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Feb 10th
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Spice Island Specialties

dining_PearlofOcean0709Pearl of the Ocean serves well-seasoned Sri Lankan cuisine

Sri Lanka, the Resplendent Island, has been called “The Pearl of the Indian Ocean.” With miles of coastline, it is home to coconut palms, fruit trees, rice paddies, and true cinnamon. Using ingredients such as these, Pearl of the Ocean brings healthy Sri Lankan cuisine to Water Street.

This new restaurant moved into the space previously occupied by Sri. Glass-covered tablecloths bear colorful hand-appliquéd elephants, and green plants and cut flowers dot the room. Framed tourism posters hang from walls, including a photograph of Sigiriya, a monstrous magma rock jutting 600 feet above the lush plain, topped with remains of an

ancient palace.

The mid-day menu, which quickly accommodates short lunch hours, features entrées with two, three or four items ($8.50, $10.50, and $12.50). All are vegan except for Chicken Curry (add $2).

I sipped a custard-colored Mango Lassi ($3.50), a slightly sweet blend of yogurt and mango pulp. Its soothing dairy base would tame the spicy meal that would follow.

Soon, the cumin-scented combination platter arrived. Mangos topped with sliced almonds were stewed in a sweet sauce with onions until soft like warm chutney. The spicy potatoes dotted with black mustard seeds were delightfully fiery, seasoned with chilies and spices. Tender, skinless curried chicken thigh was cooked with savory aromatics.

Liberal use of turmeric gave the spicy legume dhal and piquant long grains of tender ginger rice a bright buttercup yellow hue. The topping of salty shredded carrot salad bestowed its own snappy bite. I dipped the cumin-studded pappadam, which is like a tortilla, but made of lentil flour, paper-thin, and crisp, into the sweet and sour tamarind condiment.

The dinner menu is expansive. Seasonal fish is topped with coconut sauce, chicken is cooked with spiced cream in Chicken Tikka Masala, and lamb with roasted curry powder is bathed in an almond-based sauce. Noteworthy also, the giant jackfruit, indigenous to Sri Lanka, is simmered with spices, while attractively-shaped lotus root is cooked with coconut milk.


Pearl of the Ocean, 736 Water St., Santa Cruz, 457-2350. Serving lunch and dinner Tuesday through Sunday, 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. Closed Mondays. Visit www.srirestaurant.com
Comments (1)Add Comment
My favorite
written by Yiannis, March 08, 2013
This is the best restaurant in santa cruz. Indian, vegetarian, dinner, lunch, appitizer, hand made bread, comfort food chef kids friendly, small plates. MMMMMM

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Heart Me Up

In defense of Valentine’s Day

 

“be(ing) of love (a little) more careful”—e.e. cummings

Wednesday (Feb. 10) is Ash Wednesday, when Lent begins. Friday (Feb. 12) is Lincoln’s 207th birthday. Sunday is Valentine’s Day. On Ash Wednesday, with foreheads marked with a cross of ashes, we hear the words, “From dust thou art and unto dust thou shalt return.” Reminding us that our bodies, made of matter, will remain here on Earth when we are called back. It is our Soul that will take us home again. Lent offers us 40 days and nights of purification in preparation for the Resurrection (Easter) festival (an initiation) and for the Three Spring Festivals (at the time of the full moon)—Aries, Taurus, Gemini. The New Group of World Servers have been preparing since Winter Solstice. The number 40 is significant. The Christ (Pisces World Teacher) was in the desert for 40 days and 40 nights prior to His three-year ministry. The purpose of this desert exile was to prepare his Archangel (light) body to withstand the pressures of the Earth plane (form and matter). We, too, in our intentional purifications and prayers during the 40 days of Lent, prepare ourselves (physical body, emotions, lower mind) to receive and be able to withstand the irradiation of will, love/wisdom and light streaming into the Earth at spring equinox, Easter, and the Three Spiritual Festivals. What is Lent? The Anglo-Saxon word, lencten, comes from an ancient spring festival, agricultural rites marking the transition between winter and summer. The seasons reflect changes in nature (physical world) and humanity responds with social festivals of gratitude and of renewal. There is a purification process, prayerfulness in nature and in humanity in preparation for a great flow of spiritual energies during springtime. Valentine’s Day: Aquarius Sun, Taurus moon. Let us offer gifts of comfort, ease, harmony, beauty and satisfaction. Things chocolate and golden. Venus and Taurus things.

 

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