Mr Minx and I went to Cafe Spice in Towson to see our friend LaRaine perform belly dance. We had only been to the restaurant one time since it took over the space formerly occupied by our favorite Korean restaurant, Purim Oak, and were interested in sampling the food again. Especially buffet-style!
We were sorely disappointed. The buffet contained a large platter of chopped raw onions, another of chopped iceberg lettuce, tomatoes, and cucumber. There was a large bowl of raita, and two smaller ones of coriander and tamarind chutneys. There were fried ovals called "vegetable patties" that were mostly potato; basmati rice and naan provided more starch. There were three entrees: vegetarian korma consisting of either frozen or canned mixed veggies (the only way to explain the very un-Indian additions of lima beans and corn kernels) in a flavorless orange sauce; potatoes that tasted several days old in a saag sauce; chicken curry that was similar to chicken tikka masala, but very watered down and with few chicken pieces. And for dessert: kheer, which was probably the best thing on the buffet. It was so bad that Mr Minx, he of hearty appetite, refused to go up for seconds.
Granted, there were a lot of people present, but when you charge $20 to walk through the door, and you're going to offer a limited number of entrees, please make sure they are well-prepared and taste good, otherwise nobody will return. Oh, do I ever miss Purim Oak's weekend buffet! The unlimited panchan and those weird soups! All delicious.
As for the bellydancing.... First off, the invitation to this thing was one of the worst graphic design jobs I've ever seen. The event itself was sort of like an open mic event (except the dancers signed up in advance). There were all levels of performers and they started out with the weakest ones. Our friend and her mini troupe Tananeen came out after the interminably long intermission and performed a tribal dance with long silky fans - they were excellent. Other notable performers were Toria (who was not only a great dancer but also strikingly attractive, particularly in her bright turquoise costume) and Samira Sharuk. (Don't let the name fool you, she's probably Irish with her red hair and ghostly white skin. In fact, she resembles a cross between Nikol Kidman and Carrot Top. A shame about that last bit.)