Indian Christmas Eve in Seattle

We mentioned to Mike and Erin that we’ve been making a lot of Indian food lately. Erin said that mother cooks up some great Indian fare as well, so we decided to have an Indian potluck for Christmas eve. Lauren didn’t initially realize that the Arcuris were contributing half the menu, and so asked “will we have enough food?” with the four dishes we were bringing. There were indeed six adults and three children to feed, but they had to contend with:

  • Beef samosas
  • Spicy yellow dal
  • Channa masala
  • Palak paneer
  • Aloo gobi
  • Chicken kadai
  • Curried shrimp
  • Rotis
  • Dahi

It was like having an awesome Indian buffet in your own home; and since we weren’t holding back, chocolate torte for dessert!

Plate of Indian food
The full array of dishes…or so we thought

Lauren and Indian food
Lauren with the bonus curried shrimp – delicious!

Pho Cycle Café


We first discovered Pho Cyclo Café’s delicious banh mi chay (tofu sandwich) in the Building 26 cafeteria. We had been to the Broadway restaurant before, but hadn’t noticed the banh mis on the menu (turns out they’re hidden away in a small corner). We had sampled their bun, lemongrass chicken, and a few other Vietnamese standards. Those were fine, but not particularly memorable. The tofu sandwich is a different matter. They’ve become a regular part of our weekend lunch rotation, especially now that they’ve closed their Building 26 counter to focus on their SoDo storefront.

We had 15 minutes in between a storage errand on First Hill and massages to grab lunch. We figured, let’s try and squeeze in a Pho Cyclo sandwich! They’re right across the street from Massage Envy, and the banh mi are light enough to avoid digestive discomfort during a massage.

The sandwiches are chock full of spicy green chilies, semi-firm marinated tofu, cucumbers, carrots, cilantro, and tasty fish sauce. Pho Cyclo uses fresh, crusty baguettes, and you get all of this yumminess for only $3.25!

Enjoying a tofu sandwich in the car
Enjoying our tofu Banh Mi in the car

Pho Cyclo

Pho Cyclo Café
406 Broadway East
Seattle, WA 98102
(206) 329-9256

Daily: 10:00AM-9:45PM (Lunch, Dinner)

Anticipated Seattle Culture Shock

We head back to the States in less than 72 hours. Some things that will be different:

  • We’ll be spending a lot more money. On average our fully-loaded burn rate in India has been around $100/week for the two of us, and that’s only because we’re living the high life here.
  • We won’t be able to wear flip-flops every day. Bangalore weather is amazing.
  • Entering US “holiday spirit” madness. We’ve been happily shielded from this in India, but Seattle will be all Christmas’ed up when we get home.
  • No donkeys or cows on the street. We will miss them.
  • Less exhaust fumes and incessant honking on the street. We will not miss them.
  • Relative quiet for neighborhood walks
  • Predictable traffic patterns
  • Driving a car/traffic on the right
  • No more < $2 meals (breakfast for 2 this morning clocked in at Rs37 == $0.74)
  • Adapting to non-spicy food
  • Bananas will not be as readily accessible (or as tasty). No more local pineapples, crazy cheap tomatoes and red onions, or curry leaves (of course all of this stuff, with the exception of the curry leaves, should be readily available in Thailand).
  • Eating fresh vegetables anywhere without concern for how they were washed or prepared
  • Drinking water out of the tap
  • Reliable electricity, hot water, and shower pressure

The Next Two Weeks

We have a little over two weeks remaining in India. It’s incredible how the time has flown. We had originally planned to spend our final two weeks in the north, perhaps in Rajasthan and/or Agra. However, we’ve decided we haven’t quite had our fill of the south (or its tasty cuisine), so the new plan is to defer our tour of the north until our next India trip. Yes, the Taj Mahal will have to wait, but does give us a nice excuse to come back.

This is the new plan:

  • Attend our friends Chandrika and Kirill’s India wedding in Bangalore this Saturday (we already had the honor of attending their US wedding in September). I’ll get to show off the two sarees I purchased last weekend.
  • Fly to Goa on Monday for a week on the beach. We’ve booked the entire week in Mandrem, but could potentially check out early if we decide we want to see some other beaches.
  • Back to Bangalore on Monday 12/14 for a couple of days with Sean and Archana.
  • Fly to Delhi on 12/17.
  • Fly to Seattle via Chicago on 12/19.

Then, as originally planned, we’ll have a week in Seattle, and a few days each in Los Angeles and Miami making the family rounds (including my high school reunion, meeting our new nephew, and Kenny’s stepbrother’s wedding). I’m really excited to see my family and friends – I miss everyone even more than I thought I would. I know I’ll miss India too, but it looks like we may be back as soon as June.