I was born and raised in Iowa — the heartland of America. My mom was the best cook in the county, no doubt, and I was raised on the original “farm to table” cooking. Her recipes were the beginnings of Culinary Crafts and the best comfort food around.
However, my life has been a little different than hers and I am a world traveler who became intricately familiar with the food and culture that make up the human family.
One of my favorite travels took me to India last January. It was my last major trip before my wings were clipped by COVID-19. I spent most of my time in the Cochi area of southern India with some time in Mumbai, and farther north to Delhi.
I came home yearning to find the intense aromatic flavors of India that were prepared with quality ingredients and the love of Indian hands. While I have been to many Indian restaurants, there is one that shines at the top of the list: Cafe Namasthe in Lehi (near Texas Roadhouse in the Meadows area).
A friend first took me there knowing of my knowledge and love of the culture. I wasn’t sure when I drove up as I don’t always find the best cuisine at a “counter-style” casual restaurant in a strip mall. However, the moment I opened the door and saw 10 Indian cooks working away in the open kitchen, I knew I was in for a treat!
The executive chef stood behind the counter in his full Indian chef regalia complete with the red sash and tall chef hat. Oh yeah, this was gonna be good!
Some diners might be unfamiliar with Indian food. Their full menu both in the cafe and online details each dish, and the friendliest staff is on hand explain everything. Ask away!
Let me make a few recommendations of my favorites as a place to start at Cafe Namasthe and then start exploring!
First, I love the little fried appetizers called Samosas. They are filled with beef and potatoes, and served with two sauces: Tamarind and Mint. The mint has a little kick so start with a small amount.
Second, the naan bread is a must — and my favorite is the garlic naan. People break bread together all over the world and in Indian they use it as a utensil as there are no knives, forks or spoons in India. However in Utah, utensils are always provided. I have some pretty funny photos of me eating all my food with my hands and scooping everything with naan!
Third, and this one is in call caps: YOU MUST HAVE ONE OF THE CURRIES! The most popular is the Chicken Masala Tikka because most people are familiar with this dish. However, I want you to try my favorites, which are the Chicken Korma and Butter Chicken. And always get the rice.
I’m really excited to give this new restaurant in American Fork a big shout out and my highest recommendation. You’ve got to try this one.
Until next time, fill your life with scrumptious food and joy!