A New Twist

Last night I had the pleasure of attending the soft opening for India Twist, the newest venue from JAM Culinary Concepts.

Located at the sight of the short-lived Twisted Tandoor, India Twist has a Sikh chef who makes dishes of New Delhi and environs.

We ordered the cauliflower patties, tandoori fish and the butter chicken, which we were told is the recipe of the man who invented bitter chicken.

Everything we had was fab!

For me to it cauliflower there has to be something special about the white veggie. Here, the florets were dusted with a spicy breading and deep fried. The cauliflower was like butter and the breading popped with heat.IMG_0295

The white fish was juicy with blackened edges and served with ultra-soft onions and green peppers.IMG_0298

The chicken was tender.Big chunks of white meat in a creamy tomato based sauce, which we sopped up with toasty naan. Fluffy rice accompanied the chicken.IMG_0300

PS. Other media was there. Bill Buckmaster, long time Tucson radio talk show host and his wife reported that the mango chicken was “amazing!”

India Twist opens today. There will be a lunch buffet and you can have any number of clever cocktails from the full bar.

I’ll be back.


So Many Choices….

Faithful readers may have noticed a pattern to my latest posts, all were about new restaurants (or at least new to me.)

Well, that pattern will continue in the coming weeks. I made a list of the places I want to eat at soon and for the most part they are all new restaurants. There are two that are older: New Delhi Palace and Boca Tacos. I’ve wanted to return to New Delhi Palace ever since I was on Matt Russell’s show (On the Menu….Live) I’ve been dreaming about the lamb chops we sampled. IMG_0234I will get there soon, I hope.

Boca Taco moved to new digs on 4th Avenue and has expanded its menu. Maria Mazon is one of the best chefs in town and the new place will allow her to spread her culinary wings.DSCN1609

I also want to return to Culinary Dropout, the new Fox Concept Restaurant in the old Grant Road Lumber lot. The soft opening was fabulous, but I want to see the place as it really is and the list of menu items I want to try is long, so maybe it will have to be more than one visit.IMG_0038

Then there is the Twisted Tandoor, which was one of the best food trucks in town. Several major setbacks delayed the original opening, but it sounds like the place is up and running.DSCN1783

My buddy C. J. Hamm12993621_1169525489725729_2052699665378504468_nand his team have opened Classic Spaghetti Western Steakhouse, with the intriguing concept of serving Italian and steaks. Prices look great so does the food. I think it would be a fun place to meet friends.

Bird is on the list as is Angry Crab and BBQ. The first serves Southern comfort food; the other features seafood and lots of it.

J’s Chicken and Waffles sounds great, as does Villa Peru.

Finally, there’s Geronimo’s Revenge, which might be a little harder to find as it is a food truck. The owner’s name is Jeronimo, so no need to worry about co-opting a name.

Looking forward to lots of good food.

A Good Book is Like a Meal

Whether it’s a food memoir, a collection of essays or a nice novel, a great food book entertains me on several levels. My appetite is piqued, I learn something, I appreciate all the hard work that goes into a meal or a restaurant or a career and sometimes I’m even inspired to get in the kitchen.

Some are so wonderful I have read them more than once.

Often, a good food book helps in researching for an article or review.

To that point when I was reviewing an Indian restaurant in Tucson, I decided to reread “The Hundred-Foot Journey” by Richard C. Morais and “Climbing the Mango Trees” by Madhur Jaffrey. The first is a delightful little novel that was turned into a movie (which I confess I have yet to see.) The other is a memoir by the renowned cookbook writer/actress. Both are delicious books that made my crave Indian food in all its forms.

The hundred-Foot JourneyClimbing The Mago Trees
Laurie Colwin is one of the reasons I am a food writer. She wrote essays for many years for ‘Gourmet Magazine’ and when she died way too early my heart broke. I was thrilled to find to collections of her essays in “Home Cooking” and “More Home Cooking” and I found comfort in knowing that I can pick a copy of either whenever I wanted to spend some time with this soulful writer.

Home cooking and more Home Cooking
Of course, Ruth Reichl is on the reread list. Of all her books, I like her first, “Tender at the Bone” the best. Reichl was editor at ‘Gourmet Magazine‘ for many years but this book is about her early life and the beginnings of her food career/

Tender at the Bone
Another great memoir is Gabrielle Hamilton’s “Blood, Bones & Butter.” The next time I’m in New York, I plan on eating at her restaurant, Prune on the quality of this book alone.

Boold, Bone & Butter
Michael Ruhlman is another favorite. His “The Making of a Chef” chronicles his time at The Culinary Institute of America. He’s not a chef, but he thinks like one. He has several chef centric books and a couple of cookbooks, all of which are great reads.

Currently I’m rereading “The Food of Love” by Anthony Capella. The story centers on a Roman chef named Bruno, who falls in love with a young American student named Laura. It’s a take on the Cyrano story as poor hapless Bruno cooks sumptuous meals for his love in order to help his friend seduce her. Not only do the food descriptions get me all hot, but this is one sex scenes make Fifty Shades look cheap and tawdry.
I’m sure there are many more to include. But that’s for another post.