“Auf Wiedersehen” for Now

For those who do not know German or have never watched Project Runway, auf wiedersehen means “goodbye” in German. Goodbye because, after much deliberation, I have decided to take a break from this food blog. Whether it’s permanent or temporary is to be determined but I am letting you know not to look out for new posts from me. Enjoy and savor the ones I’ve already posted because they’re actually pretty good. And over the last almost 2 1/2 years, I’ve put up some great recipes and restaurant suggestions on this site. So use them wisely to impress your family and friends.

As for what’s next, I will be making occasional contributions to the blog on Gtrot, a social travel planning site that you should check out today, tomorrow and every day thereafter.

Thanks for reading! xoxo

 

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Dhaba: A Truck Stop in a Hotel

A few weeks ago, which now sort of feels like a few months ago, I finally made my way to a place I’ve been longing to visit for some time now: India! Woot woot! And to top it off, I went for a wedding. It was an amazing experience to attend this event, witness an awesome couple get married and get my party on, Punjabi-style (though the wedding was not in Punjab but rather in Rajasthan with lots of Punjabis in attendance).

During my trip, there was lots of wedding eating (eating at the Mehndi, the Sangeet, after the ceremony, at the reception, etc.) but I did manage to take some pictures of a family dinner at Dhaba, a fun restaurant located in The Claridges hotel in New Delhi. Named after the local restaurants and truck stops that dot the highways of India and Pakistan, Dhaba is a slightly more upscale version of its origin but with a North Indian menu that feels just as grounded. They also have great dinnerware.

Dhaba's Dinnerware at The Claridges Hotel

To start, we munched on raw onions seasoned with chili powder. As a warning, do not eat this on a date. If you don’t care what your breath smells like, munch away. It’s an interesting feeling to eat raw onions. I can’t say I have done much raw onion eating prior to this but I was glad to have gone with the flow. Afterwards, we had a mix of appetizers, including mutton seekh kebab, paneer, fish and this spicy potato cake that I do not know the name of but desperately wish I did. Everything was pretty spicy (the bride likes spice) and delicious.

Appetizers from Dhaba

Next were a series of entrees that seemed to flow continuously for about 15-20 minutes. Just when you thought you had everything, something else came out. Among the selection were some prawns, more paneer, a chicken curry, eggplant, daal, saag curry, naan, and basmati rice. I tried almost everything, my favorite being the saag curry, paneer (I rarely discriminate against cheese), daal and naan.

Entrees from Dhaba

Afterwards came dessert. Indian cuisine tends to have really sweet desserts, which is fine with me because I happen to have an insane sweet tooth. So when the kheer and gulab jamun came out, you better believe I dug right in. The kheer was not very sweet but, as expected, the gulab jamun was super sweet, thus they balanced each other out and made me a very happy diner.

Gulab Jamun and Kheer

And just when you thought it was over, I tried something I had never had before but have seen several times. It’s a breath freshener composed of various seeds, including fennel and anise. Some people who tried it did not like the taste but I actually found it to be pretty good. I would not give up my tic tacs for it, but I would eat it again.

Breath Freshener Mixture

Overall it was a very enjoyable meal full of good food, good wine and good family and friends. What more can you ask for?

Rating: Love

http://www.claridges.com/the-claridges-newdelhi/dining-daba

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Return to Kappacasein, Home of the Best Cheese Sandwich

Foodie friends,

Things have calmed down enough for me to share some details about my glorious return to Borough Market, where I was reunited with my beloved cheese sandwich.

A little background: I first came upon the Kappacasein cheese sandwich not long after I had moved to London. It was pretty hard to ignore, with a perpetually long line snaking away from its modest set-up and the smell of cheese clinging to you even as you walked away. It was only a matter of time before I succumbed and then declared the cheese sandwich the best of my life. Unfortunately, a few months and several trips to Borough later, there was a dispute between the people who ran the market and the vendors, leading to the removal of several food stalls, including the makers of the best cheese sandwich ever. Undeterred, I made the trek to Kappacasein’s Bermondsey location, which was not the most convenient but I was devoted. Then, I soon discovered toward the end of my time in London that Kappacasein had set up shop at the Real Food Market at the South Bank Centre, so of course I had to buy it every time I was in the area (which was often). And that was the situation when I left the UK.

Since I’ve been back in New York, Borough Market and Kappacasein have reconciled their differences, allowing Kappacasein to return to its cheesy glory every Thursday, Friday and Saturday. I happened to be passing through London on a Friday on my way to India and knew I had to have the sandwich again. So I landed at Heathrow, dropped my stuff off at a friend’s place and then hightailed it over to Borough Market. A few of the things I had missed were there, including the gourmet salt and butter man (his chive salted butter is on another level), the stalls that sell flavored olive oils and balsamic vinegars, the numerous pastry stands, the stall with the AMAZING basil pesto and sundried tomato pesto and all of the various cheese samples. Something I did not miss: the crowd! Even though it was cloudy and the middle of a Friday, Borough Market was packed as if it were Saturday at 1pm. Anyway, I just had to push through the crowd a bit more aggressively but I managed.

After picking up a few things here and there and sampling a few items (but not too many…had to save my appetite), I made my way over to the Kappacasein stand and picked up my £5 cheese sandwich.

The verdict: they still got it.

Toasted Cheese Sandwich

Rating: LOVE

http://www.kappacasein.com/

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Life After Top Chef

This just in — Top Chef is doing another spin-off! And unlike Top Chef: Just Desserts (which I want to enjoy, I really do! But…), this one already has me hooked. The new show will follow former cheftestants Jen Carroll, Richard Blais, Fabio Viviani and Spike Mendelsohn. Why am I excited about this? Well, I love Jen Carroll. She is a bada– chef. She got a little too cheeky in Top Chef All-Stars but I still love her. And then Richard won Top Chef All-Stars so I think it will be interesting to see how his life has changed since then. As for Fabio, he is always amusing and charming and Spike is pretty good himself. So all in all, it looks like it will be a good show! Get excited! More info here:

http://eater.com/archives/2012/04/04/life-after-top-chef-bravo-announces-a-new-series.php

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The Young Foodie Culture

I glimpsed this article on NYMag.com and felt the need to post it. I think it partly captures what I feel is applicable to so many 20 to 30 something (mostly transplant?) New Yorkers — our love of unapologetically unique, delicious and intoxicating food. While I’m not as hardcore as the woman in the story (sorry, no pickled lamb’s tongue yet), I can tell you that many of my friends and I love to dine out. It’s not just going somewhere and grabbing food. If that were the case, I’d go to any old chain restaurant. Rather, it’s an experience. It usually begins with “I’ve heard this place is so good…” or “we have to try here…” or “did you hear ______ opened up? Let’s add it to the list…” Does that sound slightly obnoxious and/or pretentious? Perhaps but it’s true. Also, thank goodness for being in a pedestrian-friendly city. Walking is your friend, my friends, especially with all this dining out.

Anyway, here is the article. Enjoy: http://nymag.com/restaurants/features/foodies-2012-4/

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Aaand I’m Back

Remember when I had a food blog? So do I!

Goodness, it’s been awhile since I’ve written on this thing (on this thing? in this thing? I don’t even know). At least it feels like awhile. I returned from my trip about 1 1/2 weeks ago and have been sorting out my life ever since. I’m still in the process of sorting but in the meantime, here’s a sneak peek of what’s to come:

Gulab Jamun and Kheer

Be back soon!

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Food Adventures in India

I’m writing this blog post from my iPhone in Jaipur, India! It’s been a great few days in India so far, aided by some great culinary experiences (and some sickness on the side). More posts from my travels to come when I return.

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