After 9 years of not seeing each other, Moni made the trek out west and, among her travels, stayed 3 nights with James and I. We went to the Indian grocery store one afternoon and picked up the ingredients to make authentic chicken curry, lentils, raita, and basmati rice with saffron and almonds. We got whole cumin seed which Moni ground into powder. Freshly ground cumin is nothing like the pre-ground stuff you normally get. It's about 100x more fragrant and flavorful. Very delicious. I also learned that the holy trinity of Indian cooking is onion, garlic, and ginger. Very healthy. And we started the meal with bitter gourd which is a traditional meal-opener that aids in digestion. There were fresh curry leaves for the top of the lentils; something I'd never tried. The meal was fantastic. Moni started cooking at 3:00 and we sat down to eat just after 8:00. After dinner, Moni shared her photographs from Iraq and we got a view of the area most people never see.
One of the nights, we went to a favorite restaurant, Cafe Chloe. And we also had a little shopping spree at Shwoomp!. I wished she could have stayed longer, but we might have spent every dime we had shopping. :) We ended up buying two pairs of the same pants, the same sandals, and the same products at Shwoomp. Sisters from another lifetime. For the next visit, James and I will go to Atlanta.