Living in Somerville, Massachusetts I took two amazing establishments very much for granted — and didn’t actually realize it until I moved to New Jersey. I had an inkling of the first, and a warning of the second — but I didn’t really pay much attention. The first is the much loved Anna’s Taqueria, that I ended up writing about much earlier this year. The second is Diva.
Living in Porter Square, I was less than one block away from Anna’s which provided a nutrititious meal on so many evenings for $5.25 (with a Strawberry-Banana Jumex Juice). For just about a year, Wednesday’s nights were nicknamed “Anna’s Nights.” Many of my co-workers knew of my weekly obsession and would bid me farewell with the words “Have fun with Anna tonight.. I hope she was just as good as last week!” And I knew I could count on Anna. She always was just as good as she was the last time I was there. It made for a great place to go, grab a quick, cheap and [relatively] healthy dinner. It often proved much more cost-effective to grab Anna’s for dinner than to go to Star (which was just as close), purchase some fixin’s and make up a meal at home.
I miss the way they rushed you through the line, yelling “NEXT!” while there were already 3 people waiitng for their burrito’s or quesadilla’s to be made, causing quite a commotion around the steaming machine. I miss the way they would haphazardly slop your beans and rice onto the tortilla, throwing ingredients to and fro as they concocted your meal before right before your very eyes.
Since I’ve moved here to Hoboken, I’ve yet to find a suitable substitute. Neither for a good, inexpensive, casual meal nor a great burrito. As I mentioned previously Anna’s definitely was the best burrito place in Boston. My only choice here is Mr. Wraps (A favorite of the Captain and his beauty), and Qdoba. We’re all very well familiar with my thoughts on Qdoba, and Mr. Wraps is no Anna’s — let me tell you. So, unfortunately, for now we’re burrito free in Hoboken.
The second, and probably nearly as depressing loss, is that of Diva. Diva was an Indian Bistro located in Davis Square. Just about a 10 minute walk from my house, but always provided a great meal. Diva isn’t overly expensive (usually dinner was usually about $30 for Miss Possible and I) and it had a great atmosphere. The minute you walked in the door, you fell in love with the place. The scents of Indian Curries and spices were so thick in the air, that you hated to leave the place because regular air just didn’t make you feel the same.
Miss Possible became obsessed with Diva, and we’d always get the exact same thing. She’d order the Shahi Navratan Korma, while I’d order the Lamb or Beef Vindaloo (the chicken was soaked in Yogurt, so that was out), and we’d get a side of Peshwary Naan. It was just too good to stray from our favorites, because I tried once — and I regretted it for days.
I can remember nights where we’d not feel like going out, and MP would say to me in that quasi-desperate, weak, hungary voice “I need Diva.” Whereupon I would order takeout and go pick it up for us to come back home, and make a nice spread on my bedroom floor and indulge ourselves with the Indian Delicacies from the comfort of my Somerville Abode.
Once we took my father and sister to eat there, and my father was amazed. “The Best Indian Restaurant I’ve ever eatan at” he told me. And he often compares other restaurants to Diva, when we speak of Indian. I didn’t pay any attention, as I figured how many good Indian restaurants can they possibly have in the tiny New Jersey town that he resides.
But, alas, as we’re coming to find — it might be true. Diva may be a one-of-a-kind. Not that Hoboken has the best restaurants, but we’ve been to two different Indian places — both of which were extremely disappointing. There’s a third that we still need to try, before we’ve exhausted the possibilities. But tonight we ventured into Little India in New York, to try to get something more on the same level as Diva.
I can’t remember the name of the restaurant, but it was closer. Dinner was much better, and they did have Peshwary Naan (which is a huge plus), but it just didn’t taste nearly as good. Better, in that we weren’t totally disappointed, but it just wasn’t the same. .
Maybe we’ll never find a suitable replacement for these two places, or who knows — maybe we’ll find two new staples that we just can’t live without.