Archive for the 'Indian' Category

Badmaash – Los Angeles (Downtown)

Badmaash - Downtown - Los Angeles

Badmaash, which means “badass” in Hindi, totally lives up to its name. Opened last year by Chef Pawan Mahendro and his son Nakul, Badmaash brings the vibrant flavors of Indian street food (with a few fun twists) to Downtown Los Angeles.

Badmaash - Downtown - Los Angeles

The Mahendros arrived in Southern California by way of Toronto. Chef Pawan, who is formally trained in classic French and Italian cuisine, opened Jaipur Grill in Toronto and spent years traveling through India before arriving in Los Angeles.

Badmaash - Downtown - Los Angeles

While the playful gastropub-meets-Indian-cuisine mashups have been hogging the headlines since the restaurant debuted—Chicken Tikka Poutine and Chili Cheese Naan, anyone?—I was interested in sampling the more traditional offerings during my visit with Valentina, Anne, and Nastassia. We made an exception for the lamb burger, of course!

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Mayura Restaurant – Los Angeles (Culver City)

Mayura Kerala South Indian Restaurant - Culver City

Before settling in Los Angeles and opening Mayura Restaurant in Culver City, Aniyan Puthanpu-Rayil owned a similarly spirited restaurant in his home state of Kerala in the southwest region of India. While Mayura’s menu offers India’s greatest hits like samosas and chicken tikka masala, diners in the know zero in on the specialties from South India, specifically Kerala.

To guide The Astronomer and me during our first meal at Mayura, we consulted Jonathan Gold’s 2008 review, Mayura’s Flavors of Kerala. We ate extraordinarily well this evening.

Mayura Kerala South Indian Restaurant - Culver City

For first timers and regulars alike, the dosas are a must. These crisp paper-thin crepes, which are made from a rice and lentil batter, are served stuffed with savory ingredients like potatoes, spinach, or cheese, as well as plain.

We settled on the “Ghee Roast Dosa,” which arrived perched upright and coiled like a teepee, and painted with melted butter.

Mayura Kerala South Indian Restaurant - Culver City

A spicy and tangy sambar (a stew made of vegetables and lentils), as well as coconut chutney, was served on the side for dipping. We attacked the dosa from either side, uncoiling it as we went. It took a solid effort from two solid eaters to finish this seemingly never-ending dosa.

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Mumbai Ki Galliyon Se – Artesia

Mumbai Ki Galliyon Se - Artesia

Mumbai Ki Galliyon Se, which literally means “from the streets of Mumbai,” is the only restaurant in Los Angeles specializing in Mumbai-style street food. Here in this nondescript dining room in a nondescript strip mall in Little India, former software engineer Sailesh Shah and his wife, Shruti, prepare sweet and savory snacks from their hometown, and the results are fantastic.

Mumbai Ki Galliyon Se - Artesia

The completely vegetarian menu lists close to one hundred Maharashtrian delicacies. Taking a cue from Miles Clements’ article in the L.A. Times, The Astronomer and I stuck to the quintessential street food offerings on our visit. Or at least we tried to…

Mumbai Ki Galliyon Se - Artesia

To drink, a tall cup of sweet yet tangy piyush, a cooling beverage made from yogurt, saffron, cardamom, pistachios, and almonds that takes three days to prepare. Every sip was delightful to the nth degree.

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{swoon} Pani Puri at Surati Farsan Mart

Surati Farsan Mart - Artesia

Tantalizing methai (sweets) and chat (snacks) are what it’s all about at Surati Farsan Mart, a stylish shop specializing in Gujarati-style nibbles since 1986.

On the methai  side of things are a rainbow of confections constructed from sugar, nuts, and spices. The shop makes half a dozen varieties of barfi, sweet bites flavored with dried fruits and nuts. While these are all quite lovely, it’s the restaurant’s tremendous selection of chat that keeps me coming back time and again.

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