Monday, July 13, 2009

Boca Goes International

This past weekend we were tooling around and just happened to spot a new Indian food market on Federal Highway at 28th street. Opened a month ago by Mr and Mrs Pandya, this market may very well symbolize the prosperity of modern professional Indians since it carries so many traditional foods done commercially. For many years the average Indian market here in the States carried such traditional foods but they were usually made by an Indian woman in her home's kitchen. And although we always enjoyed these foods, there was a huge variance as to quality, not to mention questions about sanitation rules observed or not by our unseen cooks. All of those fears are now allayed by commercial packagers of a tremendous assortment of foods favored by our sub-continent friends. And many of my chef friends and I agree: it's our favorite cuisine. Once certain biases are overcome ("I don't like curry"), many others find it equally addictive. An entire Indian meal from snacks, appetizers, soups, main courses, breads, even drinks can be put together with the very impressive frozen and fresh offerings at this immaculate, well lighted new store. But if you insist upon making your favorite dishes from scratch you'll find all of your fresh veggies, rices, pulses, legumes, spices in short : most of what you'll need except for fresh meat or fish right here.
They even have several brands of curry powder if you don't feel like grinding your own.

Little India

2800 North Federal Highway

Unit 5

(across from Quality Inn Motel)


(First in a series of blogs about Boca's growing food scene)

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Fusian Asian in Palm Beach

We don't get up to Palm Beach as often as I'd like, I occasionally visit some clients up there or go to Cafe Boulud. Had read about Joy Noodles and Asian Cuisine, a pan-asian restaurant reviewed in the last New Times "best of"issue. Decided lunch would be a good way to check it out (usually cheaper and less crowded than at dinner time). First impressions are always critical, but never more so than with restaurants (especially the rest rooms). As a chef, I look for cleanliness everywhere as a reflection of the kitchen's attention to sanitation and attention to food quality and everything else-comes from there--.

Joy Noodles smelled nice of fresh food being stir-fried and was decorated stylishly though simply. Somebody cares, I thought. The usual restaurant supply napery and other tabletop used at this level restaurant was replaced by better glasses, silverware, etc. so the overall impact was of a much more expensive restaurant.

The representative menu of Thai, Japanese, Korean, and Chinese dishes at moderate prices and appropriate beverages was organized in much the same way that Chinese menus were: of the "one from column A--" variety with the "alternative" this time being a choice of rice or noodles, with an assortment of proteins, veggies and sauces adding dimension and ethnicity.

We tried crispy calamari with dipping sauce which though a bit greasy still managed to be crispy (not an easy thing to do) as app.
Then we chose one rice and one noodle dish. My companion's
rice noodle with spicy Korean-style beef was not too spicy for him and my mango-chili chicken stir fry with fresh basil was light and grease-free. Neither was overly sauced nor too spicy for our tastes. All dishes were served on beautiful plates and platters obviously chosen to showcase the foods.
The one drawback to the food was actually its menu representation: almost every selection after its name listed the identical melange of fresh veggies (red bell peppers. carrots, etc), lending a certain "chain"-store quality to what is in reality made-to-order dishes.

Wait staff was unobtrusive yet attentive.
Prices: moderate
decor: nice/casual

JOY Noodles & Asian cuisine
2200 S. Dixie Hwy
W. Palm Beach 33401