Dahi Vada: Vada are lentil flour donuts, dahi is yoghurt. Awesome, though the yoghurt might have been more sour for the absolute Tamil purist.
Kancheepuram Idly: Idly are rice flour cakes served with the ubiquitous sambar (sour and delicious vegetable-stew gravy) and a coconut-based chutney. The kancheepuram variation is a weekends-only option coloured orange with carrots and topped with cashews. These are delicate and fluffier than most, wonderful.
Uthappam: The fat, pale rice-lentil pancake, here it is frisbee-sized with various vegetable options.
Dosa: A giant papery crisp pancake exceeding even the size of Oaxacan clayudas, commonly folded around a variety of fillings; most commonly mild potato masala. Onion masala dosa are superb, as are mysore masala dosa. Perhaps the finest are rava dosa made with wheat and rice, which have a lacier texture. All served with sambar and chutney. Dosa at Woodlands are the crispiest and tastiest I have had.
Pesarat: A very special Andhra dosa sometimes made with 100% aggressive moong dal (lentil) flour. At Woodlands, this is adulterated with rice but the crepe is still terrific. If you've had masala dosa before, try this one for a change, it contains nuts and is great dipped in yoghurt.
Channa Bhatura: At VIK Distributors in Berkeley my ignorant friends and I used to call this one "the giant puff". It's a stupendous gravity-defying deep friend bread, Woodlands' version is too large to stay inflated but the piping hot fried taste and dimpled surface are delightful with the lentil curry/channa.
Milakai Podi: Menu description is "A spicy mix of ingredients", but this South Indian secret weapon is a condiment containing chilli, spices, ground dhal and sesame oil. Goes well with anything on the menu, and is considered a diagnostic test for a true South Indian restaurant by the mavens. I loved Woodlands' version but it could have been more chilli-hot.
I'll certainly be returning to Woodlands, it's family-friendly, dirt-cheap and worth a long long drive. A big shout-out to Aravind and Ravi for expert advice!