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Mysore Woodlands vs. Udupi Palace

Mysore Woodlands vs. Udupi Palace
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  • Mysore Woodlands vs. Udupi Palace

    Post #1 - July 24th, 2004, 7:38 am
    Post #1 - July 24th, 2004, 7:38 am Post #1 - July 24th, 2004, 7:38 am
    Da'Bomb hosts two South Indian restaurants of almost exact menu, the way dim sum places vary by only a bun or two. I've tended to favor Udupi on the south side of the street instead of Mysore on the north, but Mysore has many fans. We decided to give Mysore a shot last night. Right now, I'd say that I like the cooking a bit better at Udupi, but the portions are larger at Mysore and that might give it an advantage.

    We ordered across the menu, in a way that probably no South Indian would, but there is too much good food to try at Mysore (or Udupi) and we just do not make it to these places enough to sample everything. So, we got an order of samosas, essentially for the chowhounditas, who have settled in pretty comfortably to the samosa as their single favorite food to eat. We got the thicker pancake, utthapam, loaded with soft cooked onions and topped with frozen peas and carrots, because that was what they were eating a lot in the Condiment Queen's book. We got the thinner, crisper pancake, dosai, with the standard yellow potato inside, because that is probably the dish of the house. Chicago Magazine once ran a picture of a boa constrictor sized dosai offered at Mysore. We got the channa (chick pea curry) battura because Dad loves the deflated basketball (as food God Jonathan Gold expertly describes them) puffy baturas. We got a non-regional bread, parantha stuffed with potatoes just because, and we got curd rice 'cause it sounded so good and well, what's a doggy bag for? Everything was good enough, although the batura was not quite as special as Udupi. Lighter, drier, it did not have that dual skin of crisp and chew that makes batura such a special bread. The samosas were thick and tasty, very tasty inside, but they seemed on their 3rd fry of the day. Still, as I say, the portions were generous and these are minor quibbles.

    With this Atkin's nightmare come an assortment of sauces, dips and condiments: mint chutney, bracing and sneaking hot; coconut chutney, cool, grainy but also heavily spiced; a raita or yoghurt that had, we swear, pickles in it, not Indian pickles, but regular pickles; there was sambar, the soupy stuff with all sorts of things swimming inside, here a woody vegetable/herb that I mistakenly bit and then spent five minutes extracting stems from my mouth, and actual Indian pickle, a mixed breed with peppers and wonderful pieces of garlic that were whole but softened up by the process. You mix and match all these flavors with all scoopers.

    The curd rice came out last, nearly after we had finished everything else. I guess it takes longest to prepare. I like that it came out last for a couple of reasons. First, this dish of rice, hidden bits of ginger and intense, probably home made curd, nails your tongue. Eat this and you are not really ready to eat another five courses. It finished the meal off well, dessert like in appearance, so creamy, but not sweet at all. Finally, it was, I am sure, the easiest dish to bring home, so of all the things to have a bit extra of, this was it. I would say, however, that it is the best dish in the house--and waiting for Zim to tell me where the best curd rice is on Da'bomb as I have not made a survey.

    Mysore Woodlands
    2548 W. Devon Ave.
    Chicago, IL
    773.338.8160

    Udupi Palace (the batura is much better)
    2543 W Devon Av
    Chicago, IL
  • Post #2 - July 24th, 2004, 2:31 pm
    Post #2 - July 24th, 2004, 2:31 pm Post #2 - July 24th, 2004, 2:31 pm
    Nice report, VI. Need to go and taste devon, I do.
    d
    Feeling (south) loopy
  • Post #3 - July 24th, 2004, 5:00 pm
    Post #3 - July 24th, 2004, 5:00 pm Post #3 - July 24th, 2004, 5:00 pm
    Rob,

    I wish I could tell you but to be honest I don't often order curd rice out much, because it is so easy to make a home, and make well.

    got some leftover rice? some nice yoghurt? you're basically set. Add to that a little oil you've tempered some dried red chilis (whole), mustard seed, and a lot of curry leaves and a little fresh ginger in et voila curd rice
  • Post #4 - December 30th, 2004, 10:08 am
    Post #4 - December 30th, 2004, 10:08 am Post #4 - December 30th, 2004, 10:08 am
    My trip to Udupi was similar in menu choices, here's my follow up:

    Just before the dinner hour last night, our sole vegetarian friends phoned. They were heading to Devon. The timing was perfect, so we hopped in the car. Our friends left the choice of the restaurant in our hands, which I consider high praise. When choosing dinner on Devon, I tend to feel a gravitational pull from Bhabi's Kitchen, but in the interest of variety and being nice to Mr. & Mrs. Veggie, we headed for some South Indian vegetarian at Udupi Palace.

