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My childhood home was located in Tooting, a dirty, pungent and lively neighborhood in South London famous for very little except the extraordinary selection of Indian restaurants and markets there. Throughout my teenage years, I would wake up on a Sunday, roll out of bed and stroll down the road to one of the markets. Pink, green and white tents would pop up in every available corner of the high street – the road became a wonderful mess of food, people and traffic. Coffee wasn’t necessary – this scene never failed to startle the senses. Lining the high street were some of London’s best curry houses. Good restaurants provide you with a meal you would struggle to make at home and quite frankly, the Indian restaurants were the only places in my neighborhood which passed that test. I loved the atmosphere of a traditional Indian restaurant. Calm, quiet and somehow timeless, they all succeeded in removing the unnecessary distractions of a typical restaurant so that you could simply enjoy the food. As a stressed out, anxious teenager, an Indian restaurant provided a respite from all the social and academic worries that dominated my life. I became very spoilt. Upon arriving in the US, finding an Indian restaurant which matched my criteria was a challenge. Most mid-sized towns in America have one or perhaps two Indian restaurants. San Antonio is not an exception. For such an enormous city, there is only a handful. However, one stands out. Simi’s – situated near the Bijou Cinema – is a gem. You’ll find it, unsurprisingly, in a strip mall near a highway. Simi’s transports me back to the Curry Houses of London as soon as I’ve opened the front door. The faint Indian music, pale, dated décor, amazing smells and peaceful atmosphere are all wonderful. Staff is friendly, beer list is appropriately minimal and the menu has all the traditional favorites. If you want to take a little break from San Antonio, drive up I-10, go to Simi’s and make it spicy.