Qaderi Sweetz ‘N’ Spicez Market: An International Trip Within City Limits

Qaderi Market

There’s nothing like jumping on a plane and heading to a new land. There are new sights, sounds, customs and tastes to explore.

If, however, your time, money or even courage are limited, all you need to do is travel to Qaderi Sweetz ‘n Spicez Market on Redwood Road or State Street for an international experience.

Qaderi is a family business, launched 20 years ago at the Redwood Road location, and carries foods from 25 nations to satisfy your appetite and curiosity. You’ll find a huge array of oils, sauces, rice, flours, breads, teas, chutneys, relishes and veggies, plus a vast spice collection.

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Travel to the Regions of India through the Buffet at Saffron Valley

Saffron Valley Sign

During the Great Depression, people found a way to come up with the 10 cents for admission to the movies because it was a chance to escape their lives and dream about other possibilities, if only for a moment. In today’s world, there are many chances to escape—movies, TV, the Internet—but you can also visit other places through food.

While I haven’t been able to travel to India yet, I have found a way to “escape” there: Saffron Valley East India Cafe. There was already a Saffron Valley location in South Jordan, and this restaurant took over the old Pagoda location in the Avenues early this year. They describe themselves as “taking Indian cuisine to a new level, while still holding true to its traditional roots.”

Saffron Valley: Visit all the Regions of India in one place

Saffron Valley Food

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Saffron Valley: East India Cafe

Saffron Valley Sign

For those of you who had been to The Pagoda in the Avenues, you know that it was a great place with exquisite food. About 3 years ago, The Pagoda changed hands and the new hands couldn’t make it work. Enter Saffron Valley.

With a location in South Jordan, Saffron Valley was poised to make the leap and expand to the Avenues; bringing great food back to the Pagoda location. They bill themselves as “taking Indian cuisine to a new culinary level while still holding true to its traditional roots.”

Garlic Naan

Garlic Naan

If you are there for lunch, enjoy the delicious buffet. It’s the best of Indian home style cooking, restaurant favorites and street foods of India. Regular items include Chicken Tikka Masala, Coconut Korma and Vindaloo. There are many other dishes, all worth a taste. They first time that I had the lunch buffet, I could barely move after. Self discipline did not play a role that day.

I was invited to join them for dinner and was overwhelmed by the selection. “What will I do? I want everything” was my thinking. Thankfully Kannan, the wonderful manager at the Avenues location, helped me pick some things out. He brought reason back into the equation and he was the perfect person to do it. Having run restaurants in India, he knows the food better than most. Both his Father and Grandfather had restaurants so he grew up in the business.

Toddy Shop Fry

Toddy Shop Fry

We began with one of the “Street Food Starters.” He recommended the Toddy Shop Fry. You have your choice of fried shrimp, calamari or sardines; all in their special spiceblend. I went with fried shrimp. That delicious, plump shrimp was coated in a colorful breading; it almost glowed. There was a hint of spice but what I was most impressed with was the quality of shrimp. It made everything else that I have had (which I thought was good), lower on the scale. These were perfect for dipping in their Mint and Tamarind Chutneys.

Arriving right around the same time as the Shrimp Toddy Shop Fry was the Garlic Naan. It was thick with a crusty exterior, soft interior and a powerful but not overwhelming aroma of garlic. It was this aroma that hits you as you get out of your car. I’m sure people walking buy who were not hungry at all, would immediately find room to eat once they smelled this aroma. The Garlic Naan was delicious by itself; but even better dipped in the Tamarind Chutney.

Three-Saag Curry

Three-Saag Curry

For the entree I was torn between a selection of delicious Wraps, Dosas, Curries and Clay Oven Grilled Kabobs. With Kannan expert guidance, I chose the Three-Saag Curry with Lamb. It’s a light & delicious sauce made with mustard, swiss chard & spinach; served with steamed basmati rice.

The lamb was near perfect, okay it probably was perfect. It was incredibly tender and a beautiful medium rare. That Three-Saag Curry was smooth and coated your mouth. Anything made with butter and cream will do that. I ordered it with a spice level of medium and that was plenty hot. Either it was the delicious lamb or smooth curry sauce that made this dish hit the top of the charts; maybe it was both.

