Friday, December 24, 2010

Phobidden Fruit

Merry Christmas Eve everybody! Apologies for the long silence, I've been away in the Americas selling, packing and moving. I can safely say that Bangalore is now my new permanent home.

While I was in living in New York City, if I wasn’t out and about with friends, I’d stay home and order-in a bowl of steamy “pho” (pronounce "fuh", is a kind of Vietnamese noodle dish) and savor it until the last strand of rice noodle was gone. So when “A” and I found Phobidden Fruit, a Vietnamese restaurant while driving down 12th Main in Indiranagar, I was ecstatic! I didn’t wait too long to check out the food.

For restaurant atmosphere and level of tastiness, I’ll give them a thumbs-up but in terms of authenticity, the foods were lacking a few distinct ingredients, fish sauce is definitely one of them.

Papaya Salad
Papaya salad - tasty, but it's not your typical papaya salad. The fried shallots were overpowering and the papaya tartness was missing.

Spring rolls
Vietnamese springrolls - also pretty tasty, however, instead of using thin rice noodles as a filling, they used rice. In New York, I'd cringe, but since I don't have much of a choice in Bangalore, I happily ate four pieces.

Spring rolls
Springrolls with rice filling.

Siu Mai
Siu Mai - huh? Is this even Vietnamese?

Chicken Pho
And last but not least, my bowl of pho. The ingredients and condiments were fresh but is it similar to the phos I had in New York and Hanoi? Not even close. The chicken pieces, instead of boiled are fried. The noodles, instead of silky smooth has a grainy texture. And lastly, the most important piece of the equation to a perfect bowl of noodle soup; the broth, is lacking the deep flavor you get from simmering protein and its bones for a very long, long time.

Table condiments - (left jar) pickled carrots and radishes. Pickled radishes tend to have a very pungent smell, so if you're not big on pungent, don't open this jars.

Restaurant Interiors

Restaurant Interiors

Overall Ratings:
Po's: 7/10

Would we return?
Probably during my next noodle-soup-crave.

12th Main (a few doors from Corner House)
Indiranagar, Bangalore
Phone: 080 4125 5175

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Cuite au Feu de Bois in Nice, France

My friends Hel and P-Em took us to this hole-in-the-wall in old Nice town. The food was a Nicoise specialty and the pancake-like bread was cooked in a wood oven. The bread is usually eaten alongside deep fried foods like fried stuffed zucchini flower, fried stuffed zucchini, fried battered sardines and fried minced pork.

I can't say I'm in love this food because to me, it was a bit bland and lacking some moisture and texture. The deep fried foods were warm but not crispy and I found myself searching for some sort of sauce to dip my fried foods in. Maybe I was just spoilt after spending the past 6 months in India, eating freshly fried pakoras with spicy chutneys.


Stuffed zucchini flower


Stuffed vegetables



Pancake-like bread made in the wood oven.


Pissaladiere, a local "pizza" usually topped with sauteed caramelized onions and olives.

Apple tart.

Rating: Worth trying

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Le Saut du Loup in Paris

Of all the days we could have gone to the Louvre, we decided to visit it on a Wednesday and it was closed. So instead, we went to the sister museum; Musée des Arts Décoratifs. Even though the museum was significantly smaller in size compared to the Louvre, we managed to spend too many hours there and by the time we were done, it was way passed lunch time and we were famished. So, here's Le Saut du Loup, a restaurant located in the same building as the museum.

Le Saut du Loup, Paris
Seared scallops with little pasta.

Le Saut du Loup, Paris
Pan roasted fish (I think it was bass) with snow peas.

Le Saut du Loup, Paris
Tiramisu reinvented.

Space food, Washington D.C.

I was in Washington D.C. last week and visited the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum. I loved exploring the space gallery in the museum and was especially interested in the food the astronauts ate in space.

I've never tasted any space food but "A" mentioned that he had tried freeze-dried ice cream (also known as space ice cream) and thought it was horrible. It was like artificially flavored water that dissolves from an uncomfortably cold icy-powder block, without any kind of texture.

Here are some photos taken at the museum of food carried during the first space shuttle mission in 1981. These are made out of wax, of course.






Friday, October 15, 2010

Bofinger restaurant in Paris

I read somewhere that Bofinger is the oldest brasserie in Paris and we can tell from the art nouveau interiors and how the restaurant operates that it has been around for a while, but considering how old and classy this place is, it's not as pricey as we thought it'd be.

Bofinger, Paris
Bofinger interiors.

Bofinger, Paris
Escargots; one of my favorite foods to eat in France. I know, eww... snails, but let me tell you, it's not what you think at all. It has a chewy texture and it's usually doused with olive oil and garlic either to mask or enhance a certain seafood-y taste. Delicious and highly recommended.

Bofinger, Paris
Langoustine; one of the must-eats while in France. Very mild seafood taste and less meaty compared to crabs but doesn't have the muddy taste of a crawfish.

Bofinger, Paris
Seared lamb, fois gras and fruits.

Bofinger, Paris
And for desert, the very traditional floating island; meringue floating on crème anglaise or vanilla custard topped with toasted almond slices and caramel.

