Indian lunch buffet strategy and Saturday news

I’ve been thinking about the Indian lunch buffet where I ate Thursday. I made myself a gorgeous plate of food that I was quite happy with, but looking back I don’t think I used the optimal strategy for attacking the buffet. Here’s the strategy I’m going to use the next time I go. Before this week I hadn’t been to an Indian buffet in years, so I welcome feedback if you see any ways I can improve.

First, get a plate and lay down a bed of rice on the whole plate. The first thing you will see after you get your rice are the vegetarian curries. This is a trap. Do not get these. YET. The danger is, these all look so good that there’s a temptation to fill up most of your plate with veggie curries before you get to the meat curries. (Food costs for the veggie curries are generally lower. It’s no accident you get to them first.) Wait for the people in front of you to file past the veggie curries, then when you get to the chicken and lamb curries, load up.

Now go back and get in line a second time. This time, get your choice of vegetarian curries on the space remaining on your plate. Don’t get me wrong, you should leave space for a veggie curry or two. They are outstanding. The spinach curry, the mushroom curry, the lentil curries… all delicious. It’s just that you don’t want them dominating your plate and leaving insufficient room for meat.

Third, go put your plate on the table. Then go get a second plate and get back in line. This second plate is for non-curry items – a piece or two of tandoori chicken, a couple of spinach pakoras, naan, chutneys and chimichurris and other dipping sauces. (If you’re a big dipper you can put the sauces in soup bowls.)

NOTE: Some of you are probably thinking, “Oh my gosh, Paul, what will people think of me if they see me with two plates?” If you’re a “what will people think of me” person you shouldn’t be going to all-you-can-eat lunch buffets. You are not there to leave a good impression. You are there to pig out. Remember, if you order a soft drink and leave a 20% tip you are going to be out 17 bucks for this dining adventure. Might as well get your money’s worth!

Fourth, eat your food. It helps to plan ahead. I recommend not eating dinner the night before or breakfast on the day you go. If you have comfort-waist pants, they would be a good choice. A belt that can be loosened a notch is good too. For inspiration, I recommend making the photo below the wallpaper on your phone and looking at it frequently while you eat.

Fifth, get another plate and go back for dessert. In particular you want to get the gulab jamun. These are soft milky balls covered in rose scented syrup. Actually, cancel the plate and get a soup bowl for these instead. Keeps the syrup in a more confined area. I don’t care how full you are, make room for these. As my friend Tony likes to say, you haven’t lived until you’ve had Indian balls in your mouth.

Again, feedback welcome if you see any ways I can further optimize my Indian buffet strategy. I started a thread on Facebook last Sunday about good spots to eat within a 10-minute driving distance of my office at Poplar and Kirby Parkway, and many people responded. Thank you all – you helped me discover some places I otherwise would not have known about. My top three priorities for next week:

  • Garibaldi’s Pizza – Versuvian Steak Sandwich! When I was in grad school and living near the U of M, this was one of my very favorite things to eat. The location on Yates and the location on Queens Court seem about equal distance from work. Guess I’ll try them both and see which is the easier drive. Wish I could re-live old memories on the Walker Avenue location but it’s out of driving range on a lunch hour.
  • Noodles Asian Bistro – I discovered this one the day of our team lunch next door at Rock ‘n Dough. Never been here but one of my friends on Swarm by Foursquare checks in here a lot. Looking over the menu, I have my eyes on the Korean Spicy Seafood Noodles for my first visit.
  • Cafe Med – they have various types of food but I will be going there for the gyros. Can’t decide whether I’ll get the original gyro or the Jerusalem on my first visit. The Aleppo and the Spartan are on my radar too. This is very convenient for me, right across Kirby in the strip mall next to Bougie Kroger.

As for the new job, I am really enjoying it. It is very much a family type environment and there is zero stress. The project I will be working on is basically a giant math problem, perfect since I am a former math teacher. I can tell I am going to be very happy there. Getting laid off in January is starting to seem like a blessing in disguise.

On to the news…

It’s Family Fun Day at AutoZone Park today from noon to 2. There will be inflatables, games, and activities in the Plaza. Catch and wiffle ball on the field and kids run the bases, chances to win prizes, ticket specials, and ballpark tours. The Cardinals spring training game will be shown on the video board. At the end of the day there will be a candy drop from a helicopter.

Come down to Tom Lee Park tomorrow, Sunday, March 25, for the quarterfinals of the Memphis Riverfront Soccer Cup. Eight adult co-ed teams will be competing in 7-on-7 matches. Action starts at 1 PM.

Cupcakes and Craft Beers returns to Ghost River this Thursday, March 29. Two Girls and a Whip will host their third dinner at the brewery, this one with a Mexican theme. There will be three savory cupcakes and one sweet one, each expertly paired with a beer by the Ghost River brewmaster. The cupcakes:

Street corn cupcake: roasted corn and jalapeño cornbread cake with chipotle cream cheese topped with roasted corn and cotija cheese crumbles

Chicken fajita cupcake: flour tortilla cup filled with marinated chicken, sautéed green peppers and onions, topped with sour cream and fresh pico

Taco pie cupcake: ground beef and refried beans topped with Monterey Jack cheese, a taco sauce and sour cream drizzle, diced tomatoes and cilantro

Mexican hot chocolate cupcake: cinnamon chocolate cake with cinnamon chocolate icing, hot fudge drizzle, topped with a sopapilla

Dinner time is 6 PM, cost is $32, and seats must be reserved in advance. Call 901-472-CAKE to reserve your spot.

Our Yoga Downtown, a free weekly all-levels yoga class, will kick off Tuesday, April 3 in Memphis Park. Charlie Baxter Graham of Downtown Yoga will teach this series on Tuesdays 6-7 PM. The yoga surface is on a grassy area, so bring a mat. Sunscreen and water are also advisable.

But wait, there’s more. There will be another free weekly yoga class at lunchtime, on Thursdays at 11:45 AM, starting Thursday, April 5 in Health Sciences Park. This class will be taught by Bridget Sisney of Downtown Yoga and is also all-levels. YOGA!

There will also be free lunchtime Tai Chi classes in Health Sciences Park on Mondays at 11:45 AM beginning April 2. Downtown Yoga’s Milan Vigil will teach this class, which is suitable even for beginners with no prior experience in this meditational practice.

The Grizzlies game at the New Orleans Pelicans, scheduled for an 8:30 tip-off on ESPN on April 4, has been moved to a 7:00 tip-off and will no longer be broadcast nationally. Apparently NBA teams that lose by 61 points aren’t good for TV ratings.

Live music at brunch at Sunrise Memphis: The Ghost River Band will play there at 11 today, and The Second Line Band at 11 tomorrow.

Innovate Memphis is hiring a project management specialist and a part-time bookkeeper. They also have an RFP out for a consultant to act as a Mobility Manager.

Busy day today. Deputy Director of Public Relations Perjorie T. Roll and I are meeting with BBQ team president John D at 11 at Bardog. Deputy Director Roll has some big ideas that she wants to share. Then at 2 we have the team Meat & Greet down at the south end of Downtown. I’ve got a couple of possible ideas for the team to bring up, and I want to hear about this new sponsor and find out what I can do to promote them.

Back tomorrow with a recap of the Meat & Greet and any Downtown news I have to share.