While dating Gagan, I did a lot of travelling — like 27 flights a year kinda a lot — and I found that by the time I’d be heading home, I’d have the strongest hankering for Indian food. I would always check-in with my mom before getting on my flight home, and her main concerns were always what time I would be getting in and what I wanted to eat. (Yes, she’s amazing). I was surprised when I started requesting simple home cooked Indian food (the kind I grew up eating daily, not dishes like butter chicken and samosas) because I barely ever cared for it anymore. I guess I was travelling so much that I was craving the comfort of home and what makes you feel more at home than your mom’s cooking, right?
When I moved to Portland, the travelling continued, but coming home was now our apartment that usually wouldn’t even have bare necessities in the fridge. My mom wasn’t here to have food ready for me, but my craving continued. In fact, the first place we ate when we got to Portland after our wedding festivities was Bollywood Theater. Gagan’s cousin happened to be in Portland that day too and asked us what we’d like for dinner. He was shocked when he said we wanted to eat at Bollywood Theater. He had been in a weeklong Indian food coma because of our wedding festivities, but we hadn’t eaten anything at our wedding or reception — we’re still bitter every time someone tells us about how good the food at our events was.
Since then, I almost always want Bollywood Theater when we get back in town after travelling — and when I have a hangover. Lifehack: salty lassi is the best hangover cure ever! The food is delicious and the restaurant is really fun to visit. They really live up to their name of Bollywood Theater because there are Bollywood references everywhere you look. One of the main reasons I went there in the first place was because Gagan told me about how they would play Sholay (my all-time favourite Bollywood movie) on a projector all day. They’ve since started cycling a few old school Bollywood movies, but it’s still fun to watch the silent drama and dance sequences unfolding on the screen while enjoying your food. There’s also some really cool stuff in their market area. My mom loved walking around the market when she came to visit us.
By now, we’ve eaten here so often that I’ve tried almost everything on the menu and there are a few things we always go back for:
- Salty lassi — Hungover or not.
- All India Permit — In the words of my brother-in-law, it’s like an Indian caesar.
- Paneer Kati Roll — The one dish we order every single time no matter what. And trust me on the paneer, we’ve tried the other options, but nothing compares to the paneer.
- Lamb Samosas — These are probably my favourite appetizers next to the kati roll.
- Thali Meal — We almost always get the thali meal as well, but we change up the main dish. I think my favourite is the Pork Vindaloo with a side of chicken curry sauce. The great thing about the thali meal is that you get to try a little bit of everything.
What makes Bollywood Theater even better? It’s right down the street (or next door depending on the location you visit) to Salt and Straw! So save a little space (most of the dishes at Bollywood Theater make really good leftovers) and head over to Salt and Straw afterwards before going home to take an epic nap.