Captain’s Log, Stardate -310276.9706600384: After being lost in a parallel universe for weeks,* my first mate and I make it back to our reality and continue on our quest to sample all the Cheap Eats on the list of Earth publication Los Angeles Magazine. Our journey has thus far taken us to previously unknown locations in the area, and today is no exception. We visit India Sweet House on West Pico just west of Fairfax in Mid City in the hopes of yet again scoring a combo of good food and low prices.
Upon approach, we are initially a bit hesitant to enter. We’ve encountered good food in less welcoming environments, but the dripping air conditioner over the door and accompanying quickly filling plastic milk jug below still give us pause. Nevertheless, a quick glance at the great-looking pastries in the glass case at the counter and almost-too-low-to-believe prices on the menu boards lure us in.
*i.e., I've been working a ton lately and got behind on blog posts.
The limited amount of seating virtually ensures that India Sweet House is primarily a take-out business, and we just manage to squeeze three people into one of the tiny two-person tables. It’s a tight fit, but we have just enough space to dig into a traditional Indian snack, bhelpuri (below), made with crispy puffed rice, peanuts, onions and a light tangy sauce. It’s a unique dish and a textual delight that buoys our expectations for the food to follow.
Soon our small table top is overrun with aromatic dishes, starting with a bowl of sambar (below), a thick, flavorful vegetable stew) meant to be eaten with...
...the masala dosa (below), which I'd never encountered before in my various forays into Indian cuisine. This South Asian version of a savory crepe is thicker and spongier than its French equivalent, being made of rice flour and black lentils, and is stuffed with a nicely spiced potato mixture. Part of me thinks there's been a miscommunication with cashier - no way this much good food comes in at $4.99, right?
And of course, I hit up my go-to Indian dish, saag paneer. India Sweet House's viscous spinach and paneer cheese mixture is underseasoned, but solid, and for $3.75, I'm not complaining.
For our final savory dish, we pay another visit to the "snacks" section of the menu, although the puri chana, fried bread served with well-sauced chickpeas, is hearty enough to be a main dish. At $3.50, it doesn't matter the category - either way you slice it, it's another great deal.
We finish off the meal by returning to the counter and pointing to a handful of sweets (which are sold by the pound). Generally, the treats are very interesting, not at all what we are expecting (that's not chocolate! that's not fried dough!), and across-the-board very dense. While maybe not our particular cup of tea, the steady stream of customers leaving with heavy bags of pastries argue in India Sweet House’s favor.
Captain's Log, supplemental: While maybe not our most exciting find in our Cheap Eats trek so far, the food at India Sweet House is pretty good, and the prices are out-of-this-world low.
Los Angeles, CA 90035
Hours: 11:00a - 9:00p daily