London Food Diary

Posted September 3rd, 2018 by Deepa and filed in Food, Travel
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Fortnum and Mason

It is no secret that I love food.  My exposure to food beyond Indian cuisine started with British food – thanks to the Enid Blyton books that I devoured in my childhood.   In almost every Enid Blyton book, there is a detailed description of the “scrumptious” food that the main characters enjoy either at a picnic or at tea time or perhaps at a clandestine midnight feast.  Other enterprising Blyton foodies have written detailed articles about this here , here and here.  However, my first real exposure to British food was thoroughly underwhelming.  I was on my way to USA for my Master’s and I had to spend a night at London, courtesy delay due to weather issues and British Airways.  The Sheraton near Heathrow provided dinner and I recall that despite all of the anxieties of my first international trip, in fact my first solo trip , I was excited to taste the food eaten by the Famous Five! Instead I got bland baked chicken, boiled peas and a few carrots.  This was about 20 years ago. Continue Reading »

Aloha Hawaii

Posted December 21st, 2016 by Deepa and filed in Food, Travel
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One of the benefits of planning a vacation, is that you learn so much about a place even before you start from home.  Seejo and I are of course not the “fly by the seat of your pants” vacation people.  When I planned to attend a conference in the  Big Island of Hawaii and decided to combine that with a short vacation with Seejo and the kids, the research began in earnest.   And even before we landed in Hawaii, I learnt that Hawaiian archipelago consists of hundreds of islands with 7 main inhabited islands. Some of these 7 islands like Niihau has a population of only 170!.  I also learnt that one of the islands , Lanai,  is owned 98% by Larry Ellison (Oracle CEO). OF these the largest by area is the Big Island of Hawaii. I also learnt that Big Island has two major towns – Kona on the west and Hilo on the east ( the center). Population tended to be centered around the rim of the island, the central area was mostly volcanic national park. Continue Reading »

Applepalooza!

Posted October 19th, 2014 by Deepa and filed in Food
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Apple 1We were inundated with apples this fall.  I was tempted with the wonderful varieties we had in my supermarket and bought home a huge bushel. However that turned out to be the height of apple picking season. Annika came home with a few after being on her farm visit from school and then my cousins dropped off a bagful from their visit.

My challenge that weekend was to turn all of those apples into something yummy before they went bad.  And if that were not enough of a challenge, – I laid down the following rules—nothing too sweet.  Which means no pies or tarts or cakes or jams or jellies. Continue Reading »

Food Tour Of Greenwich Village, New York City

Posted August 17th, 2013 by Deepa and filed in Food, Travel
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NYC Trip1We spent the last weekend visiting friends in the New Jersey area and took the opportunity to see the Greenwich Village in New York City.  We have been to New York City several times but have always spent most of our time visiting the main tourist destinations in Manhattan. This time we decided to skip that and do something different. While doing some internet research on local attractions, I came up on a site that offers food tours for Greenwich village. Intrigued by the idea of a food tour, I explored some more and found out that there were several recommended food joints in that area.  After some more Google searches and reading a couple of food blogs I came up with my own itinerary for a food tour of Greenwich village.

My friend Pooja lives in New Jersey so, we took the train from her place to 9th Street Metro and walked down a few blocks to Washington Square Park in Greenwich Village. At the entrance of the park is a large Arch modeled after the Arch de Triomphe in Paris. The park is dominated by a large fountain in the center but surrounding it are strolling areas, gardens, play-area for kids, benches and an open air chess tables.  It was fairly crowded with locals and tourists relaxing, reading, eating, playing and enjoying the open air band. Annika was enthralled by the drummer and spent quite a bit of time dancing to the beats.  After spending about half an hour there, we crossed the garden and entered Macdougal Street where our food tour started in earnest. Continue Reading »

Around the World in Seven Days!

Posted October 17th, 2010 by Deepa and filed in Food
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This week I prepared seven different dinners– each one from a different country. I made everything from scratch and this is how it all turned out.

DSCN0133Last Sunday, I prepared my version of a dish from Mexico — chicken tamales with black bean salsa. Continue Reading »

Volt

Posted October 11th, 2010 by Deepa and filed in Food, Reviews
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Volt 081Last Saturday, we had dinner at Volt.  Although I am devoted follower of many Food based TV programs, I have never followed Top Chef and therefore had no clue about Chef Bryan Voltaggio’s culinary style or techniques.  All I knew was that he used local organic seasonal ingredients and that he was brilliant.  His restaurant, Volt had been voted Maryland’s best restaurant and it was on my list of top places to try. There are three different kinds of dining options at Volt.  You can either dine from the a La Carte Menu or from the prix fixe six course tasting menu. The third option is  called “Table 21” and is a 21-course meal that you have with the chef preparing it right in front of you.  It is a testimony to the popularity of the restaurant that it’s Table 21 option is  booked pretty much well into the end of 2011.  We were incredibly  lucky to get a reservation for the a la Carte option at  5:30pm on  Saturday. Continue Reading »

Food Blog Update: Zucchini muffins with Jalapeno jelly

Posted May 18th, 2010 by Deepa and filed in Food
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IMG_7327One of my favourite shops in US, is Harry and David—a gourmet food store.  I can never resist the impulse to enter the store when I pass by it and once I enter, I rarely leave without purchasing something or the other.  My favourite item from the store is their collection of relishes, dips and spreads .  The last time I went there, I bought their green jalapeno jelly, it was simply delicious—the right mixture of sweet and spice. Infact, I liked it so much that I emptied the entire bottle in one sitting.   And then I got on the internet to find how I could make these at home.  I got tons of recipes while I googled recipe for jalapeno jelly.

