Daily Archives: February 14, 2012

Saffron Garden: 304 E. 78th st. NY NY

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I crave Indian food just a few times per year. It’s not really my favorite, but once in a while I get an intense hankering that just won’t go away until I satiate it. Today was one of those days. It just so happened that I was walking past Saffron Garden, hungry and with a craving, and I noticed a Groupon Now deal for pay $6 for $10. As luck would have it, they have a $9.99 lunch special advertised in their window. It was fate indeed.

It was an empty restaurant, which wasn’t off-putting given that it was 3pm,  kind of a weird time for a meal. I sat down and was given a vague idea of what the lunch special included. Frankly, I didn’t really care. I asked if spinach paneer was an option, which it was, and looked forward to whatever else the lunch included as a surprise to come.

It began with a delicious hot and crispy potato/pea samosa with a side of chick peas and the 3 classic sauces that I love. One is a chopped onion mix in a red sauce, one is mainly cilantro and herbs (yum) and one is a sweet brown sauce. I wish I knew more about these and what is in them, I just know they are the common trio at most Indian restaurants and I’m definitely a fan of putting them on everything I’m served.

Next came a basket of naan, a dish of basmati rice, and a dish of spinach paneer. Everything was surprisingly delicious, especially the chunks of cheese in the creamed spinach- YUM. The naan was a bit over-cooked and crispy instead of soft and chewy, but it was great anyway and made a great vessel for my spinach and sauces.

The service was a bit lacking, very slow and he hardly spoke any english. It was also a problem that the waiter TOTALLY didn’t understand how Groupon works- he actually kept saying no no no, it wasn’t good except for dinner- but I showed him that it said clearly that it was valid from noon until 9pm. He persistently asked for my phone number so that his boss could call me later. I insisted that they’d need to speak with Groupon instead and wrote down my coupon number on my check for him. It was a bit annoying, but not a big deal, and certainly not a reason to not return.

If I do end up craving great Indian food at an extremely reasonable price, I will most definitely go back and I’ll probably try ordering delivery in the near future. The rest of the menu looks quite appealing and tempts me to branch out from my normal choices. Mango shrimp? Perhaps next time.

Veatery: 1700 2nd ave. NY NY

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It was not an easy day, to say the least. My beloved dog passed away after 12+ years of being my best friend, my buddy, my source of love, affection, laughter and entertainment.

It was 6pm and I’d not eaten all day and my sweet boyfriend insisted that we find some comforting nourishment.

Walking home from the animal hospital, we were near Veatery, which I’d recently read a post about and wanted to try. I thought that a nice, hot bowl of Pho would comfort my empty belly and be a nice distraction from returning home to my eerily quiet apartment.

We were seated immediately and ordered drinks. I am not a big drinker at all, but this day called for a cocktail. A lychee martini was a good, strong choice and helped to dull my sadness just a little bit.

We ordered Pho Bo, sticky rice, BBQ spareribs and mixed dumplings. Nice and carb-y, warm and filling, these all proved to be great choices. The soup was delicious with thin pieces of meat, noodles and a side of mint/basil, sprouts and hoisin. The ribs were full of flavor and crisp edges and were cut into small pieces at our request to make for easier sharing. The sticky rice, one of my favorite foods, helped to add some more substance to the soup which didn’t have quite as many noodles as I would have liked. The dumplings were exceptional. SO fresh and filled with high quality ingredients.

The meal was served  quickly, politely, efficiently and professionally. I was very impressed with this experience overall, especially since good Vietnamese food on the UES is nearly impossible to find. Well, impossible no more. If It was this good on a day when I was this sad, I can only imagine how much I’ll love it when I’m happy. I will definitely be back.