French Restaurants

Eat, Drink, Be French: French Restaurant Week Kick Off at Cafe Centro

We were invited back to French Brasserie-styled, Cafe Centro, to celebrate the kick-off of the 9th edition of French Restaurant Week New York as part of the Bastille Week festivities. From July 2nd to 15th in New York (and July 9th to 22nd in Chicago), participants will experience masterful cuisine and gastronomy while honoring French culture and history. For two weeks, selected French restaurants will offer prix-fixe menus at $17.89, $25, $38, and $178.90 to commemorate the French Revolution in 1789.

Participating New York restaurants: AOC East, AOC L’aile ou la Cuisse, Bistro Vendome, Bistrot Leo at the Sixty Soho Hotel, Boucherie , Boucherie Park, Brasserie 8 1/2 Patina Group, Cafe Centro Patina Group, Cafe du Soleil, Deux Amis, Dominique Bistro, Excuse My French, Fig & Olive, Jubilee, La Sirène, Le Bateau Ivre, Le Rivage, Maison Harlem, Match 65, Pardon My French, Perrine at The Pierre Hotel, Troquet.

French Restaurant Week continues to partner with OpenTable where diners can easily book their reservations online throughout the event. At Cafe Centro, known for French favorites with a Mediterranean twist, Executive Chef Christine Towers offered up a great selection of hors-d’oeuvres paired with two appropriately selected rosé wines (‘Tis the season for Pink Drink!):  Jalliance Cremant de Bordeaux (Brut and Rosé) and Chateau Pourcieux Rosé 2017.

Chef Towers utilizes her French-focused menu to masterfully play with Mediterranean, Italian, Japanese, Peruvian and Mexican techniques on your plate together. We sampled a beautifully refreshing Leek Terrine in champagne vinaigrette, a vibrant red Tuna Crudo (with watermelon beet and citrus), and an AMAZING Beef Tartare Crostini, which we very graciously went back to for seconds and thirds because it was THAT delicious.

Chef Towers was also very interesting to briefly chat with! Not only because of her amazing Michelin-studded resume, but her proven leadership abilities as an executive chef in a notoriously male-dominated industry. I am certain she has a lifetime of stories and pearls of wisdom to share with aspiring top chefs from all walks of life.

Cafe Centro, you have made a new friend in me.  And as the French saying goes,  “Que les invités qui entrent dans cette maison, repartent en amis.”  We will be back to embrace you at your Wine Bar series this Summer!

A New Pop Up Wine Bar Series at Café Centro sees Chef Christina Towers transforming Café Centro’s outdoor patio on 45th Street and Vanderbilt Avenue. On Monday evenings this summer, the French brasserie turns into a wine bar devoted to French pairings. Dubbed Monday Mariage, a nod to the French definition of “Mariage,” meaning “a blend of 2 things”, the wine bar runs from June 18th through September 10th, 2018 every Monday night. Each night will feature a different pairing, starting with Champagne, Provencal rosé, and Armagnac.  For $25.00 – $30.00, guests can enjoy expert pairings featuring French food and beverage menus that highlight a classic French beverage (i.e., Champagne) matched with 1-3 of its perfect counterparts (i.e. caviar). The rotating schedule kicked off on Monday, June 18th with Lanson Champagne paired with Crab Salad, CroqueMadamee with Quail Eggs and Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms. The full calendar is available on www.cafecentrowinebar.com.

ALL of the French Restaurant Week participating menus were so promising to the senses. I’ve already made my reservations for Le Bateau Ivre for lunch, Excuse My French for their Bar Menu offerings, and Cafe du Soleil for Dinner….stay tuned for reviews…

 

Will you be partaking in French Restaurant Week?

 

 

Edited by Glasgow Skinner
All untagged photos provided by Cafe Centro
NYC Mexican Restaurants

Is Boozy Brunchacha at Vida Verde the Best Brunch in NYC?

We had the great pleasure of finding out for ourselves. Join us as we regale the tale of the very indulgent culinary journey we took to find out if the new Boozy Brunchacha at Vida Verde is the best Sunday brunch you will ever experience. If you are not yet familiar, Vida Verde is a Mexican-inspired cocktail bar tucked away in the sometimes stiff neighborhood of midtown west. To say it is a colorful and most welcomed oasis in the middle of a concrete desert is an understatement. Honestly, you can get lost in the eye-catching colors and striking artwork that makes up the decor. Let’s put it this way, imagine walking into a secret room of a grey house filled with every bold color imaginable……that is what we thought when we arrived at Boozy Brunchacha at Vida Verde Cocktail Bar.

