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Flavor of India

February 9, 2010

Maya has been staying with my in-laws since Sunday and the house has been…quiet.  Honestly, I feel like my left arm is missing.  When she’s around all I want her to do is stop asking me questions.  And then when she’s gone I wonder why nobody is asking me questions?  There were certainly benefits to her sleepover though – I didn’t mind the break from having to provide her with breakfast, lunch, and dinner, plus snacks every 2 hours.  It was also quite liberating to get through a whole day without having to say, “If you are hungry you can have a fruit or a vegetable.  If you don’t want a fruit or a vegetable than I guess you aren’t hungry enough.”   

Since we rarely have a chance to eat out without Maya, Ali and I decided to hit the town last night.  And on a Monday no less!  I almost can’t get over how daring we are.  After much debate we decided to embrace our new adventurous personalities and we hit up an Indian restaurant we’d never been to – Flavor of India.   

  

Located in West Hollywood, Flavor of India is directly off Santa Monica Blvd. We couldn’t believe how much traffic there was on a Monday night at 7pm…I guess we are the only boring people who consider eating out on a Monday night unusual.  

Despite a nearly empty parking lot there was an attendant ready to collect $5 for valet parking.  Valet parking in Los Angeles is such a scam!  We decided to save ourselves $5 plus the $2 tip by parking on the street and scored a spot less than 1 minute to the front door of the restaurant.   

The restaurant was very dimly lit (in a good way) and was very pretty with lots of little lights. There weren’t too many people when we arrived but by 8pm the place started getting busy. 

  

I was excited to see Idli’s on the menu and we ordered them as an appetizer.  

A steamed cake made with ground rice and lentils, served with sambar (lentil soup) and coconut chutney.

(Sorry for the dark pictures but we’ve already established that I can’t take a picture to save my life.  Enough said.)  

Idli’s are not only gluten-free but delicious too.  They were easily the best thing I ate last night.  

Since we were already $7 ahead we splurged and ordered a second appetizer – The Murgh Ki Chat which I didn’t eat (chicken) and he didn’t comment on.  He didn’t finish it so it is safe to assume he didn’t particularly care for it.  

Tender pieces of boneless chicken tossed with potatoes, three chutneys and chat masala.

We decided to share the Vegetarian Thali:  

Mixed vegetable sabzi and chana masala with dal, rice, raita, kachumber and naan.

The mixed vegetables were good and Ali liked the naan but we really didn’t eat any of the other stuff.  The chana masala was too spicy and the daal was just strange. 

We also ordered the  Tandoori Fish:  

Mildly marinated salmon, served with onion and tomato.

I thought this was pretty good but we didn’t know the fish would be salmon and Ali doesn’t like salmon.  Usually tandoori fish is swordfish or another white fish, so next time we’ll definitely check before ordering this dish.  Ali ate half a piece and went to town on his trusty carbs instead.  

While the service was excellent, overall Flavor of India was disappointing.  Truthfully it is nearly impossible to find a good Indian restaurant in Los Angeles.  We have tried SO many and either they are overpriced or they have average food. Or both.  I’d much rather save my money and hit up my mom’s place for some decent Indian food.  The only problem?  She lives an hour away so I can’t just hop over when an Aloo Gobi craving strikes.  Until she lives closer I remain on the lookout.  Let me know if you live in Los Angeles and have any suggestions.  

Well I’m off to pick up Maya.  In a few hours, when my patience has diminished I will re-read the first paragraph of this post so I can remember how much I missed her.   

On second thought, maybe I should print this post out, photocopy it, and tape it all over the house.  I have a feeling that I will need a few dozen reminders very shortly.  

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40 Comments leave one →
  1. February 9, 2010 9:06 pm

    I love eating indian food at home too! But there is something about going out for indian food!

    I know I have not been commenting as much but I read blogs via google reader in class so I can’t comment as much 🙂

  2. Stef @ moretolifethanlettuce permalink
    February 9, 2010 9:44 pm

    bummer that the restaurant wasn’t so great. i’ve yet to have good indian food in LA either. aww, sweet that you miss maya, absence makes the heart grow fonder! and then when she’s back i’m sure you’ll need to re-read that first paragraph. better print it out for easy reference.

  3. Danielle permalink
    February 9, 2010 10:10 pm

    The rice lentil “cake” sounds really good 🙂 Sorry the food wasn’t that great. I’ve actually never been to an Indian restaurant but I’m starting to like the food more & more

  4. February 9, 2010 10:54 pm

    awww so glad you got some down time! We’ve yet to do a JJ-less day. 4 hours has been it (for both of us to be away from him)…of course I do all days away from home every day..bleh

    I loved your review! I read coconut chutney and stopped there…was that impossibly good? it sounds good.

