Crazy Pineapple Lady

Last night, Greg and I went for dinner at a local Indian dosa place in the far reaches of our ‘hood.

I used to go to this restaurant about once a month or so when my friend Melissa lived nearby. She was home during the day, so I’d walk up to her place and we’d go for dosa then do some shopping at the mall. When she moved to New York state, I had little reason to be in that part of the ‘hood, and hadn’t been back to this restaurant in a couple of years.

One of the things I always ordered was a pineapple uppatham. Similar to a dosa in that it was like a huge airy crepe, this was made by mixing chunks of pineapple into the batter before it was cooked. But it seems that I was the only one who ever ordered it and the owner took it off the menu during the time we were regulars there. There were plenty of other great things on the menu so it wasn’t a huge deal, but it’s always been my favourite.

Last night when we were there, the owner came over to take our order and recognized me. “You used to order the pineapple uppatham,” she said, “I have pineapple today, you want me to make one for you?”


I was delighted, of course – not just that I was getting my favourite dish that was no longer on the menu, but that she had even remembered me.

I relished every bite, dipping the airy crepe and chunks of pineapple through the spicy coconut chutney that accompanied the uppatham.

Continue reading “Crazy Pineapple Lady”

Treated Like a King at Udupi Palace

udupiappUdupi Palace
1460 Gerrard Street East
Dinner (no dessert) for two with all taxes, tip and mango lassi (unlicensed): $40

Everyone who visits Little India inevitably has their favourite place to eat. Mine happens to be a chain. Yes, a chain. Udupi Palace has locations in Maryland, Illinois, Seattle, Queens and Mountain View, California to name but a few. All focus on South Indian vegetarian food, and all are located in areas with a concentrated Southeast Asian population.

The Toronto location, smack in the middle of the Gerrard India Bazaar, is a basement space that disconcertingly resembles a banquet hall. Tile floors, granite tables, and trompe l’oeil paintings on the wall combine to make the space feel somewhat cold and stark. It’s freakishly clean to the point of being almost clinical, and while it doesn’t actually smell of bleach, I always have the impression that the whole place is “sanitized for your protection” every evening at closing.

None of that actually matters though, because no one comes here for the ambience. At Udupi Palace, it’s all about the food, and it’s the food that continues to pack people in.

Continue reading “Treated Like a King at Udupi Palace”