#272: Curry Pizza House

11:45AM, 3/13/2022


Today I headed over to Curry Pizza House, located at Douglas and Sierra College, to see what they had to offer for lunch. This is a small but rapidly growing chain with about a dozen locations and nearly as many listed as coming soon. All but one are in CA, with most of those being in the Bay Area. As you probably gathered from the name it is a Indian/Pizza fusion concept. This isn’t the first one we’ve had in Roseville so far. Chicago’s Pizza With A Twist (AKA PizzaTwist) played with these flavors on pizza already.

I’ve been kind of jonesing for these flavors recently and it’s also been a little while since I’ve had pizza so this was a very enticing choice for lunch. After realizing I was down an hour this morning do to the time change I packed up and headed out the door. I arrived at about 11:45 and headed in to a very quiet store. Well, quiet other than the droning of the oven hood, which is located strangely very close to the front door. No music was playing, though about 25 minutes into my visit it was turned on, at a low volume. There was a TV in the corner near the door playing basketball at a very low volume as well. Only sitting right underneath it did I even notice the sound was on.

The space is small, no doubt most of their business is take-out. There are just a few tables to sit at along the wall. On that wall is a nice mural. Browsing through the photos of their other locations I see that a nearly identical mural is featured in most if not all of them. Overall the space is clean and modern.

I was greeted by a woman from about halfway back in the kitchen as soon as I walked in, asking me if I was picking up or ordering. She met me up at the register to take my order and pointed out a couple menus on the counter. I had already pretty much picked out my order earlier at home but took a peek to make sure what I wanted was also on this menu. It was, but with some new information. I was planning to do a half and half pizza and this menu specified prices for a large or X-large half and half. I asked if they did 50/50 in less than a large and was told no, large is the smallest they offer. And that’s the story of how I now have leftovers in the fridge.

Anyway, I went ahead with the large and ordered half Palak Paneer and half Curry Chicken Masala [$25.99]. I hastily selected a beer from the four tap handles, which ended up being a Dust Bowl Taco Truck Amber Lager [$6]. After I sat down and took a closer look at my receipt I was thinking that it felt close to Round Table prices.

The woman, who by the way was the only person I saw working there the entire time, looked mildly busy, not that I had a great view over the counter from my booth. It took about seven minutes for my beer to be brought out, and another 14 minutes for the pizza.

The beer was nice, light and refreshing. It could have been about 10-20º cooler. I’m noticing more restaurants and even taprooms are serving beer a bit warmer than I’d prefer. Lack of pre-cooled glasses are a part of it. It just makes me appreciate those places that serve beer super cold and crisp even more I suppose.

On to the pie! This thing was packed from edge to edge with toppings. I sort of went back to my thoughts on RTP pricing and decided it felt like a pretty decent value for the sheer amount of chicken, paneer and other ingredients you get. The slices had a little bit of weight to them. The crust held up really well to it. Without being overly crunchy, blackened or burnt in any way, the crust had a very nice structure to it that helped keep all the toppings in place when picking up and holding a slice. I only lost a couple pieces of chicken to my plate the entire meal, which I thought was incredible for what should have been a very messy pizza.

On both sides the sauce/cheese/toppings were well assembled and very consistent throughout. Toppings were well seated into the cheese layer, which played a big part in how the whole thing held together.

The Palak Paneer consisted of pesto sauce, cheese, spinach, red onions, masala paneer, green chilies, ginger and garlic. The green pesto could be seen around the edges peaking out across the crust. The combo of green chilis and ginger gave each bite a mild to medium kick of spice. After a few bites it was really nice and hot. I loved the little cubes of paneer, which had crisped up just around the top for a little texture boost. Overall I enjoyed this half and would have it again.

The Curry Chicken Masala consisted of curry sauce, cheese, bell peppers, red onion, diced tomatoes, masala chicken and cilantro. I don’t usually care for cilantro but will tolerate it when it’s not a major ingredient. Here they had used a ton of it and it was the first flavor that hit my senses, for both smell and taste. It was however quickly overwhelmed by everything else on this side of the pie, and I had no issues with it. Man I loved this side. Although I’m still full as I type this a couple hours later, just thinking about it again I considered grabbing a slice of it from the fridge. I think the star was the curry sauce, which was incredibly well balanced with everything else. The chicken was plentiful, tender and flavorful, and the onions were just right, a bit softened by their time in the oven with just a bit of a satisfying crunch inside.

I have to admit, I sort of expected to like this place just due to the fusion concept but that Curry Chicken Masala really knocked it out of the park. Should I return here again I think I would do a create your own and add some paneer to this.