The Boozy Brunchacha at Vida Verde promised a fantastic line up of specialty cocktails by Vida Verde’s star bartenders, a Mezcal tasting, an amazing taste of their brunch specialties menu including tacos, tortas, small dishes, and desserts. It did not disappoint! First up was delicious cocktails that celebrated the colors of the rainbow. We indulged in the Mango & Habanero Margarita, Paloma de Tamarindo, Classic Frozen Margarita, Red Sangria, and the amazing Juna Punch Wonder Punch Bowl which is as delicious as it is vibrant. We enjoyed these wonderful libations with a round of light bites including Chips, Salsa and Guacamole….to start.

After we were properly soused with our starter cocktails, it was time for the Mexcal tasting. We learned all about the cultivation, harvesting, cooking, fermenting, and distilling processes of some of Mexico’s leading Mezcal brands. Some of which we got to sample. Vida Verde actually offers classes on spirits daily, so if you’ve ever wanted to learn more about your favorite alcohol or get to know a new one, Vida Verde is the place to be.

After the Mezcal Tasting, we went into full-on brunch mode. The Boozy Brunchacha at Vida Verde menu is decadent. You will enjoy 90 minutes of bottomless brunch and a pinata at two price levels. For $40.00, you can enjoy a brunch entree and bottomless Bloody Marys, Mimosas, Beer or Cava. For $50.00, you also get a brunch entree and bottomless Margaritas or Micheladas, and Palomas. Speaking of entrees, the choices are vast for Boozy Brunchacha at Vida Verde. Feast your eyes on some of what’s available to enjoy:

The extensive brunch menu features so many choices. Some of Vida Verde’s Boozy Brunchacha brunch menu items we enjoyed included Chilaquiles, Mexican Poutine, Grilled Steak Fajitas, Huevos Rancheros, Breakfast Torta, Avocado smash on Tortilla, and Garden Frittata, many of which are pictured above and below. Our most gluttonous moment came when we first laid eyes on the Aztec Pancakes. The word divine doesn’t begin to do justice to how delicious this banana, brown sugar, cocoa, and whipped cream delight, so we’ll just let you droll over the below photo and tell you to visit Vide Verde to experience it for yourself.

As we previously stated, your boozy Brunchacha at Vida Verde experience comes with a pinata, making your time there even more wonderful.

While you are no doubt enjoying your boozy Brunchacha at Vida Verde surrounded by the amazing artwork, let the spirit of Frida Kahlo inspire you to explore Vida Verde’s newly opened Rooftop Margarita Market. This hidden oasis boasts a stunning handpainted mural by renowned artist, Victor “Marka27” Quinonez, wonderfully colorful decor and a menu that promises 10 flavor varieties of margaritas. This is no surprise since Vida Verde is known to have the largest Mezcal and Tequila selections in NYC.

So to answer our question, there is no doubt this is the best brunch we’ve experienced. But don’t take our word for it, try it for yourself.

Food Photography: Entrees at Bagatelle

Restaurant Review: Bagatelle New York’s French Mediterranean Cuisine

New York has changed so much, and while the foodie in us does appreciate every new restaurant or eatery opening, the love for staple neighborhood eateries will never change. One such staple is French Mediterranean bistro,  Bagatelle New York. The French word Bagatelle means “a trifle or a little nothing”, but there was nothing little about our culinary journey there. We had the delicious opportunity to feast at their flagship location in the Meatpacking District in New York.

The esteemed restaurant’s menu has brought a European flair to the now, very modern MeatPacking District for years, with their outstanding seasonal cuisine. Their over-the-top-brunches, recurring musical tribute events Whitney Houston, Madonna, or Michael Jackson dance party, anyone?), perfect balance of flavors of their popular signature dishes make Bagatelle New York a New York institution. So, of course, we jumped at the opportunity to partake in this culinary journey.

STARTERS

Salade Bagatelle

We started off our Bagatelle New York foodie adventure with this simple and leafy delight which features butterhead lettuce, fresh garden herbs, Parmesan cheese, and Dijon mustard vinaigrette. We usually go for salads that are layered in lots of different flavors and textures (there’s usually about 8-9 ingredients in our salads); but we were pleasantly surprised when we found ourselves going back for more of this 4 ingredient treat.

Pizza à la Truffe Noire

Next up was a delicious thin crust pizza that boasts crème fraîche, black truffle oil, and smoked mozzarella cheese. The smoking of the delicious, milky mozzarella gave the pizza a crisp aroma and an abundance of flavor, and the crust with perfect crunchy without being too hard.

