15 August 2007

Day Tripping in Little India

I can't think of many better ways to spend a day than exploring one of LA's many ethnic communities. A few weekends ago, I went Artesia, which is also know as Little India, to hang-out with my friend, J.. My adventure got off to a rocky start as I got horribly lost trying to find the place where we were to meet, an ice cream shop call Saffron Spot.

Flash forward five phone calls between us later and three turns up and down a four block stretch of Pioneer Blvd. and I finally arrive thirty-minutes late for a tasting event organized by Abby of "Pleasure Palate". Completely frustrated and flustered at losing my way, I didn't take any pictures of the ice cream, so I'll send you to J.'s blog, UnHip LA, to see her photos. If you ever decide to visit Saffron Spot be aware that the address of the store isn't the same as the address of the strip mall it's in.

As for the ice cream, it was rich and creamy and in flavors found in traditional Indian foods—saffron, mango, and pistachio. While their ice cream was good and reason enough to visit, the favorite sweet treat I sampled was their shaved ice or Gola. I particularly appreciated the crushed peanuts sprinkled a top the frozen mound. Their saltness helped to balance the sweet rose water and thick milk that flavored the ice.

With four frozen treats down the hatch, I took a break from food and hit the Naz Theater to catch a Bollywood film. I've watched a couple of Bollywood films, but they have all been in the comfort of my own living room, seeing one in a theater was a first for me. Indian films are long by traditional Hollywood standards and there's an intermission so you can take a break, stretch your legs, and refill your snacks. J. and I skipped the snack bit, so we would be good and hungry for dinner afterwards.

We took our dinner at Jay Bharat. J. and I shared a number of savory snacks: Masala Dhosa (pictured above), Samosa, and Palak Paneer Parotha. But most of the patrons, and every seat was taken with a steady steam of customers the whole time we were there, seem to be enjoying the Pali or assorted curries, chutneys, and bread served on a silver tray, the more traditional dinner.

I think most people are familiar with the fried triangles that are samosas, but for those who might not know a dhosa think of it as a very large rice crepe filled with roughly mashed potatoes mildly seasoned with curry spices. One rolls it up like a burito and eats it while dipping it in samhbar or thin lentil curry. Parotha is a round flat bread and our was stuffed with spinach or palak paneer. Dinner was a delight and a wonderful way to end the day.

Artesia was a bit of a trek for me, but it was well worth the trip—and I had a happy full stomach to keep me company on the drive back home.

Saffron Spot
18744 Pioneer Blvd.
Artesia, CA 90701
Ph: 562-809-4554
Fax: 562-809-6226

Jay Bharat
18701 Pioneer Blvd.
Artesia, CA 90701
Ph: 562-924-3310
Fax: 562-924-2911

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Anonymous henrychan said...

Nice writeup! I didn't know of Little India before your post. I'm not too far from Artesia (I'm in Alhambra) and I LOVE Indian curry, so i'll need to make my way there.

Thanks for the suggestions!

8/20/2007 2:15 AM  
Blogger Blue Plate said...

Hello Henry,

Thanks for reading. Hope you make it to Artesia soon. I'll look forward to your pictures.

Blue Plate

8/22/2007 2:13 PM  

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