    Udupi is bright, comfortable, and has a reasonably diverse menu for a vegetarian place. We started with "Udupi's Special Assortment" appetizer basket, which is basically one of each of their most popular appetizers, all deep-fried. The standout was the "Chilly Pakora" (and by "Chilly" they mean "Chile") a deep-fried pepper that offered some decent heat and jump-started my taste buds. Everything else in the basket (samosa, sambar, aloo bonda) was either potato or lentil-based and all tasted similar. Needless to say I made liberal use of the nice variety of sauces.

    Udupi has a wonderful selection of breads, uthappam (pancakes), and dosai (crepes). The vegetable uthappam, (a thick pancake with soft onions, carrots, and peas) was satisfying, but I'll order the one with the chilies next time. The paper masala dosai is a visual treat: a wafer thin crepe, cooked very crispy, rolled into a 2-foot-long cylinder, and stuffed with onions and potatoes. The dosai went fast and was tasty, but I think I enjoyed looking at it more than I enjoyed eating it.

    From the entree choices we chose the chana masala (chick peas), pongal (described as rice and lentils cooked with avial, a vegetable/coconut milk dish), and the ubiquitous mattar paneer (peas and cheese). These three dishes definitely helped anchor the meal, as they should have, but didn't really live up to my hopes. The mattar paneer was disappointingly bland and half the table complained about the texture of the cheese, comparing it to the compound that they make running shoe soles from. The other two dishes were satisfying, but still a tad bland. Again, it was helpful that their sauces run the gamut of flavors from sweet to bitter to spicy and their preserved lemon chutney added a fantastic flavor to everything.

    As an unapologetic carnivore-for-life, I found this Indian vegetarian dinner to be a bit hollow. It achieved the paradox of filling me up but leaving me wanting more. During the meal, I was secretly hoping that I would find a treasure trove of lamb hidden in the chickpeas or some goat in the lentils. The complex Indian spices (a tad bland at Udupi) need something on the plate to meet them halfway. Lentils and chick peas just didn't hold up their end of the bargain. This is not to say that these dishes wouldn't fit well in a lunch context, they would make a fine lunch.

    After dinner, we walked a couple blocks west to visit the lone US branch of the UK's Ambala Sweets for an after-dinner treat. Ambala is a beautiful store. All of their treats are laid out for easy (and fun) browsing, and the staff is very helpful. We would up buying a Sohan Halwa, a large disk of ghee-based toffee with a variety of nuts. Super-sweet with a very satisfying crunch. Two bites was about all my jaw could handle.

    Walking east on Devon after leaving Ambala, Mr. Veggie and I were discussing the array of Indian fast-food options. I remember eating my first samosa on a corner bench at Devon's only Indian fast-food outlet nearly 20 years ago, today there are at least a dozen options between California and Western. I've experienced shamefully few of these storefronts, and while they all look similar, I'm sure there's treasures and specialties to be found among them. I mentally bookmarked the Indian fast-food walking trip plan for another day.

    Udupi Palace
    2543 W. Devon
    773-338-5152

    Ambala
    2741 W. Devon
    773-764-9000
  • Post #5 - December 30th, 2004, 11:43 am
    Post #5 - December 30th, 2004, 11:43 am Post #5 - December 30th, 2004, 11:43 am
    On a non-food but related note, the owner of Udupi Palace was featured in a story on one of the local news stations right after the tsunami hit. I missed the opening of the piece, but I believe it indicated that he has (or had, as of several days ago) family missing in the catastrophe. We certainly hope that his loved ones are safe, and perhaps those dining in the restaurant might want to wish him well.
    ToniG
  • Post #6 - May 15th, 2005, 8:06 am
    Post #6 - May 15th, 2005, 8:06 am Post #6 - May 15th, 2005, 8:06 am
    We went to Udupi last night as a pre-theater meal (see the afterword). I chose it not remembering if it was an LTH Fave (perhaps not) Trib feature (that it was from the article taped to the window). Not noticing the "Vegetarian" sign until sitting down, MrsF was a bit disappointed she wasn't going to get lamb for dinner, but we decided to stay, and we enjoyed it.

