When you need breakfast or brunch in Encino, where do you go? Well, when the opportunity presented itself to me I found myself at Claudine, which is like a bakery and restaurant in one. You order at a counter, and seats are hard to come by on the weekend, but I managed to snag a table right out from under an old lady. To be fair, all she needed was 2 seats and we needed 6 so I found another table for her. Sheesh.
On the way into Taste of the Himalayas in La Jolla, a patron on the way out told us that we had to get the tandoori chicken tikka. There was a strong scent of smoke in the place, which had clearly turned off its smoke detectors a long time ago, and we figured this departing patron must have known what she was talking about.
There’s something about fusion done well that really gets me excited. Throw some Korean BBQ into tacos and I’m sold. Try to make Mexican food Kosher, not so much (don’t underestimate the need for cheese!). But I had never thought of Indian food as something to fuse until I found California Chutney in Old Town Pasadena. This place is all about fusing Indian food with American (and by American I also mean Mexican because, hey, North America).
Generally Indian restaurants have Indian-sounding names. They might be named after a place, a name or a phrase, but Mint Leaf is not one of these. It’s Indian, but a step up in fanciness. In my experience, fancy Indian food is unnecessary because it tastes just as good as more cost-effective Indian, but I figured it was worth the try.
Situated in what appears to be a former home in Oakland is an Indian restaurant that goes by the name of Tamarind. For a long time I had heard that this was a good as far as Indian food in Pittsburgh goes, so I finally got the chance to try it and found it didn’t exactly follow the classic pattern of Indian restaurants. For one, the menu had a wide variety of dosas.
With a school like Carnegie Mellon around, you would expect Pittsburgh to have some good Indian food. It’s not racist, it’s just common sense. Yet, it took me until recently, when a white guy invited me to All India (I apologize in advance for the music that autoplays on this site) to see what kind of Indian the city could muster. And what a mustering it was “” with a menu as long as a case study, I had a hard time deciding what to order, but fortunately I was with a large group and I was going to get to try a lot of things.
Eventually, I lost my travel companions and came to the realization that I had pretty much exhausted Moshi of all possible interesting foods. I could be wrong, but I definitely knew it was time to move on to Arusha, a bigger city sitting at the edge of the Serengeti that also functions as a jumping off point for Kilimanjaro. Upon arrival, I felt a rumbling in my belly that could only be helped by food. Through wandering the streets of Arusha, I found myself at Universal Classic Restaurant, which had the subtitle: “Feel home away from home.”
India has been trading with East Africa for more than a thousand years and the influence can be found all over Moshi and Arusha in Tanzania. As you might expect, this carries over into their food as well. In Moshi, an Indian restaurant called Taj Mahal was cooking some meats on the street during the day that looked so good we had to go for dinner.
A while back, Sang Yoon opened up a place called Lukshon in Culver City. For some, this was a time to rejoice, as this was the man behind the Father’s Office burger. But for me, it was a time to…well…consider trying out Lukshon. You see, if you know me, you know my disdain for the Father’s Office burger. So it took until dineLA’s Restaurant Week to get me out to Lukshon. I went with a sizable crowd, collectively known as the Suppah Club, and we had ourselves a seat at a massive table on Lukshon’s patio in Culver City.
When Jonathan Gold’s latest rendition of the 99 best restaurants in LA came out, I was amazed to find an Indian place basically in my backyard. No, I don’t have an actual backyard because I live in LA, but you get my drift. Fortunately, my body had been craving Indian and I easily convinced my girlfriend that we had to order some carryout from there. While the menu appeared to have typical Indian fare, Mayura actually specialized in South Indian food. With that in mind, I was excited to get down with something new.