Wednesday, since we were over by the old ‘hood, Ben and I decided to go to our favorite Indian place for dinner. I fell in love with Pasand when I ate there on the very first trip I made up here to San Jose to visit Ben. It might even be the reason that I ended up moving. I mean, Ben is sexy and all… but he’s no Ginger Chicken Tikka Masala. Since then we’ve taken his dad and Kandy, my dad and Cherie, my mom and Cameron, pretty much anybody visiting meant a trip to Pasand which is why I always encouraged visiting.
So as we got out of the car tired, hungry and frustrated after sitting in Urgent Care for well over and hour to be helped by a quack doctor physicians assistant so old we actually got to watch the last few whisps of hair fall from his head in our 10 minutes with him, it took us both a few seconds to realize that the simple Pasand sign had been replaced with a rather large, rather LOOK AT ME red sign that read: Bombay Garden.
Ben: What’s that Bombay Garden… Wait.. WHERE’s PASAND!?
Me: Lets just go in and eat I’m starving.
Ben: Well, lets go in and see what they have.
Me: I’m STARVING, lets just EAT here.
Ben: We’ll ask first.
Me: And then try it.
We were “greeted” (if you can call it that) by a guy in his mid 20’s who must have just pulled himself from the nearest mirror when he saw us coming in. He looked bothered to have been pulled from basking in all his magnificent greatness and to be dealing with us plain commoners. Seriously, I slipped a little in the trail of EgoSlimeâ„¢ he left behind him.
Ben: So, is this place under new ownership or is it another restaurant all together?
EgoBoy: New ownership.
Ben: So the food is all the same?
EgoBoy: Same. Added more to the menu.
The guy couldn’t even be bothered to throw together a complete sentence with, like, verbs and adjectives or ANY RELEVANT INFORMATION. When we walked in it was instantly clear that this was NOT the same place. AT ALL. From the fancy new chairs that must have been crafted by the same people who make electric chairs, to the plasma screen TV’s playing Bollywood soap operas. The entire atmosphere felt wrong. Tight.
The food was twice as expensive for half as much that tasted half as good. They didn’t even HAVE the Ginger Chicken Tikka Masala. The menu is NOT the same, Pretty Boy. Not at all. The lamb samosas I’ve grown to love were LESS than half the size and we had to ask our waiter (who was a leftover from Pasand) for the sauce we’d ALWAYS gotten before. Not the same, Pretty Boy! Then!! When we ordered our food, we had to CHOOSE between rice or Nan. WHAT?! EVERY other Indian place I’ve EVER been to has ALWAYS included BOTH. BOTH! Now you want me to CHOOSE?! NOT THE SAME, PRETTY BOY!!
Our food was $10 more for Ben and myself than what it usually is when we have Cassidy with us and order extra rice and two more samosa’s. We finished everything in the table. When it was Pasand we’d have enough left over to feed Cassidy and myself lunch the next day.
Worst of all though I’m just SAD! I mean, if it were any other place we’d have probably walked in and enjoyed the meal. But we compared it all to what we LOVED. Maybe that wasn’t fair, but I REALLY loved Pasand. Everything about it. The man who always greeted us seemed HAPPY to see us. EXCITED that he got to share is good food with us. The food was DAMN GOOD and there was LOTS of it.
Pasand was one of the first places that really made San Jose feel like home to me. It was my favorite, a nice treat we got because we were broke back then and couldn’t afford to go out to eat every night. I have lots and lots and lots of places like that now. Lots and lots. San Jose IS home now and when I go to the town I grew up in I always feel a visitor and I can’t wait to get HOME to my familiar neighborhood and streets and restaurants and stores and friends and FAMILY. But a little part of me is mourning the loss of that first security blanket I had here.