98. Mayura 9/30/2018

 
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It was one of those perfect days in Los Angeles. As we drove into the city, dad and I both murmured our appreciation for the start of fall’s subtle changes in weather. LA’s seasons aren’t boastful in their transformations, so the slight shifts in temperature, energy and light, take a life time as an angeleno to recognize. A nuanced art, particularly in this world of climate change.

For our 98th JG outing, we decided to make a day of it. We took my parents and the kids and met Zaya and his family at the Science center to check out the mildly impressive ‘King Tut’ exhibit. We watched the Tut IMAX film, grabbed some heavy snacks at the museum, made our way through the ancient Egyptian artifacts and straight into the Pharaoh themed gift shop. King Tut hookah anyone?

Called childhood friend Ben on our way to Culver City’s Mayura. He wanted to meet us there and even suggested a drive by our old house on East Blvd. As little kids, we lived in Hollywood right next to the bowl, but then grew up mostly in Mar Vista; pre Gjelina’s, pre multi million dollar beach bungalows, in the time of Venice’s Dog Town and V13 gang, within walking distance of the still thriving time capsule that is Tito’s Tacos.

Like number 100’s Marouch, Mayura sat nestled in a mini mall adjacent to a doughnut shop, a check cashing chain, and another Indian joint, which appeared focused on take out. Just down the street from Sony studios, Mayura wasn’t especially crowded when we walked in, though that quickly changed in the next hour as it became packed with several Indian families and a diverse assortment of young couples on dates.

The food kept on coming. We ordered all of Jonathan’s recommendations from the southern Indian menu including, “the pure white Appam pancakes, spiced fish curry, the rice porridge ven pongal, lashed with cumin, cashews, and ungodly amounts of melted butter.” And our own picks, Samosa’s (flattened, delicious), lamb biryani, fish fry, chicken tikka (for the kiddos), one each of mushroom, eggplant and vegetable masala.

 

The service wasn’t great. Comically so, as it seemed like we never saw the same server twice. Nothing rude, just a very passive approach. Appetizers served after ordering them twice, and arriving after the mains were put on the table. This helped build a cacophony of food that may have diminished our appreciation for the variety of flavors. While the mushrooms didn’t seem to integrate well with the masala I thought the subtly and texture of the rice porridge was interesting. Zay found the lamb (and goat) biryani to be the best dish, though I suspect it to be the main source of our stomach aches the next day.

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