I mentioned in an earlier post that I recently stumbled upon a great Indian market that is just up the street from my house. Friends, discovering Neelam Pacific Market has totally changed my life for the better. The store is located in downtown San Bruno (my current hometown) and I am there once a week to take my son, Shiv, to swimming classes anyway. Which now means I usually pop my head into the store and pick up any number of items – Indian snack mix, paneer, my favorite frozen Indian samosas – spinach and paneer by Deep. Stocking up on spices and frozen naan is a snap. And let me tell you the flavor of my kitchen definitely gone more desi because it is SO easy to grab whatever ingredients I need to make something on a whim.
If you live in the San Francisco Bay area and are on the hunt for Indian goods I highly suggest looking here. They carry all manner of food, even fresh Indian savories snacks from local outlets in Sunnyvale and Oakland. Our favorites are the Murkoo made by Bhooja King in Oakland.
And on the weekends they have fresh samosas delivered in the mornings that are pretty excellent. After trying them once, we quickly found an excuse to have them again the next weekend. And if, my lunch box post has you hankering for tiffin they’ve got those stocked as well. Although I will say I prefer the one I ordered from Amazon even though it was a few dollars more. It is more compact and well made.
But my greatest discovery at Neelam Pacific has been Paper Boat drinks. They caught my eye immediately because in a sea of terrible Indian packaging (sorry, clean design is not a strength among Indian packaged goods) they immediately stood out.
They come in pouches like many baby foods these days and the print is clean and colorful. Upon investigating further, I realized that these pouches had fabulous Indian drinks that are typically served on the street – which generally means that anyone who is concerned for their health does NOT drink them. You don’t know where the water comes from and catching a nasty tummy bug is ridiculously easy in India sadly. I once made a mistake of trying a sour mango drink in India called aam panna. It was unbearably good on a hot day. A bit sour but with that unmistakable hit of mango. But I paid for it for weeks afterward. I’m not going into the gory details but suffice it to say I will NEVER drink from the street again.
But of course now I don’t have too. Paper Boat makes a fabulous Aam Paana. We tried it mixed with tequila and it makes for a very refreshing cocktail almost like an Indian margarita. Other drinks offered include Jal Jeera – made with roasted cumin and Aamraas – basically sweet mango juice. We are addicted to them in our house and don’t be surprised if you see another Paper Boat cocktail written about here again very soon! In the meantime, get out there and try them for yourself. I would love to hear what you think.