Once upon a time, in the kingdom of LosAngeles, there lived a girl who loved to eat. And eat she did. But what she loved most in the world, was to travel to faraway places and taste and see the foods of distant lands.
One day the girl’s parents said, “Daughter, take me to all the faraway places you go, to eat that food you eat so much of.”
And so they were off. To the faraway land of Artesia, where it was often said that spices, tea and gold (well, okay fine, just spices and tea –have you seen the price of gold lately?) fell from the sky. It was no easy journey, as the land of Artesia was tucked away, almost hidden from many of the common folk of LosAngeles. Artesia almost touched the neighboring kingdom of OrangeCounty, a land near the sea known for its glorious tradeposts, theme parks and housewives who were real.
The girl and her parents traveled many roads: the 5, to the 605 and then to the 91, finally arriving at the gates of Artesia, known to many as PioneerBoulevard. The girl and her parents were a bit weary and tired from their journey, and most importantly, harbored stomachs begging to be fed.
Upon arrival to the land of Artesia, the girl’s parents perked up, astonished by what they saw. ”What is this place?” they murmured to each other. ”Where are we?” they asked their daughter on more than one occasion, not noting she was growing more and more irritable by their repetitive line of questioning. But then the girl noticed that her parents could not take their eyes off the storefronts, and she smiled to herself. Who could blame them? The glittering jewels and delicately embroidered silk saris on display seemed to fuel the lingering scent of exoticism in the air. It did seem they were much further than the land of Artesia.
The celebrated and delightful feast they would soon encounter, they’d eventually bring back with them — home to the kind yet crowded kingdom of LosAngeles. In the form of bags that were doggie, tall tales told excitedly to friends (like the world wide web), and in memories they’d keep close to their hearts…ever after.
The Dubu Downlow: Places to Eat in Artesia (also known as Little India):
1) Udupi Palace. 18635 Pioneer Boulevard, Artesia, CA. (562) 860-1950. (Closed Mondays). A casual South Indian vegetarian eatery specializing in Dosa (thin and crispy rice and lentil crêpe that can be filled with potato, onion and/or mushroom, etc.), Chana Batura (large, billowy bread served with chickpea curry), Idli (patties of steamed rice and lentils), and Vada (deep-fried lentil donuts). With locations in Northern California (San Francisco, Berkeley and Sunnyvale) and on the East Coast (NY and Maryland), I am always a very happy camper with either a masala dosa or chana batura and a mango lassi.
2) Ashoka the Great. 18614 Pioneer Boulevard, Artesia, CA. (562) 809-4229. This is the place to come for tandoori and also a go-to for curries (goat and lamb for the Husband, all the veggie ones for me). A staple in our rotation for years, we’ve never been less than totally satisfied. Recently having undergone a remodel, it serves up North Indian fare that is wonderfully authentic (in my opinion!) with attentive service and superb food. Favorites are the chicken tandoori, sag paneer, baingan bharta, chicken tikka masala, aloo anything and their pistachio ice-cream. I could probably get full just eating the naan and papadam. Oh and of course, raita with everything.
3) Surati Farsan Mart. 11814 East 186th Street, Artesia, CA. (562) 860-2310. I’ve only been here once to pick up some chole samosas and khandvi to go, but I was very impressed. I will definitely come back on my next 562 exploration. It seems everyone who’s someone likes this place too — a modern and sleek café that boasts an interesting menu of sweets and chaat.