Neighborhood Kitchens

Neighborhood Kitchens Visits Dosa Temple

By Margarita Martinez

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Dosa Temple
Margarita with Dosa Temple's Chef Siva (Patricia Alvarado/WGBH)
Somervillians pride themselves on being different. If you can think of something unconventional, they have a festival for it. Activist street bands? Check! The HONK! Festival takes place on Columbus Day weekend. Marshmallow fluff? Double check! Fluff was invented here and it’s celebrated every September with a street fair that includes everything from fluff science experiments to fluff cocktails. Beards? Of course! BeardFest is coming up in November. 
 
Somerville’s quirkiest neighborhood has got to be Union Square. That’s where you’ll find the Fluff festival, a non-profit community craft studio called Artisan’s Asylum, one speakeasy and a castle (ok, the Prospect Hill Monument). Union Square has a personality all its own. And a large part of its unique flavor comes from the many immigrants who live and work in the neighborhood.
 

I wanted to learn more about Union Square, so I asked Rachel Strutt to give me a tour. She’s a blogger, author and program manager at the Somerville Arts Council. She took me everywhere from the Neighborhood Restaurant, where they make wine from their grape arbor, to Capone Foods, where owner Al Capone (yep, that’s his real name) sells delicious handmade pastas from his ancestral Italy and empanadas from his native Argentina.
 
My search for unusual international food brought me to Dosa Temple, an Indian eatery at the edge of the square. While most Indian restaurants in the U.S. serve North Indian dishes (Tandoori chicken, anyone?), at Dosa Temple they serve South Indian food. In addition to offering an uncommon cuisine, Dosa Temple is a vegetarian’s paradise—Chef Siva Kumar serves all-vegetarian entrees without trying to adapt meat dishes into bland vegetable-based alternatives. Not only does Chef Siva use traditional recipes, he also employs traditional culinary techniques. He makes large, crepe-like dosas by hand on a flat top grill, as is done in India. He also makes dough for his lentil doughnuts in a large stone grinder, and he makes a vermicelli noodle dessert that was so good that I had to be torn away or there would have been none left for the rest of the crew!
 
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Union Square is a wonderful place to visit for new culinary and cultural experiences. There is such a diversity of food in the neighborhood that a recently published book, Nibble, tells the story of Union Square through its culinary offerings. From Portuguese to Haitian to Peruvian to South Indian, it's all there for you to try in Somerville.

*****

Watch Neighborhood Kitchens online to learn more about Dosa Temple in Somerville's Union Square.

*Since filming, the Union Square restaurant has reopened under new ownership as Dosa N Curry. The Ashland location remains Dosa Temple.

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About Neighborhood Kitchens

Building on a 35-year history of producing Latino and multicultural programming, WGBH’s award winning La Plaza team has a new offering — Neighborhood Kitchens, a series about the exploration of culture through food. Every week the show offers a unique window into immigrant communities in New England.

Saturdays at 4pm on WGBH 2
Fridays at 7:30pm on WGBH 44


About the Author
Margarita Martinez Margarita Martinez
Margarita Martinez grew up in the Bronx, NY and Ossining, NY with a Puerto Rican father and a Franco-American mother. She now calls New England home. Margarita has always had an insatiable appetite for travel and food. She made her first empanada as a teenager visiting Argentina, satisfied her sweet tooth with poffertjes and stroopwafels while studying in Holland, engorged herself on Thai street food for a month in Bangkok, and continues to search for authentic international cuisines in the Northeast. Margarita loves to discover new ingredients, flavors, and cooking approaches that she can bring to her own home kitchen.

On the Go

In each episode, host Margarita Martínez visits a different ethnic restaurant and learns three delicious recipes from the chef. She also explores the restaurant’s neighborhood, discovering hidden gems along the way. Join her as she learns about new ingredients, new cultures, and new neighborhoods. ¡Hasta pronto!

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Margarita's Neighborhood Visits

»Boston: Bristol Lounge
»Boston's South End: Orinoco, Teranga and Oishii
»Boston's Back Bay: Casa Romero
»Boston's North End: Taranta
»Roxbury: Merengue
»Boston's Beacon Hill: Scampo
»All Around Boston: Mei Mei Street Kitchens
»Cambridge: Muqueca, Oleana, and Sandrine's
»
Somerville: Dosa Temple
»Lawrence: Cafe Azteca
»Lowell: Simply Khmer

»Fresh from the Fish Market
»Jamaica Plain: Tres Gatos
»Dorchester: Pho Le and Cafe Polonia
»Medford: Bistro 5
»Portland, ME: Emilitsa
»Newport, RI: Tallulah on Thames
»Pawtucket, RI: Rasoi

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