Pure Luck's Pure Skill
New Ethnic Foods
Last week, a friend encouraged me to check out a new wholesale food company called Kala'sKuisine (258-3077). Kala Urepti prepares foodsfrom her native Nepal which reflect the influences of both India and China, and the results are a delicious discovery! Particularly satisfying is thehearty vegetarian Alu Tama lunch, a combinationof alu tama (black-eyed peas, potatoes, tomatoes, bamboo shoots, onion, garlic, and spices) and Pulau, a fancy rice dish made with jasmine rice,mixed vegetables, cashews, and spices. Anotherfavorite was the samosas, delicate fried triangular pastries filled with a spicy mixture of potatoes, peas, and cilantro. Dishes such as Chole(garbanzo beans, tomatoes, cashew cream, ginger, and other spices) are eaten with rice or thin rounds of Alu Paratha, a tortilla-like bread made with potatoes and spices. The condiment of choice with these delectables is Curry Salsa (savory tomato chutney), a fiery tomato concoctionwith ginger, garlic, several kinds of peppers,and spices. Kala says that when she first put the products in mainstream local grocery stores, Austin customers were confused by the name Tomato Chutney; they expected it to be both sweet and hot. Someone suggested that Kala change the name to Curry Salsa, and when she did, the problem disappeared. She still labels the sauce Tomato Chutney for sale in MGM Indian Grocers and Taj Grocers, where the clientele recognize it by that name. Look for Kala's Kuisine at both Whole Foods, Central Market, both Sun Harvests, Wheatsville, Fresh Plus, the Greats department at the HEBs in Round Rock and Hancock Center, Fiesta, Ruta Maya, and Mojo's Daily Grind... A friendly e-mail led me to another relatively new wholesale outfit, Empanadas La Boca (440-1110), owned by the Argentinean/Greek husband-and-wife team of Fernando and Fotini LaGuardia. The LaGuardias operated the popular La Boca Restaurant in an artsy districtof Santa Monica until a serious earthquake sent them in search of more solid ground in Texas. Their excellent empanada selection includes meats (chicken, beef, or Italian sausage), vegetarian (broccoli, mushroom, spinach, corn & cactus, Greek) and fruit fillings of strawberry-cream cheese, apple-raisin-pecan, and fresh papaya. All the tasty turnovers are wrapped in the sameflaky crust and baked fresh daily. Chef Fernando also makes a pretty spiffy cinnamon roll. Order them by the dozen directly from the company or buy them at Sun Harvest, Whole Foods, Randall's on Bee Caves, Flipnotics, Cafe Mundi, Ruta Maya, and the Coffee Exchange.