after dinner sneeze

a lot of g says, t says

Posts Tagged ‘Ekta

Pardon Our Absence …

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t says:  Yes, yes, it’s been very-nearly-forever since our last legitimate post.  We’re sorry!  The holidays have left us with very little time.  And with those little times that we have had, we’ve spent dining on already-proven-delicious foods (if you have limited time, why risk a bad meal?)  For example:

Han Dynasty is still blowing us away.  Lately, we’re digging the double-cooked fish (new to us!) as well as oldie-but-goodies, like Cold Sesame Noodles, Dan Dan Noodles, the fish soup (whatever it’s called), Cumin Lamb, Eggplant in Garlic Sauce …

Sotto keeps me coming back with their Matriciana and BYO policy – just the hug you need when it’s cold, windy, and rainy outside …

Talula’s Garden’s December menu rocked our socks with some delightful sweetbreads and cheese and lamb belly and dessert and everything …  We also used it as an opportunity to try out a wine we’ve been cellaring for some time:

it tasted like ... sea salt ...

it tasted like … sea salt … kinda weird, but very interesting

Ekta’s Laamb Saag, Masalader Chola, Vegetable Samosa … we love you!

Indian ....

Indian attack!

So, all in all, there’s a lot of old news here … we’ll hit up some new places in the new year … we promise!

Written by afterdinnersneeze

29 December 2012 at 6:50pm

Indian Royal Rumble: Ekta vs. Tiffin

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t says:  A long time ago, kp told us of an awesome Indian delivery place called Tiffin.  g and I were fans of Indian food from our Hopkins days, so we couldn’t resist the idea of it being delivered to our door – especially if the delivery guy was wearing formal attire (white button-down shirt, dark dress pants, tie – VERY classy!).   Well, times have changed.  First off, Tiffin no longer has the prim-and-proper delivery dudes.  Second, there’s Ekta, a second Indian delivery place which is clearly Tiffin’s rival.  There’s actually quite a bit of history between the two – a “spat” as it’s called.  Very dramatic, I assure you.

g and I had compared the two in the past, but neglected to write down the results.  Our gist was: “yea, Ekta’s a buck or two cheaper, and it’s Butter Chicken was unstoppable.”.  However, due to errors in tip calculation, I got into a “spat” of my own with an Ekta delivery guy (to be fair, both of us were to blame: I couldn’t calculate, he was a jackass, I was spiteful).  The result: g and I banned ourselves from Ekta to avoid the addition of saliva to our food.

Flash-forward a year or so.  a and v wanted to revisit the Ekta and Tiffin throwdown.  They were veteran Tiffinites.  We suggested that Ekta might be able to deliver food of greater deliciousness.  They were intrigued.  Obviously, the only logical next step is to get some foods from each and see who came out on top, right?

November 2011, Fri Night Delivery, Party of 4.  The evening started with a wine-tasting at Ristorante Panorama.  They were doing a Portugal-themed evening, with a producer from that area providing 2 whites, 2 reds, and 3 ports.  It was quite an experience, as the wine was very good – especially when considering that you were permitted as much as you liked of any of the wines for a 2-hour span (6-8pm) for $25.  I thought of it as a happy hour that I actually wanted to be at!  Yea, the free food was kinda bad (the cheese insipid, the bruschetta soggy … but the calamari wasn’t bad!), but we’re confident that the real food (i.e. not free) served at the restaurant had to be better.  After all – they put a lot of focus into their wine (they have the Guiness-Book-certified world’s largest number of wines on tap: 120), so they have to at least deliver “ok” food, right?  I hope so.

But I digress – back to the Indian food.  We returned to a and v’s apartment at 8:30 and placed our orders.  g and I chose Ekta dishes.  a and v chose Tiffin dishes.

Ekta:  Butter Chicken, Masaladar Chola (“the chickpea dish”), Saag Paneer, Peshwari Naan, Samosas
Tiffin:  Lamb Rogan Josh, Saag Paneer, Samosas, Plain Naan

Tiffin arrived first, taking approximately 40 minutes.  I was VERY impressed, as Indian takes at least 1 hour (on a good day) to arrive at our humble abode near Rittenhouse – I guess Old City’s just closer!  Ekta, on the other hand, went MIA.  So we feasted on Tiffin as we waited.  An hour-twenty passed.  At this point, we were hungry – and perhaps a little impatient (I think the wine consumed was disinhibiting our behavior a bit).  So we called near 10pm and were informed, “all the orders are out on delivery”.  Cool.  At 10pm, we brought in our “fixer”: v.  She was able to ascertain that the driver had failed a delivery attempt – apparently “no one was home”.  That was false – we were home.  AND, the delivery guy didn’t call us!  We were told he’d attempt to re-deliver.  v somehow got the Ekta delivery guy’s cell phone number.  That was weird that Ekta just gave out the number.  She then proceeded to call the delivery guy to ensure proper delivery of food (see?  she fixes things!).  And voila – we had the food in the apartment in about 10 minutes time (turns out the delivery guy rang the non-functional doorbell, but didn’t bother calling us to see if anyone was home).

