Saturday, 21 March 2015

[Food]: New York Coffee, Karachi

Another day, another coffee shop in Karachi. Do we need more coffee shops in the city? As a non coffee drinker, I want more tea rooms in the city! But as a foodie, what I do want is more variety in my casual dining menu and New York Coffee - Your Neighborhood Cafe, seems to offer me just that. Located on 8th Zamzama Commercial Lane, the cafe has free valet parking and can be easily seen from the main road - if you are like me and can never remember a Zamzama address, that makes life infinitely easier.

Alright, first let's talk about the food. Between the three  hungry girls at peak lunch hour, we orders three starters, three mains and three drinks. Little did we know that the servings would be THAT generous. There was plenty of leftovers to take home for all of us.

Pesto Chicken Bruschetta
Hands down my favorite thing to eat at New York Coffee. Bits of chicken in pesto sauce on crusty flavorsome bread, with just a few tomatoes. The sticky sweet drizzle on it gives it another layer of flavor. Big thumbs up for getting the bread texture just right! 4.5/5

Thai Beef Salad
I keep hoping against hope to find a good Asian salad...or anything vaguely, genuinely Asian in Karachi and I keep failing. The Thai  Beef Salad was way too spicy for my taste. That balance of sweet and spicy that is key to Asian cuisine was missing. Also, the vegetables were too big for a Thai salad. And alas, no peanuts or sweet Thai dressing. 3/5

Crispy Chicken Tender Salad
Thank god for restaurants who serving dressing on the side! Generous portion of chicken makes this a meal in itself.It would be nice to see a couple more kinds of greens to go with the ice berg. 4/5

Here come the mains!

Half and half Chicken Cordon Bleu & Sweet Corn and Pepper Pizza
Since we could not decide which pizza to order, the staff was kind enough to do a half and half for us. And AMAGAD! That Chicken Cordon Bleu pizza fell out of heaven! This pizza is a sinner and so am I! Perfect thin crust and a balance between the toppings and the sauce make this my favorite non-pizza place pizza to date. Restaurant pizzas often end up being too dry in a bid to be more authentic but this one is just perfect. The sweet corn and pepper pizza is good too but not when it's next to THAT. 5/5

Shrimp Risotto
Risottos are tricky business - from the type of grain used to the layering of flavors to the cooking time. This was not a good day for risotto. The plating was wrong and the rice was too dry. The shrimps were generous and the flavor was well worked into the rice. Did they use shrimp stock to flavor the rice? Certainly tasted like that.  2/5

Chicken Enchilada
Love beans, love bread, love rice! All done well in this plate of chicken enchilada (also available in shrimp). The tortilla was fresh and warm and generously stuffed. The salsa and sour cream worked well together. The beans on the side were absolutely perfect - thank god someone had better sense than to use those wretched baked beans from a can! There should be a ban placed on that rubbish!
Hence, I felt that I wanted more beans on the side. Will definitely ask for extra beans on my next trip there. 4.5/5

I am not much of a drinks person but my friends ordered a few fruit smoothies and were suitably satisfied. 

The ambiance is fairly friendly. The staff is not too over bearing in trying to be attentive (major pet peeve). But the one thing that's missing is a good soundtrack - something more  hip, something more New York, Will I be going back with family and friends? Most definitely!

Monday, 9 March 2015

[Food]: National ka Pakistan

Needless to say, I am a food fiend. I spend much of my time online looking up new recipes, foodie destinations and menu ideas for YummyMummyAndme.  Some of my favorite recipe websites are Rasa Malaysia, BBC Good Food and Yummy. The reason I like these sites is that they are simply organized and give me lots of options and ideas - to search for recipes by ingredients, region, calories etc.

Recently, I was invited to yet another blogger meet up by National Food at Koel Cafe as an introduction to their new website, National Made Easy. The website is actually packed with great content. One can look up recipes according to occasion, ingredients, region (Pakistan) and even everyday meal ideas.

The Good News

The website looks great - slick design, great photography and even short instructional videos.
In terms of content organization, National Made Easy is by far the most well done of all the local cooking websites I have come across. I rather enjoyed the content on the 'National ka Pakistan' tab is a food travelogue hosted by Chef Saadat.

The Not-So-Good News

The website does not have any personalization option yet - no room for creating your own menu plans or saving recipes. There is a registration tab but it does.... nothing. There is a lot of over lap between the different categories, hence, we need more recipes. Hopefully, they will keep updating the content. There is an over dose of video based content! I would have liked some written word and stills for the food travelogue. The mini recipe videos are all kinds of over-stylized - just a bit too fancy in the same vein as our cooking oil/ghee advertising.

Will I be using the website? Perhaps. But unless they add an option for saving recipes and adding more content, I do not think that I will be a frequent visitor.

Luckily for me, National Foods gave me a cook book too.