A Dosa and a Dream

I can’t begin a food post without sharing an experience from a few nights ago. A group of us had dinner at Indus Valley, a reasonably well-regarded desi restaurant at 100th and Broadway in New York. At some point the composer Philip Glass walked in, and one of our group, a big fan, went into a state of beatific darshan that threatened to destabilize our meal. It got worse when Glass and his companion sat at the table next to ours. My fellow diner was finally able to compose himself, give Glass props, and return to getting our eat on.

Suddenly another of my companions let out a piercing yell and pushed back from the table with great speed. Yes, there was a big old cockroach crawling up the tablecloth — not the short dark ones you often see in NYC kitchens, but a tropical-quality beast, two or three inches long (though not the flying kind). A minor tamasha ensued, during which Philip Glass turned to me and said, with an air of wisdom, “Don’t worry, they have very small appetites.”

Cockroaches happen; celebrity sightings happen too. But what was truly shocking was that the macacas brothers running the restaurant did not comp us even a round of drinks or dessert, let alone a meal, in recognition of the disgusting insect experience. I guess it shouldn’t have surprised us, seeing that they were already trying to seat a couple at a nearby two-top while the cockroach hunt was still on, but come on, what the hell kind of restaurant management is that? So, folks, if you go to Indus Valley at 100th and Broadway, watch out for big-ass cockroaches and don’t expect a discount.

Which brings me to the subject at hand. Perhaps in response to a desi dining landscape that, except in a few fortunate neighborhoods and towns, consists of the same old slop doled out from the same buffets, plus a few “nice” places that look fancy but aren’t necessarily up to snuff in the hygiene department, the idea of desi fast food — cheap, standardized and franchised — becomes a more and more compelling alternative.

gourmetindia.jpgWe’ve mentioned this before, with reference to the Hot Breads bakery chain, but now here is another entrepreneur heading this way, this time from an unlikely starting point in New England:

Yogi Sood sits in front of his restaurant in the food court at the Burlington Mall talking strategy with his son. The conversation is not about recipes or vendors or price points. Their recipes already are great, their vendors steady, their prices fair.

Rather, this debate is about the speed at which they should conquer the world. Yogi, a 57-year-old retired engineer and the founder of Gourmet India, wants to do it quickly. Now. Yesterday.

“Fifty franchises in five years,” he says.

Vishnal Sood, 24, raises an eyebrow. He is deferential to his father but the eyebrow is ominous.

Yogi interprets: “My son thinks I’m a bit ambitious,” he says. Then he laughs.

The Soods’ company, Gourmet India, has franchises in well-selected, semi-upscale or well-trafficked malls in the Boston area. The idea is to make desi food ubiquitous in mall food courts. I would imagine there are other regional chains starting up in different parts of the country on exactly the same premise.

Still, a national chain? “It’s a big leap,” says Harry Balzer, an expert in the eating habits of Americans. “People’s taste changes very slowly.”

Sood is nonplussed. Indian food will be to the ethnic food market what Chinese food became 20 years ago, he says. He looks around the mall’s food court. Some of the heavy hitters of the franchise restaurant business are his neighbors: Pizzeria Regina, Johnny Rockets, Quiznos. “We’re already among the most popular here,” he says.

The article treads the usual ground (with a punning title too lame to repeat here): how the US market for desi food is different from the UK, etc. Still, the question is there and it’s surely worth a lot of money: what are the chances, and what would it take, to make desi food a ubiquitous option in the malls, airports and train stations of America, like pizza and Chinese?

291 thoughts on “A Dosa and a Dream

  1. Brings to mind a Mexican place (Paquena?) in Fort Greene that made to-die-for mushroom tacos.

    Just ate at Pequena for the billionth time on Tuesday night. Yummy yummy spot with lots of veggie options. Even their chips and salsa are fresh and delicious. It’s worth checking out for the rest of you in NYC.

