Chowing Down at Olety's Chaat Corner and Real Ice Cream, Sunnyvale
Wednesday night two of us dove into the chaat menu at Olety's Chaat, better known as Real Ice Cream in Sunnyvale. For some reason, we ended up with three items based on potato patties and no puri-type chaat. But, they were a study in contrasts.
At first glance, the chole tikki (on the right) seems indistinguishable from the ragada pattis ensemble (on the left) but for the accompanying dahi (yogurt). Look again, the legumes under the pattis are pale-colored peas (yellow peas? pigeon peas?). The flavor was much sweeter and fresher with less overt spicing. The chole was quite good itself with a firm bite and masala spices cooled by the yogurt. The fried potato patties crowning each plate each were identical as were the toppings (sev, cilantro, red onions, tamarind, and green chutney). Between the two, we preferred the ragada pattis, mostly because it presented a more unusual flavor, though we liked the chole very much too. The tamarind sauce was applied with a light hand, making the chaat less sweet here leaning more toward the hot, salty and savory side of the spectrum.
Image of chaat -
Signs in the window indicated that pav vada (vada pav?) was a new item. When I ordered it at the counter, the proprietress said, "do you like garlic? the vada has garlic in it." We both nodded our assent and wondered silently why a "warning" might be necessary. Served on a toasty, light french roll (similar to the type used for banh mi) buttered and sprinkled with red seasoned salt, no kidding that these vadas were garlicky! Also potato based, these deep-fried balls were shot through with garlic and green herbs that made them much tastier and savory than the alu tikki-style. Dipped in the two sauces, each bite packed a wallop of flavor.
The red and the green chutneys were well-done. The tamarind sauce was not as sweet as some, lending a brighter, tangy note. The green sauce was quite hot with green chilis.
We split a large mango milkshake, $4.50. Made with alphonso mango puree, this is one of my favorite mango ice creams around. Posters promoted falooda as a new menu item here, but we were too stuffed to try one.
These three dishes and the shake were amazingly filling. Total tab for two of us was only $17. This was my first experience with the chaat menu here and I'll be back to try more.
What are your favorites here?
I eat here every couple weeks, and order the sev puri religiously. "What's sev puri?" some of you may ask. It's sort of like Indian nachos - Unflavored Tostitos topped with raw onion, tamarind, green chutney, and potato. It's by far the best rendition of sev puri I've ever had.
My second favorite dish is the ragada pattis, which is not as common a dish at chaat houses. The pav bhaji is good, too.
I often get the samosa (at the request of the boyfriend), but I don't think it's a good rendition. The chole is one-dimensional, but worse the samosa is always soggy. (The boyfriend claims the samosa is supposed to be like that. Um, no.)
The ice cream is great of course (especially the more exotic flavors), and I enjoy all the weird signs about not letting your children hang around the water dispenser.
And, don't forget the sev (noodley-thingies) on top! Nope, didn't have any space in the tummy for it this time either.
Thanks for mentioning the water dispenser sign. I pointed it out to my brother, and he said something about kids maybe making a mess or the floor wet. I said that I thought the proprietors might be afraid that they'd drown. (g)
Went back last night for the falooda. Very nice version here, especially with the choice of ice cream flavors. We had it with falooda flavored ice creams, as a matter of fact. Extra dose of slippery basil seeds, rose syrup was less sugary than some, noodles still a bit firm and not stuck together.
Here's the pic -
P.S. Checked the sign and the correct term is "vada pav".
P.P.S. Forgot to taste the Rocky Road ice cream!
I've never had the pav vada but your description (and pic) is making my stomach rumble! Sounds delish.
Oddly enough, Real Ice Cream does my favorite version of Rocky Road. I can't put my finger on exactly what makes it better than everyone else's - but I get 2 scoops each time!!
Rocky Road, who woulda thunk? Never would have occurred to me to even taste it, will do next time.
I suspect that one of the reasons that the vada was better than the alu tikki besides the garlic is that it was freshly fried. I think the alu tikki patties were made in advance and reheated.
My favorite alu tikki is from Lovely Sweets in Fremont. I'll have to try the Sunnyvale branch next. The alu tikki are premade, but when you order them, they split them across and fry them to a golden brown that jazzes them up.