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Friday, July 25, 2008

The Jerusalem in Toronto, Canada – Middle-Eastern Expedition Extraordinaire!


You know you are a connoisseur of Middle-Eastern cuisine when you can taste and differentiate between Souvlaki, Gyro, Doner Kebap, Kafta Kebab, Shish Tawook and Shawarma, and trace these to the lands they originate from. As well, you need to be able to clearly discern between Hummus, Baba Ghanoush, Tahina and Tzatziki, as well as their places of origin. Here is a ready primer that you may potentially find useful:

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Isshin in Irving, Texas - "Sushi Smorgasbord"!


For someone born in the fish eating capital of India (Kolkata) and raised in an archetypical Bengali (East-Indian) family for whom, (well-cooked) fish and rice is a staple and matter of culinary pride (Bengalis truly believe and justifiably so that they conjure the finest fish curries in South Asia, second to none!), the notion of eating raw or relatively uncooked fish was utter sacrilege and well outside the realms of rational possibility.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Marrakesh Café in Dallas, Texas – Authentic Moroccan Adventure!


Milestone: This blogpost has been referenced by the Marrakesh Cafe in Dallas, on its landing web page.


My first exposure to the delectable cuisines of North-Africa (Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia) happened in Israel while doing my International MBA with fellow students from 16 countries around the world. My class fellows included three individuals from Morocco, getting to know whom not only served to bolster my French (French and Arabic are both spoken in the former French colonies in North Africa), but also acquaint me with the inimitable cuisines from this region.

Bombay Sizzlers Pub & Grill in Dallas, TX – Mumbai Unplugged!



Although a self-annointed “denizen of the world” who is equally at home in Rome, Paris, Athens, Lisbon, New York or Vancouver, Bombay (or Mumbai as it is called today), occupies a special place in my heart. I was raised and spent over 20 of my formative years in this “Ville-Magnifique de L’Inde” - India’s quintessential melting pot that is accepting, progressive, happening, and conditions you to appreciate the “beauty in diversity” across India and the World. In Bombay, you shed all other identities based on your state of origin in India (Bengali, Punjabi, Marathi, Gujarati, Tamil, Telugu et al) and become first and foremost, a "Bombayite" (or its politically correct analog of today – the “Mumbaikar”) – every other identity, tag or cultural baggage pales into utter oblivion and insignificance!

Thursday, February 21, 2008

El Greco Taverna in Santorini, Greece: An exotic culinary Greek Odyssey!


Santorini Kabab Platter

Our Greek Odyssey over Christmas in 2007 was one we shall not forget easily. For someone raised on a staple diet of Greek mythology in his childhood such as myself, our trips to Athens, Delphi and Olympia were deeply spiritual experiences that will forever stay with us. After all of the history and the mythology, a voyage to Santorini in the Greek Cyclades was a fitting finale to this awesome adventure.

Monday, February 11, 2008

The Bengal Coast in Dallas, Texas: Nouvelle Pan-Asian Fusion Fiesta!


Milestone: Andy the Foodie quoted in the video testimonial on the Bengal Coast web-site.

Indian Flunder_bengal Coast

For someone born in “the City of Joy” (Kolkata) in close proximity to “the Bengal Coast in India” (the Bay of Bengal), discovering a new culinary adventure called “Bengal Coast” right here in Dallas quite simply, blew me away! What further tickled my sense of adventure was its founder - Mark Brezinski, one of Dallas’ best known celebrity restaurateurs who has also established the extremely successful Pei Wei for P.F. Changs, that I love to frequent with family and friends.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Cuba Libre in Dallas – Tex–Mex-Jamaican adventure extraordinaire!


It is perhaps not a surprise that Dallas should frequent some of the finest Latino, Mexican and Tex Mex restaurants on this side of the border with Mexico. What is gratifying however, is to find an establishment that innovates with nouvelle Tex-Mex fused with distinct Jamaican influences, with an elegant, happening ambiance to match and raises this to fine art! Marrying a vibrant and flamboyant ambiance with a great menu and mesmerizing presentation is a killer combination that Cuba Libre in downtown Dallas delivers with panache and elan.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Banana Leaf in Dallas, Texas – Thai Extravaganza!


