Tuesday's snow quickly became this icy slushy rain that continued into Wednesday with additional rain and snow. Puddles covered most of my area along Furnace Brook Parkway. Not a surprise at all, because the last snow storm dumped enough snow that most of the verges and almost all of the drainage grates are still covered by the stuff. There is almost no place for the water to go. On my way home, I minced my way over the icy patches and stomped through slushy puddles like a five year old, reveling in my water resistant boots.
Yesterday's weather did not make for a picture perfect day. But Monday? Martin Luther King Jr. Day is supposed to be about service and thinking about race relations in our country and what we can do as individuals. Sadly, it is not something I normally think about. Instead, I used the day as an honest to goodness date (a cheap one too) with my husband.
We had a Groupon for Mantra, so we decided to make a day of it. There were errands (I picked up a battery for my Pokewalker, an ink cartridge for our printer, and a sweater comb to remove the pills from my Ravenclaw scarf), but the bulk of the time we spent in two places: Mantra and the New England Aquarium.
At Mantra, I had a vegetarian tasting menu, which included two vegetarian entrees, poori, rice pallau, samosa, salad and mulligatawny soup. Yum!
My new iPod has a surprisingly good camera, so I snapped a couple of blurry (but less blurry than with our normal camera) shots. The close up of the poori was too funny not to share.
I have made most of the Indian seen here or reasonable equivalents over the past few years, but my poori have always been pretty sad. I think there is either a flaw in my kneading/shaping technique or my frying technique, because usually they don't puff up like this. Horrible for me, but completely delicious. I have leftovers during the week and a desire to perfect a mulligatawny soup for when I am home.
One of the saddest things about moving away from Somerville was the lack of Indian in the Braintree Quincy area. I know of one restaurant on the Southeast Expressway that isn't too hard to get to, but we don't go often and delivery to our area is not really available without spending an arm and a leg on fees, so I enjoy Indian when I get it or break down and make my own. Maybe it is time to make my own again. It reheats so well for lunches too.
Dessert was a khulfi that I shared with my husband. I feel like something was a little off, because I said khulfi and could have sworn that I got vanilla ice cream instead. I'm willing to give them the benefit of the doubt, but I am going to shove khulfi into my ice cream project this year.
My one complaint about Mantra was that the service seemed unreasonably slow. There were maybe 10 people there, most of whom were eating off of the buffet (which we couldn't do on the Groupon). It took us about 1.5 hours for our meal, which less of a problem for me because my meal included appetizer and soup and more of a problem for my husband who started off hungry and was waiting most of that time.
At the aquarium, we warmed up (saying it was brisk is like saying that it is a 180 degrees, but it is a dry heat) and wondered around, visiting some of my favorite exhibits. We were there in time for one of the penguin feedings and it was super cute watching the penguins line up for their bit of fish. Some of the penguins were so energetic that if I didn't know better I would think that they were five year olds on pixie sticks. They were swimming around super fast and leaping out of the water like tiny feathery dolphins.
We were also there in time for the feeding at the top of the Giant Ocean tank. The talk there is really not geared to anyone who pays a modicum of attention, because the talk goes like this: Over in that corner is Myrtle, the green sea turtle, who gets jealous if we feed the other fish and not her. She eats lettuce, broccoli and brussel sprouts. The other fish and turtles eat fish, shrimp which are in blocks, and squid. Yadda, yadda, yadda. Any questions? What do the sting rays eat? What do the other turtles eat? What do the sharks eat? What do the fish eat?
It is easily the same question being asked 10 or 15 times. Now granted most of the people asking were young children, so I am willing to cut them some slack, but some of them were adults my age who either didn't pay attention during the talk or just forget what she said five minutes before.
We left the giant ocean tank and went to my favorites! The cuttlefish. Cuttlefish don't have a huge life expectancy, but it was still a surprise when we got there and saw baby cuttlefish (or at the very least very small newer cuttlefish). I love cuttlefish so much that I have Hero System character (my villain in an upcoming game) based on a combination of cuttlefish (in general) and Pfeffer's Flamboyant Cuttlefish. We weren't the only ones crushing on the cuttlefish. There was a zoologist there making her friend wait while she squee'd over the tank full of cuttlefish.
I took about 100 photos at the aquarium and the rest of the day and at least 3 or 4 videos of the cuttlefish (this one was short, apparently I did not upload my 48 seconds of cuttlefish swimming). I butted against the limit on my Flickr account, so now I get to decide if I want to pay for a pro account so I can share my cuttle-love and my random photos.
On the way home I was in a completely silly mood and chortling about the idea of knitting a balaclava for a cuttlefish. It's not quite as far fetched as it seems, because I have a plush cuttlefish from one of my first trips to the aquarium more than 9 years ago. Still silly and seems as much fun today as it did then. Probably a sign of madness, but if so, it is at least a happy way to be mad.