Weekend Culinary Overload: Passage to India (Again!), JL Beers, & A Gourmet Jewish Brunch

I missed my first blog’s birthday!  On April 7th, 2012, An Herbalist Eats turned one-year old.  I humbly thank each and every individual who has read my blogs and/or provided feedback.

Since Jake and I missed our mid-week date night, we scrunched two into one weekend.  We planned that I would pick Friday’s activities and Jake would chose Saturday’s.  Having just eaten at Passage to India, I wracked my brain for my second choice.  Jake’s only input was that he wanted dinner to truly be my choice, also adding he wasn’t especially in the mood for Indian food.

I kept wracking my brain.

And agonizing, as we drove around town searching for dinner.

Finally, Jake observed that I was agonizing over dinner because I really just wanted to go to Passage to India.  Spicy food was the only food that sounded appealing to me, so we headed back to Passages where heat would be guaranteed.  I forgot my camera and used Jake’s iPhone for photos.

I ordered this tart mango lassi, $3, while Jake ordered iced coffee which turned out to be a creamy, blended beverage, $3.

Unlike blended coffee shop beverages, this iced coffee was hardly sweetened and refreshing.

We ordered one order of garlic naan, $4, and bhindi masala, $10, to share.  As an entree, Jake chose the tandoor kebab platter, $18, and I chose the masala dosa, $9, a food I have never tried.

The garlic naan was pillowy and rich.

We enjoyed the bhindi masala per usual, fishing for the sweet pieces of okra.  Ordering the dish fresh, as opposed to as take-out made a world of difference regarding flavor and texture.

The tandoor kabob feast included chicken, lamb, shrimp, and kafta.  Jake enjoyed all of the components.  I tried a few bites and enjoyed the flavorful, tandoor spice rub and noted the chicken’s juiciness.  The dipping sauce reminded me of Passage’s tikka masala.  I slurped the remaining, spicy sauce with the serving spoon.

I always enjoy the combination tandoor meat and shaves of raw onion.


I received two dosas accompanied by two sauces.

The thin, crispy rice crepes were slightly oily, in a pleasing way, and filled with a spiced potato mixture.

I ripped off pieces of crepe and dipped them in the cool and slightly spicy coconut sambol and second sauce that tasted like a daal.

I found one dosa filling and happily packed the remaining dosa for another meal.  Passage’s also offers a couple of other dosas that I would also like to try.

The meals came with steamed basmati rice.  I enjoy Passage’s rice because it always has a nice texture and tastes of being cooked with ghee and salt.  The service was lovely and warm.

On Saturday, Jake chose dinner at JL Beers in downtown Fargo, followed by a viewing of The Hunger Games.  Usually I dislike viewing or reading anything twice, but enjoyed watching the film, post-book.

For a Fargo-Moorhead burger craving, I can’t really imagine going anywhere else except JL Beers.  Although JL Beers is tiny, it offers an extensive beer selection and high quality burgers that are cheap as hell.

I ordered the Rajun Cajun burger, $4.19, topped with pepper jack, caramelized onions, and creamy, Cajun lime sauce.

Jake ordered the Slaw Burger, $4.19, topped with coleslaw and barbecue sauce.  We split an order of Buffalo BLU Fries, $3.99.  Crispy, thin-cut fries lightly coated in buffalo sauce and sprinkled with blue cheese crumbles.

Our burgers were juicy and the bun was lovingly toasted.  Despite all of the toppings, I savored each bite’s subtle crunchiness provided by the toasted side of the bun.

And if this wasn’t enough of a culinary overload, I attended Temple Beth El’s annual Gourmet Jewish Brunch.  The line was practically backed up from the front door and many attendees mention they have been attending the brunch for years.  Temple Beth El offered a wonderland of offerings including chopped liver, pickled herring, smoked fishes, sweet noodle kugel, matzo brei, potato knishes, golden brown blintzes filled with a creamy mixture and topped with sour cream and jelly, bagels and lox, a whole table of desserts that I ignored, and steaming hot coffee with real cream.

I enjoyed learning a little about Temple Beth El and experiencing their hospitality.  I did not want to miss this unique opportunity to try home-cooked Jewish food in Fargo.  Having read Ruth Reichl’s book Garlic and SapphiresI was excited to actually taste matzo brei after reading her enticing description.  I look forward to making this comfort food at home.

We’ll be taking it easy this week as I continue to experiment with work week cooking concoctions.  I foresee a matzo brei dinner.

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