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Archive for September, 2009

Well I had planned on posting a big thing on the PA Energy Fest last weekend, and the Celtic Classic Fest this weekend, unfortunately last weekend I was too busy working the Balasia stand to really see anything worthy of mention, and today it is raining, so that’s the end of that plan. I did take a 30 second break at the Energy Fest to take a few random pictures:

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DSC00767Doesn’t this look like a good time?! It was fun, the food was awesome (in our stand anyway, I didn’t try anyone else’s food) and the biodegradable utensils were made out of corn. Which I thought was pretty cool.

I spent yesterday in NYC, getting my art fix and much-needed Ethiopian food fix.

DSC00790James Cohan Gallery

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DSC00780Jaume Plensa’s “In the Midst of Dreams” at Galerie Lelong

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DSC00842Bryce Wolkowitz Gallery

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grafthis isn’t art, it’s a cool iphone application that makes pictures look like polaroids. But I guess some would call this graffiti art. I’d call it an interesting backdrop.

ch-marketWe stopped in Chelsea Market on our way to dinner

fatwitchand I attempted to spoil my appetite with a caramel Fat Witch brownie. My appetite, however, refused to be spoiled (it was a really good brownie though)

meskAfter a loooong walk and one short cab ride, we finally made it to the restaurant.  Meskerem is located at 124 MacDougal St in Greenwich Village; it’s a cute little hole in the wall (or I guess in this case, ground) tucked down below eye-level. It seats maybe 30 people, and if you’re going as a party of two, be prepared to get intimately aquatinted with the people sitting next to you, as the tables literally sit mere inches from each other.

veg-comboWe both ordered the Vegetarian Combo.  The food was fantastic; I found the portions a bit small, but at the same time, our entrees came out to only about $14 each. The vegetables were cooked to a tender perfection (still with a bit of bite though), and the bean purees were spicy and comforting.  The yellow split peas remain my favorite dish, with the sauteed cabbage coming in at a close second. It all tasted very traditional, but I have yet to see a freaking mesob anywhere in any American Ethiopian restaurants. Anyway, Meskerem was a fantastic experience, delicious food, no wait at all, and cheap!

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If you missed out experiencing Balasia before the restaurant closed, you’ll have a chance to catch Wendy Landiak at the PA Energy Fest in Kempton this weekend, Friday the 18th through Sunday the 20th. The chef has access to a full-blown kitchen this year, so expect restaurant-quality dishes. Indian fusion and BBQ tofu may or may not be involved.

yummy Balasia food

Balasia food porn, just for kicks

Also, if you’ll take notice of our happenings on the right-hand side of the page, LV Eggplant is now on Twitter, as result of a conversation between Josh and I that went something like this:
Carolyn: you never update the blog, I know you go out to eat all the time, is it so hard to snap a couple pictures and tell the internet whether the food was good or crappy, huh?! (whine whine whine whine)
Josh: um yeah… I’ll get around to it

Repeat the above dialogue once a week for several weeks. Eventually, we decided Josh could handle 140 character tweets every once in a while, without having to commit to writing a whole post. So feel free to follow us as we tweet mini-reviews and share random food info as we discover it throughout the LV!

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Though I think I’ve made it pretty clear my heart belongs to one indian buffet only, I’ve been finding myself eating at Nawab fairly often lately (fairly often = twice in the past 3 months). Since Spice India opened, I felt no need to ever return to Nawab, but, with a little coaxing from a friend of mine who cannot get enough of their particular Chicken Tikki Masala, I have returned, and haven’t regretted it.

Nawab

Now, I think Spice India scores some major, major advantages in the sheer size of their buffet, the variety, the authenticity, and the spice levels, as compared to Nawab. Plus the fact that their naan is made fresh to order. But I’m learning Nawab does have its advantages as well. They have consistency on their side, so for those who are fans of Nawab’s lunch buffet, you can always pretty much bank on the same exact dishes being there everyday. Which, by the way, normally consist of some kind of saag, channa masala, mattar paneer, curried cauliflower, chicken tikki masala, samosas, naan, and veggie pakoras. Their other big plus, I’m convinced, is their chicken tikki masala. Or in my case, the sauce (not interested in the chicken). My tikki masala-loving friend shared with me her Nawab routine, part of which consisted of her filling a condiment bowl with the chicken tikki masala sauce, and using it to dunk her naan. So I tried the sauce, and now I do it too! It really is spectacular. Totally Americanized tikki masala I’m sure, as it’s a bit sweet and tomato-soupy tasting, but dang is it good! I definitely find myself craving it all the time now, and I’m guaranteed to get it at Nawab. Now to be fair, Spice India has put out a tofu tikki masala dish before, which absolutely rocked my socks off (and it had tofu in it, come on!) but it’s not a staple of theirs. More like a fun surprise. Last Nawab plus: it’s cheaper.  If that matters to you.

Nawab is located at 13 E. 4th St in Bethlehem. And their superior, spicier rival Spice India is located at 2407 Mickley Ave in Whitehall, just off of Schadt Ave from MacArthur Rd.

Which do YOU prefer?

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I really don’t spend much time dining out in Allentown, but, inspired by Beyond Scrapple‘s recommendation, I tried Winston’s West Indian & American Restaurant the other night, and I’m so glad I did. Located at 619 7th St. (between Tilghman and Allen), Winston’s serves up standard Jamaican food like jerk chicken, oxtail, tripe and beans, cow foot, stewed red snapper, and fantastic curry sauces that can only be the result of a long, slow simmering process.
Winston'sWhy don’t I ever remember to take pictures of the outside of the restaurant before I go in? Clearly this was after dinner, and nighttime.

makeshift veggie entreeDespite all of the exotic meaty things on the menu, I stuck with my vegetarianism and ordered rice and beans with sauteed veggies, asking our behind-the-counter server if he could please pile whatever curry sauces he had available onto my rice. If there’s one thing in life that never ceases to excite me, it’s trying new curry. And let me tell you, that chicken curry was am-a-zing. The goat curry was delicious too, but wow, I couldn’t get enough of the chicken curry sauce (literally, I asked for extra). The cabbage was nicely cooked and yummy, but I would have loved to dump another gallon of curry sauce on top of it. I didn’t want to go overboard with my requests though. Our meals also came with a nice little pile of fried plantains, which were soft and fruity with just a little crispiness to the edges. Fantastic.

jerk chickenDenise was going to order vegetarian too, but after seeing their plaque on the wall for the Valley’s Best Chicken, she decided to try the jerk chicken. She assured me the chicken was “fall off the bone tender” and completely saturated with flavor, the spicy dry rub and tangy jerk sauce combining their delicious forces to make the entree flavorful and satisfying.

WinstonWinston himself, the genius behind this Jamaican gem on 7th Street. I asked him if he was the chef, to which he responded “Oh, sometimes.”  Humble, down to earth, and good grief can this man whip up a delicious curry sauce. Winston’s is a wonderful addition to the Lehigh Valley’s assortment of high-quality ethnic restaurants, and seriously, you can’t beat a $7 entree!

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