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Costumes & Candy Clouds = Toothaches

27 Oct

So for Halloween, I’m gonna be:

Sweet and LowOK, I’ve been switched to Splenda & when they’ve got it, agave nectar, but I thought this would be a fun costume idea, when eating biscuits & gravy at The Lodge. I was sort of surprised that they still have the pink packets there. But then I got to thinkin’ about a costume, a joint costume with my friend (he will be “Coffee”) some bubble-gum pink slutty number treble clef painted on ma’ body, all the way down, sweet & low…

As a former acolyte of Clinton Hill/Fort Greene, I still haven’t gotten that creative for brunch spots, though I do like La Superior (Mexi-philes) & Simple Café (Francophiliacs)

I found a onesie at my fave thrift store, in the ‘Burg, Doggy’s Clothing/10ft. Single by Stella Dallas, near the corner of N. 6th and Meeker, off the L/G train, Lorimer/Metropolitan & Grand:

Stella Dallas

Now, I can’t say enough fabulous things about this store–silk scarves, hats, shoes, vintage & consignment galore, but on the onesie, there were, um, questionable stains in the crotch area. Yikes!

Can I get a discount? Rather than ask, I’m gonna head over to the northside tomorrow and check the goods out.

More inspiration from my new ‘hood:

Cotton Candy Cloud


For the Love of Pickles, or Masters of the Rolodex

20 Oct

Raj Rajaratnam

Seen here is the arrest of the portly Raj Rajaratnam, the billionaire partner of Galleon Group, aka “The Hedge Fund Hog,” accused of insider trading. He’s thrown down $$$ to South Asian organizations in NYC, some of which I’ve been affiliated with, including South Asian Youth Action and American India Foundation.


In Loiz Peltz’s 2001 book “The New Investment Superstars,” Rajaratnam says:

“It is pride, and I want to win. After awhile, money is not the motivation. I want to win every time. Taking calculated risks gets my adrenaline pumping.”

Gym Raja

He shoulda tried this instead:

Pool & Atrium at the Manhattan Plaza Health Club

Pool & Atrium at the Manhattan Plaza Health Club

For the Love of Mexican Coke

13 Oct
"Cult Classic" hecho in Mexico, courtesy of NYTimes

"Cult Classic" hecho in Mexico, courtesy of NYTimes

Don’t kill me Marissa–

Marissa Coke Joke

I shouldn’t drink Coke. Indian environmentalist Vandana Shiva says that it takes 9 Liters of CLEAN WATER to CLEAN ONE LITER OF COKE. Not only does Coke purport droughts, and there’s questions of whether the water used for the stuff is contaminated with pesticides. Last time I was there, the state of KERALA (Malus represent!) banned the sale of coke. Had to drink Fanta and whatnot.

Perhaps it’s my undergraduate freshman 30 that compelled me to start drinking Diet Coke. And aspartame–we all know that just = carcinogen city.

However, my recent trip to Mexico confirmed one thing–ain’t nothing like regular coke sweetened with cane sugar. Especially with a taco or four. Find me again in bunch of years when my bone mass is seriously decreased and my teeth are ground down to nada. Hopefully the switch to:

GUS = Grown Up Soda

GUS = Grown Up Soda


boylan's cane colaTasty ‘n conscious alternatives, for us in the Estados Unidos with only high fructose corn syrup at our disposal, and for our peace o’ mind.

*since the writing of this post, Facebook-wallah Tanwi Nandini Islam is NO LONGER a fan of Mexican Coke.

10/27/09: The Momofuku Cookbook! by David Chang & Peter Meehan

8 Oct

In homage to my bday dinner, at the Momofuku Noodle Bar on 1st Ave (‘tween 10th & 11th) here’s the recipe for the fantastic ginger-scallion noodle dish, which appears in David Chang and Peter Meehan (of the NYTimes) Momofuku, to be released on October 27,2009.


Hardcore Yummy Harcover

Hardcore Yummy Hardcover

From Momofuku: Ginger Scallion Noodles and Ginger Scallion Sauce

Our ginger scallion noodles are an homage to/out-and-out rip-off of one of the greatest dishes in New York City: the $4.95 plate of ginger scallion noodles at Great New York Noodletown down on the Bowery in Chinatown.

Ginger scallion sauce is one of the greatest sauces or condiments ever. Ever. It’s definitely a mother sauce at Momofuku, something that we use over and over and over again. If you have ginger scallion sauce in the fridge, you will never go hungry: stir 6 tablespoons into a bowl of hot noodles–lo mein, rice noodles, Shanghai thick noodles–and you’re in business. Or serve over a bowl of rice topped with a fried egg. Or with grilled meat or any kind of seafood. Or almost anything.

