I’ve been to Alamo Square’s Saffron Grill before. In fact, the first time was exactly two years ago today. My sister was in town for a wedding last week and we decided to gobble up some Indian food while she was here. Saffron Grill is always a good option because it’s close to where I live and it’s rated highly by its patrons, including me. I particularly like the starter they give everyone. We started with a combo appetizer plate and then shared one of the specials of the day: Okra Curry. Yum! I just love Okra, though I do wish they had stewed theirs just a bit longer this time.


Appetizer plate

Garlic Naan

Special: Okra Curry


Of course my sister and my food/drink adventures did not end at Virgil’s Sea Room. We then decided to go get some pizza and/or Indian food. Confused? It’s confusing. Also located on the edge of the Mission and Bernal Heights, there’s this interesting walk-in restaurant called Zante Pizza that serves Indian food, regular pizza, and Indian Pizza. Yes, I’m serious. They boast that their Indian Pizza has a naan-like crust as well as Indian toppings. We ordered “The Best Indian Pizza” with meat (lamb, chicken, and prawns). Clearly the lamb, chicken, and prawns were a bit lacking, but overall the flavor of this inspired pizza was quite food. If only the crust were even more naan-like though!


Pizza and/or Indian?!?

The Best Indian Pizza

I’ve apparently been spending a lot of my eating out times in the Mission lately. It’s just so easy to get to the Mission from my new apartment now (literally there’s a bus stop outside my window). My friend is visiting the states from Malaysia so we met up in the Mission and explored Mission Dolores Park for awhile before heading over to Valencia to find some eats. We ended up at Udapi Palace between 21st and 22nd streets. Udapi Palace serves south Indian dosas and uthappams. We both tried different dosas. His had spinach chutney and paneer while mine had spinach and spiced potatoes. I would say both turned out quite delicious. As someone from Malaysia who has grown up around many South Indians, my friend said that the dosa flavors seemed like authentic. Neat-o!

Giant dosa


A few weeks ago, I had the privilege of visiting the state of Karnataka, India for a class on Microfinance and Women’s Empowerment. Although I don’t have space here to get into the specifics of all that we did there, I will talk about one very special hour in one of the days, where we visited the Dharmasthala Temple in the Dakshina Kannada district.

So much more than just a religious institution, the temple, among its hundreds of other social, civil, and development programs in the region, feeds more than 30,000 people free of charge in its Annapoorna dining hall daily, employing 240 full-time staff just to keep this operation running. Every 12 minutes, a new shift of patrons is cycled through. We were able to take a quick tour of the premises, and I think in many ways, the photos speak for themselves!


Cooked rice being scooped into giant tubs for transport and serving


From the stairs looking down at the tons of cabbage needed!


A quick view of the dining hall itself – every 12 minutes, a new shift of patrons if cycled through; this is the only way they can serve the almost unbelievable tens of thousands of people every day!

This was a truly remarkable experience and to top it off, we also got to try the food – whoever said mass-produced can’t be good was wrong because it was delicious!


{fremont} chaat cafe

July 7, 2016

Chaat Café is like a fast food version of Indian food including the fast factor, but minus the lack of quality factor. I recently was in the East Bay and got a chance to visit the Chaat Café location in Fremont. I was so impressed by the variety of foods on the menu and how quickly everything came out. And, since there were real Indians eating at this place, you have to assume it’s at least somewhat decent. I tried the Paneer (cheese) wrap, which was wrapped inside Naan bread instead of a tortilla. It was just delicious and the cucumber salad perfectly refreshing! I would totally visit this place again!


Paneer (cheese) Wrap