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London-Style Gastro-Pub Coming to Downtown Durham

Posted by on Feb 16, 2016 in Eat | 0 comments

The British are coming! And they’re bringing fine ales and authentic curries to downtown Durham. Six Pence Ventures is bringing a new addition to the Durham food scene: an English gastro-pub featuring British and South Asian cuisine. The owners of Five-Points favorite Bull McCabe’s Irish Pub, Rhys Botica and Malachy Noone, have teamed up with part owner of the Triangle’s Tandurm food truck, BJ Patel, to open an English-style pub at the current location of Beyu Caffe (335 West Main Street). Once Beyu moves to its larger building, old mates Botica, Noone and Patel will move into the space and begin work on the pub and restaurant. They expect the move in to take place in May, with an opening slated for ten weeks after. The London-style public house will offer a wide range of English, European and local craft beers, along with a fine selection of single-malt scotch. When it comes to the food, Patel will bring the South Asian flavors of his popular Indian endeavors, as well as an exploratory approach to British food culture. Expect to see dishes such as Curried Shepherd’s Pie with Patel’s British-Indian-Asian cuisine practically transporting patrons to the streets of London. Chicken Tikka Masala was invented in the U.K., after...

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Top Five Favorite Georgian Foods

Top Five Favorite Georgian Foods

Posted by on Oct 19, 2015 in Eat, Travel | 0 comments

When traveling in Georgia, you must try traditional Georgian food. Here are my top five favorites after exploring the country for two weeks.  1. Khinkali  Because khinkali.  I dedicated a whole blog post to this delicious Georgian dumpling. It’s fun to eat and tastes delicious. Bite a small hole into the dumpling’s thick skin, slurp out the soup, enjoy the minced meat filling and repeat. How many do you think you can eat? 2. Adjaruli Khachapuri  I’m on a boat – a cheesy, gooey bread boat!  Khachapuri is a traditional Georgian dish of bread and cheese. The bread is leavened and allowed to rise, then shaped in various ways. Adjaruli khachapuri is from the Ajara region of Georgia. It is shaped like a boat and the inside is filled with cheese. The best part? It’s topped with a raw egg and loads of butter before serving. Adjaruli khachapuri might just be better than pizza! (I can’t believe I just said that.) 3. Churchkhela   When you’re starving and need a quick snack, churchkhela always saves the day. This “Georgian Snickers” is a traditional candy originating from the Caucasus region. It is a very popular food, combining two of Georgia’s favorites – grapes and nuts.  4. Badrijani Nigvzit I totally fell in love with this dish while traveling in Georgia. Badrijani nigvzit is a perfect appetizer, which consists of eggplants stuffed with a garlic-walnut filling. The eggplants are first browned in an oiled skillet and then set aside to cool. A delicious filling of crushed walnuts, garlic, vinegar, cilantro and other herbs is spread on one side of the eggplants, and then rolled up to enclose the filling inside. This dish is served chilled and is the perfect start to a traditional Georgian meal. 5. Veal Ribs with Spicy Tomato Sauce  Georgian food consists of many delicious barbecued meats. My favorite meat dish was at a restaurant in Kutaisi. The dish included veal ribs that were smothered in a spicy tomato sauce. This sauce is commonly found throughout Georgia and served with barbecued...

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Khinkali: Georgian Dumplings

Khinkali: Georgian Dumplings

Posted by on Oct 18, 2015 in Eat, Travel | 0 comments

In Georgia, khinkali is a staple menu item and available at most Georgian restaurants. These “Georgian dumplings” are usually filled with minced meat or cheese, but some newer restaurants offer other types of khinkali filled with mixed vegetables, mushrooms and more.   Khinkali reminds me of the typical Shanghai soup dumplings I’ve eaten quite often in New York City’s Chinatown, however, the dumpling skin of khinkali is much thicker and it’s eaten differently. During my stay in Georgia, I learned from my friend Sopho that legend has it among the younger generation, “Eating kinkali is how you make out with someone.” Now, every time I eat khinkali I just laugh and that’s all I think about!  Most restaurants have a minimum number of khinkali you can order, which I found is often five. The locals joke around about how many they can eat at one sitting. Our friend George says 20 khinkali is about his max! For me, it was about six. Just never try to order two khinkali at a restaurant or the waiter might laugh at you (learned that the hard way). So, how do you eat khinkali? You hold the top part of the khinkali with your right hand, and lift the bottom part with your left hand. Slowly and carefully, bite a small hole in the khinkali and began sucking out the soup. Gradually work your way around the khinkali, repeating the process. I also learned that you should not eat the top part of khinkali (the part you hold). The dough is very thick and locals say the “peasants” of Georgia only eat this part. Personally, my favorite khinkali is the one filled with meat (lamb or beef), cilantro, onions, parsley and dill. Of course, you have to sprinkle a hefty amount of black pepper on top like the locals do when eating khinkali.  I highly recommend trying khinkali if you can find it in your city, or just book a plane ticket to...

