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Industrial park Indian food

I'm a self-confessed devotee of South Indian food: give me idli and sambar and keep the fork! That doesn't mean I have a problem with North Indian food, which is good since most Indian restaurants focus on the more familiar cuisine of India's northern regions, specifically Punjabi food. Punjabi Tandoor in Miramar being an excellent example thereof.

None

The Punjabi region actually contains large parts of Pakistan and its cuisine, heartier and more meat-based than the food from further south, reflects that proximity. It wasn't so long ago that India and Pakistan were one country and, when eating Punjabi food, you might just as easily say "Pakistani food" as "Indian food." It's easy to get carried away talking about cultural distinctions in India, where there are more people than live in the US, Canada, and Mexico combined. I'll leave the geography lesson there and get back to the food.

Punjabi Tandoor's menu makes good use of the eponymous earthen oven. Their naan, baked flatbread that's blistered by the heat of the oven, is fantastic and the marinated kebabs and broiled meats that come out of the tandoor have the deep flavor and vigorous charring that's synonymous with Indian food for many people.

The curry dishes are all excellent as well and the lunch specials ($7-$10) that offer a selection of meat and vegetable curries, rice, naan, and side dishes like samosas, are a prime opportunity to dive headfirst into a sampling of the restaurant's fare. Some of the dishes make use of chili peppers to add a little heat, but don't worry about napalming the palate, it's not that spicy. Do make sure to ask for naan if lunch or dinner doesn't include it already.

None

The best part of my trip to Punjabi Tandoor almost didn't happen. Had I not made a return trip from the patio in search of napkins, I wouldn't have seen the little jar of pickle concealed next to the plastic forks and other accessories. The 'i' had been dotted with a heart, as though by an exuberant tween girl going gaga over the Beeb.

None

"Ooh! Can I take the pickle?" I asked.

"Of course," said the girl behind the counter, with an if-you-really-want-to look.

"Did you make it here?"

"Yes," she said, "my grandmother makes it.

I swooned a little as I opened the jar. Lovingly hand-pickled limes laced with caraway seeds. They had been cured with such ardent perfection that the rinds had achieved that perfect chewy-mushy consistency and the salty, spicy, sour, fermented kick in the sinuses that the lime pickle delivered was what really took the meal from good to freaking amazing. Seriously, Indian pickle is one of the all-time great culinary inventions. It makes kim chee look like sauerkraut from a can; it has more funk than George Clinton and comes in more varieties than I'll ever have time to eat; and it costs next to nothing at any Indian store.

But the best stuff is still made by grandmothers out of limes, salt, and spices.

Punjabi Tandoor
9235 Activity Road
858-695-0956
M-Sat 11-10
Sunday 9-5

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I'm a self-confessed devotee of South Indian food: give me idli and sambar and keep the fork! That doesn't mean I have a problem with North Indian food, which is good since most Indian restaurants focus on the more familiar cuisine of India's northern regions, specifically Punjabi food. Punjabi Tandoor in Miramar being an excellent example thereof.

None

The Punjabi region actually contains large parts of Pakistan and its cuisine, heartier and more meat-based than the food from further south, reflects that proximity. It wasn't so long ago that India and Pakistan were one country and, when eating Punjabi food, you might just as easily say "Pakistani food" as "Indian food." It's easy to get carried away talking about cultural distinctions in India, where there are more people than live in the US, Canada, and Mexico combined. I'll leave the geography lesson there and get back to the food.

Punjabi Tandoor's menu makes good use of the eponymous earthen oven. Their naan, baked flatbread that's blistered by the heat of the oven, is fantastic and the marinated kebabs and broiled meats that come out of the tandoor have the deep flavor and vigorous charring that's synonymous with Indian food for many people.

The curry dishes are all excellent as well and the lunch specials ($7-$10) that offer a selection of meat and vegetable curries, rice, naan, and side dishes like samosas, are a prime opportunity to dive headfirst into a sampling of the restaurant's fare. Some of the dishes make use of chili peppers to add a little heat, but don't worry about napalming the palate, it's not that spicy. Do make sure to ask for naan if lunch or dinner doesn't include it already.

None

The best part of my trip to Punjabi Tandoor almost didn't happen. Had I not made a return trip from the patio in search of napkins, I wouldn't have seen the little jar of pickle concealed next to the plastic forks and other accessories. The 'i' had been dotted with a heart, as though by an exuberant tween girl going gaga over the Beeb.

None

"Ooh! Can I take the pickle?" I asked.

"Of course," said the girl behind the counter, with an if-you-really-want-to look.

"Did you make it here?"

"Yes," she said, "my grandmother makes it.

I swooned a little as I opened the jar. Lovingly hand-pickled limes laced with caraway seeds. They had been cured with such ardent perfection that the rinds had achieved that perfect chewy-mushy consistency and the salty, spicy, sour, fermented kick in the sinuses that the lime pickle delivered was what really took the meal from good to freaking amazing. Seriously, Indian pickle is one of the all-time great culinary inventions. It makes kim chee look like sauerkraut from a can; it has more funk than George Clinton and comes in more varieties than I'll ever have time to eat; and it costs next to nothing at any Indian store.

But the best stuff is still made by grandmothers out of limes, salt, and spices.

Punjabi Tandoor
9235 Activity Road
858-695-0956
M-Sat 11-10
Sunday 9-5

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4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
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