Balto and Adä in NYC

We went to NYC last week on a mission. Not to shop or go to any of the museums. Nope. We wanted to see the statue of Balto the Dog in Central Park.

Balto the Dog

When my daughter found out that we were going to spend more than a couple of days in New Jersey, she insisted on making a trip to NYC to see Balto. Prior acquaintance had been made with Balto as she was studying Alaska as part of her Language and Social Studies classes. She had written an article to complement the headline "Dog delivers vaccine through ice and blizzard". The Iditarod had consumed us through March and Balto had proved himself on this very trail. Balto was the lead dog for one of the teams that helped deliver the diptheria vaccine to Nome from Anchorage and avert a health crisis in 1925.

Before Balto, we lunched at an Indian restaurant called Adä, le maison de l'Inde. It's on 58th Street between 2nd Ave and 3rd Ave. And I experienced the meaning of the word froufrou for the first time in the context of Indian food.

Adä normally does not present customers with an amuse gueule at lunch. But such was the charm of my older sister that we were soon looking at tiny Bhel Baskets.
Bhel Basket

The light was low and the flash always mars the true colors so these pictures appear dull. The dark colored sauce is tamarind chutney and the orange sauce is mango puree.

We opted for the 'fixed price' lunch menu which is simply great value for the price. The vegetarian meal costs $12, non-vegetarian $15 and seafood $20. Each comes with a choice of an appetizer, choice of an entreé, served with butter naan, dal and rice, followed by a dessert (choice between mango kulfi and NY style cheesecake). Between the three of us adults, we decided to try 2 non-veg meals and 1 seafood. My appetizer was kali mirch shrimp, seen below, served with a sald of fresh spring greens in a delectable vinaigrette dressing like none other.
Kali Mirch Shrimp

The portions weren't large but each mouthful was a burst of flavor. The food was very tasty without being too spicy or hot. We did find out the hard way that it's a good idea to stay with the fixed price menu and not stray into à la carte territory. It was an excellent meal followed by even more satiation and satisfaction at having been to Central Park and met Balto in person.


Lakshmi said...

this one will keep on our list, for our next trip to newyork.

Vineela said...

bhel basket is ver nice.

Anonymous said...

Lakshmi, there were at least 3 other Indian restaurants (if not more) on that street. One of them is under the 'culinary consultation' of Madhur Jaffrey. Adä does get very expensive if you order à la carte.

Vineela, I thought it was a fabulous idea, too! Now to find a baking company that makes these little baskets.

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Anonymous said...

Sumi, welcome! I will take a look at what you have tagged me for and respond as soon as I can.

Prachi said...

eh, mala sangitla ka nahi new york madhe hotis mhanun? and you should post those great pics in the NY reviews thread!

Anonymous said...

Kay sangu tula! I was working through most of my trip and had only 2 days in NJ, of which one day was dedicated to Balto, as you can see. The other was family time at my sister's. I wanted to get in touch but there was next to no time. This trip was about 12 days long and I was exhausted by the end of it. Next time, I promise!

Anonymous said...

Hi. Love your blog. I came across it while doing a search on intersting ways to present indian food and my search landed me on your blog about chat baskets at Ada. Like you I was wondering how to make these baskets - and guess what I finally figured it out. So since your blog gave me the idea to begin with - here's the way I made the chat baskets.....
I got small metal cup cake moulds from India (you can find them in a bakery shop in the US - they are mini cupcake size). 1. Make a dough from maida. 2. Roll out a small puri from the dough. 3. Grease the OUTSIDE of the mould. 4. Wrap the puri outside the mould and snip off any excess dough.
5. Using tongs dip the mould and wrapped puri in hot oil. 6. In about a minute the metal mould will slip out. 7. Fry the basket till it's brown in color and completely cooked.
Voila! A bit time consuming but worth the effort ;-) -- Preeti

Anonymous said...

Preeti, welcome to IFR! Boy, you are innovative and adventurous!! Kudos to you for figuring out how to do this!! And thank you so much for sharing it, too! I would have never thought of putting the puri on the outside of the mold!

After you posted, I wondered if the baskets could be baked instead. (Can you tell I am sick of the smell of frying? Especially after Diwali!) You could make dough for a basic pastry crust, and bake it in a Petite Fluted Tartlet Pan or in these fluted dessert tartlet forms. What do you think? Would this be less time consuming and a tad healthier? I haven't tried this myself but you have certainly stirred my interest enough to do so!

When my sister went again to Adä with her family, the baskets were made from a flakier crust and she said that they tasted a lot better! So I guess we could look for a recipe for a flaky crust and bake that in these tartlets!

Anonymous said...

Hi M. My mother in law gave me the idea of putting the dough on the outside - I would have never thought of that myself! Funny you bring up baking - I just got back from India and although I loved every second of my trip, I am definitely fried-food out. On the plane ride over I was thinking (yes I think about food a lot - plus it was a long trip and I was bored!)of using the pepperidge farm pastry puff sheets in my moulds and then baking them. I think it would work. Will try it out and let you know what would definitely be easier than frying each mould! -Preeti

Anonymous said...

Preeti, your m-i-l is a genius!

If you are planning to use the Pepperidge Farm puff pastry then roll it out a little bit before using it else the mold will be filled with the crust. I should try it out, too. But before that I need to go buy some fluted tartlet forms. Let me know how it works out! I would love to try it out, too!