Lake Worth has a strong Mexican influence. It’s evident with the taco trucks on every other corner, the gentlemen selling fresh sunflowers at major intersections, and the absence of Publix replaced by storefronts like “El Bodegon” and “El Presidente Supermercado.” Mexican food initially brought me to Lake Worth, what keeps me returning is new revelations in Indian Fusion dining.
Indian cuisine is my comfort food. On a stormy summer day when I want to just order take out and binge watch Friday Night Lights, I crave garlic naan dipped in spicy chicken tikka masala. When my friend, Brooke, offers to cook for girls night, I always request her legendary palak paneer, a spicy spinach puree with chunks of Indian cheese. I have Indian neighbors in my condo complex that I am yet to formally meet. Whenever the scents of garam masala (transl: hot spices) pervade through my hallway, I consider knocking on the door with an empty bowl to introduce myself.
In a mission to uncover Mexican breakfast in Lake Worth, I instead found an Indian breakfast joint. I love Indian food, I love breakfast, it seemed like an ingenious concept. The Pelican Restaurant is a tiny diner that is cash only. It caters to the “bohemian locals” of Lake Worth that are usually decorated in tattoos, then draped in surf attire. They offer both a traditional breakfast menu, and its unique Indian brekkie menu. A perfect situation if you’re an adventurous diner, but your partner in crime is not. I’m fortunate enough where my boyfriend, Jesse, is open to curry before 10AM, so I got to try two of their specialties.
I opted for the Eggs Nissa, as recommended by our waitress as the most popular item. This dish was comprised of scrambled eggs with curry, feta cheese, jalapeño, freshly sliced ginger, tomato and cilantro with a side of mystery sauce. All Indian breakfasts are served with naan, clay oven baked flatbread, instead of toast. The dish was outstanding and inspired me to start sprinkling curry powder into my weekday eggs and veggies. Jesse’s selection was spicier called “East of India”, similar to mine but was accompanied with a spicy green curry sauce.
I told my American-Pakistani coworker, Amber, about my Indian eggs-perience. I was hopeful she could identify the mystery sauce for me. My wishes were met when Amber told me the sauce is called raita. It’s similar to Greek tzaziki sauce, but thinner in consistency flavored with yogurt, cucumbers, tomatoes and spices, such as mint and cumin.
Another Indian Fusion spot I found via the Palm Beach New Times is Crazy Mario’s Pizza and Indian Food. It was merging the favorite dishes of Jesse and myself: pizza and chicken tikka! It is located off of Military Trail west of 95. I dragged Jesse to the petite pizza parlor sandwiched between Spanish storefronts and a gas station that sells loose cigarettes. I am slightly sure I’m only West Palm girl that prefers to have date night with proximity to drive-thru liquor stores instead of the dining snobbery on the island. Let’s just say this area is an “eclectic” neighborhood.
Crazy Mario’s offered little-to-no dining ambiance, complete with the booth was half falling off the wall at our table. I had faith in the judgement of the New Times that this place was legit, although Jesse’s first impressions were clearly not pleasant. I ordered the Chicken Tikka Delight pizza that I read about it in the paper. Jesse had never had samosas before, so I ordered a couple as an appetizer. A samosa is like an Indian empanada, a fried dough with spiced meat, potatoes or lentils inside. After biting into the samosa, we discussed that although the establishment was not first-class, the grub certainly was.
When the pizza came, I got a whiff of the tikka and dove right into to distribute our slices. I was so excited to try it, I forgot to snap a picture of it first for my blog. I took a bite, and didn’t come up for air until I was well into my second slice when the spice started to creep on my taste buds. I wanted ranch dressing to cool the heat. I scanned the menu for ranch but was pleased to find offered raita. I asked the server for a side of it, then drizzled a bit onto my next bite. The combination was a match made in swah (transl: heaven, Hinduism).
I encourage you to try Crazy Mario’s, but maybe order take out. Then you can enjoy Punjab Pizza in its best form, in front of your Netflix queue.
I’m now on a quest to find other ethnic fusion foods. If you know of any in SoFlo, please comment below.