My SiL is one of those new-agey types, which normally provides a lot of scoffy mirth in our family, but on occasion she lures me into some of her wonky gigs - usually with a little food bribery. She knew I'd not tried Indian food before and was hankering to - so she offered to buy me Indian lunch if I went to a "community" acupuncture session this month with her. (Having failed her last month, as I withdrew at the last minute due to stress ... Irony noted.)
The acupuncture studio was in an old office space above the Electric Fetus (Great music/head shop/cool stuff store - but don't say "I'd like an electric fetus candle for Christmas", unless you are with someone who knows that the Electric Fetus is the name of a store, not a contraption). We deshod outside the door and walked into the tiny room partitioned with curtains. The obligatory decor (prints of Buddha, myriads of official looking certifiying certificates, and lots of - WAIT - enough detail, this could become book length. I'm sure it looked like every other desperately hopeful acupuncture joint.
Sitting in a comfy recliner facing some random, close-eyed woman with needles poking out of her head, and my SiL and daughter to either side of me in their own comfy chairs, I tried to relax. Everyone's feet were facing the center of the room, and luckily I treated this outing like a 3rd date and had shaved, pumiced, gratered and painted before leaving home. When it was my turn to get punctured, the waif-like Mistress of the Needle asked me some questions, I told her no lies, and she proceeded to gently palpate areas of my body and stick pins in my feet, legs, hands and yes - on the top of my head. The last made me jump a little - I did not expect my skin to make a quiet popping noise as it broke the skin. Yes, ew. But - no pain!
She left me there to marinate in my newly skewered chi. I waited for something to happen. I listened to the chanty music. I watched the fountain. I checked out the bottom of random woman's feet (hardly calloused!). I closed my eyes and thought about if my chin was obviously doubling. I counted everyone else's needles and found I only had 7 compared to their over 10 or more - which made me momentarily jealous, then smug - because I was obviously in better overall health. I thought about Indian food. I wondered how I was to tell if I was feeling something or was it just the fountain, dim lights and soft chanty music making me relaxed. I thought about how this wasn't an ideal situation to scientifically deduce if those various needles were doing any good. I wondered how long I had to sit there. At some point, she came and took the needles out and smiled with warm expectancy at me. I smiled back unsurely, chirped "Thanks!" and jumped up to get on to my Indian food. I'm sorry to say I don't know if it worked, but I'd do it again for no other reason than it's not bad to relax in a cozy setting while mimicking a pin cushion.
Next stop - India Palace. Nice decor, dimly lit with fancy elephant gods and pretty exotic ladies decorating the walls. Sadly, they only offered buffet lunch (I loathe buffets), but since I was being Daring that day I didn't moan. Clientele was mainly those Green & Therefore Cool smuggy types (huge population of those in Duluth) and Indians (dot not feather, although huge population of the latter in Duluth as well).
I didn't order any beverage since I wasn't paying, although some of the strange yogurty drinks looked promising. Everything looked kind of yucky except the bread (paan) and the chutney (I liked the mint), but that's true of some of the dishes I make so it didn't mean they weren't good, right? Well, the curried meatballs looked bad and were bad. But the tandoori chicken was yummy, and the saag paneer (spinach & cheese goo) was scrumptious over some really tasty basmati rice. (Yes, I looked all these up a minute ago, since of course I didn't memorize the names on the spot. Eating excursion, not to-be-quizzed-later.) The rice pudding (kheer) was exceptional and surprisingly flavored. I'd go back, but not for buffet.
And a day later? I'm still feeling relatively stress-free and the Indian food did not give me heartburn. About as much as one can hope for!