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Chicken Tandoori
The Chicken Tandoori at Everest Himalayan Cuisine on Coast Highway in Encinitas. Courtesy photo
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Lick the Plate: Explore the culinary wonders of Everest Himalayan Cuisine

With the addition of Everest Himalayan Cuisine to the downtown Encinitas restaurant scene, it could be said that we are close to having a full range of international dining options in Encinitas alone.

And while it was sad to see Kim’s depart, Everest is a very worthy, family-operated replacement serving up an authentic blend of Nepalese, Indian and Tibetan food that I’ve become quite fond of over the past week of sampling their delights.

From the appetizers, I had the Vegetable Samosa and Lamb Choila, both of which were tasty. The Daal is a beautiful lentil-based soup that I enjoyed thoroughly.

I’m a huge fan of Chicken Tandoori and theirs is amazing. This classic bone-in chicken dish is marinated in yogurt and spices then broiled in a tandoor oven and served with sauteed onions, cabbage and bell pepper. I like to coat it with or dip it in their delicious Raita yogurt-based sauce.

All these dishes are best with a side of Naan flatbread and again, get a couple of orders of Raita sauce to dip everything in.

The Chicken Momo dumplings with a Taj Mahal lager. Photo by David Boylan

Their dumplings are called Momo and I loved the chicken version. All of this went great with a bottle of Taj Mahal lager and some Kheer (rice pudding) for dessert. I’ve been twice and plan on eating my way through the entire menu, so I’ll report back on the rest of it in a month or so.

I wanted to know more about the owner, Ishwari Pandey, so below are some highlights of our conversation that will provide a nice backstory on Everest. I’d highly recommend it by the way.

LTP: Where are you from originally and what type of food were you exposed to as a child?

Ishwari: I am originally from Nepal. I was exposed to Nepalese, Indian and Tibetan food like vegetable curry, chicken curry, lamb and goat curry and momos with the best spices and herbs, which are all very healthy.

LTP: What were some of the best dishes coming out of your parents’ kitchen?

Ishwari: For us, everything was the best because they cooked from their heart. My parents taught me, “Be healthy and do healthy.” They used less salt, less oil, no MSG, and prepared our food fresh. I enjoyed their eggplant with potatoes, chicken tikka masala, nawaratna korma, lamb korma, rack of lamb and their momos were the best .

LTP: How long have you been in the restaurant business and how did you get into it?

Ishwari: When I came to the US, I was in the restaurant business for more than 12 years. We have a restaurant in Nepal Kathmandu Chahabel called “Lumbini Tandoori “ and my sister and brother-in-law are still running this business and they are a constant inspiration.

LTP: How would you describe Himalayan cuisine? Is it a fusion of sorts or does it have its own unique characteristics and dishes?

Ishwari: Everest Himalayan Cuisine has organic spices and herbs which are bought directly from Nepal. Our food is similar to Indian food, but the taste is a little different because of Himalayan Nepalese organic spices and herbs. Yes, it is a fusion of Nepali, Indian and Tibetan cuisine.

LTP: How are you liking the new location on Coast Highway in the heart of Encinitas?

Ishwari: To be honest, I love Encinitas, not only the location but the people are the best human beings in the world. They are very kind, helpful, honest, humble and spiritual. I used to own a restaurant in Encinitas. I can’t go away from the lovely people of Encinitas. I choose Coast Highway in the heart of Encinitas because my lovely customers can find me easily and I can serve our healthy food to them. This is a great location and we have plenty of parking behind the restaurant and outdoor dining to go with our carryout.

LTP: Are there other family members involved in the restaurant?

Ishwari: Yes, this is a family-based restaurant. My brother Dipak is a key player. He is not only the chef, I think he is the best chef of this cuisine around. To be honest, when he starts cooking, I feel hungry and that never happened in my previous restaurant. I welcome your readers to please try Everest Himalayan Cuisine and compare it to the others.

LTP: For those that have not tried Himalayan cuisine, what dishes would you suggest starting with?

Ishwari: I would like to suggest the Nawaratan Korma, Aloo Bhanta, Chicken Tikka Masala, Lamb Korma, Lamb Curry, Salmon Tandoori, Rack of Lamb and Momos are the best.

Get to Everest Himalayan Cuisine soon. You can find them at 745 S. Coast Highway 101, #103J, call 760-942-4816 or visit www.everesthimalayansd.com

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