Los Angeles has its very own India community in Artesia, just off the Pioneer Blvd. exit on he 91 Freeway. Martine and I decided to eat lunch there and shop at the nearby Stater Brothers Supermarket. So we went to Woodlands Restaurant, which specializes in South Indian (or, to be even more specific, Keralan) cuisine. I knew I was taking a chance with Martine, because she prefers standard North Indian cuisine. While I was having a great meal with sambar (a kind of spicy vegetarian soup) and idlis (little rice “flying saucers”) and a tasty glass of salt lassi, Martine was trying all the dishes that worked for her at her favorite North Indian restaurants. Unfortunately, it didn’t work for her here: the chicken was cold, the rice pudding was hot and watery, and so on and so forth.
Add to that the fact that, not being a cook and having any real food sense, Martine usually has difficulties in the dishes she selects at restaurants. At any given restaurant—and only if she were well familiar with it—she will typically select only one, or at the most two, dishes. Since I have more food smarts, I can usually please myself at places she winds up hating. It’s a pity, because I would like to go back to Woodlands one of these days to try their uppamav, a delightful South Indian dish made with Cream of Wheat!