Photo courtesy of Jeffrey Bloom Photography
Daphne Romani, left, and Vinay Jathanna prepared the authentic Indian dishes for the community dinner.

Staff Report

The Los Alamos Valley Senior Center offered its first pop-up community dinner, featuring an authentic Indian feast as part of a membership outreach program, and the dinner was sold out within 24 hours. Most of the diners were local residents, many of whom had not visited the center before.

The dinner was prepared entirely by Los Alamos residents Vinay Jathanna and Daphne Romani, and it included a large variety of ethnic dishes, appetizers, and dessert. Guests were encouraged to bring their favorite wine to share. 

“Although I have been cooking for many years, my interest in exploring the use of various spices started around 10 years ago,” Jathanna said.  “My wife, who enjoys my cooking, helped me to venture out trying various dishes and cooking more than the usual dishes I used to make.  My mother prepares a standard spice mix, which she uses in most of her Indian dishes. After I started using her recipe to mix spices, I started experimenting how combinations of various spices can change the tastes of the dishes.”

The emphasis was on all things “India,” with Bollywood music videos playing throughout the evening. Following the lavish dinner, “The Lunch Box,” a highly regarded Indian film was shown. 

“Future events, in what is being referred to as “Suppers at the Center,” are already being planned and will be themed with food and movies,” said board member Michael Nicola.

“I really enjoyed the Indian dinner, and the movie afterward was quite good too. Thank you for initiating these themed dinners. It was especially nice to have a variety of food we don’t find close to home,” said Nancy Morgan.

“It made by taste bud pants want to get up and dance! The Bollywood movie was a hoot,” said Steve Soderquist.

“The Los Alamos Senior Center is not just for seniors, but for the community at large. We accept membership for those 50 and older,” said Carole Bloom, vice president of LAVSC.

To see a monthly schedule of what’s happening at the Los Alamos Valley Senior Center, pick up a copy of the calendar of events at the Los Alamos Post Office.

For more information, call the Senior Center at 805-344-2208.