Monday, June 29, 2015

Road Trip! Taste of India in Buttonwillow

Like an oasis in the desert beckons the parched, the words painted on the roof of the Taste of India restaurant in Buttonwillow call out to the plant-based diner traveling on I-5 between here and Bakersfield: TRY OUR VEGAN FOOD.

How could I not? So my husband and I pulled off the freeway and found our way to the restaurant. Inside, the menu on the wall listed some vegetarian items, but nothing marked as vegan. I thought there must be more, considering the insistence of the words on the roof. I asked the man behind the counter which items were vegan, and he handed me an entire one-page vegan menu.

Now, that was more like it! My husband ordered the samosas, delicious turnovers stuffed with a seasoned potato and pea mixture, and promised to share them with me. They were wonderful!

Since I love Indian appetizers, I decided to get an order of vegetable pakora too. These fritters, made of chopped vegetables mixed with a chickpea batter and then fried, were quite tasty.

For my entrée, I had the yellow dal, described on the menu as a mixture of "fresh-cut cauliflower and potatoes cooked with blend of herbs and spices." It was good, although it would have been better if I'd ordered rice to go with it.

I noticed that vegan mango lassi made with soy milk was on the menu, and I just had to try it. Lassi is a drink that's usually made with yogurt, and I don't think I've ever seen a vegan version of it before. It was a delicious and refreshing drink, perfect for a hot Central Valley day.

Taste of India is located at 20687 Tracy Avenue, just off I-5, in Buttonwillow, and their phone number is 661-764-6464. They don't appear to have a website, but their Facebook page can be found at The restaurant is open daily from 11:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.

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