It was a freezing day in late January. Snow fell from the sky, ice covered the trees in a glittering coat and breath appeared in small white puffy clouds, and on a day like this I wanted to go swimming!
In the winter I love the idea of finally being able to remove the numerous layers of clothes and free to move. It’s like a small taste of the long forgotten summer. Being able to wear a bikini again, able to swim in water that does not have small lumps of ice floating in it and being able to stretch out on a bench and watch, from the comfort of the warmth, the snowflakes drift down from the iron grey sky. But, eventually, I had to set out again into the cold wilderness and face the chilling winds, slippery roads and damp snow.
After all that swimming, I needed a lunch and one that would warm my bones and soul for the upcoming trip back home. There was really only one clear choice here, Curry! Although I have no tolerance for any form of spices, no matter how I try to adjust my stubborn palate, I still love the heat and taste of an Indian curry. I walked towards the train station, to a small vegan café that I had been assured did an amazing curry that I would love.
The white rice looked like an iceberg, semi submerged in a creamy red lentil dal with garam masala spice, scattered with green papaya and coriander, an impeccable dish that would curb my hunger and make me feel all toasty warm. Hidden beneath the lentil dal surface were whole chickpeas and cashew chunks. I started to eat, enjoying each bite of rice with the lentil dal and a small slither of green papaya, which helped to cut through the heat. Every mouthful was a harmonious balance of textures, the softness of the rice and the dal, the crunch of the chickpeas and the crisp papaya played off each other. The curry had a perfect level of spice, which did not induce runny eyes, a reddening of the face and a feeling of having swallowed a hot coal which is my normal reaction to eating something too spices. With each bite of the curry, I could feel the cold tendrils melt away and leave me with a comfortable warm glow.
Soon enough I had finished my food, which meant I had to brave the cold elements. As I stepped out of the café, it started to snow heavily and I could feel the temperature drop. I glanced over my shoulder, longingly at the warm lights of the café but I knew I had to get home. At least I had warm curry in my belly to protect me from the bitter chill.
Lintheschergasse 15, 8001 Zürich, Switzerland