I ran out of yellow silky merino yarn yesterday so I drove to the local craft store I normally buy from. But they were all out of the yellow color I needed so I jumped in The Banana and cruised to the second closest shop to my house. But they were also out of yellow! Frustrated, I stomped back to The Banana and pulled up the NEXT closest store on navigation which was a good hour long round trip drive. Ugh. Well, I was just going to have to go since some random yarn hussy bought all the local stores out.
But before I drove off I noticed a place called Pastries & Chaat in part of the strip mall I was parked in. I didn’t know what chaat was but I sure knew what pastry was and pastry sounded delicious. I got back out of The Banana and walked up to the door of the restaurant and when I went inside it was all dark and mysterious and there were two guys sitting in the middle of the big empty room. One of them rushed at me and asked if I wanted something and I was kind of weirded out because was I even in a restaurant? What was this place?
The other guy didn’t even look at me and continued talking on his cell phone doing what sounded like a mafia transaction.
The man in front of me was waiting for me to say something and I was so flustered I said the first thing that came to mind, “Do you have a cupcake?” (OMG, why did I say cupcake– is that even a pastry!? I heard Gretchen Wieners’ voice in my head saying condescendingly, “You don’t just ask people if they have cupcakes, Chelly.”)
And the guy was like, “We don’t have cupcakes.”
So I said, “Um, do you have cake?” Because a BIGGER cupcake makes sense.
He was all, “We have pastries.” Like, duh, lady.
And I got excited because now we were communicating and pastries was why I came in and maybe I wasn’t in the wrong place after all.
He led me over to a very shadowy bakery case and I was trying to squint into it to make out what was inside when he suddenly flipped a switch like David Copperfield and bright magical light flooded the inside of the case. Several trays of tiny desserts lit up- rows and rows of uniformed sugar soldiers, each wearing a slightly different color.
They were all the same but different- like there was mango flavor and chocolate flavor and strawberry and mocha, etc… but they were all dressed identical.
I tried to make conversation with the guy since my entrance started out so awkward. I asked him, “How late are you guys open for dinner?”
“4:30,” he replied.
So I joked, “Well, if one were to come here for dinner they’d better make it lunch, eh?”
And he just kind of stared at me.
I picked a vanilla pastry and when I went back to The Banana to eat it, I realized the guy had given me a SPOON. Well, a spoon isn’t going to stop me from eating anything sweet so I dug in.
Jovie was super interested in my pastry purchase.
The frosting tasted… metallic. Like maybe when the chef was whipping the icing he threw in some pennies and nickels for an edgy flavor. The spongy part was delicious though- kind of moist like tres leche.
I ate the entire thing. Because I’d spent three whole dollars on it and also because I’d been a bit frightened of the place and I wanted to eat those feelings. AND I had an hour of driving to and from the other yarn store and I needed to be fortified. Well, fortified with sugar. And metal.
I did end up getting the yarn I needed- YAY! I also ended up getting gas from the pastry- not so YAY! But now I think know what chaat means.