According to The Gourmet Cartographer (a.k.a Janki Khatau), you should try Kashmiri chai. I wouldn’t mind trying any of the vegetarian delicacies described on her blog, which include foods from roadside stalls in India, homemade recreations of street food, and treats from various cities in the U.S. In fact, I went to Papalote for a great burrito after reading about it there. But it was this “very lickable” drink that caught my eye the other day, with its flash of color peeking through the cup’s white cover. It’s also salty. Who knew that salty chai could be tasty?
If the name alone doesn’t entice your appetite* for Pan-Asian flavor, consider the lineup of talent for the Noodles and Kabobs Pan-Asian Comedy Showcase at the 50Mason Lounge in San Francisco, tonight, July 13 @ 8pm.
SAM KOLETKAR: An Indian Jew, Samson provides Indian humor with a Jewish twist.
SAMANTHA CHANSE: Known for her dry wit and humor, Samantha is from the Big Apple, meaning she is funny and can kick butt.
SHENG WANG is seriously silly. Born in Taipei and raised in Houston, he performs comedy based on personal experiences with intense honesty and ill logic.
NITIN KANT born in India and raised in a Corporation, Nitin’s comedy is about his suffering: as an Indian, as an American, and as a human being.
*Sort-of-out-of-nowhere veggie digression: Has anyone had veggie kabobs? I assume they exist somewhere waiting for me to sample, though probably not right next to the Boca sausages in the supermarket freezer case. But maybe next door to the veggie dim sum place, complete with rolling steam carts?
Update: Yeah, so veggie kabobs are ubiquitous and I was thinking of something else, probably along the lines of koobideh. Oops. I’ll make sure I review my food vocab flash cards an extra 15 minutes tonight, even though it will be torture with nothing in the fridge at the moment.
This week, Salon’s regular Eat and Drink series features a piece by Cambridge-based food writer Chitrita Banerji. Banerji, who has written for Gourmet and The Boston Globe, delicately turns the piece from general, “Mrs. Sen”–style musings on her Bengali roots and their connection to her craving for freshwater fish, to a contemplative examination of the ilish, or hilsa, the species most central to the Bengali culinary imagination. Industrialization and over-pollution of Bengal’s major rivers have played hard and devastating with hilsa populations; the likelihood that the fish will retain its powerfully symbolic stature, notes Banerji, fades with each season that the number of fish plummets.
In 2004, Rajusth was tired of slaving in the kitchen to make a lasagna or cake, only to have problems prying it out of the pan when it was done. So she invented the “Lock ‘n Bake” baking pan, which has sides that fold down for easy removal—and cooks everywhere have taken notice.
As the winner of the contest, Rajusth, 30, will get to sell her product live on the home shopping network QVC later this year. Her invention was one of 7,000 entries to Oprah’s contest. She may have had an unfair advantage, however: TIME selected her product as one of the coolest inventions of 2004, and Hammacher Schlemmer awarded it first place in its 2004 Search for Invention competition.
**JUDE Law has a new girlfriend.
Kim Hersov, an editor for Britain’s Harper’s Bazaar, and Law have jetted off to India for a little romance, R & R. The two were spotted taking in the historic sites of Rajasthan.
**DELHI’S street food vendors head indoors, as a new court order threatens the legality of outdoor cooking. Somini Sengupta of the New York Times goes on assignment, hitting up some good chaat joints and describing just what these new laws would mean for the city (an end to Delhi-belly?).
The Columbia University-grad was accused of having sex with two underaged students (one 12, the other 14) ten years ago. Sinha’s family owns three Montessori schools in Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens.
On Hersov and Law’s budding romance
Nice day for a Bachchan wedding
Actress Jahnavi Kapoor shows up at the shaadi, alleges that Bachchan had promised to marry her, tries to kill herself (Bollywood film plot, much?)
You might remember me finding out last week about this year’s flower show at Macy’s in San Francisco. Well, it’s not over yet! There’s still time, through Saturday, April 14, actually, to see the floral displays in store or attend one of the upcoming events, including the cooking demos with chefs from Junnoon and Le Meridien, and a final chance to have Lancôme-sponsored Henna Lounge artists adorn you with intricate designs. Hurry up if you want complimentary henna on your hands, though. Judging by the long line formed well before the event’s starting time last Friday, this may be one of the show’s most popular events. (Event details.)
Puja Sabharwal, who works in media relations at Macy’s, offers a tip on what not to miss if you make it out to “Imagine India:” “The tabletop settings on the 6th floor are phenomenal. Each setting is inspired by different elements of nature in India. The Macy’s visual team has done a tremendous job of capturing India in every possible way.”
