I was told, “be open to India and she will open herself to you in the most beautiful of ways. So after a two-day plane trip and long airport lines I took my first steps on to Indian soil and I was open.
I took it all in; the heat, crowds, languages, textiles, city rhythm and the smell of the air that was a subtle mix of roses, incense, humans, motor exhaust and spices. It was wonderful. That cornucopia, so unique to India herself was an exhilarating introduction to what was in store. I was a guest in India for the first time. As a lover of all things cultural and culinary, I was anxiously awaiting my first “street food” (or drink in this case), so first stop was for an afternoon Chai, prided in this Kolkata neighborhood to be from one of the best Chai Wallahs around, from a little stall he called Haryana. Now I have had my shares of Chai tea, from heralded tea blends to So. Cal’s finest in ‘Little India’ and nothing, ever, had tasted like this.
Was it just because I was there and excited? Was it the little clay cups in which they serve it and then ceremoniously smash on the ground afterwards to dissolve backs into the earth? Was it the way in which the chai wallah churned out the tea with such contented perfection sitting there in ritualistic fashion for hours on end? It is possible all of these things added to the mystique of this happy little clay cup filled with pure “awesome”, but it wasn’t everything. This was special, there was a depth and richness to this tea in which layers revealed themselves. I swore I would never go back to any boxed or powdered chai again. I needed to learn this and bring it home, so I did, to the best of my abilities.
SO… here it is in our Glendale coffee bar for all of our enjoyment, the not so secret blend of spices steeped in milk. For something that is as common to the folks of India as a cup of coffee is to us, the individuality in each cup is indicative of the care in which goes into it, the right amount of spice, the right time of steeping. It is a little intuitive and a whole lot of YUM!
Come in and have some!