Zooming home from South Lake Tahoe I'd seen a small sign indicating a new Indian restaurant had opened in Apple Hill. Curious indeed.
I was in Placerville last week for a few days and dragged my husband and my parents up the hill in search of this mysterious place.
Sure enough, facing the highway at just about the last Apple Hill exit (is the Camino Rd. exit?) there was a small banner on the back of a gas station mini-mart declaring "Indian Grill". Pulling in the parking lot, a small Indian boy hanging on the door of the mini mart told us we must be close. A sign announced a lunch buffet for $6.99.
Inside the mini mart, off to the left, was the obvious set up for a small cafe. The buffet was still going, the food smelled good, so we grabbed some plates.
The place is not spotless, and the walls are a vivid violet, probably a decor choice from the previous eatery which was called Wine Country Grill or something like that. My Mom was enamored of the column swathed in purple tulle and white twinkle lights.
There was chicken curry, lamb curry (with the bones), pakoras, and a dish of peppers & onions as well as one of garbanzos, both in a brownish-red sauce. In fact, the sauces on all the dishes were largely similar. They were out of chicken tikka, but graciously brought more to the table. They also brought fresh naan to the table which my husband thought had a pancake-like texture. There was also a very small salad bar, mostly lettuce, tomato and somewhat watery versions of yogurt-based sauces and a pickled condiment or two. We were waited on by a man and woman who we assumed to be the parents of the small boy out front, so this is obviously a very small, family operation.
I am by no means an expert on Indian food, though I have found Julie Sahni's Classic Indian Cooking an invaluable aid in not just cooking Indian food but learning about it. This was not great Indian food, but it was tasty, inspite of the very similar saucing.
We were pleased and intrigued to see two Mexican vineyard workers finally work up their nerve to visit the buffet. I never would have anticipated such cross-culturalism in Camino!
The regular menu looked interesting and reasonably priced, so I plan to investigate further on a future trip to the area, to compare ala carte items to the buffet.
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