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.

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.)

…de Moët et les hommes…

Great things have come from France. For example, we have Pierre L’Enfant, who died in time to let Benjamin Banneker take the lead on Washington, DC. This is the same L’Enfant who was fired from the planning of Paterson, NJ (not good enough for Paterson, but perfect for the nation’s capital? err?). We also have my personal favorite, French fries. Apparently they actually started in Belgium, but the French win the gold ribbon for taking credit and running with it this long. And last, but not least, Parisians gave us Christian Louboutin. I’m a huge fan of any man who can tickle me pink, while I paint the town red. He truly is the elixir whenever I’m poutin.  So, with so much admiration from afar, why is it that we just can’t seem to get along?

Well, I decided to go to Paris to get to the bottom of this Atlantic Ocean east coast, west coast rivalry. I consulted all the experts – the taxi drivers and hoteliers, the Christians and the Muslims, the academics and the free lancers. And I came up with just a short list.

 Americans hate because:

  • There’s no way to make English sound sexy.  Not an Aussie or a Brit, a New Zealander or an American can purse their lips to make the mundane sound as if you’re just repeating the words “Zsa Zsa Gabor” with varied tone and inflection. I personally am not a huge fan of the French language, but I will say that whatever they say sounds important, pressing and sensual.  I’m sure the taxi guy was just telling me to fly a kite, but it’s cool – just keep talking Frenchie.
  • The French protest because they want to work less. Americans protest because they want to work more. (Read: The French come off as lucky, whiny ingrates.) Dare I say, the French approach is downright against American values.  It’s one thing to camp out on a well trafficked bridge or in a homeless camp because you can’t work—but the French take to the streets, because their secure government jobs make them show up to work… and expect that they produce… something… anything.  There is a lot of jealousy raging here. What government employee doesn’t want to take to the streets on a work day to demand more benefits? The French are ballsy. We talk about it, they be about it. Ain’t that ‘bout a [je ne sais quoi]?

French hate because:

  • The French language stopped being politically relevant about the time the Princesses Nubiennes album dropped.  (Read: Before the turn of the only century that counts – this one!)  In diplomacy, English reigns supreme. In second grade classrooms the world over, the new second language is Spanish. The French are proud of their culture enough to take this as a personal slight. Oh well… having to close your nose, talk through your teeth and spit on your peers – is nobody’s idea of fun. At least they have the majority of Africa and some Caribbean islands still hot on their heels.
  • The jury is still out on whether or not quality of life is better between the two countries. So, barring a clear French victory, that’s a U.S. win by default. While the mid – late 20th century Black emigration of greats like Nina Simone and James Baldwin counts for something, it’s hard to find any one in Paris who thinks that life in the 21st century is better there than in any major American city – say, New York or Los Angeles.  Some doubt that in the U.S. the French Elle article “Black Fashion Power,” would ever have been printed. This gives cause to re-examine French superiority.  It could have happened in the U.S., but the very thought that it might not have… keeps the French hating on the greener grass of Black American pastures.

With that said, it’s hard to see what the beef’s about. Perhaps, we’re just both chicken- coo cooing about cultural vulnerabilities that have evolved over time to become whatever our imaginations will allow. Paris has an allure that looms larger than the Eiffel Tower. (And as it turns out, when I finally saw it up close – I was not all that impressed.)  As my grandma so eloquently put it, “Paris is like Newark.” She really said that – and while it still makes 99.999% of no sense whatsoever to me, that remaining smidge holds true.

When I broke bread with other ninjas in Paris and swapped stories, I think we both gained some insight into the experience of the other half…The homeless and the rude, the pushy and the unfriendly, the smiles of no substance – they are what major cities are made of; and the personalities of major cities are what national imaginations are made of. But once you break it all down, we’re more similar than we think and that’s probably why we hate so hard from a far. Opposites attract, not kinda similarly passive aggressive personalities.

I’m pretty sure that by the end of dinner on Place du Docteur Félix Lobligeois, we all left with a mutual understanding of each others’ experiences and an even more grounded appreciation of our own countries.  Just the thought of living in Paris had me mumbling “that sh*t cray” into my Moët.