Images of paradise usually involve palm trees,
beaches and the use of “aloha” as a general greeting. For me, paradise is
Pioneer Boulevard in Artesia. I’m only going to Pomona to earn enough money to retire
comfortably in Artesia. I’ll buy a house, have a lot of cats and get fat on
Indian chaat. I was able to make my second trip to Pioneer Boulevard last week,
and it was so delightful that I ended up going a third and fourth time in a
four-day period. Artesia is a long drive (about 45 minutes from Claremont), but
the food is entirely worth braving the L.A. freeway system.
Last semester, I wrote about the Indian chaat
(snack) delis that are scattered throughout L.A.’s Little India. I went back to
Surati Farsan Mart, which I still think has the best cooking on the street, but
I found a few other solid spots. The first is Rajdhani, an awesome
all-you-can-eat thali restaurant. It’s a little difficult to describe thali.
It is similar to Cantonese dim sum and Indonesian rijsttafel in that it involves
several small dishes served in quick succession. You won’t know exactly what’s
in your thali dish, but they are all pretty wonderful. Most of them involve
channa (chickpeas), chutneys, curries and several types of bread, including
roti. For $12, you can sit down and experience a Gujarati thali show. Waiters come
around every few minutes with hot puri breads and huge metal pots of lentil
curries, ready to spoon the stuff into little metal bowls. One of the thali
dishes also involves buttered hamburger buns; the bread normally associated with the dish is
difficult to make, and there are no American vendors who sell it. The set menu
also includes Indian ice cream, which is strange but quite good. Rajdhani
apparently has the best thali on Pioneer Boulevard, although other restaurants
have their own versions. Rajdhani is cheap, fun and good, especially if you’re
I also made a stop at Standard Sweets &
Snacks, a chaat spot similar to Surati Farsan Mart and Jay Bharat. It was good
and cheap (I ordered 10 things for $35), but I still recommend going to either
of the other two first.
I had a pretty intense internal debate about my
last stop, since I knew I probably would not come back for a while. I narrowed
it down to Ambala Dhaba, a restaurant that specializes in Pakistani cooking,
and a restaurant (creatively) called The India, which was North
Indian. I ended up choosing The India, which I don’t regret, but I have heard
good things about Ambala Dhaba as well.
The India has all the dishes Americans associate with Indian food, including
naan breads, samosas, tandoori dishes and chicken curries. The Lamb Palak
($14.95), a standard curry that involves spinach, was excellent. Bengan Bharta
($11.95), an eggplant curry, was also delicious. The drawback to The India is
that it’s more expensive that most other restaurants on the block.
The most stressful part about going to Pioneer
Boulevard is deciding where to go. After that, it is all pleasure.
Mart. 11814 186th Street Artesia, CA 90701. (562) 860-2310.
Jay Bharat. 18701 Pioneer Boulevard Artesia, CA 90701 (562) 924-3310
Standard Sweets & Snacks. 18600 Pioneer Boulevard Artesia, CA
90701 (562) 809-5009
Rajdhani. 18525 Pioneer Boulevard Artesia, CA 90701 (562) 402-9102
The India. 17824 Pioneer Boulevard Artesia, CA 90701 (562) 860-5621