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Anu

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  1. Anu

    Indo-French Cuisine

    I was just in Pondicherry in January and checked out both Le Club and Rendez-vous as I was really excited about the prospect of checking out the potential of Indo-french cusine as I worked at Tabla for a year. I was not too impressed by either. They definetly specialize in the the very classic French and haven't really expanded or incorporated Indian elements into their menu's. The Neemrana group has opened up a small boutique hotel there which is charming but again, their restaurant was not impressive. The pastry shop mentioned above was great though - most authentic french bread I've had in India thus far and the pain au chocolat was excellant.
  2. Hi, I'm going to be in Paris for two nights. The first I will be dining with my family and friends and am looking for something in the price range of Le Regelade or L'Epi Dupin - preferably something new that I haven't tried. The second night I will be with my family and wanted something more on the level of Lassarre. A friend recommended Hiramatsu. Any thoughts from anyone? Thanks Anu
  3. Monica - Judging from the cover of last weeks Time Out - and the recent coverage of Indian culture in the press and the growing number of Indian restaurants in NY it seems like it is definelty happening... I know that at a recent Restaurant/Hotel Trend Panel - Indian food was cited by Michael Whiteman and Rozanne Gold as one of the top 10 trends for this year.
  4. Monica - Subway in India is great - They have amazing selection -fresh breads and even choices like Hummus and Falefel that aren't available here. McD"s in India I"m not such a fan of except their spicy fries...
  5. PS - Does anyone know how long these will last refridgerated? I just brought some back from Paris yesterday but was curious about how long they would be tasty for....
  6. Great Piece Monica! Having been back to Delhi as well during Christmas - the variety and choice available in just North Indian food never fails to astound me - There are SO many snacks and lesser known food items available, and you did an excellent job of describing the adventure, taste sensations and thrill of a new food find! I can't wait to go back - Will definlety give you my top picks - my parents have been on an aloo parantha mission - determined to find the best paranthas in Delhi - will keep you updated on their finds!
  7. In case you are looking for other amazing French restaurants in India, in Goa there is an amazing place called Le Restaurant. I highly recommend it, its run by three Frenchmen who spend half of the year in France and half of the year in Goa. They only serve dinner and the menu changes daily - the food is delicous and its a real fusion of the fresh produce and seafood of Goa, with French influence and Indian spices. The food is great and the ambience is even better. I went a couple of years ago so I'm not sure if its open but it was the best "French" food I've had in India - The other great place is in the Taj in Delhi called the Orient Express I believe.
  8. I could also contribute a recipe for his chocolate macaroons if anyone's interested - He stopped by the restaurant I worked at this summer...Amazing to watch him in action - According to him, we had to wait at least a day to try his delicious creations...
  9. When I think of Indian-American cuisine, I definelty think of what I saw at Tabla...When I worked in the kitchen, it was just amazing to see the familarity with Indian spices being used in such creative ways...I completely feel like there is so much complexity to Indian cusine - which I love - but also can be played around with and molded to create a cusine which truly is Indian American. And as for those people who don't approve of fusion cuisine - I feel like it is similar to what happens when you have the child of a mixed marriage couple - either the child is amazing looking, or has gotten the worst of both parents...You take your chances...similar to fusion cusine its all an experiment...I think that in any household its impossible to get "pure" cuisine, in this day and age - everything is subletly influenced by other cultures...
  10. Wow Suvir, that menu sounds amazing...But I've never tried Makhanee kee Kheer...I'm attending a potluck and making Aarchari Bangaan and Gagar Ka Halva...Would love to hear more about the kheer though, thats one of my favorites!
  11. Anu

    Bao Noodles

    I acutally hesitated before putting this on and it was Monica who convinced me...I've done a couple of restaurant reviews for my college alumni newsletter and am working on two articles based on my experince both backpacking in South east Asia for two months as well as working at a cooking school and restaurant in France...As for the food and rest consulting - I'm working on it - I also run my own business so things are a little crazy right now - but if you have any suggestions I"m always open Anil - vietnam was amazing! Go!
  12. Anu

