Tag Archives: Vegetarian

Pulinos NY

Pulino’s Restaurant – New York, NY

Pulino’s

(1) 212 226 1966
282 Bowery (at the corner of Houston)
New York, NY. 10012

www.pulinosny.com

OPEN HOURS:
Unfortunately closed on 2014
 

Perhaps it is because of Pulino’s Italian theme, in contrast to the French of it’s NYC sisters – Balthazar, Pastis, Schiller’s – that we were pleasantly surprised by the cordial welcome, relaxed atmosphere and the general level of politeness received.  Such a nice exchange from the snobby service we had experienced over the years from its siblings.

After passing by for longer then we should have, avoiding Pulino’s as one does a member of an obnoxious family, one random day we finally entered; lured inside by the amber glow, tinkling of cutlery and boisterous laughter spilling out into the street.  As we made our our way to the bar through the bustling scene, under the infused light projected through various liquor bottles lining the walls and a warm fluorescent ceiling sequence of hanging lamps that extends all the way into the restrooms, clips of restaruants in movies played through the mind.  Here one could imagine that they were in the film version of New York.

Our first experience had us enjyoing a strong, cold artisanal beer and a confidence inspiring glass of Montepulciano.  The Italian bartender was so nice we decided to come back the following evening for dinner.  Again we sat at the bar, as the table wait was a bit long, and to our fortune – there was May.  The incredibly charming bartender who happily advised us in the different food options,  sampled wines and joined in our enjoyment of life. This seduction brought us back again, and again.  We became such pure ‘fans’ that for a week last year I made an office for myself at the end of the bar – coming daily for 10am breakfast and coffee and staying through lunch. 🙂

Pulinos-(photo above ©  Meng He)

Besides the attentive. friendly service and excellent location; the food is just superb. The Eggplant Caviar is perfectly smoked and marinaded with a smooth olive oil and warm spices; accompanied by a paper thin Italian flat bread.  It is so delectable, I still think about it throughout the day.  The pizzas are light and not over seasoned, allowing each ingredient to be individually counted as part of the whole.  The Melon Salad with Bulgar and the Pumpkin salad with Morels were stand-outs; the morels being especially meaty and fresh.  Though these were followed with one of the lightest Eggplant Parmesan and the agonizingly delicious Burrata with oven roasted tomatoes and balsamic reduction that was described by May’s as “14 year old crack!”.  Yes it IS that good.

Pulino’s, in a quick one-two, punched its way directly towards the top of the list of favorite New York restaurants.  We are looking forward to our return this autumn  and are excited to see what is new on the menu.  Head to Pulino’s for excellent value – lunch special allows for a half-salad and personal-size pizza – cinematic atmosphere and top-notch fare on the northern edge of SoHo.

 (photo above ©  Lunch Studio)

 

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Dwarika’s Hotel – Kathmandu, Nepal

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Dwarika’s Hotel

(977-1) 447 9488
Batisputali Batisputali
Kathmandu, Nepal

  ww.dwarikas.com

Kathmandu, Nepal, Chaos.  There is an oasis, a few hundred square meters has been set apart from smoke and noise and pollution and poverty.  Where man-made beauty still reigns and the gardens sprawl.  Where birds can rest free and you can get an idea of what could be.

In 1934 the great Bihar earthquake -magnitude 8.1- destroyed a large portion of the buildings and houses in Kathmandu, and it has never quite recovered.  In the decades following, most locals oped for reconstruction in a more ‘modern’ concrete style.  The traditional  architecture was thought a reflection of poverty, and the intricately hand-carved door frames and windows were seen insomuch as their ability to burn.  This great purge would have seen the entire architectural heritage of this Himalayan city go up in smoke, had it not been for Dwarika Das Shrestha and his family.

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During the late 1950’s Dwarika Das Shrestha acquired the land where the majestic Dwarika’s Hotel lays today, and commenced the construction of his family home. Integrating the ancient hand-carved windows, columns, frames that he had been acquiring and collecting.  Thus starting the preservation of Nawari craft-work – the Newa are the indigenous people of Nepal’s Kathmandu Valley – and more importantly Nepal’s cultural heritage as a whole.

In 1964 Dwarika Das Shrestha (DDS), in order to fund his growing collection of traditional Newari wood carvings, added a rental apartment to his growing estate.  In the following years DDS, realizing that the technique as well as the objects themselves were becoming extinct, he hired three of the few remaining Master Newari wood carvers.  To ensure that this intricate craft would not be lost to time, he also created an apprenticeship, to confirm this important knowledge was passed on to new generations.  This heritage workshop extended beyond the woodworking, into the other ancient crafts of Nepal such as terracotta sculpture and brick-works.

