Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Eating Off The Kids' Menu: Mango Grove And Ananda Introduce Indian To Lil' Chow

The kids' menu dosa -- maybe larger than normal
When we rolled into Mango Grove in Columbia on Sunday night, we had no idea what Lil' Chow would eat.

He's a good eater.  But he definitely prefers crunchy food to soft stuff. 

He knows sticky short-grain rice, toast, seaweed, rice cakes, and pancakes.  But our only prior attempt at Indian had been a mistake where we tried Ananda on the day that clocks sprang forward -- so he was starving before we arrived and stayed addled through an appetizer before melting down.

We bet on the cheese dosa off Mango Grove's kids' menu.  A rice and lentil crepe -- stuffed with their normal potato filling, but also layered inside with melted cheddar cheese.

A boy and his mango lassi
It's delicious.  We know because Lil' Chow didn't bite at the crunchy dosa.  This could be a terrific meal for any kid willing to try something new and wanting to eat crispy crepe and warm filling potato.  (It can be spicy and adult as well if you order the mysore masala dosa.)  I'm confident that Lil' Chow will come around.

But last Sunday, he ate rice and mango lassi.  That's the Indian basmati rice, looser and more flavored than the Korean rice that I made habitually now in my new rice maker.  Mango Grove stirfries rice with onions.  Lil' Chow chowed.  Then, he sucked.  He took the kid's lassi -- a mango-yogurt shake in a plastic cup with a lid and straw -- and drank down.  He was hilarious and a bit amazing since we had never seen him act so carefully with a drink before.

Mango Grove is one of Howard County's best kitchens.  We feasted on the dosa along with the mashed eggplant of baingan bartha and the unique jackfruit of kathal korma.  Unripe jackfruit give a meaty texture to that curry, although it's more of a subtle toothiness, not the weird "fake meat" texture that you can get from meat substitutes.  You're eating a vegetarian curry.  The jackfruit is firm, and the curry is beautifully spiced.

Today's snow got Lil Chow a second round of Indian rice at Ananda in Fulton.  Mrs. HowChow was minutes from dropping off our delayed-open daycare when they announced they were closed for the day.  Surprise!  She met RDAdoc for a playdate and then lunch.  When I got home, she raved about the butternut squash soup and the chickpeas.  No photos were taken.  (So sad.  Sad for me.)  But they also learned Ananda has started Sunday brunch.  We may be back there soon.


Jim S. said...

Not going to preach or anything like that but you may want to read the latest issue of Consumer Reports, if you haven't already. There is a large article on arsenic levels in rice, especially related to children. Some rices are better then others.

Anonymous said...

I had the carrot and butternut squash soup at Ananda last Friday, Jan 9.
It was wonderful!