new york city

Red Carpet and Mango Dessert

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Here in the cacophonic and frenetic Big Apple, it’s our very own Indian mango which is being celebrated. And that too at the NYC premiere of  Dame Judi Dench’s superb film where she brilliantly plays the role of Queen Victoria (also a great gourmet). Post screening, superstar chef Vikas Khanna created the most amazing mango dessert topped with edible gold. His tribute to the king of fruits for the queen of acting. I tasted, photographed and couldn’t stop smiling.

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Grains of Magic

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Strange but true! Here in this frenetic, cacophonic New York city, I am not only getting rare insights into Indian grains and spices but doing so in a treasure trove spread over two floors. And our very own Indian superstar chef Vikas Khanna has been getting accolades for incorporating Grains in American cuisines.  Sharing his insights with me is award-winning Michelin starred chef, cookbook writer, filmmaker, humanitarian and  judge of MasterChef India. To top it all, the dashing and yet down to earth Vikas Khanna has  been hailed as the “sexiest chef alive” He combines a rare humility, knowledge and passion and I am blown off my feet when he guides me into his favourite New York hot spot.

We are at this iconic Kalustyans set up in 1944. The haunt of many s great chef. Here, he gives me taste of the finest black garlic pistachios, turmeric a sniff of the finest Iranian saffron of butterflypea and a round up of amazing rare grains. Though he works a lot with vendors in Kerala, Mumbai and Tamil Nadu to bring more organic grains to North America and to find creative ways to incorporate them into American diets.

He always tells people that our ancestors ate much better food than us. Organic, disciplined and balanced. The use of different types of grains and organizing a healthy eating around them is pure heaven for him and me. I had no idea that there was such a staggering number of grains and each had several sub-types. For instance Wheat includes Bulgar, Durum, Einkorn, Emmer, Farro, Kamut, Semolina, Spelt, Triticale. Rice (Red, Forbidden, White, Black) Corn (Flint, Dent, Waxy) Barley (Pot Barly, Pearl Barley) Sorghum (Johnson Grass, Broom-Corn) Millet (finger millet, foxtail millet, kodo millet, pearl millet, proso millet) and so on.

“I still remember the first time I entered Kalustyans. It was a much smaller store back then in 2001.” explains Vikas, “But was an eye opening experience, it was like being a kid in the candy store.”

He had come here to find fresh turmeric. It was not available then, but today it is. He has been a part of Kalustyan family since then. It could be buying new stuff or bringing chefs here or taking spices from here for chefs like Eric Ripert to Jean George’s to Daniel Boulud.

We both agree that spices are more precious than jewels. His latest research has been about Blossoms of spices and their evolution and metamorphosis through time. A lot like Vikas’s own fascinating journey…a boy born in Punjab with misaligned feet (not able to run until he was 13) and who learnt cooking  from his grandmother, came to America with no money at all and rose to be awarded and celebrated. And even today continues to be down to earth.

BARLEY AND ORANGE PUDHA

Vikas shared many a creative bread recipe with me, due to space constraint am able to print only one. Should you need more, please email rashmiudaysingh2017@gmail.com

A great tasting healthy bread made with whole barley flour, which is highly nutritious and recommended for a low-fat diet. Orange juice is added not only for a wonderful citrusy flavour but also because it helps to tenderise the dough.

1 cup barley flour

1 small onion, finely chopped

2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

1 orange, zested and juiced

1 teaspoon chilli powder

Salt to taste

6 tablespoons vegetable oil

Take the flour, onion, cilantro, orange zest, chilli powder and salt in a bowl. Gradually blend in the orange juice and mix well. Add a little water at a time to a smooth batter. Heat a non-stick pan over medium heat and smear the pan with 1 tablespoon oil. Spoon 1/4 of the batter into the pan and spread to it to even thickness. Cook for 2-3 minutes until crispy golden brown, then turn it over and drizzle a little oil around the edges. Continue to cook until the sides turn golden brown, about 1 minute. Repeat with remaining batter.

Serve hot.

MY MEGA FOODIE BLIND DATE IN NYC

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FOR BOX-2

Here it is. My ultimate-mega Foodie Blind date (please see photo). Ive been bonding with foodie-strangers over food in Mumbai, Dubai, LA, London, Paris but this date happened In NYC. thanks to instagram and the lovely  @therestaurantfairy (who I also met for the first time) I landed up in NYC’s newest, hottest, secret Atwood Kitchen and bar, which recreates old New York with a classical and ageless feel by Daniel Rieger, Evan Rosenberg. Here I chatted and ate  with @eatupnewyork @cheatdayeats @cy_eats @food.drunk @ogluttoness @realjayjay @restaurantfairy @thenewforkr @thesweetlifeoflina @womenwhowhiskey @chef_bradleyw@upspringpr Amid the natural brick, reclaimed wood and steampunk decor, we had superb handcrafted cocktails, tartares and NYCs best “mac n cheese”, what else did we do? Sip, snack, snap, eat, tweet, repeat.Would you like to join me on a foodie blind date in Mumbai and check out new eateries? Email rashmiudaysingh2015@gmail.com instagram, twitter @rashmiudaysingh

