Tuesday, September 4, 2012

A Heaping Plate of Zen...

 Devi Gurung States, a young homeless boy living in a humble village in Nepal found a job working in a restaurant in Kathmandu. Working in several different capacities, he dreamed that one day he might own his own restaurant. Devi met an American physician working in the area who would eventually adopt Devi and bring him to the U.S.

Devi's father Dr. James H. States would encourage his son to get an education and to serve others however he could. Devi attained his Masters in Social Work and vowed to help others just as his father had helped him. Devi began a career in Social Work where he discovered that many of his clients were suffering from poor health due to eating unhealthy meals and little exercise. Devi would return to school to complete a degree in Public Health.

Devi and his wife Connie desired to bring not only the concepts of healthy living but to also introduce the city of St. Louis to authentic Nepalese dishes. And in 2004, the couple opened 'Everest Cafe and Bar' in downtown St. Louis. 

The sacred prayer flags of Tibet wave customers in to a delicious temple of culinary surprises. A combination of Nepalese, Indian and even Korean foods can be sampled. Customers are greeted by waitstaff with the traditional Indian salutation 'Namaste'. 

The cafe is decorated with colorful images of the Buddha and of the Nepalese culture. 

The smells from the kitchen are enticing as the scent of spices like ginger, garlic, cardamom and clove are used in traditional dishes. Some of the traditional Nepalese dishes include dumplings called 'Momo' which feature cumin, garlic, ginger and spices inside of a breaded dumpling with ground pork. Dishes called 'Takari' are cooked with chicken, shrimp or lamb mixed with stewed tomatoes, grilled onions and peppers in a sizzling plate. 'Thukpa' is a traditional Nepalese soup cooked with noodles, chicken and mixed vegetables.


The cafe also features a number of Indian classics such as Tandoori Chicken and Pakora Vegetables fried in chick pea flour. 

One of the most unique and tasty dishes that I tasted at Everest was a Korean dish introduced by the owner's wife Connie who is from Korea. 'Chap Chae' is a dish made from sweet potato noodles mixed with beef, onions, carrots and assorted mixed green vegetables. The dish is slightly sweet and savory with a nice mix of the two flavors.

Another favorite dish that Everest offers is a vegetarian dish (yes, I enjoyed a vegetarian dish. Don't tell anyone!) Eggplant is rolled in a light coconut breading and cooked till it forms a crunchy chewy treat.

To further encourage healthy living, Everest Cafe and Bar offers free medical screenings weekly to customers. The Buddhist theme of compassion is further demonstrated by the Cafe's work known as the 'Himalayan Family Healthcare Project' in which proceeds from the restaurant's sales go to help further medical treatments in Nepal.

Next time you are in St. Louis, stop by and visit Everest Cafe and Bar. The warmth and hospitality of Devi and his staff are truly enlightening...

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