RSS Feed

Monthly Archives: April 2013

Restaurant Review: Indigma

Posted on
Martinis

Martinis

Have you ever gone to a restaurant and LOVED the food, but vowed you would never return again?  This was one of those places.  I bought a Groupon a bit back for this place as I had been a few years before.  I enjoyed the food on that occasion, but the service had been terrible.  I figured they had been open for this long, they had to have gotten better.  I was wrong.

Fried Naan and chutneys

Fried Naan and chutneys

We were a bit early for our reservations, so I asked the hostess if we could get a drink at the bar (it was happy hour still).  She told us we could not, that the bar was backed up….  Ok…  Well, we were shown to our seats and we waited.  We got our water.  We were asked for our drink orders.  Ernie ordered a French martini and I ordered the Hot and Dirty martini (made with pepper vodka and with a pickled spicy pepper garnish).  We waited….  We were asked for our dinner order. I had some questions about the options.  I enjoy Indian food and have eaten a fair amount of it.  But this place had some different options than what I’ve been used to.  They had this Thali option for ordering where you got an appetizer, rice, salad, raita, main, roti, and dessert.  The vegetarian option was malai kofta, so I decided to go with it.  Ernie got a three course prix fixe dinner and some chapati.  We got our drinks and toasted.  Ernie’s drink was mostly juice.  My drink was fine…  But it wasn’t made with pepper vodka.  Again, nothing really wrong with my drink, but it just wasn’t right.  The problem was that the server never really came back until much later for us to even complain, so it was useless at that point…

Coconut shrimp

Coconut shrimp

We got fried naan with three chutneys and preserved lemon.  OMG.  That lemon was the most delicious few bites.  I mean, I made preserved lemon, but this wasn’t really salty.  It was spiced and a bit sweet.  SO GOOD.  I liked the cilantro chutney, but Ernie did not.  We both liked the tamarind one, but only Ernie liked the onion (too oniony for me).  Ernie’s coconut shrimp came next.  and I just sat there.  He eventually ate it, but we thought my appetizer was coming as well…  Nope.  But he said the coconut shrimp was SUPER tasty.  Next, Ernie got the lamb korma.  It was spicy according to him, but very very good.  NOW my food all came at once…  I had no idea.  The waiter never explained how this was supposed to happen.  I specifically asked what the Thali was about, but he didn’t really explain it.  If I knew that I was going to get EVERYTHING at once, I would have been fine with it.  But not so much….  On my “plate” was a samosa, daal, channa masala, saag paneer, rice, malai kofta, rice pudding, and raita.  ZOMG.  That saag paneer was absolutely amazing.  It was just spicy enough so that it just burned at the back of my throat…  so good.  The channa masala was nicely spiced, but not hot.  The daal was not really spiced at all.  I was a bit underwhelmed with it, but again not bad.  I gave the rice pudding to Ernie as he really wanted it (and so I could have his dessert).  I got to eat the chapati and Ernie ate the roti.

Lamb Korma

Lamb Korma

The last sort of dig at the end of the night was that I asked our waiter (who finally showed up) if I could have the recipe for the preserved lemon.  The waiter was unsure, but went to ask.  He came back and said the owner/manager would be out to talk to me.  He never came. We were there for over an hour and a half, much of it just waiting….  Again, the food was VERY good.  It was definitely a step above a “regular” Indian place.  But I would rather pay less and get a slightly “lower” quality of food and better service.  For sure.

samosa, daal, channa masala, saag paneer, rice, malai kofta, rice pudding, raita

samosa, daal, channa masala, saag paneer, rice, malai kofta, rice pudding, raita

Advertisements

Friday Flicks: Once

Posted on

Once Poster

I actually haven’t seen a movie in a bit.  Nothing has really piqued my interest lately.  Plus, I’ve been REALLY into the books I’ve been reading lately.  I hope to write up something about them pretty soon.  So, I decided to dig into my “repertoire” for a movie that I’ve enjoyed.  It also just happens that I’m trying to convince my mom and sister that going to see the Broadway version of Once would also be a good idea.

When asked by my sister to describe what the story is about, what I could succinctly remember was that there was this guy and girl who made BEAUTIFUL music together and develop an unfulfilled love for each other.  I think what draws me to this movie and keeps doing it, is the raw emotion that it invokes.  The potential for love that the two share, and yet they both return to relationships that have given them so much pain in the past.