MY FOODIE BLIND DATE IN NYC

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for the box

My idea of Columbus-fun? Straight   from JFK (after a 24 hour journey) to a foodie blind date in Manhattan. All thanks to twitter and instagram. We meet at the moderately priced,Cookshop (10th Ave) and enjoy their robust and delicious meatballs, fish and chips fare (plenty for veggies) as we do the sensational desserts. It’s a treat to meet each one :“Mihir never sleeps Pathare”, user experience designer and home chef,  Renate Aller, well-known artist, Elaine Goldman, art collector and Phiroza Kothavala hotelier extraordinaire. The exceptionally gifted Chef Ashfer Biju of the iconic Pierre is the only one who Ive met before. We have a super-rollicking time, eating, tweeting, eating.  Please instagram, tweet (@rashmiudaysingh) and mail (Rashmiudaysingh2015@gmail.com)  your Value for money NYC recommendations … so that in the land of Columbus I can continue to discover and feel like Columbus too!

GOD IN New York City

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My Meal at Daniel Boulud’s Daniel

Pardon the blasphemy! I’m convinced that God lives in this adrenalin-fuelled dagger-shaped New York City. How else do I explain the  most divine of palate-pleasures on the street to my transcendental experiences in the greatest cathedrals of cuisine? I’ve been in NYC less than 30 hours and am already getting blown away by dish after dish’s  visual and gustatory starbursts. I write on my laptop from this sublime heaven of haute cuisine (also a shimmering Parthenon of pleasure ) – Daniel Boulud’s  Daniel, which has been crowned with 3 Michelin stars for the past 21 years and continues to reign supreme.

The ever smiling spectacularly brilliant Daniel’s   creative French 15 course menu dazzles, and pairing these with wines is NYC’s best sommelier, our very own Raj Vaidya (originally from Mumbai). My dinner companion Rahul Nair, NYC based foodie and screenwriter  obviously has food and films in his genes as his father Sameer Nair now heads up a leading mumbai film and TV production company.Last night’s Jean George’s champagne shrimp salad seduced at The Mark, and I had an exciting Lebanese lunch at Ilili thanks to the king of hospitality design Adam Tihany and his lovely wife Marnie.

Within the next five days I will have sniffed out NYCs  cheap and cheerful and worshipped at  many a haute temple. Please email Rashmiudaysingh@gmail.comtwitter instagram @rashmiudaysingh and I will share the good word with you. Amen!

Restaurant Review: Buddha Belly

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Diners at Buddha Belly
Diners at Buddha Belly

I am a devout follower of Lord Buddha and was hugely intrigued by the irreverent name of Peddar Road’s brand new “Buddha Belly” eatery. What  on earth could  Buddha’s belly possibly deliver? Nirvana. I hoped.

DÉCOR

Mish mash décor with sayings of Hippocrates.  Brillat savarin and GB Shaw, photos of skyscrapers plastered all over walls. begin to give a clue of what is to follow.Seriously small, it even squeezes in a low ceilinged mezzanine floor.  Malini Patel  and Rupal Himani (who love trying out new eateries) were lunching here. While one’s daughter Malaika  cooks brilliantly, the others  Husband Divyesh cooks exotic dishes .

FOOD

No two ways about it: affordable pricing. Average of Rs 125 for 4 pieces of dimsum and an array of steamed, fried, baked, panfried dimsum. ( okayish Khaosuey  the only main course) Well made and flaky baked dimsum filled with chicken came up tops,   Fried  chicken ball with a sticky.sweet filling was good,  the surprises ?  flavorsome  vegetarian parmesan spinach dimsum, the mixed veggie crystal one. Superb  mustard sauce and lemon grass sauces. Passable coconut mousse and nutella mousse.

MINUS POINTS

Parking is impossibl.No Chinese tea served here. But tasteless sticky rice,  clumpy Suimai. Lackluster Black bean chicken dimsun wrapped in cabbage and that Edamame truffle dimsum is a soggy, sans truffle pouch. Tough chicken and chive Gyoza.

No takeway boxes available. No alcohol.

MY POINT

An open all day, well-priced dimsum joint is definitely a great concept and for that alone Buddha Belly deserves kudos. However, it falters in execution, sometimes delivering  thick skinned wrappers, at other times lackluster fillings. I am hoping these are teething troubles and our Buddha will outgrow them.

Ketty House,  Near Vama, ,Pedder Road Ph  65651545

Open all day. Meal for 2: Rs 800

RATING FOOD 3 SERVICE 3.5 DÉCOR 3

 

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