Pittsburgh SV Temple Canteen Review
Venkateswara Temple Canteen1230 South McCully Dr
Penn Hills, PA 15235
10:00 AM - 8:00 PM
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SV Temple Canteen: Close Encounter & Infinite Blessings of Sri Venkateswara!
There won't be a fraction of a second before Tirumala Hills at Tirupati ceases to cross our memories when we think about Lord Balaji!
Apart from the few seconds that we get a glimpse of the deity, we also (at least for me) can't forget the Khaki Biddas with lathis yearning to ride our backsides like Zorro distracting us from the actual purpose of the visit to the Seven Hills.
I did once entirely miss seeing the deity there by being shoved among the crowd. Being totally confused, by the time I realized that I missed the deity it was too late. While I successfully managed to get my derriere spared, that came at a huge cost however. I couldn't go back in the line and see the deity.
If there is any place where you can, without any sort of pressure, experience the closest presence of this deity, it is Sri Venkateswara Temple at Pittsburgh, PA!
Graceful Priest!It was past pooja time, I guess, when I arrived at the temple. There weren't too many people.
When I got into the main hall after passing the deity of Lord Ganesh outside, I noticed the priest was relaxing with no people around. When I asked him if I could go in to see the main deity, he enthusiastically leaped up on his feet and took me in and helped me have a very close darshan treating me with some raisins, almonds and a banana. I was just inches outside of the priest's zone that barely made a difference.
By that time, a few people caught up with me and once again he cheerfully did the same routine.
I had been here a few times before but hardly paid attention that there was a canteen inside the main entrance.
S.V. Temple "sound silent" Canteen ReviewWhen I came out to the main entrance hall, it stretched on a long way further (with a place to leave our shoes) with an auditorium that was locked and stretched even further into a canteen.
There were hardly any personnel. It was soundly asleep :(. No wonder I didn't notice it in the first place.
However, the canteen was clean and tidy. So the pickle that was left in the open didn't bother me too much (see the below picture).
It looks like there are five items along with Mixture and Sweet Boondi.
Unfortunately, when I went into the canteen they had no Sambar Rice or Pongal or Upma.
Each box costs $2:00.
You could either choose to buy tokens in the main counter - the first door inside the main entrance (they'll let you in once you press a buzzer and then into the temple). OR you could choose to drop the dollar bills at the canteen in a slot.
Appropriate PongalI had tasted Pongal here inside the temple and was quite surprised with the taste even though I am not a huge fan of pongal. I guess it had to do with the right amount of black peppercorn neither too excessive nor less.
It was smooth and I didn't feel too much ghee which was okay with me.
It was not too warm as it was sitting out. I wish they had more cashews.
Inside the canteen there were two items.
Addictive Tamarind RiceThe tamarind rice was so good that each morsel made me crave even more!
Not only that it had a pleasing color, but it also had a nice taste and not too greasy.
The combination of peanuts and split lentils made this tangy regular temple entrée even more delicious!
Divinely Spicy Yoghurt RiceOMG!
I have never completed a full bowl of yoghurt except if it's in home.
Initially I thought "alright I'll have two or three more morsels and quit it".
Despite its watery texture the rice was quite distinguishable.
I took one spoon - it was spicy with its distinct amount of chillis. I don't remember crunching ginger and enjoying it this much. The after-taste got into me.
With the right combo of mustard seeds, ginger, chillis and cilantro that after two bites � I literally gorged on it and emptied this cool dish.
MixtureNothing to beat this amazing snack to take back home!
It was very crispy and yummy and the presence of roasted cashew in it was a surprise treat!
Sweet BoondiSince I don't like the addition of clove in sweet Boondi, I took it back home.
It didn't take too long for these squishy little sweet balls to disappear fast
S.V. Temple RatingOn the flip side, there could be some clear directions in the canteen.
There were some people who were confused if the food that was left there was free.
The buzzer system to get into the temple irritated me. We will have to wait for somebody to hit a switch so the door opens. If there is no one then you might end up waiting.
The Temple is located at S McCully Dr, Penn Hills, PA. As soon as you cross the second small tunnel in the vicinity of that road splitting in two, there would be a very small, thin left turn. It's very easy to miss that exact turn. I missed it on my first visit.
The GPS doesn't recognize Penn Hills as a fully digitized city yet other than Pittsburgh.
I heard somebody complaining about the GPS misdirection to the temple security personnel as to why the temple org. hasn't updated it yet. That person was a little upset.
But if you miss it, there is nothing to worry about unless you're "super" superstitious. All you need to do is to take a small detour through another street to reach that particular turn.
Other than a few irritations, I would heartily recommend S.V. Temple, Penn Hills (Pittsburgh) and its all-vegetarian canteen for a visit. - © PittsburghIndia.com
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