When I was researching restaurants in the Inland Empire, I read rave reviews about Ashiwad The Blessing. This vegetarian restaurant had a 4.5 star rating on yelp and with a “eating healthy” new years resolution I was curious to see what it was all about. Additionally, it had dinner hours that extended in the late evening (9pm), which also contributed to my trip plans.
Located in an unassuming strip mall, my friend and I wandered in to the simple, but clean restaurant. We were seated prompted and our waiter educated us about the diverse menu option. After thoughtful consideration we started the evening with the Sev Khamni ($4.99), a steamed chick pea. This gluten-free appetizer came with a sweet and spicy sauce accompaniment and was beautifully presented. The portion was very generous as a starter and served as a great introduction for our enormous entree.
To share my friend and I ordered the Thali ($14.99) – A complete meal with your choice of vegetables (we opted for a seasonal eggplants and sweet potatoe mix), soup, rotis, rice, raita, snack, and dessert (fried donut). This picture doesn’t do it justice in the size of the offering, and the taste was just was full and robust. There were so many complex flavors that I couldn’t help myself but mixing and matching the items. Everything tasted so earthy and there was no meat! Our total for two came out to about $20ish dollars which is so inexpensive considering the portion and taste. I loved it!
I love meat as much as the next person, but after eating this meal I didn’t miss it. I’m not likely to go full blown vegetarian, but I wouldn’t mind incorporating a meal like this into my routine.
India is such an exotic country and their food is just as (if not more) intriguing. The bright colors and different spices make this culture’s food a fest for the eyes and stomach. So when I stumbled upon this little AYCE lunch buffet in Irvine on yelp, I could not have been more ecstatic, although the drive there was an adventure in and of itself! After driving loops around the industrial complex we finally found the restaurant- Vishnu (Yelp Review). It’s definitely a no frills joint, and we helped ourselves by loading up our sectioned styrofoam plate!
The selection was diverse with curries and other traditional Indian dishes. I’m embarrassed to say that my knowledge for Indian cuisine is rather limited, but I do know that each dish had it’s own distinct flavors and that the variety was incredible for a whopping $6.95 a person. I can’t even imagine how this is profitable considering the selection and how time-consuming it is to make all the items. I’ve been told that certain dishes take more than 5 hours to prepare, as it needs to simmer to allow the flavors to meld into one another.
I inquired with the owner about his business and was informed that it had only been opened for three months (!!!) but that he’d been in the catering business for well over 15 years. He’s done events as far as Reno, NV and the Bay Area, so I imagine that’s he’s your guy if you want an authentic Indian feast in the Golden State (and surrounding bordering states). The restaurant is only open Monday-Friday from 10:30-2:30 since evenings and weekends are reserved for catering gigs. Ah! It’s all coming together now.
Lucky for me this little shop is not too far away. Muahaha… delicious food for a fraction of the cost, although, I am curious about his catering options. So if you’re in the market for authentic Indian, Vishnu’s Restaurant and Catering’s got you covered.