I’m rejoicing! My ongoing global research on gourmet vegetarian food just got more exciting. In the past few months I’ve tracked the best of the best vegetarian in Japan, China, Russia, Austria and now in the capital of glamor and films…Los Angeles. I’m feeling like a million dollars as I report from a charmed frontier (Hollywood, where else?) where fantasy is blending into reality, and that too in it’s beloved and iconic landmarks. Both close to each other in the glamorously beautiful Beverly Hills. Every square inch of both bristles with star power. Both are the haunt of Hollywood and the global who’s who. Both are legends…
In this legendary landmark, glamor and luxury drips in every practical detail and human warmth marks every hi-tech comfort. The iconic Beverly Wilshire “Pretty Woman hotel” (the movie was filmed here) turns ninety at the close of this year yet continues to rock with a youthful rhythm and beat.
Star spangled Hollywood dines, meets and stays here, it is also officially on the National Register of Historic Places of the United States. Superstars such as Elvis Presley, Warren Beatty and Steve McQueen have all lived in this luxurious landmark. As does our very own Bollywood. Over the years, I’ve had salad with Priyanka Chopra, muesli with Anil Kapoor and steak with Javed Akhtar here. A favourite of Amitabh Bachchan, Shah Rukh Khan, Preity Zinta, Anil Kapoor, Hrithik Roshan, Karan Johar and others.
I love to soak in the cool sunshine in BLVD, their patio restaurant on the stunning sun-drenched, Rodeo drive designer boulevard to the world. I feast on the brilliant chefs freshest of seasonal California and watch the sun bronzed greek gods with their six pack abs and la-di-da babes with endless legs glide by. And today am doubly delighted: their brilliant new executive chef is not only our very own Samir Roonwal but he especially cooks up some delightful pure vegetarian dishes which sparkle with the Californian and Indian touch. Having worked in world famous kitchens and had the who’s who eating out of his hands Samir is now creating culinary magic here.
And it is here in BLVD, ( voted top “Power Tables” … Wall Street Journal) that I catch up with him as well as the dapper, high-energy Ben Trodd, who not only helms this landmark, but also spearheads nine other superb hotels. This discerning gourmet, well-travelled Vice President wears his success and his designer suit with equal panache. We trip out on the Crunchy okra smeared with the velvety dip, which makes for the perfect cocktail snack and I request chef Samir to share the recipe with us. After this the gorgeous Lauren Dutton Breen takes me up to show me Los Angeles very first “Glamping” site.
But that another exciting story…
P.S. Within this hotel itself is yet another superb restaurant CUT by America’s high-priest of cuisine Wolfgang Puck. It specialises in non-vegetarian food. A short stroll away is his landmark Spago, where I taste yet another veggie wow.
Chef Roonwal’s Crispy OKRA
2 cups: Okra Julienne
1 tsp: Toasted Cumin seeds
1 tsp: Chilli powder
1 tsp: Dry mango powder
1/2 cup: Chickpea Flour
1 tsp: Onion Seeds
1/2 tsp: Turmeric powder
Salt to taste
Wash okra well, dry them out completely and Julienne them.
Add all the dry spice powders and seeds, along with salt, to the okra.
Toss them well till incorporated and set it down for 5 mins.
Then sprinkle chickpea flour on top (start with a few tbsps). Mix them well. Add a few tsps water so the okra gets coated with the flour.
Deep fry them in oil. Serve hot.
Ingredient: Julienne Okra, Spiced Chickpea Flour, Dry Mango Powder
Garnish: Pomegranate Seeds Fresh, Mustard Flower, Micro Cilantro
He has recently received his own star on the Hollywood walk of fame. So when this superstar celebrity chef, restaurateur, and occasional actor, Wolfgang Puck takes three hours off his busy schedule to lunch with me its celebration time. We do so in his three decades old landmark Spago which continues to play host to the who’s who of the world, to Oscar premieres restaurants and more. Wolfgangs catering services, cookbooks and licensed products are in great demand. We chat about his 27 (and counting) restaurants around the world and I trip out on the outstanding vegetarian tasting menu. Though Wolfgang Puck is single handedly responsible to introduce gourmet pizzas to the world and his signature dish at his original restaurant, Spago, is House Smoked Salmon Pizza, he continues to introduce flavours from around the world.
