Sunday, February 8, 2015

Best Friend Friday No. 18: Sitar India Buffet

Two days ago on February 7, Lauren and I were abruptly awoken to an accidental fire alarm ringing loudly throughout our apartment building a little before 8 in the morning. I know what you're thinking, you're not awake by 8 AM? Well, no. On Fridays we sleep in as late as we want because it's Lauren's first "weekend" day, and we usually stay up pretty late on Thursday night/Friday morning. It turns out we're not the only ones who typically sleep in late on Fridays either. After quickly changing into jeans and throwing on jackets and shoes, we found ourselves standing out in the cold amongst a handful of apartment neighbors still in their pajamas. This wasn't the first accidental fire "drill" we participated in, so we took the time to change into daytime clothes, which I know is a bad habit to get into in case of a true fire alarm.

I wasn't planning on going into detail about this disturbing wake up call, but the truth is, despite its complete annoyance, it allowed me to accomplish more throughout the day. Luckily I didn't go back to sleep after that fire alarm because less than an hour later, we had to rush down three flights of stairs and back out into the cold for another accidental alarm. And yes, a fire truck came both times. Lauren always jokes that the fire department is going to become so desensitized to our apartment building's alarms, but fortunately they have to come every single time.

Because Lauren has class Monday-Thursday, I'm in charge of preparing meals those days. Lauren is responsible for Friday-Sunday meals, and every "weekend" morning Lauren makes pancakes for breakfast, which I highly encourage! This Friday wasn't any different. I happily enjoyed my chocolate chip pancake, although I had to top it with butter rather than almond butter (I LOVE almond butter) because I'm running extremely low on my tree nut necessity. Add some maple syrup on top, and the deliciousness of my pancake made up for the utter annoyance of the previous fire alarms.

Way back in October I dropped off some donations at a nearby thrift store. Since then I had been wanting to go back to shop. As one of my goals this month is to check out the local thrifting scene, I made Lauren accompany me early in the afternoon. I was really hoping to find some inexpensive basic frames to start my art/gallery wall, but no such luck. I truly miss the abundance of thrift stores in Sacramento and the vast array of items they sale.

Since we were already kind of in the area, Lauren wanted to explore a grocery store that is I guess common in the East, as she's heard that it's cheaper than typical stores. I didn't really know what to expect, but I entered with an open mind, hoping to score some good deals and/or use this as a good excuse to try new products. After spending a good half hour in Aldi's my take away is this: they do offer a handful of name brand products at a slightly reduced cost, but most of their items are off brands that are significantly cheaper than you would normally find their counterparts elsewhere. The checkout lines take a lot longer to get through because people fill their carts up to the brim. So if you have time to spare and don't care about name brand products, then this may be the place for you. I wouldn't mind doing more grocery shopping here, but its location is definitely out of the way and there are a lot of items we purchase on a weekly basis that Aldi's doesn't carry. That being said though, we did walk away with rice cakes, trail mix, and Mamba candy!

Several months ago Lauren and I got flu shots at CVS. Part of their promotion was a 20% your total purchase coupon. We like getting each other presents for every single holiday that exists, and since no one else (except my mom) gives us Valentine's Day presents, we pick a few items out for each other. We decided to venture over to CVS to use a coupon and pick out our own Valentine's Day treats (which we then make the other person buy and gift to the other). It's a good system. We're allowed  to pick out anything in the store, and my selections were mini Oreo's and cinnamon sugar pita chips.
We were welcomed back to our apartment with an excellent mail day. We received Target and REI purchases, a very belated holiday card from my family, and I got my Secret Valentine Exchange gift from Fiona! How cute is that?
The highlight of the day though, and also perhaps the worst part was going to an Indian food buffet for dinner. Lauren and I both love Indian food, and we're very keen on the idea of buffets. After talking to several classmates and doing some research, Lauren came across Sitar India and was eager to try their dinner buffet. Of course, I happily obliged. I was really impressed that they actually label what is vegan (and gluten free) and they had a vegan dessert. Lauren had to remind me to take a picture of my plate, but I was already halfway done with my second servings by the time I took my phone out, so this picture doesn't do the buffet justice. Sorry about that. At least it's better than no picture, am I right? I stuffed myself with veggie samosa, rice, chana masala, cabbage/veggie curry, dal, kidney bean curry, and naan. Even though I was so full after two large plates, I made myself stuff down some dessert as well. The dessert was surprisingly delicious! I don't remember what it was called, but it's made out of carrots, coconut milk, almond, raisins, and cardamon. It was seriously amazing. And to make the buffet even better, you get an unlimited amount of sweet mango juice! Lauren and I left, completely stuffed. There were several times we truly thought we were going to be sick. I couldn't even talk about food the entire walk home in fear that I may see my dinner a second time. Despite feeling super sick afterwards, I'll probably never learn my lesson and keep indulging in buffets. I really don't go that often, I promise! I'm sure Lauren and I will frequent Sitar India again and revel in all its glory!

This Best Friend Friday was all about trying out new places. While I'm definitely a creature of habit and could probably eat the same thing everyday, it's good to explore and be semi-adventurous. Thanks for trying new-to-us places with me, bestie!