    We both ordered the "Udupi Special" which for $13.50 included any soup, vada or iddly, any dosa or utthapam, tea or coffee and ras malai or gulab jumun.

    I had the "Rasan" soup, which I've never had before. Quite spicy broth, tasty and rich for having no meat (probably lots of ghee), but way too many spice seeds to have a pleasant texture. MrsF had the Mullligatawny, which was also rich-flavored and very heavy.

    At the same time the appetizers were brought out. We split the vada, a relatively bland doughnut of lentils, and the iddly, a steamed rice dumpling which I thought tasted like the bastard child of injera and matzoh ball -- very bland and spongy, with a slight sourness. Both were served with a mild coconut chutney, and one of the best sambars I've ever had. Why isn't this served as soup? I usually end up eating every scrap of sambar -- not having a clue what the vegetables are.

    Again, trying to maximize variety, I had the Mysore Masala Dosa, which had a lump of tasty potatoes folded into a triangle of dosa, while MrsF had the chilly utthapam: that was the better choice, with lots of onions and serrano-sized chiles cooked into a crispy-edged pancake. More sambar and coconut chutney.

    Dessert was ras malai for both of us -- harder to find at bufets than gulab jumun. This one was very soft, creamy and sweet with lots of crushed pistachios on top. Coffee and tea both came with milk, nothing to write home about here.

    We watched other tables get delivered these bassoon-sized dosas, sometimes taking a couple minutes to juggle the table space so they all fit -- quite a sight.

    Before dinner, we'd walked into Sukhadia, across the street from where we'd parked, and picked up a variety of sweets. I can't remember the names of any of them, but one was this little, brownish ball covered with sugar that had a taste somewhere between cheese danish and raw cookie dough. Wonderful.

    * Theater was Joe Jackson and Todd Rundgren at the Cadillac Palace downtown, opening act Ethel, a string quartet who had played with Joe previously. After seeing JJ several times in recent years at pretty scuzzy theaters such as the Congress, this was very different. For a rather high ticket price, to see these two acts as solos was strange. Joe played some of the hits straighter than he has in years, while Todd sounded spaced and like he didn't know how to use the microphone. The highlight was bringing everybody back on stage for "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" with fantastic violin solos, and "Black Mariah"
  • Post #7 - May 23rd, 2005, 10:18 pm
    Post #7 - May 23rd, 2005, 10:18 pm Post #7 - May 23rd, 2005, 10:18 pm
    Vital Information wrote:there was sambar, the soupy stuff with all sorts of things swimming inside, here a woody vegetable/herb that I mistakenly bit and then spent five minutes extracting stems from my mouth,

    This was most likely a piece of 'drumstick' - it is a succulent stalk (pictured here; scroll down to #160) with soft tasty (when young) seeds (the bulges in the pods) and flesh on the inside. So you would have had to extract the insides either by pulling while squeezing the stalk between your teeth or simply chewing and discarding the outer parts.

    JoelF wrote:I had the "Rasan" soup, which I've never had before. Quite spicy broth, tasty and rich for having no meat (probably lots of ghee), but way too many spice seeds to have a pleasant texture. MrsF had the Mullligatawny, which was also rich-flavored and very heavy.


    I find this rather curious. You meant 'rasam' - which is usually a watery thin spiced liquid. There are many variations of the Tamil Muloga Thanni (literally, Pepper Water). This became the British dish Mulligatawny, some recipes for which include chicken stock and sometimes even chicken (which would be sacrilegious in the 'original' or parent preparation). I can't comment specifically on the versions of either at Udupi Palace as I have not tried them. I just find it curious that UP has both; I hadn't noticed it on the menu.

    JoelF wrote: At the same time the appetizers were brought out. We split the vada, a relatively bland doughnut of lentils, and the iddly, a steamed rice dumpling which I thought tasted like the bastard child of injera and matzoh ball -- very bland and spongy, with a slight sourness. Both were served with a mild coconut chutney, and one of the best sambars I've ever had. Why isn't this served as soup?