But, I’ve gotten ahead of myself a bit.  The basic story is fairly simple.  Boy meets girl.  In this case, the main character is just named “guy”.  He’s a musician trying to make it on the streets of Dublin, while working for his father in a vacuum repair shop.  Girl sees guy on the street and asks him about his music.  She also is a musician, and the two go to the piano store where she occasionally plays.

Guy and Girl

She plays very well, so the two of them decide to write and make music together.  The guy reveals that much of his music is about his long term love who cheated and left.  The girl in turn reveals that she is in fact still married (he found out when he went back to her place and saw she had a daughter), but he is still in the Czech Republic.  He decides that he wants to officially record the music, so the two of them get studio time and a few back up singers and officially make a demo that he is going to take with him to London.

Beautiful scene

What’s great about the movie is that their music is intertwined with the story line.  It’s not just them singing at the demo sessions, but the songs are sung at a party, on a bus, etc.  I also love the anonymity or generality that the characters are given.  The two aren’t given names, so they really could be anyone.  All in all, this is a great movie due to the chemistry the two have together romantically and musically.

Youtube of Once

Rating: 9.5 out of 10.

Granola Recipe

Posted on

I’ve had an irrational fear of making granola for a long time.  I have no idea why or what it was about, but for some reason the idea of making granola seemed so daunting.  Well, my package for my April foodie pen pal was about to go out and I wanted to make something home made.  I had most of the supplies, so it was a matter of picking up a few things and getting the courage to attempt to make granola for the first time.  I decided to go with a pretty basic recipe and then got fancy at the end with some coconut.  Hopefully the pen pal likes it!

Granola Ingredients:

  • 3 cups regular oats (do not use instant)

    Ingredients

    Ingredients

  • 8 oz sliced or slivered almonds
  • 8 oz dried cranberries
  • 6 oz sweetened coconut
  • 1/3 cup canola oil
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/8 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 4 tsp vanilla extract

In a large bag add the oats, almonds, and cranberries.  Add to these the cinnamon and the salt.  Mix the dry ingredients well.

Dry ingredients

Dry ingredients

Add to the bag the oil, honey, and extract.  Using either your hands or shaking the bag well, make sure everything is WELL coated.  The oil needs to coat the oats to allow them to toast evenly.

Wet ingredients added

Wet ingredients added

Line a baking sheet with either foil or parchment paper and spread the ingredients out evenly.

Ready to be baked

Ready to be baked

Set the oven for 325 F and cook the granola for 10 minutes.  After 10 minutes are up, add the coconut to the mixture and try to bring the stuff on the edges into the middle.

Coconut added

Coconut added

Cook the granola for another 10 minutes before again mixing the granola from the outside in.

Just 10 more minutes....

Just 10 more minutes….

Turn the oven down to 300 F and cook for one last 10 minutes.  Remove the granola promptly and allow to cool.  Enjoy!

Close up of finished product

Close up of finished product

Some variations are possible.  I’d probably try other dried fruits the next time.  Dried blueberries would be amazing!  I also think other nuts like pecans and walnuts would work really well.  I’d also want to try this with non-sweetened coconut.  I think that would save a bunch of calories without sacrificing taste.  Also, using coconut oil instead of canola oil or using agave syrup instead of honey would be great substitutions.

Friday Flicks: The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

Posted on

 

Movie Poster

The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel is truly a great movie for many reasons.  But first off, I must confess I like old people.  I think old people are interesting and have interesting perspectives.  But I especially love older British actors/actresses.  Well, this movie is a boon of old people and very good actors/actresses.

The premise of the story is that seven older people in England travel to Jaipur, India to live in a hotel for older people.  The seven people all come for different reasons.  Evelyn (Dame Judi Dench) came to find a cheaper place to live after her husband passed and left her with lots of debts.  Graham (Tom Wilkinson) comes to India to seek out an old flame from his youth.  Norman (Ronald Pickup) is there to find himself a new lover.  Muriel (Maggie Smith) has come to get low cost hip replacement surgery.  Madge (Celia Imrie) is in India to land herself a wealthy new husband.  Lastly are Douglas and Jean (Bill Nighy and Penelope Wilton) who invested their retirement funds with their daughter and had to find a cheap place to live in the hopes that they would eventually recoup the money.  The hotel is run by Sonny (Dev Patel).

