Searching for my old love in Amsterdam

Have you gone in search of your old love? I am not talking about stalking your ex. Instead, I'm talking about retracing your paths after several years to check out how your old love is doing now. I have to admit I did in Amsterdam when all my friends have left town. I could have done this along with them. They would have understood and supported me. But I waited for them to have a good time. The fun of touring 5 cities - starting from Paris and ending in Amsterdam - cannot be diluted with a personal quest. Moreover, the vacuum created after they left for the airport made me go searching for my old love.

10 years back, I was executing a project for a telecommunications client in Amsterdam. The duration of the project was 3 months. Every two weeks, I flew back to San Francisco, stayed there for a week and then flew again to Amsterdam. I did this from October to two days before Christmas. Since I was going out for dinner every night, the bartender at the hotel suggested an Indian restaurant named "Guru". I wasn't impressed with the name. When he tirelessly advised me to try it out day after day, I decided to visit the restaurant to get this person off my back.

The first impression was not a good one. It was neat, but it had a 70s look-and-feel. There was one thing that interested me - the tandoor oven. It was enclosed in glass, situated at the edge of the kitchen and sticking a bit into the main hall. The glass gives you a good view of what the chef is doing. You can see him sticking the meat on the skewer, putting it in the oven, checking it periodically, pulling the skewer out of the oven and emptying the contents into a dish. I scanned the menu quickly and ordered spicy chicken wings.

Everyone remembers the moment when they realize they are in love. But I cannot recall the moment. Thinking back, it is very hazy. Of course, I fell in love that day...with the spicy chicken wings. I still can't remember the exact moment! It has to be somewhere between seeing the aromatic smoke emanating out of the dish in front me and the juicy tasty piece navigating down my throat. That was the beginning of my love story. Then there were many nights; some with multiple plates of spicy chicken wings on the same night. It got to a point when the chef would put spicy chicken wings on the skewer as soon as he saw me walking into the restaurant.

It has been 10 years and it was the right time to search for my old love. I am not sure if the search for old love can be dramatic. One thing for sure, my search turned out to be exciting and dramatic. I got off at the tram station in  Leidseplein. I have been to this restaurant many times that I can sleep-walk from this tram station. I found the cobbled street where the restaurant was located. On reaching the earlier destination, I was shocked. There was no "Guru". The restaurant ceased to exist. Instead in it's place, there was another Indian restaurant named "Tandoor".

Disappointed, I was curious to know what happened to the earlier restaurant. So I stepped inside. Not only the exterior but the interiors had also changed. Yet, there was one thing that didn't change. The tandoor over at the edge of the kitchen and sticking into the main hall. And right inside the glass enclosed space, there was the familiar face of the chef. That really lifted my spirits. I could have the spicy chicken wings. That was what I did. Within no time, 3 plates were ordered and consumed.

The years have not withered the old love.

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  1. Wow, if allold loves were culinary, the world would be a happier (and heavier) place! :)

    1. It is already a heavier place. I, for sure, am contributing to the weight. ;)


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