Foodie Friday: 57th Street and Govinda’s

Haven’t written one of these posts in a while! I have, however, been chowing down pretty good’n’often recently. It suddenly hit me that once little Bannock is here, she is also going to be chowing down pretty good’n’often, which will probably lead to a slight reduction in my mobility. So, I am making a valiant attempt to eat my way around Bangkok before she arrives. Here are two of the restaurants that I hit up this week:

57th Street at the Marriott

One of the best parts about working for a magazine is the random invites that get sent my way. On Wednesday, I received an invitation to a celebration of Indian and Indian-Chinese food at the 57th Street restaurant at the Marriott, which would take place that evening. It was accompanied by an apology for the short notice. No apologies necessary: any time I’m invited to scarf curry for no charge, I’m a pretty happy camper. Todd made the supreme sacrifice of swapping his volleyball game for a night full of binge eating, and accompanied me.

The evening began with wine and Indian/Chinese fusion appetizers.

This photo demonstrates neither wine nor Indian-Chinese foods. But it does show TODD who likes to EAT.

After an hour of chit-chats and calories, the Indian ambassador to Thailand gave a brief speech – I’m sure the content was great, but my brain is drawing a complete blank – and we stormed the restaurant.

Part of the Indian selection.

Part of the Indian-Chinese fusion table

Aloo Gobhi, Kadhai Paneer, and Goan Prawn Curry

Wee gems from the ocean

The spread of food was pretty impressive. Sadly, these days my stomach’s capacity is pretty pathetic (compared to my glory days, at least), so I limited myself to Indian food.

But don’t worry about me! I still managed to find a few calories.

When I noticed that everyone around me was drinking wine, though, I decided to drown my sorrows in the dessert room.

Pretty decent, as distractions go.

I couldn’t fully capture everything Todd ate in one photo: let’s just say he got his money’s worth.

I can’t believe you didn’t at least TRY to capture my meal on film. So betrayed.

All in all, it was a delicious evening, and we will happily return any time the Marriott wants to celebrate Indian food.

Govinda’s

I barely had time to digest before it was time to waddle out for another meal. While the name may suggest otherwise, Govinda’s is actually an Italian restaurant. It has been quite a while since I’ve eaten Italian food, and I wanted to order everything on the menu. Decisions of any kind have never been my strong suit, but they are especially difficult now that I have to account for the cravings of both myself and Bannock. I haven’t been too impressed with her impulse control just yet. I started off with a Caprese Salad, and then ploughed through a plate of pesto gnocchi.

The gnocchi was great. My facial expression on the other hand…

Drowning in an amazing pool of oil/garlic/basil.

I ditched T-bone in favour of some more estrogen-filled comrades.

Who tried to pretend that I wasn’t taking awkward photos of them in the middle of their dinners/intense, estrogen-fuelled conversation.

I have to ask: is it a female thing to share meals? I’ve often seen women do this, but do men do it, too? I can’t speak for myself, because I am extremely territorial about food, and the thought of splitting dishes makes me break into a cold sweat. Maybe this is due to the fact that I grew up with four ravening wolves siblings.

Jacqueline, on the other hand, has no problem sharing meals.

The night ended with ice cream at one of the many, many conveniently placed McDonald’s outlets in this fine city. And now, I think I need to go sleep off this food hangover…

Tofu ‘n’ Greens: How to Spice Up that Favourite Estrogen Enhancer

Sometimes, after I’ve had one too many servings of pad thai, my gut starts crying out “tofu and greens! Tofu and greens!” I’m not exactly sure why this is – perhaps it’s a throwback to my high school vegan adventures, or maybe it’s the fact that my mother raised her chilluns on a strict diet of hippy food. Anyway, when the urge hits, I turn to one of my favourite tofu recipes. It’s so simple that it’s almost an exaggeration to call it a recipe. Let’s just say it’s a way to make tofu taste like delicious ambrosia – not estrogen.

Ingredients:

  • Garlic cloves to taste (if you’re like me, 10 should do it. If you’re like T-bone, stick to half a clove)
  • Red Chillies to taste (I like to add 2 small ones to this recipe)
  • Sesame oil
  • Soy sauce or oyster sauce
  • White vinegar
  • Ginger root to taste
  • black pepper
  • extra-firm tofu
  • leafy green vegetables (I used a rapini/broccoli Thai hybrid, but you could use anything from broccoli to bok choy to kale)
  • cooking oil (I used soybean cuz that’s what our convenience store sells)

I deliberately did not give exact quantities for this recipe, because the proportions really depend on the amount of tofu and greens you wish to cook, and your personal spice preferences.

1. Press the tofu

In my efforts to become more fully acquainted with these pasty blocks of jiggling delight, I’ve learned that tofu absorbs marinade more easily if it first has the water squeezed out of it. This is easy to do, but takes some time. Put the tofu on a plate, place another plate on top of the tofu, put weights on top of that plate, and leave it to sit – the longer, the better. I often get impatient, and let it sit for less than an hour, which still tastes fine, but you will get better results if you let it drain for a few hours.

Oops. In spite of my healthy recipe, I still drink coke zero. Hopefully they cancel each other out?

2. While you wait for the tofu to drain, make the marinade.

I like to make this in a tupperware-style container – that way I can shake the mix to make sure that all the pieces are coated. Grate/grind/press/chop the ginger, garlic, pepper, and chillies into the container.

Using my mini grater because my TESCO brand garlic press was a complete bust.*

Add the soy or oyster sauce, sesame oil, and vinegar. Normally, I start with a few sloshes of sesame oil and a few sloshes of soy/oyster sauce, and then add enough vinegar so that the mixture will at least partially cover the tofu. A taste test at this point would not be amiss.

Garlic soup – my dream come true.

3. Dice the tofu

When the tofu has finished draining, discard the juice that it oozed (mmm. how’s that for a descriptor?), and cut the tofu into bite sized pieces.

And a dark shadow passed over the plate…

4. Marinate the tofu

Dump the tofu into the marinade, and give it a good shake to coat all the pieces. The longer you let the tofu marinate, the stronger/better the flavour in the end. An hour would be great. Shake the tofu occasionally to ensure that all the pieces get coated.

5. Get yer greens

While the tofu is marinating, chop your green vegetable.

6. Fry the tofu

Heat a little oil in your frying pan. I would use soybean, canola, or another mild-tasting oil. Don’t use sesame, as it begins to smoke at high heat. Use a slotted spoon or your fingers to take the tofu out of the marinade – don’t discard the marinade! – and dump it into the pan. An important step to ensuring tasty results is to make sure that you brown the tofu on every side (or if you’re impatient, on at least a couple of sides). The goal is the make it crispy.

I’m salivating all over again.

7. Add greens and stir-fry

Once the tofu is adequately crisped, dump the greens on top of the mixture, and give it a good stir. At this point, add the leftover marinade to the mix. Stir-fry until the greens are crisp-tender.

Apologies for Todd’s foot – not the most appetizing sight.

8. Dive in for a hippy fest of estro-enhanced deliciousness.

Becoming more feminine by the bite.

9. Ignore your husband’s complaints that you used too much garlic. There is no such thing.

Happy Eating!

*This is not another estrogen joke.