Today, his brilliant young chef Tetsuya cooks up an amazing pumpkin baked in salt, tangy sweet plaintain salad served in a half coconut, a parmesan marshmallow and beetroot cookie flag off our multi-course vegetarian lunch which ends with a light and bright melon dessert. And in Wolfgang Pucks Hollywood flagship restaurant in Los Angeles, their Japanese chef cooks up the most deliciously creamy (hold your breath) baingan bharta. And my joy comes full circle.
Whoa! A gourmet pure vegetarian and vegan menu in Hollywood Roosevelt, the very heart of Hollywood itself. Here, Hollywood history lives, breathes and dazzles. It was here that the first Oscars were held in 1927, it has the “Hollywood Walk of Fame” at it’s feet and is within air kissing distance of the iconic “Dolby Theatre” where the Oscars are held. Marilyn Monroe lived here, by this poolside. It is right here that along with Andrea Escobar, I get a taste of the brilliant chef Josh Eden’s vegan creations (including the bagel and lox made of carrots and tofu). Having opened over 30 restaurants around the world Chef Eden is all set to add this delicious vegetarian, vegan dimension here. Don Jacinto who helms this iconic landmark ensures that all normal people are treated like movie stars and movie stars like normal people. Therein lies the magic!
I’m on a foodie pilgrimage… from Lima (the rocking capital of Peruvian cuisine) to Machu Picchu (citadel of the ancient Incas) to Mexico city (Latin Americas restaurant awards as jury) and now in Los Angeles (the glamour and film capital of the world). Here I dine in three landmark symbols of Hollywood. Wolfgang Pucks Spago (superb) Chateau Marmont (pedestrian food) and the crowning glory is the dinner at the all new art-deco BLVD, the ultimate winner of a symbol of Hollywood dining, which bristles with starpower and the brilliant French chef Thomas Bellec’s Mediterranean magic with Californian produce. Voted top “Power Tables” … Wall Street Journal, ironically enough it is in BLVD that I’ve had salad with Priyanka Chopra, muesli with Anil Kapoor and steak with Javed Akhtar. Today I dine with Super achiever Sunil Perkash ( producer of Hollywood Blockbusters, including SALT with Angelina Jolie and Enchanted with Amy Adams.) This Stanford graduate, gourmet at large also cooks up delicious biryani. Also a Stanford alumni, the talented Scriptwriter Anjali Vithayathil’s is currently working on another western with Sunil. Joining us, is well-traveled gourmet, the dapper Ben Trodd, who has led many a hotel to win awards and spearheads, Beverly Wilshire, the “pretty woman hotel” and iconic Hollywood landmark.
P.S My starpower dining continues,thanks to Michalene my foodeditor friend of Robb Report, we’ve just got a table at the mega-celebrity chef Curtis Stone’s three month old “Gwen” . Should you need information about LA restaurants, please instagram, tweet or mail me at email@example.com
PASSION FOR PASTRY
Why would I, a dyed in the drool foodie be doing here in Los Angeles’ famed fashionable Rodeo Drive? This world famous glamorous designer boulevard continues to be the crowning shopping experience. Globally renowned for it’s luxurious high fashion, Los Angeles’ Rodeo Drive magnetizes the rich and the famous with its super luxurious clothes, bags, shoes and jewelery in it’s super elegant stores. But in my view, None of that can compare with the luxurious patisserie that is igniting my passion. And this is what brings me here again and again.
