After a grueling week of work, I was in a mood for an immediate divorce from the mad grind of being attached to the computer. Friday night, and I had met with two friends for dinner. Believe me when I say that there was no slow easing out of what was a maniacal work week. No, it was an immediate escape. We started with a flight of whiskey cocktails, moved into indulging a few entrées, and then wrapped up with a flight of desserts and coffee. Let’s just say that as soon as my head touched my pillow when I got home, I slept as peacefully as I did when I was gassed before having my wisdom teeth pulled. Oh, that was NOT a bad experience.
Well, wouldn’t you believe that I awoke with an angry appetite the next morning? Being a bachelor, my refrigerator is empty, with the exception of my Brita bottle of water. There is no way to stop the bitter grumble of my belly with nothing in my refrigerator to ease the growling. I had such a hankering for some Indian food and not wanting to go to Devon Avenue, I was beginning to fret. Ah, Google, and it’s display of some Nepalese restaurant north of where I live, I had a recommendation in hand. So, it was off to Himshikar Restaurant at 6031 N. Cicero Avenue in the Sauganash neighbourhood of Chicago.
I arrived at noon, shortly after the restaurant had opened for business. It seems to be my luck that when I get to restaurants, they are teeming with patrons and wait times are long. With Himshikar Restaurant not being in the midst of pedestrian chaos and congestion, I had my pick of a seat and a menu in hand. Having made my selection from the menu, I pulled out my camera, made the necessary adjustments for the lighting, and sat in preparation for finally putting an end to the incessant grumbling of my belly. When I had finished a few test shots of the complementary papadum, one of the owners came over and talked to me about my Nikon D90. He, too, is a photographer and uses a Nikon D800. Talk about different people finding a common ground.
For a starter, I had shrimp til tinka. Shrimp lightly fried and skewered on sticks sat long enough for me capture their impressions for the blog. And then I left teeth impressions on all six of them. There was actually a wow factor to the shrimp that I always experience at Japanese and seafood restaurants. The fact that they came on sticks had already put me in the mind of having yakitori. The flavour of each shrimp, without any excessive seasoning, made them all a hit. Then came aloo makhani, basmati rice, and poori. Having had chicken makhani, paneer makhani, and daal makhani countless times before, I wanted to try it with potatoes instead. There are not enough words to describe how satisfying each mouthful was. Because I had ordered the aloo makhani spicy, there was a proper kick to it that the rice and poori balanced out fantastically. Although I was left speechless as to what words to find to describe how much I was in love with my lunch offerings, my belly apparently was experiencing the same sentiments — because it has finally shut up.
Himshikar Restaurant is one of those gems that surprises you by leaps and bounds. With it not being lost among the Little India mall of shops, I had no idea that it had been in business for a little over two years. And I have said countless times that you cannot go into just any American restaurant and engage the staff in conversation with the greatest of ease. The food was out of this world, but I spent a great deal of time having conversation with one of the owners who sat across from me at an adjoining table and launched into banter very casually. It ceased to feel like I had gone to a restaurant, but rather to someone’s home who I knew well. I don’t have a problem going to friends’ homes, which means that I will return to Himshikar Restaurant regularly for all the good things I may not get in Nepal — that is, until I make that almighty trip abroad.