Tag Archive | Food

Benares Indian Restaurant: Cozy Fine Dining in Tribeca

Table Top Art Shot
All Photos By Gail

If you’re looking for delicious and authentic Indian cuisine in NYC, it really isn’t hard to find. There are even a few neighborhoods — like East 6th Street or Curry Hill — with a concentration of reliable eateries that can satisfy any craving you might have for Indian Cuisine from a variety of regions. Great Indian restaurants are everywhere, but I have a couple of favorite places that stand out for me as being worth going out of my way for, and one of those is Benares. My foodie friend Anne and I attended an event at Benares back in 2012 to celebrate the opening of its now-former midtown location, and I still recall the delicious small bites and refreshing craft cocktails, along with gracious service and a comfortable but classy vibe that we experienced. So I jumped at the chance to revisit Benares now that the restaurant has relocated to Murray Street in Tribeca. We felt welcome the minute we walked in the door.

Recessed Ceiling Lighting
Room Shot

Benares takes its name from the city  located in the Western state of UP (Utter Pradesh),  and the extensive menu includes a medley of Indian dishes, with an emphasis on the cuisine of that  region. The city of Benares is known for vegetarian dishes, and the restaurant features over 20 delicious and unique vegetarian specialties, making it an ideal destination for groups with diverse dining tastes or dietary restrictions.

Rice Puffs with Dipping Sauce

Benares‘ menu also has many unusual seafood and meat dishes. Chef Peter Beck (formerly of Tamarind) prepares his signature dishes such as the Sevai Tomato Kurma (mussels, scallops, rock shrimp and crab claws tossed in a garlic tomato sauce over Indian style rice noodles) and the Tandoori Hen ( whole Cornish hen marinated in lime, ginger, cumin, garlic and garam masala and cooked in the tandoor oven). These are dishes that you will not find in other NYC Indian restaurantsI I brought Anne along with me, and we are served a tasting menu that included an enormous amount of indian specialties. Here’s what we ate!

Cauliflower Khasta Gobhi

Among a half-dozen or so appetizer bites that started off the dinner, we especially loved this Khasta Gobi: lightly batterrd and crispy fried cauliflower with garland crushed pepper in a tangy sauce.

Chicken Tikka

Chicken Tikka: Tandoor grilled tender pieces of chicken marinated in yogurt and spices.

Spicy Lamb

Makkai Ka Soweta Lamb with Fresh Corn

Makkai Ka Soweta: Lamb Shoulder marinated in yogurt, tumeric, chili , ginger and glare (very spicy) with fresh corn. Delcious!

Spicy Shrimp

Spicy Grilled Shrimp!

Table View with Full Meal

Our feast of several entrees — both meat and vegetarian — arrived quickly and included many of our favorites!

Basmati Rice
Basmati Rice with Saffron and Peas

Naan Bread
Freshly Baked Naan Bread

Malai Kofta

One vegetarian dish that I had never tried before is the Malai Kofta: a Vegetable and Cheese Dumplings served in Cashew and Onion Gravy. It is perhaps comparable to an Indian Matzhoh Ball! Very tasty!

Saag Paneer

Saag Paneer is a popular dish that everyone loves: Cubes of Indian cottage cheese served in creamed fresh spinach with mild Indian spices.

Butter Chicken

Butter Chicken is another mildly spicy meat dish that is a universal favorite, and a great introductory entree choice for anyone who has not had Indian food before. In this dish, tandoori grilled tikka of chicken is cooked in a smooth tomato gravy, rich in cashews and, as the name implies, finished with butter. Sublime!

Lamb Rogan Josh

Lamb Rogan Josh is dish that always makes me think of the American journalist and political analyst, Josh Rogin, but the two are not related! Rogan Josh is signature dish from Kashmir, consisting of succulent pieces lamb in a sauce flavored with cardamom, aniseed and paprika. The meat is excellent quality and has the texture of very tender beef. If you think you aren’t going to like lamb, I would recommend that you try this dish, and be won over!

Atom Bomb

We were understandably stuffed after indulging in so many amazing dishes, but our host insisted that we have dessert, and how could we say no to this gorgeous creation which they call an Atom Bomb: Warm Chocolate Lava Cake with Rose Petal Ice Cream and a drizzle of chocolate syrup. It tasted as wonderful as it looks. Rose Petal ice cream is a delicate treat that I highly recommend. The subtle but distinguishable essence of rose gives this ice cream a very light and unique flavor. It is fun to try new things!

Diners at a Table

Benares‘s beautiful interiors and intimate dining spaces make it a perfect restaurant  choice for any occasion from a business lunch to a first date or just a get-together with friends. Theres something for everyone on the menu and they will make you feel so welcome you will return again again.

