South Indian Food with the Mayor of Downtown

As you know I LOVE my grub, and admittedly, I sometimes feel like a pretentious poseur because there are days when I am humbled and I learn so much about what I am about to eat. Modesty and uncertainty are not things I love to acknowledge in my life, so when the casual moments arise when I recognize that I know little and understand even less, it feels just as good as being right. This feeling was especially pronounced on Saturday night at the party of our favorite downtown friend, Arun.

Arun was celebrating his 10th year in LA and this particular get together had more significance and substance than just any random party. Arun’s family is a strong supporter of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society and to help raise awareness (and thankfully, my South Indian food knowledge), Arun’s mom, Meenakshi, hosted a dinner. You don’t get very many opportunities to taste South Indian food in LA and Meenakshi made everything herself. We always hear about Meenakshi’s delicious dinners, but since Arun never invites us to his house (and believe me, he’s doing the right thing), we deemed it mandatory to attend this dinner.

By the end of the night I had no complaints. Ms. Carina was sick so she throughly enjoyed the lentil soup with clarified butter and rice dumplings (a mental hiccup is not allowing me to recall the name of this rice concoction, but she loved it). I, on the other hand, REALLY enjoyed the meatballs. In fact, I was left wondering how I survived 26 years without them. They were great. The chickpea vidai was also a fried packet of fantastic.

It’s been almost a year since we met Arun (April 15th, to be exact) at the Royal Clayton’s for trivia night, and since then we have become very good friends. Whenever we go out with Arun, he seems to know everyone and we always end up playing the six degrees of Arun Bacon. Thusly, he is referred to by his close friends as “The Mayor of Downtown.” There’s absolutely no arguing with the logic of that candidacy, so when his friends decided to pitch in for t-shirts that support the incumbent, we enthusiastically joined the “Arun for Mayor of Downtown” fan club. Below is the good-looking campaign team in their tees.

Carina has always said she’s Asian (not to mention a gay male and 50 years old) in her heart, and now I’m beginning to believe I am a bit Indian in my heart. After an Indian lunch in Pasadena today (nothing of which compared to Saturday’s meal), Arun’s friend, Roni, from The Band From actually wrote this to us on Twitter:

@uncouthgourmand i’m convinced you only eat Indian food!

I think she’s right. I’m planning my next vacation and maybe it will be India. I will keep you posted as I am sure I will need some local recommendations.

Many thanks to Arun and his mama, Meenakshi, for expanding the circumference of my South Indian food knowledge. If you can donate to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, please do so. Your UG girls will most definitely have your first drink if you do.

Since South Indian food is rare in LA, there may be another charity dinner in the near future. Your UG girls love you so much that we’ll most definitely keep you posted.

And lastly, cheers to Arun! Here’s to another 10 years.


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