#254: Tandoori Bite


I type this feeling incredibly full and with a loosened belt (truthfully I removed it entirely, haha).  The telltale sign of a visit to an Indian buffet.  This is Tandoori Bite, located on Baseline at Foothills.  A somewhat recent addition to Roseville’s large and always growing collection of Indian restaurants, they opened sometime over Summer.  They are situated on the opposite end of the building where Crawfish Factory lives.


I walked in just after noon.  The place is quite large and there is a lot of open space from the entryway all the way back to the buffet and register area.  To the right is a largish grid of tables.  I was the only customer at the moment, though a couple people had just left if take out right as I arrived.  At first there was no-one to be seen but, seconds after the door shut, a woman appeared from the back and greeted me.  I gestured to the buffet line and she told me to go ahead and get started.  Buffet is served every day for lunch, although it is a few bucks more on the weekends ($12.95).  Their menu doesn’t say anything about it being served at dinner but I think I’ve seen them post about it on Facebook once or twice.


Before setting my camera down at a table I asked if I could get a mango lassi and she said it would be extra, which I expected and said that would be fine.  Once back to grab a plate she asked what I wanted to drink (which I didn’t think much of at the time, figured it was more a question if I also wanted water) and I told her water is good.  She also asked if I wanted plain or garlic naan and I chose the latter.  Eventually I realized that she must have misheard my response about the lassi being extra because it was never brought out.  No big deal I guess, and she was on top of the water refills since I was downing it quickly throughout the meal.


I went down the line and tried a little bit of nearly everything.  My first plate consisted of Fish Pakora (fish cubes dipped in spiced batter & deep fried), Vegetable Pakora (assorted vegetable fritters dipped in chickpea batter and deep fried), Rajma (not shown on their menu but Wikipedia says it consists of red kidney beans in a thick gravy with many whole spices), an item that was unlabeled but I am  pretty sure was the Chana Masala (garbanzo beans cooked with onion and tomatoes in house special spices) Saag (spiced creamy spinach) and finally Butter Chicken (boneless chicken cooked in a special sauce with a blend of tomatoes, butter & cream).


The fish and vegetable pakoras were good, although they were a bit steamed and soft from being in their closed serving container for a while.  A busier buffet usually doesn’t have that problem since it rotates a lot quicker.  I definitely prefer a nice crispy pakora.  The vegetables had a lot of flavor to them with lots of spices and a hint of heat.  The naan was fresh with a bit of a crisp on the bottom and plenty of flavorful garlic on it.


I had the rest of the items on a bed of colorful rice.  The Rajma was pretty heavy on the kidney bean flavor while the Chana Masala was a much creamier blend of the masala flavor and garbanzos and had a bit of a kick after a few bites.  Both were tasty though.  The saag is usually one of my favorites but usually only when it has paneer in it, which this one did not, so it was a little bland and boring.  Easily my favorite item of everything I had today was the butter chicken (I know, classic white guy Indian food choice).  It was intensely rich and flavorful, smooth and creamy with tender chunks of dark chicken.  A touch on the salty side, it was still amazing and I ended up getting seconds on my next plate.


For my second plate I tried the Chicken Curry (skinless & boneless chicken cooked in a spiced curry sauce), Goat Curry (goat cooked in a spiced curry sauce), Haleem (lentils, barley mixed meat slowly cooked with authentic spices) and a drumstick of Tandoori Chicken (chicken marinated in a blend of yogurt and Indian spices).


The chicken curry was probably my 2nd favorite item.  It was as flavorful as the butter chicken but less creamy.  The goat had bones so I had to take care to separate those out first.  I often skip goat curry on buffets and probably would here in the future as well.  It wasn’t bad, but the meat itself was a bit tough and slightly gamey.  The Tandoori Chicken drum was really good.  It wasn’t as overly bright red with coloring as many but had the flavor marinated in nicely and was very tender and had a good amount of meat on it.  The Haleem was something I had never seen or tried before.  It was unfortunately my least favorite item.  It seemed to taste like bitter squash.  The little jalapeño slice I got in a bite had a huge kick to it.


Finally I headed back one last time for dessert.  I was excited to see that they had Gulab Jamun (deep fried cheese balls dipped in sugar syrup, served warm) and hot Chai Tea.  In addition they had something labeled as Cart Keer.  I didn’t see this on their menu and googling comes up with Carrot Kheer, which I guess is what this might have been, although it tasted to me more like sweet potato rather than carrot.  It was quite good.


The Gulab Jamun was great.  I don’t know exactly how this is made and what kind of cheese it is.  I’ve always thought it tasted more like a soggy surgery donut than any kind of cheese.  The tea was incredibly hot but absolutely delicious once at a more reasonable temperature.  Not many Indian buffets have Chai tea or even desserts on their buffets, so to have both (and 2 desserts at that!) was really nice!


