Jewel of India – Restaurant review

Tucked off the intersection of Broad and South Street sits an Indian restaurant cooking up family recipes from scratch.

jewel of india restaurant sign

When you say a restaurant is a hidden gem, it typically means it’s a place not many people know about, whose reputation does not do it’s food justice. In this case all of that remains true, though perhaps even more so in the fact that Jewel of India is not so easy to find. It’s not a restaurant you’d see walking around the streets of downtown. It takes a bit of seeking out. Though I think the journey makes the gem all the more precious, does it not?

We arrived for dinner at Jewel of India, met with an unfussy dining room and comfy booths. A wave of spice hits you as you walk in the door. It’s the kind of smell that makes you go, “This food is going to be GOOD.”

butter chicken
Butter chicken – a popular favorite.

Jewel of India is a family-owned restaurant, cooking up family recipes. When I say everything is made in house — I mean everything. Yogurt, sauces, paneer (a type of cheese), all of the roti (breads), curry and spice blends — it’s all handcrafted according to family recipes. Not only does the time, dedication and care shine through in the food, but it’s atmospheric. This is a homecooked, made-with-love meal that happens to be served in a restaurant.

The meal starts with Papadum, a traditional type of crispy bread dotted with cumin seeds. Enjoy them with the provided sauces, a spiced cilantro sauce and a sweeter sauce tinged with molasses.

Appetizers include Samosas as big as your fist, a platter of Onion Bhaji (a kind of onion fritter), and chicken pakora spiced with ginger and garlic paste. The Samosas are more than generous in size, filled with peas and potatoes. The onion bhaji are fried in sunflower oil, rendering them deliciously crispy without being heavy. No canola oil is used here, and Jewel of India’s emphasis on quality ingredients is a commitment you can taste.

onion bhaji and vegetable samosas
Onion Bhaji (left) and Vegetable Samosas (right)

For entrees the options are extensive, but the menu doesn’t feel overwhelming in size. There are plenty of vegan and vegetarian options, and the cooks are accommodating to any dietary needs you may have. Jewel of India uses a housemade almond, pistachio, and cashew cream base for their cooking so dairy dishes can be easily made dairy-free. Vegan and vegetarian dishes are cooked separately from meat dishes, ensuring utmost purity in every meal.

I enjoyed the Bengan Bhartha entree, fresh eggplant roasted in the tandoor over charcoal and then cooked curry style with fresh tomatoes. The depth of flavor, the layering of spices created in each dish is a cornerstone of great Indian cuisine, one Jewel of India executes with ease.

bengan bhartha and basmati rice
Bengan Bhartha and complimentary Basmati Rice

Now, I must say when we saw the small size of the entree bowls, we both thought, “That’s not very much.” I promise you, neither of us were able to finish our entrees. Don’t doubt their small size, the flavor is mighty and extremely filling! Order a side (or two) of naan to enjoy with your meal. Choose from butter naan, garlic naan, or my personal favorite, jalapeno naan.

jalapeno naan
Jalapeno Naan — Yes it’s as tasty as it sounds

The Pickle Tray is essential with every meal, including a chutney that can vary seasonally (we enjoyed the Sweet Lemon chutney) and a type of pickle relish, finely minced pickled vegetables that are at once bitter, savory and a hint sweet.

pickle tray
Pickle Tray – half eaten because I got carried away and forgot to take a picture sooner 🙂

For dessert, try Kheer, basmati rice cooked with sweet milk, cream, nuts and raisins or Gulab Jamun, freshly made savory cheese balls, deep-fried to a rosy brown in purified butter and gently cooked in light, rose flavored syrup. Only sugar in the raw is used in desserts, no overly processed white sugar.

kheer
Kheer for dessert

Truly, the only negative I have to offer is the fact that I didn’t visit Jewel of India sooner. Since every aspect of your meal is house-made, expect to spend some time at the restaurant. By no means is this a “quick dinner” spot. Instead, it’s a go-slow, try new things, and take time to savor type of restaurant. Serving up perhaps the best Indian food on the Central Coast, I believe Jewel of India is well worth the wait.

For hours of operation, visit the Jewel of India website.

Follow Jewel of India on Instagram!