Tartare de Thon Bagatelle

Possibly the best tuna tartar we’ve ever devoured. The multi-textured, layered, multiflavored starter dish features yellowfin tuna tartar, topped with perfectly seasoned and creamy avocado with a slight kick, a lime soy vinaigrette, and taro chips.

MAIN COURSES

Saumon d’Ecosse

While every dish was superbly delicious, our favorite Bagatelle New York dish was the Saumon d’Ecosse……you can say it was our hero dish. We loved the rustic look and feel of this dish which boasted Scottish salmon, cauliflower, baby spinach, brown butter, pine nuts, and grapes. Each mouthful was a dance of savory, sweet, and earthy flavors that kept us reaching for more.

Poulet Rôti Entier à la Truffe

Continuing the rustic French Mediterranean journey, we dug right into the next dish, a tasty half chicken dish that was tender and homey. This assemblage of country style potatoes, caramelized cipollini, and thyme chicken jus (since we’re allergic to mushrooms, we enjoyed it without the button mushrooms and truffles), was an elegant take on roast chicken and quite delicious.

Le Steak Au Poivre

A succulent 12oz black Angus NY strip steak, topped with a cognac peppercorn sauce, and served with crispy Belgian french fries. The layers of condensed flavors in this mouthwatering steakhouse classic danced in our mouths. Boasting a light char and flavorful browning on the outside, the seared steak was perfectly highlighted by the creamy peppercorn sauce.

Another dish presented to us was the Gnocchi Truffés à la Parisienne de Nicolas, but because of the truffle sauce, we were unable to enjoy. This dish consisting of homemade choux pastry gnocchi truffle sauce and Parmesan is a restaurant favorite that many diners order daily.

DESSERT

Bagatelle Mega Sundae

The final indulgence and we do mean indulgence of our Bagatelle New York culinary journey, was this massive ice cream sundae. We highly recommend not trying to eat this by yourself, it is made to share between 3-4 people minimum, especially when you factor in all the glorious courses you will enjoy before this. This sinful decadence consists of granola, ice cream, brownies, cookies, popcorn, gummy bears, and strawberries with drizzles of chocolate and caramel sauces. This behemoth will definitely bring out your inner child but like they say at Bagatelle New York, Joie de Vivre!!

 

 

 

 

 

Bagatelle Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Cantina Rooftop Kicks off the Season w/ Contemporary Mexican Menu

We don’t think we’re the only ones who’s noticed that New York City has become frustratingly crowded with everything from people to scaffolding to traffic jams. For this reason alone, seeking an oasis to escape the honking, the service delays, the sidewalk snail-paces and the Pac-Man-like meandering through the concrete and steel has become a welcomed respite. If you’re anything like us then your oasis must have something savory to nosh, a bartender who gives good pours and a feeling of welcome while you escape the city’s oftentimes unwelcoming disposition. For us, that oasis is the Cantina Rooftop Restaurant & Lounge. Join David and I as we journey through Cantina Rooftop’s new contemporary Mexican menu from Chef Saul Montiel and new cocktails from mixologist Miquel Sanchez.

GLASGOW: Welcome to the Mexican garden of earthly and intoxicating delights! If you’re looking for authentic Mexican fare that seamlessly combines old world tradition and modern touches, Cantina Rooftop should be your to-go. Thanks to its retractable roof, you and your party can celebrate everything…..rain or shine. As someone who has visited this location, I am never disappointed and their new contemporary Mexican menu was everything my appetite craved.

Every bite was a musical of incredible color, texture, and flavors. It was as if I was consuming the country itself through my palate. The menu, created by Executive Chef Saul Montiel, was wonderful. You will delight in the assortment of flavorful seafood Tostadas, Botanas, robustly textured Guacamoles (it’s heaven), the juiciest Beef burger we’ve had (you’ll love how the Chipotle Aioli elevates the burger), and an amazing Crispy Pork Taco.

Dessert was truly a revelation. Get ready for some creamy decadence. Whether you indulge in the Fudge and Raspberry Chocolate Mousse desert or the incredible Strawberry Shortcake Tres Leches (our first time seeing this favorite in this flavor variety – we highly approve), you will leave deliciously sated and wonderfully happy. Of course rooftop celebrations are nothing without cocktails, so keep reading for David’s take on the must have cocktails (we’re still thinking of that Guava Sangria) at Cantina Rooftop.

