Indian food brunch and shopping at the mall
Saturday, February 19 2022
location: room 339, the Desmond Hotel, Albany, NY
We a had a good room in the Desmond Hotel. It has been utterly silent all night, and the curtains made it seem like night would continue as long as we wanted it to. I got up a little after 8:00am and went over to a patch of wetlands northwest of the hotel, broke my way through the reeds onto its icy surface, dropped my pants, and pooped. I then poked through what I'd produced with a stick, looking for any chunk that might by the crown I must've swallowed last night. It had only been about twelve or thirteen hours since the time when I thought I'd accidentally ingested it, so I didn't expect to find the crown yet. And indeed I did not. So then I loosely pulled up my trousers, stiff-legged it back to the hotel room, thoroughly cleaned myself in the bathroom, and got back into bed.
We checked out of the hotel a little after 11:00am and went directly to Spicy Mint, that great Indian restaurant we skipped in favor of Maharaja and then the Cheesecake Factory last night. They opened at 11:00, and it seemed like fun to go there and have a dosa and some soup for brunch. Even at that early hour there was one other couple there in the dining room with us (and they were actual Indians). We looked at our menu and were alarmed to see that it no longer listed dosas or that mushroom curry I'd once gotten. Was that stuff not available for lunch? When Gretchen asked what had happened to the menu, our waiter explained that the south Indian chef had left the restaurant, and so there were dishes they could no longer offer. They're just one more business affected by the Great Resignation. So all we ended up ordering was mulligatawny soup (though I also ordered a cup of coffee; it wasn't good). The soup was different from how we remembered it at Spicy Mint, but it was still better than the average mulligatawny one encounters.
Gretchen had us stop at Dunkin Donuts for oat milk lattes, which she insists are amazing. She got a small one and I got a large one, and hers was freakishly bad whereas mine was "pretty good." She'd even had a vegan sister bonding moment with the woman who had made them, so what could've gone wrong?
Yesterday Gretchen had noted the shabby state of the clothes I'd decided to wear on this Upstate excursion and concluded that I needed new ones. (My "shirt" was a grey waffle-pattern long-underwear top with white paint spattered on one sleeve; I hadn't bought any new shirts since late 2018.) So, still drinking our Dunkin Donut lattes, we went to the nearby Colonie Center Mall, the one with the Cheesecake Factory. We knew from basic exploring last night that the J. Crew is close to the Cheesecake Factory. Before going in there, though, I saw a toy store called Heroes Hudeout and was intrigued. Maybe they'd have robot kits or something fun like that. But no, it was a store selling nothing but heavily-branded "toys," mostly figurines clearly designed to be collected and stored in their original packaging. It was a deeply depressing place showcasing several things that I find fundamentally wrong with American culture: brand obsession, a society-sabotaging concept of what constitutes play, and the slavish devotion to fashion.
I was looking forward to shopping at J. Crew with dread, since trying out and buying clothes always seems to take forever, and it's not something that interests me in the slightest. But today, somehow, everything went quickly. I found a few shirts and pants I liked, tried them out in the dressing room, rejected the ones that didn't fit, got a few of the same clothes in other colors of the ones that did fit, and then checked out. There so many discounts (including one for getting a J. Crew credit card) that the $600 price was reduced down to around $200.
But we weren't yet done with our clothes shopping. Out next stop (after driving through a bit of a snow squall) was the Eddie Bauer Outlet not too far away. There, is was mostly Gretchen who got things, though I found a couple fleece-lined sweaters for me.
Before leaving town, Gretchen drove us to Wizard Burger in downtown Albany. The place with the hypercaloric vegan-only burgers that I've only ever experienced as take-out. Today I got to tuck into an absurdly massive Mumbo Jumbo, that included three onion rings, tater tots, chili, a slab of vegan American "cheese," jalapeño sauce of some sort, and a fat Impossible Burger patty. When I tried to lift it out of the basket, my hand slipped somewhere inside the sandwich instead of under it, and it took a couple tries to finally get it to where I could carry it to my mouth. I thought it was going to be a complete disaster, but the bun were flexible enough to somehow contain it. But still I demanded that Gretchen stop watching me while I was trying to eat it. It turned out that Wizard Burger was attached to a rather large building through a lobby, all of which one discovered when going to the bathroom (the access code is 7676). It turned out that there was a place called Bahn Mi off that lobby, and Gretchen was so intrigued by their menu that she ordered a couple things to go from there on her way back from the bathroom. In the past I used to die a little inside when Gretchen would go nuts ordering too much stuff from every vegan-friendly restaurant she encountered. But these days there's not much of a budget that we need to adhere to.
Back home in Hurley, I put away my new clothes and selected a number of old clothes that had to go to make room. I ended up with a fairly substantial pile of clothes to retire, enough that even Gretchen was amazed (she usually thinks of me as an irredeemable hoarder).
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