I must admit that Thai cuisine holds a special place in my epicurean heart and with good reason. I learned to appreciate Thai food as a graduate student while pursuing my Masters in Engineering at the University of Florida at Gainesville, at an extraordinary establishment called Bahn-Thai. Bahn Thai, founded and run by a very friendly and entrepreneurial couple -Tom and Pam Maneeratana from Thailand, really exposed me to the finer aspects, condiments and the nuances of Thai cooking.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Rosario's in San Antonio, Texas – Fiesta Mexicana!


Despite my formal training in the Sciences, Engineering and Business, I have always been fascinated by Anthropology, and its socio-cultural, ethnographic, religious and culinary aspects. Reading between the lines of cross-cultural relativism uncovers intriguing nuances and questions that truly boggle the intrepid mind and the imagination.

Thursday, June 7, 2007

Benihana of Tokyo across the World: Hibachi Haven!


Trivia question – how many restaurant chains do you know anywhere across the world that have had the distinction of being featured in a business case study published by Harvard Business School? Well, if you are scratching your head already (:-)), I can tell you of at least one that I have personally assimilated and learnt from, in my first year MBA Operations Management course at the “Harvard of Canada” – the Richard Ivey School of Business.

Monday, May 28, 2007

The Teikoku in Philadelphia - Pan-Asian Fusion Fantasia!


Don’t know about you folks, but I sure like to be surprised when I walk into a new culinary destination and discover more than what I had expected to find on the gastronomical repertoire being offered, which really fuels my sense of adventure! This usually happens when I walk into a “themed establishment” and find and savor delights on the menu that I have perhaps not anticipated, or better still, never experienced before. The surprise and delight for me is not dissimilar to what I see in the eyes of my wife when I present her with a rather ordinary looking package bereft of any embellishments that she opens up to discover her much coveted diamond ring or ornament of choice!:-)

An establishment that is now de-rigueur for me in Philadelphia, is The Teikoku that (although billed as a Japanese-Thai restaurant) presents such inexorable delights for the connoisseur of Asian cuisine that you probably need at least three excursions to merely sample a subset of the heart warming variety offered!

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Chamberlain’s Fishmarket Grill: The Finest Seafood in Dallas!


Have you ever experienced the euphoria of tasting the fish you have actually caught yourself?!

I have had this experience, in the halcyon days of my childhood in India which has stayed with me ever since, and often evokes fond memories and nostalgia.

Monday, March 19, 2007

The Taj Mahal Indian Restaurant in Heidelberg and Frankfurt- exotic delicacies from the Indian sub-continent


Given my interest in the comparative impact of the great religions in shaping our history and civilization, I tend to be shocked and disturbed by the number of innocent lives that have been lost in the name of religion, that makes a travesty of its stated objectives of fostering goodness, civility and brotherhood in humankind. At the very same time, I am in awe of and inspired by the intrepid saga of those religious minorities who have battled and transcended persecution, adversity, plunder, and even genocide, to not only survive, but thrive and succeed like few others have. The success of the Jewish people in the Middle East and the USA and the Zoroastrians (also called Parsis) in India, are particularly poignant and awe-inspiring in this context.

Thursday, March 8, 2007

P. F. Chang’s China Bistros across the USA – Delicacies from Mainland China in a warm, elegant ambiance


I am truly amazed by and have admired the proliferation of delicacies from Mainland China, that have long transcended the borders of that country, and have grown their way into ubiquity, in virtually every corner of the globe. Do you know of any major city that does not boast of at least one or more establishments that serve fine Chinese cuisine – I do not?!

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Rockfish Grill in Dallas – Incredible, affordable seafood in a casual family ambiance


If you are a “born-again” sea food lover like I am, you probably have on your wish list, a restaurant that not only serves up “these gifts from the ocean” but also, at a price point that does not cause any grief.

