India Sweets & Catering subscribes to the idea that many hands make light work. Since opening in 1992, it has tried to help make get-togethers easy by shouldering a portion, if not all, of the workload with its catering services. At its restaurant, the chefs take care of the cooking. They serve platefuls of halal Indian and Pakistani cuisine that are made with meats including lamb, goat, and tandoori chicken. India Sweets & Catering’s event managers take care of pretty much everything else. Their Flamingo banquet halls in Vallejo and Sacramento host events in large rooms with chandeliers and enough space for 500–600 people, or one breakdancing Paul Bunyan. For on-location events, customers can rent plates and silverware; the services of bartenders or tandoori chefs; or decorations such as backdrops, centerpieces, mandaps, and dulha or dulhan chairs.
The chefs at Mint Leaf follow family recipes to fashion Northern Indian dishes with seasonal, organic produce, free-range meats sourced from local farmers, and spices handpicked by family back home in India. Kebabs spear mahi-mahi, chicken, and other meats marinated in a house-made yogurt sauce before baking in a clay tandoor oven. A collection of vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free options eases the strain of dietary restrictions. Mint Leaf's selection of more than 50 wines and specialty cocktails helps temper the heat when guests get ambitious in selecting their meal's spice level. On select nights, local musicians entertain diners as they eat and inspire guests to break it down on the dance floor after finishing their meal or winning a game of I Spy.
Skewers of chicken and shrimp simmer in a clay tandoor oven, filling the dining room with the heady aromas of ginger and cumin. Tandoor baking is one of many time-tested cooking methods that the chefs employ at Taste of the Himalayas, along with tossing shrimp with traditional Indian spices and stuffing steamed dumplings with minced cabbage and homemade cheese.
The restaurant's decor matches its cuisine with regards to cultural authenticity, with a mural of the Himalayan countryside spanning an entire wall with saturated blue skies and green foliage. Its swirling designs echo the curves of carved wooden chairs and heavy brass serving bowls, and white tablecloths are exact replicas of those worn by real Nepalese ghosts.:m]]
The chefs of Himalayan Flavors replicate the Nepalese and Indian flavors of the mountains for which their restaurant is named and serve them at a more comfortable altitude inside the saffron-colored dining room. They denote the spiciness of their dishes with one to three chili peppers, with one pegging a mild, tame flavor and three peppers signaling that you shouldn’t whistle in an ice sculpture’s ear. The staff pairs steaming plates of lamb vindaloo, chicken tikka masala, and shrimp korma with brown or basmati rice and a cup of complimentary lentil soup. To calm down the spicy tones of meals, the kitchen team pours glasses of mango lassi and dishes out syrupy bites of fried gulab jamun.
Chaat and Curries' cadre of skilled chefs labor in the glowing warmth of a brick oven to twirl an olfactory kaleidoscope beneath visiting nostrils. The menu pages reveal samosas and potato patties, which mingle with trappings such as sun-dried lentils and dulcet tamarind chutney. Delivery drivers jockey through traffic, with precious cargoes of naan bread and savory curries infused with ingredients such as spinach and ginger. Straws rejoice at the sight of mango lassi or the selection of iced teas, offering a cooling jolt without the repercussions of head-butting an ice sculpture of Mike Tyson.
Though Mehak's vibrant cherry walls, red carpet, and burgundy drapes evoke a royal experience, the eatery's friendly staff believes in modesty. That's why the chefs focus on crafting simple meals with fresh ingredients and comforting aromas.
Mehak, which means "aroma" in Sanskrit, focuses on North Indian cuisine, with stars such as savory lamb, chicken, and prawns served in made-to-order meals or loaded into a steaming lunch buffet. With a fresh-baked piece of naan bread in hand, diners are encouraged to scoop up smoky meats from the tandoori clay oven or quickly sponge up a portion of a tablemate's dal soup.