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Concord -More on Namaste North & South Indian Cuisine ???

When I wrote "is a certainty" in the above reply to Melanie Wong's note, I meant "is certain to be on the daily buffet menu" - not that only those items were "a certainty" to be of high quality.

Sep 26, 2006
family dog in San Francisco Bay Area

Concord -More on Namaste North & South Indian Cuisine ???

Basically just whole hardboiled eggs in a (tomato-based?) curry sauce. I always find it hard to describe the flavors in her curries, because the balances are so subtle that even though every one is different it's hard for me to identify a "primary" spice in the blends. I recognize the mix, have ones I like "best", but probably don't even know the names of the ingredients she uses to create them.

Sep 26, 2006
family dog in San Francisco Bay Area

Concord -More on Namaste North & South Indian Cuisine ???

Fortunately/unfortunately, in your list only the lemon pickle is a certainty -- as are most of the cold things and the soups(s - when the rasam is there, too), appetizers (some days samosas, some days hot idlis), and other basic side dishes such as channa masala, dal, tandoori chicken, etc. Personally, I prefer the dry okra to the cabbage, but I've never had a dish there I didn't like. We love being surprised by the combinations of dishes she offers; some old favorites, others new, novel, and delicious.

Sep 26, 2006
family dog in San Francisco Bay Area

Concord -More on Namaste North & South Indian Cuisine ???

We're back, full and happy. Here's today's (9/25/06) eat-all-you-dare menu:

Hot/warm:
veg. samosas
mixed veg. pakoras
nan
papadams
basmati rice
veg. biryani
sambar
tandoori chicken
lamb kofta curry
channa masala
chicken maharajah
egg curry
fish kurma
chicken 65
dal
cabbage curry
eggplant curry

Cold/cool:
raita
lemon pickle
tamerind/mint/coconut/tomato chutneys
lettuce/cucumber/carrot
watermelon
canteloupe
orange slices

Sweets:
rice kheer
ras mali
mango soft ice cream

Had to try everything just to make sure the quality was as good as last time (last week). 'Twas.

Sep 26, 2006
family dog in San Francisco Bay Area

Concord -More on Namaste North & South Indian Cuisine ???

At a nearby place called Swagat, which we went to the day it opened, having enjoyed several meals at the first Swagat, in Milpitas.

Sep 26, 2006
family dog in San Francisco Bay Area

Concord -More on Namaste North & South Indian Cuisine ???

I've listed Namaste as one of my five favorite restaurants. It is, in fact, my Number One. We followed the cook when she left another Concord restaurant almost 10 years ago to open her own place with her husband. Her daily lunch buffet menu (well over 20 dishes including pakoras, nan, soups, veg. and non-veg. entrees, salads, desert, fruits, etc.) is always varied, delicious, and balanced in Ayurvedic terms. The regular clientele covers the breadth of the South Asian subcontinent, plus lucky westerners. It's a real bargain at $8.99/person. Sounds so good, we'll head there right now, and I'll write more when we get back.

Sep 25, 2006
family dog in San Francisco Bay Area

New to Berkeley area - places to eat/hangout for a single?

There are likely more "chains" within the Berkeley city limits than there are in all of Walnut Creek -- count 'em. The problem with Walnut Creek is the fact that there really isn't enough resident ethnic diversity to support a wide range of authentic, home-style cuisines. That's left to its less-affluent neighbors like Pleasant Hill, Concord, and Martinez. Nonetheless, my impression is that there are very few restaurants in Walnut Creek that can even begin to approach the pretentiousness of all too many Berkeley "fine dining" establishments. Forget "Meyer" lemons -- ever tried a "Lisbon"? Pick somewhere else to pick on.

Sep 24, 2006
family dog in San Francisco Bay Area

No Kale Recipes?

Another Luso technique is to tear the kale leaves off of the stiff midrib, chop them fine with some chard for sweetness, steam both together, then serve with whole garlic cloves to be sliced by each person over their bowl of greens to taste, then splashed (flooded) with olive oil and wine vinegar and sprinkled (doused) with salt and pepper (to taste, did I say?).

Sep 24, 2006
family dog in Home Cooking

Trader Joe's coming to Walnut Creek!

Is there a thread about comparing chowhound-friendly markets? If so, perhaps this part of the discussion should move there. But, my short answer is: quality, price, selection. Same reasons for liking Grocery Outlet, just different parameters.