    Vada or vadai should be a tasty savory doughnut, with crisp crunchy exterior having come out of the deep frier and a soft steaming interior. It should be good on its own or maybe with a bit of pickle (of Indian vegetable and spices variety), and not necessarily need sambar or chutney . However, vadais also very good eating with the chutney and/or the sambar and Sambar vadais , sometimes on menus, have the vadais soaked and served in sambar. Another variant is vada served soaked in yogurt - the savory, salty Thair Vada (Thair = yogurt; Tamil) which in adapted North Indian treatments is Dahi Vada (dahi = yogurt; Hindi,Gujrathi and many N. Indian languages) and is most often sweet (although not necessarily as much as a dessert)

    Idli should be a light fluffy steamed rice and lentil (urad dal) dumpling that is typically eaten with chutney and sambar. Sambar itself is a lentil, vegetable and tamarind 'stew' if you will that is eaten with either the idli/dosa or rice and not really a 'soup'. It should have the consistency of a thick daal (=lentil). A watery or watered down version may end up more soup-like than thick.

    Anyways, the point of this post was a trip to Udupi Palace last Sunday with some out-of-town relatives. I hadn't been here in a few years and when my relatives wanted a dosa-type fix we stepped into Udupi Palace. We ordered:

    Papri chaat appetizer. This was the one item that all of us really really enjoyed. It was a tad sweet, and I was reminded of Mike G's Bhel Poori post. We dug into it before I remembered I had my camera.

    Rawa Masala Dosai (or dosa), served with refillable bowls of sambar and coconut chutney.
    Image
    'Rawa' indicates the slightly fermented rice flour batter for the dosa also contains sooji (= semolina, farina, cream of wheat) which adds some crunch; 'Masala' indicates that a 'side' of 'masala' is actually inside the folded dosa. A 'Sada' (= plain) dosai would be one with no 'masala'. Specifically in the context of dosas, 'masala' is a preparation of boiled potatoes lightly fried with onions and curry leaves and spiced with mustard seeds, urad dal, turmeric, ginger and green chiles . This is somewhat visible inside the rawa dosai in the picture above. At Udupi Palace the 'masala' contained peas :shock: *.

    Paper Masala Dosai.
    Image
    The 'paper' reflects a very thin and crisp dosa. Usually these are larger in size as the batter has to be spread further to obtain the desired thinness. [Some restaurants in India serve novelty versions (with monikers like 'family paper dosa') that are six feet or much more in diameter/length.]

    "Malabari Adai" as served. The menu indicates this 'House Specialty' is made with a mixture of ground lentils (which it should be and why I ordered it). What we got was nothing more than an uttappam with grated carrots and peas. It was NOT an adai.
    Image



    rant warning
    *The dosais were very good. My wife, irritated by the peas in the 'masala' said, "How hard is it to make a dosa?" But it does require at least a proper batter and some skill/experience in spreading it and not having it stick on the pan. Although I did like the dosai, the sambar and chutney with which it is to be eaten, were IMO rather poor. The sambar seemed diluted, to stretch it out almost, and the coconut chutney was fairly insipid, lacking the fresh sweet coconut spark.

    Now, why the peas in the 'masala'**? Why the non-adai**?
    I realized that this Udupi Palace was surely run by North Indians and this is very sadly yet another Indian establishment that is less than authentic in at least some of its food (I can't really care less who runs it or who cooks).
    If you ask the average N. Indian to name S. Indian foods, you will most likely hear as an answer, "Dosa, sambar, iddly". These breakfast/snack/meal time foods from the south are very popular all over India, unlike the multitude of dishes and especially the non-vegetarian cuisine that remain regional specialties and unknown to the general populace beyond a small border. Thus this meal was for us very slanted - a N. Indian interpretation of what the kitchen/management thinks will pass as S. Indian fare.
    Did I mention we really liked the Papri Chaat. Guess which part of India that is from?
    end rant.