  2. We went through the same evolutionary process in Britain too

    Not so sure …….booing south asian players representing England at Test matches….heard of that?

  3. There are so many variations of FOB now. Why settle for that one big catch-all when there are so many other ways to generalize and offend people?

    There’s: FOTP – Fresh Off the Turnpike (for all you NJ and NYC peeps, y’all know what I’m talkin’ bout). A subcategory is “Fresh Out of Edison.” FOC – Fresh Outta Chandigarh (and Beware of the Boys). FOTB – Fresh Over the Border (Canada, Mexico, Thailand, whatever). JOJ – Just Off the Jet (since immigrants rarely travel by boat anymore, unless they’re coming from Cuba or Cambodia).

    And nevermind “banana,” “oreo,” or any of the non-acronymic slang terms.

    Next up, variations on ABCD…

  4. Man, this thread is so dead. :-) Let’s all go post on “A Dosa and a Dream” like everyone else.

    it was only a matter of time ;>

  5. Salil Maniktahla

    Next up, variations on ABCD…

    Well..thats easy. One that has short spiky gelled hair…and one that doesn’t!

    just keedding !

  6. Hay-lo AC, hay-lo Salil. That’s one more off the dark matter train.

    sins i wuz born abroad but raised in the USofA, am i stale off the boat???

    Hmm…. if somebody was born outside the US, but has lived here for umpteen years, that would make him or her a, ummm…., SOB?

  7. risible invisible

    And BTW, Bongs, why so silent? What do you guys eat, and where do we get us some?

    and razib the atheist

    for the bengalis, shawshar thal rox!!!

    as a Bengali (and Siddhartha stand beside me here, if you like)I’ve found it impossible to get straight up Bengali food (not the same as Bangladeshi food) in a restaurant. It’s my sense that our market invisiblity exists for several isolate and interwoven reasons. I’m taking the liberty to highlight a few and I’ll end this post with a provokative suggestion. Here goes:

    1. Most, even in India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Assam, etc. know us for rosogolla (milk curd sweet soaked in sugar syrup) mishti doi (jaggery flavored sweet yogurt)and shorshe bata mach (fish steamed or fry-braised in ground mustard seeds and mustard oil) or macher jhol, in general (any fish with sauce/light gravy preperation). These items are time intensive and taste like crap, made well in advance. Also, these tastes are extreme: very sweet to very jhajh. That said, there is a Bengali restaurant somewhere around Washington Square Park. Um, ‘nuf said.

    2. Jhajh. Our cuisine frequently makes use of mustard oil. Jhajh, as you all know, is the spicy feeling one gets in one’s nose, say after eating a chunk of wasabi or Coleman’s mustard, and to a lesser extent mustard from Dijon, radishes, etc. Jhajh is not a popular flavor, or state of being, I’ve found for those who are not already indoctrinated. FOr those of us who are: well, we make salad dressing out of the stuff.

    3. Mild. Most often, home food for Bengalis is mild–a light touch with garlic and onions (ayurvedically ennervating to Pita constitutions and aggravating to Kapha and Vata; plus, it said to rile up the nether regions, which I don’t personally find offensive but others, along the course of history, have. I’m talking about what Bengali widows were allowed to eat (not so much anymore).

    4. Dal. Bengali food is very dal driven. In fact, as a people, we treasure dal and coax and humor it into myriad preparations that can’t even be approximated abroad because certain flavoring agents are very hard to come by. Like radhuni–with is a cross between the sourness of zataar and the nutiness of seseme. Bhaja Moog dal with Radhuni makes me cry.

    I could write about this forever but that might get boring.

    Instead, I’ll give you two recipies so that you can all get a little straight up Bengali. Nina_P, both are vegetarian, and Razib, both use shorsher thel.