Celebrations continue in Los Angeles, the city of angels. Dining in dazzling Hollywood’s glamor restaurant, the iconic Spago (a known celeb magnet since the 80s where Oscar parties are held) is a celebration in itself. The down to earth genius, Wolfgang Puck’s restaurant has been on Americas top ten list for three decades. It is here along with the lovely Angelino Pia Davis, that we are celebrating her mother Meher Davis’s birthday along with Firoza Moos. For the past 14 years, these two healers extraordinaire have been coming to Los Angeles’ cutting edge allergy eliminating research institute to upgrade their healing skills.
Whoa! What energy! Aamchi Mumbai is rocking with youth and energetic bars and nightplaces…from Colaba (Colaba Social) through Parel (PDT) to Andheri (Boveda). Before leaving for Los Angeles, I visited each of these new arrivals. Thumbs up to the infusion of youthful energy.
Boveda in Andheri is not only for the young nightbirds but is also set up by two 24 year olds and has an equally young chef.
The sprawling 2,500 sq feet space with it’s suspended retro bulbs, wooden crates for lamp shades exposed brick walls give it an industrial look. A long dramatically lit-up bar and an outdoor patio complete the décor.
FOOD DRINKS AND GIGS
43 starters and 6 mains. Dinner is obviously not what you go there for. Plenty of drinks and gigs is what you do go for…there is no entry or cover charge. DJ s (Arjun Wagle Ma Faiza, Ankytrixx, Sanjay Dutta) artists ( Whirling Kalapas, Nikhil D’zouza etc) rock the place..
Ask for the robustly spiced, tossed spiced mushroom jalapeno, the deepfried tasty veg croquette plump with paneer and spinach. Enjoy the dominant paprika flavor of the spiced chicken. I particularly liked the smoked haloumi cheese on the American pizza. Desserts were woefully lacking, the chocolate ganache tart was good but not the greatest.The must try signature Bóveda cocktails – BVD, Spiked Old Fashion, Melon Ball and The Green Beast.
More maincourses are definitely needed. And some of the dishes on the menu, like the chorizo prawn stew with pao, the Madras curry chicken with rice lack the zing and don’t pass muster. Ditto for the halumi potato mushroom butter garlic starter. More desserts please!
Open only in the evening, this fairly new Andheri arrival is already rocking. Boveda (“vault” in Spanish) doesn’t mean you go looking for Spanish food (there are a few dishes). Don’t go for looking for dinner either, do go for a great night out (plenty of action) cocktails, well-plated starters (please see photo) and a lusty, young vibe. Rock on!
BOVEDA G04, Morya Landmark One, Plot B-25, Off New Link Road, Oshiwara Village, Andheri (West). 67080858/59
Rs 1800 for two without alcohol
Open 6.30pm to 1am
RATING FOOD 3.5 SERVICE 3.5 DÉCOR 3.5
A TASTE OF HOLLYWOOD
Hot, hotter and haute. Newest to the iconic legendary Los Angeles restaurants… I am eating non-stop (guided by my friend, the LA Times food critic, Irene Verbila). Here reality is more exciting than fantasy. See the accompanying photo and you’ll know what I mean. Long necked swans glide gently past
Wolfgang Puck’s (America’s uncrowned King of chefs) restaurant as his multi-talented executive chef Hugo Bolanos conjures up the most exciting Californian produce driven dishes. Here in Belair, amid the serene, the worlds most romantic 12 acres of lush green paradise, Hollywood legends like Grace Kelly , Marilyn Monroe have lived and dined for over 5 decades. Even today this romantic haven is full of stars lounging in the Californian cool sunshine.
Here’s the hottest new three month old restaurant “Flores and ladies gunboat society” (Southern American fare to kill for). Mario Batalli’s “Pizzeria Mozza” the century old, open 24 hours “Pacific dining car”remain favorites . Quite the opposite is Jose Andres cutting edge “Bazar” as good as ever. Ive just received the most precious courier (from Napa valley) the of the most luscious peaches and pluots from the worlds most legendary fruit grower “Frog Hollow farm”. All thanks to our very own globetrotting gourmet and finance whiz Arjun Divecha. Meanwhile the swans are gliding gently as I savor Wolfgang Puck’s signature steak over sundaybrunch and hey! Lionel Richie is on my neighboring table. I have stars in my eyes…and hey waiter is that a star in my soup?
