Impeccable Modern American Cuisine at Scratch in Mountain View

It’s not always easy to find quality restaurants in Silicon Valley, but Mountain View has proven time and time and time again that there’s some really excellent places to eat and drink on their main downtown drag. There are not many restaurants that I have loved enough to eat at multiple times out here, but Scratch has sort of become my go-to, not-sure-what-I’m-in-the-mood-for dinner and drinks spot.

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Eat Curry in a Velvet-Lined Subway Car at Ghandi Cafe in the West Village

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Have you ever wanted to eat Indian food in a velvet-walled subway car? No? The thought has never crossed your mind either? Well, I didn’t even know that was an possibility before I ate dinner at West Village’s Ghandi Cafe.

This narrow hole-in-the-wall is a really strange place. It’s situated right off the corner of Bleeker and 6th Avenue and it would be all to easy to walk right past its dingy facade. I wasn’t kidding about the velvet walls either. It really does look like a dressed-up subway car with a zany mish-mash of decor accents like tulip-shared sconces, English Premiere League flags, chandeliers, mirror-paneled walls, and Christmas lights.

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Really Unusual Burmese Soup & Salad at Burma Superstar in the Richmond

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I don’t think I’m unearthing any secrets with this one. This famed Burmese restaurant in the Richmond has been featured on the Food Network numerous times and is reputed for having constant lines out the door. Somehow, when I showed up at 12:30 on a Sunday, a time when I assumed the restaurant would be at peak capacity, it in fact had no line. I was seated at a two-top on my own immediately. Amazing.

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Fiery South Indian Chettinad Curry at Aachi Aappa Kadai in Sunnyvale

I must be a sick person, but sometimes I enjoy watching my friends squirm and turn bright red while experiencing authentically spicy food. This wasn’t the first time this week that I had nearly brought a buddy to tears of spicy pain. On this evening, four of us headed to a restaurant called Aachi Aappa Kadai in a very Indian-heavy area of Sunnyvale, CA to sample food from the Chettinad region. With a name like that with so many A’s at the start, I’ve got to wonder if they did it to get their name at the beginning of the Yellow Pages (when they were still relevant).

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Classic Indian & Pakistani Curry at Shezan in Mountain View
Classic Indian & Pakistani Curry at Shezan in Mountain View, CA

Classic Indian & Pakistani Curry at Shezan in Mountain View

Sometimes I get a craving. A craving that can only be quenched by curry. On this particular evening, after finishing up work in Sunnyvale, I knew it had to be an Indian night. I searched the nearby radius and came across a highly rated Indian and Pakistani restaurant on the main drag in Mountain View called Shezan. Sold.

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A Rare, Spicy Indian Take on Chili at the Desi Food Truck in SoHo
A Rare, Spicy Indian Take on Chili at the Desi Food Truck in SoHo

A Rare, Spicy Indian Take on Chili at the Desi Food Truck in SoHo

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In the western reaches of SoHo there are tons of office buildings loaded with hungry workers in need of a good lunch. This draws a wide variety food trucks to the area to line those streets on a daily basis. Most of these trucks are the hipster-fusion variety which attract long lines and park on either Varick or Hudson just below Houston.

But if you walk just one block back east, you’ll find a strange triangular park called SoHo Square Park on 6th Avenue between Broome and Spring. At the top edge of the park, on most days, you’ll find a bright yellow food truck painted with very stereotypical Indian stylistic colors and decorative flourishes called the Desi Food Truck serving humble Indian dishes and never has a line.

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Deliciously Spicy Momo Dumplings and Lamb Curry at Himalayan Kitchen in Mountain View
Deliciously Spicy Momo Dumplings and Lamb Curry at Himalayan Kitchen in Mountain View, CA

Deliciously Spicy Momo Dumplings and Lamb Curry at Himalayan Kitchen in Mountain View

*Editor’s Note 7/17/14: I have recently returned to Himalayan Kitchen and the entire restaurant and shopping center has been remodeled and is much nicer now. The food is just as good as ever, maybe even better.

Way off the beaten path, in a seriously run-down shopping center in Mountain View, California you’ll find a sketchy looking restaurant called Himalayan Kitchen. Had I not read good things about this place online before driving over, I might have been turned off by the truthfully off-putting appearance, but I followed my instincts and continued on with my hungover Himalayan quest.

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Top Notch Thai Off The Beaten Path at Purple Ginger in the East Village
Top Notch Thai Off The Beaten Path at Purple Ginger in the East Village

Top Notch Thai Off The Beaten Path at Purple Ginger in the East Village

*Editor’s Note 10/15/15: I’m sad to report that Purple Ginger has permanently closed.

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In NYC, people love to wait in lines. Brunch lines often last over an hour and I’m not down with that. I like to have places that I can get into on a moment’s notice.

I’ve been going to Purple Ginger since it opened but it’s perpetually empty. This has nothing to do with the food, it’s top notch. It has everything to do with their location on 6th and B which clearly doesn’t get enough foot traffic for a restaurant like this to survive. Even on a Saturday at 12:30 in the East Village during peak brunching hours, it was pretty much empty. What I’m saying is, go. Because with food so consistently delicious and generously portioned, I don’t want them to fold.

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Fresh, Flavorful, & Spicy Chipotle-Style Indian Food in the Flatiron at Indikitch
Fresh, Flavorful, & Spicy Chipotle-Style Indian Food in the Flatiron at Indikitch

Fresh, Flavorful, & Spicy Chipotle-Style Indian Food in the Flatiron at Indikitch

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Last week, while walking across 23rd Street, I noticed a new addition to the Flatiron/Chelsea lunching landscape. Right next to Eataly, I spotted an enormous storefront window bearing the name Indikitch. After further examination, I learned that Indikitch would soon be open and I knew I had to check it out once it did.

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New Zealand Style Meat Pies & More at Dub Pies
New Zealand Style Meat Pies & More at Dub Pies

New Zealand Style Meat Pies & More at Dub Pies

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*Editor’s Note: I’m sad to report that this restaurant is not longer open.

A year and a half ago, I spent a week in Sydney while my younger sister was studying abroad. Each night would involve some heavy drinking before we’d stumble our way into a local meat pie shop to help our bodies process all of the alcohol we had consumed.

This is where I first developed my love for savory Aussie meat pies. Recently, the meat pie has been taking Manhattan by storm with many pie shops popping up all over the city. Fortunately for me, this included the recent opening of Dub Pies, a New Zealand-style meat pie shop in Greenwich Village near my apartment.

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