There’s this great place in Sudbury called the Laughing Buddha.
It’s one of the best hangout restaurants in town, complete with a pizza and sandwich menu that will make you drool and an imported beer list that will have you convinced you can drink all 64+ varieties throughout the course of the summer.
I first discovered the Buddha back in high school when it was no more than a hole-in-the-wall. Seriously, it was the size of a slightly wider-than-usual alleyway. Its signature pizzas were made in one of two clay (or maybe wood?) ovens and as a result took forever to make. Luckily they were worth it. I used to go with my mom and sit in the dim light and plot the future photography exhibits I would host on its walls.
I returned to town after my first year of university and voila! A new patio. Twinkle lights adorned the overhanging branches and lantern-like mechanisms tall as trees emitted a warm ripple in the air on chilly evenings. The music was the sound of large freight trains clunking along across the street.
Today the Buddha is big. In addition to the aforementioned patio, there’s a new back room where I experienced the most fun of DJ sets a few weeks ago. Yes, there is room to dance. Pizza and dancing. Heaven is swell, thanks for asking.
Let’s talk patio again. Since it is one of three patios in downtown Sudbury, it is the Friday evening watering hole for the entire city, from hipsters to professionals, toddlers to moms on mom dates. Just as the city’s lone Starbucks was the place to bump into everyone you knew during high school, the Buddha is the destination of choice for the 20-something crowd.
And let’s face it, alcohol > an Americano, just about any day of the week.
Whenever I go to the Buddha on a lunch date with friends, I consistently coerce them into buying the chick pea salad while I stuff my face with the usual suspects (normally the Llama Rama pizza). I then distract them with my wit and charm (hah!) and proceed to pleasantly request that I try their salad. Multiple times. Yes, we would like an extra fork, please and thank you.
Today I was big-time craving this salad. I thought my at-home adaptation was pretty spot-on and I crammed spoonfuls into my mouth like a starving Oliver Twist. I can still taste the garlic and it is absolutely wonderful.
Also: it’s amazing how a good meal can cheer me right up. I was feeling grumbly after lugging a pile of groceries home on my bike, and this ready-in-a-jiffy dinner was exactly what I needed.
Recipe: Chick pea salad with garlic-yogurt dressing
Inspired by the Laughing Buddha
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 small onion, finely chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 green pepper, chopped
- About 1/4 very large English cucumber, chopped
- 1/4 cup freshly chopped parsley
- 1 can (15 oz) chick peas, drained and rinsed
- 2/3 cup black beans, drained and rinsed
- 1/3 cup plain, 3% fat yogurt
- Half lemon’s worth of juice
- 2 1/2 tbsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp medium curry powder
- 1/4 tsp cinnamon
- Sprinkle of salt
Heat the olive oil in a large, non-stick skillet over medium heat. Fry the onion and one clove of the minced garlic until fragrant and clear, about 6 minutes. Put into a large bowl. Add the green pepper, cucumber and parsley.
Whisk together the cumin, curry powder, cinnamon and salt.
Using the same skillet as before, add the chick peas and black beans (don’t add any more oil). Evenly mix in the spice combination. Heat, stirring frequently for about 5 minutes. Add to the bowl with the green pepper, cucumber and onions.
Fry the remaining one clove of garlic on the same skillet, until fragrant – a few minutes.
In a small bowl, mix together the yogurt, remaining garlic clove and lemon juice. Stir into the larger bowl and coat chick peas and other ingredients.
Serve immediately with naan bread or refrigerate.
Makes 2 servings.