Benares is located at 45 Murray Street (take the 2, 3, A or C trains) in Tribeca, NYC. See more photos, full menus, and make a reservation to dine at Benares by visiting Benares NYC Dot Com!

Table View

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Product Review: Good Karma Non-Dairy Yogurt

Good Karma Non-Dairy Yogurt
All Photos By Gail

More and more it seems, food allergies or intolerances to commonly used ingredients such as nuts, wheat, soy and dairy no longer have to keep you from indulging in your favorite foods. For example, Yogurt lovers who have been missing out on this creamy treat due to a lactose intolerance can now enjoy healthy and great tasting Good Karma dairy-free yogurt, which I recently had the chance to taste test at home, after first meeting product representatives last summer at a food show.

Good Karma Label View

Vegan-friendly and free of major allergens, Good Karma is versatile, creamy, fresh and delicious.  This dairy free yogurt is made with flax milk (derived from cold-pressed flaxseed oil) which is a rich source of Omega-3 healthy fats. Each serving of Good Karma contains 5-6 grams of plant-based protein, plus 7 live and active cultures to aid digestion. Even better: each 6 ounce serving has only 90 calories!

Good Karma Blueberry CupGood Karma Blueberry

As you can see by the photo above of the Blueberry variety spooned into a serving dish, Good Karma is very creamy in texture and not at all gelatinous, as is Greek-style yogurt. The fruit is already blended in, rather than being at the bottom of the cup, so you get a very consistent fruit flavor in every bite.

Good Karma Raspberry
Good Karma Raspberry

Using plant-based milks, the company’s goal is always to create a delicious yogurt that gets as close as possible to a traditional dairy yogurt, while also being free of all major allergens, with added protein and a tangy, fruity taste that makes you smile!

Good Karma Strawberry Cup

Besides these three luscious fruit flavors, Good Karma dairy free yogurt also comes in comes in Plain and Vanilla varieties.

Parfait Recipe

I tasted the Vanilla Good Karma at the aforementioned food show, where I was served a tasty fun yogurt  parfait recipe that knocked my socks off! Find out more about Good Karma dairy-free products (made with Flax Milk, which, as you can see below, they also offer), plus get recipes like the one you see above, and download money-saving coupons good towards your first purchase of Good Karma, at this link!

Good Karma Flax Milk
Good Karma Non-Dairy Yogurt and Flax Milk Products!

Brownie Brittle Introduces New Chocolate Almond Variety Plus Thindulgent Sandwich Cookies!

New Brownie Brittle Treats
All Photos By Gail

It is no secret that Brownie Brittle products are my snack-time jam. And what makes innovative baker Sheila G’s line of gluten-free sweet treats so endlessly exciting is the fact that they are always evolving the brand; introducing new varieties of the original Brownie Brittle chocolate cookie and developing new products that take indulgence to a new level entirely.

Chocolate Almond Brownie Brittle

Almond lovers are going to want to rush out to pick up a bag (or two) of their new Chocolate Almond Brownie Brittle, which is absolutely loaded with crunchy, fresh toasted almond pieces (and chocolate chips!) in every bite. I had taken photos for this review of the Chocolate Almond Brownie Brittle lounging seductively on a plate, but it somehow got lost in the ether between my iPhone and my Mac, so you will have to believe me when I say that, in person, it looks exactly as it does on the package photo — if not even more scrumptious. My advice is that, when snack time arrives, to just put a few pieces of Brownie Brittle on a plate for yourself, and then seal the package back up and hide it, otherwise you’ll be munching away happily and suddenly find yourself with an empty bag in your lap. Ask me how I know.

Thindulgent Cookie Sandiwches

Also new on grocer’s shelves are Brownie Brittle Thindulgent Sandwich Cookies, which exist among the most outrageously delicious edible things in the universe that you don’t have to bake yourself. Hallelujah!

Salted Caramel Thindulgent Sandiwch Cookie

The Brownie Brittle brand stays on-trend with the introduction of these light and delicate cookies that pack a flavor explosion. Salted Caramel Thindulgent Sandwich Cookies feature a dynamic duo of crunchy caramel biscuits plus a rich chocolate filling studded with chewy cameral bits. Insane! It took me 2 days to eat the entire box, and that is only because I was trying to show restraint. These lighter-than-air biscuits are very similar to the Pepperidge Farm European style cookies, specifically the wildly popular Milano Cookies, of which am a huge fan. The thing is, I like these even better!

Toasted Coconut Thindulgent Sandiwch Cookie

Toasted Coconut Thindulgents have the coconut baked into each biscuit, with the same luscious chocolate filling layered between them. These did not last long in my pantry either!