DAVID: I’d like to focus on the bartender who at the right establishment is also as good as the mixologist who suggests. That’s when I think of Cantina Rooftop. Located in the west side of Manhattan’s Hell’s Kitchen nestled inside one of the city’s popular event space/club shrines, Stage 48 and Level 3 Loft, Cantina Rooftop completes the trinity by being a fabulous Mexican restaurant whose seasonal newly-reopened rooftop dining space aims to make your oasis festive and relaxing, tequila included. I got to experience the magic of their reopening last week at the kick-off event. Boasting a nicely cultivated drink menu with several cocktails from renowned mixologist Miquel Sanchez, the Cantina Rooftop offers up a sweet selection of wines, spirits like premium mezcals and tequilas, as well as a host of refreshing beers.

What struck me as comforting about the drink menu was that it wasn’t fussy but certainly wasn’t tame. The balance of notes and flavors in each drink were evident as described and left me with a feeling of satisfaction and not like I was part of some mad mixologist’s experiment. Sanchez’ ‘Spicy Summer’ is not to be missed as it takes a key fun fruit of the season, watermelon, and brings out the sweetness with the presence of heat and the tango of fresh lime & agave syrup. What’s also nice to note is the nicely done margarita and mezcal-rita menu utilizing smoky mezcals and fresh ingredients with the Caribbean kick.

The Cantina Rooftop with their impressive outdoor space that allows you to look at the thick of the city without besides nestled too deep in it is now open for business at 605 West 48th Street and 11th Avenue. In addition to the specialty cocktails from Mixologist Sanchez is the new debut of a flavorful menu of interesting traditional and contemporary Mexican fare from Executive Chef Saul Montiel (the spicy guac is NOT to be missed). With the weather spinning in a more favorable direction, it’s the perfect time allow Cantina Rooftop to end your search for that welcomed oasis.

Restaurant Review: Calle Dao Chinese-Cuban Restaurant

A Journey through the Unique Fusion of Cuban and Chinese Cuisine 

Hello fellow NYC foodies and fusion food enthusiasts, there’s a new restaurant we’d like to introduce you to. Nestled in the vibrant location in Chelsea, NYC, is Calle Dao, the second location of the popular midtown foodie haven which offers a fusion of Chinese-Cuban cuisine. Calle Dao is the brainchild of Restaurateur Marco Britti who follows the Bryant Park location of this critics’ favorite and highly popular dining destination with the Chelsea opening. The name Calle Dão, a mix of Cuban and Mandarin, is a nod to Havana’s Chinatown, where Britti first discovered this unique culture and cuisine.

We had the pleasure of experiencing the delicious combination of the two cultures in a multi-course sit-down dinner, which included cocktails, hors d’oeuvres, appetizers, entrees, and dessert. While we couldn’t sample everything, we enjoyed the dishes that we tried. Our journey began with cocktails; four intoxicating concoctions handcrafted by Mixologist Joy Daniels (pictured below).

Calle Dão Handcrafted Cocktails

From left to right, the evening’s cocktails included:

  1. Macau – made with aged rum, fresh lime juice, and a sweet spiced syrup (demerara sugar, star anise, ginger, vanilla bean, black peppercorn, Chinese cinnamon, nutmeg and orange peels). A great balanced drink – not too sweet, tart, or spicy.
  2. Revolucion! – made with habanero infused tequila, ginger liqueur, absinthe, sweet corn kernels, pineapple, agave, and lemon. (**This was our favorite cocktail, it’s sweetness paired wonderfully with the savory passed hors d’oeuvres we enjoyed).
  3. MaxVer – made with gin, elderflower liqueur, white peach, shiso leaves, agave, and lime. If you’re looking for a cocktail that’s not at all sweet, this is the one for you.
  4. Flor de Oro – made with vodka, rose and vanilla infused dry vermouth, cherry jam, and fresh lemon juice. This was my least favorite and the only one I didn’t finish (mainly because I’m not really a fan of Vermouth).

Calle Dão Cuisine – Passed Hors D’oeuvres

The menu’s next offerings were a delight to our palate. Thanks to Chef Bradley Warner, we enjoyed some very exquisite hors d’oeuvres including Oxtail Croquettas with mango chutney and saffron aioli, Cuban Sandwich Spring Rolls, Double fried crispy plantains, and Duck Empanadas

We highly recommend that you treat yourself to all three dishes as they are superb, rich in flavor, perfectly seasoned, and the ingredient combinations…….amazing. The Oxtail Croquettas boasts a buttery, melt-in-your-mouth meat interior and a crispy exterior. If you love Cuban Sandwiches, you’ll love this bite-size version, and you will never go wrong if you order the empanadas. We were then seated to enjoy almost everything on the restaurant’s menu.

