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The Hungry Nomad: 11/01/2012 - 12/01/2012

November 26, 2012

Parc Brasserie- Rittenhouse Square (Philadelphia, USA)

Once in a while I become nostalgic for my life in Paris. I miss every single detail that  put together make Paris so magical. I miss the beauty that covers every inch of the streets, the cobblestone streets, the sound of the french ambulance, the beautiful well groomed people, the language and the food. When nostalgia hits the only way to satisfy it is to find a french bistro where you can pretend that for an hour, just for one hour, you are back in Paris. In Philadelphia this can be found at Rittenhouse Square at the Parc Brasserie.


Every single detail from the yellow fiber braided bistro chair on the outside to the layout of the restaurant on the inside and most importantly the menu seems to fit the profile of being a French brasserie. From the outside, the restaurant looks quite small but stepping to the inside you'll be surprised to see just how large it really is. We managed to find a seat outside overlooking the park where people watching is at its premium. After ordering two glasses of red wine we were ready to order. 


I had been craving French Onion Soup all day and started with that. For our main entrees we ordered the steak/frites and the burger. The onion soup was perfect. The rich flavor of the broth was a perfect blend of beef broth and caramelized onions. The croutons were nice and chewy and the baked cheese on top was the perfect proportion covering the entire bowl. I loved the generous portions of cheese which is essentially the best part of the dish. I will be going back for this soup alone. It was that good!


The Steak and fries were typical of what you would find on a menu in Paris and served just the same: With melting butter on top of the meat and generous portions of fries.  If you are craving red meat this dish will definitely satisfy all your cravings. 


The burger was served with a layer of caramelized onions on top. The meat was tender and full of flavor. The Count managed to polish his plate clean.


At the end of our meal, there was literally no room for dessert but I did spot my favorite french dessert on the menu: profiteroles. And so another trip is in order for a serving of onion soup and the profiteroles. 

Parc Brasserie on Urbanspoon

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November 24, 2012

Recipe: Kalam Polow Shirazi (Cabbage herbed rice with meatballs)

Kalam Polo Shirazi (from the region of Shiraz) was introduced into the family by my father. His love for this fragrant Iranian rice dish dated back to his childhood where it was a popular dish made by my grandmother.  Years later he had to ask around in order to obtain the recipe that was best made by my grandmother. He perfected the recipe and would make it whenever feeling nostalgic or missing his mother. I had never attempted to make Kalam Polow until recently I had a major unexpected craving for it. I think I just missed my father and thought by making his signature dish I'd fill the void brought by the distance. 


Unfortunately, I was not able to find white cabbage and had to use red cabbage. It has to be made with red cabbage but I can't say it tasted too different and the Count and I really enjoyed the rich flavors and colorful dish that resulted from using red cabbage. 
Note: if you grew up hating cabbage. Don't worry as this dish will make you change your mind. I myself am not a big fan of cabbage but when eating it in this dish- it tastes delicious. 

Ingredients: 

2 cups of rice
4 cups of shredded white cabbage
1onion (grated)
1 lbs ground beef
1 teaspoon of turmeric

2 cups of fresh parsley
2 cups of fresh cilantro
2 cups of chives
2 cups of Persian basil
1/2 cup tarragon
1 cup fresh dill (or dry dill)
salt and pepper 
olive oil 

Instructions

1. Grate onion into small pieces, remove the onion juice. Mix the onion with the ground beef. Add salt and pepper and turmeric and mix with the meat and onions. 
2. Roll small pieces of meat mix into meatballs. You want the meatballs to be on the smaller side. 


3. Cook meatballs in a lightly oiled pan. 

4. Shred white cabbage into small pieces (here I've used red but again please use white)



5. Saute shredded cabbage in a slightly oiled pan until cooked. Season with salt, pepper and a pinch of turmeric. 

6. Chop all the herbs into small fine pieces. 



7. Mix the herbs with the sauteed cabbage and add to the meatballs. Turn heat off. 



8. Place mix aside while preparing your rice. 



9. When your rice is ready, remove from pan. Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil and add layers of thinly sliced potatoes. Add one layer of rice and another layer of mixture. Continue layering and gently mix pot to mix the ingredients together. Finish with a thin layer of rice. With the bottom of your spatula make several holes in your rice layer without touching the bottom of the pot. This allows the steam to reach the top. Cook for 30 minutes on low heat (so that the potatoes don't burn). 


10. Serve with rice and pickled torshee. 


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November 20, 2012

Almost time for Turkey

It is almost time for American Thanksgiving. Tomorrow I'll be posting my recipe on all things thanksgiving: Turkey, Brussels sprouts, baked yam, garlic mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, walnut and date stuffing and pumpkin pie. I'm getting hungry just thinking about it. As a Canadian transplant living in the United States I have an excuse to cook and eat turkey on three occasions: Canadian thanksgiving, American thanksgiving and Christmas. So needless to say the recipe has been perfected. Check back tomorrow for more.  