    We did finish the afternoon on a sweet note at Ambala. [edit:] I've added a rather long note in that thread.

    edited to clarify. See posts below
    Last edited by sazerac on May 31st, 2005, 7:36 pm, edited 2 times in total.
  • Post #8 - May 24th, 2005, 5:38 am
    Post #8 - May 24th, 2005, 5:38 am Post #8 - May 24th, 2005, 5:38 am
    Vada or vadai should be a tasty savory doughnut, with crisp crunchy exterior having come out of the deep frier and a soft steaming interior. It should be good on its own or maybe with a bit of pickle (of Indian vegetable and spices variety), and not need sambar or chutney. However, it is also very good eating broken up and soaked in the sambar. Sambar vadai is sometimes on menus. Another variant is vada served


    Half-agree :-) Vadas, when good, should be fine on their own. But I personally
    always have liked to have mine with chutney (and almost never sambar).
    Not authentic, I know, but there *are* some of us who think they can go
    pretty well with a decent chutney :-)


    soaked in yogurt - the savory, salty Thair Vada (Thair = yogurt; Tamil) which in adapted North Indian treatments is Dahi Vada (dahi = yogurt; Hindi,Gujrathi and many N. Indian languages) and is most often sweet (although not necessarily as much as a dessert)


    Definitely not a dessert - and there was a mention of "dahi vada" in the latest
    Hyderabad House thread IIRC.

    rant warning
    *The dosais were very good. My wife, irritated by the peas in the 'masala said, "How hard is it to make a dosa?" But it does require at least a proper batter and some skill/experience in spreading it and not having it stick on the pan. Although I did like the

    I realized that this Udupi Palace was surely run by North Indians and this is very sadly yet another Indian establishment that is less than authentic in its food (I can't really care less who runs it or who cooks).
    If you ask the average N. Indian to name S. Indian foods, you will most likely hear as an answer, "Dosa, sambar, iddly". These breakfast/snack/meal time foods from the south are very popular all over India, unlike the multitude of dishes and especially the non-vegetarian cuisine that remain regional specialties and unknown to the general populace beyond a small border. Thus this meal was for us very slanted - a N. Indian interpretation of what the kitchen/management thinks will pass as S. Indian fare.
    Did I mention we really liked the Papri Chaat. Guess which part of India that is from?
    end rant.


    Dont want to defend Udipi per se - used to be a regular there 6-8 years ago, but
    have hardly been there a couple of times in the past year or two, and have no
    real comment on the current food. However...

    I do think you are being a touch harsh above. Udipi has, from the first day
    it arrived in Chicago, been *owned* by a North Indian. However, it was always
    *run* by South Indians, and they had authentic Tamilian cooks (Ive had friends
    who went into the kitchen and chatted in Tamil to make sure :-) - this was a
    long time ago however). It is unfair to just label it an inauthentic North Indians
    view of South Indian food - again, I have not been much lately and so will
    offer no comment (you might well be correct on the current state), but it
    was *very* authentic Tamilian food for its first few years. There used to
    be long queues of Tamilians lined up on weekends in the early days -
    and Ive been there with several Tamilians, all of whom were very high on
    it in the early days. In fact it was good for South Indian food in general -
    a Kannadiga I went with once was happy enough with his bisibele baath,
    for example (again, this was maybe 5 years ago).

    The above comment about "how hard is it to make a dosa" ... for
    those of us who are poor cooks, it is *very* hard :-) Actually, anyone who
    has made several dosas at home knows it is hard to make many - the
    hotter the pan gets, the more difficult it is to get it nice and crisp and keep
    em coming etc.

    The reason I bring this up is, I remember the state of authentic South Indian
    food in Chicago *before* Udipi. There was none - the only dosas etc you got
    *were* at North Indian snack spots. And they were poor, the "floppy
    dosa" types (this is never good, but may be somewhat tolerable if youre
    going with a masala dosa, ie with fillings. Me, I only go with a "Plain
    Paper Dosa" - and if thats floppy, you might as well not eat at all. And I
    never once found one unfloppy in Chicago, ever, before Uditpi). Then
    Udipi arrived, and it was quite literally a revolution - suddenly, for the
    first time ever, there was authentic South Indian food in Chicago, cooked
    by honest-to-goodness Tamilians (even if the waitresses were Russian :-)
    And it became the most popular Indian restaurant in town. South Indians would
    line up on weekends - waits were on occasino an hour, unheard of for
    an Indian restaurant in those days. Even non-South-Indians, hearing tales
    of properly authentic South Indian food, came in droves. No authentic
    South Indian restaurant had existed in Chicago before - and suddenly it
    was clear to everyone that there *was* actually a market for it (before
    that, it was all "Mughlai" joints, and nothing else - presumably nobody
    thought there was a market for anything else).

