I'm feeling a lot better than my friend Jeremy right now, since I didn't throw up lunch. In fact, I didn't eat lunch. I had every intention, but when it was finally in front of me, I couldn't do it. This is how it began...
Jonathan: feel like some lunch today?
Jeremy: Dude. I could totally go for lunch today. All I need is a place and a time.
Jonathan: 12.40pm. What do you feel like?
Jeremy: I'm down for thai, chinese, mexican... pretty much anything.
Jonathan: Do you like Indian food? This place is on [street/link redacted].
Jeremy: I haven't had indian in awhile... sure, why not.
Jonathan: Cool. I want a samosa sandwich and some of those pickles!
Sounds great, right? I have never had bad Indian food in Detroit, not once. It is unfailingly flavorful and delicious. You can go to plenty of terrific Indian restaurants in Southeast Michigan - Priya, Shalimar, and Ashoka are good places to start. Priya evens has more mild Indian kid's meals. That is why I had such high hopes for the restaurant we went to today - I love Indian food, and Google maps pointed me toward this place, which had a well-priced menu on the web. It's also pretty close to my office, making takeout a good bet. It had everything going for it.
When I look back though, there is no one moment that stands out in making this lunch one of the worst (non-)meals of my life. All I know for certain is that I am thankful I did not eat the chicken, or I would have spent the evening like Jeremy*, puking.
The best way to illustrate what happened, naturally, is a timeline.
12.35pm. Depart office with colleague M---.
12.40. Meet Jeremy in parking lot of -------. Internal monologue notes that we are the only customers. More for us!
12.41. Walk in to find owner reading newspaper at table. Seems surprised to see us, asks what we want. Probably just kidding.
12.44. Seated, looking at menu. Note that the menu items that looked specifically interesting on the web, namely my Samosa sandwich and the pickles, were nowhere to be found.
12.45. In fact, half of the menu was crossed off. Owner tells us he just opened on Friday. Strange, have driven by dozens of times, always looked pretty open. Curious.
12.48. M--- and Jeremy order tandoori chicken. I attempt to order mattar paneer, am told it is not available even though it is not crossed off. I then attempt to order palak paneer, am told it is not available even though it is not crossed off. Attempt to order chicken biryani. Success!
12.50 A women enters to pick up a takeout order, the only other customer we see. None of us has ever eaten here before. "I guess we'll see how it is! Ha ha!" Oy.
12.54. A tall man with a mustache enters restaurant, presumably to order to lunch.
12.55 Owner returns from the back. Mustache guy announces himself as being from the Oakland County health department. Ready for inspection? Taco Bell starting to sound pretty good.
12.56. Exchange looks, try not to listen to the kitchen.
1.00 pm. Lunch! Uh-oh. Tandoori chicken is definitely the right color, but appears to have been poached. Chicken biryani arrives sans fork, which gives me plenty of time to decide if the the gray color could be described as "healthy." Contemplate flight.
1.02. Fork arrives, a dubious improvement. M---- asks for a knife, is told he can have another fork.
1.10. M---- and Jeremy clean their plates, for unknown reasons. I poke my chicken around the plate, and take a few bites to be polite. At least it was cooked through, apparently around Halloween.
1.15. We decide to pay and split. Oops, cash register not working! I have exact change, luckily. M---- and Jeremy, poor schmucks, have one ten dollar bill each. Owner does not have correct change for everyone, so Jeremy gets shorted $.15.
1.20. Jeremy departs for Burger King, M--- and I head back to the office to find that, mercifully, the boss brought in an apple pie. Fate, finally, smiles (except for Jeremy, who went home and threw up).
So, there you have it, the worst dining experience in a long time . It truly makes you appreciate just how good all of those Coney Islands are - when was the last time you puked after $.99 hot dog day? Next time, Jeremy gets to pick.
*By the way, I'm not linking to him on this one. Normally I would send you right to his side of the story, especially because it's funny, but he names the restaurant, which I did not want to do. I think it is a given that the health department will close them, so there's no need to add insult to injury.