i had a lovely dinner tonight with erik and margaret. (yes, shra, it is only food that makes me happy! 🙂 ) here’s the story: i had a midterm this morning (french) and after that i just studied for my other midterm today (L&S). L&S turned out to be a very easy test although it was something like ten pages long (multiple-choice, that’s why), and at the bottom of each page the gsi’s had written ‘good job!’ or ‘you’re awesome!’ or ‘almost there!’ and drawn little smiley faces and suns and rainbows and things, and it was very cheerful. i finished the test with about an hour to spare before history started, and i hadn’t had a chance to do any history reading so i went to moffitt library where our history books are on reserve and checked out the reader and did some reading. i was so happy at the chance to get some more work done, and i was reading about buddhism so i felt even more relaxed and happy, so in the middle of reading i had a sudden craving to eat at cafĂ© tibet. i had told erik i would make dinner for us tonight so i couldn’t decide on the spur of the moment whether to go. i went to history and asked margaret if she wanted to come with me if i did go, and she said yes, so as soon as class got out (professor nylan was dressed up today! she was wearing a fantastic suit–i told her–and it turns out she’s going to a party tonight 🙂 ) i called erik. turns out he was on campus close by so he met us and we all went to cafĂ© tibet together.

the last time erik and i went to cafĂ© tibet it wasn’t an incredibly good experience, because although the food was good, the service was totally totally slow, and erik had a bad headache. this time we were the only ones in the restaurant so we had the complete attention of the owner, and it was really lovely. everything fitted the kind of food/drink i was craving when i decided to go to cafĂ© tibet… if you go early (which turns out to be before 6.30, before the rush that makes service so frustratingly slow), it’s a perfect place to eat on a chilly day like today. i had the tibetan tea (i asked the owner how to pronounce it and she also explained what the name means), which was very nice… traditional tibetan tea is tea with lots of butter and also some salt in it, and people in tibet drink it constantly. the butter and salt give it an interesting pinkish color and a very distinctive taste. it’s like soup and is very nice when hot. it also tastes really good with food.

open the menu so you can see the descriptions as i tell you what we had! 🙂 margaret had the jasha-she-dre (#19), which erik had last time, which is really delicious. the curry tastes like the kind of indian curry we bought once from the farmer’s market a long long time ago. it’s red and sort of sweet. erik had luk-she she-dre (#17), which was also yummy though i think i liked margaret’s better. and i had the same thing i had last time, #14, the combination momo. i like the spinach and the mushroom momos the best but the beef one is nice too. momos are traditional tibetan dumplings. the beef ones are shaped like potstickers or gyoza, but the vegetable and cheese dumplings are shaped more like chinese shiao-long bao (mmm). they’re very yummy and don’t really taste like anything else i’ve ever had, at least not the vegetable ones, which are filled with onions, spinach or mushrooms, and mascarpone (which is the same kind of soft creamy cheese that goes into tiramisĂą). we also got some tingmo to share, which is steamed bread with butter, onions and garlic. it sounds like it would have a very strong flavor, but it doesn’t. although based on my culinary experiences, tibetan food most closely resembles a combination between chinese food and indian food, the flavors are much less strong than in either of those. you know what i mean… you leave a chinese restaurant with your mouth feeling weird from all those strong flavors, you leave an indian restaurant with a warm curry feeling in your mouth and your stomach, but tibetan food doesn’t do that to you, and it’s refreshing.

margaret and erik were full and didn’t especially feel like dessert, but i’d noticed on the menu that the owner of the restaurant (who i think was serving us) used to be a pastry and dessert chef in a san francisco restaurant before opening cafĂ© tibet. (this info is on the webpage.) so i thought we should try some desserts. we were going to have the french sweet cream or the ginger crème brĂ»lĂ©e but the owner told us that we should really try the traditional tibetan desserts if we were so inclined, because, as she put it, ‘these things (the cream and the crème brĂ»lĂ©e), we do them well, but you know you can get them anywhere, this kind of thing. if you would like, you should try the tibetan desserts, you can’t get these anywhere else.’ the tibetan desserts, which are not on the online menu, didn’t sound tremendously appetizing but just for interest we ordered one, described i think as pasta with spices and cream, and we also ordered the crème brĂ»lĂ©e. the crème brĂ»lĂ©e was yummy, quite gingery (ginger, however, eases nausea and motion sickness… it’s one of twelve medicinal herbs we had to memorize for L&S), but the tibetan dessert (i’ve forgotten the name) was really yummy. margaret said it tasted like carrot cake, and it did, i think because of its spices. the ‘pasta’ was sort of like firm gnocchi cut in half and cooked in a sauce that tastes like carrot cake spice, topped with a dollop of really delicious fresh whipped cream. we had great fun eating that one. it was a nice, not too heavy, cold-day dessert.

all in all my dinner and the company made me quite happy. margaret and erik enjoyed it too. next time i’ll know to go to cafĂ© tibet at five… then we can get great service and really yummy food again! 🙂

postscript–aha. i did a little research on cafĂ© tibet online, and it seems that one of the reasons why cafĂ© tibet’s tibetan food is so yummy is that it combines the traditional tastes and recipes with the chef/owner’s western culinary training (specifically french). so maybe we haven’t been eating the most traditional tibetan food… oh well… it’s yummy. 🙂

[note, 4/10/14: Imported from my old blog at satsumabug.livejournal.com.]