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Churchkhela: Georgian Snickers

Churchkhela: Georgian Snickers

Posted by on Oct 7, 2015 in Eat, Travel | 0 comments

After winding through the streets of Tbilisi’s Old Town, I noticed a sausage-like food hanging from multiple shop windows. The odd shape along with the vibrant purple and red colors caught my eye. What were these interesting foods? When I asked my Georgian friend Vladimer he exclaimed, “Those are Georgian ‘Snickers!'”     Churchkhela is a traditional candy originating from the Caucasus region. It is a very popular food, combining two of Georgia’s favorites – grapes and nuts. My Georgian friend also explained that it’s commonly eaten during New Years and Christmas celebrations. Georgia is known for their grape cultivation and incredible wine. Of course, churchkhela includes Georgian grown grapes. It is made by repeatedly dipping a long string of nuts in concentrated fresh grape juice, and then hung to dry.     I decided to give churchkhelas a taste when I visited a nearby town called Mtskheta, which houses the famous “Church of the Holy Cross.” This sweet treat is a perfect snack (especially for a hungry tourist!) and quite nutritious. Legend has it that Georgian warriors carried churchkhelas with them because they contain enough calories for one man in a day.    If you find yourself traveling to Georgia, definitely give churchkhelas a try and even bring some home to...

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Fall Perfection: NeverSink Spirits Apple Brandy Pie

Fall Perfection: NeverSink Spirits Apple Brandy Pie

Posted by on Sep 24, 2015 in Drink, Eat | 0 comments

Fall has finally arrived! Yes, that means pumpkin spice lattes are back. But I’m more interested in pie and brandy. Impress your friends with this recipe for Apple Brandy Pie. Because I love drinking and my Grandma Barbara Baughman, I decided to add a little brandy to her French Apple Pie recipe. But not just any brandy — NeverSink Spirits‘ unaged apple brandy made from 100 percent New York State apples. Based in Port Chester, NY, this new distillery is serving up something quite special. NeverSink Spirits has their own orchard with over fifteen varieties of apple trees. Some are bittersweet/bittersharp, some are “crab” cider apples, and some are heirloom dessert apples.  Their unaged apple brandy uses a blend of apples grown directly from their orchard, which creates several layers of flavors like cut green apples, spice, vanilla, woods and pear. Because the apple brandy is so flavorful, this pie recipe only calls for the addition of a little cinnamon. Apple Brandy Pie Recipe Ingredients  3/4 cup sugar 1/4 cup plain flour 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon Pinch of salt 4 apples, peeled and sliced thin 1/4 cup apple brandy 1 unbaked pie shell Directions Mix sugar, flour, cinnamon, salt and apples in a large bowl. Pour filling in an unbaked pie shell. Topping Ingredients 1 cup plain flour 1/2 cup butter (softened) 1/2 cup brown sugar Topping Directions Mix flour, butter and brown sugar together in a bowl. Using your hands, break apart small one inch pieces and sprinkle the crumbles on top of the pie filling. Bake at 400 degrees F for 50 minutes. Now, all you need is some of Bobby Flay’s Bourbon-Maple Whipped Cream to top it all off! I hope you enjoy this special treat and the cooler season ahead. Cheers! Post originally from...

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Lucy’s Vietnamese Kitchen Makes Bushwick’s Best Brisket Banh Mi

Lucy’s Vietnamese Kitchen Makes Bushwick’s Best Brisket Banh Mi

Posted by on Aug 5, 2015 in Eat | 0 comments

Let’s face it, moving sucks! 200 bucks in fees and numerous, sharp hunger pains later, I was all moved in to my new Bushwick apartment off the Myrtle-Wycoff stop. Luckily, I discovered a pho banh mi sandwich to appease my aching belly and wallet. One of my favorite things about Bushwick is walking around the neighborhood, eating at the plethora of taquerias and exploring the 99 cent stores. But this particular day after moving boxes, I just wasn’t in the mood for a carnitas taco, I wanted something filling and delicious. (Don’t get me wrong, I’m obsessed with tacos!) When I stumbled upon Lucy’s Vietnamese Kitchen off Irving Avenue, I knew I was in for a real treat. Wonderful smells were pouring out of the charming shop, which said “Lucy’s” in cursive writing, surrounded by a heart. I walked inside and was greeted by a smiling Vietnamese man standing behind the counter. Chef Johnny Huynh was raised in Bushwick by his grandmother, Lucy. He’s bringing his love and passion for delicious Vietnamese food to the neighborhood at Lucy’s Vietnamese Kitchen. Lucy’s serves classic dishes inspired by Chef Johnny’s family along with his own flair. The menu is written on a chalkboard hanging on the wall next to Lucy’s small counter. The pho banh mi sandwich caught my attention and Chef Johnny explained that this sandwich has been quite a hit. Although Lucy’s has only been open for about three months, they’ve already won Best Vietnamese Restaurant in New York City at the Taste of Asia awards! When my pho banh mi sandwich arrived to the one large table in the small restaurant, a huge smile emerged on my face. This was exactly what my hungry belly was craving! The star of the sandwich is the 16 hour smoked brisket sautéed in pho broth, hoisin sauce, sriracha and Thai basil. After one bite, I looked at the strangers sitting next to me at the communal table and said, “Oh my gosh, that is some damn good brisket!” With their mouths also full of banh mi, everyone at the table nodded along with me in agreement. The sandwich is served with typical banh mi toppings...

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