    Fresh Green Mango Pickle (A nod to Satyajit Ray’s Pather Paanchali–Song of the Road; my mother and Santineketan Mashis in general)

    Take a few fresh green mangos, peel, slice and julienne into fine, fine strips. Place in bowl. Slice several green chillis radially and fine. Add to mango. Douse with mustard oil such that every item is well coated. Start modestly, and add more as necessary and to your taste. Salt to taste. Mix thoroughly, hide away somewhere and eat in rapture.

    Alloo shedho, Dim shedho, Dal shedho, Bhath (Boiled potato, boiled egg, boiled dal and rice)

    This is the dish my mother made upon coming home after those immense car journeys to Chicago to eat some Auntie’s fresh peas kochuri or because my father felt like a short trip to the Grand Canyon, or the Finger Lakes or Montreal, by way of Jersey — to pick up his boyz and their families)feeling confident that 5 adults and 6 children could make it work in an Oldsmobile wagon for 21 hours, roundtrip.

    Okay, if you know how to use a pressure cooker, you’re laughing as this recipie takes 20 minutes. If not, you’re like me and must boil, this takes 30-40 minutes.

    Select smallish potatoes, peel. (I keep the peels on. I am 1.5 gen) Put some moog dal in a cheesecloth (say a fistful)and tie it up. Find a few eggs. Boil them. Make rice. (I use brown rice. 1.5! 1.5!) Organize lanka, salt, shorsher thel (and ghee for those who prefer quiet times down below)

    Pressure Cooker people: use the pressure cooker to cook potatoes and dal. I can’t tell you how. I can only be envious that you know how.

    Other people: boil potatoes and dal together until done.

    Plating:

    place a scoop or two of rice in center of plate ringed with boiled goods. Make a well in rice and pour in a bit of shorsher thel or some ghee. put some salt on the edge of plate with a couple of lankas. Mix the whole business together as you eat or all at once. Prepare to roll back your eyes with pleasure.

    If you’re talking Bengali food, whether you like it or not, you must include Anglo-Indian food, some of which if widely represented in most Indian joints: Mulligatawny Soup is Bengali. Chops (not the pork ones Mr. Kobayashi, but the potato croquettes stuffed with all things delicious,) are Bengali. And, let’s not forget White Russian dishes–Russian salad: thinnly sliced beets, thinly sliced onions, chopped egg and loads of mayonaise, is Bengali. Finally, Tangra food (The Chinese who broke their backs laboring as tanners for Bengalis who could never conceive of doing something so untouchable), like Tangra Masala, is Bengali.

  8. Perhaps, we can also talk about cookbooks. If you have any particular favorites, please do comment. It might save a starving student’s life some day :) As for my own favorite , I only have a kind-of/sort-of cookbook I love to hate. This is the infamous “Cook and see”, or “Samaiththu paar” in Tamil. It is either the worst cookbook ever, or the best cookbook ever. Depending on who you ask. Ask one of the aunties or uncles, and they will swear by it. Ask anybody else, they will swear it was written by a Vulcan.

  9. I found it strange, even when visiting Calcutta (in 1993) that there were few (actually none that I came across) restaurants serving Bengali food. Most of the restaurants were ‘Continental’, ‘Chinese’, or ‘Mughlai/North Indian/Punjabi’. People told me that if you want good, typical, REAL Bengali food, you had to get it at people’s homes, or better yet, get invited to a traditional Bengali wedding, in which case you could feast on a large variety of authentic delicacies. Any comments from the Bengali posse?

    Question…I know Bengalis love rice and it’s your staple…do you guys (traditionally) eat wheat roti at all? How about puri/paratha, etc?

    Is ‘shorsher’ mustard? Cognate to ‘sarson’ in Hindi and ‘sarhon’ in Punjabi it seems.

    Bengali food may be hard to find, but Bengali sweets are all over the place, even the US. Mishti Doi is probably one of the best desserts I’ve ever had in my life (the best ever dessert, when I was visiting family in Delhi, was something called ‘Doodh Ka Halwa’ which someone had brought from a visit to district Lalitpur in U.P. Never had it before or since but it was incredible.)

