Nikos Taverna – White Plains

Considering that I am posting this right after the Kalbi House post, it might seem like I am trying to eat my way around Central Ave and frankly, that might not be a bad thing to do, considering that there is quite the selection of restaurants to try out. However, this was a coincidence and a really happy one.

I was planning to meet my friend Helen for dinner and I decided to settle on Nikos. This was two weeks ago and they were already running and allowing restaurant week specials. I had gotten there about 10 minutes early and soaked in the painted walls with a smooth glass of greek wine. I have a Windows 7 phone, courtesy the work and I was rather amused to see how interested the waiter was about it. I guess there is something for everyone.

When my friend we decided to split a Halumi with roasted red peppers, my first try with the cheese and this was love at first bite. We both had lamb dishes, my was an amazingly good lamb shank. I finished off the meal with a delicious walnut cake. We savored our meal over lots of good catch up conversation and some more wine. It was a great evening, nothing at the end of the day complements good food better than good conversation and good friends. If you have not tried the place, make sure you get there this week.

The low down on Nikos,

287 Central Avenue

 White Plains, NY

914 686 6456
Niko's Greek Taverna on Urbanspoon

Kalbi House – Korean in White Plains

kalbi houseTrying a new ethnic restaurant can be interesting for a variety of reasons – it of course offers us a new place to try and of course if the food is good, it adds one more place to the family dining collection. If you have little ones like us, a new style of food can also afford an opportunity to talk about the Geography and other cultural snippets of the cuisine that we are trying.  It was mostly a combination of proximity and adventure that drew us to Kalbi House, actually a while back and we have been back a couple of times since. Actually, we even tried little Korea in NYC and I shall tell you at some other about that experience.

The first thing that struck us on our visit to Kalbi House, was that the place was frequented by a fair number of seemingly native diners. This is always a good sign for an ethnic restaurant. The general feeling and thinking here is naturally that original eaters of a cuisine would be able to discern the good from the bad. This being said it is also worth considering that there are not a whole lot of Korean restaurants. We are not really very facile with Korean food, but being picky and adventurous eaters we can certainly comment on good tasting food, which is what we thought the food at this small and whimsical Korean spot on Central Ave, next to Nikos Greek Taverna.

The assortment of pickles that come preceding the meal, were a lot of fun, we went through the scores of tastes all well balanced, our favorites were the potatoes and the Kimchi.
The kids had fun with the soup and as you can see navigating the sushi. My daughter actually needed help, what a difference a few months makes.

Among other things, we like the Kimchi Pancake, the kids labelled this spice Pizza. Well all in all we had a fun and satisfying experience and will be back.
The lowdown on the restaurant.
Kalbi House
291 Central Ave
White Plains, NY 10606
(914) 328 0251

Kalbi House Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Waldy’s Pizza – New York City

waldys pizzaI first visited this small and quaint neighbourbood kind of joint this summer. I realize that there are probably so many such places, but then again a place that has brought me back ever so often at lunchtime, a place along with its very good pizza, has a self full of fresh herbs that you can snip off yourself to actually season your fired Pizza with does deserve a mention. Without the little touches it would be just another neighborhood place that offers good pizza, but then food and life is always about the small touches, it is the accents that make a difference. The menu consists of thin crust crisp well spiced pizza options and a smaller selections of pasta (penne to be specific!) and fresh salads. Oh! I forgot to mention that the wall of fresh herbs also has olive and fresh parmasan and their staff are very pleasant and efficient.
The pizza topping range from the basic tomato basil to interesting and novel concepts like arugula, garlic and sunny side eggs and then everything in between. Yesterday, I ate their chicken, bacon and chipotle pizza. The pizza’s come in three sizes and their small is a nice generous size for about $8 you get the pizza and a drink. They carry a small but interesting selection of Pepsi products. The do have wine and beer options should you want to have them. So if you are in that neck of the woods and want to give the place a try, you should.
The low down on Waldy’s is,
Waldys Wood Fired Pizza & Penne

800 6TH AVE
New York City, New York 10001

(212) 213-5042

Waldy's Wood-Fired Pizza & Penne on Urbanspoon

Jade Garden – A potentially viable Dim Sum option

Before we discovered Aberdeen and Central Ave Seafood, there was a restaurant we used to go to called David’s Jade Garden. The place closed down they had something else in there and looks like they are back to being a Chinese and Dim Sum joint.
I am not sure about the management just commenting on the nature of the restaurant. There is something comforting about small plates, irrespective of the cuisine, something that sort spells relaxed and experimental without being overwhelming.
The place is very spacious and as our local Dim Sum restaurants go, pretty decent in terms of decor. The colors are lighter and brighter. The general think that we really liked was that despite being reasonably crowed, we did not feel crowded in.

As we waited the kids had fun with the place mats, trying to figure out what animal each one of us on the table were. So who says math cannot be fun, one just needs to thing outside the traditional concept of sitting and crunching numbers on a piece of paper.

