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Sep 022008
Udupi Green Chili Pickles - O la la la

Call it Pickles. Or call it Achar (Hindi), Urga (Tamil), Upinkai (Kannada) or Uragai (Telugu). Rich or poor, villager or city slicker, young or old, North Indian or South Indian, these hot accompaniments are a sine qua non of any Indian meal. They go well with rice (particularly yogurt rice) as well as roti. And of course as every Indian knows, they come in so many different varieties – mango, lime, ginger, green chili, red chili, gooseberry, mixed vegetable, carrot and so on. But to discerning gourmands like ourselves, most bottled pickles are a pale imitation of what the family in Andhra […]

Food Carts – New York City Landmark

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Aug 102008
Food Carts - New York City Landmark

You can’t miss them. They are everywhere in Manhattan. From Pondicherry Masala Dosa to Pretzels, Hot Dogs to Curry and Peanuts to Falafel, New York City’s thousands of food carts offer a dazzling choice of hot food. A food cart in New York City There’s even an annual Vendy Award to honor the best food cart stand

Jul 292008
Chinese Mirch - Indian Chinese Delight in NYC

Like most Indians, there are two things we’re passionate about – Bollywood and food (no, cricket is not that hot on our list). In a long life, we’ve watched several hundred Bollywood movies (Hindi and Tamil) and dined at scores of Indian restaurants in Asia, Europe and North America. North Indian or South Indian, Gujarati or Indian Chinese, Chettinad or Andhra style, the smell and sight of Indian food in any of its myriad flavors sends us into raptures. So it was no surprise that during our last visit to New York City, we headed to Curry Hill, the area of […]

May 202008
Tamil Nadu Bhavan - A New York Rat Hole

Update: Tamil Nadu Bhavan Re-opened by NYC Health Dept Our earliest memories of South Indian restaurants are of dark and dingy interiors, food served in dirty plates or banana leaves and water poured into tall tumblers by sweat-drenched waiters in the dusty small towns and cities of Tamil Nadu in South India. Four decades and 10,000 miles later, a visit to a South Indian restaurant remains a mishap-prone, dirty journey into the unknown. We’ve visited scores of Indian restaurants in the New York metropolitan region and have found several of them to be dirty. Indians, it seems, bring all their […]

Mar 092008

We have yet to read Jennifer 8. Lee’s new book The Fortune Cookie Chroniclers: Adventures in the World of Chinese Food but we plan to pick it up soon. Meanwhile, here’s an excerpt from today’s New York Times review of The Fortune Cookie Chroniclers: Lee presents an intriguing idea in a chapter called “Open-Source Chinese Restaurants,” contending that “if McDonald’s is the Windows of the dining world (where one company controls the standards), then Chinese restaurants are akin to the Linux operating system, where a decentralized network of programmers contributes to the underlying source code.” She contrasts the decade of “failed […]

Mar 022008
Anjappar Chettinad USA - Awful Service, Lousy Food

Anjappar Chettinad NYC Review Anjappar Chettinad in North Brunswick, New Jersey gives a bad name not just to the famed Chettinad cuisine but to all Indian restaurants in the U.S. Disgusting service and a distasteful kitchen come together to deliver a dreadful experience to diners at Anjappar’s new outpost in North Brunswick, NJ. A far better – and definitely more apt – name for this impostor of a restaurant would be Ambattar Chettinad because the only thing these imbeciles seem to be good at is shaving you off your precious time and hard-earned money (For those not familiar with the […]