SLO Creek Farm | Activity in San Luis Obispo

Visit SLO Creek Farm for a fun outdoor farm experience. Orchards grow freely, abundant with organic apples ripe for the picking. Frolic in the flower fields that provide gorgeous photo opportunities, or take the chance to pick your own bouquet as a special gift for a loved one. At SLO Creek Farm, you’ll find something for the whole family.

Pick Your Own Organic Apples

I visited SLO Creek Farm in September, intent on picking my own delicious organic apples. Rows of apple trees line the south end of the property. Stop by the cashier booth to the north of the driveway entrance to pick up an apple basket then get to picking! Apples are purchased by the pound, so feel free to bring your own basket, bag or other container as well.

Holding a freshly picked apple in the apple orchards, apple trees grow abundantly on either side surrounded by tall wild grasses.
Freshly picked apple complete with beautiful apple blossom.

Tall wild grasses line the rows of apple trees. The grasses are easy enough to navigate through, though I do recommend wearing jeans or some other long pants, and boots or other shoes that can withstand moisture. After the apple picking adventure, we all wound up with a slightly sappy, seedy coating on our pant legs from the grass. It was a bit of a mess, made much less so by us wearing leg coverings (unlike Dad, who decided to wear shorts, unaware of the sticky danger the grass posed) however it was not enough to stop us from having a great time.

There were a number of families at the farm when I was there. Once you venture into the orchard, its easy enough to separate and find a few secluded rows to call your own.

These apple trees pose no particular threat to the vertically challenged. While over six feet tall, most of the fruit is easy to reach for the adult of average height. Most trees also contain low-hanging fruit within grabbing distance for the kiddos.

Overall the apple picking took maybe about half an hour — not nearly as long as other U-Pick adventures, like blueberry picking. The apples are large and heavy and it doesn’t take long to fill a basket to your liking.

Once satisfied with your organic apple bounty, head back to the cashier to weigh and pay for your loot. From here, it’s on to flower and herb perusing, with maybe a few to take home as gorgeous tokens of time well-spent.

Organic apples ready to be washed and eaten! Applesauce, apple fritters or apple pie are all equally delicious options.

Flower Fields Forever

Rows of dahlias, sunflowers, lavendar, pumpkins and more adorn the other side of the farm opposite the apple orchards. Flowers are available for picking (priced by the stem), but even if you aren’t planning on bringing any home, I highly recommend taking a stroll through the flower field. You never know, you may encounter a sunflower taller than you, with a bloom twice as big as your head!

Let’s be real — no matter how you cut it, 2020’s been a hard year for us all. What better way to feed your soul than a walk through a field of bright, joyous flowers. They serve as a small reminder that despite the hardships, despite the utter feeling of doom a day in 2020 can bring, life is still overflowing with small beauties.

Take a seat in this comfortable grass couch, kick up your tired feet and remember what it’s like to approach the world with optimism and wonder. If all this sentimentality isn’t enough to convince you, I’ll let the flowers speak for themselves.

You can visit SLO Creek Farms from 11 am to 5 pm at 6455 Monte Rd, San Luis Obispo. Visit their website for more information.

Industrial Eats – Buellton, CA | Restaurant Review

A Brief Prologue

I last dined in at Industrial Eats in February of 2020, before the lockdown. Since then, so much has changed for our local restaurants, including a slew of constantly changing Covid-19 health standards. Because of this, I pushed the publication of this review back month after month, waiting for things to “go back to normal” before sharing it. Now, five months later, I’ve decided it’s now or never. Our local restaurants need our support now more than ever, and that’s why I am sharing this review.

While some of the content of the review may not apply at the moment (see: dining indoors), what hasn’t changed is Industrial Eats commitment to serve the community incredible food made from locally sourced ingredients. Currently Industrial Eats is offering limited outdoor dining and take out. Visit their website or their Instagram page for current information.

Lauren and Kori in front of Industrial Eats, posing with a cow sculpture. Graffiti of different foods is painted on the wall beside them.
March 10, 2018 – Outside the entrance of Industrial Eats

Industrial Eats Restaurant Review

If you’ve driven any length of the 101 up from Santa Barbara or down from beyond Paso Robles, you’ve seen them. The great overbearing billboards, advertising, “Everything for the traveler!” Anderson’s Split Pea soup, seemingly the only landmark in Buellton putting the small town on the map. And it may have been, until 2014, when a small restaurant opened just down the road from the famous Anderson’s on Industrial Way.