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November 12, 2012

Ravagh Persian Grill- Murray Hill (New York, USA)

When in a new city, first thing is first: must find the best Persian restaurant for that oh so frequent Persian kabob craving. Here in New York most would agree that Ravagh provides just that! Quality skewers of juicy meats with generous servings of rice and salad. But Kabob is not all that is offered at Ravagh there is also a wide range of stews and appetizers including my favorites: kashk badenjoon (smoked eggplant dish served with pita) and Gheimeh- tah deeg (Gheimeh lentil stew served over crispy rice). Best part: unlike other Iranian restaurants, Ravagh has moderate pricing for their dishes- which combined with their good Persian comfort food has led to their many years of success. 









Favorites on my list: Kabobs- you can't go wrong with any of them but so far my favorites are the chicken koobideh, chicken strip kabob, the koobideh and the barg.  As for appetizers the shallot yogurt (masteh musir) is a Must! And so are all the eggplant dishes. But then again everything else is good too. What can I say? I'm a big fan and a frequent visitor. 

Ravagh Persian Grill on Urbanspoon

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November 9, 2012

Japanese Soul food at Ippudo- East Village (New York City, USA)

Confession: I am obsessed with all things Japanese. But mostly with Japanese food, especially ramen. Nothing makes me happier than a warm bowl of creamy soup and hand-made noodles. Ippudo being on my list was one of the first places I have visited since my temporary move to the City. On the first night, I was unsuccessful (the wait was 2 hours long). The second time the wait was 1.5 hours long. The third time, I tried to catch them off guard by showing up in the middle of the afternoon. The wait was 15 minutes.


To celebrate the short wait and finally reaching our destination we ordered the Kaori Mikan Sake: a mandarin orange flavored Sake. It was delicious but I do prefer traditional Sake over this flavored one. 



We started with an order of pork and chicken buns. One of our friends does not eat pork which led to a dilemma: most items on the menu are pork based and so her options were limited to the vegetarian ramen and some appetizers. 


Both buns were perfect (and better than other more hyped buns in the area). The bread fluffy and fresh and the ingredients full of flavor. 



Our ramen came out shortly after: one vegetarian, one Akamaru modern (for me) and one Shiromaru Chasu (See menu).



The Akamaru Modern came in a tonkatsu broth with Ippudo's special sauce, miso paste, garlic oil, chashu, half boiled egg and spring onions. 



I really enjoyed the broth and the additional flavors added at Ippudo. I like to add pretty much everything to my bowl as you can see below. 



The noodles varied for each ramen dish and we all agreed that they were very good.



For dessert we had the green tea creme brulee topped with green tea ice cream. I love creme brulee especially cracking the hard sugary top. But I have to say this one was not my favorite. I prefer the original flavored creme brulee but I did appreciate the creativity that went into this dessert. 


Overall, I really enjoyed the ramen and will go back while in New York but I find that I am truly spoiled by all the good and cheap ramen restaurants in Vancouver (apparently some of their ingredients are brought over from Vancouver). 

Ippudo on Urbanspoon

November 7, 2012

Hearth- East Village (New York, USA)

As I go through the list of restaurants I have visited on recent trips to New York, there seems to be one common denominator: they are all located in the East Village. On a late September evening, the Count and I along with friends went to Hearth Restaurant. It looked like a very unassuming restaurant with cozy, intimate seating and dim lighting. 

Hearth Restaurant opened in 2003 and was immediately nominated the following spring for the James Beard Foundation's Best New Restaurant award. Not surprising given the attention to detail and unique and innovative presentation of dishes.

The room was buzzing with the sound of diners and the smell of the delicious food permeated the air. Upon seating, a basket of bread and amuse bouche arrived at our table. Our server was attentive and patiently went through the extensive wine list to find one that I would be content with. The menu consists of ingredients which are all hand selected from farms which are noted on the menu as well. I also learned that with that, the menu is constantly changing to ensure fresh and local ingredients. 

We started with a burratta and eggplant starter.  For my main dish, I had the Pappardelle pasta served with a side of roasted mushrooms. The flavors of this particular dish were out of this world. I would have paid money just for the roasted mushrooms alone. They were so good. Crispy and filled with flavors that I never knew existed in a mushroom. 


Our table also had the pork and lamb dishes. Both presented beautifully with so much attention to detail in each ingredient. The wine kept coming and we kept eating. So much so that no one in our party had room for dessert. 






Hearth on Urbanspoon

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