Tag Archives: tamarind

Food Porn, Glorious Food Porn: Tamarind Savoring India

It’s not easy reviewing a restaurant when you visit with a party of eight people, especially when it’s for a special occasion. So when our (newly engaged) friends Jackie and Bill invited a bunch of us out to Tamarind at Scott Towne Center (I can’t seem to avoid that place these days), I was prepared to accept that I wasn’t going to be able to write up the most nuanced review considering the circumstances.

Still, what lacks in detailed observation can still be made up for, in some ways, by flat out, unadulterated food porn. But before we get to that, a few words on Indian cuisine.

(Please note that I am not a culinary expert on Indian cuisine, and would never ever ever pretend to be one. I am sharing a very basic comparison. If there is anything obvious that I missed or got wrong, let me know in the comments.)

While the traditional eating customs of India can vary wildly by region, the cuisine is typically divided into North and South Indian cuisines. (Tamarind Savoring India specializes in South Indian cuisine.) While they share a lot in common, the difference really lies in the emphasis of the dishes. South Indian cuisine is spicier and uses more rice. It is also the more vegetarian-heavy. North Indian cuisine is milder, with an emphasis on dairy, breads, and lentils, as well as tomatoes as a staple ingredient in many sauces.

Like most ethnic cuisines, the distinctions of regional influence get fuzzy in an American translation, hence the reason that the majority of Indian restaurants offer a blend of North and South Indian dishes. The distills the wide array of Indian cuisine to an accessible few dozen entrees, sides, snacks, and desserts that a Western audience can fully embrace.

Then there are places like Tamarind that seek to really embrace their South Indian cuisine, meaning that while some items available here are frequently considered North Indian staples, they are prepared, spiced, and portioned to South Indian tradition. That means heavy gravies, heavy spice, and a lot of rice to go with them.

Okay, enough chatter. Onto the food!

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Neighborhood Quick Picks – Mt. Lebanon

From pittsburghfurnished.com

If you don’t live in the South Hills, it might never occur to you to pay a visit to  Mt. Lebanon, but I definitely suggest giving it an afternoon of your time. Washington Road is a good starting point. The Mount Lebanon trolley stop lets you off right across the street from several good restaurants, not to mention various shops and boutiques offering an array of goods, from specialty textiles, organic food and nutritional supplements, to fine art, fashionable second-hand clothing, and paper goods. All in all, the business district is only a few blocks, easily encountered in a Saturday afternoon, or split the time between Washington Road and Beverly Road, another business section that features a similar mix of dining and small independent shops.

Mt. Lebanon has no shortage of upscale restaurants, but visitors and nearby residents can often mistake its high-income reputation for a lack of lower-priced options, a misconception that when proven false can lead to a delicious and economical dining experience. You just have to know where to go.

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