Calle Dão Cuisine – Appetizers and Entrees

We were in for a night adventurous delights (featured in order in the slideshow below):

  1. Ma-Po Maduros spicy pork, Sichuan peppercorns, toban-djan, and scallions
  2. Double fried crispy plantains
  3. Crispy Pig’s Ear with cilantro and sesame chili
  4. Charred Octopus in Mojo Verde with Chorizo Oil, Capers, Pimeton, and Olives
  5. Crispy Whole Fish marinated in Mojo Rojo
  6. Smoked short Rib & Chinese broccoli over classic la meìn noodles which predate ramen
  7. Spiced Goat Neck braised in House Spice Blend with Cilantro and Baby Bok Choy
  8. 14-Hour Char Sui Pork marinated and glazed Pork Tenderloin with plum onion escabeche and puré de batata
  9. Peking Style Roast Chicken over yellow Arroz Amarillo with chorizo
  10. Pato Frito Sour Orange Glazed Duck over fried rice with sunny side up egg.

We had several dish favorites from the dining experience. We approached this foodie journey with an open mind knew not every dish was going to be a hit with us. While some at our table weren’t so open, we left the restaurant quite satisfied with the entire experience. Our favorite entrees included the Crispy Whole Fish, Crispy Pig’s Ear, 14-Hour Char Sui Pork, and the Pato Frito Sour Orange Glazed Duck. The fish was exquisite. If you’ve never experienced freshly caught fish being cleaned and cooked right on the beach, this dish is the closest to it. We didn’t think we would really enjoy the Crispy Pig’s Ear but this was delicious. I loved the texture and lightness of it…..sort of like a very elevated pork rinds. We definitely enjoyed nibbling on these ears. The pork and duck were sublime. Both of the meats were succulent and were favorites of many at our table. Almost favorites included the Charred Octopus, which I wish has more of a crunchy texture; the Spiced Goat Neck I wished had a bit more kick to it; and while the Peking Style Roast Chicken itself was flavorful, the flavor of the rice was tame by comparison.

Calle Dao Desserts

At the time of our final course, we were so full but we tried to sample each of the following desserts. Crafted by pastry chef, Kate Holowchik (winner of the 2015 Vitamix Challenge dessert competition), the decadent Calle Dao desserts we enjoyed include:

  1. Matcha Tres Leches with chocolate crumb, chocolate sesame tuile, and mango coulis. As a fan of matcha, we loved this Asian incarnation of Tres Leches. The cake was moist and we loved the combination of the matcha and mango coulis.
  2. Chocolate Arroz Con Leche with ginger gelato, cashew sesame crumb, sweet sesame wontons, passion fruit caramel. Chocolate, passion fruit, and ginger superbly excite your taste buds.
  3. Bunuelos with Chinese five spice sugar, chocolate coconut sauce. Another favorite of ours, the sauce was rich and accented the Bunuelos nicely but we admit, we also dipped it in the pineapple jam.
  4. Coconut Rum Flan with pineapple jam, passion fruit caramel, and crispy rice noodles. We’ve never been a fan of flan but we do like this tropical version.

The wonderful cuisine plating won’t be the only feast for the eyes. Passionate about art, culture, and heritage, Britti (pictured below) has added many finishing touches to Calle Dao to ensure real flavor in the interior as well as the food.

Taking inspiration from traditional Cuban colors, the walls are adorned with vintage Chinese smoking adverts with Cuban touches throughout. A rare last edition of Cuba’s only Spanish and Chinese written Newspaper, Kwong Wah Po, hangs on the wall to welcome all who walks through the door. You will also find authentic cigar boxes decorating the rafters, as well as Cuban cigars at the hostess table. One decoration that also stood out was the giant Call Dao logo (a Chinese Chef’s knife) made up of several very real Chinese Chef’s knives.

We invite you to check out this Chinese-Cuban food fusion for yourself. We are looking forward to experiencing Calle Dao Chinese-Cuban Restaurant again soon.

Calle Dao Chelsea Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Bombay Sandwich Co. Flavors Up Ayurveda Vegan Eats in Midtown

For many, the word vegan will elicit many negative reactions, for others, it’s a new way of life that has significant health benefits. For us, it has a different meaning. While we would certainly enjoy the benefits of a healthier lifestyle, going vegan is not a choice for us….why do you ask, because of an allergy to mushrooms. Almost every vegan or vegetarian dish has mushrooms because of it’s almost meat-like texture. Great to those not allergic to mushrooms, bad for us. Thankfully, a semi-vegan lifestyle is not completely out of the picture for us if we so desired. We recently had the pleasure of experiencing the newest and most wonderfully delicious ayurvedic soul food, right in midtown Manhattan, at Bombay Sandwich Co.