It was quick, it was simple and it was delicious.  I had some red and green chillies that I had grown in my garden last year in my freezer and I was glad to finish them before I planted some more this summer.  Once I had the jalapeno jelly, I started looking out for things I could eat it with.  This weekend, I made some zucchini & beetroot muffins to go along with it.  The muffins were such a healthier alternative to bread—I had it for lunch for 4 straight days. Continue Reading »

The National Symphony Orchestra

Posted January 18th, 2010 by Deepa and filed in Food
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OrchestraAlthough we haven’t made a formal New Year resolution, one of items on our 2010 to-do list is to broaden our cultural quotient.  We took our first steps in this direction last Thursday with a visit to attend the National Symphony Orchestra at the Kennedy Center for Performing Arts in Washington DC.  The Kennedy Center is on the banks of the Potomac River and is a beautiful place with sumptuous halls and theatres is the sole reason why DC might feature of a list of “culture-hotspots” in USA.

Those of you who know me are probably chuckling at the idea that I was attending any musical program, much less a symphony orchestra.  I must admit, given that fact that I am tone-deaf, I was a bit intimidated when I saw the array of musical instruments that were going to be used. The stage filled up slowly with musicians finding their spots and tuning up or practicing their parts.  The conductor, Michael Stern, walked in shook the hand of the concertmaster (who was one of the violinists) and immediately launched into conducting the first piece of the day – a 20 minutes of Symphony No 1 by Samuel Barber.  By reading the program booklet I learnt that the “Symphony in one movement is a synthetic treatment of the four movement classical symphony  and based on the three themes of the initial Allegro non troppo, which retain their fundamental character”.   The music was pleasant,  I remembered a talk by some music group in my college days who defined music as “nothing but organized noise”— that definitely struck a chord with me.

After 20 minutes, the music ended with a bang, the conductor bowed, the audience applauded, the orchestra got up in one movement and bowed again, audience continued to applaud, the conductor shook the hands of the concertmaster and bowed again and then walked off the stage, then walked in again to the center of the stage, bowed again and then walked off again.  There was a short break and the orchestra members rearranged themselves a bit, while a grant piano was rolled in.  The pianist, Emmanual Ax,  and the conductor, Michael Stern, walked in a few minutes later,  shook hands with the concert master and then launched into Beethoven’s piano Concerto No.2 in B-flat major.  This was about 28 minutes and I liked this best of the three pieces that were played—mainly because I enjoyed the melody of the piano  in contrast to the rest of the sounds.  But mostly I spent the time watching Michael Stern wave his baton vigorously and wondering if the process could be automated with flashing light bulbs in front of each player or section that could indicate when to start or stop the music. Continue Reading »

From Washington DC to Washington State

Posted November 23rd, 2009 by Deepa and filed in Food, Travel
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PHOTOS: Seattle, Washington

SeattleRarely do Seejo and I have impromptu trips. So it was a unique experience when we decided to fly across the country to Seattle, Washington for the Memorial Day weekend.  The idea popped into our heads on Tuesday morning & before we knew it we were landing in Seattle on Friday evening. After completing the formalities required in renting a car, we headed off to straight to Kerry Park in downtown Seattle city to see what everyone was calling the “best view of the city”.

The park itself is a fairly small square of grass— hardly worthy of being called a “park”. However, it was clearly where some of the rich families of Seattle live: the houses were beautiful & built on a hill slope so that they all had a view of the Seattle skyline & the Elliott bay.  It was late evening when we reached there: many people were walking their dogs, children were scrambling up and down the stairs that led from the square of grass in the actual park area below to the view point above on the top.  At the view point, several photographers had mounted their tripods & were tinkering with their cameras and lenses while waiting for dusk to set in so that they could photograph the city lights.  As Seejo joined the group of photographers, I tried to forget my growling stomach by feasting my eyes on the city. The skyline is dominated by the Seattle space-needle which towers over the rest of the buildings in Seattle’s business district.  Far beyond the city and the blue bay, I could also see the outline of Mt. Rainier. Continue Reading »

Halloween in New York City

Posted November 7th, 2009 by Deepa and filed in Food, Travel
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Photos: New York City Trip

Although Seejo & I have differing opinions on almost all things related to New York City ( I love the crowds, the noise, the buzz & Seejo dislikes them), we both agree on two things about the city: it has some of the best restaurants in US & it has some of the quirkiest people on the street.  This Saturday we got a chance to confirm our opinion of both these issues.

I had already made brunch reservations at Mesa Grill—a restaurant owned by Chef Bobby Flay.  Ever since we saw Bobby Flay in Iron Chef America, we have wanted to try his “bold flavoured South-west style” cuisine.  We were there with our friend Atha (meeting up with him was the real reason for this trip), who was on an official visit from India. We were seated immediately, served with a breadbasket with jalapeno spiced blue & yellow corn-muffins, some flaky cheese biscuits & fruit coffee cake served with a red pepper relish. Between the three of us , we polished off the whole basket & licked the relish dish clean in less than five minutes. (There are no photographs of the bread-basket, we were too hungry to wait!). Continue Reading »