    Bao Noodles

    Vietnam – Hot jungles, fragrant fruits, fields of rice, steaming bowls of sweet and spicy sauces… All sights, scents, and images that come to mind after three weeks traversing the country from North to South this spring. Traditionally associated with the controversial war of the 70’s, this South Asian ex-colony rapidly disappeared from the American radar after the end of the War. However, in recent years, Vietnamese food as a mainstream cuisine is slowly approaching the forefront of the urban American palate, as an explosion of restaurants, both Vietnamese and French Vietnamese, appear across the nation, notably in larger cities with immigrant populations. However, for the most part, there is no mistaking these new and trendy restaurants with your local Chinese takeout. Minimalist décor, lounge music, sexy cocktails and an urban scene, are identifying features evoking a beautiful melding of French influence in style, and Vietnamese tastes. To be fair, I can say that my relative familiarity of the cuisine after traveling in Vietnam, in combination with my self proclaimed obsession with food, made me quite a critical eye and tongue to any Vietnamese dining establishment in the city. I wanted my pho to be perfect, my summer rolls to be filled with fresh herbs and perfectly seasoned meat – my fish to be grilled with a mouthwatering nam pla. On a recent trip to Vietnam , I not only went to the obligatory museums, galleries, tourist spots, but paid equal if not more importance to exploring and understanding what makes up the essence of Vietnamese cuisine. Where in New York would one find banana flower salad? Not in your local Saigon Grill, that’s for sure. For a budding foodie like myself, many enjoyable afternoons were spent roaming the market stalls in search of the perfect summer rolls, evening meals taken squatting on low stools with local shopkeepers slurping away bowls of pho, sharing an appreciation of the quintessentially simple but basic Vietnamese meal. Another obsession became inspecting fruit seller stands on my quest to find the most luscious, plump and juicy mangosteen ever – truly a fruit of the gods - a fragrant combination of scents and flavors of lychee and rose. I marveled at the spiciness of Northern cuisine and adored the incorporation of the fresh vegetables and fruits from the Mekong Delta into Southern cuisine. Upon returning back to NY, I was at a loss –where could I eat that would even come close to replicating the culinary delights, I sampled on a daily basis on my trip. I was about to find out. Bao Noodles – the little sister of Bao 111 opened recently, tucked away in no mans land, on 2nd Ave between 22nd and 23rd St, almost transported me back – almost. Granted the lounge music and hip NY’ers were not entirely part of the authentic experience, however my taste buds were almost convinced otherwise. Bao opened just last month following in the footsteps of its successful older sister Bao 111. With its welcoming wooden tables, lovely Vietnamese artwork, inviting bar and authentic cuisine; the new Bao uses many of the same tricks as 111 to earn credit for its work. Starting with the sexy and enticing cocktail menu, one is convinced to stay - linger over an exotic cocktail such as the Kumquat Martini with Stoli Vanilla, Cointreau and orange juice , or slowly sip a Mekong Fizz, with plum sake, lychee’s and champagne, or enjoy the fresh berry flavor of blackberry infused sake in a Bonsai Berry. After a healthy sampling of the alcholic options, my dining companion and I decided we were ready to test out the menu -divided into two options – family style dining or a la carte. Both options offer advantages; each suitable based on hunger levels, size of groups etc. The family style option can be attractive for some, where for the modest price of $20, each member of your group shares a total of four dishes. Reflecting the attention to regional cuisine, one can choose between dining Mekong River Style, Hanoi Style, Saigon Style or Hue style. A sampling of side dishes ranging from Sautéed bean sprouts with garlic chives to braised pork belly, all $5 and under can be added to complement the main menu. Opting for the a la carte is the option #2. My dining companion and I choose this route and started with the Beef Salad on a bed of watercress and