    I must get to bed now! Have a great day tomrorrow!
    xo

  5. February 9, 2010 11:57 pm

    I have never eaten Indian food. =( I have always wanted to try it!

  6. February 10, 2010 3:35 am

    Gahh..Only if I lived in LA:)Well we have two Indian restaurants and only one of them is actually worth going. I think for us Atlanta is the destination where we satisfy our Indian food craving or home!

  7. February 10, 2010 5:01 am

    Once in a while I like to have Indian food. I love their chutneys and the way they make use of a lot of beans, and not forgetting curries!I’ve not been to a real Indian restaurant, and the Indian cuisine in Singapore has a lot of South Asian influences.

    I guess your Maya-holiday is over! :p

  8. February 10, 2010 5:30 am

    Wow….the restuarants in your locale are outstanding. Seriously you must have endless options!

  9. February 10, 2010 5:37 am

    Awww…I hate it when you make the effort to go out and then the restaurant is a disappointment. Better luck next time!

  10. fitandfortysomething permalink
    February 10, 2010 5:51 am

    I hate when I go out and not get a great meal. That is funny….we never go out during the week either. It would be a big event as well!

  11. Silvia permalink
    February 10, 2010 6:35 am

    I know what you mean….. I lived in LA for a few years, and had a few favorite Indian restaurants there. Loved the food and found it delicious. Then, last year I actually visited Indian and realized that the food in India is incomparable to anything I’ve ever had in a US restaurant.

    Not sure why. Are the ingredients in India just more natural and fresh? Even the raitas taste differently, as if everything is made from fresh, organic ingredients.

    • February 10, 2010 9:41 am

      Hi Silvia – The food in India is absolutely more fresh and organic! Obviously I recommend steering clear of roadside vendors but the food alone is definitely worth a trip.

  12. February 10, 2010 6:38 am

    Isn’t it amazing how many BAD Indian restaurants there are?? We finally found one that we LOVE and it’s the only place we’ll go to get our fix–unless we hit the Bombay Grocery and Hubby cooks it up from scratch… er… the frozen section…

  13. February 10, 2010 6:58 am

    too bad i live in a small town down here in the south, i don’t remember seeing any Indian restaurants. otherwise, i would have tried it myself. me and hubby like to try different kinds of food. while i know little about India much less their food and culture, i’d love to experience something new every once in a while. are indian foods usually hot and spicy? just curious..

    • February 10, 2010 9:38 am

      Hi Jenn, it isn’t always spicy and you can request the chef to cook your food mild, which is what we do for Maya.

  14. Ryan permalink
    February 10, 2010 7:12 am

    Try Ambala Dhaba. On Westwood Blvd, one block north of SM Blvd

    • February 10, 2010 9:37 am

      Hi Ryan…how are you doing? We did try Ambala Dhaba but weren’t too thrilled with it. I guess we are picky Indian food eaters??

      Sick of the snow yet??

  15. February 10, 2010 7:21 am

    Sorry to hear that food wasn’t that great. I wonder from time to time that when you are from an ethnic background it is harder to enjoy that meal out and it is always better at home. When I lived at home we never ever go out to eat persian and even now when we go.. cause my husband loves it I am always complaining that is not like mom’s

  16. Erin permalink
    February 10, 2010 7:51 am

    I love your “fruit or vegetable or not hungry enough” line. I need to use that! Glad you had a few nights with your husband sans child!

  17. February 10, 2010 7:56 am

    I don’t know where in LA you live, but ‘Agra’ which is on Sunset in Silverlake is pretty good, or at least my husband and I enjoyed it several times when we lived in that area. I’m not Indian, so can take my judgement with a hefty grain of salt, but I have eaten plenty of bad or just average Indian, and this seemed to be a step above that.

    • February 10, 2010 9:34 am

      Hi Kristina – thanks for the recommendation! I will definitely look it up as I have not heard of Agra before…just FYI, I wanted to check out your site but the link doesn’t work below.

  18. February 10, 2010 8:04 am

    I love Indian food. It has so much flavour and it is so warming. My husband and I have been making an Indian dish at home once a week since Christmas because my sister got him an Indian cookbook and a spice grinder.