The Bombay Sandwich Co. menu is packed with fresh, natural, and nutritious foods seasoned with some of the most flavorful herbs and spices that boast significant health benefits. These ayurvedic spices include Turmeric, Cardamom, Cumin, Fennel, and Asafoetida. All of these are great sources of vitamins and nutrients, are kosher, gluten-free, vegan, and contain antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory properties, all while adding layers of flavor to the menu’s vegetables, legumes, and nut dishes. The result is delicious vegetarian and vegan options that we thoroughly enjoyed. And a bonus, no mushrooms of any kind. Bombay Sandwich Co. offers soups, salads, sandwiches and wraps, bowls, platters, vegan beverages, and desserts. Although we didn’t get to try everything because we had to leave early (this we plan on rectifying very soon), we did dive right into small samples of their Vegan Mango Lassi, Chana Masala, and French Lentils.

SALADS

Pictured above is the Kale & Hearty Salad featuring marinated kale topped with avocado, cabbage, carrots beets and sunflower seeds, with the house dressing; and the Organic Quinoa Salad, with mixed greens, organic quinoa, chickpeas, cardamom, dates, scallions, and almonds, with olive oil & lemon. Also on the menu is a Garden Salad and Small Shepard Salad.

WRAPS

There are two wraps available on the Bombay Sandwich Co. menu, the above Kale & Sweet Potato Wrap with marinated kale, beets, carrots, cabbage with sweet potato, dried cranberries, fresh ginger, carom seed, with date chutney in a whole-wheat wrap; and an Organic Quinoa Wrap.

SANDWICHES

Sandwich lovers will love the six varieties available. Pictured above is the Garden Sandwich, with mixed greens, avocado, cucumber, tomato, pickled onions, and alfalfa sprouts with a homemade kale and walnut pesto, tomato chutney, on 7-grain bread; and the Chana Masala Sandwich, their most popular, with mom’s slow-cooked chickpeas topped with mixed greens, pickled onions, and homemade date chutney on a Tasca ciabatta roll. The other sandwiches include Honey-Fennel Grilled Cheese, Veggie Mashup Sandwich, Organic Tofu Masala Sandwich, and Fresh Mozzarella & Apple.

BOWLS

We may be biased since this is what we sampled, but the Bombay Sandwich Co. Bowls are hands-down going to be an ultimate favorite for us. It doesn’t matter if you’re a die-hard carnivore, you will not miss or even notice the lack of meat in these super meals. There are three bowls to enjoy, the Chana Masala bowl (pictured first), which features mom’s chickpea stew with garlic, ginger, tomato, Indian gooseberry (aka amla) and fresh ground spices (we could enjoy this every day for the rest of our lives and be very happy); the French Lentils bowl, with the chef’s favorite – slow-cooked French lentils with cumin, asafetida, red chillies and ginger; and the third (not pictured), the Veggie Mashup bowl.

Walking us through the menu was Chef Shiv Puri (pictured above), who started Bombay Sandwich Co. as a booth at NYC’s premier food festival, Smorgasburg, with his wife Shikha Jain.

“Our recipes focus on Ayurvedic healing spices so that each dish delivers more than just good taste. Our ingredients are locally sourced, organic and 100% GMO-free,” says Chef Shiv Puri and his wife Shikha Jain. “Our foods appeal to New Yorkers who are interested in healthy eating and that includes knowing what’s in their food and where it comes from.”

Every Bombay Sandwich Co. promises a flavorful and visual feast combining sweet, savory, cool and warm sensations with an equally vast variety of textures. If you’re looking to get away from the mundane tasting vegan food, look no further, your palate will definitely not be disappointed. Bombay Sandwich Co. has two locations, 48 West 27th Street in the Flatiron District, and 224 W35th St. in midtown. Visit www.bombaysandwichco.com for more information.

 

IHOP Premieres French Toasted Donuts for a Limited Time

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. At IHOP, it can also be the most delicious. IHOP continues to break the rules of breakfast with three distinctive dishes hot off the test kitchen griddles. Elevating the breakfast treat that is french toast by combining it with donuts, IHOP is taking breakfast to another level of delicious. The IHOP French Toasted Donuts feature classic donuts dipped in sweet vanilla batter and then French toasted. The new lineup is available in three decadent, mouthwatering flavors ranging from savory to sweet.

