Eating all over the World!

I have spent the last year traveling and eating in rapid succession. My hips aren’t lying about how much I’ve been enjoying this year’s culinary experience, so I figured it was worth sharing this with you all. Here are just a few snaps from recent trips that have been particularly enjoyable, so be prepared to drool…

Epicurean Experiences in Swaziland at the restaurant at Mantenga Lodge.

Italian Eateries are particularly decadent:

German delicacies were diverse and delicious:

Traditional Ethiopian food and Italian food in Ethiopia were unforgettable:

And the icing on the cake is a melange of flavors in Mozambique:

Eat your heart out!

#musicamondays #MusicMondays (50)

Welcome to the 50th installation of #musicamondays #MusicMondays, which features music from around the globe. Each song is selected to start your week off on the good foot! One still in the bed and the other in another country…

Woo hoo! 50… man… that’s worth celebrating!

Also, in honor of my travel plans to and through Ethiopia, I bring you some really fun tunes from Dina Anteneh in Amharic. Ok, I have to also admit that I love this video because I’m about 99% sure it was shot near the Patent & Trademark Office in Arlington, Virginia, which is the randomist place to shoot a music visit. But, I mean, try not to dance. Really… I dare you…

musicamondays MUSICMONDAYS (40)

Welcome to the 40th installation of #musicamondays #MusicMondays, which features music from around the globe. Each song is selected to start your week off on the good foot! One still in the bed and the other in another country…

In celebration of July 4th, let’s all get free… which these days means… try to find a way to be Canadian (considering American options for the Presidency).

For this tune, Belly, a Palestinian-Canadian rapper, teamed up with my favorite dread lock, crooner for the ‘hood, The Weekend, who is also Canadian – born to Ethiopian immigrants. See, rags to riches, from all corners of the world. Isn’t that the American dream? They got that in Canada too…

In any case, they are thuggin and druggin in this video… what better way to start your week off with a bop?

Food Mubarak!

Fasting has a way of resurrecting old foodgasms. I find myself thinking about iftar very early on in the day. Often I oscillate between wondering how I can avoid spending my whole paycheck on a fancy dinner and wondering how fast I can make microwaveable oatmeal. But there are glimpses in the middle of great food experiences of yesteryear, which then lead me to wonder where I should go to break my fast. There are many places to choose from, but I’m drawn to locales where the food is delicious, the prices are decent, and the portion sizes are disciplined.

Today’s musing led me to list my favorite restaurants from around the world. I’ve tried to be as inclusive as possible of all my travels but, so as not to taint your experience in any way and also not to get too hungry too early in my fast, I’ll give you recommendations and reviews from others. Happy global hunger hunting!

chefette

Barbados: 10 Best says “Chefette is a small fast food chain, and there are 14 locations all over the island. It’s not particularly fast, but the prices are reasonable and the food is quite good. Tasty chicken and chips is the staple offering, but the “broasted” chicken sandwich and the various rotis are also satisfying. Several locations have drive-throughs and playgrounds for the kids, and some also serve pizza, barbecue or ice cream.”

framboise

France: Creperie Framboise in Paris really got me to appreciate crepes for their decadence. Before this they were just thin pancakes with nutella inside:  -_- (boring face). After Framboise, I see crepes and I smile. 

escale caraibe

L’escale Caraibe on Rue de Guerre was a delightful treat for me, someone who believes I know Caribbean food. Trying the cuisine of Martinique & Guadeloupe was a culinary pleasure of awesome proportions. Yum Yum!

el perro

Germany: Leave it to me to find an awesome Spanish restaurant in the middle of Munich. But, hey, que será será. El Perro y El Griego is as good as I say it is.

 

 

grenada-chocolate1

Grenada: This isn’t a restaurant review. Grenada produces two good food items – nutmeg (who uses nutmeg though, really?) and thee best chocolate I’ve had in all the world. Don’t take my word for it!

 

 

sanchos logoIndiaSancho’s is in Mumbai, and here’s what the good folks at Zomato have to say: “Bandra rather Mumbai has its fair share of Mexican restaurants, but not an overwhelming amount, fading in comparison to the number of Chinese, Sports Bars and Sea Food institutions in town. Broadly speaking, Sancho’s falls firmly in the “Awesome” category. More specifically, the food is “Delicious,” albeit generally a bit too hyped given the prices.”

sant lucias

Santa Lucia is in Fort Aguada, Goa and my mouth is watering just thinking of their Goan fish curry. Check out the reviews here.

 

 

mashua

Netherlands: Mashua in Amsterdam has me reeling from great cocktails to Quinoa Risotto. Oy vey! Gianguido says, “It is Peruvian fusion food. The menu is quite short, which I actually like it. Ample choice of whine.. which I also like 🙂 I went for Ceviche as starter… it was nicely prepared with all the whistles and bells…. I could feel a bit too much the lemon for my personal taste, but over all well done. My main course was a great boneless chicken leg prepared with cumin crust/sauce with wild spinach and young potatoes. it was really delish!” Need I say more?

 


tongue thaiThailand:  Tongue Thai in Bangkok had me with the vintage pics, the jazz music and the authentic food. I went back twice in three days.

 

 

The Corson Building picnic

United States: The Corson Building in Seattle is exactly how I’d want to run a restaurant, if ever I wanted to run a restaurant. Read up for yourself. And here’s what 50 Shades of Delicious has got to say…

 


sala 1 9

Sala One Nine is my favorite restaurant in New York City, which means its probably my favorite restaurant in the whole wide world. Zagat says 90% of people like the restaurant.

 

 

And with that, I’m famished. It’s time to head off to the Blue Nile for some injera stuffed goodness. Ramzan Mubarak!

