Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Curry Up Now - Tikka Masala Burrito with Paneer

Most people have a go-to dish when they eat a specific type of cuisine. When I go out for Indian, it is always a toss up between Korma and Tikka Masala, probably due to the fact that the very first Indian dish I ever ate was Chicken Korma. And while that may seem a bit boring, it does afford me the opportunity to compare. I love discovering the nuances of the same dish at different restaurants. Tikka Masala is one of my favorite Indian dishes, and based on all of the previous times I have eaten at Curry Up Now, I knew that the Tikka Masala Burrito would not let me down.

Let me start by saying one thing first. Right now I am sick. Sick, sick, sick! Not in the "I am sick of so-and-so" sense, just sick (achoo!). Though it's not cold and flu season I have managed to catch something anyway, and I am battling a virus which has made me miserable. On top of being miserable on Tuesday I was feeling pretty ravenous, but when I have a cold I can feel pretty blasé toward food. I thought this would be a factor in my enjoyment of Tuesday's lunch, but I was proven wrong. My craving for Tikka Masala was absolutely satisfied by Curry Up Now's Tikka Masala Burrito.

Curry Up Now has three trucks and a walk-in restaurant. Their truck that is permanently parked on Bush Street in the Financial District is my truck of choice because it is the closest to my work. Without fail they always have a long queue, and their specials usually sell out within an hour. On Tuesday their special was the Tikka Fries, but by the time I got to the truck at 12:30, they had already been crossed off of the menu. I had been interested to try them, but my sights were really set on the Tikka Masala Burrito. I could practically taste the creamy sauce! I just needed to figure out my protein.

One thing that was significant while I was waiting to order and receive my food was the drastic reduction in wait time compared to a few months ago. Before I began this website, I used to eat at Curry Up Now a lot, but the wait time killed it for me. So I ended up not going as often as I would have liked because I didn't want to brave the line. On Tuesday the line (which was quite long) moved quickly and efficiently, and it was mere minutes between when I placed my order to when they called out my number. This was a huge improvement from the past, so kudos to Curry Up Now for figuring out how to get people in and out quickly.

The Tikka Masala Burrito is exactly what it sounds like—Tikka Masala wrapped up in a giant tortilla. There is a choice of protein between chicken, beef or paneer. Thinking back to my awesome Deconstructed Samosa, I chose paneer. Paneer, which is a fresh cheese common in Indian cooking, is made by curdling heated milk with lemon juice or another acid. It is then formed into square blocks and prepared for cooking. Curry Up Now makes fantastic paneer. It's just the right consistency, not too firm but far from soft or squishy. They add a touch of salt for a bit of melt in your mouth goodness. I think I could eat a plate of just their paneer! Plus they stuff their burrito chock full of it, so you get a taste with every bite.

The Tikka Masala sauce is creamy, nutty and spicy. Like a warm spring dew, it gently coats the rice and paneer without ever getting too heavy. There are hints of subtle sweetness from the rich cream, which blends nicely with the velvety paneer. Thrown into the mix are some chickpeas and white onions, giving it an all-around nice contrast of textures with a bit of sharpness. The basmati rice rounds out the rest of the burrito filling.

Though I paired my burrito with a samosa and mango lassi, I barely got through half of it all before I was full. These things are huge! When they handed me my burrito in its brown paper bag it felt like it weighed ten pounds. I did eat the rest of it the next day, heated up in the microwave, and it was almost as good as when it was fresh. That's always a nice plus!

Curry Up Now really has secured a prime location for its truck in the Financial District. The close proximity to my work does influence my decision to eat here a lot, but I am fortunate because their food has never let me down. I do wish that they gave an option of spicy or mild, but aside from that, everything I have tried has been delicious. I wish they would add the Butter Chicken Burrito to their regular menu so I could have it more often, but until that happens I am perfectly happy devouring my Tikka Masala Burrito.

Rating: 4/5 (ratings guide)

Curry Up Now (@curryupnow) $8 per burrito

Curry Up Now Food Truck on Urbanspoon

Does reading this make you want to try this vendor? Tell them that you saw them at I Left My Cart in San Francisco and support San Francisco street cuisine!

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