After Game Delight

I had another hockey game today, this time at 2:40pm and at a rink 30 minutes away. It turned out that we'd be playing with a relatively short bench (only two lines) against a team a level up from us—and I'd forgotten to eat lunch because I was too busy cleaning the house right up until it was time to leave for the game. I actually had a cramp in my right hand from Swiffering.

I'll write about the game in my hockey blog tomorrow; the point of this story is that I spent the first two periods of the game skating my ass off (and the third trying to force my burning legs to skate faster), so by the time I got to the car I was starting to slide into that zombie-like state that's often brought on by extreme hunger. It's characterized by an energy level that dwindles so rapidly—in parallel with the ability to think coherently—that I end up not being able to figure out what I want to eat. And because I haven't eaten, I get weaker and more stupid by the minute.

The only thing I could think of that would revive me was a red clam pizza from King of Pizza, but I knew there were other options; I just couldn't get my mind to process any. I asked Al to pick a place for us to eat dinner if he wasn't interested in pizza (and he wasn't, since he and The Beaner had gotten a pizza from Pete's while I was out at my Saturday game). We were almost to the Betsy Ross Bridge exit when Al suggested Indian. I had no specific craving for Indian, but then, at that point I couldn't muster a craving for anything at all. I said fine.

We took the Ben Franklin Bridge over to route 70 to try a place called The Palace of Asia that was adjoined to a Holiday Inn (I think it was a Holiday Inn; it's just past the Bishop's View apartments on Route 70 East in Cherry Hill). We figured (or Al figured, since I was in no condition to do any figuring) that if it was closed or didn't look promising, we could always continue on to King of Pizza and get a clam pie to go.

It was empty when we arrived just shy of 5pm, but it was open, so we got a table. I ordered the Mutter Paneer, and Al got the Aloo Gobi; we also got a side of Raita and some Naan. Oh, and a mango lassi for Al and The Beaner. Mutter Paneer used to be my favorite Indian dish, but I haven't ordered it in a long time. I think I got a couple not-so-hot versions that turned me off to it, so my standbys have become Shahi Paneer, Palak Paneer, or a mixed vegetable curry. Well, either those or the buffet, where I get to try a bunch of different dishes all at once. Of course, my memory of my ordering habits could be faulty, given my weakened state and the fact that we haven't had much Indian food at all since we moved to Philadelphia, and even less since Minar Palace on Sansom was razed.

I won't bore you with recounting the number of papadums I ate while waiting for the real food to arrive (ok, it was two or three). I don't think the main course took unreasonably long to come out; it probably just felt long because I was starving, and I needed something more substantial in my belly than chick pea flour and mint chutney. In any case, it was worth the wait: It was the best Indian food I've had in a long, long time. The Raita was spectacular (though it's meant to be a condiment, I could have eaten it straight with a spoon), and the Mutter Paneer was a close second. The Aloo Gobi was also very good; Al would say it was even better than the Paneer, but I prefer a dish with gravy. I like my curry to sink into the rice. The only things that made the meal less than perfect were (1) the serious leak in the ceiling a couple tables over from us (it didn't bother us directly, but it was somehow worrying to hear a steady stream of water dripping into a giant trashcan, (2) The Beaner wasn't interested in anything but the mango lassi, and (3) he pooped while we were eating, and the bathroom did not have a changing table. Al ended up changing him in the car, in the dark, in a downpour. Not fun.

Since I was the hungrier of the two of us, I finished eating while Al did the changing, and then I asked that the remains be packed up while Al went to wash his hands. I also asked that an order of Kheer (rice pudding) be thrown in to go. The to-go bag arrived promptly, but for some reason the check did not; Al finally just took The Beaner out to the car while I flagged down a waiter and asked to pay the check up front. I still left a big tip because the waiters were so friendly, and because they'd brought The Beaner some chocolate ice cream at the end of the meal. (Surprisingly, he wasn't interested in eating that, either, though he did like feeding it to me and Al.) The total with tip came to $45—totally worth it, in my opinion. We still have another meal's worth of leftovers, and the Kheer (to which I added some TJ's brown rice and warmed in the microwave when we got home) was delicious.

We'll be going back again when the hankering for Indian food strikes (soon, I'm sure). We might try the weekend lunch buffet, or the dinner buffet on Monday through Thursday nights, just to sample as many dishes as possible (and to get our food faster, although the lure of amazing Mutter Paneer might make ordering off the menu the only serious option if it isn't available on the buffet).

Oh, and the restaurant wasn't empty by the time we left. Several Indian families came in for dinner, as well as a few non-Indian twosomes. Generally you'd look for good traffic *before* choosing the restaurant, but we didn't have time for that. I'm glad to see that we're not the only ones who appreciate what The Palace of Asia has to offer.

Posted by Lori in food at 11:20 PM on November 12, 2006

Comments (1)

I'm so happy to hear about a good Indian restaurant not too far away! I've been so sad since Minar Palace ceased to exist.


I'm so happy to hear about a good Indian restaurant not too far away! I've been so sad since Minar Palace ceased to exist.

Posted by: Marisa at November 16, 2006 10:08 AM

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