• Chaat Cafe (Berkeley, California)

M has been studying in the US.  I am so proud of her.  With me having traveled for four months, and her just finishing a full-on quarter of work it was like a clash of the worlds when we met in California.  She was tired, stressed and overly practical.  I was hyperactive, eager to see her and she would say that I was unrealistic.  There is still nothing like a good friend to get your life back into perspective.

On my first day visiting, we went to a restaurant in Berkley that M claimed had good Bhel Puri.  What is Bhel Puri, I asked.  It’s like Rice Bubbles, she told me.  She also told me not to order it in case I didn’t like it, which only added to the sense of adventure.

I enjoyed the dish but having never tasted Bhel Puri before, I could not tell you whether it was the best in the area as M claimed.  In fact, she admitted that it was the best she had tried outside of India.  The majority of the dish is made with puffed rice but it is heavily flavoured with chili, onions, tamarind and mint.  I felt like I was eating a bowl of savoury cereal, although a very tasty one at that.

Still peckish after our apetiser, we shared samosa.  They were well made, crispy, hot and with fresh, hot mint in the sauce.

To wash it all down I drank bottomless (ie refills included) chai which tasted mainly of milk but was still enjoyable having a love for tea but not having drunk any for a long time while travelling.

Chaat Café’s motto is “Fast. Fresh. Casual.” It fits.  It was a lovely meal with lovely conversation.

Chaat Cafe
1902 University Avenue
Berkeley, California 94704
(510) 845 1431

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