    Then, of course, everything changed - Dasaprakash opened, then
    Mysore Woodlands, and now there are South Indian restaurants even in the
    suburbs. There is no monopoly anymore (and in the last 4/5 years Ive been
    more to Mysore Woodlands than Udipi - started going there when it opened
    mostly because the South Indian manager of Udipi, a good guy we knew
    well, was not treated very well at Udipi and so left and started managing
    Mysore Woodlands, and many of us customers moved with him). Ive
    bareldy been to Udipi in the last few years - and thus, again, I have no
    wish to disagree with you or defend its cookign at the moment.

    But, given the past, I did want to point out that the above was probably too
    harsh. Maybe Udipi isnt authentic now, I dont know - but I do know that
    it *was* authentic once. It was a trailblazer, the first authentic regional
    Indian restaurant in Chicago- and was a damn fine veggie restaurant
    in general (this coming from someone who struggles with veggie
    restaurants in general - with their idlis, their paper dosas, and their
    best-in-town-in-those-days bhatura in their channa-bhatura, even us
    habitual meat-eaters were happy enough there). For that much at least
    it deserves *some* credit IMHO - and doesnt deserve to be dismissed
    merely as a restaurant with "North Indian style South Indian food".


    We did finish the afternoon on a sweet note at Ambala. I'll add a note in that thread.


    Ah good - will look forward to it. Did a trip to Tahoora for its savouries a short
    while ago mysel - and while Tahoora's savouries are probably still better
    than Ambala's (or at least more suited to the style Iam used to), they are
    not what they used to be either. I remember Tahoora's usual savouries
    being clearly better a couple of years ago than they are today - but they
    have done so well recently that they will soon be moving across the
    street to what appears to be a massive place. (They seem *far* busier
    than Ambala, for example, even though IMHO Ambala clearly has the
    better sweets).

    c8w
  • Post #9 - May 24th, 2005, 7:58 am
    Post #9 - May 24th, 2005, 7:58 am Post #9 - May 24th, 2005, 7:58 am
    interesting conversation,

    Like c8w, I remember the complete lack of S. Indian food before Udupi, and the often long waits to get in when they first opened. In fact I am to this today still slightly surprised when I do not have to wait for a meal on a sunday afternoon anymore (and nowadays there is almost never a wait at udupi)

    Yes, Udupi has always been owned by gujeratis, and the menu selection is tilted towards what N. indians want from S. Indian places (I am not sure that this is unreasonable as the majority of their clientele has always been n. indian and they opened at a time when there was no track history of a S. Indian place doing business, indeed at the time they opened the great majority of Indians in the Chicago area were N. Indian, specifically gujerati - see the book Namaste America for more info on this. Since that time, I don't think the menu has changed much, with the possible exception of adding a palak (spinach) dosa)

    That all being said, I agree with the conclusions that the offerings have gone downhill somewhat - the sambar used to be consistently excellent, these days it is intermittently decent. The coconut chutney is lifeless - but then again every coconut chutney I've had on devon is not made from fresh stuff (I was surprised some time ago that the owner of mysore woodlands when showing how to make the stuff on steve dolinsky's show proudly was using dessicated stuff) if you know of a good coconut chutney on devon or elsewhere let me know. Iddly have never been good there, but I rarely like iddli on devon anywhere - the only place I've been whose Iddly I woud specifically recommend would be bharatmela in naperville.

    I still think that in general the food at udupi is better than mysore woodlands, whose sambar I never quite like. actually what remains very good at udupi are 2 things that aren't really s. indian at all, the channa batura and the ras malai. Of course this comes from someone who has tried and failed to make decent dosai at home, even after watching good S. indian home cooks and folks in stands in India making them numerous times

    on an unsubstantiated though related note, my mom told me that the cooking at arya bhavan seems to have improved - especially their uttapam
  • Post #10 - May 24th, 2005, 8:02 am
    Post #10 - May 24th, 2005, 8:02 am Post #10 - May 24th, 2005, 8:02 am
    zim wrote:interesting conversation,

    Iddly have never been good there, but I rarely like iddli on devon anywhere - the only place I've been whose Iddly I woud specifically recommend would be bharatmela in naperville.



    Yes, interesting conversation.

