Himalayan Spice, Atlanta GA

Last week, when I was talking about Chai Pani, I referenced the upscale presentation of the typical Indian restaurant that we most often see in America, the tuxedo-n-curry type of business. I hope that I was very clear that my statements in no way belittled the food itself, which is frequently very good, but expressed a malaise with the tedious predictability of the dining experience, from knowing what you’ll find on the menu to what you’ll see on the walls, to what you’ll hear played over the PA system: polite, unthreatening, softly played music, the sort of gentle sitar pieces, occasionally with plaintive vocal accompaniment, that you might hear while getting a massage. This is why the raucous and joyful cacaphony that we now associate with Bollywood soundtracks was such a pleasant surprise to me; at least two generations in this country were convinced that all Indian music sounds like Ravi Shankar and his pals tuning their instruments at the start of the Concert for Bangla Desh, when there was so much more to learn. Continue reading “Himalayan Spice, Atlanta GA”