I love Indian food. We have a Southern Indian restaurant here in the neighborhood which is within walking distance. That's a very good thing for me because my husband doesn't get either vegetarian or spicy food. Udipi Cafe
used to be better years ago, and I noticed they are getting some scathing reviews on Yelp lately, although they still have four out of five stars overall rating.
The last time I was there about a year ago for their lunch buffet it was still good, but not up to my first experience over a decade ago. The lunch buffet still came with a paper masala dosa, but it had shrunk from the giant one I was served the first time I dined there with an Indian co-worker. I have tried to make dosa, and believe me, this is an item us Americans are better off buying. It was a lot
of effort and time, and my results were thicker and not as crispy as this restaurant's dosa, even if they have gone down recently. Well made, paper dosa are beyond
delicious. Mine, well not so much.
I also had a dish last time from the appetizer bar that I was told after going back for seconds and inquiring about it while settling my bill, was dal papri. Well, it wasn't. It was something like crispy fried flour tortilla mixed with onion and green cooked lentils and chopped iceburg lettuce that was dry enough that the crispy flour bits remained really crispy even on the buffet line.
I also love samosas and have made them at home. I use purchased phyllo dough and a recipe from "Joy of Cooking". These are wonderful, but I'm not even gonna try to roll out dough that thin! I buy some frozen boxed commercial samosas at an Indian grocer in the neighborhood, usually filled with spinach and paneer. They sell their homemade ones there, and they seem popular, but they store them behind the counter without benefit of refrigeration, so I pass.
The idlis with sambar are light and delicious from Udipi Cafe the last time I tasted them. The uttapam on offer was okay, but just plain. The first version I tasted inspired me to make a fusion cornmeal pancake that is topped with chopped onion, jalapeno, carrot and peas on the uncooked side as soon as the batter is poured out on the griddle and then flipped to cook the second side and the veggies. It has become a regular on my menu.
The papadums were crispy and delicious.
Hmm ... time to make a walk up to Udipi again and see what's going on with their lunch buffet. They are closed tomorrow, but we are fixing to get a break in the stormy weather, so this is definitely on my agenda soon.