“At IHOP, we’re always looking for fresh new ways to excite our guests and bring unexpected flavors together,” said Chef Nevielle Panthaky, Vice President, Culinary at IHOP. “This is a delicious mash-up of the classic donut everyone knows and loves, dipped in a creamy vanilla batter, French toasted to a light golden brown and topped off with flavors such as maple glaze and hickory-smoked bacon. And who better to do it than IHOP, the brand that has owned all-day breakfast for almost six decades?”

Bacon & Maple French Toasted Donut

The Bacon & Maple French Toasted Donut is a Bavarian cream filled donut, dipped in vanilla French toast batter, griddled, then topped with rich maple glaze and savory hickory-smoked bacon crumbles.

Strawberries & Cream French Toasted Donut

The Strawberries & Cream French Toasted Donut is a Bavarian cream filled donut, dipped in vanilla French toast batter, griddled, then topped with strawberries in a juicy glaze and powdered sugar.

Apple Fritter French Toasted Donut

The Apple Fritter French Toasted Donut is a warm apple fritter dipped in vanilla French toast batter, griddled, then topped with sweet cinnamon apples, powdered sugar and whipped topping.

We had the pleasure of getting an exclusive first taste of all three of these decadent breakfast donuts at an event with Chef Nevielle Panthaky, VP of Culinary at IHOP. It was an evening of ultimate decadence as we satisfied our almost insatiable appetite for these sinful breakfast treats. We also had the opportunity to recreate or create our own French Toasted Donut, thanks to the wide variety of available toppings made available to us.

The French Toasted Donuts are available from July 31st through September 24th at participating IHOP restaurants nationwide. The new menu items can be enjoyed on their own or as part of a combo meal with the choice of eggs, bacon, sausage or ham, and more.

Restaurant Review: Rahi Artisanal Indian Restaurant

We love food, we consider ourselves to be distinctive foodies, and we thoroughly enjoy indulging in amazing culinary journeys. We recently did just that at Rahi Artisanal Indian Restaurant, located at 60 Greenwich Avenue in NYC. Rahi, (meaning traveler in Hindi) is a collaboration between Chintan Pandya, an Indian chef with playful artistry, and restaurateur, Roni Mazumdar. They offer vibrant Indian food that slightly strays from the traditional Indian cuisine and uses local New York produce.

Staying true to the name’s meaning, Rahi Artisanal Indian Restaurant took us on a culinary journey to the four unique flavor corners of India. We started out with classic cocktails in delicious, untraditional flavors, and yielded to the explosion of various flavors of the appetizers, entrees, and desserts. We were in FOODIE heaven at Rahi Artisanal Indian Restaurant.

FIRST COCKTAILS

Cardamom Margarita


DAVID: This is a comforting and fragrant starting drink with a cardamom hit that sneaks up on you for a pleasant flavor & finish. You have the tart saltiness of the tequila and rim with the soothing ending of the warm cardamom.

Juhu Daiquiri


GLASGOW: The cumin gives the pineapple flavors an interesting, almost savory flavor. It not only complimented the natural sweetness and tartness of the cocktail, the sharp, slightly bittersweet taste of the cumin evened out the sweetness of the pineapple rum.

SECOND COCKTAILS

Bachcha Cocktail


DAVID: This was such a delicious cocktail. So satisfying was the weight of the heavy juniper note of the gin was toned down by the earthy almond and pistachio. What you’re left with is a fragrant soft and slightly sweet flavor brought about by the rose water with the grown and relaxing heft of the gin.

Black Tea Smash


GLASGOW: As a bourbon lover, I was very excited to try this cocktail. Don’t go thinking this is a grown up ice tea, that wouldn’t do it justice. There’s almost a licorice-esque taste to this cocktail, there’s a slight kick to it that I really enjoyed, but it is mostly smooth. It’s a definite must for a cocktail connoisseur.

APPETIZERS

Sunchoke Vada


DAVID: This was a lovely light and airy starter with the soft and creamy texture of the sunchoke center. The heat of the chili and the sweet crisp comfort of the coconut marry nicely with the tart and sweet punch of the tamarind to create a pleasant and delightfully lingering finish.

GLASGOW: I like how the flavors of the coconut-chili crumble sat on the back of my throat, ensuring that every bite of the Sunchoke I swallowed had some heat to it. This dish was quite hearty and a bit rustic, it felt like I was eating potatoes without the heaviness.