  10. so how do people feel about the desi selections at whole foods?
    i love browsing the whole foods aisles for the desi selections. very yummy. the food is great too.

    I don’t know about the aisles, because I try my hardest to avoid food that comes from a box or bag or needs to be microwaved to cook, but I have found their salad-bar samosas (no meat!) to be quite delicious and meat free. I love to put a couple of samosas in a salad box and top it with some aloo mattar and chole. Yum.

    P.S. In case you were wondering, the falafel from the WF salad bar sucks big time.

  11. The desi selection at the food halls in Harrods (Knightsbridge, London) is very good too… not cheap though. They have some South Indian NON VEG for that matter…chicken chettinad, etc.

  12. Bengali food may be hard to find, but Bengali sweets are all over the place, even the US. Mishti Doi is probably one of the best desserts I’ve ever had in my life (the best ever dessert, when I was visiting family in Delhi, was something called ‘Doodh Ka Halwa’ which someone had brought from a visit to district Lalitpur in U.P. Never had it before or since but it was incredible.)

    i am a fan of bengali sweets as well.. add sandesh to your list. and that doodh ka halwa… or milk cake… it is pure fat… same category as rasmalai, rabdi etc… no wonder it is crazy delicius.

    i am surprised you first tasted it via u.p.. it is very common across the haryana-punjab-delhi area (and i’m assuming you’ve frequented that area more than u.p.).

  13. tamasha

    I don’t know about the aisles, because I try my hardest to avoid food that comes from a box or bag or needs to be microwaved to cook, but I have found their salad-bar samosas (no meat!) to be quite delicious and meat free. I love to put a couple of samosas in a salad box and top it with some aloo mattar and chole. Yum.

    oh tamasha… i think WF quality varies dramatically from place to place. fr instance the austin one (their HQ) is way superior to the one in toronto… more selections, more buzz… i agree with you on hors d’oeuvres – their tofu , the samosas, and i think they had sweet potato fries when i last went there were very nice. and I like that they had brown basmati rice… which is way better than the clumpy white stuff. still, i personally find WF too expensive and try to avoid it… especially for a serve yourself type of a deal.

  14. Alloo shedho, Dim shedho, Dal shedho, Bhath my mom makes that.

    razib the atheist:

    Our moms are awesome. (As are everyones’ moms, no doubt.)

    1: People told me that if you want good, typical, REAL Bengali food, you had to get it at people’s homes, or better yet, get invited to a traditional Bengali wedding, in which case you could feast on a large variety of authentic delicacies.
    2: Question…I know Bengalis love rice and it’s your staple…do you guys (traditionally) eat wheat roti at all? How about puri/paratha, etc?
    3: Is ‘shorsher’ mustard?
    4: Mishti Doi is probably one of the best desserts I’ve ever had in my life (the best ever dessert, when I was visiting family in Delhi, was something called ‘Doodh Ka Halwa’ which someone had brought from a visit to district Lalitpur in U.P. Never had it before or since but it was incredible.)

    Amitabh:

    1: Yes. And Yes. It’s quite amazing to see those wedding fellows (because I think they’re almost never ladies) make a pandal’s worth of piping hot fresh lucchi (puri), jalebi and other assorted sweet and savoury fried lovlies to order. For 300 + people over one-three days. But wedding food is rich and loud. It needs to assert position, celebration and circumstance. Home food is quiet–and I would say no less splendid. Home food is what is made to begin, sustain and end each day.

    2: Wheat roti. In my family, the older generations tend to prefer hath roti in the evening, with a shubji (sabzi) or two and dal, of course. Followed with mishti doi. I think there’s something like winnowing down to the essentials going on for these elders. A couple of wheat rotis, some veg. a bit of yogurt. Then a quiet stroll. To bed by 10 PM. Up before light breaks for puja and a rigorous inspection of fish at the morning market. Roti helps to make this happen, I’m thinking.

