Dosa (on Valencia) – San Francisco, CA


Dosa on Valencia
995 Valencia (@ 21 St)
San Francisco, CA
(415) 642-3672

It took a long time for me to come around on South Indian food. It was one of those things that I didn’t have a lot of exposure to growing up – most cuisine where I grew up, of the South Asian variety, was usually Northern Indian, or Pakistani. Then, even when given the opportunity to be exposed to food from Sri Lanka, Tamil Nadu, Goa, and other South Indian cultures, I eschewed them for more meat-based cuisines. I was, after all, an unapologetic carnivore. Vegetarian food was to be avoided at all costs!

Times change, as thankfully have my opinions. Once I managed to try South Indian food, i was hooked. Fantastic flavours with lots of balance, heat, and texture. Even though they do have meat dishes, for the most part, I usually stick with the vegetarian. And of all the South Indian vegetarian dishes, my favorite is the Dosa.

The namesake restaurant, Dosa on Valencia (used to distinguish from their new outpost on Filmore), is one of several South Indian restaurants that have cropped up in The Mission over the past few years. Serving a wide variety of South Indian dishes, they don’t represent one specific cuisine, but a broad representation of many cuisines from South India.

The restaurant itself is actually fairly intriguing. They have been awarded a Michelin Bib Gourmand three of four years they’ve been in business – Michelin’s award for good value. The decor is upscale casual, and they have an interesting and diverse beverage menu – not your average South Indian eatery.

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Sushi Hachi – Richmond, BC


Sushi Hachi
8888 Odlin Cres
Richmond, BC
(604) 207-2882

I love sushi. All of us at foodosophy love sushi. I could probably eat sushi every day, if not for a few mitigating factors. The environmental impact of several of the non-sustainable fishes commonly served, and, the price. Sushi just isn’t cheap. It probably shouldn’t be either. As Anthony Bourdain mentions in Kitchen Confidential, there are fewer scary things than the words “discount sushi”.

The more sushi I eat, the less i’m willing to accept substandard sushi. This doesn’t mean i always expect top quality product, rare and exotic ingredients, perfect shari, and impeccable knife skills – the 3 digit price tag can be hard to swallow. However,  my expectations for any sushi experience are higher. I want…correction, demand, fresh. A nice, clean environment, some good knife skills, decent rice, and good proportion between neta and shari. Unfortunately, in most restaurants that qualify as affordable, there is usually one or more key aspects missing. That is not the case with Sushi Hachi.


In searching for the best sushi in the Greater Vancouver Region, I often hear people sing the praises of the quality of the fish in most establishments. More often than not, I don’t agree. As i follow recommendation after recommendation, I’m invariably disappointed. I went to Sushi Hachi on an off the cuff comment by smel and fmed on a chowhound post, hoping to find a place that actually delivered on the quality.

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Surya Indian Restaurant – Calgary, AB


Surya Indian Restaurant
1207 11 Ave. SW
Calgary, AB T3C 0M5
(403) 290-1777

Surya Restaurant on Urbanspoon

East Indian lunch buffet. In a town like Calgary, it seems like most places of South Asian cuisine need a lunch buffet to compete. I’m not sure if it’s the vast quantity demanded by patrons, or if it’s the wide selection everyone likes, but all I know is most locations with a dining room, whether they start with one or not, end up with a lunch buffet.

Surya Indian Restaurant is located on the main floor of an office building in the Beltline. The first time i ate there, it was ala carte, and it was really quite good. That made the lunch buffet a must try.

The first thing you notice with Surya is that their selection is enormous. While many lunch buffets usually have 6-8 choices, Surya has 12 dishes, plus a variety of salads, rice, chutneys, desserts, and naan of course. They also have pappadums – which makes me really happy. The selection is fantastic – about the same as Glory of India. The quality is excellent – as good as Glory of India, if not better, and better yet, the price is much cheaper (13.99 last time i was there) than Glory of India. The keep refills low, and refill often.

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Selection is varied – includes many meat dishes (usually 4), a load of vegetarian options, and a lot of starches.

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Rustic Sourdough Bakery – Calgary, AB


Rustic Sourdough Bakery & Deli
1305 – 17th Avenue SW
Calgary, AB T2T 0C4

(403) 245-2113

Sandwiches are a bit of an enigma for me. Growing up, unlike most kids, I rarely got sandwiches for lunch. Instead, i got this hodgepodge of foods that made me stand out from the rest of the crowd. Not exactly a good thing when you’re 8. I wanted sandwiches. I wanted to be like the other kids.

Fast forward a few years – I had developed a better understanding of barter, and had gotten plenty of exposure to sandwiches. I realized I didn’t really like them. Peanut butter and jelly. Salami. Some unrecognizable meat called Bologna. Dry, icky bread. Tasteless spread. I guess I would stick to my stinky, garlic-loaded leftovers after all.

It took me a long time to appreciate that sandwiches could be so much more than the bread-meat-veg combos of my youth. I came to appreciate fresh bread, freshly roasted meats, with a well-made spread, some veg, all stacked in the proper proportion. Bread didn’t have to come in white or whole wheat, there was an entire spectrum of tasty choices. I got to experience some great sandwiches, but came to realize that they were generally few and far between. While they aren’t perfect, in Calgary, my favorite place is Rustic Sourdough Bakery.

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Rustic Sourdough Bakery is a European Deli and Bakery located at the outer edge of 17th Avenue. Fairly nondescript, one could pass by daily, and still not notice the awning in the sea of color and neon that populate the strip. Inside, things are divided up into two sections – a bakery side that produces fantastic bread, pastries, and other delights, and a deli, that offers up a large selection of cheese and meats.

Im not 100% sure how Rustic Sourdough Bakery started in the sandwich business, but it seems like a very natural combination. Fresh bread, freshly sliced meats, add some veg and spreads, and you have the makings of a great sandwich. For $6.00, you choose your bread from a wide variety of options. You can choose from most of the meats available, excluding some of the high end cuts like prosciutto, and choose your cheese from a wide selection as well. Pretty much any combination is available. They add your choices of veggies, condiments, and pack it all up for you. For an additional couple bucks, you can get one of three homemade daily soups. A steal of a price.

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At the Rustic Sourdough Bakery, the sandwiches are really good. My only complaint is really no complaint at all – just that i would like there to be fresh roasted chicken, roast beef, or other meats instead of all deli meats. I like the variety, and generally prefer a little more “substance” to my sandwiches. But that aside, the veg is fresh, the bread is fantastic (i choose the fresh “pita” option, that has structure, yet is light and soft). The cheeses and meats, of course are fantastic. And the sandwich is so large, i generally order one and eat only half and the soup for lunch. I save the other half for another day.

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The soups are really good as well. Homemade, they often run out, or are down to the least popular one half way through lunch service. They are hot, and full of flavour, and there is always enough soup diversity that you never really get bored.

Rustic Sourdough Bakery is one of those places that is busy enough – and I thought twice about writing about. To be honest, I didn’t really want to add to my already long wait for a sandwich when im in that part of town. But the cat is out of the bag now. If you’re looking for a sandwich, and price, taste, quantity and value all matter, this is the place. They make a great sandwich. Picking up a pastry from the bakery never hurts either. It really makes for an affordable, quality, tasty lunch. And compared to the sandwiches of my childhood, it is a welcome thing indeed. Especially when i don’t need to trade my home cooked meals for them anymore!

Rustic Sourdough Bakery & Deli on Urbanspoon