Here’s another thing that happened while we were in Asheville. While we were enjoying a little picnic lunch on Wall Street, I noticed the big sign for Chai Pani on the back of the Battery Park building where they’re located. I had planned to have lunch at Mediterranean Restaurant, and almost abandoned that plan to go have a big indulgence at my favorite Indian place instead. Then I remembered that I’d be having supper at Chai Pani’s Atlanta-area store in Decatur just a few days later and came to my senses.
So in November, the good people at Urbanspoon reached out to Atlanta’s awesome blogging community to hang out and talk shop for a while. Chai Pani hosted us and gave us the chance to sample some of their appetizers and a few of their cocktails. We had a terrific evening and enjoyed catching up with friends and meeting a few new people. A couple of awesome Prime users were present, as were the writers behind some of the most entertaining blogs in the region: Atlanta Restaurant Blog, Bella Vivere, Food Near Snellville, Friday Date Night, Hot Dish Review, and Spatialdrift. Ignore ‘em at your peril.
Meherwan and Molly Irani opened this second store on March 1 of this year. I’ve enjoyed having a couple of really good meals here, and wrote about this terrific restaurant already, but I’m happy to make another opportunity to pen a little about this place. Check out Friday Date Night’s story (linked below). Like my daughter did back in March, Roger and Eve came in a little skeptical but left very pleased. Chai Pani is Indian food for people who raise an eyebrow at the old – and often very boring – tuxedo-n-curry version of Indian cooking that dominates the southeastern US. This is upbeat, loud, and fun, with small dishes to share, exciting flavors that tantalize rather than dominate, and food that does not overpower guests with smothering, monochrome tastes. It’s food that expands on preconceived notions, subverting them with a smile.
We sampled four of their dishes. They brought us some excellent kale pakoras (fritters made with a chickpea batter), along with an order of their signature sev potato dahi puri, and then followed that with their butter chicken sandwich and their famous okra fries. I liked everything. The okra fries, well, I just wanted to lick my fingers when I was done with those.
I love this place. I love that it’s here, so that when I’m in Asheville, I can eat at new places and not worry about missing out.
I seriously appreciate Urbanspoon hosting this event. Mind you, I had to growl my way through the traffic light at Ponce and Highland being out, and a stalled car in the right lane of Ponce two miles later, but it sure was good to kick back with so many great people and enjoy some incredible food for a few hours. Chai Pani laid on their expected excellent service and everybody left in good spirits. And hey! if you’re a food or restaurant blogger in the Atlanta area, keep an eye out for future Urbanspoon get-togethers. You should totally use one of these little blue and yellow address boxes like the one that you see below anyway, but even if you aren’t (yet), drop me a line and I’ll see whether you can be invited to join us at the next event down the line.
(Naturally, this was a media event and our meal was complementary. It’s our policy to always note when we’ve received our meal without charge. If you would like to invite us to your restaurant’s media events, please drop Grant a line at firstname.lastname@example.org .)
Other blog posts about Chai Pani:
If you’re only reading these chapters, then you are missing part of the story! We have a fantastic Facebook page, where you’ll be able to follow along with much more than just links to chapters here, but additional information about our favorite places, including PR announcements, links when our friends-in-blogging visit them, and other follow-up news about the places we’ve been when we can find it. Give us a like, make sure you set it up to receive announcements, and tell your friends to come see us!