Rejoice my friends, for I have the solution that your heart desires! Check out
Rockfish Grill - a casual sea food chain that in fact, was born in Dallas, with branches across the Dallas Metroplex.

Thursday, February 8, 2007

Teavana – sheer Nirvana for the Chai connoisseur!


As someone raised in Asia, I am conditioned to drink coffee to keep myself alert and awake, but really indulge my senses with tea when I am truly relaxed and seek the gratification of a warm beverage. I drink coffee all day at work, but seek a warm cuppa Chai as soon as I get home or on the weekends that I deliberately keep coffee free!

If you like tea as much as I and my wife (and increasingly, my six year old daughter) do, a pilgrimage to Teavana is imperative. Teavana (“heaven of tea”), founded in Atlanta, is an incredible chain of tea boutiques, tastefully designed, packaged and merchandised to enable a truly pleasurable tea tasting and buying experience.

Oh Kolkata – what would you be without Aaheli?!

Milestone - This blogpost has been referenced in Potpourri- The Carnival of Bengali Cuisine, January 2010.


It is a fact, that Bengalis, like the French and the Italians, are Bon-Vivants, with a shared heritage of intellectual prowess and virtuosity, coupled with an equal fervor for literary, cultural and culinary gratification. Bengali, can rightfully lay claims to being India's true romance language, having laid the tapestry for some of the greatest literature ever written, and recognized by the world thru the magnum-opus of India's Nobel prize winning poet-laurete, Rabindranath Tagore ("Robi-Thakur" to the Bengalis). Food for the Bengali, is raison d’etre, a celebration of life, and sheer indulgence of the senses like there is no tomorrow, not unlike their brethren from France and Italy!

Guru Kripa in Bombay: the Ultimate Chaat indulgence on the face of this Earth!


Bombay (or Mumbai as it is called today) is a megapolis that is the quintessential microcosm of the rest of India (check out the book Maximum City: Bombay lost and found by Suketu Mehta, if interested) and well and truly, a melting pot of the diverse cultures that constitute the India of today. This is reflected in the ubiquitous dishes that mask this diverse character of Bombay. Take for instance the Bhel-Puri, a potpourri of multiple, salty, fried ingredients with a base of rice krispies, garnished with chopped onions, chilles and tomatoes, and stirred with a combo of hot cilantro and sweet tamarind sauces to deliver an inimitable explosion of sweet, sour and hot flavors onto your salivating palate! Bhel-puri is perhaps, the “Prima Donna” of the Bombay Chaat clan, jostling for attention with the almost equally celebrated Paani-Puri (called Gol-Gappa in Northern India and Fuchka in Eastern India), with Sev Puri, Dahi Batata Puri, Dahi Bhalle and Papri Chaat as the up and coming wanna-be's!

Monday, February 5, 2007

Veranda:Authentic Shawarma from Lebanon in Dallas


Having lived in Israel for over a year, my wife and I have learnt to appreciate the delicacy of Middle-Eastern cuisine. One of the dishes that has been unforgettable is the Shawarma which in essence, is a rack of lamb-beef combination, grilled on a vertical rotisserie and then sliced off periodically as cooked. The moist yet well cooked meat goes extremely well with Pita or flat bread, especially with some hummus or baba ghanoush and a touch of hot sauce on the side....oh la la la!:-)

The Classiest Indian Dining Experience in Dallas at the Claypit


Of all the Indian restaurants in Dallas, the Claypit in Addision, (literal translation of the Tandoor) is my family's favorite. Given that my wife is an extraordinary Indian cook, we hardly eat Indian food outside, and look for variety from other parts of the world.

We make an exception on special occasions to dine out at the Claypit since it is arguably, the only restaurant in Dallas serving extraordinary Nouvelle Indian Cuisine in a classy yet friendly ambiance, with superb customer service and an incredible attention to detail by the owners - Jo and Renu Saini who run the Dallas establishment and Tinku, their chef-de-cuisine brother who runs the Claypit in Austin.

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