On a quick trip to Santa Clara I was able to have dinner at Anjappar, with my friend KC. The Indian expat community in silicon valley is so large that the Indian restaurants here have transmogrified into the real thing, rather than appearing to be transplanted sets on a stage. Groups of Indian customers sat around at different tables; this could be a café in Jamshedpur, or a restaurant in Mumbai, where young men and women gather to sit back after a day’s work. Similar to what you might see in the Bangladeshi restaurants in Jackson Heights on an evening, except that these guys here are talking about chip tapeouts and software releases.
Anjappar is a chain that originated in Chennai and aims to bring you the cuisine of the Chettiars from Chettinad, in Tamil Nadu. Well, times have changed and so must have the cuisine of the Chettiars, for the menu is extensive and includes Chinese-Indian noodle dishes. It was one of the longest menus that I have seen and leaves no stone unturned. I had a vegetarian thali—a combination of various curries, dal, sambar, rasam, rice, roti, and a few limpid papads. The food was too spicy for my tastes, but this is the norm with this type of cuisine so one has to accept this going in. South Indian 2 meter coffee was authentic. The ambience was authentic, I could almost imagine a guy riding in his 2 seater Bajaj Vespa scooter with his wife on the pillion, helmet in hand. But those were the old days--I doubt anyone does that even in India anymore.