Last weekend, I went to New York City to visit one of my best and oldest friends, Lauren, to spend some quality time with her and her cronies up there. Lauren lives in Brooklyn (birthplace and hometown of BCD Mom, and birthplace of BCD Dad), and I was excited to spend some time in both Manhattan and Brooklyn.
Of course, what trip to NYC would be complete without obscene amounts of eating?? My next few posts will chronicle the absolutely amazing food I experienced during my trip. Now let's get to it...
When I first arrived at Penn Station, Lauren and her roommate Sarah picked me up and we headed to the East Village. After picking up some beer at a nearby shop (which had all these wonderful Indian spices, pickles, breads, etc. - food nerd!), we went into a tiny Indian restaurant called Panna II. Lauren had told me we were going to "Indian Disco" and I didn't quite understand until I walked into the restaurant and saw the entire ceiling covered with twinkle lights and chile lights - so many that they touched your head when you stood up!! In fact, the restaurant's slogan is "Where Chili-Pepper Lights Meets Christmas-Tree Lights" - makes sense.
What you see when you walk into Panna II
View of the ceiling from our seats
Anyway, we sat down and they immediately put some thin, crispy bread with spices on the table, along with a few delicious sauces.
We ordered their Dinner Special, which was $10.00 for soup, an appetizer, and a main dish - nice and cheap! The soup that came next was good - tomato based, with lots of spices. Yum.
Next came our appetizers. We all ordered "our own" but ended up sharing everything - just the way I like it! I got the Dal Poori, which was a fried bread filled with dal (lentils). Lauren got some fried eggplant fritters, and Sarah got Poori (the fried bread again) with a spicy mushroom-tomato sauce. Everything was delicious! Each dish was well-seasoned, and we got a nice variety of spicy and not-spicy foods. Also, we got a lot of fried food in this course but it was very well done - not too greasy at all!
Poori with Tomato-Mushroom Sauce
For our mains, we again shared everything. We decided to go vegetarian for all the mains since Indian vegetarian is probably the best type of vegetarian food. They just know how to do it right! Anyway, we got some Vegetable Vindalo, and it was probably the spiciest Vindaloo we've ever had! Next, we got Palak Paneer, the familiar dish with spinach with large cubes of cheese. This was awesome - great flavor, and not too spicy! Last we got an Eggplant Curry, which was also very good. (Note that I don't even like eggplant but we had it in a bunch of dishes and it was great! Maybe I'm becoming a convert...)
Spiciest Vindaloo Ever
We also ordered some Nan to go with our dishes - this was excellent. Light and fluffy, and a little bit fried up...delicious.
Also included in our Dinner Special was dessert, a mango ice cream. Oh man, this was AWESOME. By itself it would have been great since it was very creamy and very mango-y. Add that to our burning mouths and lips and it was HEAVENLY!
Clearly I was a fan...
What a fantastic meal! One thing in particular I loved about this meal was that it was at a place where real, regular New Yorkers go - none of this tourist crap! (That would come the next day...) It was a great first meal in NYC and I loved every minute of it, from the "ambiance," to the food, to, of course, the wonderful company.
Stay tuned for more culinary adventures in NYC!