Monday, July 6, 2015

Adya One Year Anniversary Dinner

440 South Anaheim Blvd. #201
Anaheim, CA 92805

When I started this blog, I never really had any exposure to Indian food. No one in my family ever thought of going to an Indian restaurant. My friends never suggested eating Indian food either. In fact, there are no Indian restaurants in the city of Yorba Linda, the city where I grew up. To my knowledge, there has never been an Indian restaurant in the, "land of gracious living." It really wasn't until I started this blog and was invited to an Indian restaurant that I really started to appreciate Indian cuisine.

We were recently invited to attend a one year anniversary party for Adya, which is located at the Anaheim Packing District, a place that I was ashamed to say that we had yet to visit. For those of you that are not aware, the Packing District is like a mini Grand Central Market in Los Angeles. There are 20 plus eateries in this downtown building, and the whole vibe of this place was cool. After walking around, I made a mental note of all the places I wanted to visit next; Georgia's, The Kroft, and The Chippy, just to name a few. For now though, I was excited for Adya.

Adya is brought to us by the very talented Chef and Executive Owner, Shachi Mehra. She was the first executive chef at another of our favorite Indian restaurants, Tamarind of London in Newport Coast. Her new place showcases Indian street food, which is prepared using wonderful local items, but are made in traditional Indian ways. Growing up in New Jersey, and spending summers in India, she wants to show that Indian food does not have to be that heavy, curry focused cuisine, but instead she features lighter food, which does not sacrifice the bold flavors of Indian cuisine. I was definitely looking forward to seeing if she could achieve this delicate balance with the food we were about to have.

The people of Adya were kind enough to set up a table for us on a recent Tuesday evening. I've heard that getting seating at the Packing House can be a little bit tricky, and that is even more so on weekend nights. On this night the crowd definitely swelled during our stay at the Packing District. We were seated at a long communal table, with Puffed Lotus Seeds, Papadum, and a Trio of Chutneys, spaced about every four seats. Already I could tell that this was unlike any Indian food we have had. The papadum was lighter, more like a tortilla chip, than the kind of rigid papadum we are used to. The three chutneys represented here were tomato, mint, and tamarind varieties. It's hard to say which one was my favorite, as I found myself using each in equal measures. The lotus seeds were again light, but kind of missed the mark with me. I was more in the mood for something a little more substantial, and these had more of the texture of chicharon, which kind of melted away after consuming them. Others in our party were pretty impressed with these though.

Now the big boys were on the way out for us. Up first was this Crab Masala, garnished with corn, asparagus, and a very light mustard yogurt sauce. This is not what you would probably expect when having Indian food. The crab was light, and had the consistency of a very well made crab cake, but with a unique flavor profile that did not mask the natural taste of the crab. The corn added a nice texture element, and the mustard sauce played along nicely with the rest of the plate. Very well done crab plate.

I'm always a fan of lamb, so when I heard that Lamb Kofta was up next, I got pretty excited. I don't order lamb nearly enough, which I need to rectify. These lamb meatballs were in a tomato tamarind glaze, which burst with flavor. The lamb itself was very tender, dense, and spiced perfectly. Luckily, a few people that we were sitting with were not a fan of lamb, so I had four of these by myself. Score.

Next up for us was a Thali, which I had to look up what it was. I learned that a thali is a plate of food, which includes six different flavors; sweet, salty, bitter, astringent, sour, and spicy. I'd say this plate got all of them, but I don't really recall anything being crazy bitter. This thali included black lentils, chicken tikka masala, raita, kokum fish curry, rice, and salad. All of this was pretty stellar, but the chicken tikka masala really stole the show. The sauce was delicious, and could make an old shoe taste great. The chicken was tender, and again, the masala sauce was incredible. I liked the rest of the plate as well. The fish curry was good, and the kokum spice gave off a tinge of sourness to the fish. Raita is not really my thing, since I'm not a fan of yogurt, but Katie enjoyed it, as did other people at our table. The lentils are always a favorite of mine at Indian restaurants, and they impressed at Adya as well. A very well balanced meal.

Desserts at Indian restaurants have always kind of let me down. I like sweeter desserts, than most people like, so I'm usually left out of luck at most Indian joints. This was not the case at Adya. The White Chocolate Rabri with Cardamom Grilled Peaches was one of the better Indian desserts I've had. Rabri is made of condensed milk, sugar and other spices, and it kind of has the consistency of a less smooth budino. The peaches were good, and added even more sweetness to the rabri. We were also given some Coconut Date Naan to wrap up our meal. This was a very good version of a dessert naan, but I have a feeling they could do anything with their phenomenal naan, which we enjoyed very much earlier during this meal.

Chef Shachi and her team at Adya really did deliver on their promise of lighter, but still flavorful Indian food. Even though we ate all of this food, we did not feel crazy stuffed, and even had room left to try some ice cream at Hans' Homemade Ice Cream. The menu here changes frequently, depending on what's available, but if our dinner is any indication, you will have no trouble finding something that you will enjoy. I'm so happy that this blog has opened me up to liking more than just burgers, Mexican, and Italian food.

We would like to thank Chef Shachi, and everyone at Adya for having us on this very special occasion. It's easy to see why you guys have made the coveted one year mark for your restaurant, and why you'll be around a lot longer than that. Not only was the food great, but their hospitality was also on full display. We would also like to thank Mona and everyone at Moxxe PR for thinking of inviting us to this wonderful event. You guys rock.

For more information about Adya check out their website here:

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