Published Dec 26, 2006

Right now, lying on my back on my bed in my hotel room, my bloated stomach in the air, I fear I must be channeling Nero Wolfe. Well, insofar as I’m overindulging, not insofar as I’m solving crimes. And I must also say that I am killing the orchids I have, so maybe I’m not that much like Nero Wolfe. Except that I’m currently approaching hemispherical in profile, thanks to my most recent, outrageously large, dinner.

Usually this isn’t a problem. I’m a gourmet, yes, but not so much a gourmand. On my father’s side of the family, the body seems to regard the sensation of “full” as nothing more than a mild suggestion. On the other hand, on my mother’s side, the line between “full” and “feeling miserable” is but microns thick. I take after my mother’s side and am therefore averse to overeating.

Holiday-dependent gluttony hasn’t been a temptation either. Until a few years ago, when we went to Houston for Christmas we accepted that we were giving up any particular hopes of getting a good meal. This was true even back when we lived in Baltimore; Houston offered very little in the way of culinary delights. There was the good old Confederate House, which offered two kinds of fish and four kinds of meat, all in cream sauce. Unfortunately, we couldn’t go there because they could tell my mother was Jewish and so snuck a cigarette butt in her coffee. There was the Stables, which served mediocre cuts of meat, cooked just right1, with big baked potatoes on the side. And… well, that was about it. I guess there was undifferentiated Tex-Mex as well. Which was ok. I mean, we came to Houston to see my grandma, not to gourmandize2.

But, in the last few years, the side objective of eating well has slowly become achievable. And, this year, we’ve done exceptionally well at it. We got exceptional Sicilian food at Arcodoro and excellent American at Pic. There was reasonably authentic Vietnamese at Vietopia, a pretty good dinner at the hotel’s restaurant, Olivette. Heck, we even did well at Escalante, and our old standard The State Grille. But maybe the best find — and my downfall tonight — was at light-Indian Kiran’s.

I had a stewed lamb with three kinds of peppers. My father had an incredible, cardamom-y, spicy-but-not-too-spicy Vindaloo. My mother had maybe the best Tandoori lamb I’ve ever had. We started with a fried onion that showed how unawesome the Awesome Blossom actually is. The portions were massive, and I stuffed my face with them. And then it hurt to just walk to the car. Now it hurts to sit here an type. I think I’m going to lie down and take some pressure off my innards. After all, I’ve got to rest up for tomorrow’s overindulgence. Peace.3

1 That is, very very rare. “Passed quickly through a warm kitchen,” as they say.

2 I do not believe this is a word.

3 This is the way you close an entry when watching the Boondocks marathon on your hotel room TV.