The Dame

Well, the guests arrive and the place is not what they were expecting.  Sonny is eager, but is not a great manager.  He’s much more in love with the idea of the hotel and what the vision of it that his father had than by the actual running of a business.  To complicate matters, he is in love with a lovely girl Sunaina (Tena Desae), but Sonny’s mom does not approve of the modern woman that she is.  Evelyn seems to thrive in India.  She gets a job for the first time in her life.  Graham spends so much time looking for his past lover.  He finally reveals that he is gay and that the person is a man.  It takes awhile, but then Graham finally gets to see his old friend.  He is old and living with his wife, who incidentally knew the whole story of Graham and her husband.  But just as they reconnect, Graham dies.  Apparently he had a heart condition and knew that he would not be returning to England.

Sonny and Muriel

Muriel doesn’t seem to like the country at all, but the woman caring for her and cooking her meals takes a liking to her.  Not only does she seem to like her, but invites her to her home to meet all her family.  It’s a hilarious scene.  And lastly the couple of Douglas and Jean…  They could not approach their situation in completely different ways.  Douglas seems to really love India.  He spends his days visiting different temples and various sites.  Jean spends her days at the hotel.  She is so bothered by the sights and sounds that she insulates herself and becomes a bit of a bitch.

Tom Wilkinson

In the end, things work out of the best.  Those seeking companionship end up with someone.  The nice thing is that Jean admits to Douglas that things were not working out, so she goes back home.  He stays and ends up starting a relationship with Evelyn.  Sonny is finally able to convince his mother that Sunaina is the woman for him.  And the best part is that Muriel ends up convincing the bank to fund the hotel and she stays on as a manager.

Billy Nighy

While this may not be the best description I realize, you really should watch the movie.  It’s visually delightful.  The cinematography is wonderful.  You get to see the loveliness of India and the people.    What’s also super fun is that Douglas and Jean were husband and wife in another movie.  If you can guess which one it was, you win a prize :).  Mostly this movie is about relationships and creating new experiences.

I give this movie a 9 out of 10.

Official Trailer

March Foodie Pen Pal

Posted on

It’s that time of the month again!  Foodie Pen pal reveal day!!!!!  This month I got my box from the lovely Maureen over at the blog Pearls on a Pig.  You should check out her blog for amazing ideas for kids and adults alike.  My box this month was SUPER awesome.  It was FILLED to the brim with lots of new snacks and things to try.  As I got the box just a week or so before Passover, I wanted to wait to taste everything.  Then, reason got the better of me and I opened the candies.  I’ve never had Horehound candies before, so I was pleasantly surprised by the nice herbal taste to them.

Part One

Part One

I also got a great selection of popcorns and chips.  I am DYING to try the jalapeno chips.  Here’s hoping they’re REALLY spicy.  The tea smells lovely as does the coffee.  I normally eat the spiced wafers during Halloween, but I was also given a recipe to use the wafers, so I may have to try that with the cookies.  Thanks again to the lovely Maureen.

Part Two

Part Two

You can see the person I sent to over at HomeMade by TZ.

Now, here’s the info on the Foodie Pen Pal Program:

  • On the 5th of every month, you will receive your penpal pairing via email. It will be your responsibility to contact your penpal and get their mailing address and any other information you might need like allergies or dietary restrictions.
  • You will have until the 15th of the month to put your box of goodies in the mail. On the last day of the month, you will post about the goodies you received from your penpal!
  • The boxes are to be filled with fun foodie things, local food items or even homemade treats! The spending limit is $15. The box must also include something written. This can be anything from a note explaining what’s in the box, to a fun recipe…use your imagination!
  • You are responsible for figuring out the best way to ship your items depending on their size and how fragile they are. (Don’t forget about flat rate boxes!)
  • Foodie Penpals is open to blog readers as well as bloggers. If you’re a reader and you get paired with a blogger, you are to write a short guest post for your penpal to post on their blog about what you received. If two readers are paired together, neither needs to worry about writing a post for that month.
  • Foodie Penplas is open to US, Canadian & European residents.  Please note, Canadian Residents will be paired with other Canadians only. Same with Europeans. We’ve determined things might get too slow and backed up if we’re trying to send foods through customs across the border from US to Canada and vice versa.
The Lean Green Bean