Last night, Greg and I went for dinner at a local Indian dosa place in the far reaches of our ‘hood.
I used to go to this restaurant about once a month or so when my friend Melissa lived nearby. She was home during the day, so I’d walk up to her place and we’d go for dosa then do some shopping at the mall. When she moved to New York state, I had little reason to be in that part of the ‘hood, and hadn’t been back to this restaurant in a couple of years.
One of the things I always ordered was a pineapple uppatham. Similar to a dosa in that it was like a huge airy crepe, this was made by mixing chunks of pineapple into the batter before it was cooked. But it seems that I was the only one who ever ordered it and the owner took it off the menu during the time we were regulars there. There were plenty of other great things on the menu so it wasn’t a huge deal, but it’s always been my favourite.
Last night when we were there, the owner came over to take our order and recognized me. “You used to order the pineapple uppatham,” she said, “I have pineapple today, you want me to make one for you?”
I was delighted, of course – not just that I was getting my favourite dish that was no longer on the menu, but that she had even remembered me.
I relished every bite, dipping the airy crepe and chunks of pineapple through the spicy coconut chutney that accompanied the uppatham.
As we finished, she came to take away our trays. “I have pineapple pudding today… would you like some?” Sure, why not, we figured, even though we were incredibly full. She brought us a dish of stewed pineapple, cooked down in a sugar syrup similar to what gulab jamun comes in, spiced with cardamom and coloured bright orange like jalebi. It was fabulous.
“You want some more to take home?” she asked as we cleaned the bowl. She explained that the stewed pineapple was a dish that she had made especially for her family and staff – it wasn’t on the regular menu. This was why she had the leftover pineapple with which to make my uppatham, and she even said that she had thought of me earlier in the day when she had been making the dessert.
At this point, we were getting a little freaked out – both by the odd coincidence of me walking into her restaurant on the very day she had been thinking of me and had leftover pineapple, and that maybe she thought of me as some kind of crazy pineapple lady. Because she really wanted me to have some more of this dessert.
We ended up bringing home two servings of the stewed pineapple dessert. I’m about to have it with yogurt for breakfast.
After this, though, a moratorium on pineapple for a while. You see, I actually bought a huge pineapple last week at the grocery store, so Greg and I have been eating pineapple almost every day for the past week – it’s been in smoothies, grilled and served atop rice pudding, and thrown into stir-fries. Crazy pineapple lady is pineappled out.