So down to the food, they had several of the usual suspects but what was new to me was that they had a couple of roll options in bean curd wrappers, they had a really interesting vegetable dumpling that seemed to primarily be filled with peanuts and shitake mushrooms. I really liked the diversity of their dumpling wrappers lighter ones for the seafood variations and heavier ones for the meaty options.

Their sticky rice had a nice fragrant lotus leaf wrapper, in that the wrapper actually smelt good when you unwrapped it. Their prices were actually a little better than the other restaurants that I have seen in the area. Now, their service while very friendly was a little on the disorganized side, they seemed to get a little confused on occasion and sometimes slow on the uptake. So, I think it is good that Dim Sum is usually a relaxed meal. To make up for some of their blunders, they brought us double rounds of fortune cookies. The kids now get a real kick out of figuring out the fortunes, so this actually did help them redeem themselves!
In addition, the husbands fortune read something to the effect that the stars had blessed him with a wonderful wife, so you know I am generally pleased with all of this. We shall be back there! (actually have been back since the first visit just try not to do it on a very busy day).

The Geographical Lowdown.

156 South Central Avenue,
Hartsdale, NY 10530

(914) 288-0081

Bhojan – A delightful stop

This little spot in the Indian hub in NYC around Lexington and the corner of 27th was a pleasant surprise and absolutely joy to visit.

The word Bhojan actually translates to a meal in Hindi. This little spot is a vegetarian tea room and cafe that actually also serves regular healthy complete meals in Indian platters called Thalis.

The restaurant has warm open brick walls, reminding you of rural style Indian decor. The space was small and packed this afternoon that I visited. The wait staff however moved very efficiently through it all to accept and service your order.

The small compact menu consists of a few tea options including a chai option, and a few Indian chaat options that actually consisted of a good selection from around the diversity of India. I actually tried the Dabeli sandwich, this is a soft spiced potato sandwich on a soft buttery roll. My friend tried the lunch thali that is actually cooked in the true religious vegetarian tradition without onion and garlic.

The Thali is quite delightful, in that it includes a complete meal in perfect proportions. It consists of two entrees a rice and bread and dessert. The options are pre-selected for the day, and I noticed that the regulars got a thrill out of guessing the entree for the day.  The restaurantt is a part of the Chola Group. I like their restaurants and tend to find their menus and themed restaurants well thought out and this was no exception.

What I did not mention was Bhojan is also a great value, since you can get the lunch platter for $8 and the average price of a meal combination with other items would also be in the under $10 range. So, if you are looking for something different from your mainstream Indian fare, do take a trip and stock up on your Indian spices when you visit since the neighbourhood is littered with ethnic spice stores at all corners.

The Co-Ordinates

Bhojan Vegetarian
102 Lexington Ave
New York, NY 10016

Bhojan Vegetarian on Urbanspoon

Happy New Year – A stop in Ardsley

 In the midst of everything we have started a year, in fact, “the holidays” are over! I had initially not really thought of a resolution. For some reason, I gave up that idea last year. However, as they say ideas exist to be changed. This year as I end the weekend and get ready to brave the new year in earnest, my resolution is to enjoy and be grateful for the simple pleasures of life. The ones that we sometimes take for granted. 
The year thus far already promises to be filled with a lot of them.
Late last year, just before Christmas, Anshul and I made a stop to a relatively new Indian place in town called Calcutta Wrap and Roll. A restaurant named after the town I was born in is naturally worth a visit just based on its name, however once I was there I think the place deserves to be visited for a whole lot more reasons.
The place is a small reasonably charming little storefront mostly positioned as a take-out place with a few tables (actually three to be exact) for convenience.

Their menu was a good balance of anytown USA Indian  restaurant style classics (such as butter paneer) and several dishes (a large number of them cooked in the Bengali style of cooking) that were touted as house specialties. A lot of the dishes were also listed a special favorites of the owners and their spouses clearly emphasizing the home style flavors that the restaurant prominently dubbs as their genre of Indian cooking.
We actually sat in to enjoy a nice afternoon meal. We order a couple of rolls, a regular chicken roll, a vegetarian skinny roll, the vegetable chop and their goat curry.

The first thing that struck me about the food was that the flavors were clear and pure and there was no sparing of the very finely chopped Serrano chillies that were generously used in the rolls. The chicken roll was nice but missing the touch of grilled onions that I think is a hallmark of this preparation.
We LOVED the skinny paneer roll. The boldly spiced cubes of Indian cheese were encased in a pan crisped whole wheat bread, topped with a fried egg. The vegetable chop is a potato and beet croquet that was fried to crisp perfection.
The goat curry was not greasy and cooked in a very nuanced and complex tomato based sauce. My only reason for possibly taking some time in getting back there would be their lack of seating space. This is largely because I personally do not do a lot of take out when I have time to plan and Ardsley is not quite a spontaneous distance from me when I want some quick nutrition to put on the family table.
I would certainly encourage you to pay the place a visit and order some of the items that might be unique to their menu.
As always, it is nice to see more options on the ethnic food scene in Westchester. If you do visit, please tell me what you think.
Calcutta Wrap and Roll
465 Ashford Avenue

Ardsley, NY 10502
914 591 2222

Calcutta Wrap and Roll on Urbanspoon

Simple Seasonal Perfect – Harvest on Hudson

There are days when you want go out and have a special meal, but want simplicity in the cuisine, well heeled but country styled settings,. particularly when the whether has this nip in the air. This is when you want to head off to a tested a tried place like the Harvest on Hudson.

