India Plaza in Tempe: What We Bought, What We Skipped, and What We're Still Lusting Over

The Spot: India Plaza

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What We Bought: Most people stop at India Plaza to visit The Dhaba restaurant. However, the plaza's market is also a great place to go for exotic ingredients to spice up your home cooking. One of the best deals in the store is for ghee, a clarified butter often thought to have medicinal uses. It also is pretty expensive -- if stocked at all -- in American supermarkets. We also love the chaat and sweets selection, with freshly made veggie samosas ready around the clock for under $2.

Probably the weirdest reason we love India Plaza's market is the translation from Hindi to English on most items. Little things like learning jeera is cumin and dal is lentils (okay, we did already know that one), makes ordering from Dhaba's menu easier since we finally actually know what we're getting.

What We Skipped: It seems every time we write about a market, we either praise its produce selection or demand more. This time, we're not overwhelmed and we're not underwhelmed. The standard veggie selection was almost run-of-the-mill, which we didn't expect from an ethnic food bodega. We can buy these basics anywhere, so we'll just skip them this time.

Conversely, we definitely wouldn't consider their incense options typical in any way. While the plaza offered pleasant lavender and sandalwood scents, the selection also unnervingly included "poison" and "opium." We like a little danger with our meditation, but poison? Really?

What We're Still Lusting Over: Beautiful copper cookware and serving dishes, paneer cheese and pistachio almond ice cream pops were all left behind this week because of their steep prices. Does pricing ice cream at $10 make us want it more? Maybe and probably, but we still can't justify forking over the cash for it. While we might be back for those items in the future, we're definitely going to drop back in for the Dhaba cooking classes, which teach Indian cooking in five sessions for $159 or $39 for a single class. Sessions are available beginning in June, August, and October.

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