Tag Archives: Chevy Chase

Indique Heights – Indian Food That Hits All The Right Notes

By Lakshmi:

Chevy Chase, Maryland, a suburb of Washington DC occupies a very special place in our hearts.  It is where we lived, went to school and worked when we moved from India to the US.  Each time we return, we are overjoyed to go back and stay at a place we called home for many years.  This time was no different and what made Christmas day extra special was an incredibly beautiful, satisfying meal at Indique Heights.

Located right above the Friendship Heights metro station, Indique Heights is located right at the District/Maryland line.  As you come off the escalators and approach the restaurant, you are transported from a very modern commercial building to the ambiance of a home in India thousands of miles away.

A beautiful traditional swing occupies a prime location while comfy seating flanked by beautiful, colorful Indian artwork makes for a very relaxing lounging experience.  We turned up without reservations on a day when most restaurants were closed and the restaurant was packed.  We loved the excuse to linger, sit on the swing and take pictures.

The dinner menu at Indique Heights, carefully curated by Chef Vinod brings together an eclectic combination of Indian street food with north and south Indian cuisine. For those tired of the same repertoire of dishes served at many an Indian restaurant, the dishes here can be a beautiful, new sensory journey.

We started with the street food appetizers – Papri Chaat (flour crisps, potato, chick peas, yogurt, cilantro & tamarind Chutney), Bhel Puri (rice puffs, crispy gram flour noodles, cilantro, tamarind chutney) and the Mini Dosas (crepe made with a fermented batter of lentils and rice).  Everything was fresh and hit every sensory bud.  Spicy, Tangy, Sweet….my mouth waters just thinking about the flavors.  Sathya was so in love with the Mini Dosa that she went for seconds and thirds, till the restaurant loving her enthusiasm comped her a few more!

Given our vegetarian group, we ordered a thali (an assortment of vegetarian dishes with bread, rice and dessert), a biryani with rice and veggies, and some naan bread with  kadai paneer.  Unlike some of the grease filled dishes served by their brethren, the food here was light, with the spices bringing out the richness of the individual flavors, leaving one wanting to decipher the various ingredients making up the exquisite taste.

After all this food, there was not much room for dessert, but given the family’s staunch belief that life is too short to live without dessert, we indulged on that front as well.  An assortment of gulab jamun (deep-fried dough balls in sugar syrup) and some ice cream completed the meal.

To us, it was the perfect culmination to a beautiful day spent with family and friends in a city we adore.

Many years ago, Chef Vinod had catered my brother’s wedding when he had just one small restaurant in Rockville Maryland.  Now, he has multiple restaurants in the area and the food at Indique Heights leaves no unanswered questions on why Vinod and his restaurants are successful.

If you are in the DC area and in the mood for Indian food, do give them a try.  You can read more about them, their locations and more at

http://www.indiqueheights.com/

A Love Note to One of My Favorite Foods

(mealadvisor.us)

By Lakshmi:

You may not know me, but I am one of your biggest fans.  A foodie to the core, I am always trying new restaurants and dishes.  I do have one dietary restriction.  I do not eat meat.  And while the world has certainly become a temptation filled paradise for non-carnivores, there are certain dishes that simply sweep your taste buds away.

The fact that I had you at a chain restaurant surprised me.  You were one of those divine taste temptations that I would have expected at a hip fusion restaurant.  But no, you made your appearance on the appetizer list at this restaurant chain, when it first opened in my hometown of Chevy Chase.

I am not a huge fan of egg rolls, but love avocados, so when your name first caught my attention, my reaction was a mixed bag.  Do I really want to order this?  On an impulse I decided to make you my main order for the evening and from that initial meeting to every interaction since then, you continue to have the same impact on me, and that is put me in a state of culinary bliss.

You my friend, the Avocado Egg Roll are the main draw for my many visits to the Cheesecake Factory over the years.    From the first time I saw you presented as a diagonally sliced concoction where the crisp brown egg roll covering enveloped the green avocados, the red sun-dried tomatoes, the red onion and of course the barely there cilantro, I was hooked.  The tamarind sauce that accompanied you along with the fried rice noodles that formed a backdrop to your delivery completed the perfect visual presentation.

Now to the taste.  That first bite when the crisp, savory smooth taste of the egg roll melded into the sweet and tart taste of the tamarind sauce produced a state of joy that is hard to describe.  While I was there with company, I had no desire to share and went on to polish the entire plate, a complete look of contentment on my face which I wish someone had saved for posterity.

The next time I came to see you, I brought my mother along.  Her approval was important.  She fell equally in love with you, as has the rest of my family.  Now, you are the reason we keep coming back to the Cheesecake Factory and our meal there is never complete without you.

Just recently, my husband who is on a calorie counting kick decided that he would be generous and tell me how many calories you contained…just before I placed my order.  I was so angry at him for bursting my bubble, for making me feel guilty.  But did that stop me? Of course not.  I proceeded with full awareness to order you and relish my meal.

For many years, we did not have a Cheesecake Factory near us.  So to meet my cravings, I decided to clone you at home.  I would say my efforts have met with reasonable success, but you remain the original.

And I can’t wait to be reunited with you next week as a branch of this restaurant finally opens its doors near me.