PS Should you need more info on LA eateries please firstname.lastname@example.org FB, instagram, twitter @rashmiudaysingh
“Ireland se aaya mere dost, dost ko salaam karo”. A couple of months ago, our very own rocking Irish House (the largest one yet) set up in Andheri. More than a year ago, the first of these Irish triplets was born in Phoenix Mills, followed by Kala Ghoda. Ive eaten and “happy houred” at all, also given a thumbs up verdict as we did in our latest Andheri checkout. Richard Koszarek is famous for his steaks, pork chops and beans, while Amrita’s mutton pickle is legendary.
The well-traveled foodie couple Amrita and Richard Koszarek not only spend a lot of time in London but Richard particularly enjoys the pubs there. They say Yes! to The Irish House.
Everything in this predictably themed, wooden-decored space is larger than life; from the expansive, high-ceilinged hall to the TV screens. Brick walls with trademark Irish house posters (take time to read them Beer Ladder, the Whisky Wall, Beer Kegsand thePost Box, Community tables…you name it.
FOOD & DRINK
Large (that word again) portions of deep fried fare (be it the blistering chilli poppers oozing cheese, or the fleshy mushrooms crunchy with pine nuts) is tasty. On recommendations from (@mihirsagar @dina_bshah @harpr iya_kohli
@abbas_974@thebombayfoodie) I try the Chicken tacosBeer Can Chicken cordon bleu and Grande nachos, pail of Popcorn et al . Chicken tenders are better in Kala Ghoda but otherwise all the rest of the fare satisfies.Well-stocked bar, with 42 types of beer from across the globe (draught beer is served in Kegs & Towers) Richard recommends the Erdinger wheat beer and Stella Artois. Try the innovative cocktails (Irish Trash Can, Irish Car Bomb)
The oven was not working the night we were there so Richard couldn’t get his Steak ‘n Kidney Pie. Too many deepfried, overdone starters. The large wedge of oversweet Irish Chocolate Torte and the Kahlua Mousse were avoidable.
Packed, bustling and vibrant…Ive checked out all three Irish Houses at different times of day and night.Each time, I found that when the high-ceilinged space is sufficiently crowded, it has a lived-in, age-softened feel.
And when most of the generously portioned dishes appealingly complement the atmosphere, it hits the sweet spot. No gourmet flashes, it’s mostly a mix of pub stalwarts comfort foods at comforting prices. Happy hours ( 5 to 8pm ) add to the happiness. Want a cheery, beery, noisy time ? (age no bar) this way please !
The Irish House, 1st floor, Fun Republic, Opp. new link Road, Andheri (West) 61046161
Open, 12 noon – 1am
RATING FOOD 3.5 SERVICE 3.5 DÉCOR 4
Meal for 2: Rs 2000
A TASTE OF EMMYCITEMENT
I’m eating and drinking Emmycitement…er excitement. Here, in Hollywood, this glamorous land of eternal sunshine, the air is so thick with excitement over the high-voltage Emmy awards that I could slice it and pop it into my cocktail glass (which I do too). And its evident through all my eatingsbout (from the Voltaggio brother’s “Ink” Nobu’s first ever restaurant “Matsuhisa” to the king of chefs Wolfgang Puck’s “Spago). But it’s in the iconic rockstar “Sunset Marquis” where for over 50 years not only have Emmy, Grammy, Oscar winners, legends (including our very own Bachchan family) stayed but their bar manager and actor Tony Nuncio has been making waves in Hollywood with his latest creation of the cognac based cocktail “Breaking Dad”. Not only does it celebrate the Emmy winner of 2013 of the same name but also George Rosenthal’s love for cars and his son. Bacon and seasalt popcorn compliment the drink and Im excited to be in Los Angeles on the night of the Emmy awards!