Grilled Eggplant with Shrimp and Crabmeat suggested by our bartender. Perfectly spiced andlightly grilled, the simplicity of the beef salad won me over in a second. My companion complained about the lack of chili, but in Vietnamese food, chili is less of a focal flavor and more of an addition. The eggplant salad on the other hand, was definitely a tad too bland for me with large unwieldy pieces and not enough crab or shrimp. For those sticking to the classics, both summer and spring rolls rate amongst some of the best I’ve had in the city. Shrimp paste on sugar cane is another unusual option. Pho, the classic Vietnamese noodles in oxtail soup, turned up in various forms, topped with rare beef rounds, cooked with crab meet, and mixed into a beef and pork stew. Credit goes to diversifying past the simple and redundant versions though we choose to pass on the soup. Instead, we opted for an excellent fish dish that I couldn’t help but order after seeing a beautiful picture in a recent write up – Crispy Whole Snapper with Tamarind Sauce or Ca chien sort me – a whole fish, separated into lightly fried bite size pieces, crisped on the outside and melting on the inside, artfully arranged on top of the frame of leaping fish – surrounded by a sauce of sweet and sour goodness – truly a culinary masterpiece. Water spinach with garlic (Rau muong xao toi) provided the ideal companion and I was in heaven. Sautéed Beef in Coconut Curry Sauce, Salt and Pepper Deep Fried Calamari were several other highly recommended options. With an overwhelming feeling of culinary satisfaction , I almosted lick my lips before even contemplating dessert. However, dessert at Bao is yet to be established on the menu, with the daily special being sold out by the time we ordered. Satisfying my sweet tooth was the Vietnamese coffee, creamy and sweet, flavored traditionally with condensed milk. Prices at Bao are completely reasonable with the most expensive entrée – Mom’s Special Steamed Bass, pricing at a mere $17. Appetizers range between $5 - $7 and unlike many restaurants, one can order sides of chicken and various other meats and vegetables to complement the main meal. So how would one classify Bao Noodles in the spectrum of the ever-dynamic NY restaurant scene – A great place for dates – classy but comfortable ambiance – friendly staff and most importantly – the most authentic Vietnamese food on this side of the river. Discover Bao before it gets discovered…. Bao Noodles: 391 Second Avenue, btw 22nd and 23rdSt. (212) 725 7770. Subway: 6 to 23rd. Lunch Dinner, Average Main Course: $12.
  13. Personally, I've never really been a fan of yoga, as I can never concentrate and my mind is in a million different places. Bikram is different b/c its really intense, as a result of the heat and therefore you can't help but concentrate on what you are doing. Secondly, the heat allows you to attain positions that I never thought possible. Thirdly you sweat alot and for me, really has all over cleasnsing effect. But its not for everyone. Many of my friends think its too much. But its definelty worth a try...
  14. Monica I would definetly advocate oatmeal - what works for me is a bowl of oatmeal which I soak overnight in water or milk, with cinnamon and ground cardamom, almonds and nuts. In the morning I cook the mixture with one mashed banana and its scrumptious. Sometimes in the summer instead of cooking it, I will just add some milk, yoghurt or cottage cheese. Since I exercise in the morning, I need something that fills me up and I don't like a lot of sugar so this works perfectly. I also don't eat alot of carbs, but I count oatmeal more as fiber then as a white flour or white sugar carbohydrate. Yoga is also great...I do Bikram which makes is heated and its worked wonders
  15. I've tried both the frozen and semi cooked ones...They're alright...Nothing like home though. My parents also did some hunting for the perfect parantha in Delhi but weren't too impressed by what they found in the parantha walla ki gulle - very greasy - but i guess its difficult to compare with what you eat at home - kind of like homemade pizza versus your corner pizzeria - the corner one is probably good but really greasy whereas homemade is really good and you can control the grease factor...
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