38: Papri Chaat at Jay Bharat

Papri Chaat at Jay Bharat
Papri Chaat at Jay Bharat
Flickr/Ron Dollete

Leading up to this year's Best of L.A. issue (due out Oct. 4) -- and probably beyond, at this rate -- we'll be counting down, in no particular order, 100 of our favorite dishes.

38: Papri Chaat at Jay Bharat.

As sort of shameful as it is to admit, I drove to all the way Cerritos this weekend just to pick up a pre-ordered iPhone (it was the closest store that had them it in stock). Despite a two-hour wait in line surrounded by other exasperated Apple addicts, there was one redeeming factor (in my food-minded estimation) in driving fifty-plus miles on Carmageddon weekend: a stopover along Pioneer Blvd. in Artesia, colloquially known as Little India.

Along with the multi-colored sari merchants, Bollywood record stores and incense shops is the must-visit Gujarati restaurant Jay Bharat, which specializes in little snack called chaat , bought in bulk or a la carte, and oversized vegetarian thali platters. The papri chaat, upon first inspection, resembles the Indian love-child of, say, Cincinnati five-way chili and Mexican seven-layer dip.

In large shallow bowl: boiled potatoes, chana masala (a fiery chickpea curry), cool yogurt, tamarind and mint chutney, chopped cilantro and tiny spicy fried gram flour sticks. If you wanted to assemble a CliffsNotes version of the best flavors found in South Indian cooking, this might be it. Lashes of black pepper, hints of cardamom and a heavy exotic spiciness that lingers like a long summer. On certain weekends, Jay Bharat sports a good-size line of customers -- not iPhone big, mind you -- but, believe me, everyone leaves much more satisfied.


Check out the rest of our 100 of our favorite dishes. Suggestion? Write us a comment.

100: Lukshon's Dan Dan Noodles

99: Cemita de Milanesa at Cemitas Poblanos Elviritas #1

98: Chichen Itza's Cochinita Pibil

97: Tsukemen at Tsujita L.A.

96: La Cevicheria's Bloody Clam Ceviche

95: Duck Shawarma at Momed

94: Peruvian Chicken at Pollo a la Brasa

93: Squash Blossom Quesadilla at Antojitos Carmen

92: Thai Boat Noodles at Pa-Ord

91: Baco Mercat's Bazole

90: Furikake Kettle Corn at A-Frame

89: Live Santa Barbara Spot Prawns at Providence

88: Fried Pig Tails at Night + Market

87: Egg Salad Sandwich at Euro Pane

86: Galbi Jjim at Soban

85: Truffle Honey-Laced Fried Chicken at Manhattan Beach Post

84: Mool Naeng Myun at Yu Chic Naeng Myun

83: Chicken Vampiro at Mexicali Taco & Co

82: Sooo Cali Dog at Dog Haus

81: White Anchovy, Tomato and Fresno Chile Pizza at Pizzeria Mozza

80: Shu Mai at Elite Restaurant

79: Tandoori Chicken at Al-Watan

78: Chocolate Bread and Butter Pudding at The Hungry Cat

77: Agedashi Tofu at Izakaya Bincho

76: Pork Chop at Salt's Cure

75: Porcetto at Sotto

74: The Sea Urchin Tostada at La Guerrerense

73: Wood-Roasted English Peas at Tar & Roses

72: Persian Mulberries at Weiser Family Farms

71: Hunan-Style Preserved Pork with Tofu at Hunan Chilli King

70: Brisket Banh Mi at Gjelina Take Away

69: Yukhwe Bibimbap at Oo-Kook Korean BBQ

68: Lamb Pie at Beijing Pie House

67: Son of a Gun's Uni and Burrata

66: Pastrami Reuben at Art's Delicatessen

65: Beef Koobideh at Kabab Mahaleh

64: The Whipper Burger at Hawkins House of Burgers

63: Slippery Shrimp at Yang Chow

62: Whole Channel Island Red Sea Urchin at Water Grill

61: Going Dutch Panini at Bread Lounge

60: Huckleberry's Green Eggs & Ham

59: Pickled Watermelon Salad at L&E Oyster Bar

58: Spaghettini with Abalone, Pickled Cod Roe and Truffles at n/naka

57: Brown Brown Bread Ice Cream at Scoops Westside

56: Smothered Chicken at R and R Soul Food

55: Duck Fried Rice at Jar

54: Taco Sampler at Guisados

53: The Sycamore Kitchen's Double BLT-A Sandwich

52: House Wonton Soup at China Café

51: Almond Croissant at Proof Bakery

50: The Southern Fry at Plan Check Kitchen + Bar

49: The Dodger Dog at Dodger Stadium

48: Papaya Salad at Krua Siri

47: Lucky Baldwins' Traditional Full English Breakfast

46: Edomae Tendon Bowl at Hannosuke

45: The Pescado Zarandeado at Coni'Seafood

44: Hot Wings at Beer Belly

43: Raw Kale Salad at Elf Café

42: Steak Tartare Tacos at MessHall

41: Bánh Mì at Buu Dien

40: Sicilian Slice at Pizzanista

39: Grilled Baby Goat T-bone at Mozza's Scuola di Pizza Salumi Bar


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