I’m sorry, I have yet another “the Nepali world is so small” story (that’s what happens when everyone seems to know each other!)
After our friend’s wedding we attended last Friday, P, D, KS and I drove back north together from Pennsylvania. D lives in the same apartment complex as us in Massachusetts (hence why he appears in half of our stories– or at least the ones involving food ;)), but we had to drop KS off in New York along the way.
We took our time leaving PA, then hit traffic as we approached and entered Manhattan, so by the time we arrived at KS’s apartment it was already late afternoon. Add an hour or so of tea drinking, snacking, and “chillaxing” (hey the computer didn’t autocorrect that word—I guess “chillaxing” is legitimate now!), and it was just about time for dinner.
“What to do?” when you are a ten minute drive from Jackson Heights on a Saturday night? Head to that New York-South Asian mecca in search of Nepali food. And what better place than The Himalayan Yak on Roosevelt Ave? I’ve discussed the restaurant before, so I don’t have to go in to too much detail, but the restaurant really has a nice ambiance. The brick walls, wooden handicraft art on the wall, the large number of Nepali patrons, and live Nepali music almost makes you feel like you are in a café in Thamel on the other side of the world.
The four of us headed over and put an hour’s worth of quarters into the parking meter. “I’m sure we will be here longer than an hour,” D prophesized, but we parked close to the restaurant, so I could always run out and add more.
P, KS and D ordered a series of appetizers—bhatmas ra chiura, at least two rounds of momos, sekuwa (meat), fish. I had veggie pakora—for which D teased me, “You come all the way to a Nepali restaurant and order Indian food?” and veggie/paneer “sizzler” platter. We ate and ate and ate. I added more quarters to the parking meter, and we sat and ate some more. It helped that the Manchester United/Barcelona game was playing in the restaurant, so P’s eyes were glued to the tv while chewing on fried fish and chicken.
KS had a Nepali high school friend who had recently transferred from work in London to Stamford, Connecticut, and KS had invited her to the restaurant. While P watched the game and we waited for KS’s friend to navigate the subway, the restaurant started to fill up with people—particularly a lot of twenty and thirty-something Nepalis.
I got up to use the restroom and when I got back to the table P was sitting next to a guy I had never seen before. Apparently they went to high school together back in KTM, and hadn’t seen each other since they both graduated and left the school, and here they were randomly bumping into each other at the Himalayan Yak. The friend introduced us to his Nepali wife, and P introduced me as his “wife”—-ooooohhh—–the newness of that word is still exciting! And the two chatted while I went to put even more quarters into the parking meter.
Shortly after I returned, another Nepali guy started to walk by our table toward the restroom, did a double take, then yelled out, “Hey D! Hey man! Haven’t seen you in a long time!” Apparently at the other end of the restaurant a bunch of D’s high school friends had gathered unexpectedly, and then randomly ran into him. D was carted off from our table, and we wound up losing him for the rest of the night (he had to take a bus back to MA the following morning).
KS’s friend showed up and P, KS, her high school friend and myself wrapped up our two and a half hour long dinner. P said good bye to his friend, and we parted ways with D, who was now sitting at the head of a table of about ten people, and we left Himalayan Yak just as our quarter stash was about to run out.
We dropped KS and her friend off, picked up our dog from KS’s apartment, and P and I drove the final three hours back to MA.
You never know who you might meet on a Saturday night at the Himalayan Yak.