Thursday, December 30, 2010

Layang Layang @ Milpitas

A small Malaysian restaurant in Milpitas, that is packed for lunch on week days. If you don't get there by noon, be prepared to wait for god knows how long. The restaurant is in a strip mall and fairly small, with some simple Asian decor. A nice spot for a casual lunch or dinner.

Layang Layang
I feel kind of iffy dining in Malaysian restaurants where, on the menu, under Vegetarian Entrees you usually see "Okra or Asparagus with Malay special shrimp paste sauce". I always have a teeny what-if-there-is-fish-sauce-in-my-food kind of doubt lingering in my mind, and I don't enjoy the food as much. So, this time when ordering my food, I asked the waiter, "No fish sauce, shrimp paste, oyster sauce or duck sauce, right?" Have I left anything out? The waiter shook his head, "No", he said. And then, I added, "I am allergic to fish sauce...sea food, in general." He looked a little rattled and I felt a lot better. I hoped I had scared him enough, for I could then eat peacefully.

He came back with bowls of soups. He said it was vegetarian. It looked like some kind of hot and sour soup. I passed on it, while A polished my share as well.

Soup @ Layang Layang
We ordered the Roti Telur to start with. It is a multi-layered home made Indian bread stuffed with egg and is  dipped in curry sauce. It tastes very Indian and should rather be called a fusion food. The bread was shallow fried and tasted fantastic when dipped in the fragrant curry sauce.

Roti Telur @ Layang Layang
For the main course, we ordered something completely new. I don't think you get it anywhere else. It is called the Sarang Veggies - Fried taro root nest topped with vegetables, corn, snow peas, black mushrooms and cashewnut, served on a bed of rice crispies. I still can't imagine how they managed to make that nest! Absolutely fantastic. You can eat it as is or order rice on the side. The taro root was so crisp and brittle on the outside, yet soft and well cooked on the inside.

Sarang Veggies @ Layang Layang
It was delicious. Despite the crowd, the service was reasonably fast, and the entrees were reasonably priced. There may be many other Malaysian restaurants in the area, but I don't think anyone else makes the Sarang Veggies. You should go there, try that. They also have another branch in San Jose.

Layang Layang on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Dosa on Fillmore

A classy, stylish Indian restaurant in the heart of San Francisco. I think it is one of a kind, where the ambiance makes you feel you should have dressed up a little more, may be something in black and red, the service is exemplary and extremely quick, and the food intoxicates your senses. Mind blowing!

The dimly lit, exotic looking chandeliers spruced up the interiors. There is a fairly big sized bar.

Dosa on Fillmore

We stopped by for dinner at 6 pm and were pleasantly surprised to know that the Happy Hour was on till 7 pm. We grabbed a couple of bar stools, ordered drinks and a Vada Pav. Well, it is a little pricey, given the location and the classiness, but it is worth every penny.

The waitress brought out a complimentary plate of Papad (a thin crispy cracker like munchee). Vada Pav is like Potato Slider. A fried potato patty is stuffed between bread, usually with a green chilli. A couple of spicy sauces (chutneys) are applied to the bread. The plate included a side of salad and a garlicky spicy dip.

Vada pav @ Dosa
We then ordered the Chili Garlic Masala Dosa. Dosa is more like an Injera. It is a savory rice and lentil crepe, served with tomato & fresh coconut chutney, and sambar, a flavorful lentil dipping soup made with vegetables and spices. The Dosa had a filling of potatoes and onions cooked with spices, called "Masala".
I have tried sambhar at a few other restaurants and nothing comes close to what you get here. It was piping hot till the last spoon.

Chili Garlic Masala Dosa @ Dosa
Here's how you eat it - Take a piece of the Dosa, dip it in the sambar, pile some chutney on it and pop it in your mouth. And, feel free to use your hands, the Ethiopian way.

It was really huge and very filling. We left the place quite sated. On reaching our hotel, I realized that I had left my cap beihind in the restaurant. The kind waiter had given it to the front desk, where it was waiting for me, when I went back for it.

This restaurant is a gem and we will have dinner here whenever we visit SFO. They are open only for dinner on week days. They also have another location, on Valencia. If you haven't been to Dosa, go right now!

Dosa on Urbanspoon

Anjappar @ Milpitas

A recent vacation to the Bay Area found us at this excellent restaurant. Chettinad cuisine is a type of South Indian speciality and restaurants featuring this cuisine are sparse. There are none in the Seattle area and the only time we get to eat it is on our visits to India. OK, so we should try this one, we thought.

We got there at 11:30 am. They had just opened and in no time the restaurant was filled with office goers. The ambience is very casual and makes it a great lunch spot. The waiters were very attentive, always checking on us and enquiring about the food.

We ordered the Gobi 65 (Cauliflower dipped in corn flour and spices and fried) to start with. It is the best I have had so far. The outsides were very crispy, fried to perfection and the insides soft. We had asked for it to be spicy and it was just right. I could eat plate after plate. And, it was resaonably priced at $6.99.

Gobi 65 @ Anjappar
For the main course, we ordered a plate of Veggie Kothu Parotta and a Biryani meal. Kothu Parotta is minced Parotta ( a layered flatbread more popular in road side shops in Sothern India) sauteed with onions and other veggies. It was spicy and came with a side of a cup of Kurma (a gravy of vegetables and garlic) and Raitha ( a yoghurt dip that consists of grated cucumber, onions, carrots, coriander and other spices). It was delicious.
Vegetable Kothu Parotta @ Anjappar
The Biryani meal came with a bowl of Veggie Biryani( a rice based dish usually made using Basmati rice, veggies and other spices) a cup of the above mentioned Kurma, Raitha and one Chappathi. The Biryani was fantastic. The flavors were mild yet very tasty. It reminded me of the authentic Biryani my friend's Grandma used to make for us. Different regions in India cook it in different style. Chettinad Biryani is quite popular among the Southerners. The Chappathi was also soft unlike the rubbery ones you get at some places.

Vegetable Biryani @ Anjappar
A ordered a meetha paan in the end. It is also called as Beeda and usually aids in digestion after a heavy meal. Essentially, it is a Betel Leaf filled with coconut, candies fruits, rose petal preserve (gulkand) and various spices. It was served with a Cherry on top.

Meetha Paan @ Anjappar
It was an awesome lunch. They have a really big menu with a variety of dishes from different parts of Southern India. It is worth trying it if you like South Indian food!

Anjappar Chettinad on Urbanspoon
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