Ok – here’s the scoresheet:

Here's the summary sheet - complete with butter chicken stains.

Of course, the problem with the sheet is that it’s a little incoherent.  I believe that the problem is that we got distracted a lot by what was said (we’re all soooo funny) to really do a full-on dish-by-dish evaluation.  Allow me to summarize here:

Delivery speed: Ekta loses, obviously.
Delivery guy tact/competence: When we told the Tiffin delivery guy that it was a competition and that he delivered first, he asked, “so does that mean I get a good tip?”  While we’re sure he was just being playful, it could be construed as kind of tactless.  Meanwhile the Ekta guy was very humble/apologetic, which we appreciated – but does that make up for not even attempting to call us.  We’ll leave it a draw or give Tiffin the edge (I favor competence over tact).
Saag Paneer Faceoff:  At one point, a decided that “green poo” was a good descriptor of Saag Paneer.  Kinda gross.  But true.  In the end, Ekta had the superior poo – it had more oomph than Tiffin’s.  Personally, I preferred Tiffin’s texture, but it really did lack spice and spinach that Ekta brought.
Samosa Faceoff:  Ekta’s was superior for having a nicer consistency filling, a crispier crust (that’s right – it was crispier and who knows how long it stayed in that styrofoam container for while the guy was delivering it?).  Also, “the green stuff” (i.e. there’s some kind of sauce they put in a tiny round container that’s green – mint chutney?) from Ekta beat out Tiffin’s due to its thicker consistency and bolder flavor.
Dish of the night:  Ekta’s Butter Chicken.  Seriously.  If you order nothing else from Ekta, you have to order the Butter Chicken.
Honorable mention:  Masaladar Chola.  g commented: “They taste have bacon in them – not just veg.”  And it’s true.  These are some kickin’ chickpeas.  I think dz would like them a lot.  They are spicy, though.
Food Winner:  Ekta (just so long as you can wait for it).  Damn – tough night to be Tiffin.  Tiffin had a distinct advantage going into the challenge, as we were hungrier when they arrived.  Despite that, Ekta really brought some thunder … albeit nearly an hour later.

As you can see, there were also a few desserts for the evening.  I made a cranberry upside-down cake (with chocolate chips!) as well as a twist on Paula Deen’s pumpkin-gingerbread-trifle (I replaced the pumpkin with chocolate – duh!).  At one point, when contemplating the categories that should be used to compare the two, after “Taste”, I decided “Chocolate” was a pertinent category.  g felt that was silly: “That doesn’t make sense.  You made them both – so you know if there’s chocolate in it – how is that a category?”  My response: “It’s simple – does it have chocolate or not?  They both have it.  That means they both win!”  a deemed this to be the new “funniest thing I’ve ever said”.  I’m not sure if that means that it was particularly funny or if the implication is that may baseline funniness is low.  Oh well.  a felt the choco-gingerbread-concoction was superior to the cake.  I disagreed.  We’ll call it a draw.

Written by afterdinnersneeze

20 November 2011 at 8:45am

Cafe Spice: It Ain’t No Tiffin/Ekta

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t says: A couple of fellow associates at work and I had the opportunity to take a work-related dinner on the boss’s tab.  While the nature of the work cannot be discussed here, the nature of the meal can!  We originally planned to go to Fogo de Chao, a Brazilian “steakhouse” chain famed for unlimited quantities of delicious meat for a flat price.  Having never been (despite being urged by my friends), it sounded like a great [free] adventure!  Unfortunately, we had some vegetarians with us (what?  I hear Fogo has a great salad bar!), so we had to make a last minute change – one person had suggested Cafe Spice.  So off we went to 2nd street …

3/2010, Monday 6pm, Party of 5.  The place was nice but empty.  It wasn’t particularly fancy, but perhaps it was trying too hard to with the colors and boxes and things.  The place had a lot of space – this wasn’t your super-tiny Philly BYO (it also had a bar – duh!).  I ordered a 10Cane Mojito which was actually quite delicious – it was the highlight of the evening.  Unfortunately, the food I had was only “ok” (I sampled the chicken samosa, ragada patties, and chicken korma).  I’m going to spare you the individual descriptions because I really can’t think of anything that stuck out as being exceptionally good or bad.  In my mind, it was “meh”.  The samosa and korma tasted exactly as I expected these dishes to taste if delivered from an average Indian take-out place.  The nan was pretty good – nice and thin with just a bit of charred crisp.  The ragada patties were more interesting (as I’ve never had them before), combining patties of potato with sweet tamarind and chickpeas, but the end result was still only “meh”.  Maybe my tastebuds for Indian food aren’t refined enough?  Personally, I think it’s because I’ve become used to Ekta and Tiffin delivery, both of which use such bright and vivid flavors in their cooking.

In the end, I think that there is definitely better Indian to be had out there, although Cafe Spice is particularly close to Old City, so maybe there is some convenience in that.  Of course, Ekta and Tiffin both deliver, so who can beat the convenience of sitting in your own home?  Sorry Cafe Spice – I’m only going if friends really want to go … or if it’s free …

Written by afterdinnersneeze

24 March 2010 at 7:25pm