Dessert was Warm Gulab Jamun with vanilla ice cream. I wasn’t sure that I could eat any more, but just the sight of these spongy dough balls soaked in syrup was enough for me to make room. It’s like a thick, doughy scone with a lot of cream and flavor. Even the ice cream had a hint of spice.

Warm Gulab Jamun

Warm Gulab Jamun

There are some great Indian Restaurants in Salt Lake. Before eating at Saffron Valley, I thought that I had found the best Indian Food. After eating there, the bar has been raised. They are wonderful in every aspect.

If you want to try cuisines from the different regions of India, they have a buffet every Sunday that does just this. Whether regional buffet, weekday lunch buffet or a dinner with many spectacular options, I will see you there soon.

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Saffron Valley East India Cafe on Urbanspoon

Star of India

Makhni Chicken

Indian food is one of my favorites. A couple weeks back, I spent the evening cooking a few indian dishes along with some other indian food lovers. Something about the spices, texture, and preparation is all appealing to me. Cooking these dishes take a long time. With this in mind, one evening last week Rachel and I went out for indian food.

Star of India is located is just west of State St. on 400 S. After dark, the place can be hard to find. It’s dimly lit and doesn’t have a lot of street frontage. We were only a few feet away on the sidewalk before we saw it. I wasn’t sure if it had closed. The interior is a little drab. I think that they got all their booths from the most recent Dee’s closing and had them re-upholstered. But for the most important thing, the food, it was fabulous.

For an Appetizer we ordered Nan & Raita. Nan is an indian bread cooked in the tandoor (clay oven). Raita is a whipped yogurt blended with cucumber, tomatoes, potatoes and mint. Sometimes I eat the raita with a spoon instead of a sauce. It’s that good. Rachel could eat the Nan for a meal. This is a delicious bread, doughy in the middle and crispy and the outside.

I ordered Makhni Chicken for an entree. It’s a Tandoori chicken cooked in a classic tomato & fresh butter sauce. Very delicious. The creamy sauce and chicken over a basmati rice seems to make everything right. On the side, I had them bring some mango chutney. I would pour this over the dish. The multiple flavor combinations seemed to compliment each other.

I would go hear again in a heartbeat. Be careful, however. The menu indicates that you can order your dishes “Mild / Hot / Hotter / Very Hot / Very Very Hot.” I ordered Hot and thought that is was only the second tier of heat so I would be fine. After every bite, I had to take a drink of water.

If you are downtown, please don’t hesitate to go to Star of India. Truth be told I have rarely been disappointed by any indian restaurant in Salt Lake.

Happy Eating.

Indian Market & Grill

In a previous post, I wrote about my love of travel and especially good food while traveling. I don’t seek out chain restaurants or the 24 hour buffet. Not only in the towns that we travel to, but in the restaurants also, I am looking for a little bit of Americana. Whether in a quaint New England village or the Deep South, I desire a quality restaurant that you would likely find on Diners, Drive-In’s & Dives.

I do not wait to travel to find great restaurants. I seek out great places to eat here in Salt Lake. Two weeks ago I was showing some condos in the Avenues. As I drove east on 2nd Avenue, I looked right on D Street and saw the Indian Market & Grill. Planning on picking up something for dinner, I pulled over. Immediately it had the look of a place I would find on a trip: quaint, great aroma, not in a strip mall, not part of a chain. It reminded me of some of the fabulous places we ate at while in Montreal, Canada back in 2007. I ordered the Korma Curry and Tandoori Chicken Gyro and eagerly waited.

The drive home was tough. I only had 3 miles to go but the smell was permeating the car and I was very hungry. Upon arriving home, we set the table, sat down, and dug into the food. I excitedly took the first bite, then the second; all while waiting for the explosion of flavors in my mouth. It never happened. I took a bite of the gyro; a little better, but not much. Overall: it was very bland.

I love indian food and was disappointed. Usually indian cuisine is spicy, savory and leaves you craving more. Not this time. Numerous times I have eaten at Tandoor, India House and Taste of Punjab; All wonderful.

If you try something at Indian Market & Grill and have a different experience than I, please let me know. It seems like the best part of this restaurant is the location.

Happy Eating.

Indian Market & Grill on Urbanspoon

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