Find a site near you that sells Brownie Brittle products at This Link!

New Plant-Based Pastas from Explore Cuisine!

Explore Cuisine Packages Display
All Photos By Gail

There is no denying that Pasta is a popular go-to ingredient for creating quick, versatile and delicious meals to please any palate. For Pasta Lovers who may have had to eliminate this tasty staple from their diets due to a gluten intolerance, there are now many gluten-free pasta options on the market that make it possible for everyone to indulge. Explore Cuisine has a line of organic pastas made from beans and other plants that are a great place to start when you want to prepare a tasty, healthy meal for yourself or your family. Take a  look at a few of the super quick and easy dinners that I’ve recently prepared for myself with Explore Cuisine Pastas and absolutely no advanced planning!

Edamame Spaghetti Package

I bet that you had no idea that Edamame, familiar to most as the little green soybeans that everyone likes to nosh on before the meal at Japanese restaurants, can be use to make some of the most delicious pasta you will ever taste. Explore Cuisine makes a few different varieties of Edamame pasta, including everyone’s favorite; spaghetti.

Edamame Spaghetti Package

Edamame Spaghetti can be used in all of your favorite recipes as a substitute for wheat-based pasta. You might find that you like it even better, and it’s good to know that Explore Cuisine’s Edamame Spaghetti contains nearly half of your daily protein and fiber requirements in just one serving!

Edamame Spaghetti Serving Suggestion

I made an easy and scrumptious Primavera by adding frozen mixed vegetables that I had on hand, and tossing the pasta in butter, salt and pepper to taste.

Edamame Spaghetti Serving Suggestion

Then I covered it with cheese, which is how I like my pasta!

Chickpea Fusillii Package

Explore Cuisine also specializes in a line of Pulse Pastas; a term that may be unfamiliar to you. Pulses are part of the legume family, and the term ‘pulse’ refers to the dried seed. Dried peas, dried beans, lentils and chickpeas are the most common varieties of pulses. Pulses are very high in protein and fiber, antioxidants, and low in fat! This where Explore Cuisine’s Organic Chickpea Fusilli comes in.

Chickpea Fusilli

Chickpea Fusilli is a healthy and delicious mealtime choice that contains only four organic, whole food ingredients. This pasta also contains 11g of protein and nearly 20% of your daily dietary fiber requirement per serving. With its soft and supple texture, and mild taste, Chickpea fans will be in Heaven!

Chickpea Fusilli Serving Suggestion

Since this pasta is a bit more sturdy than the spaghetti, I topped it with Trader Joe’s frozen meatballs and jarred sauce. Delicious and satisfying!

Red Lentil Penne Package

Red Lentil Penne is also a pulse pasta. With the smooth texture of flour pasta and the benefits of lentils, the Red Lentil Penne is a fantastic choice for any penne based pasta dish. Comprised of only two ingredients, Red Lentil Penne pasta is  protein rich  and a good source of fiber. Organic, gluten-free and free of GMOs, it’s pasta reinvented!

Red Penne Pasta Serving Suggestion

Here is the penne topped with a light tomato vodka sauce and a dollop of creamy cottage cheese (you could also use Ricotta, if you had that on hand). Out of this world delish!

Explore Cuisine Packages Display

Explore Cuisine’s Italian style pastas were created in the Apulia region of Italy, which is famed for being the home of pasta. Explore Cuisine worked side by side with pasta masters and professional chefs to deliver the authentic taste and texture of the best Italian pasta but made with the goodness of chickpeas and lentils.

Learn more about Explore Cuisine foods, and get recipes, at This Link!

How to Get The Most Out Of Your Kitchen!

Woman in Kitchen
Image Source

Your Kitchen should be so much more than a space for chores and microwave meals: it should also be a place in your home that you go to for fun and relaxation. It  If you feel guilty about leaving your kitchen in neglect, now is the time to turn things around. There are plenty of exciting ways for you to engage with this space. Below are four suggestions to get you started!

Making Cocktails

Prepare Your Own Cocktails

If you are someone who loves to spend time socializing with your friends, you should think about making your own cocktails. This is a brilliant way for you to save money and to create drinks that are perfectly suited to your tastes. Don’t worry, this doesn’t have to be a complicated process. You can start off with incredibly simple recipes and then work your way up to more complicated concoctions. If you have an eye for interior design, you could even treat yourself to a vintage drinks cart or invest in beautiful glassware. Just imagine how impressed your loved ones will be if you are able to prepare their beverages from scratch.

Home Brewing

Make Your Own Beer

Another great idea, for lovers of alcohol, is to use your kitchen to brew your own beer. Home Brewing is a wonderfully creative opportunity for you to make a product that you are truly proud of. Once you are happy with your recipe, you should consider sharing your beer with your loved ones. You could even think about setting up your own business. Why not start by designing custom beer labels online? This is a free and simple way for you to upgrade your bottles.

