Trip to Torrance, in which our hero reflects upon spice, encounters Mr. Jaggery in the Bartha House and triumphs over appetite and desire once again
23906 Crenshaw Boulevard (200' north of Lomita)
On a long ago day, Youndo had spoken in haunted language of a small shop selling big noodles--Sue's Kitchen in Torrance. En route to La Española for three types of pimenton powder, our hero arrested his progress long enough to glance into Sue's determine that the menu showed no accomodation to a steadfast vegetarian, then strode north twenty paces to the door of a perfumed shop. Bags of jasmine rice occupied the center of the room, Bollywood DVDs and videocassettes were piled to the ceiling and cardboard boxes whose labels read "Nigella," "Garam Masala," "Mace," "Turmeric," "Black Cardamom," "Ooorood," "Cinnamon" and ten thousand other names stood in ranks beneath cans of Chinese longan, Ceylon tea, rosy taro and okra of many nations. As our hero gathered his plunder,the gentleman proprietor fixed like a scarecrow behind his counter intuited his deeper need and spoke. "Vegetarian lunch: two pounds of food: five dollars." Done. Minutes later, perched on a windowfront cinderblock wall, our intrepid gourmand unrolled paratha, spooned fluffy rice and vegetable stews onto it and, jaws and tongue in motion, was transported to another realm. The food was breathtaking. Full of chunks of potato, long simmered peppers and unrecognizable scrotal tenderness, generously spiced, acrunch with minute dals, the vegetable curry excited the palate and brought forth sighs of bliss. Because they had, unlike so many foods offered in the likes of Akbar and Nizam, refused to be reduced to a homogeneous paste, the cauliflower and potato stew and the curry met the principal base requirement of our hero and because they had been made with love and wisdom in a cramped kitchen off of the grocery store's exhibition space, they transported their consumer to the arms of Shiva.
Never have I had better.