Check back on Monday for more from Sabharwal in the second part of our April issue.
In partnership with the South Asian Heart Center at El Camino Hospital, award-winning Palo Alto restaurant Junnoon launched a HEARTier choices prix fixe menu earlier this year, featuring “flavor rich, cardio-protective recipes that are low in saturated fat, low in simple carbohydrates and high in fiber content.”
Ashish Mathur, executive director of the Mountain View, California-based heart center—the first nonprofit, community-supported center in the world devoted to the prevention of coronary artery disease in people of South Asian descent—says that heart-healthy meals low in cholesterol and fat are especially important for people from the Indian subcontinent, who are four times more likely to have a heart attack than the general population (Palo Alto Daily News).
Noted by Esquire magazine as one of the “20 most exciting places to dine” nationwide in 2006, Junnoon is Harvard MBA Sabena Puri‘s first restaurant venture. Its culinary team includes Floyd Cardoz (of New York’s Tabla) as consulting chef.
Diners won’t have to put up with bland or boring food on the special menu, which includes a pomegranate, peanut and fresh sprout salad. “It’s not diet food,” explains Puri. “Our food gets its appeal from the use of varied spices to enhance flavors as opposed to adding oils and fats.” (Daily News). Puri, having family members who died from heart disease at a relatively early age, was eager to do what she could “to help the South Asian Heart Center in its mission to stem the epidemic.” (Siliconeer).
Dear Readers: I feel like I’m calling the TBS Funny Line on this one.
Maybe I’m just off my game, but I just saw the commercial for Tanqueray’s newest Rangpur Gin and thought it a bit odd. Odd as in I wasn’t entirely sure if it was funny. This distresses me. Normally, I know what’s funny. Conan O’Brien is funny. Tina Fey is funny. Dr. Tobias Funke is funny. I feel like the spot was aiming for Wes Anderson-esque offbeat super-dry humor but didn’t quite pull it off.
Starring the brand’s current spokesman, Tony Sinclair, the spot follows a group of scientists who are investigating Rangpur limes in India. While I understand that Sinclair is supposed to be eccentric, he just comes off as annoying. Take a look and see for yourself. The official site is called Globe Probe … for what reason I’m not entirely clear. Regardless, there is a short film on the site that is a longer version of the commerical spot currently in rotation, complete with sadhus, snake charmers and assorted wackiness. Thoughts, anyone?
In related news, I definitely will be trying this out. The gin is distilled with Rangpur lime, ginger and bay leaf. Yum!
It’s a café that runs on good intentions.
A place where you can expect to find selfless service on the menu every day.
Seva Café, Ahmedabad’s very buzzworthy eatery, doesn’t charge patrons anything and relies on the big-heartedness of volunteer cooks and wait-staff to get by. At Seva (the word itself means “service”), diners are asked to pay whatever they want. One hundred percent of profits go directly toward funding social service projects.
“Feeding the stomach is simple. But how do we feed our souls?” ask Seva’s owners, who prefer to stay out of the limelight. “We celebrate service: food for the spirit.” They find inspiration in the traditional Indian value of honoring guests (Atithi Devo Bhava).
A sign hanging on the door reads: “At Seva Café, we offer greater nourishment than food alone. Here, not only will you find yourself in a unique, service-inspired environment … you will find yourself at home,”
The café, located on Ahmedabad’s busy C.G. Road, has helped put disadvantaged children through school. It has settled the medical bills of the needy and has allowed young girls to become self-sufficient. Watch the promo video here:
Can’t make it to Gujarat? You’re in luck: Seva has recently opened a branch in Long Beach, California.
Passover is in full swing, and for those interested in celebrating desi-style, Floyd Cardoz has just the thing.
Cardoz, the executive chef for the New York City epicurean-institution Tabla will offer a special multi-course Indian meal in honor of the Jewish holiday. For $90, diners can enjoy crisp fingerling potatoes, Gefilte fish and roasted-beet salad. Tabla will also celebrate with an innovative “unleavened bread bar.”
Cardoz’s fusion Seder menu is featured in this month’s issue of Gourmet magazine.
India’s Jewish population (at an estimated 25,000 pre-independence) has dwindled over the years. Today, the remaining members of the community mainly live in Mumbai and Kochi—near Cardoz’s home state of Goa.
The dining event begins at 7 p.m. tonight. To reserve a spot, call 212.889.0667 (11 Madison Avenue at 25th Street).