Santa Cruz Good Times

Friday
Nov 28th
Text size
  • Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size

Spice Island

dining_RoyalTajWhether it's the lunch buffet or a selection from the extensive menu, Royal Taj offers vegetarians and carnivores exotic flavors

Mintel Market Research calls Indian food the fastest-growing ethnic cuisine, and those of us who have enjoyed the world of spices at Royal Taj for almost 20 years know why. For those who are not familiar with Indian food, the daily lunch buffet ($8.95) provides a broad introduction. Alternatively, at both lunch and dinner, the menu offers main course specialties both à la carte and served as a meal with rice, flatbread, yogurt sauce and salad.

Dal refers to the family of pulses from lentils to garbanzo beans, which are stewed in vegetarian curries and ground into high protein flour for breads and batters. Dal Makhni ($7.50/$10.50) is primarily urad dal, a small black-skinned bean with a white interior. This thick curry, the color of Texas chili beans, was flavored with whole and ground spices, and mildly piquant.

It is worth overlooking the military green color of Sag Paneer ($7.50/$10.50). Homemade Paneer, a fresh cheese that is pressed until as firm as tofu, was cooked with fresh spinach and spices, resulting in a creamy, exotically flavored stew.

Royal Taj's clay oven tandoor is central to many of the restaurant's dishes, and fills the air of the neighborhood with enticing aromas. Thin, circles of Garlic Nan ($2.25), a leavened flatbread dotted with bits of garlic and cilantro, are cooked stuck to the oven's walls. Well-done Tandoori Chicken ($10.25/$12.95), marinated in yogurt and colored crimson from saffron and dried chilies, is skewered and suspended into the belly of the glowing cavern.

Chicken Makhanwala ($8/$11.50) in a velvety, pale peach curry features coconut, boneless tandoori chicken pieces, chili, and numerous herbs and spice seeds.

Indian condiments showcase the respect that Indian chefs hold for the entire palate. Dark, syrupy chutney mixes sour tamarind with sugar. Pickled raw carrots and ginger are at once sour and bitter. Bright green and very liquid mint chutney combines the herb's fragrance with hot chilies and cilantro. Royal Taj also makes the chunky, sweet, jam-like mango chutney Westerners are most familiar with. And the yogurt raita, here thin and mixed with cucumbers, eases any chili overindulgence.


Royal Taj, 270 Soquel Ave., Santa Cruz, 427-2400. Beer and wine. Serving lunch and dinner daily, 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. to 10 p.m.


I was saddened by the letter announcing the demise of Gourmet Magazine. I will miss the well-written stories of international culinary travel, the outstanding food photography and of course, the marvelous recipes.  According to Editor Ruth Reichl's Twitter, she and her staff were stunned by the Oct. 5 announcement and given one day to clean out their offices. It was ironic that the brand's new cookbook for sale over the holidays included a free subscription to the magazine, and although November's issue had been their last, it was also jammed full with gift and renewal subscription offers.

Not to worry fellow foodies, all subscriptions will be transferred to sister magazine Bon Appétit.  Visit gourmet.com


Comments (0)Add Comment

Write comment
smaller | bigger

busy
 

Share this on your social networks

Bookmark and Share

Share this

Bookmark and Share

 

Good Times Holiday Giving

Giving Where It Helps

 

Giving Thanks: The Thought-Form of Solution

We are in the time and under the influence of Sagittarius, sign of the wanderer, good food, good music, and the joy (Jupiter as ruler) that occurs from giving to others while simultaneously giving thanks from our hearts. Having the Thanksgiving holiday during the month of Sag is not a mistake. No other sign understands joy (an aspect of the Soul) as Sag (except Pisces when not in despair). “Sag is a beam of directed and focused light. The beam reveals a greater light ahead, illuminating the Way to the center of the Light,” emitting the Ray of Joyfulness. Thanksgiving is a time for gratitude; in the form of prayers, thoughts, feelings, wishes, hopes and greetings. Gratitude is something we still need to learn. Gratitude creates goodwill. Together, gratitude and goodwill create the “thought-form of solution” for humanity and our world’s problems. Gratitude and goodwill are the prerequisites for the reappearance of the Christ, the Aquarian World Teacher. In Ancient Wisdom texts it is written, “being grateful is the hallmark of one who is enlightened.” Gratitude comes from the Soul—the characteristics of which are love and wisdom (Ray 2). Gratitude is scientifically and occultly (mental, not emotional) a releasing agent. Gratitude liberates us and everything around us. Also a service to others, gratitude is deeply scientific in nature, releasing us from the past and laying open our future path leading to the new culture and civilization, the new laws and principles, the rising light of Aquarian, the Age of Friendship and Equality. The Hierarchy lays much emphasis upon gratitude. Let us be grateful this year and this season together. And so now the days of light illuminating the darkness begin (December’s festivals and feast days). Happy Thanksgiving, everyone. I am grateful for all of you, my readers.

 

The New Tech Nexus

Community leaders in science and technology unite to form web-based networking program

 

Film, Times & Events: Week of November 28

Santa Cruz area movie theaters >
Sign up for Good Times weekly newsletter
Get the latest news, events

RSS Feed Burner

 Subscribe in a reader

Latest Comments

 

Round About Now

The glory of persimmons, plus Ivéta scone mix and lunch at Assembly

 

What charities would you like to see people support this season?

Judy Allen, Scotts Valley, Consulting

 

Big Basin Vineyards

I was just in the process of purchasing a bottle of Big Basin’s 2012 Homestead in Vinocruz when Matt Ryan walked into the store. Ryan manages the tasting room, sales and the mailing list at Big Basin, and, considering the popularity of their wines, he’s a very busy man.

 

Ashby Confections

Local chocolate maker talks chocolate and self control