Sep 22, 2006
family dog in San Francisco Bay Area

Hokey Poke

You did catch, of course, the notice at the bottom:
"Nutritional information unavailable." -
But, seriously, that's a fantastic recipe, and one that will spin off a lot of ideas for a mainland/haole poke I can make here at home. Thanks

Sep 22, 2006
family dog in Home Cooking

Good Contra Costa Breakfast Spots

Millie's in Lafayette? I don't care for the crowding that much, myself, nor for Sunrise Bistro in Walnut Creek which a lot of people love. I prefer Giant Chef Burger over near DVC - it was familarly called "Momma Fay's" in the '60s when the college drama crowd hung out there after shows. Good hashbrowns and omelettes. The plastic patio enclosure is great when it's raining.

And then there's always the serve-yourself menudo and chorizo at JJ North's weekend breakfast buffet - excellent!

Sep 21, 2006
family dog in San Francisco Bay Area

Trader Joe's coming to Walnut Creek!

Avoid Little Saigon like the plague. We went there with a Vietnamese-speaking friend on Sunday. Walked-out after (1) the non-Vietnamese waiter said he'd pick up the Vietnamese language quickly; (2) only western utensils were placed on the table; (3) the waiter had told us there was no soup available for the "lunch special", offered no substitute, and had no explanation for what made it still a "special"; and, finally, (4) he went to find out what was going to be on the "special" in place of the soup and never came back. Nor would we.
Hey, I like pork blood in my bun bo hue, but I don't think they'd serve it there. PS: No pho on the menu.

Sep 21, 2006
family dog in San Francisco Bay Area

Trader Joe's coming to Walnut Creek!

And the presence of a Fry's Electronics (amazing collection of nerd chow!) and Indian, Asian, and Mexican food markets at that same shopping center as well just makes the ride all the sweeter.

But, I digress. How 'bout Walnut Creek? Great bagels in the AM at House of Bagels on Locust. Don't know why anyone in Lafayette would eat one of those fluffy things at Noah's (after Levy's closed) rather than drive over the hill to WC for a real chew.

Sep 21, 2006
family dog in San Francisco Bay Area

Trader Joe's coming to Walnut Creek!

If it's "da kine" food you want at a "local" price, try the Park and Shop strip in Concord. It's the little UN around there, with restaurants featuring South Indian, Vietnamese, Mexican, Chinese, Korean, and more filled with their respective demographic clientele.

My personal recommendations are Namaste, Kevin's Noodle House (actually Pho Hoa Hiep #5), and China Wall buffet. But that's mainly because I do think that you can trust ethnics in the US (as distinct from those Parisians at the McDonald's mentioned on another thread) to know their cuisine best, and because I'd rather adapt myself to their taste than to have it adapted to mine.

I don't go willingly to restaurants that have tablecloths, so be forewarned - this is the people's food. And I always tip big.

Sep 20, 2006
family dog in San Francisco Bay Area

Trader Joe's coming to Walnut Creek!

(plus an Elephant Pharmacy next door - would you believe?)
It'll be in the site of the old Albertson's-Lucky-Loray market across from Kaiser next to the (channelized) Creek itself. Which brings up the topic of why neither Contra Costa nor any city within it is listed as part of SF Bay Area. There's really good chow out here, folks; need some recommendations?

Sep 20, 2006
family dog in San Francisco Bay Area

Hokey Poke

How much chili oil would you suggest for a pound of fish? Have a favorite brand of furikake? I see some of it has dried fish in it.

Sep 14, 2006
family dog in Home Cooking

Hokey Poke

After several visits to Kaua'i and one to the Big Island, I've become committed to poke in its many varieties. Not having the budget to support pounds of high quality, safe raw seafood (see related thread), I've begun experimenting. Here's one recipe with variation that I'm quite happy with. I'd love to know if other Chowhounds have come up with relatively inexpensive poke recipes or can help me improve upon this one:

Hokey Poke

1 lb cooked, shelled, tail-off, medium (70-110) shrimp
1/3 small yellow onion, chopped fine
1/4 cup chopped green onion (chives, garlic shoot, etc.)
1 tsp salt
1 tsp soy sauce
1/2 tsp sugar
2 Tbsp sesame oil
1 Tbsp Korean paprika ("red pepper powder")

Mix onions and shrimp, add salt, soy and sugar; mix. Mix in sesame oil, mix in paprika. Store in covered container in refrigerator if any left.

As a variation, I've made this with 1 lb of firm tofu weighted to press out water before dicing into 3/4 in. cubes and mixing with other ingredients. I've also added a sprinkling of chopped ogo (AKA limu - a Hawai'ian seaweed) when available.

Sep 13, 2006
family dog in Home Cooking