Day 98: Tibet
The degree to which Tibet is an autonomous region is up for debate. But I do know that I received a lot of e-mails and comments from people telling me that I should go to Tibet Nepal House in Pasadena for Tibetan food, and that they have a really good and inexpensive lunch buffet. I don’t really believe that buffet food can be very good (or at least as good as it could be), but in all honesty, my finances are in extremely dire straits. Can I afford to keep spending money on this Personal Food Project in Blog Form? Well, I’ve actually gone into debt— so quite literally, no. I can’t afford it. And there’s only so far the “What’s the difference between an X amount and a Y amount of debt?” can take you before you’re really in trouble. So stay tuned. But for now? It’s time for some Tibetan food.
MamaBites and I meet up with a friend (Lo-Mac) from my last real job (she, too, is looking for work now) and are ready to eat some food. The restaurant is in the kind of neighborhood that makes my mom say “Ooh, I love this neighborhood.” The outside is very clean, pretty and inviting, and the inside has an immensely calming air about it. There are gentle fans spinning above us, soft meditative music and the sound of running water coming from small fountains inside. Mom and Lo-Mac get along really quickly over some small talk and a few glasses of the refreshing “Tibetan sparkling herbal energy tea”. Then we head up to the buffet counter, load up our plates and get to work. Each dish is pretty light for what it is and seems mostly healthy. Basmati rice, bamboo shoots with black-eyed peas, clay oven chicken, goat curry, cabbage, fried vegetable paddies, various sauces, chutneys and a salad all make their way back to the table with me. None of the flavors are very aggressive at all, but do blend together quite nicely. The clay oven chicken, which was brought out fresh just as I got to the buffet, is the clear winner today. Good spices, a nice char and really tender meat go a long way. If I could get a bucket of this chicken with a six pack of Himalayan beer, then watch a basketball game with some friends, I’d be a pretty darn happy person for a lazy Sunday afternoon. So I’m pleasantly surprised by this buffet. Meanwhile, mom and Lo-Mac start talking about exercise regimens, hiking trails and how great it is to have a boyfriend/husband that can find clothes for you to try on while you’re in the dressing room of a store. In other news, I try not to fall asleep.
I bring us each some rice pudding and an orange segment from the buffet. “The flavor is good, but it’s a little mushy,” says mom. I agree, but also tend to feel that way about nearly all white rice puddings. Personally, I think brown rice holds up much better, because it can retain its texture and doesn’t just completely absorb all the flavors around it. I also prefer it with a yogurt base as its primary dairy, though do understand that I could be alone on that one. But in the end? A nine dollar lunch buffet of this quality is a great deal, even if the food and music makes you feel like you’re supposed to be healthy, and thus subconsciously convinces your body to not want to be over stuffed. But that’s probably not such a bad thing either. So thanks to everyone out there for the recommendation. It was a pleasant, easy and relaxed lunch with a couple of very nice women. Even though I felt like we’re all supposed to get our nails done afterward.
Tibet Nepal House
36 E Holly St
Pasadena, CA 91103
Food Breakdown: 3 non-alcoholic beverages, 3 buffet lunches
Price: $30 (looking back, did we get charged for those beverages?)
Distance From My House: 19.8 miles