Thursday, August 19, 2010

OM....Where I Go To Marin and Find Peace, Tranquility, and Dosa!!!!!!

I have to say that Sonoma is pretty damn idyllic. Life here after years in Los Angeles, moves at a slower pace, we have a great environment for work and we're surrounded by amazing fresh produce, the best wines and gorgeous scenery. But there comes a time when I need to shop. By shop I don't mean shoes and bags and all that stuff. I mean jaggery, and hing and saffron and rava and all the thousand things that fill an Indian larder.
   Back in LA, there were lots of Indian markets and my favorite one was Bharat Bazaar . I've been  shopping there since I first started cooking Indian food and the owners were so helpful answering my questions, giving me things to taste and  making suggestions. When we moved to Sonoma 5 years ago, I was cast adrift without my Indian Market fix. I found one small store in the town of Cotati about 15 or 20 miles from my house, but they really didn't have too much to offer. There is a Southasian market in Santa Rosa where I've been able to find all sorts of things, mainly at the intersection of Kerala and Thai, but hardly many of the basics. So I resigned myself to using my business trips to LA to do my Indian marketing. I'd hit the stores before a studio meeting, or after, and then take everything North with me. I also shopped online, but there I missed the glee of instant gratification.
  That's why we decided to take a day off this last Tuesday and go to Marin for a South Indian meal at Om with our friend Mr. X (he of 7 dollar cauliflower fame.) We planned on lunch and then a shopping spree at The Malabar Indian Market just down the street.
   So after dropping Patsy the wonder Siberian off at Vintage Kennel Club, we hit the road for Marin.

  We hadn't been to Om in several months, and I was looking forward to trying their 8.99 buffet. The last time I'd ordered off the menu as I'm always suspicious of buffets in any sort of restaurants. Mr. X had been urging us to leave early so as to get enough food. He said the buffet gets quite busy and he was right.
 The secret of Oms' buffet is that everything is made fresh and in small quantities, so getting a table early if your planning on lunch is a wise idea, because when it's gone, it's gone.
  The buffet includes ones' choice of a small, freshly made dosa, or chapatti. One of my first rules of dining out is I always want what I can't get at home. That rule is what started me eating my way across the varied cuisines found in San Francisco during my teenage years, and then chowing down in LA. I always wanted what I couldn't get at my house. Since I make chapatti all the time and have never even attempted to make dosa.. that was what I selected.
 I piled my plate with vegetable bondi, lamb with gobi, chickpeas and potato masala, green beans and peppers rice mali, and awaited delivery of my individual masala dosa.

   I was a happy camper! This is a "c'mon hurry up and take the picture already so I can destroy this stuff" photo.

Of course there was sambar and a trio of freshly prepared chutneys - tomato , tamarind and coconut - and a delicious kheer for dessert. The last time we were at Om they were featuring a lovely sweet rice pongal for dessert since it was during the Harvest Festival.
  Of course we couldn't leave the restaurant without taking a peek behind the scenes where the chefs were only too happy to demonstrate their awesome dosa technique for us.

From a little dab of batter, a big dosa grows.
Bigger and bigger till it's time for a flip.
Golden toasty brown. Time for filling
And folding.
Your dosa is ready!

Mmmmmmmmm! Good! Of course we had to finish off the sample they made for us.
   We pinched a bit of digestive before we headed out to the Malabar Indian Market.
 Every time I go shopping it's as though I'm on a mission to bring back anything tasty and interesting to my kitchen for experimentation.
 When we started out in the morning, Sonoma was damp and cold and foggy, Marin however was already sunny and warm, hence my shawl.
 Finally we arrived at Malabar Indian Market and.........

It's closed!?? CLOSED??!!
   Yes, I had to turn up on the one day of the week that Malabar Indian Market closes it's doors. Note to self...when shopping here do NOT go on a Tuesday!!!
   So my dream of bringing home intriguing foodstuffs, cooking and blogging about them were dashed.
  We decided to go off to the Marin Art and Garden Center and wander the grounds.
  If you live near here and haven't visited, you should, and if you find yourself in the area as we did, it's a must stop. Nothing works off a hearty Indian lunch better than a stroll through a garden.
Past the rose covered gates, we were in another world.
Would you believe that this massive Sequoia is still a baby?
   The Garden Center also has Laurel House an absolutely kick-ass antique store filled with donated goods.. such as this picture of "Sammy the Collie" with our friend  Mr. X, the Million Dollar Cauliflower Man, posed in front of it.
  My husband got all artsy with the camera and took his own picture.

I wish I could have shown you the wonders of Malabar Market but that will have to be for another trip not on a Tuesday!! Coming next, enough of this shopping, back to cooking!
  Meanwhile, if you'd like to enter the Tropical Traditions Organic Shredded Coconut Giveaway here's how!!
Just A Reminder About my Giveaway
  If you'd like to get some Tropical Traditions Organic Shredded Coconut,  I'm going to be giving away 1 tub of dried shredded coconut to a lucky winner. Here are the rules.
  1.) Subscribe to Tropical Traditions free e-mail Newsletter by clicking the link. They offer all sorts of product specials and cool free recipes.
   After you do this, leave a comment on my blog letting me know you have, and either Twitter about my giveaway (@kathygori) or mention it on your blog with a link, and let me know.
2.) Subscribe to the Tropical Traditions Newsletter and if you don't follow me on Twitter, follow me @kathygori and Twitter about the giveaway. Or sign up to follow my blog The Colors Of Indian Cooking and let me know you've mentioned the giveaway on your blog with a link.
3.) Subscribe to the Tropical Traditions Newsletter and mention my blog and giveaway on Facebook, then let me know you have.
    I have to add for the fine print here:
Tropical Traditions provided me with a free sample of this product to review and I was under no obligation to review it if I so chose.  Nor was I under any obligation to write a positive review or sponsor a product giveaway in return for the free product.
    I'm offering this shredded coconut because I've been using it and it's great and I wanted  someone else to be able to enjoy it also.
  The winner will be drawn randomly through on Sept 1st.


  1. I have a blog crush on the dosa maker. He is cute.

  2. Janis - haha! We finally have a dosa truck here. Cool that he let you take those photos. Patsy looks pretty content!

  3. My husband went to San Rafael High School! I know exactly where this is. Sounds like a fantastic meal, we will definitely have to give it a shot next time we are in town.

  4. You should come to South Bay (Sunnyvale/Santa Clara) for the Indian groceries. You'll even find the dosa batter in the refrigerated section of the grocery store!

  5. Wow, that dosa is incredible. I've never even heard of it before!

  6. I love good Indian lunch buffets where you can try a little bit of this and that. We have an excellent one in our neighborhood that's only $6.99!

  7. Great post! Thanks for teaching me about dosa. I love how you went right in the kitchen to take photos of it being made!

  8. Very interesting post! I will have to check that place out next time I am in Marin! BTW - Love the photo of the doggie sleeping on their back.

  9. Wonderful blog. And don't forget about Vik's in Berkeley with the great little market next door.



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