Prepare Your Meals From Scratch

Even if you are far from a culinary expert, you should still have a go at preparing your meals from scratch. There are plenty of cost-effective and simple dishes that you can prepare in under ten minutes. Once you have mastered the basics, you can start experimenting with unusual flavors and ingredients. You could also start to create your own recipes instead of following someone else’s. Then, you could celebrate your progress by hosting a dinner party or throwing a party!

Edible Gifts

Make Your Own Edible Gifts

Alternatively, you could spend time in your kitchen making edible gifts. Home-made gifts the perfect option for anyone who is operating on a tight budget. However, even if money is no object, home-made gifts are still a brilliant way for you to show your loved ones just how much you care. You could start by preparing do-it-yourself kits for hot chocolates, gingerbread houses, and cookies. Then, you could have fun completing your own projects. Finally, you should have a go at combining all of your skills. Why not create a gift basket that is filled with a DIY cocktail set, a selection of your home-made brews, your favorite recipe cards, and a generous helping of edible treats? What better way to get the most out of your kitchen?

Product Review: Muuna Cottage Cheese

Cottage Cheese Pyramid
All Photos By Gail

Hey, do you like Cottage Cheese? I sure do. I grew up in a household whose refrigerator was never without a container of cottage cheese. Because Cottage Cheese is Awesome. When I was a small child, my Mom would give me and my brother cottage cheese mixed with canned fruit as a snack, and we just loved it. Cottage Cheese with Pineapple has been a thing forever, but now Muuna, a new, innovative food company, has launched a line of healthy and delicious cottage cheese products with a variety of fresh fruit chunks already mixed in.  Attention Cottage Cheese Fans: this is cause for excitement!

Muuna is on a mission to change the way consumers think about cottage cheese, having re-imagined this dairy favorite in single-serve cups of melt-in-your-mouth creamy and protein-rich cottage cheese with delicious pieces of fruit, including Strawberry, Blueberry, Pineapple, Peach and Mango. Kill me! Each 5.3oz cup contains  15 grams of protein and only 130 calories. Muuna also offers its single-serve cups in Lowfat Plain, which has 19 grams of protein and 120 calories.

Blueberry Cup

Muuna Cottege Cheese with Fruit has already replaced fruited yogurt as my go-to office snack or lite breakfast. Here I am about to enjoy the Blueberry variety at my desk.

Blueberry Fruit

The above photo was minimally art directed to show the creaminess of Muuna cottage cheese. The fruit is on the bottom of the cup so you can stir it up to blend. Let;s take closer look and the blended action.

Blueberry Cottage Cheese Close Up

Mango Container

Mango is my personal favorite, because it tastes like you just cut up a fresh, sweet mango and tossed it into the container!

Muuna Peach Cottage Cheese

Look at this beautiful stuff. Just look at it. The contrast of the juicy fruit pieces and firm, tiny curds create an exceptionally delightful mouth feel that makes Muuna Cottage Cheese, dare I say it, fun to eat!

Breakfast Toast
Serving Suggestion

Here is one of my weekend breakfasts at home: a tasty cup of Muuna Strawberry Cottage Cheese, and toast with berry jam. Mmm, yummy! All Muuna products contain zero high fructose corn syrup, no artificial sweeteners, and are also free of artificial flavors and colors. Not to mention (but you can see I am about to) Muuna is gluten free and certified kosher.

Plain Varieties

Muuna has also launched two multi-serve varieties: Classic Plain Cottage Cheese, with 4% milk fat, and Lowfat Plain, with just 2% percent milk fat.

Plain Cottage Cheese Serving Suggestion

I enjoy regular Muuna Cottage Cheese by itself, and also as a side dish (or even an ingredient!) for lots of savory dishes such as Pasta and Mexican food. It is so delicious, no matter when or how you eat it!

Meatball Dinner

The New Way to Cottage

Visit Muuna online at This Link for more information on their products and to find a store in your area that sells Muuna Cottage Cheese!

Yes, It Exists: Place Setting Place Mats By Stephen Shore

Place Mats by Steven Shore
All Photos By Gail

The International Center of Photography in New York sold these Bob’s Your Uncle disposable placemats, featuring photographer Stephen Shore’s images of food and plates, in 2007, when the institution hosted a survey of Shore’s work that had toured throughout Europe and the US.

Photographed as Part of the Stephen Shore Career Retrospective, on Exhibit Through May 28th, 2018 at the Museum of Modern Art in NYC.

Place Mats by Steven Shore