dorchester.  As is the case with most Trinidadian roti shops, it is a simple storefront with counter service.  A few of us arrived right at 7pm and were greeted by Niki.  She mentioned that she was going to close at 7:30pm since it was a slow night.  We told her that there were others coming and she said she would wait for us.

While we waited for the others to trickle in we ordered some doubles.  They were delicious!  Maybe the best doubles I have had!  Since she makes them slow and methodically, as compared to the rushed street vendors, the proportion of channa to bara is much more satisfying.  The curries are all prepared and kept in warming trays but the rotis and buss-up-shut are made fresh.

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Shark, Really?

Some foods or dishes are associated with a particular place or activity. A perfect example of this is Bake and Shark at Maracas Beach in Trinidad. Maracas Beach is a beautiful beach on the north shore of Trinidad. The most important feature of Maracas Beach is the many Bake and Shark huts. Bake and Shark is a Trinidadian dish consists of a piece of deep fried shark served in deep fried bread called ‘bake’. The shark is typically marinated in a combination of herbs, garlic and lime juice. The ‘bake’ is doughy bread similar to Native American fry bread which is found the Southwest such as Arizona and New Mexico.

The key to this simple sandwich is the variety of condiments and toppings it can be dressed with. Each hut has a table of toppings such as tamarind chutney, chadon bene (cilantro) chutney, hot pepper sauce, tomatoes, cucumber, lettuce, fresh mango (sour mango) chutney, mayonnaise, mustard sauce and mango kutchela (a mango pickle). My favorites are the chadon bene sauce and garlic sauce. No trip to Maracas Beach is complete without a stop for Bake and Shark dressed to perfection!

Double up on Doubles

This past week we were in Trinidad visiting G’s family and one local dish which cannot be missed is doubles. Doubles is a street food in Trinidad and Tobago which is a sandwich made with two fried breads called ‘bara’, hence the name doubles, and is filled with curried garbanzo beans or channa. It is served with pepper sauce, ‘slight’ (a dash) to as much as you want! It is one of the most popular fast foods in Trinidad and is typically eaten for breakfast or as a late night snack.

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