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To sponsor his growing crafts passion and workshop, DDS started renting rooms at his ever expanding compound. Adding new buildings with the new and restored pieces now coming out of the workshop.  As an hotel, it grew slowly, organically and it had not yet reached its peak when DDS passed away in 1992.  His wife and daughter continued the development based on his original concept sketches. Today the Dwarika’s Hotel is still managed by the family.

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There are three different restaurants situated in the hotel: Mako: featuring Japanese cuisine. Toran: with a little of everything from Nepali bbq to sandwiches and pastas, set as a perfect outdoor lunch in the hotel’s courtyard.  And Krishnarpan, probably the best restaurant in the country and an experience untoward itself.  We recommend leaving a stay at Dwarika’s and this finest of meals for the end of your trip, ensuring you leave full of contentedness and hope.

The multi-course dinner at the Krishnarpan Restaurant begins when the traditionally adorned server brings that evenings menu, individually addressed with your name, printed on hand made paper.

First to arrive was a Samaya Bajee, an assortment of hors d’oeuvres which are usually served during religious ceremonies; representing good luck and prosperity.  Included are tender lentil patties, puffed rice, toasted soy beans, stewed tomato and salad.  After so many weeks of Dal Bat, the change is welcome and heart-warming.  Just being in the ambiance, one can feel great things ahead.

Then was Chatamari, a Nepali rice crepe filled with vegetables along with vegetable Momos (traditional Himalayan dumplings) accompanied by a sweet-spicy mango chutney.   At this time was also the serving of the traditional alcoholic Rakshi poured from a copper decanter.  While this millet based alcohol is integral to Nepalese religion and tradition, it is not enjoyable, except as a test of your inner strength; which might be what it is used for in ceremony!

Dwarikas Hotel Krishnarpan Restaurant

The courses kept manifesting and would need an entirely separate article to do them justice

– Gundruk Ko Jhol – a curry made from fermented mustard leaf broth with soybeans; accompanied with Sada Bhuja, steamed Himalayan rice; and Dal Jhaneko, spiced red lentils.
– Aloo Tareko,
a signature Newari Dish of fried potatoes and peppercorn
– Tarul Ra Lasun Ko Tarkari, stir fried yam with spring garlic chives
– Saag Jhaneko, sauteed spiced spinach
– Pharsee Ko Tarkari, pumpkin curry
– Golbheda Ko Achar, stued tomatoes
Lapsee Ko Achaar, plum pickles

After all of these dishes, you are in a state of near bliss, contemplating gastronomic enlightenment when arrives the mind-bending Panchamrit: a mixture of five nectars used in Hindu worship, milk, sugar, yogurt, ghee, and honey.

Dwarika Das Shresth legacy to Nepal is unequaled; and he is one of the world’s great men. Thanks to his passion for preserving Nepal’s cultural heritage, the government and other entities started restoring semi-forgotten sites along the Kathmandu valley.  Had it not been for his steadfast belief and desire to see his country regain its former glory, we would not even have know what the world had lost.

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Dwarikas Hotel Toran Restaurant

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Las Quekas – Merida, Mexico

Las Quekas

Calle 61 between Calles 58 and 60
across from the Cathedral
Merida, Mexico

OPEN HOURS:
10:00 am – 8:00pm Daily

The beauty of Mexican dining is that everyone seems to just do it right.  Taking the time and effort to combine the ingredients in perfect order and letting them combine as long as needed.  This patience is something declining in today’s immediacy.

While in Mexico, we dined in some of the finest restaurants in the world (Biko, Pujol) and ate blue-corn tortillas made by hand in the street.  Somewhere in between these two lies Las Quekas, who, just like everyone else, takes the time to do it right.

While we were walking through downtown Merida looking for a calling, just across from the cathedral, we stumbled onto an unassuming little place decked out in orange and yellow.  It was such an unwavering duo-tone that the instant thought is “franchise”.  As we watched a steady crowd brought us in for a closer inspection.  Once in nasal proximity, the fresh smells of steaming huitlacoche and melting cheese got us through the door and into a lasting relationship.

With other 5 locations throughout the city of Merida, Las Quekas is a sort of franchise.  One that offers exactly what you want at times; Practically instant quesadillas that feel more like a guilty dessert then the hearty meal they are.  We were in Merida for only 2 days, but at 5 different occasions we found ourselves lifting the mouth-wateringly good quesadillas to our lips.  Crispy tortillas with steaming fillings of Rajas Poblano (strips of poblano peppers with onions in a creamy sauce), huitlacoche and corn, zucchini blossom, and of course the requisite meats stewed chicken or shredded sausage.  Each combined with the beautiful soft white cheese that melts in a smoldering bliss.

At a little less then $1 each Las Quekas’s Quesadillas are just about the perfect meal,  Healthy, Hearty and Happy.