Appetizing Indian Cuisine at Spice Rack

On our recent visit to Bensalem, a small town near Philadelphia we came across Spice Rack after reading a lot of immensely positive reviews in Yelp. Located on Knights Road, this is a small restaurant with limited seating mainly dealing in take-out.

Let’s talk about “Food”

The menu is quite extensive so it took us a while to decide what to start with. This time we opted for only Vegetarian dishes and ordered Bhelpuri, Dahi Chaat and Papdi Chaat for appetizer.

After a bit long wait we got served with these delish snacks. From the first bite I got hooked on Bhelpuri, a tangy, garlicky and fully flavored one with authentic Indian spices. It was the most delicious chaat I ever had till now in USA.

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Bhel Puri

Dahi Chaat one of my all time favorites didn’t disappointed me as well. Crisp puri exotically garnished with sev and coriander were so inviting that we finished all of them in a blink. Papdi Chaat took me back in streets of Delhi, the taste was equally good to what we use to have back home.

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Dahi Puri
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Papdi Chaat

As we got fully confident on flavors we visited Spice Rack again to try some more items from the menu.

We ordered Paneer Pakora, Mutter PaneerGarlic Naan and ended up with Gajar ka halwa. Sadly, Paneer pakora really disappointed us, they were not as savory as they look, on the other hand Mutter Paneer was zesty, typical North Indian style.o (1)IMG_9354

I am a die-hard fan of garlic naan and after a long while I had one of the best at Spice Rack, crispy and light with loads of garlic. Uhh, this place has awakened desi foodie inside me.o (3)IMG_9356

The only thing in which this place lags behind is service, it’s slow. It can take a while to place an order and longer to get it on your table.

Overall, this place reminded us street food of Delhi. Spice Rack really surprised us with strong flavors, a small joint delivering the true taste of Indian Cuisine.

My rating

Food: 4.5/5

Location:3/5

Ambiance:2.5/5

Service: 2/5

Spice Rack Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato
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Must Eat In Chicago

City of Chicago is mainly known for its food delicacy and diversity. As a first timer every foodie craves for Chicago Style Pizza and we were no different. In our short span in Chicago suburbs we picked up some notable Chicago eats & can conclude that this city is definitely a lot more than just pizza bites.

Over the period the immigrants have brought taste and colors to Chicago and have developed Chicago style dishes out of them, while keeping the original base.

Here is our food guide of Chicago for first timers & foodies:

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Indulge your senses in Chicago style famous “Garrett Mix”, cheese and caramel flavoured popcorn. Since 1949 this franchise has been famous for it’s high quality and taste. Maybe Garret popcorn’s are now available globally, but it will always be “Chicago’s tradition”. So next time while wandering around the streets in Chicago grab some Garrett mix for sure.

Where to eat– Magnificent Mile, Navy Pier, O’Hare International Airport, E Madison St, Chicago.

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From Two brothers to Goose Island, IPAs to Half Acre , Chicago has a lot of local craft breweries, portraying Chicagoan’s true love for beer.
In 1833 with Chicago becoming a town, it also got its first brewing company and as of today there are many local micro-brewing companies offering tours and beer tasting. Every year in month of March, the city holds beer tasting festival with more than 60 participating brands.

Where to try: Two Brothers Brewing Company, Lagunitas Brewing Company, Goose Island Brewery, Emmett’s Brewing(suburbs), Rock Bottom Brewery.

Gyroso (3)o

Gyros may not have been invented in Chicago but over the time Chicagoans have shown this is one of their most popular and favorite food. With Kronos as the biggest supplier of Gyro cones and many Greek restaurants offering these in abundance, Gyros doesn’t deserve a chance to be missed. For Greek food lover Halsted street, Greektown Chicago is the place to be. With many Greek restaurants in vicinity this place is best suited to taste the best gyros.

Where to eat: Central Gyros, Zeus Gyros, The Parthenon

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Our favorite Chicago Style Pizza is highly acclaimed for its enormous amount of cheese and thick crust. Most people would contradict on the thick crust but believe it, whether it’s stuffed one or the classic deep dish there is no escape once you get the first bite. Though you would be full with just a slice or two, but this is one which you have to taste before you die.

Where to eat: Giordano’s, Gino’s, Unos, Lou Malnati’s.

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Chicago’s most authentic fast food “Chicago-style hot dog” should be on your top list. This classic dish includes beef sausage served on a poppy seed bun with white onions, sport pepper, tomatoes, dill pickle and the very essential yellow mustard. Don’t leave the city without tasting Chicago’s hot dog .

Tip: Don’t ask for the ketchup with Hot Dog in Chicago as they believe it goes with mustard only. Sellers don’t even carry ketchup.

Where to eat: Portillo’s, Superdawg, Gene & Jude’s.