    I know the vada suffer tremendously 'cause they are not made to order. What about the iddly. In India would they be made to order or made fresh, or would you see them, like on Da'Bomb, stacked and waiting for the suckers :wink:

    Rob
    Think Yiddish, Dress British - Advice of Evil Ronnie to me.
  • Post #11 - May 24th, 2005, 9:29 am
    Post #11 - May 24th, 2005, 9:29 am Post #11 - May 24th, 2005, 9:29 am
    c8w wrote: But I personally always have liked to have mine with chutney (and almost never sambar).
    Not authentic, I know, but there *are* some of us who think they can go
    pretty well with a decent chutney :-)

    Vadais are good with chutney. And even better if the chutney is good :)
    I've edited my earlier post to clarify. I'm not a fan of Sambar vadai myself. In mentioning the sambar vadai form, I was simply attempting to have some level of information in my post.

    c8w wrote:Definitely not a dessert - and there was a mention of "dahi vada" in the latest Hyderabad House thread IIRC.

    I didn't mean that the N. Indian dahi vada was dessert. Simply (to inform) that it tends to be sweet, unlike the salty savory S. Indian versions. I think the HH thread mentions kadi which is a completely different dish. I had meant to write a brief note on that... (will probably do so after I've eaten there; I haven't yet :oops:)

    c8w wrote:I do think you are being a touch harsh above. Udipi has, from the first day
    it arrived in Chicago, been *owned* by a North Indian. However, it was always
    *run* by South Indians, and they had authentic Tamilian cooks (Ive had friends
    who went into the kitchen and chatted in Tamil to make sure :-) - this was a
    long time ago however). It is unfair to just label it an inauthentic North Indians
    view of South Indian food - again, I have not been much lately and so will
    offer no comment (you might well be correct on the current state), but it
    was *very* authentic Tamilian food for its first few years. There used to
    be long queues of Tamilians lined up on weekends in the early days -
    and Ive been there with several Tamilians, all of whom were very high on
    it in the early days. In fact it was good for South Indian food in general -
    a Kannadiga I went with once was happy enough with his bisibele baath,
    for example (again, this was maybe 5 years ago).


    You are right in that I was harsh. I do not know of the history of this place or who is (or was) in the kitchen. I think I was slightly (ok, maybe more than just slightly) vexed and puzzled by what was served. There were certainly other S. Indian families (which in itself may not mean that much) there when I ate. And I'm sure UP does serve other dishes that are well executed; I did try to give credit where it was due. However, in trying to figure out my experience I came to a conclusion about the inherent 'bias' that I percieved in the food and was simply sharing that. That in itself was not too harsh I think.

    I know that UP is not trying to be very strictly regimented within one specific cuisine (they probably wouldn't survive) - they are serving the Bisibele bhaat (from Karnataka) that you mention. Also Papri Chaat (again which I did like). It was the non-Adai that I was peeved about. We did ask the manager (who happened to) brought it to our table thinking he mistakenly was giving us an uttapam (it looked like one), but he said it was "Malabari Adai". On eating it, it clearly was not adai - even by their menus description of what the batter was made of.


    c8w wrote:The above comment about "how hard is it to make a dosa" ... for those of us who are poor cooks, it is *very* hard :-) Actually, anyone who has made several dosas at home knows it is hard to make many - the hotter the pan gets, the more difficult it is to get it nice and crisp and keep em coming etc.


    It is not easy to make dosai, even with the right equipment. It does require skill and experience. I did try to convey some measure of that in my earlier post. Actually the rawa dosa and the paper dosa were very good. Which is why (post papri chaat) I reached for my camera. But the rather poor accompaniments (sambar,chutney,masala) which are integral to the meal denigrated the experience.

    c8w wrote:But, given the past, I did want to point out that the above was probably too
    harsh. Maybe Udipi isnt authentic now, I dont know - but I do know that
    it *was* authentic once. It was a trailblazer, the first authentic regional
    Indian restaurant in Chicago- and was a damn fine veggie restaurant
    in general (this coming from someone who struggles with veggie
    restaurants in general - with their idlis, their paper dosas, and their
    best-in-town-in-those-days bhatura in their channa-bhatura, even us
    habitual meat-eaters were happy enough there). For that much at least
    it deserves *some* credit IMHO - and doesnt deserve to be dismissed
    merely as a restaurant with "North Indian style South Indian food".