P.S. Ive been overwhelmed and overjoyed by your response via instagram posts to my request to #dinewithrashmi. Im so sorry that Ive been away so long and unable to keep my promise. Will surely do so as soon as Im back.
It is here in this sundrenched glamorous city that I get my first taste of Rockstar food (literally too).
For the past 50 years, Sunset Marquis has been the secret hideaway for actors, writers, artists, filmmakers, supermodels, restaurateurs, billionaire entrepreneurs and rock stars.
Interestingly, the stories of the Sunset Marquis and the history of rock ’n’ roll are inextricably intertwined. Several bands debuted in the bar here, The Doors to Led Zeppelin. Neil Diamond ( used to perform by the pool to pay his tab) to Elton John, Bruce Springsteen, George Clooney, Jennifer Aniston and many other regulars here.
BOLLYWOOD TO HOLLYWOOD
Amitabh Bachchan, Abhishek and Aishwarya Bachchan have stayed here and enjoyed not only the place but also the food. Moreover, it is the worlds only hotel which has a state of the art recording studio where many Grammy-winning songs have been recorded. Madonna has recorded here so has Elton John (to name a few). It is here that the winners of “American Idol” stay for months and even as I eat the most unique “cauliflower steak” Michael Bolton strolls past in the 3.5 acres of Mediterranean oasis tucked away on a hill just off The Sunset Strip.
Guarding these superstar’s “peace and privacy” for over 23 years is the dapper and dynamic Rod Gruendyke who is so passionate about his work that he started working as a manager of travel lodge, when he was 15 years old. Since then he has not only launched several prestigious hotels but continues to redefine hospitality. He recounts how actor Kevin Costner bumped into the Bachchans and concluded a deal without having to go to India. Interestingly Rod is also a believer in Amma, the hugging saint and has a long-standing affinity for India.
TASTY AND HEALTHY
Taking care of the beautiful people’s tastebuds and balancing it with their health and fitness needs is
the brilliant Chef Roger Eggleston. He believes in appreciating what the earth gives us, to never stop learning and using the braising technique, of searing and then cooking in a liquid. The trick is to keep the temperature
“low and slow” he points out. To intensify the flavor, he uses vegetable stock but adds apple to it. He shares his recipe…
- 4 Cauliflower steaks cut 1 inch thick. Make sure to leave some as the stem to hold it together
- Vegetable stock
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- Sprig of thyme
- 4 cloves of garlic
Season the cauliflower with salt. Heat a heavy pan with some vegetable oil just until smoking. Add the steaks and sear them until a nice color forms. Flip them over; add just enough vegetable stock just to come up ½ way on the steaks. Add the garlic and thyme and bring up to a simmer. Place the pan in the oven and lightly braise just until tender: about 15 minutes. When done, remove from the liquid.
Garnish· Corn grilled on the cobb and then cut off· Cleaned morel mushrooms, lightly braised just as the cauliflower steaks· 1 tsp butter· Sliced chives· Baby fennel shave thin and placed in ice water· Raw purple cauliflower· Garlic blossoms
Heat the morel mushrooms up with some of their braising liquid, add the charred corn and finish with a little butter to glaze the vegetables. Season with salt and finish with the sliced chives
You can make a Truffled Yogurt by
Whisking 4 egg yolks into yoghurt. mustard, wine, canola oil,
squeezed lemon juice
- Spoon about 2 tbsp of the truffle yogurt onto the center of each plate· Place one cauliflower steak on top of the yogurt
- Spoon the vegetable mix over the cauliflower steaks· Using a micro plane, grate the purple cauliflower all over the plate· Garnish with the shaved fennel and garlic blossoms
Enjoy! keep rocking!