Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Udupi Cafe

Udupi Cafe
2226 Sunrise Blvd.
Rancho Cordova (Gold River). CA 95670.
Phone : (916) 851 5900

There are few things in this world I like better than a nice corn fed piece of ribeye from the Midwest cooked to a perfect medium rare andd I know that it is far from the healthiest thing that I could eat. So I am always open to trying healthier alternatives. In the past year I have tried a couple of other vegetarian places that I thought were pretty good and I like Indian food so the Udupi cafe sounded so like a good idea. So we decided to order up a multi course meal.

Vegetable Samosa: Crispy and flaky crust stuffed with potato, onions and peas.
Your basic vegetable samosa that was crispy on the outside and tender on the inside. There was a balance of the potato, onion and peas. Some places put too much potato in their samosa, but this was balanced perfectly. It was served with a spicy green sauce and a sweet red sauce.

Masala dosai crepes filled with potatoes and onions.
As opposed to your sweet crepe, this was a savory crepe. As you can see this must have run out of small crepe pans 'cause this thing was ginormous (I know it's a stupid word). The metal ramekins are approximately 2.5 inches (6.35 centimeters for you metric folks) so the length of the crepe was about 15 inches (38.1 centimeters for you metric folks) along the longest part.

I was impressed that it was crispy for such a large crepe and when it was folded and you cut into it, there were layers of crepe, onion, and potatoes. The texture and flavor was different than the samosas. It was served with three different sauces, lentil, tomato and a coconut.

Main Course:
Chilly Gobi : Batter fried cauliflower sautéed with garlic, ginger and spicy sauce (spicy).
This was a surprise, it looked like a meat dish to me. Kind of like sweet and sour pork. The cauliflower was deep fried and with the batter it had the consistency of braised meat. The onions provided a nice crunch and textural contrast. It was just spicy enough, not to where my mouth was on fire.

Vegetable Briyani: Aromatic saffron rice cooked with fresh vegetables and fresh herb.
This was our starch, it had a clean flavor to balance out the chilli gobi. In addition to vegetables it had other peanuts and whole spices such as cinnamon and star anise.

Peas Paratha: multi layered whole wheat bread stuffed with peas and spices.
This was our other starch. I love bread so we had to order it. Pretty much like all naan that I have had in the past.

Don't scroll down until you read the description of the dessert and try and picture it.
Madras Special Payasam: Fine vermicelli cooked in milk and honey, garnished with raisins and cashew

I had no idea what this was going to be like. I pictured a plate of vermicelli that had absorbed the flavor of the milk and honey then garnished with raisins and cashew. What was served was rather unexpected. (Now you can scroll down if you have not already)

It was umm...different in texture and flavor than most desserts, but sweet and pretty good. Anyway I am used to something chocolate like this:


Madras Special Payasam

I would recommend Udupi cafe to carnivores and vegetarian alike look for a change or a healthier meal.

Udupi Cafe on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Why (not) change careers; becoming a chef.

This will be response to a question of someone who posed a question from another blogger who commented:

"Would you mind sharing some of your thoughts, opinions, advice for someone in similar shoes as you 3 years ago? I see you're no longer a cook? Would you mind sharing why?"

The cold hard and honest truth...I lied to myself in the beginning.

These are some of the basic questions one must ask when contemplating becoming a cook:

If there is a large pay differential, how will that affect my daily life? Can I pay rent, insurance, medical costs, student loans, new knives, etc...

Am I truly comfortable spending every Friday and Saturday night working as well as every holiday? I will not see my friends, family, significant other, children, etc..

Is my physical condition compatible with this work lifestyle, standing for 8 to 16 hours, lifting heavy sacks of rice, potatoes, meat, stock pots, etc in a high pressure environment where in the beginning the dishwasher is likely to be a much better cook than I am.

Am I really unhappy what my entire career is or is there another job in my line of work that I can be happy in?

Answer key for me: Yes, Yes, Yes, Yes

Fast forward: I found a job in my original career that I am truly happy (most of the time). To prove my point, I have been at my current job 2 years and 3 months. Prior to that the last 6 jobs I lasted exactly 1 year for for a couple of them, maybe 14 months for the others and one only 10 months.

Do I regret going to culinary school? That would be a resounding NO! It is a great skill to have, I mean how many times have you heard the comment, "He is too good of a cook, everything he makes is just too darn delicious"?

It is probably not the most helpful advice, but let's call this part 1 of a few.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Itsmo Sushi

2252 Sunrise Blvd
Rancho Cordova, CA 95670
(916) 638-9990

I wanted to check out the Udupi Cafe, but it was closed.We did not feel like driving anywhere else, so we decided to check this place out.

Edamame is standard with the meal which is nice, kinda like beer nuts :)

I ordered the Saba and Tempura (broiled mackerel & deep fried shrimp with vegetables). When it came to the table, I was a little disappointed that it was not a whole fish, only the fillet. It was cooked nicely, a little crunchy on the outside and tender on the inside. The tempura was the same as all the 100 sushi places in the Sacramento area. My partner had the lunch special that consisted of different rolls and a few pieces of salmon and tuna sushi.

Overall a decent place for lunch.