    2a: Puri/Paratha : These are special items as traditionally, refined white flour is harder to come by and digestively, not that friendly to the GI. Lucchi and parathas are for weekends, doing well on exams, a temptation platformed to entice new mothers to eat. In other words, not daily fare for my family.

    3: Shorshe is mustard. Shorsher is of mustard. Shorsher Thel is Oil of mustard.

    Before moving on to sweets: I’ve learned from my family that prepared food tates best and is treasured more deeply the day after. I can’t say my 1.5 tastes agree, but my Ma loses her nut over day old lucchi–there’s a word for it bashi and to have bashi lucchi and aloo tharkari or aloor dum is heaven for her. Perhaps its a residual from her childhood when there weren’t a lot of extra lucchis to be had, for multiple reasons. An excess of lucchi, such that they must go slightly stale (or be thrown away, heaven forbid), became a signifier of a certain luxury. And this sentiment in widely shared, I’ve found, accross income and educational strata in the Bengali community. My dad makes next-day lucchi sandwhiches. I swear.

    4: Mishti doi is mental. When I go back to Kolkata, I stop off at what is supposedly the best sweet doi maker en route to my Mashi’s from the airport–that’s Dum Dum to Shealdah to Ballygunge. Looks like 2 hours. Feels like seven. The first time I did this I was in my early twenties. As the door to her home was opened to me she remarked that I have become an adult. It was the yogurt, my friend, the yogurt.

  15. that there were few (actually none that I came across) restaurants serving Bengali food. Most of the restaurants were ‘Continental’, ‘Chinese’, or ‘Mughlai/North Indian/Punjabi’.

    You could give Aheli a try next time you are there. Also the continental, chinese and mughlai cuisine served in Calcutta have been bongified a lot. You don’t quite get that stuff anywhere else.

    Pritha, great comment.

    These items are time intensive and taste like crap, made well in advance

    is a major issue.

    There have been a few attempts in SF bay area. Charulata – another Ray nod – opened with much fanfare but went under quickly and quietly. Cafe Dhaka in Santa Clara is still going strong, but my experience has been very mixed.

    Bottom line: best bong food is cooked at home, not in restaurants. But as we are the world’s truest omnivorous gourmands, you will rarely find us whining about that.

  16. Another Desi Dude in Austin :

    Perhaps, we can also talk about cookbooks. If you have any particular favorites, please do comment. It might save a starving student’s life some day :) As for my own favorite , I only have a kind-of/sort-of cookbook I love to hate. This is the infamous “Cook and see”, or “Samaiththu paar” in Tamil. It is either the worst cookbook ever, or the best cookbook ever. Depending on who you ask. Ask one of the aunties or uncles, and they will swear by it. Ask anybody else, they will swear it was written by a Vulcan.

    Vulcans. Pointy! And their native tongue is indecipherable, no?

    I like two cookbooks very much–one just makes me drool and confuses me–like vtf’s up with tempering masala … vat, are you keeding??; I’ve yet to brave a recipie. It’s called Dakshin: Vegetarian Cuisine from South India by Chandra Padmanabhan. Well written, clear instructions, not for the lazy (me!). Another is a mostly Hyderabadhi one called Mrs. ______’s Definitve Hyderbadhi Cookery. This book is the shit. My aunt has a copy but she lives on Oahu so there’s not much sharing. Pigeon Biriyani for a Light Ladies’ Luncheon kind of stuff, if you know what I mean. I refer to Madhur Jaffery’s East West Vegetarian Food often –she makes me want to self immolate with the name dropping, the chota pegs of whisky with spicy cashews, etc.; her’s is a highly elitist take on cusine and all of her recipies are titled stupidly like Mrs. Bunny Aggarwal’s Rainy Season Rogan Josht or Suzu Contractor’s Corriander Cress Egg Scrambble. Wow.