At Noodle Bar, we add a few vegetables to the Noodletown dish to appease the vegetarians, add a little sherry vinegar to the sauce to cut the fat, and leave off the squirt of hoisin sauce that Noodletown finishes the noodles with. (Not because it’s a bad idea or anything, just that we’ve got hoisin in our pork buns, and too much hoisin in a meal can be too much of a good thing. Feel free to add it back.)

The dish goes something like this: boil 6 ounces of ramen noodles, drain, toss with 6 tablespoons Ginger Scallion Sauce (below); top the bowl with 1/4 cup each of Bamboo Shoots (page 54 of Momofuku); Quick-Pickled Cucumbers (page 65 of Momofuku); pan-roasted cauliflower (a little oil in a hot wide pan, 8 or so minutes over high heat, stirring occasionally, until the florets are dotted with brown and tender all the way through; season with salt); a pile of sliced scallions; and a sheet of toasted nori. But that’s because we’ve always got all that stuff on hand. Improvise to your needs, but know that you need ginger scallion sauce on your noodles, in your fridge, and in your life. For real.— David Chang


  • 2 1/2 cups thinly sliced scallions (greens and whites; from 1 to 2 large bunches)
  • 1/2 cup finely minced peeled fresh ginger
  • 1/4 cup grapeseed or other neutral oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons usukuchi (light soy sauce)
  • 3/4 teaspoon sherry vinegar
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt, or more to taste

(Makes about three cups)


Mix together the scallions, ginger, oil, soy, vinegar, and salt in a bowl. Taste and check for salt, adding more if needed. Though it’s best after 15 or 20 minutes of sitting, ginger scallion sauce is good from the minute it’s stirred together up to a day or two in the fridge. Use as directed, or apply as needed.

For the Love of Curry Leaves

7 Oct

Naw, not that yellow stinky stuff!

Article by Tejal Rao, food writer and editor in The Atlantic. Plus, a fabulous recipe for cool, cucumber raita!



To try cucumber raita, click here for the recipe.

The curry tree’s shiny leaves have a savory, toasted eucalyptus perfume. They’ve got nothing to do with pre-mixed curry powder, that useless neon stuff at the supermarket (though the Indian name for the plant, kadipatta, pronounced curry-pratta, explains the English name, and our association).

Cooks who use curry leaves say things like, “They’re key to authentic Indian food.” And it’s true that even the simplest dishes are often flavored with a few leaves, dropped into hot oil. But I got on just fine without curry leaves for the last few years, making my mother and grandmother’s recipes and leaving them out.

When my parents moved to Thailand last year, my mother left me her plant. In the past, she’s left it with friends and carefully smuggled a cutting to replant at our new home. When we moved to France, a branch wrapped in moist paper towels sat up in the front seat, sharing my mother’s seat belt, and her view of the white cliffs of Dover.

I imagined this tree was related to the one my great-great-grandmother carried on the steamship that brought her to East Africa, and related to the trees my family carried to Europe, when they were exiled from Uganda in the 1970s.

But not this time. Presumably, she could easily get her hands on curry leaves in Bangkok, and those plants would be tastier from all the sunshine. Curry trees are native to South Asia, and, as Indians immigrated, they carried them along, replanting them in foreign gardens and window boxes.

I imagined this tree was related to the one my great-great-grandmother carried on the steamship that brought her to East Africa, and related to the trees my family carried to Europe, when they were exiled from Uganda in the 1970s. I started frying the leaves when I was supposed to, and sometimes when I wasn’t.

But within a couple of months of being under my care, the tree looked sad. The stems felt like they’d been deep-fried. The leaves fell off. Was it the change in weather? An Indian cook assured me that the curry tree grows quite happily on windowsills all over Rochester, New York, even in the winter.

“The curry tree is near impossible to kill,” said another site. I read, with envy, about a couple in Maine whose trees had doubled in less than six months. “We have so many curry leaves, we simply don’t know what to do,” they complained. Show offs, I thought.

Meanwhile, my tree’s main trunks, a few inches high and thick as twigs, were completely bare. A couple of new shoots sprung up, but they looked alarmingly delicate and sort of yellowish.

I consulted a forum where curry tree owners discussed problems like aphids–destructive little buggers–seasonal shedding, leaves turning black, and killer molds. Here, one man shared the story of receiving a plant as a gift and killing it accidentally. “Please tell me, what did I do wrong?” he asked.

I asked my mother the same question. She examined the plant in the Skype video feed. “Oh sometimes the kadipatta just gets like that. I mix some full fat yogurt with a little water and pour it all over the soil. Perks right up!”

“What if it’s too late?” I asked.

“It’s never too late for yogurt!” She assured me.

Indian grocery stores sell curry leaves on the stem, in the freezer section. But it’s in the spirit of the traveling plant to grow your own and share a branch, to play a part in distributing its quiet, culinary magic. And should the yogurt fail, I’ll be in the market for a new cutting myself.

Recipe: Cucumber Raita