Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Eastbound Food Caravan 2: Ashirwad (Upland, CA)

As Eating LA said when we were eating at Ashirwad, the best Indian restaurant in Los Angeles is actually not in LA - it's in Upland! On our latest food crawl, after Taza and Falafel Me, Food GPS led us to this place, following a tip he got from someone he met on an airplane.

Ashirwad, which means "the blessings" in Sanskrit, is strictly vegetarian and features many Gujarati specialties. I'm no expert in Indian food, but I have visited my share of Indian restaurants. Still, I was entirely unfamiliar with some of the dishes here! There are some street food like the Khasta kachori ($4.99)

The khasta kachori is a puri (crispy pastry) stuffed with potatoes, roasted spices, topped with onion, cilantro, yogurt, and a sweet and sour (and spicy) sauce made of tamarind, jaggery, and cumin.

There's also Bhel Puri ($3.99) consisting of puffed rice, papadi (small, deep fried puris), sev, onion, potatoes and sweet and sour chutney.
Both of the dishes above were crunchy, sweet, sour, and spicy at once. They pack a lot of strong and unusual flavors.
Since I can't eat *that* spicy, my favorite was the Rava Masala Dosa ($5.99)
Spiced potatoes and onions are wrapped in a crispy semolina crepe with onion, cumin seeds and green chili. Crispy with great flavors from the spice, this dosa was addictive. Since the sauce was served on the side, I can dip to get just enough flavor without it being too spicy for me. 

The vegetable sambar served alongside the dish was excellent and comforting.

Not only delicious, Ashirwad is also cheap. A Gujarati meal like the Shaak, Tepla and Dahi runs only $4.99.
This is a vegetable "stew"-like dish served with four fresh fenugreek leaf tortilla (tepla) and a bowl of yogurt to cut the spice. I love the fenugreek tortillas!

Ashirwad also has a daily special menu. When we were there the special was Khichdi Khadi ($6.99), a Gujarati dish made of rice, lentils, eggplant and other vegetables cooked with chili and spices. This was served with a yogurt soup and crispy papadum.

Desserts like rice pudding or sheera (semolina pudding with nuts)  finish off the meal nicely.

While the dessert list on the menu is small, the deli case features many Indian sweets, charged by the weight. Some of the labels boast certain benefits. The round one you see below is Adad-Yo, a "winter energy food."

A bonus: I regret not buying this bottled water! The bottle says "Star Fire Water: Sacred Sound Resonance Transmission." No idea what that means, but wish I got a bottle as a souvenir.

583 E Foothill Blvd Ste 10
Upland, CA 91786
(909) 608-1313
Ashirwad on Urbanspoon


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