Little India offers SoCal exotic foods, shops

ARTESIA, Calif. The first stop is Highglow Jewelers, where many of the handmade designs are passed down from Indian royalty.

The jewelry is beautiful and very important to the Indian culture - it's not just for adornment. Alongside the intricate and handmade jewelry, there are many pieces of gold ornaments, vessels and figurines, all dedicated to the Hindu religion.

"(Jewelry) plays a role right from childbirth, up to a wedding, and even as a gift, gold jewelry or diamond jewelry is always the norm," said Krutika Pranav of Highglow Jewelers.

When stepping inside Frontier Heritage, you are treated to a brilliant rainbow of saris, the traditional dress of Indian women.

The employees at Frontier Heritage showed a striking magenta sari, detailed with silver beading and sequins, a contemporary version of the traditional sari, with hand-embroidered fabric.

"Everybody looks gorgeous in these saris, that's the whole idea," said Frontier Heritage owner Ravi Asija. "You could be any shape, and you could still look good in a sari."

When looking for worldly home furnishings, detailed clothing or breathtaking art, every corner of Cottage Art is worth exploring.

From floor to ceiling, Cottage Art is packed with richly colored wall tapestries and bedding, costume and traditional jewelry, as well as sculptures and paintings depicting Hindu deities.

Right next door to Cottage Art is Farm Fresh, a popular grocery store stacked with aromatic, authentic foods and spices like turmeric and coriander - all of which are imported directly from India.

Across the street is the Beauty Palace, where some beauty rituals like mendhi (body art using henna ink) and threading (hair removal via all-cotton thread) have been practiced by Indian women for thousands of years.

Always arrive hungry at Udupi Palace restaurant, which specializes in Southern Indian vegetarian meals.

Udupi Palace is also the home of the Indian crepe, known as the dosa, a very impressive and large thin crepe created with lentils and rice flour. It's definitely food for your family and your friends to get together to eat.

Some of the samples include the Chana Batura, a large, warm fluffy bread, served with flavorful chickpea curry on the side. Or try the South Indian Thali, which is served on one tray from appetizer to dessert.

"Just feel at home, use your hands, not a fork or knife, just break it even and just dip it in and enjoy," said Jerome Fernandez of Udupi Palace.

Only at the Saffron Spot can you indulge in saffron silk ice cream made with real imported saffron spices from India. Also offered is the faluda, a drink made with rose milk, and gulkand, also known as rose petal ice cream.

Kasata is a combination of tutti frutti, vanilla, pistachio, with nuts on the side, said Smita Vasant, owner of Saffron Spot. It is regularly served at Indian wedding receptions.

"It is really good," Vasant said.

Cottage Art
18619 Pioneer Boulevard
Artesia, CA 90701
(562) 924-6268

Udupi Palace
18635 Pioneer Boulevard
Artesia, CA 90701
(562) 860-1950

Saffron Spot
18744 Pioneer Boulevard
Artesia, CA 90701
(562) 809-4554

Highglow Jewelers
18644 Pioneer Blvd., Ste. A
Artesia, CA 90701
(562) 402-0112

Frontier Heritage
18581 Pioneer Blvd.
Artesia, CA 90701
(562) 653-9396

Beauty Palace
18622 Pioneer Blvd.
Artesia, CA 90701
(562) 468-0306

Farm Fresh
18551 Pioneer Blvd.
Artesia, CA 90701
(562) 865-3191

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