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Alive_March2016

Sri Ananda Bhavan I have succumbed to the fact that a part of me will always long for 2012. This was my jet-set year of traversing the globe for my work where I installed and trained local medical staff on cloud technologies. My work was done primarily in developing countries, and often times much farther than where the sidewalk ends. I saw some amazing things and met some beautiful humans but my longing is guttural. The most wonderful thing about spending serious international time far off the tourist path was the food. There were no Subway sandwich places or McDonalds to fall back on as a way to cope with the miles between America and me. I ate what the locals were eating and this forever changed the way I will interpret food. I long for the Nyama Choma (grilled meat) of Nairobi, the Nihari of Pakistan (bone marrow and brain) and the Dosa (fermented crepe of rice batter and black lentil) from Southern India. I am pleased to report that I have located a place in Pleasanton that serves REAL Dosa and it is wonderful. I left Kohl’s after procuring my dress shirt ahead of my schedule that day. With a few moments to kill and an angry gut I headed to the small strip mall across the parking lot for the sign that said Hawaiian BBQ. Not my first choice, but I needed substance NOW and most Hawaiian BBQ places have menus as long as Manute Bols wingspan, so I figured I would be okay. Right next-door was a “Grand Opening” sign for “Real Southern Indian Food.” (“Grand Opening” on an Indian restaurant could mean anything from three weeks to three years). The sheer thought of actually finding real Dosa filled me with excitement but doubt. I headed in. Within two steps in the door, I knew that I had found my India connection. First of all I was the only one not speaking Tamil—a great sign; secondly, the metal plates and cups on every table were right out of Andhra Pradesh (my home in India on two separate occasions); thirdly the loud Carnatic music, and finally the bowl of Saunf (fennel seeds) awaiting me after my meal at the counter, all meant that pinching myself was no longer necessary—this was real and it was about to go down. I quickly ordered the Kara (Spicy) Masala Dosa and poured myself a cup of the tepid tap water from the metal pitcher. Within minutes it came. A large segmented cafeteria metal tray with four colorful sauces, a metal bowl of Sambar (vegetarian lentil stew) and my 18” rolled Dosa. It was light, warm, thin and crisp with visible pieces of jalapeno. I tore into it at once and immediately revisited the small shack on the streets of Hyderabad where a man and his 12- year-old daughter first prepared one for me with a propane tank and hot plate. A L I V E E A S T 30 B A Y m a r c h 2 0 1 6 Dosa is just as much about the dipping sauces as it is about the crepes and the sauces are as follows: The pink sauce is peanut based, the red is tomato, the green is cilantro and the white is a coconut chutney. You eat with your hands. When you go, please be prepared to sit across from somebody that eats in a way that you are not familiar with. To truly enjoy Dosa is to dip your fingers in sauce up to your elbow and make no apologies. The most wonderful thing about eating true Southern Indian cuisine is the non-bloated, yet fed, feeling of good food. The flavors jump off the plate and you are left with the euphoria that eating true vegetarian food brings. In a short 20-minute visit I had come and gone from my temporary home in India and with my mouth full of Saunf on my way to my car, I was already planning my next trip. 4515 Rosewood Dr Unit 700, Pleasanton, CA 94588. I’LL HAVE WHAT HE’S HAVING I TOBY TULLIS


Alive_March2016
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