El Toro Blanco-New York

My last day in New York for this trip and it has to be Mexican food.This time it was El Toro Blanco in West Village. These were the last few days of summer so the New Yorkers were making most of the Alfresco dining. Most of the restaurants had patio seatings. We cannot enjoy this kind of dining in India.Its fun sitting outside and enjoying Margaritas with yummy nachos. So we sat outside enjoying the lovely weather. I had to have my Margarita. We ordered the Sonoran Cheese Crisp, which is kind of a Mexican pizza as it is an open faced quesadilla baked crisp with tonnes of cheese and spiced to perfection.It was sinful with all the cheese on it, but definetely worth trying. I decided to binge on it keeping all my diet resolutions aside. Doesn’t the picture speak for itself.

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Well, this was so filling that there was not much room for the entrees so just asked for the Enchiladas which was stuffed with roasted corn instead of the usual filling of either black beans or mushrooms. The portion size was  just right. I would have devoured the whole dish but had to keep room for dessert.

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Desserts are my weakness. I can survive on them. Wish I did not have to count my calories. Whatever….I did order the dessert, though Pooja and Vikram just nibbled at it and I finished the whole dish of course.How can I waste a dessert? We ordered the Mexican Chocolate Cake which was decorated with matchstick churros and served with dulce de leche ice cream. The cake had a dash of spice added to it. By spice I mean chilli spice. But it tasted good.

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With the delicious dessert it was adieu to New York Mexican food till my next visit to New York.

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BOMBAY SANDWICH CO-NEW YORK

As it was a beautiful day, we decided to walk down Fifth Avenue. These were the last few days of New York summer and people were making the most out of it. The weather had started getting cooler. After walking and window shopping for a while our hanger pangs started showing up. Wanted to eat and naturally had to be delicious but healthy and light. We had dinner reservations for the night and obviously it had to be Mexican as it was my last night in New York before returning back home to Mumbai the next day. Had to save our appetites for the delicious dinner.My son recommended this place Bombay Sandwich Co, which he had come across once while walking back home . He had not visited it , but being from Mumbai (by the way Mumbai was earlier known as Bombay), naturally we would be biased. We decided to give it a shot. It is a very small place at 48 West, 27th Street & Sixth Avenue.

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I was surprised when I saw that the entire menu was pure vegetarian. I was wowed. The menu has a wide selection of sandwiches, wraps, salads, smoothies and lots more. We ordered a Chana Masala Sandwich which was delicious filling of chick peas topped with mixed greens, pickled onions and home made chutney in a tasca ciabatta roll.I should share a secret with you here. My family is biased towards chana masala(cooked chick peas). We also ordered a Veggie Mashup Sandwich  which was a hearty mash of slow cooked vegetables topped with fresh squeezed lemon, pickled onions and mixed greens on a whole wheat hero. The filling in this  sandwich reminded me of the very famous Mumbai Pao Bhaji. We did not go wrong with our order at all. Both the dishes were yumm. My daughter asked for a mango lemonade and cardamom coffee(I had never heard of either of these). But even these were very delicious. I wish I had pictures to share with you. But I guess this is more a take away place as the items are served wrapped in tissue.

But this is definitely a place worth a visit, when hungry while walking in that area.

ELVEZ-NEW YORK

My trip to New York is incomplete without eating Mexican food. New York has the best Mexican food I have eaten. The Margaritas  are the same in all the restaurants. Its like they have a standard recipe. But they are the best. My trip normally starts and ends with Mexican. My daughter takes me to a new Mexican restaurant every time.

This time it was ElVez, located in Lower Manhattan, near Battery Park. It is a combination of casual yet formal. I went there for lunch and dinner. During lunch it was a place for meetings and during dinner, a busy place with people hanging at the bar after a day’s work, catching up with friends.The bar was super busy and the restaurant was packed. The USP of this place is that it is child friendly. I have seen very few restaurants in New York, where families are dining with children. Here they have a whole area designated for families. It is stroller friendly as well. I was happy that we could take our eight month old grand daughter along with us. Another point that I liked was the space. Restaurants in New York are normally very small, with seating so close that one can actually over hear other conversations. This place is well spread out.The decor is also very trendy.

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This is one more restaurant which is a must visit for me. The menu revolves around different kinds of guacamoles, enchiladas and quesadillas. We decided to be adventurous with the guacamole and not order the regular one. We asked for ” Tito Santana Guacamole”.Well the name does not reveal anything. This was guacamole with mangoes, red bell pepper, jicama And fiery chillies. We did not go wrong. We  also ordered ” Nacho Mama”- which was regular nacho chips served with jack cheese, black beans etc, but served in a very different way. Every table had an order of these. So we actually asked the server about the dish and decided to go for the same.

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Now for the entrée. I did not want to have the regular enchiladas,tacos and all. I decided to go for ” Black Bean Tlayuda”-the name is difficult to pronounce. Wow, never had a Mexican dish more delicious than this. It is a Mexican version of the Italian pizza. The crispy corn flatbread was topped with a very thin layer of black beans topped with cheese, avocado, lettuce & salsa. The blend of spices was so perfect that I did not have to add anything. But the serving was so big that I could not finish the whole dish and was unhappy to let it go waste.

