Opinion: Letter to the Editor: Around the World on a Plate in Great Falls

Opinion: Letter to the Editor: Around the World on a Plate in Great Falls

Every year, during the holiday shopping season, we hear the call to support our local businesses – Think Outside the Big Box: Buy Local.

This year, in the spirit of building bridges, and breaking down barriers in our growing, diverse community, let us support our local eateries and extend our efforts to think outside the takeout box as well.

Tour the globe with your palate in our very own Great Falls Village Center. Within a half mile radius, fill your plate with a taste of India, Ireland, Japan, the Mediterranean, and Tex-Mex, and swill some drinks that make people happy around the world.

Say "Namaste" to India at Bollywood Bistro, and get your fill of flaming flavors with their chicken tikka/lamb kebob, my favorite aloo chole (potato-chickpeas) and dal tadka (yellow lentils), the Malabari chicken curry (from the southern coast of India), a Nutty Kulfi to cool down your palate, or the carrot halwa to warm your soul. Sip an Indian whisky or India Pale Ale.

Kowtow to the Land of the Rising Sun with Izumi's pan-seared tilapia fillet and mango salsa or Miso salmon with orange mint sauce, a side of white/brown/fried rice, mochi ice cream/fried banana, and sip some soothing sake to really feel the sun's glow!

Meet Othman, who manages the Village Grill with Mediterranean warmth, and enjoy a plateful of succulent Lebanese/Persian kebobs, hummus (mashed chickpeas with garlic), tart tabouli salad, and delicious dolmas (minced meat in grape leaves). Their Mezza Platter gives you a sampling of some of these delectable delights.

Say "Ola!" to the newest entrant to our local food world – El Tio. You can't go wrong with chicken enchiladas/shrimp burritos, and try chanting "Chimichanga!" as you drive away the blues with a big glass of mango margarita!

Finally, salute our oldest favorite, The Old Brogue, heart and soul of our community, by trying their specials – Burger Mondays, Maine Lobster Tuesdays, Short Ribs Hump Day, and Fried Chicken Thursdays – accompanied by fried pickles, beer battered onion rings, Rhode Island calamari, to fill you with the confidence that, despite everything, all is well with the world.

So, this festive season, in addition to our traditional "comfort foods," let's make a conscious effort to step outside our comfort zone and sample cuisines from around the world, right here in our own backyard. And, as the Irish blessing goes: "May the road rise to meet you" and "the sun shine warm upon your face."

Happy holidays!

Shaila Muralidhar

Great Falls