Overall I was quite happy with this buffet.  Not everything was a hit, but that’s par for the course at just about every buffet, and there was plenty to enjoy.  The woman handling the dining room was very friendly, and as I had mentioned earlier refilled my water constantly (a pleasant change from the numerous Indian buffets I’ve sampled in the Rancho/Folsom areas).  I would definitely return here again.

#239: Chicago’s Pizza With a Twist

Hello 2016!  It’s been a long and much needed break, but I’m back to work.  My list has grown a bit as several new restaurants have opened in the last couple months and there are already several new ones on the horizon.  I’m kicking it off with a pizza place that caught my eye a couple weeks ago, Chicago’s Pizza With a Twist, located next to Leo’s Kitchen on Foothills and Pleasant Grove.

At first I thought, another pizza place?  We already have so many.  But when I drove up to it to see if they were open yet, I saw the banner that said “Home of the Authentic Indian Pizza.”  That definitely piqued my interested so I popped in to grab a menu.  Not sure why but it didn’t occur to me until I went through the door that this might have a dine-in option.  So many pizza places are take-out and delivery only, so the small dining room kind of caught me off guard.  Once home I skimmed over the menu and found lots of the usual pizza offerings and toppings, but on one page in particular there were pizzas like Tandoori Veggie, Palak Paneer and Butter Chicken.  I was sold.

I had an unusually early start to my Saturday and by 3:45 I was already thinking about dinner.  I went to their website to decide what I would get and eventually found myself downloading the mobile app on my phone to place the order.  The app is nicely made and very responsive.  Some things are broken out in a strange way so it took a minute to figure out how to do a half and half, but once I found the option it was very straightforward.  Before I knew it I was checking out and used my thumbprint to pay.  It was super easy and convenient.  By the time I grabbed my keys and wallet to head out I had already received the confirmation email which stated the time my pizza would be ready to pick up, which was about 15-20 minutes.

I arrived a little early and was greeted as soon as I walked through the doors.  One employee was sitting at a table in the dining room and another emerged from the back to meet me at the register.  Since I had already paid there was little to do, they checked the order and let me know it would be out in about 5 minutes so I took a seat and a couple photos.  Soon the box was walked out and handed to me, then they bagged up some cheese and peppers for me and I was on my way.

I wondered what it would smell like as I drove home, but instead of smelling like curry or masala I actually mostly detected green peppers.  I had ordered a medium half Chicken Tikka Masala (Tikka Sauce, Tikka Chicken, Mozzarella Cheese, Mushrooms, Red Onion, Bell Pepper, Garlic, Ginger, Fresh Cilantro) and half Curry Paneer (Curry Sauce, Cheese, Mushrooms, Bell Pepper, Red Onion, Black Olives, Tomatoes, Garlic, Ginger, Curry Paneer & Fresh Cilantro) [$14.99].  I got home and cracked the lid open to see a pizza that wasn’t crazy or weird looking at all.  Mostly what stood out were the cubed pieces of paneer.

The crust was a ordinary pan style (they do have options for an actual deep dish crust though).  The main toppings of chicken and paneer were embedded in the layer of cheese, and most of the rest was below that.  Both sides had a light colored sauce.  I started with the chicken tikka masala side.  The slice held up fairly well under the weight of the toppings, which were generous.  Although the crust looked quite crisp from the top, once I was holding it I realized it was fairly soft and just crisp around the edges.  I might ask for well done in the future as I love a crunchy crust.  The tikka masala sauce was tasty, perhaps a bit less rich than I was expecting though.  Chicken, onions bell peppers and mushrooms were in great supply.  A few bites pulled some extra of the top layer away and revealed the extra veggies underneath.

Next up was the Curry Paneer, and I think this was my favorite.  Also a little more mellow than expected, the curry sauce was still delicious and had a nice smooth flavor to it.  The paneer was toasted from the ovens and fairly dense, requiring slight chewing.  A little different than what you would find in a typical Indian restaurant’s sauce, which would probably have a more moist, rubbery texture.  Both of these came with cilantro, which I am not much a fan of and forgot to make a note to leave it off.  It blended in with the other flavors pretty well though and I didn’t really notice it.

Overall I was pretty happy with this pizza.  One thing I noticed as I sat down to write this up was that the menu mentions take and bake, so they pretty much do it all (take out, dine in, delivery, take and bake).  I think I might do a take and bake butter chicken pizza next.  The question of how this stacks up against normal pizza was one of the first I thought of.  The sauces are mostly what make these pizzas unique and I definitely enjoyed them a lot.  I’m not certain if they do a thinner crust but if they did then this place would certainly rise above a lot of the usual pizza joints I frequent.  The fast pizza places like Trademark are still tough to beat on price, quality and speed though.  All in all it’s nice to have a new place that sets itself apart from it’s vast competition.  If I worked in the area I’m sure I’d find myself coming for the buffet to try their other creations. Below are some screenshots from the app ordering process.