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Archive for September, 2006

At the India Day Parade in Manhattan (my first) we got Indian food from the stalls that lined the tiny park (I wish I could be more specific but I don’t know which park it was… but it was between 26th and 23rd streets and bordering Broadway, I think). The parade was okay. I was kind of disappointed, because it was just a bunch of floats that were not very cool and a bunch of really thugged out Indian teenagers. Also, I didn’t know that we weren’t allowed to walk IN the parade… I thought when you went to a parade, you could participate in the marching, etc. Nope… you stand on the side and watch people who are not very excited about their role in the parade wave to you half heartedly from a float, or you watch uncles with shiny hair and shiny mustaches dance and clap… or you listen to people shout slogans…. yeah, anyway, this is not as important as the food, which we had plenty of…I got a mixed appetizer plate for $4, which had a variety of fried pieces. I generally don’t like eating Indian food out, because it mostly always sucks, because it all tastes the same. I’ve never had spectacular Indian food in a restaurant. Usually it’s typical, or a little below par. Anyway, here’s a picture of the fried feast:

pakora

Looks pretty spicy and oily, huh? The onion chutney was really yummy, and the pakoras (the darker brown pieces) were spinach pakoras and also crispy and tasty. The potato ones (yellow filling) did nothing for me. The giant pieces are stuffed and fried hot peppers. They also tasted very bland and chalky in my mouth (too much potato).

Now, too bad I don’t eat meat, or I could have tried some of this tandoori delight, which looks amaaazing:

boo

Tandoori food always looks so good. People need to make more vegetarian tandoori items, not just Paneer (which, btw, I only get when I’m in Bombay, and never in the US).

However, I did get some food that reminded me somewhat of Bombay… some Pav Bhaaji!! Except for the fact that it tasted nothing like Bombay Pav Bhaaji, where spicy bhaaji (vegetable dish and in this case, potato and tomato based) tops well buttered and grilled/toasted/fried bread, and then onions and lemon are piled on this lickable, sloppy mess, and you eat it all on a busy Bombay street, or on dirty Chowpatty Beach…that is real Pav Bhaaji. This Pav Bhaaji was pretty decent, even if it was only because of the memories it conjured up…

pav

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This lovely item is a Thai spring roll in apricot sauce. The sad part is that the spring roll had shrimp, so after one bite, I stopped eating it. But the sauce was excellent.

yummy spring roll (but it had shrimp)

I also tried vegetarian duck at this restaurant. Vegetarian duck is so good because it’s not rubbery like normal tofu or soft and squishy, (like tofu, and also how I imagine fish to taste). It has this ribbed texture and nice chewy, salty taste. My dining partner told me it tasted like real duck. Although I am a vegetarian, I like eating fake duck because it tastes so good! And affirms my belief that I don’t need to eat meat to have a full culinary experience… though Kobe beef sounds pretty delicious (although I’ve never had real beef). The duck was in this flavorful, thin brown sauce. Here, you can see a picture:

duck

This Thai food was eaten in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, on the corner of Kent & Manhattan (I can’t remember the restaurant’s name).
The next night, I went to dinner at a little bistro-type Italian/Spanish restaurant called Cafe Condesa.. dim lighting, delicious wine, big windows opening out to the evening… very romantic, all in all. My dining partner ordered the Fresh Fettuccine and it was so amazing… I get tired of eating bad pasta at Italian restaurants. More often than not, the pasta is overcooked and drenched in some creamy but tasteless sauce…and it’s not fresh, and tastes chewy and starchy. This pasta dish, however, was fresh, and was perfection:

yumminess

The pasta, which was fresh and tender, was topped with wild mushroom ragout, manchego cheese, and broccoli rabe. Broccoli rabe is a slightly bitter, leafy green vegetable popular in southern Italy. It is often steamed or sauteed in olive oil. Ragout is defined as either a stew, or a sauce for starchy products, such as noodles. Manchego cheese is sheep’s milk cheese from Spain that is aged for at least 3 months. It is creamy and slightly salty, and very delicious.

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