It’s Like Another Country


…but not.  In determining what I should do on my three day weekend, I randomly chose Flushing, Queens from my file of clippings.  This method, as scientifically sound as my recipe pruning – stick my hand in the file and grab – resulted in a review for Temple Canteen, the cafeteria in the basement of the Hindu Temple Society of North America.  A twenty minute walk from the end of the line on the 7 train, I was starving by the time I got to the temple.  

Upon the recommendation in the NY Times review, I got the ghee roast dosa, a mango lassi, and to subside my hunger, a small bag of chat, sold in ziploc bags by the counter like potato chips, all for $6.50.  The canteen has a rec room look, big and white and plain, with only a big screen TV in the corner airing NY1 and ganesha presiding over the room.  There is a gift store, and of course, the kitchen, both offset from the room of folding tables and chairs.  Surprisingly full of families at 3pm, the kitchen was active, with a cook announcing orders when they were up on a not-so-sophisticated speaker system, giving the impression of being in a retirement home bingo game.  Same said cook gave me the thumbs up when I picked up my plate, a giant fried pancake/cone.  He was not wrong.  In essence, what I had was a lentil flour crepe laden with butter.  So pervasive with butter – it smelled like butter, tasted like butter, left butter on my fingers – it was almost like a butter raclette, a crisp lacy wafer of butter.  The dosa came with a coconut/cilantro chutney, and a spicier dal for dipping, but for every bite with, I had one without for more butter bliss.  

Walking back to the train on Bowne Street, I picked up some pan de queso from a Columbian bakery, and some spiced tofu and black beans from a Korean takeout kitchen, a “catering paradise”.  Not only did I go to India, but stopped by Colombia and Korea too.  All within 20 minutes of the 7.


Temple Canteen at Hindu Temple Society of North America

143-09 Holly Avenue at Bowne Street

Flushing, Queens


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