I have eaten there a few times and this picture was from a meal about a year back. I was just was waiting for the right time to write about my wonderful experiences here.

 Late fall and winter, the garden action in my life is slower, allowing me the time to catch up on old posts.

Anyhow back to my dinning experience, this meal was a perfect simple pan fried cod, and you can see from the amazing golden coloring and flaky finish how nicely done this was. The other item that we had ordered was gnocchi tossed in brown butter and sage. I have been here at least a couple of times, when I was working in the area. What is also worthwhile is the beautiful view that is pretty all around, since it is on the edge of the Hudson and overlooks the Palisades. So if you are looking for a place that will not disappoint and is set and done up nicely with absolutely perfectly done foods that is interesting but not dauntingly complex, give this place a try.
Harvest On Hudson
1 River Street
Hastings on Hudson, NY 10706
914 478 2800

Kathleen’s Tea Room

Kathleen's Tea Room on Urbanspoon

LT on Whole Wheat Toast
Earlier this year, when the whether was cooler, I ventured one lunchtime to try out Kathleen’s Tea Room. I think my love for tea competes very strongly with my love of wine. This visit turned out to be a fairly costly one, since I actually ended up with a ticket for parking incorrectly. Fortunately, the tea room was a lovely place to visit. A small place somewhat bring forth the appearance of an old english cluttered service room.
There tea selections were not very extensive but adequate, their service came in mismatched (as in different cups and plates for different tables) completing the atmosphere of a down home feeling.
In general, had this place been closer it would have been a good place to take a book and read on a quiter day. The tea was brewed in piping hot water (one of the most essential elements of brewing black tea). Actually a simple fact that most people overlook.

`A somewhat lopsided view of what the place looks like.
The sandwich that I ordered was nice and substantial, in fact my only complaint with it was it was too much like a good lunch sandwich rather than a  teatime sandwich. It came with a side of potato salad, healthy but a better option than potato chips.
So if like me you want something warm when there is a nip in the air, a quaint place where you can while an hour or two with friends or even your favorite book, try to take a ride up county and check this place out. If you like to collect tea and try some later, they also sell loose tea like most tearooms.
Kathleens Tea Room
979 Main Street
Peekskill, NY
914 734 5420

Stone Barnes Agricultural Center and Cafe

While we all know about the Blue Hill Restarant at Stone Barnes, there is also a little cafe with a small but quite satisfying selections of salads, sandwiches, crostada’s, light baked items all of which are made from the amazing bounty of the agricultural center. If like us you want a good weather day outdoors, please to venture out to the agricultural center.

While I love to talk about food, it is one of the many attractions of spending a day here. Whether permitting you can get good exercise all across the campus, seeing animals, flowers, beautiful happenings of a working farm. The deal here is that I feel like I earn my meal.


Onions on a conveyor belt

Hanging out with the turkeys

The above are just some snippets of a beautiful summers day with the kids and friends. It was wonderful feel like we had a picnic without having to tote a bag full of food.

The Kati Roll Company

A kati roll is a hard concept to define. Actually the home of these amazing creations is Kolkatta, the city in India where I grew up. These amazing creations of skewered marinated chicken (hence the term Kati, which refers to a stick) are grilled to amazing perfection.

A rich flatbread called paratha is cooked on a large flat griddle, the meat is placed on the center and it is garnished with vinegared sour onions, the whole thing is rolled up and served in greaseproof paper. Quick, tantalizingly tasty, street food at it’s best. The kati roll is a newer term more popular for Western clarity, since the Kati roll distinguishes itself from other rolls such as spring rolls, egg rolls, salad rolls, I think you get the idea.The magic and delight of the Kati roll is captured by the Kati Roll company, a little joint in NYC. I personally like the one on 39th street, but this really is a matter of convienience. The menu of this small place constantly bustling with action is a lovely rectangular piece of stiff paper that illustrates the name with pictures. Actually it reminds me of an Indian voter card. The walls are adorned with classic (70′s) hits and larger than life Bollywood icons and the vibe is very festive with lively Indian music.
The waiters (all wearing uniformed tea-shirts), are quick and turn around business promptly. It certainly is a fun place to sit with friends, drink you masala chai and enjoy a roll. I have not tried their vegetarian rolls, but highly recommend either their chicken or shammi kabab rolls. The do a good job packaging the rolls to go, in a lined pretty bag, that actually holds the heat well. I have quite often brought them home for dinner and they need little heating. All in all an fun try.
The Kati Roll Company
49 West 39th Street

(between 5th and 6th Avenues)
New York, NY 10018

212 730 4280

Kati Roll Company on Urbanspoon

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