It is clear now that my changing tongue has taken a deep liking to the divine spices, creams and flavors of Indian cuisine. As a child I dreaded the days curried chicken would slide its way onto my dinner plate. For years I held a strong ode to the goat - that mutton would be the only vessel by which curry shall ever again find its way inside me.

Little did I realize that my fight against chicken curry was onset by the ‘very Jamaican way’ it was first and consistently being served to me. If you -like me- grew up in a quintessential Jamaican household, you may recall being served the whole or near-whole pieces of chicken parts dressed up as curried chicken. This as opposed to the perfectly cut portions of pure boneless AND skinless meat cooked down in cloves and coconut curry sauce… nonetheless served alongside steaming white or basmati rice. This sweet method of traditional Punjabi cuisine of which I’ve been newly introduced, has in a way changed my life. I get it now… the reason actual adults budget in 3 course 4 hour dinner dates into their schedules and accounts. Something about driving my fingers into bowls of heavy sauce and meat and seasoning shared with a human I actually really like as we dance between endless conversations about nothing and everything - all while comfortably seated amongst the flavors and influences of Burma and Indonesia.

Butter chicken - the California roll of Indian cuisine- remains my favorite, as I am still fairly a newbie. However, upon recommendation we also went for a serving of the Tandoori chicken tikka in tomato and cream with dry fengureek leaves; apparently the subtle second base dish for newcomers like me and my friend Jahbari. We downed it all with a bottle of appropriately priced Cupcake chardonnay wine served to us right on cue by the overtly competent staff of the Nirvanna Indian Restaurant and my new favorite place. Ravi, Anil, Mahek...we WILL be back…