    The fact that UP was a trailblazer is laudable. The overall harsh tone of my earlier post (I don't disagree on that entirely) possibly stems from being served a less than recommendable meal (overall). One meal in itself, maybe doesn't deserve the criticism I expressed. But in trying to figure out why the meal was the way it was, I arrived at the conclusion that it was in probably due us to being served S. Indian food with a N. Indian temperament. This directly reduces the likelihood of my going back for a S. Indian fix. What is vexing is that leaves us with alternatives that are less than inspiring. In ruing this, in a city with so much great food, I may have been harsh. Still I stand by my assessment.


    c8w wrote:They seem *far* busier than Ambala, for example, even though IMHO Ambala clearly has the
    better sweets).


    Ambala is further West on Devon than most other places. I do hope Amabala continues to do well and importantly remains good. I don't go to Devon too often but having learnt of Ambala from this board, it is easier to make a detour in that direction.
  • Post #12 - May 24th, 2005, 9:41 am
    Post #12 - May 24th, 2005, 9:41 am Post #12 - May 24th, 2005, 9:41 am
    Vital Information wrote:I know the vada suffer tremendously 'cause they are not made to order. What about the iddly. In India would they be made to order or made fresh, or would you see them, like on Da'Bomb, stacked and waiting for the suckers :wink:


    Typically idlis would be served steaming and fluffy. They do suffer if left to cool and harden. Shumai may be an appropriate comparison. If there is a constant demand, it is easier to have steamers going...

    I didn't realize they were stacked and waiting on Devon :shock:
    I'm glad I didn't order them then. I should add that unlike dosai, idlis are much easier to make at home (with the proper equipment) and make for a great breakfast. I've never understood why more places on Devon aren't open for breakfast at least on weekends...
  • Post #13 - November 14th, 2005, 12:19 pm
    Post #13 - November 14th, 2005, 12:19 pm Post #13 - November 14th, 2005, 12:19 pm
    While I am not qualified to speak to authenticity, I can say that we had a mostly good meal at Mysore Woodlands recently. It was cold out and we were headed to Sabri Nehari, but the proximity of our parking space and the lack of a heavy coat prompted petit pois to change her mind in favor of MW.

    We ordered only a couple dishes that we were already familiar with: palak paneer and vegetable korma, both of which I quite liked. There was a depth of flavor and a moderate spice level in the palak paneer that was very satisfying. The korma was more subtle but was spiced carefully enough to balance the coconut.

    I also really enjoy their chunky, plentiful bowl of raita.

    We skipped dosai in favor of an uthappam which I am coming to learn that I'm generally just not a fan of. I think I might enjoy picking at one as a snack with a beer or three, but I don't really enjoy them as part of a meal.

    Overall, I was pleased to stumble into Mysore Woodlands. It was a very comforting meal.

    Best,
    Michael
  • Post #14 - September 16th, 2018, 12:03 pm
    Post #14 - September 16th, 2018, 12:03 pm Post #14 - September 16th, 2018, 12:03 pm
    Of these two vegetarian spots, we have been going to Mysore more frequently. First visit to Udupi in a few years and really enjoyed our meal last night.

    Loved the onion/potato rava masala dosai. Never had uthappam before, but really liked the vegetable one with tomato, peas, carrots, and onion. Between the two, we both preferred the dosa.

    We asked for a vegetable curry recommendation that was South Indian and the waiter recommended khate mithe baingan. Wow, what a delicious, complex eggplant dish. Highly recommend, even though they used a very heavy hand on the oil. Also loved the preserved lemon condiment that came with the curry. This dish was only mild in the heat department, but no lacking in flavor.

    A tremendous bonus is BYO without a corkage fee. We really enjoyed our 2011 Cameron 'Arley's Leap' pinot noir.

    Looking forward to returning.
  • Post #15 - November 10th, 2020, 2:40 pm
    Post #15 - November 10th, 2020, 2:40 pm Post #15 - November 10th, 2020, 2:40 pm
    Devon Avenue staple Mysore Woodlands, known for dosas and other South Indian vegetarian delights, is permanently closed

    https://chicago.eater.com/2020/5/12/212 ... oronavirus
    Never order barbecue in a place that also serves quiche - Lewis Grizzard
  • Post #16 - November 10th, 2020, 3:56 pm
    Post #16 - November 10th, 2020, 3:56 pm Post #16 - November 10th, 2020, 3:56 pm
    My first dosa was there... thankfully there are places in the burbs now for dosas (two in Mt Prospect), but it does hold a spot in my heart.
    What is patriotism, but the love of good things we ate in our childhood?
    -- Lin Yutang

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