Where an old warehouse once stood, Industrial Eats made its home. Though it may be in its name, the food here is anything but industrial.

The restaurant is located in a small open space, with high ceilings and two wood-fired pizza ovens in the back. The tables are large, with open seating, community-style. Everything about the welcoming atmosphere seems casual, laid-back and open. That may be why the food, which combines fine dining ingredients and techniques stands out so brightly against the overtly casual come-as-you-are vibe that permeates throughout.

Interior picture of Industrial Eats, showing stacks of plates on the counter entrance and a patina skull.
Casual decor

If this is your first time here, and the seats are available, I recommend sitting at the bar seating facing the ovens. On the counter in front of you, you’ll find a diverse array of cookbooks on topics from bread baking to how to use the whole animal, nose to tail. While I find these books fascinating, and admire the confidence required to put such a book on a restaurant table, the real amazing feats are happening at those wood-fired ovens.

Yes those ovens, and the cooks working in their smoke and flames to produce miraculously tasty pizza, and churning out so much more.

One stand out wood-fired dish is the White Shrimp, cooked in the oven with copious amounts of butter, garlic and herbs, finished with a perfectly toasted hunk of crusty bread. The dish seems simple written on paper but the quality of ingredients and finesse with which its assembled proves anything but. This is the Industrial Eats experience codified: what seems straightforward on the menu arrives on the plate an impossibly complex layering of flavors and techniques. These are the dishes that make you say. “That is so good,” out loud, without a thought, as a simple instinctual reaction to the seemingly impossible tastiness on your tongue.

For so long, I struggled to quantify the exact unique quality that embodies every aspect of dining at Industrial Eats. There’s nothing quite like it that I’ve seen anywhere else, so without a comparable counterpart, I struggled to define it. It left me, for lack of a better term, speechless.

Here you will not find abstract names of any dish. The menu items are described and identified solely by their featured ingredients. That’s all you have to base your order on, and here, that’s all you need.

Interior picture of menu hanging on the wall at Industrial Eats.

It’s common to encounter an ingredient that makes you go “What is that?”. And while you’ll feel wholly uncool asking the person behind the counter to describe Vadovan to you, you should. Because if an unidentified ingredient is what holds you back from ordering an intriguing dish, you are missing out.

Take for example, the Smoked Pheasant Salad. Have I ever ate pheasant before Industrial Eats? No. Could I find it again elsewhere? Maybe. But like this, with the freshest local ingredients, a perfectly balanced dish of rich smokiness, bright citrus and crisp greens? No way.

This is food with attitude. Not a bad attitude — a rebellious one. Where traditional fine dining says, “You can’t do that,” Industrial Eats says, “Watch me.”

This is the indescribable trait of the restaurant and it permeates every corner. From the Mall Rats poster in the restroom to the purposeful absence of structure on the menu. It is this quality that abruptly jolts you from your culinary comfort zone and propels you into a dining experience wherein anything is possible.

There is an acute lack of pretentiousness in Industrial Eats, every aspect of the experience solidifying their philosophy to create a restaurant where they would want to eat, where everyone is welcome, no matter your palate or budget. In its inclusively rebellious way, Industrial Eats pioneers the theory that good food should not require an unlimited budget, or a dress code and should always be accompanied by a sense of humor.

Good food is not defined by the starchiness of the table linens or whether or not your server is wearing a tie. Fine dining here is instead about feeding the community exquisite food, sharing the same values held so near and dear to us all on the Central Coast. That food is about bringing people, all people, together at the same table, enjoying local, organic products, feeding not only our palates (starving for culinary adventure) but satisfying our souls.

Recommended Eats

181 Industrial Way
Buellton, CA 93427

(805) 688-8807 | Website: www.industrialeats.com

Online ordering is currently available. We recommend browsing the Clipboards and Small Plates sections of their menu online — this is where you will find the Smoked Pheasant Salad and White Shrimp mentioned in the review.

However, if you are simply looking for a delicious way to feed your family, Industrial Eats also offers Family Meals. Add a Pizza to your Bolognese or Meatball family meal for an extra Industrial experience!

All opinions shared in this review belong to the author, Lauren Harvey. No compensation was received for this review and is solely based on the author’s previous experiences.