Edamame Artichoke Chaat

DAVID: This dish was just perfection. The slightly natural lemony pop of the artichoke soaks up the tamarind so well that when balanced on top of the bed of earthy edamame and the crunchy sweet pomegranate, a wonderful quartet is created: tart, earthy, sweet and salty.

GLASGOW: Love that this vegan dish highlights the sweetness of the tamarind as opposed to its tartness. The combination of the crunchy pomegranate seeds, spinach chips, and tamarind give it a highly flavorful dish with great levels of textures.

Chettinad Octopus


DAVID: This was a cool seafood triumph. Take the delicateness of tender octopus with the island kiss of a milky coconut broth teemed with spicy aromatic curry and what you have are two meals in one. The second meal arrives when you’re left with that savory broth that is perfect for dipping Rahi’s melt in your mouth naan bread.

GLASGOW: This dish practically left me speechless. The combination of a creamy, tropical coconut milk and turmeric highlighted the freshness of the octopus. The coconut turmeric foam was divine……each bite fills your mouth with unbiased flavor and your senses with aromas like no other. I’d enjoy this broth on its own as a soup. This dish felt like a special treat, like I was being rewarded for something.

Eggplant Bharta


DAVID: I joked with the owner that this should be packaged and ready to be sold. This dish was oh so satisfying. The triumph of this dish was how the often-earthy quality of the eggplant disappeared in the spicy, smoky chunkiness of this dish. The blend of onions, cumin, spices and the consistency of the ragu-like dish were like the perfect vegan comfort food and the hearty grain toast it was served with was a great choice to hold up to the weight of the Bharta. I could easily see this as a veggie/vegan sandwich at a picnic as a great reminder of how satisfying meatless can be.

GLASGOW: I’m not a fan of eggplant, so I didn’t partake but from David’s reaction, it must be outstanding.

MAIN COURSE

Inked Crab


DAVID: This is crispy sea loveliness soaking in creamy briny harmony. The salt of this dish is nicely balanced with hints of sweet. The depth of the ink batter brings a sharpness to the delicateness of the sweet and crunchy soft shelled crab and offers up a different kind of satisfying savory to the dish.

GLASGOW: I didn’t try much of the Inked Crab because I had my own decadent dish to enjoy, but from my one mouthful I noticed the distinct flavors, such as the marriage of subtle sweetness of the mango curry and how it emphasized the distinct character of the squid ink crab.

Dalhousie Shepherd’s Pie

GLASGOW: Let me start by saying that Shepherd’s Pie is one of my favorite dishes and I love eating it as much as I can. And Rahi’s interpretation blew me away. I’ll say it now, Cumin makes everything better. I loved Rahi’s flavorful take because, let’s face it, sometimes Shepherd’s Pie can be a bit bland, but the combination of cumin potatoes layered with farm fresh Raclette cheese, took this basic dish to indulgent levels.

DESSERT

Mishti Doi Cheese Cake

DAVID: This was a nice combination of smoky and sweet flavors with an interesting caramel and coconut cream combination with a delish crumbly Indian cookie crust.

GLASGOW: A creamy delight that was as decadent as it lovely. A great yogurt dessert on a crust of Karachi cookies that isn’t overly sweet, and bears a distinct taste of rosewater. You should definitely make room for this dessert.

Cream Pakora

DAVID: Coconut shines in this dessert with a pleasing blend and nice execution of dried and creamy coconut that shows the fruits depth. The crust is just doughy, soft and tender with an underlying hearty pleasantness.

GLASGOW: If you love desserts like beignets or eclairs, you’re going to love the Cream Pakora, a yummy coconut-jaggery cream housed in a light pastry dough. It may look heavy but it was quite light, so enjoy to your heart’s (and stomach’s) content.

DECOR

DAVID: The décor of Rahi Artisanal Indian Restaurant is charming like the collections of a “traveler” with a love for Indian roots and an eye for modern sensibilities. I was very pleased that their full bar also delved into the aesthetic of their establishment. This is a great location for Rahi and a necessary eatery to add and celebrate diversity to the neighborhood.

GLASGOW: It’s not just the food that will transport you to India, the aromas and visuals of Rahi Artisanal Indian Restaurant. The tables are smaller to ensure an intimate setting for conversation and sharing. White modern chairs match the marble bar and brick walls, which highlight the black and gold mural, painted by artists, Yok & Sheryo. The dining area extends to a sunken level.

Take the Rahi Artisanal Indian Restaurant journey yourself at 60 Greenwich Avenue, (212) 373 8900.