India Sweet House

20 Aug

India Sweet House

A sumptuous little find in the heart or West LA.

When you open up the dictionary to ‘hole-in-the-wall’, a simple picture of India Sweet House should be visible.  Actually, nobody under 25 has a clue what I’m talking about.  Let me try this again:  When you Wikipedia ‘hole-in-the-wall’, on your iPhone, while driving…

Anyway, when you walk upon the establishment, there’s barely a sign, and the place looks closed, until you peer into the window and you see a smattering of scatterbrained people sitting around eating off of Styrofoam and paper plates, resting on bright orange plastic trays reminiscent of those you would see in the high school cafeteria.

Let me stop right here and take you on a slight ‘aside’.  There are two surefire signs that food in a particular establishment has a better than average chance at being good:

1.)    If you walk into a fancy restaurant and the Maître’d  tells you (while scowling) that your reservation is not for 20 minutes, and to come back later…you’re in for a good meal. (This actually happened at Sushi of Gari in NYC).  Needless to say, it was the best Tuna I’ve ever had.

2.)    If the place looks like a dump, and the patrons consist of a Motley Crue, you’re probably in for a good damn meal.

3.) If they accept checks as form of payment, you guessed it, good meal (this is foreshadowing).

I approached the deli style counter, where there were no menus and only a sign on the wall with some Vegetarian dishes (no meat here).  As I tried to decipher the print on the menu, which was a holdover from the 80s, I couldn’t help notice a sign besides it, which read: Cash or check only.  Really?  These guys would take a check!?  To me, that signage was worth the trip alone.

Anyway, I was busting for a pee, so I immediately asked to use the washroom.  It took me about three attempts (You may think based on my Spelling and Grammar that English is my second language.  It’s my first language. I don’t speak Indian), and a lot of squirming for the gatekeeper behind the counter to tell me to go back through the kitchen and on the left.

In the kitchen were about three generations of a family: Stirring he pots, sifting through rice in cookie trays, looking at me as if I was the first white man that had ever walked back there…

I sauntered back out to the counter and took a wad of bills out of my pocket and counted six one dollar bills.  I looked at the menu, which was all a la carte, and said “I really don’t feel like doing the math”.  I took the money, put it on the counter and asked the gentlemen for FOOD.  “Ok”, he said, “we have some combo for you”.

I sat at the restaurant style bench.  At this point I got to really take in my surroundings.  The actual dining area is about 100 square feet, or about nine tables.  At the back of the eating area, where you enter, there is a raised shelf about two feet off the ground.  On it is what can only be described as a cornucopia of miscellaneous crap that has accumulated over the years (A Mexican hat, paper napkins, some signs, take out wrappers, and tricycle).  I couldn’t love this place more.

Moving on, the guy behind the counter produced a tray of food from the kitchen, and places the tray on the deli counter, and says some words that aren’t English, and sound foreign to this planet in all honesty.  I catch a glimpse of his eye and he gives me a semi-nod, so I just up and grab the tray.  It’s filled with beautiful Naan, some Cauliflower concoction, dahl, and some other vegetable thing.  Then, there’s the rice, beautiful basmati, fluffy, filled with veggies and a little bit of Cumin.  Man do I love cumin.

I practically licked the four-compartment-Styrofoam-container.  But where was the water?  I see paper cups on the counter.  But no water in sight.  I ask the gentlemen at the counter, and he points to a beer sized refrigerator sitting on the floor…from which I produce a jug of water.  Thirst quenched – check.

I head out into the 95 F heat and drive back to the west side.  My palette, stomach and visual senses have been more than satiated.

P.S. If you want to see a couple Pictures, my man William is all over it.

http://gastroventures.blogspot.com/2009/07/india-sweet-house-indian.html

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