Review: Pinkberry India

Frozen yogurt lovers definitely took Pinkberry‘s entry into India well! As a self-confessed Pinkberry lover, I’m kind of embarrassed to admit that I was overly excited with the news, and rushed to Bandra from the comforts of my South Bombay bubble just to see if it tasted the same as the frozen yogurt that got me through nights of incessant studying and some fun breaks in college. Strolling along Riverside Park near Columbia University with a Pomegranate Pinkberry will always be a fond memory of mine, and I was excited to recreate it. But did I? Well, kind of.

Pinkberry is an upscale frozen yogurt chain started in 2005 by Shelley Hwang and Young Lee in Los Angeles, California. Earlier simply a west coast phenomenon, it soon expanded to New York City, and they also have several locations around the world, including Egypt, the UK and the Philippines. Pinkberry’s claim to fame is its delicious frozen yogurt. It comes in a variety of flavors, is nonfat and filled with live and active cultures, which is needed in order to be classified as a ‘yogurt’ by the National Yogurt Association in America. While Pinkberry has a number of seasonal flavors that rotate on a monthly basis, their original flavor stays the same year-round.

Pinkberry Mumbai, located in Pali Hill, has six flavors you can choose from. Right next to the Costa Coffee, this tiny little outlet has just about enough space to move around and a small seated area. The bright green and pink hues from the Pinkberry logo brought a lot of joy to the interiors, despite the pouring rain outside. Now, on to the flavors: Continue reading

An Addict’s Guide to Coffee

I can imagine all my friends rolling their eyes at this post already. If you know me even a little bit, you’ll know I love my coffee. It’s impossible to not know that about me, considering talking to me before my first cup usually only leads to disaster for the poor person involved (and my former roommates will definitely attest to this fact). Though I have cut down recently, a day without a cup of coffee is absolutely impossible for me. I need it, I crave it, and yes, I get a headache when I don’t have it. And it doesn’t hurt that it tastes (and smells) absolutely amazing.

Coffee also has a number of health benefits. Aside from keeping you awake and alert thanks to the caffeine content (by binding to the adenosine receptors that make you sleepy, if you want the biological explanation), coffee has also been linked to greater concentration, a higher metabolism, improved mood and lower chances of Type II Diabetes, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s Disease. Not bad for a cup, huh?

However, coffee has long ago lost its simplicity. You can no longer walk into a specialty coffee shop and ask for “one coffee, please”. More often than not, you’ll get a blank stare, especially if you’re in India. The different types of coffee beans and the several different ways to prepare espresso have led to the rise of a number of inventive coffee beverages – not all good, not all good for you, and not all authentic. So if you have ever looked at that huge menu board behind the barista and wondered, “What the hell is that?”, then worry no more. Here are the most common coffee beverages on the menu at your favorite caffeine spot, with an explanation about what they mean. You never have to wonder about what goes into your cup of java again! Continue reading

A Fusion of Flavour

New York City has always had the reputation of being a cultural melting pot, which is evident by the combination of museums, art galleries and architectural diversity that takes up much of the city. This eclectic mix has always been one of the most fascinating and exciting parts of New York City travel, where one could spend an evening attending a sophisticated opera while later enjoying a night out at one of the city’s trendiest nightclubs.

However, the innovative atmosphere in New York has also extended to its dining establishments. Chefs have begun to incorporate a blend of flavours to their signature dishes, and New York has become a hub of fusion cuisine. Follow my guide to the best of the best and prepare to be amazed by the incorporation of several cuisines in a single dining experience. Both your stomach and your taste buds will thank you.

 1. Buddakan

Created by Stephen Starr, this restaurant blends contemporary European and Chinese fare to create a tantalizing experience. Designed by updating an old Nabisco factory, the over 15,0000 square feet of space is decorated with Parisian tapestry, Cantonese paintings on the walls and massive chandeliers hanging from the ceiling. The menu shows a similar synthesis, where the traditional Chinese dishes on the menu are reinvented and other unheard items are created solely by Executive Chef Michael Schulson. From the appetizers, try the steamed frog legs cooked in a tasteful Asian preparation of garlic and chives or the tuna tartare spring roll that combines the tang of sashimi with the crunchiness of the roll. The carrot dumplings are flavoured with European seasoning, while the taste of chilled udon noodles is further intensified with a relishing lime sorbet. The Five-Spice Chicken and Spiced Tofu combine sweet and sour spices from both regions to create an explosion of flavour and texture. Wash down your meal with one of Buddakan’s signature cocktails, which use various exotic ingredients such as lemongrass and passion fruit, and don’t forget their signature dessert – The Crying Chocolate uses Belgian chocolate ganache and is served with jasmine tea ice cream. This is truly a treat for the senses.

 2. Sushi Samba

With two locations in New York, Sushi Samba’s loud décor is reflective of the cuisines it incorporates – Brazilian flavoring mixed with Japanese staples. Red, yellow and orange seats and tables decorate the restaurants, while the music is loud and, to quote the name, “Samba”-esque. The restaurant’s specialty sushi rolls include the El Topo Roll, a mouthwatering combination of melted mozzarella, smoked salmon and crispy onion, and the Neo Tokyo Roll, which is a twist on the traditional spicy tuna roll by adding tempura flakes and aji planca, a type of chili pepper used in Peruvian and Brazilian dishes. The coconut rice combines the sweetness of coconut to the stickiness of Japanese rice, and the shaved palmito salad is topped with a delicious jalapeno-shallot dressing and pink peppercorns. The Samba-Style Chicken Teriyaki spices up a traditional Japanese dish and is served with purple potato mash, while the Mushroom Toban-yaki uses Japanese mushrooms, Peruvian garlic chips and a Brazilian poached egg to tantalize your taste buds. Pair your meal with Samba Juice, a cocktail with raspberry and watermelon infused rum, guava and acai, a type of berry found exclusively in South America. The pungent flavors of Brazil and the understated ones of Japan will surely keep you coming back for more.

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