Cheers for Paneer

Lest you fret because you think Kyria and I have abandoned PaneerQuest2003, please allow me to assure you that our project is still in full force and effect. We are not quitters.
Indeed, our third and fourth sojourns, to Indian Pavilion last month and to Guru just over a week ago, yielded some very fine and personable saag paneer. Although paneer is not particularly photogenic, it is not camera shy, and actually likes to mug and goof around when its photo is being taken. For instance, when told to “say cheese”, it insists on saying “paneer” and winking with its customary good humor. However, I regret to inform you that although the last two paneer tastings have been successful, the photographs have not. I hasten to add that the fault lies not with the dish itself but with the photographer, who for some reason cannot get a clear shot of paneer to save her life. (She is being executed tomorrow at dawn.)
When we went to Guru, we were tempted to stray from our path and try the buffet. However, we stuck to our original plan, and answered the restaurant owner’s invitation to try it with chants of, “We’re HERE, for PANEER … get USED to it!” We decided that the next time we went out for Indian food, we would try the buffet. After all, Kyria and I are nothing if not adventurous and downright kooky.
So today was the day. Today we returned to Guru to try the $5.95 all-you-can-eat-but-if-you-want-to-retain-some-semblance-of-propriety-don’t-go-up-more-than-two-times-you-beast buffet. I have railed (not here, but in real life) against buffets many times, but sometimes I like to ignore myself and avail myself of their bounty anyway. I was comforted in a small way by the sign at one end of the buffet advising people to use a new plate each time. Check out the groovy compartmented plate/tray that added a touch of TV dinner fantasy to the experience:

“Sure this is mad fun,” I said to Kyria, “but where’s the brownie and corn?”
I couldn’t decide which item deserved center stage, so a pakora of some sort wound up stealing the spotlight and wowed everyone in the restaurant with a marvelous, show-stopping rendition of “What I Did For Love” from A Chorus Line!
I burned my hand on the right side of the tray, where I had deposited something piping hot. But apparently the part of my brain responsible for short-term memory suffered as well, because within seconds of the first burn, I managed to burn my hand again … not once, not twice, but three more times. Such an overachiever!
I yelped, causing this dog, who was waiting outside for her dad, to look around for kin:

I did not eat all I could, but I still had a very nice time. If I were the sort to rate places by thumbs, I’d give it two of them, up, with one burned and in need of a skin graft.
India Pavilion — 33 West 13th Street
Guru — 338 East Sixth Street
To see more photos of this adorable dog, another dog I photographed today, and many others from previous days, visit my Dogabout gallery.