Saganakioo (4)

Thanks to Zomato Meet, Kavita got her chance to be familiar with this remarkable Greek Dish and that too at the place where it got originated “The Parthenon” in Greektown, Chicago. Read it here- My First Zomato Meet At The Parthenon,Chicago

Today Saganaki has many variations as with shrimp and mussels, but the original one has cheese fried in buttered shallow pan along with brandy, which is flamed at table with a shout of ‘Opa’, ending up with fresh lemon juice.

Where to eat: None other than “The Parthenon”, Greektown.

My First Zomato Meet At The Parthenon,Chicago


Indian Bloggers

I was writing reviews on Zomato for more than two years in Delhi/NCR and then I continued my foodie journey in Chicago suburbs too.

Last year in October, unexpectedly I got a invite from Zomato for meetup as I was topping the charts on Chicago’s foodie leader-board. At first I was astonished as attending Zomato meet in Chicago was beyond my imagination.

As I reached the event at The Parthenon, both my excitement and nervousness were at the top, but within couple of minutes it was just we foodies and bloggers sharing our thoughts and experiences. I was filled with wonder that most of them were Indian food admirer.

Why The Parthenon?

Located on S Halsted St,Chicago this place is highly acclaimed for authentic Greek food. In 1968 Parthenon introduced the exclusive dish Saganaki, a flaming cheese appetizer served on a small frying pan. Apart from this, Parthenon made Gyros popular among Chicagoans.

 

Let’s talk food:  As they say, In Parthenon you Dine Like Gods and yes we did, a five course meal !

Appetizers

We got Spanakopitas(mini spinach and feta cheese pies), Broiled Octopus, Skordalia(thick puree of potatoes with garlic) and my favorite Saganaki(flaming cheese) in appetizers. Spanakopitas were very rich & tasteful, broiled octopus was fully flavoured with herbs and lemon, on the other hand Skordalia had the strong flavour of garlic but the star of the night was Saganaki with the shout of “Opa”Check out the video here.o (5)o (6)o (4)o (7)

Soup

For soup I chose Egg and Lemon soup, as it didn’t sounded familiar among those which I have tasted. It was a classic treat, with rice and lemon essence. I am not at all a soup lover but I can go for it again. o (8)

Salad

After the heavenly appetizers and soup I was almost full and there were three course still waiting for me. The salad I opted for was Greek, full of freshness & seasonings topped with olives & feta cheese, it was sure a hit.o (9)

Main Course

From the day I attended this meet, I am a Gyro lover. Gyro is made of lamb or beef on vertical rotisserie, served as shaved meat on pita bread with Tzatziki sauce, a Greek dip made of thick or strained yogurt, cucumber, garlic, salt & olive oil. It was my very first experience with Gyro and indeed it was appetizing. o (11)

Dessert

No meal is complete without a dessert and we wrapped up the meet with Baklava, a layered filo pastry filled with nuts and held together with honey. The Baklava was outstanding, aromatic & fully flavored. It tasted equally well as it looks.o (12)

Overall, my first Zomato meet was overwhelming, more than what I expected out of it. Thanks to all fellow foodies and The Parthenon who made this event unforgettable.

We tried “St. Louis style BBQ”..!!

Hey everyone, we are back from St Louis with some wonderful experiences, be it our road trip or witnessing the beautiful Gateway of Arch or roaming around the city.  But first, we would like to share our encounter with Smoki O’s. As foodie travelers, we always have few local joints of every visiting city to try out and Smoki O’s was on our list for BBQ.

Thinking about St. Louis  food specialty, what comes into mind is St. Louis BBQ, uniquely prepared by grilling the meat and pouring the sauce over, rather than dry rub or slow smoking. One can taste St. Louis style BBQ ribs at many other restaurants and they might be good as well, but we opted for well known & the authentic one.

Located on N Broadway, Smoki O’s is one of the most famous BBQ joint and has been acclaimed by many for its ribs, briskets and rib tips.

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The lady behind the counter/the owner(Earline A Walker) ,greets you warmly & help you through menu. She took a great interest in knowing from where we are and our feedback for the food !!!

Though everything on menu looked like worth trying after reading so much good about this place, but we had to bound our self to Ribs and pulled pork sandwich which comes with sides ,we opted for BBQ Spaghetti & Mac and 3 cheese.

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We are new to BBQ world, but we still found STL BBQ sauce a bit sweet and less smoky one compared to Chicago. Ribs were perfectly grilled and BBQ sauce gelled well with them. The pulled pork sandwich was flavorful with soft bun,portions are good and even sides are great to choose from.

Awards and Recognition

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If you are in city, this is a must try few blocks down from The Arch, worth for the price you pay with a great hospitality.

Address- 1545 N Broadway, St. Louis, MO 63102

Tips:

  1. Do try their snoots appreciated by Andrew Zimmern, Bizzare foods , we got a couple free samplers and they were great,too crispy, though we came to know lately that they were actually “nose” parts…
  2. If you are looking for a fine dining then this is not a place to be, its more like a takeaway joint with few seating.

