Sometimes when people whine about how their town sucks or there’s nothing to do here, I secretly think they’re just not trying hard enough. Only boring people are bored, and so forth. Also, that feeling of I-hate-it-here is inextricably tied to my high-school angst. (Other things I hated at that time: My parents. Being at home. Being at school. Boys who didn’t pay attention to me. Boys who paid too much attention to me. I must have been a real delight, don’t you think?)
But admitting to myself that Cary is not for me has actually made me feel better. It’s allowed me to reset my expectations, so I’m pleased by finding something nice, instead of constantly disappointed by comparing Cary to other places I’ve lived.
Zen of the cul-de-sacs. That’s me.
Anyway, one of those nice things is Cool Breeze, a Indian vegetarian fast-food place. It’s small and a bit hard to spot if you don’t know it’s there, which is often a very good sign for a restaurant. Inside were plastic pizza-parlor style benches and no-frills tables, handwritten signs offering specials, and Bollywood music videos.
I really like Indian food, and I think I’m pretty familiar with the tandori and vindaloo and dosas on the average menu, but I was pretty lost here. We ordered almost at random, trusting that the good smells meant the food would be good. The menu was almost no help, Cool Breeze would really benefit from a picture menu and proper descriptions of the items. I’m too laoweito know if “paratha” is better than “chaat”, and with all the tasty options, it’s a shame that it’s not more user-friendly. In their defense, the guy working the counter was knowledgeable and happy to answer our questions, but I imagine he has better things to do than describe fifty-something menu options to us.
Food is surprisingly inexpensive, so don’t do what we did, and assume that a three dollar order will be a small portion! Everything is served on styrofoam plates, and almost everything comes with green chutney (the sharp minty kind, not the cilantro kind) and yogurt.
The paani puri, described as round shaped crispies and spicy water, turned out to be small hollow fried breads, with an assortment of sauces to eat with them. There’s also a paneer paratha, which is a tasty wheat bread stuffed with paneer cheese. Batata vada was a lot like a potato pakora. (Downside was listening to Stick say “batatavada” over and over. He’d like you all to know that it’s lots of fun to say and that he’s cursed with a no-fun girlfriend.) Overall, it was filling vegetarian fare with a great mix of flavors. Did I mention the background Bollywood music videos?
Like everywhere else in Cary, full-length windows look out on the parking lot, but my newfound mindset means expecting every place to be in a strip mall, so that’s ok!
740 East Chatham Street
Cary, NC 27511
Edit 2/16: My wonderful boyfriend Stick finds it necessary to read the internet to me, sharing his stream-of-consciousness whether I’m listening or not, whether I’m in the room or not, whether I have cotton balls in my ears or not. This morning he was on his laptop and I knew he must be reading this post because he said “Oh yeah, Cool Breeze. That’s delicious!” as if we hadn’t eaten there again last night. A few seconds later, he started saying batata vada over and over. This was followed by an impolite word, as he read the next line, where I mock him for saying batata vada over and over.