Address: 5-7 rue de la Bastille; 75004 Paris

La Villa, a Corsica restaurant in Nice, France

Corsica is an island in the Mediterranean Sea that is located to the west of Italy and southeast of France. Even though Corsica is technically a French region, it's cuisine is a pretty good mix of French and Italian. While we were in France, we visited my childhood bff Hel and her husband P-Em in beautiful Nice, who graciously took us to this wonderful Corsica restaurant.

Corcica food in Nice
Duck with ratatouille.

Corcica food in Nice
Lightly grilled baby octopus.

Corcica food in Nice
Corsica prosciutto.

Corcica food in Nice
Mushroom ravioli.

Corcica food in Nice
Corsica lasagna.

Corcica food in Nice
And to wash it down, a bottle of Corcica wine.

Corcica food in Nice
Creme brulee

Corcica food in Nice

More on this restaurant, click here.

Le Moulin de la Galette Cafe in Paris

One of my favorite neighborhoods in Paris is Montmartre and it's not because Moulin Rouge is located at its foothills or where you can find most of Dali's work but because it's just plain pretty. And with the many attractions available in this area, it was a big challenge finding a restaurant that wasn't "touristy". Thankfully, we stumbled upon Le Moulin Galette Cafe, which turned out to be pretty darn good. Here's what we ate:

le moulin galette cafe
Fois gras served with fig and apple compote, served with a side of salad.

le moulin galette cafe
Roasted sea bass with risotto and pumpkin.

le moulin galette cafe
Osso bucco. I don't eat any parts of a cow, whether it's young or old. "A" ordered this and I have to admit, it looked too good to pass. I sampled a bit of the homemade pasta with the osso bucco sauce. Divine.

le moulin galette cafe
The restaurant entrance.

Address: Montmartre, 83, rue Lepic 75018 Paris - France

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Cafe Beaubourg in Paris

Apologies for the lack of restaurant posts. I have been traveling outside of India in the past month, and will be for the next few months. I was contemplating for a while if I should blog about restaurants that are not in India and I decided to go ahead with it because who knows, maybe some "multi-cuisine" restaurants in India would benefit from these posts.

A few weeks ago, I was in one of my favorite cities in the world; Paris. It's been about six years since first and only trip there, and I knew then that if I were to ever leave NYC, I would move to Paris. That fantasy didn't even come close to true but here I am, back in Paris again!

Since this it the very first "international restaurant" post, I'll keep it short and sweet. This was a quick lunch stop at a cafe before our visit to the very stylish and high-tech Pompidou Centre.

Cafe Beaubourg, Paris
The croque-monsieur is perhaps the most popular sandwich in Paris. A thin slice of ham and gruyère cheese between slices of white breads, grilled and served hot.

Cafe Beaubourg, Paris
Fois gras was one time my most favorite things to eat. I loved the creamy, satiny texture and the decadent, almost sweet taste. It's very sick, I know, and absolutely horrible what they do to geese and ducks just to get their liver to swell up to a certain size only to slaughter them, but hey, I'm in Paris and you don't get this quality of duck liver in India!

Click here to learn more about the Pompidou Centre

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

How to Make Homemade Ladakhi Thukpa

One of the things we did while in Ladakh was stay in a traditional farm house. You can read more about our experience here but one of the many things I learnt while living with this wonderful family was to make Ladakhi thukpa. Most, if not all, of the ingredients used were grown in the family farm, right in front of the house. Water used for the thukpa broth came from the river that flows right through the house compoundand the dehydrated paneer was made from milk that came from their own cow. It will be hard to top Tundup's thukpa since my ingredients will never be as fresh but I'll be sure to try!

Cooking in Tundup's kitchen.

Ingredients from Tundup's farm

For the broth
3 medium tomatoes, chopped
4 medium radishes, chopped
1/2 cup spinach, blanched
3 small onions, chopped
5 big garlic cloves, chopped
4 sprigs of spring onion, chopped
1/2 cup cilantro
1 tablespoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoons cumin powder
1/2 teaspoons garam masala
1 teaspoon turmeric
4 tablespoon mustard oil
Salt to taste

For the Noodles
1 eggs for noodles
3 cups atta
About 1 cup water

In a heavy skillet, heat mustard oil until hot and add onions and garlic and fry until fragrant. Stir in tomatoes and cook for a couple of minutes then add all the masala powders and pepper. Add spinach and radish and cook well for 10 about minutes. When radish is soft and spices are fragrant, add about 4 to 5 cups of water and bring to boil. Lower heat and let it cook while you make the noodles. Add chopped spring onions and cilantro right before serving.

Making thukpa noodles
On a big bowl, mix flour with egg and add a a few tablespoons of water at a time while kneading mixture into a dough. When thoroughly mixed, roll out dough like a chappati and then slice the flattened dough into long strips. Slowly add dough strips into boiling broth and cook covered at medium heat for about 20 minutes. Add salt to taste, or do what the locals do which is omitting the salt altogether and taste the natural sweetness of each and every ingredient used to make this delicious dish.

Dehydrated paneer

Making noodles

Cooking noodles in thukpa broth

My very first bowl of homemade Ladakhi thukpa