January the 8th is a very important day for us, Noni and Me. It has some history to it which is not the subject of this blog or the topic of this post! That reminds me, I have a place where I have written that up but never made it public. Maybe I should do that some time.

We usually try to make this day special. As long as we were in Chennai, it was quite easy. We usually took the day off and spent it together. After the marriage, we managed to take a short vacation around this time. But once we moved to Singapore, it kinda got a little difficult. So, in the last two years we celebrate this day with wine and dine. We only try to leave a tad early from work.

Keeping up with the tradition, we picked a place to dine out at y’day. This place is called “La Salsa” in a place called Dempsey Hill. Like most other hills in Singapore, this is not a hill, but just a raised area. Naturally, I suppose. Dempsey hill is a place to dine in, I guess. I don’t know if I have a parallel for it in Chennai. Fairly upmarket but a lovely place to spend an evening dinner at.

La Salsa had very nice Mexican food and a very nice Spanish Red Wine. I don’t remember the specifics of the wine, but it is easily the best Red Wine I have tasted recently. The food was good – it can only be so good for vegetarians I guess. But the nice thing about this place is that they had a vegetarian spread. We ordered Guacamole, Traditional Nachos for starters,  some Chilli Relle (something) and Tacos for mains. Good news is the Guacamole was the same as what Noni makes and I love it. Nachos was good too, it had sour cream, molten cheese and red bean paste spread over as toppings and guacamole side. Yeah, sort of a guacamole overdose.

The Chilli dish I ordered became quite special to me. To explain in Indian terms it is roughly tomato rice in a plate with charcoal burned aubergine cooked with some spicy sauce and served in a plate of tomato sauce. I loved it. I perhaps loved it just for the charcoal burned aubergine. Noni’s tacos were very good too. But we should have ordered for hard shells instead of the soft ones. The tacos had red bean filling. And I would never say a no to Red bean. To think about it, I’d never say a no to a bean! It got a tad heavy, but we managed to finish it all. No dessert, though. We decided to leave it that way since the wine was lingering in the senses 🙂

There is a reason it became special. Mom and Grandma used to make a couple of aubergine that are my all time favourites. Both of them involved charcoal burning the big aubergines. In our Chennai home, for a very long time, Grandma used to have a charcoal burning stove for boiling hot water. Of course, we had electrical geysers. But this was Grandma’s favourite pass time at the time. This meant we could charcoal burn aubergines in an authentic fashion. Later on, mom used to burn the aubergines in the gas stove. They worked as well, but charcoal burning it had a special and inexplicable taste to it. The chilli dish y’day had that 🙂

Oh. Dempsey hill is for the big folks to hang out. When we got off the bus at a nearby bus stop, it was only Noni and Me at the stop. Most of the passengers near the door watched us as if we were committing some felony. We didn’t know it then. The entire bus stop was empty. Nobody seemed to wait for a bus here! When we walked up the hill, we figured there were no foot paths beyond a point. Heck, you are not supposed to walk down here. You are expected to drive down. At S$75000 for the CoE and another S$75000 for a vehicle, you know where your affordability has to be to dine here.

But that is not going to stop us anyway. Splurging once in a year is good for us. And I have already noted down half a bunch of restaurants that have vegetarian options. And none of the others are called La Salsa.