I don’t know about you, but food consumes my mind almost every waking moment (pun intended).
It should come as no surprise then, that when I had a long visit with our Maharaja exhibition (closing April 8), I got a bad hankering for Indian food. I loved this rich art going experience, gallery by gallery, beautiful object by beautiful object.
But you get hunger pangs from museum fatigue, and the craving is fueled when you see a jade wine flask here or a spice box there.
And don’t get me started on the colorful variety of enticing foodstuffs in our store. Sukhi’s Curry Pastes beckon, as they take the intimidation out of cooking Indian cuisine–after all, not all of us have fenugreek and asafoetida in our pantries. With the paste, just add cream, meat, and veggies. Sukhi’s Chutneys range from sweet and tangy to fiery, and kick things up a notch in any meal. We’re currently carrying tomato, lime, mango, and jalapeno chutneys. Hint: Raymond, a store staff member, says these are great for parties.
All that spicy heat gives you an endorphin rush, but it also makes you sweat. Cool down with a sweet, soothing chai. Also available in our store is Jaipur Avenue Chai, a handsomely packaged blend of black tea, spices, and dried milk made in Mumbai. Just add water and you’re set.
If you’re ready to go beyond these easy-to-use solutions, consider South Asian cookbooks. Standouts include the 1,000 recipe masterwork by Pushpesh Pant, India: A Cookbook , and Sephi Bergerson’s Street Food of India. These eyecandy publications are a must for any kitchen.
But say you want instant gratification after you’ve seen Maharaja. Well, you’re in the right neighborhood. My favorite go-to for Pakistani Indian food is Pakwan, a 10-15 minute walk from the museum. What Pakwan lacks in “ambiance” and “decor,” it makes up for in spades with the best Pakistani and Indian food I’ve had in San Francisco. It’s affordable too. Go with friends and feast like maharajas. Highlights include their palak paneer, lamb vindaloo, paratha, vegetable sabzi, and tandoori fish. One museum staffer, Tim, can’t live without their smoky lambchops. Their chai is delicious, and bonus: they have great, refreshing kheer (rice pudding).
Another museum staffer, Nicole, likes Lahore Karahi, just around the corner from Pakwan, as the best Pakistani in the neighborhood. They’re the only place I’m aware of that serves sesame naan. For North Indian food, she heads to Aslam’s Rosoi in the Mission. Udupi Palace has a special place in her heart for its fine South Indian vegetarian fare. And finally, Dosa offers a variety of delicious South Indian food and creative, legit cocktails in a festive space (two locations). And we’re just talking about SF establishments. Let’s not even get started on the wonderful destinations in the East and South Bay.
So, eat up, and continue to celebrate your love for art AND food in equal servings. And do tell us — where are your favorite establishments for South Asian food?
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