  19. February 10, 2010 8:18 am

    bummer! sorry your meal was so lackluster. i agree, good indian food is really hard to find. i last went to Dhaba Restaurant on Main Street in Santa Monica. I had some good dishes, some so/so. I’m not sure how authentic the food was but overall i liked it 🙂

    http://www.dhaba.biz/menu.html

  20. February 10, 2010 9:24 am

    Sorry to hear that the food wasn’t that great, but at least you got to enjoy a quiet night out with just your husband 🙂 I’ve never been to an Indian restaurant before, but I love using Indian spices in my cooking…

    It’s funny… my mom use to say the same thing about me when I was younger. She missed me when I was gone, but I drove her crazy when I was around 🙂 Can’t live with em, can’t live without em…

  21. February 10, 2010 9:54 am

    I think it’s cute you missed Maya like you did. Isn’t it always the classic “grass is always greener” scenario? I bitch and moan at my husband when he plays his computer game (i.e., “Why don’t we do exciting things like other couples?”), and then when we do exciting things like other couples, I bitch and moan that I need more private time. I’m difficult.
    The Indian food looks delicious!

  22. whydeprive permalink
    February 10, 2010 9:56 am

    I love indian food.

    Its sweet how much you miss Maya when shes not around. Too bad it cant be like that with men eh? They drive you crazy when theyre around, then they go away and its kind of like “hmm could you maybe do this more often?”

  23. February 10, 2010 11:08 am

    I *LOVE* Indian food! When I was in Charlottesville for undergrad, I used to go to this restaurant called Himalayan Fusion, and the Chicken Tikka was to die for! Next time Ali doesn’t like a Tandoori Fish dish, don’t hesitate to fedEx it over to this side of the country! Jk… sort of…

    (:

  24. February 10, 2010 12:49 pm

    So envious.. I love my little town…but can count on one had the decent restaurant we have.

  25. February 10, 2010 1:08 pm

    Andrew and I LOVE going out for Indian food!! I could make an entire meal just off of naan. MMmmmmm!! 🙂

  26. February 10, 2010 1:12 pm

    Woops! I forgot an “i”!

  27. actorsdiet permalink
    February 10, 2010 4:18 pm

    i like “paru’s” – have you ever been there? a vegetarian place on sunset that looks scary from the outside, but reminds me of some places in london that i’ve been to.

    • February 10, 2010 7:38 pm

      I haven’t heard of Paru’s but I am excited…I love London’s Indian restaurants so I definitely want to check this out!

  28. February 10, 2010 6:38 pm

    Mmm I was JUST was thinking today that I wanted to have Indian soon! Sorry your meal was disappointing. Hope you get Maya back soon!

  29. February 10, 2010 7:21 pm

    Too bad you didn’t like the food, it sure sounded good!

    Although nothing can beat good homemade desi food, you just have to go out to a restaurant sometimes!

    Atlanta has some awesome restaurants – if you’re ever out here I will gladly recommend some.

  30. traynharder23 permalink
    February 10, 2010 8:31 pm

    is it sad that i haven’t eaten real indian food before? anyways, sorry it wasn’t that great! =(

    at ucla, it’s 49 for an hour, 39 for students. seee you underestimated yourself!

    hah- i couldn’t make a friend pay- that’s so mean! i won’t make guarantees about abs or whatever, but i really work with people to improve their strength. and give a good ass kicking!
    hahhaa TALENTED?! ME?!

  31. February 10, 2010 8:55 pm

    I LOVE Indian food – what a bummer the resturant was a dissapointment! Texas also has a small selection of good places to go – of course I know of a few in Austin 🙂

  32. February 11, 2010 9:22 am

    Am I right in thinking that in the name of Indian cuisine, people are ripping off customers? That veggie thali looks boring compared to the number of side dishes we get in a thali here!

  33. February 11, 2010 1:37 pm

    i’m excited! i might have my first taste of Indian cuisine this weekend. We’re driving to Memphis for Valentine’s Day and I specifically requested hubby to take me to an Indian resto because I’m curious on how the food tastes. I know nothing about Indian foods but I guess I’ll order mine in mild sauce as i don’t like super spicy. Do you have like tips, on which foods that are safe to try as a first timer like me? 🙂 I’m Asian so I luv rice, chicken and pork. Beef isn’t bad, but I’m not wild about lots of veggies. 🙂 Please help!

  34. March 16, 2010 10:14 am

    Don’t worry about feeling picky about Indian food! You are 100% entitled to it.

    I find most Indian restaurants in the US a bit disappointing ever since coming back superspoiled from four years of delish Indian food in England (where you still had to search a bit, but it was much harder for people to get away with mediocre Indian food).

    • March 16, 2010 12:00 pm

      Indian food in England is better than Indian food in India! I love England and would love to move there, even if just for the food!

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