Rating for Smoki O’s

Location- 3/5

Food- 4/5

Service- 5/5

Smoki O's Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Restaurant Review: Uncle Bub’s Award “Deserving” BBQ

Here we are with our first Restaurant Review of 2016 and this time it’s BBQ.

Uncle Bub’s, an award winning family owned BBQ started its one and only joint 17 years ago in Westmont, IL. Even after “award winning BBQ”, its hard to believe that they are restricted to one location,to keep it the best instead of making it a franchise.

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What’s so special about this place ?

BBQ –  Their famous BBQ is an ultimate example of their dedication for it, along with the secret spices…served with two options mild and a spicy one. Be it brisket, ribs or pulled pork, each meat is “slow cooked” to provide the charred  & smoky flavor to it.

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Awards- They have received various awards such as first place in Rib Category at Ribfest Chicago 2014 and many more like this.

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Interior and Ambiance- This place resembles a roadhouse with some quirky interior. You have to order at the counter and you will get a waiting number in the form of hen or rooster maybe..The lamps over your head are actually hanging metal buckets.

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What to order ?

Well! in case you are here for first time and confused as we were,then you can get started with:

The famous Uncle Bub’s Sampler Platter It has a bit of everything, meat, ribs , super soft briskets and you get to choose 2 sides from a handful options, fried Mac and Cheese and Hand cut French fries are our personal favorites.

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Sample Platter with sides and corn bread

Baby Back Ribs Do get your hands dirty with smoky, well cooked Baby back ribs and you will never regret it. We opted for the half slab and trust me it was a mouthwatering deal.

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Uncle Joe Burger 1/2 pound grilled burger with pulled pork, topped with cheddar cheese, pickles, lettuce and fresh tomatoes also served with two sides. The first bite was the burst of grilled and smoky flavors of tender pork. Definitely, this is one of the best burger we ever had.

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Uncle Joe Burger

Uncle Bub’s Wings  As I am in love with traditional wings since I came to States, so I try them every now and then but Uncle Bub’s Wings are distinct…. juicy from inside & crisp from outside. They have a unique blend of flavors, as usually they use their own recipe for making them so good with secret spices and seasonings. Do not forget to add-on a mug of Beer.

If you are in Chicago or have any plans to visit,then Uncle Bub’s should be on your list for memorable BBQ experience.

Location:  132 South Cass Avenue
Westmont, Illinois

My rating for Uncle Bub’s

Location-4/5

Food- 4.5/5

Ambiance- 4/5

Service- 4.5/5

Uncle Bub's Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Restaurant Review: Just Like Mom’s As They Say !!!

We are back with another restaurant review of very famous breakfast joint Blueberry Hill Breakfast Cafe ,a family restaurant,located on Butterfield Rd, Oak Brook.It’s one of the best breakfast chain in Chicago suburbs offering delicious homemade food at various locations..

We have visited here couple of times and began to fall for their scramblers. Along with delivering appetizing food, they have really classy interior with enough space for seating..

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What’s in the menu?

Traditional breakfast which includes Sandwiches,pancakes,french toast, waffles,wraps,scramblers,omelettes etc etc. In beverages they have fresh juices,hot/cold coffee(my fav. bottomless),latte etc..

What we had?

Chunky Monkey Waffle– When I ordered this waffle, i didn’t expected it to be so good. The waffle baked with pecans topped with banana,chocolate syrup,coated with powdered sugar and pecans… Truly inviting and mouthwatering !!

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Texas Style French Toast – The regular french toast with the pinch of cinnamon was just average in taste. We ordered it by its unique name but it came out as a regular one.Nothing special about it…

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Butcher Shop Scrambler- Meat Lovers..!!!! This one is for you…ham,sausage,bacon with eggs deliciously served with potatoes and toast/pancake.This shouldn’t be missed if you are visiting Blueberry Hill cafe.It’s on our favorite list now.

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Green Eggs and Ham- Rightly marked as Blueberry signature dish,this brings freshness of pesto and spinach with scrambled eggs. Personally, I am not a spinach fan specially the cooked one and choose to avoid them most of the time but this one came as an exception..And finally I am in love with this Green Egg scrambler ..!!!

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Ace of Club Sandwich- Deli style turkey & roast beef, topped with bacon, is served on white toast along with American & Swiss cheese, tomatoes,lettuce and Hellmann’s mayonnaise. A sandwich with these ingredients was like burst of flavors in my mouth. I was sure it cannot go wrong in taste at all..

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Overall, as per our experience, this restaurant has always met our expectations.

My rating for Blueberry Hill Cafe:

Location- 4.5/5

Food-4.5/5

Service-4/5

Ambiance-4.5/5

Blueberry Hill Pancake House Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato