For my birthday, I wanted to eat somewhere different. I wanted to break free from the same old, same old, where we eat the foods we know, the kids try to convince us that burgers are health food, and we walk away thinking, “Yeah, it was good, but…”
So we decided to try another one of Haddonfield’s newish offerings. Cross Culture Indian Cuisine is an understated but elegantly decorated restaurant located right on Kings Highway in the heart of Haddonfield. We decided to go right after school – which for Eilis meant 4 o’clock because of play practice. By the time we drive over there and find a place to park, it’s about 4:20, and even though the sign on the door says “Open”, the dimly lit restaurant has no one inside. We stand, we pace, and the kids are even a little bit loud, so if someone is in the back in the kitchen, surely they’ll hear us. Just as we were about to turn and leave, someone pops his head up from a booth. Do they siesta in India?
Our sleep deprived host walks to the front of the restaurant, and points us in the direction of a booth, where we go to make ourselves comfortable. He comes over to offer us the sparkling water on the table, which Jim accepts even though I don’t drink sparkling water, and we will soon discover that neither do the children. No worries. I order an iced tea, the kids each get a soda, and the world continues to turn. Whew.
I make the executive decision that we will order appetizer samplers so that we can get a taste of everything they offer, and then we will choose entrees that are typical of other Indian restaurants, so if this experiment with a new cuisine works with our kids, we’ll be able to order the same items in other restaurants and compare.
Our first appetizer is the mixed Tandoori grill. The fish tikka masala is moist and delicious, and the lamb in the mixed grill gets eaten up very quickly. The girls begin tasting some of the spice in the food, and Eilis immediately starts balking about things being too spicy for her, the kid that could eat her father under the table with things like General Tso’s chicken, which is too spicy for me. Overall, the grilled sampler is tasty and well cooked.
I much preferred the vegetarian sampler to the protein platter, as good as everything on the mixed grill platter was. Vegetable samosas were crisp and delicious, filled with a delectably seasoned vegetarian stuffing. The pakoras, assorted fried vegetables, were flavorful and a great way to get kids to eat their vegetables! The girls happily dipped their veggies into the mint, coriander, and yogurt dipping sauce, and then they found the other sauce was sweet. Fried and sweet – a winning combination. Granuaile surprised me by how much she ate and enjoyed the appetizers – they were really a full meal for her!
Up next, the Bread Basket