Loving & Leaving Pittsburgh: the Udipi Café

One of our favorite places to eat in the area is the Udipi Café.  This is a restaurant out in Monroeville that serves South Indian food.  This is very different from the usual fare found in Indian restaurants.  It’s all vegetarian, but what the cuisine is famous for is its unusual architectural features.  The dosai are these thin rice crepes that are rolled into all sorts of crazy shapes, like a spiraling cone:

Jeffrey calls this “pyramid bread,” and loves dipping it in the coconut sauce.  I prefer the cylindrical dosai that come stuffed with sauteéd potatoes, peas, onions, and lentils.  Sooooo buttery good.  The other dish we like to order are the uthapamm, which are these thick lentil pancakes cooked with tomatoes and peas.  Mmmm.

We enjoy getting the appetizer platter too, which always includes these fluffy little steamed cakes made from rice flour.  The name of them currently escapes me, but babies LOVE THEM.  William just about hopped out of his high chair, waving his little fists for more.

For dessert, we always order a batura, which is this giant puffy fried bread.  It’s essentially a ginormous scone.  Here it is next to Wim-Wim’s head, to give a sense of scale:

Sometimes I sneak a small jar of honey in my purse to eat with the bread.  It’s soooo good.

The best part of this place is how kid-friendly it is.  The wait staff is incredibly patient and kind with my little ones, and like to play peek-a-boo with the babies.  Almost all of the food is eaten with your hands, so I never have to nag my kids about using their silverware properly.  There’s a tall fluffy stack of paper napkins on each table.  And the restarurant is happy to split a mango smoothie between two lidded cups (a service that isn’t as easily found as you’d expect).

I’m going to miss South Indian food in Utah, but I’m sure we’ll find other cuisines that will work their ways into our hearts just as well.  Already, I’m looking forward to a certain Salvadorean place on the west side of town, whose pupusas may juuuust make up for the loss of the batura.  Just.

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