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Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Guru - Life in a Northern Town

My fondest memories of Indian food are a photo-finish between dining with The Tiffin Box's mastermind and indulging in home-cooked Indian food thrice daily with a dear friend from Bangalore who ended up in Fairbanks, Alaska. I have no clue as to why she wanted to go to grad school in Alaska. This decision, however, allowed me to indulge in two very different but bewilderingly wonderful balms to the soul: traipsing around the Alaskan countryside and being fed home-made Indian food for every meal of the day. I will never, ever forget it.

An early October morning in Fairbanks

I couldn't forget it, and memories of her culinary prowess have coloured every subsequent experience with Indian food. I have dined at a good handful of Indian eateries in Edmonton but - as with kitchen alchemy of all genres - nothing compares to that which is made in a friend's kitchen. Furthermore, the vast majority of Indian spots in YEGtown are buffets, but that is a rant for another post on another day.

(L-R) A berry smoothie, naan, Guru Malai Kofta, and a mango lassi

I have heard much about Guru and, longing for a good Subcontinental feed one summer evening, wound up at Guru's west end lodgings. Guru eschews the usual elephants and bhangra theme and focuses instead on a sleek interior dressed in dark hues. No buffet either - order a la carte or go hungry. Our ebullient waiter suggests a berry smoothie and a mango lassi to drink. Good choices. They are refreshing and fruity without being too sweet. We dive into a basket of piping hot naan; it revels in fluffy, pillowy ecstasy. Guru Malai Kofta are golf ball-sized dumplings comprised of potatoes and cottage cheese surrounded by a creamy cashew gravy that sings with cardamom. The texture and flavour are unique in their tender and toothsome properties.

Tomatoey, chickeny, buttery goodness

Next up - butter chicken. Guru's version is easily the best in the city. It is creamy and liberally laced with tomatoes and substantial chunks of juicy chicken. Shreds of naan gratefully soak up the dregs of sauce.

While nothing ever really compares to home cooking, Guru helped quell my rising nostalgia about my Alaska-Indian food experience. Next time, I'll order more, as I scarcely scratched the surface of their menu.

Afternote:

Look what I found in the Anchorage airport. Evidently there is a Big Mac that is available only in Alaska. The Mt. McKinley Mac. Bravo, America. You've done it again.


Oh, what the heck. Listen to "Life in a Northern Town" while you're at it.

Guru Restaurant & Bar on Urbanspoon

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