Picture this. A perfect, California blue sky. A bright, shining sun. Mountains surrounding a valley like a frame with not a tall building in sight. And yes, grapes, vineyards and wineries as far as the eye can see. There's not much to not like about Napa Valley. It seems to offer the idyllic, carefree life that most of us yearn for but never get around to, and does so in the most spectacular of surroundings. Add to that an unheard concentration of some of the best restaurants anywhere and Napa almost starts to sound like paradise. I feel like every trip up there will make me want to come back for more - a cause certainly helped this time by a long-awaited visit to the French Laundry.
Tuesday, October 30, 2012
Sunday, September 30, 2012
While I've gotten over being the only vegetarian at most dinner tables, I've still never enjoyed traveling alone. No doubt there are times when one needs to be by themselves, but I definitely do not feel that way when being away from home. Whether it is for work or pleasure, I try and avoid solo travel as much as I can. Besides walking around and having to visit places by yourself, the additional major side effect is that you end up needing to make dinner reservations for one. Not only does it make for a very quiet dinner, it usually puts a big crimp in the ability to try "everything on the menu". Notwithstanding, there will always be times when circumstances necessitate such travel and I found myself heading up to Ottawa on one such occasion a few weeks ago. Making the best of the situation, I scoped out Ottawa Magazine's 2012 list of top restaurants and landed upon Navarra.
Sunday, April 29, 2012
My childhood was very conflicted. My parents loved to travel and explore new places, and they loved taking us everywhere too. Before the ripe old age of 12, I had already been to Australia, Bangkok, Switzerland, Mauritius, London, Hong Kong (twice), Singapore (thrice) and even 2 different Disneylands (Paris and Orlando). And yet, wherever we went, we always ate Indian food. There was no exploration when it came to matters of the stomach. There was always an Indian restaurant waiting to be found in a city and somehow, we always found it. If it hadn't been for my uncle AK, I would probably have left Switzerland never knowing what fondue was. The one exception to the rule, however, seemed to be for Italian food. Pizza and pasta were somewhat tolerable to my dad, and we always looked forward to the respite it provided from the cuisine monotony, creating an everlasting bond with the food. Yet, it almost got to a point that when my food horizons were finally expanded, new Italian restaurants were one of the last few I wanted to try. Still, it is always hard for me to say no to a great bowl of pasta and luckily for it, Scarpetta has a few.
Sunday, November 6, 2011
When I first moved to New York, I never understood why everyone wanted to live in the West Village. The buildings were all old, the apartments were small and dingy, there was usually no air-conditioning for the summer and you were almost guaranteed a three or four floor walkup on your way back home each night. No, apartments in the Village were not for me and I ended up picking a nice, luxury high-rise in Midtown, replete with all the amenities I could think of. All these years on, I'd probably still do the same - I am a sucker for the "modern" apartment - but at least now I can see the charm of living in the neighborhood encompassed by Houston and 14th Street on the west side of Manhattan. There are gorgeous tree-lined streets, cobblestone pathways, small stores selling everything you could possibly think of and quaint cafes and restaurants on almost every corner that would make living in the area quite interesting to say the least. You're likely to come across some amazing finds just walking around the streets of the Village, and Recette is just one of those restaurants.
Tuesday, May 3, 2011
I've been inundated with restaurant recommendation requests recently. Whether for my sister's visit to London or a friend's mother's to New York, it seems I have become some what of a human restaurant guide. To be honest, I enjoy handing them out, so its really not a complaint as much as an observation. In fact, the very point of starting this blog was to share my restaurant experiences with the aim of people trying them out. However, even before the origin of this blog, I was always asked about Indian restaurant recommendations by colleagues and friends alike. While this poses no problem when it comes to London, which has some of my favorite Indian restaurants of all time, they are few and far between in New York. Most Indian restaurants here dollop oodles of cream on practically everything on the menu and seem overly reliant on the popularity of their chicken tikka masala. So anytime a new Indian restaurant opens in New York, I am eager to try it to see if it will break the mold and actually represent the art of good Indian cooking to this city. My uncle had pointed me to an article about the recently opened Junoon, and when RC wanted to get us all out to celebrate our win in the recent Cricket World Cup, it seemed like an ideal location.
Friday, April 8, 2011
Bombay has changed in so many ways from the city that I grew up in. It has a new name, new buildings, new cars, and yes, new restaurants. Yet so much of what I love about Bombay is what has stayed the same - family, friends and yes, the restaurants. Nothing will ever match the pav bhaji from your neighbourhood "Sagar", the pankhi at Swati or the excellent Indian at Copper Chimney. It is this food I look forward to eating each time I am heading home and always wonder why anyone would bother with anything else while in the city. Bombay, however, is on the ascendancy as one of the great metropolises of the world and, as such, aspires to the kind of haute cuisine that has made New York and Paris such popular dining destinations. It has seen a number of international chefs open up restaurants within its confines over the past few years, from Kittichai to Morimoto and most recently, Alex Sanchez at The Table.
Thursday, February 24, 2011
My birthday is my favorite day in the year. It's the one day where I get to speak to everyone I care about and yes, it makes me feel very special. I even mentally check off all the people that I expect to call me that day and invariably, I am never disappointed. I've known people who don't like to advertise the fact that it is their birthday; I, on the other hand, am telling everyone who cares to listen! There's not much to complain about, especially when friends go out of their way to make it even more special for you. This especially came through when I asked my friend KF to surprise me with a restaurant at her offer to take me out for a birthday dinner, resulting in her inspired choice of Dovetail.