My hardworking tastebuds had a big ‘ol fiesta this weekend. I finally had an opportunity to feast on vegetarian fare from Udupi Café in Rancho Cordova, a restaurant I have heard about for some time but never managed to visit. The dishes I tried were all vivacious and complex, and several packed some serious spiciness. When things got too hot, I cooled my palate with the kitchen’s wonderfully textural coconut and fresh mint chutneys, which I spread on Udupi’s masala dosai, delicate rice crepes filled with soft potatoes and onions. An earthy, feisty chana masala (chickpea curry) was the hit of the evening; and I also devoured the tender rasa vada, fried lentil donuts submerged in a tangy, creamy yogurt. Udupi Café is not a fancy place, but its food is well worth searching out, even if you’re a committed carnivore – I bet you won’t even miss the meat.
2226 Sunrise Boulevard, Rancho Cordova (Gold River), (916) 851-5900; www.udupicafe.net