    To tell you the truth, I’ve learned everything from my mother, her mother, Ma’s cousins and my paternal aunts. Ask your people, or the people of people you love. These people are dying to teach you everything they know, I promise.

    The key thing I’ve learned: use fewer raisins in everything.

    dipanjan

    Charulata – another Ray nod

    Charulata is the b-e-s-t, f-r-i-g-g-i-n movie ever. In Cambridge/Boston where there used to exist movie theaters that didn’t give a rat’s ass about Paramount Pictures or 40 year old virgins, you could see entire Satyajit Ray retrospectives over the span of consecutive weeks (don’t tell me about anthology or bam rose … nothing compares to u, Nickolodean of the 80s and the Brattle Theater). Plus, you could bring your own snacks. I am not eating milk duds during a Satyajit Ray movie. Nobody should have to do that, man.

    bongified

    Yes.

  17. Neale,

    Not so sure …….booing south asian players representing England at Test matches….heard of that?

    You’re not quite accurate. It was British Pakistani audience members booing Pakistani players representing England.

    These things don’t happen amongst British Indians, especially not these days. Monty Panesar is quite a hero here. Heard of that ?

  18. Kush Tandon,

    I am expanding my neo-caste system I made a few days ago.

    This really made me laugh — very creative of you, sir ;)

    If I may, I would like to add a BBD (British-born Desi) caste, which lies in the same stratum as ABD but, due to the extensive transatlantic contact these days between the two desi populations, was unofficially inducted into the US neo-caste system by a priest during a fire ceremony on top of Trump Tower.

    BBD : May be a bhangramuffin, using extensive hip-hop gangsta slang even though he is actually a well-brought-up Indian boy living with his parents in a comfortable middle-class home in Wembley.

    However, if he is a baller rather than merely being a player, he may also look like a Latin Lover, Mafia Hitman/Character from The Sopranos, or Latin-American Drug Lord.

    And he has a bigger dosa than anyone else. If you disagree with that, he’ll put a cap in your ass. And by cap, I mean he’ll turn up with 10 of his “brothers” and they’ll have a quiet word with you, where Mr Steel Kara will do most of the talking.

    ;)

  19. Amitabh & Red Snapper,

    True, FOB is offensive…so just use the UK term, ‘FRESHIE”…hahaha…Yep, that’s the term used here, nobody uses ‘FOB’ in the UK — freshies!

    No, the best alternative is “Pendoo”.


    For the non-Punjabi-speakers amongst the SM audience, “pendoo” is an ancient and revered Punjabi word which means “greatly-respected and dignified gentleman from the Old Country”.

    No, really. It does. So the next time you pass a bunch of guys who seem to be vaguely desi but look more like Colombian Drug Barons or Hispanic/Mediterranean Casanovas, nudging each other and muttering “What a bunch of pendoos”, nod to them and raise your palm to them guru-style to confer a blessing on them. Because they’re paying you a huge compliment.

  20. These things don’t happen amongst British Indians, especially not these days. Monty Panesar is quite a hero here. Heard of that ?

    People, As Jai’s comments might mislead the ABDs here who equate Cricket to something crunchy like a Cockroach, I bravely take it upon myself to set the record straight. Monty Panesar might be a hero in England, but, Harbhajan Singh is the real deal in world cricket; a maestro swimming in the rough sea without a life-jacket, if you like. Monty Panesar is a kid, albeit with a lush beard, making sand castles on the cold beaches of England;)

  21. Monty is just starting out, he has been playing for England for less than a year. He will do very well – he has cricketing fire in his soul, and is a fighter and always struggles to improve his game.

  22. Monty is just starting out, he has been playing for England for less than a year. He will do very well – he has cricketing fire in his soul, and is a fighter and always struggles to improve his game.

    Its good that brown kids have role models in sports. In this country? – none to speak of. When I was hanging in New Zealand a while back, the brownz (self-described ‘curries’) seemed to take up cricket too.

