By Shari Benyousky
Photographs by Tony Garza
WARSAW – “Apparently people don’t like us writing about exotic places to travel.” Tony folded up his glasses and slipped them into his jacket pocket. He chewed a slice of pepper and scrolled further through the online comments of our last article. A dangerous move. “They think traveling to places like Chicago or San Antonio is irrelevant and even dangerous.” We were seated at Cardoso 520 restaurant in Warsaw. I tried to swallow my chicken tortilla soup without getting any on my costume.
“They’re right.” I waved at the Mexican restaurant. “I don’t mean that travel is irrelevant or dangerous. But we have so many great places to find exotic food here in Warsaw if someone is afraid to travel far.
Tony took his glasses out of his pocket. He knew I was about to make a new list. “So if someone wanted to *travel* without cost or planning, where would they go in Warsaw itself? Maybe something more convenient than just a restaurant?”
#1 THE ASIAN MARKET 658 S. Buffalo Street, Warsaw
When I first heard that Asian Cajun was moving into Wabash Donuts (and keeping the donuts), I was skeptical. But after a meal of velvety shrimp and grilled vegetables followed by a shared raspberry beignet, I changed my mind. In a brilliant multi-take move, three other tables around us brought home boxes of donuts for breakfast.
As we sat in stunned culinary bliss, the waitress told us to visit the Asian market behind the restaurant, and I remembered the amazing fried maduros/plantains we had eaten in Puerto Rico. Maybe I could make them myself? A woman with a 1000 watt smile greeted us as we walked through the door, introducing herself as Sina. She personally picked the best plantains and walked me through how to make maduros in under five minutes. She also sold me fresh steamed buns, banana tapioca and the biggest frozen shrimp I have ever seen.
Point: The charismatic Sina posts excellent videos on Asian cuisine. I learned to do PHO of her here.
#2 GREENS N SPICES INDIAN SHOP 114 S. Buffalo Street, Warsaw
If you’ve eaten Indian food, you know that the Naan or Roti flatbread that comes with it has addictive powers. Of course, you can buy these fees at Biryani cuisine but, if you prefer the easy and convenient method, you can also buy a pre-made set from the Indian store. With top notch ramen, fresh Asian veggies like purple and white eggplant, nice spicy milky chai, and a wide range of interesting cookies, crackers, and snacks that I’ve never seen before. If you need a cheap and exotic trip abroad, but don’t have time to leave Warsaw, stop by and pick a few things to try at home.
FYI – Beware of innocuous looking sweet and spicy wheat dumplings that have a powerful spicy filling. Tony’s face changed a few colors of pink when he bit into one.
Point: Prepare a Biryani takeout order (I like the lightly spiced tandoori chicken and Gobi cauliflower appetizers). While you wait to collect them, head to the store in the back and grab some food for your next adventure back home.
#3 – TWO MEXICAN GROCERY STORES
CARNICERIA SAN JOSE 896 E. Winona Avenue, Warsaw
SAN JOSE FRESH MARKET 2283 N. Detroit St., Warsaw
Next, in your local world tour, we visit south of the border. Plus, if you’re tired of waiting in long fast food lines, check out Carniceria’s quesadillas at their food counter. As you stroll through the grocery store, pick up the finest limes and cilantro in town. You might also find a great fresh meat counter and popsicles in amazing flavors like mango-chili and lime-coconut.
Point: Supermarket limes are Persian. Mexican limes are a totally different fruit. They are rounder with a thinner skin and are much juicier. In my opinion, they are far superior for everything from pressing cut apples to making cocktails.
After trips to three exotic grocery stores in Warsaw (how lucky are we?!), my Rav4’s back sprouted stacks of grocery bags, so it was time to go home and make some beans, rice and maduros with fresh limes. Tony, thinking about InkFreeNews’ comments for this article, shook his head. “What do you think people will want to complain about this week? »
“I can’t wait to find out!” I backed off and headed home to make a gin and tonic and plan my next real trip overseas.
BONUS ADVICE: ONE Warsaw will host a city center Event CELEBRATING US from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Saturday April 30, where you will find many exotic dishes, dance and music performances, and many interesting things to try such as cricket, dunk tank, bingo and prizes. Come take a local vacation!
Do you know of an interesting place, statue or restaurant that you would like to see featured in this column one day? Email SB Communications LLC at [email protected]