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Now the desserts, my favourite part of any meal. They have a lovely selection of desserts.We chose “Churros with chocolate dipping sauce” and ” Tres Leches Cake”. I do not have words to describe how delicious both the desserts were. We couldn’t finish the churros and did not have the heart to waste them, so brought a doggy bag home. But it couldn’t sit for a long time. Finished it before going to bed.

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Apart from the dishes that I ordered, there are many other vegetarian options. My husband missed it this time, but when he comes next,this is the the one where he has to start his culinary tour.

 

JUNOON -NEW YORK

I had always heard a lot about this restaurant, by the name of Junoon, in New york serving Indian cuisine. When on holiday I am never that keen on going to Indian restaurants.Being adventurous with food I always want to try out different cuisines. So I never insisted on going to Junoon. I love watching Masterchef. The owner of this restaurant is Vikas Khanna. He has been the host of Masterchef India a couple of times. This time he was invited as the celebrity chef in Masterchef Australia as well. Since then I wanted to go to Junoon.

I went for dinner this week with my kids to Junoon. I was really looking forward to some exquisite food. By the way Vikas Khanna is a Michelin starred Indian chef.Well, the decor was average.As we were a little early, we were seated at the bar, till our table was ready. We ordered drinks. He has given some Indian touch to the cocktails by adding ingredients like ginger, mango, saffron and the like.I ordered an Adraki Punch, which as the name indicates had ginger in it. I liked my choice and specially the way it was served in a copper mug.The crushed ice on the top kept the drink chilled throughout the dinner.

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After a while, we were ushered to our table. Well, the first experience here was not good. We asked the server, if he could serve us an appetiser which could be prepared quickly as my daughter was not feeling well and was nauseous. The server refused and said they cannot serve anything till the entire order was placed. I did not expect this from a restaurant which is so highly recommended. Anyways we ordered the full meal. As you know I am a vegetarian, I asked for Makai Seekh-a kind of Seekh kebabs prepared with corn as the basic ingredient, Eggplant chat, Nadru Koftas-Nadrus are lotus stems , kamal kakdi in Hindi,Dal Makhani-black dal and the Junoon Special nan.

The food was not what I expected. It was not as warm as it should have been. The koftas were very good. Otherwise the other dishes tasted  mediocre. I definitely prefer Tamarind food. In fact I got a chance to attend a baby shower the next day. It was in an Indian restaurant Mantra in Jersey City, where the Indian food served was way more delicious than the food at Junoon.

Well, after the disappointment with the food I looked forward to some great desserts. Again disappointment. We did not order anything as did not find something that appealing and worth the calories. So we decided to skip it.

So, guys on the whole, I feel Junoon is fairly over hyped restaurant. Can be given a skip.

NB-Sorry ,no pictures of the restaurant as I didn’t find anything interesting.

BACK FROM A BREAK

Well friends, was missing from the blog for a while. Was in Hampton’s, on a vacation with my little granddaughter who turns eight months today. As I live in Mumbai, I do not get much time to spend with her. Hence want to max out the time that I get with her. Now as we are back in New York, will be experimenting with more cuisines and will have more updates for you guys. 

THE SPOTTED PIG-NEW YORK

New York is one city which has all possible cuisines of the world. You name the cuisine and a restaurant catering it is there. Whenever I visit New York, my daughter takes to me a number of new restaurants. I have never gotten a chance to repeat one.

This time it started with The Spotted Pig. I found the name a little funny for a restaurant. It is a quaint little restaurant , with a different kind of decor. As the name indicates, there are many piggy toys displayed all over.

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Can you spot the tiny pigs in the display window? Now you will wonder what vegetarian food can one get in a place with such a name !! Well the menu here is not a very big one.

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But this is the place where I have had the best shoe string fries ever. They were so thin and crisp, flavoured with crispy fried garlic and rosemary.My daughter and myself devoured the whole serving. You know how gigantic American servings are. The grilled cheese sandwich also was delicious.The sandwich was served with an onion marmalade, something never tasted before. I am definitely going to try making these fries at home.

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Definitely a place worth trying. Burgers here seem to be a favourite, as every table had ordered just burgers. Well, just to let you know how famous the place is, the top model Heidi Klum was also dining with her family. No pictures as it was family time for her.

Fried egg on toast-Indian style

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My daughter loves anything prepared with eggs. I had tasted this kind of toast at the CCI Club. When I was visiting her last time , she wanted to have something different. I tried this and she just loved it.

Ingredients

1 slice of bread (I use brown or multigrain as I am too health conscious),1 egg, 1 cheese slice 2 tbsp grated cheese(again low fat),chat masala to taste, 1 finely chopped green chilli, salt & pepper to taste

Method

Grease a pan with non stick cooking spray. Break the egg on it. Let it cook. In the meantime toast the bread slice. Once toasted, sprinkle chat masala on it, put the cheese slice or the grated cheese, sprinkle finely chopped green chillies. Top it up with the fried egg, sprinkle salt & pepper on it. Serve hot.

I am sure your family will also love this version of fried egg on toast.