Social consciousness disclaimer: Everything I’ve had to say about Trayvon Martin trial/fiasco has already been said.

Jai Ethiopia!

ehtiopia 6We simply can’t win ’em all. We try and we try hard. But sometimes we look in the mirror and we realize we’ve been beat. This is the story with me and Addis Ababa. I tried. I tried hard to get there. I outshone them all. I was qualified. I was enamored. I had the skills. I had the ambition. And in the end, fate had other plans for me. So, Ethiopia is not in my immediate future… or so I thought.

Here in Delhi, I’ve been running a foodie group that tours new restaurants on a monthly basis. This is an expat delight. Why? Because most Indians see dhabas as delicatessens and the foreign palette is completely different. We are used to Chinese food that is authentic, not fusion. Or Thai food that isn’t confused with Japanese and Parsi menu items. The foreign community here in Delhi is quite worldly. Otherwise we’d all be eating croissants comfortably in Paris and not eating chappatis and channa in cramped casas in Delhi. Ya dig? We’re not dumb. We’re not underexposed. We have made a choice to do things the hard way and we’re united here under the umbrella of ‘oh, fuck, what did I just do to myself?’

Anyways, it is June. And June’s Delhi Deli locale was the Ethiopian Cultural Centre. Why? Was I trying to undo the karmic forces that forced me out of Addis? Was I trying to woo my way back into Amharic‘s outstretched arms? Not really. New restaurants in Delhi are few and far between, because they don’t last long. The food quickly goes to shit. The chefs move on too quickly or are spread too thin, too early. Nobody bothers with Parisian prices for Punjabi food. It doesn’t make sense and restaurants disappear or reinvent themselves or dissolve into nothing. But, I arranged a group of 30+ foreigners and city newbies to visit this restaurant to see for ourselves what all the hype was about, see the house that hullabaloo built.

ethiopia 1

What we found was one of the very best restaurants in town. I, who spent two years living in Washington, D.C. (the Ethiopian exodus capital of the world) was surprised that the injera was not a scam. There was a lovely Ethiopian female chef in the kitchen who greeted us with a smile and no pretense. No bullshit. She spoke no English and clearly no Hindi, but she took a break from her injera press long enough to greet me and my friends with a smile and warmth, as if we had walked into her home – the same kitchen where she fed her babies. What came did not disappoint.

ethiopia 3

The servers were a little absent-minded, but significantly more careful with customer service than the vast majority of Delhi establishments. They paid us the attention we needed, as bill paying customers, and took heed whenever someone demanded, ‘Where are my tibs?!’ When we all needed individual bills – a huge mathematical feat of galactic proportions here in Delhi – they agreed with no hesitation. And they made good on it. Actually, one couple never got a bill and they walked out without paying for four dishes! Not one, but fourrrrrrr! Well, okay!

ethiopia 4

We will be back. I certainly recommend that anyone interested in food made with love and hospitality give the Ethiopian Cultural Centre a gander. I don’t promise that it’s as good as on 9th and U Street, or in the heart of Seattle, but on this side of the Indian Ocean, I doubt you’ll find a better destination to spend a lovely evening with those you care about.

No doubts about it!

Play Catch Up

I’ve been off the blog for a few weeks for pure lack of content. Can you believe it? I live in India and I have nothing to say! Well, just to catch you up on what’s been going on in my life, I decided that today’s blog would be the highlights of the last few weeks. Where I’ve been, who I’ve been hanging with, what I’ve been pretending I’m too busy to do…you know, the day to day nothings. Here is the brief and wondrous synopsis of my last two weeks above the noise:

Moz

Trying to find my next assignment has been the death of me since August of last year. I have literally been thrown into a tizzy in finding the right gig, losing the right gig, fishing up other options with other benefits and weighing them against other hypothetical possibilities. Long story short, I am NOT going to Ethiopia. I’ve recently accepted a position in Mozambique and, I pray the gods have no objection to this one!

Two friends of mine are getting married soon – one in Paris in September, and another in the States in April. I’ve been browsing dresses, pricing flights, and looking at my treadmill with loathsome disdain. I’m excited for these nuptials, but finding a way to squeeze myself into something flattering is a fight for another day.

Dionne_Warwick_-_This_Girl's_In_LoveI’ve got a new beau, and it has been very difficult for me to contain my excitement. I’m pretty sure that this man is going to turn out to be Prince Akeem of Zamunda. It has all been so fast and so good – I’m feeling like Mariah Carey in the Bahamas ya’ll. I got friends sending me kitchy India Arie love songs now. It’s just been an all around mush fest these last few weeks. Life is good.

I have a few papers that won’t write themselves. I’m pursuing a post grad diploma here in India, and uhhh, I have 5 assignments due this week for reading in 5 books. I have only read one. AND, I promised another professor I would write a comparative literature article for a journal. I have only read one of the two books. Did I mention I have a new beau?

What’s more thrilling than procrastination you ask? My decision to get my taxes prepared by someone other than my mother! Yea, so in addition to whatever Uncle Sam tiefs, I will also be $600 broker when it’s all said and done. “Get your hand out my pocket!”

imagesI’ve been looking into Lasik. It’s all the rage now and since it’s significantly less expensive to get these kinds of procedures done in India, I’m considering taking the leap as well. I’ve been to two doctors in the last month, because the first one gave me the skeevies. Imagine talking about burning your cornea with a laser with a guy who speaks like a used car salesman. I was not impressed. The new place I’m going actually told me that my corneas were too thin for Lasik, so now I’m looking into implantable contact lenses. This would mean no glasses until cataract sets in. (I’m sure this doesn’t strike you as the most thrilling update here, but I swear it’s been a fascinating experience.)