  23. Vulcans. Pointy! And their native tongue is indecipherable, no? Sorry, folks. I did not mean any offense. The book is in perfectly good English. It is just that the book is along the lines of a uber-complicated technical manual, and it can be very hard to use even if you are somewhat familiar with the terms, and the language. IMHO, it is just not very well organized.

    Pritha, Thanks for a post and a great follow-up on cookbooks.

    To tell you the truth, I’ve learned everything from my mother, her mother, Ma’s cousins and my paternal aunts. Ask your people, or the people of people you love. These people are dying to teach you everything they know, I promise. So true.

  24. Another Desi Dude in Austin

    Vulcans. Pointy! And their native tongue is indecipherable, no? Sorry, folks. I did not mean any offense. The book is in perfectly good English. It is just that the book is along the lines of a uber-complicated technical manual, and it can be very hard to use even if you are somewhat familiar with the terms, and the language. IMHO, it is just not very well organized.

    Arrey, you did not offend me. I was trying to be funny. I do understand what it’s like to deal with a techinical cookbook. It’s mind melting.

  25. tamasha –

    I have found their salad-bar samosas (no meat!) to be quite delicious and meat free. I love to put a couple of samosas in a salad box and top it with some aloo mattar and chole. Yum.

    thanks for the info. i find myself near WF rather frequently at lunch time these days, so will have to check ‘em out. and i will definitely stay away from the falafel….

  26. Monty is just starting out, he has been playing for England for less than a year. He will do very well – he has cricketing fire in his soul, and is a fighter and always struggles to improve his game.

    I agree; my earlier comment was aimed at Jai in jest! Peace.

  27. Another Desi Dude in Austin — Don’t you read the Hindu . Cookbooks are so passe.

    Here head to this blog – pics are gatro-pron quality. Indira kindly and gently explain all veggie cooking to you.

    Just buy your fav. veggies/lentils and follow her directions.

  28. Thought I point you to a story in today’s Washington Post. Ethnic Goes Exurban by Tyler Cowen

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/09/01/AR2006090101416.html

    “Little more than a decade ago, the quest for a dosa meant going to the District. That staple of south Indian cooking, the masala dosa (fry a moist mix of ground lentils and rice into a long, waferlike form, and stick something like potatoes inside), was a rare commodity in the Washington area.

    Today, dozens of local restaurants serve dosas. The Indian restaurant Minerva, located in Fairfax, has 11 different dosas on its menu, stuffed with chutneys, spinach, onions, chicken and lamb in addition to potatoes. In much of outside-the-Beltway Virginia, where I do most of my eating these days, it’s easier to find a good dosa than a decent hamburger. …”

  29. Here head to this blog – pics are gatro-pron quality. Indira kindly and gently explain all veggie cooking to you.

    Oh. My. God. Food porn.

  30. that’s a generalization. i can give you falsifying examples!

    Razib, You have to make up your mind one way or the other, whether you want more data points or less. You can’t have it both ways. Especially if you’re the one to bring up esoteric datapoints when other peeps make generalized statements.

  31. A MATHEMATICS PROFESSOR ONCE SAID, "THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS PURE MATHEMATICS; ALL MATHEMATICS HAVE APPLICATIONS". LIKEWISE, ALL OSCURE RANTS ARE FUNNY; YOU HAVE TO LOOK PROPERLY.
    

    PERHAPS SOURABH GANGULY COULD SOLVE THE PROBLEMS OF CULINARILY UN-GIFTED DESIS IN NYC.

  32. I have tried every restraunt in Lexington Ave , Indian Area in Manhatten, it is suprising that chennai garden was sited by NYC city for Cockroaches and same with Sarvana bhavan dosa hut, which is now called tamil nadu bhavan, I actually found one in the food. so when you go to Indian restraunts in that area, please be watchful, the only restraunt I have not heard complaints about other than very very hot food, where tongue burns is SAravanaas.