The Grand Adventures in Hawa Hawa City (the complete lack of them, i.e)

What do you call an unfortunate soul who spends 2 days a half in Chicago and visits a grand total of 4 places, namely O’Hare airport, Cousin’s home, Office and Client Location?

A workaholic dullard? No

A lifeless loser? No

Krish Ashok? Yes.

And what’s worse, when he gets precisely 3 chances to eat out, he does so at

  • Mapo Chinese Restaurant, where I had what is undoubtedly not the world’s rarest and most unique dish – Hunan vegetabuh an flied lice
  • Fox and Hound, where I drank water, branded as Miller lite for some reason and ate an unhealthy form of Vengaaya bajji, called Onion rings.
  • California Pizza kitchen, where authentic deep-dish Chicago style pizza is not served.

But I did have fun watching yet another Tambram vegetarian family order food from a non-desi menu. There are 7 kinds of desi vegetarians in the US.

The Takenorisker

Because the fries are cooked in lard, the kitchen uses the same ladles for veggie and non-veggie food, the soup is cooked with leftover bones and yeah, this

“Salad please”


“Shall we go for Pnjaabi Buffet?” (For the uninitiated, Pnjaabi Buffet is the only form of desi cuisine popular in the US)

The Slightly Aventurous Takenorisker

Knows that most restaurants do have something entirely vegetarian on the menu.

“Ill have the 7-layer burrito please”

“Falafel sandwich please”

“6-inch veggie delite on Honey-oat please, with American cheese, and Honey-mustard dressing. Extra jalapenos. Thank you”

The Paranoid Tension Party

The kind that totally irritates waiters.

When ordering – “Is this meat? Is this non-vegetarian? No meat please. Wonly vegetarian.

When the dish arrives – “No meat right? Vegetarian? Sure? Lock kar diya jai?”

After a few morsels – “Waiter! What is this? Is this meat? No? Sure? It tastes like meat. How do I know? I just know. Sure? Ok.”

ps: A particularly nasty subtype of Paranoid Tension Party has the ugly habit of forcing non-vegetarians to order veggie food when eating out with them. And there is also The Thoondivuttufier whose aim in life is to disclose the presence of animal cells in every dish to paranoid tension parties. “Dei. Did you know that this sauce contains meat? Did you know that milk here is also non-veg? Cos cows are made to eat beef. Did you know Mexican beans contain ham?

The Dayoffweeker

“I will have the vegetable fa-jee-ta with jala-peen-os and taar-till-aas”

“Dei? Ennada? Veg-aa?” (Hey? What dude? Veg today?)

“Innikki Tuesday da”

“Oh. Ok. Hanumaan matteraa?”


The Kashtamizer

Is bold enough to order seemingly non-veg items and instruct the kitchen to de-nonvegize it.

“Can I have the Thai chicken pizza without chicken?”

“Can I have the Double-Quarter-Pounder with cheese, without the patties?”

“Can I have steak and mashed potato, without the steak?”

The Ultrakashtamizer

Is the most adventurous of the lot. Generally tends to create new menu items on the fly.

“Can I have the Baja Chalupa, without the beef, and add beans and onions instead?”

“Can I have the Pasta Neapolitana without ham, and could you add grilled onions, bell peppers and chilli flakes?”

The Almostnonveggie

Orders Pepperoni pizza, and removes pepperoni pieces by himself. Eats fries because it does not taste meaty. Enjoys the occasional soup if the meat pieces are not too visible. General philosophy is – Eat anything as long one does not know that it’s non-vegetarian.

So that was it. But amidst all the work pressure, I must mention that I did have some fun teaching my cousin’s kids Madras Tamizh. After all, what’s cuter than a 4 year old girl addressing her dad “Nainaaa. Epdi keera?” (Dear respectful father. How art thou? )