Tag Archives: Indian

Chai Pani in Asheville is a “Can’t Miss”

Chai Pani should be on your not-to-be-missed list when traveling to/by/through Asheville. It will be so worth it.

If you’re a regular reader, you know my kidlets love Indian food. So when an opportunity to be in the Asheville area presented itself, we planned dinner accordingly and made our way to Meherwan Irani’s much celebrated Indian street food restaurant. Think all the fun staples—chaat, bhel puri, pakoras…all shareable and fun. There are a few larger plates too, like the butter chicken. My kids were a bit disappointed not to see Chicken Tikka Masala on the menu but the Butter Chicken was a hit (it’s a close enough compromise). Chicken Tikka is a feature on the menu at times.

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Chai Pani is super cute and a bit retro inside. I’d say it’s on the small side but you don’t feel crammed at all.  We were there on a Monday and halfway through our meal, it was already filled up inside.  It’s been two months since our visit and now that the homeschool year is pretty much wrapped up, I finally have time to share some of the delights we enjoyed. Annnnnd that being said, I simply have no idea what the featured dish was that night as it changes often and my brain has no recollection other than I know it was wonderful. It may have been a vadouvan with a protein like lamb or goat, savory, aromatic, with a bit of a kick.

Green Mango Chaat

Green Mango Chaat

This wonderful chaat, considered a street food snack, was deliciously sweet and salty, cool and crisp and no wonder it’s the perfect snack because it has everything you want in something munchy.

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Aldo Tikki Chaat

Now heading to the more savory side, we really loved these crispy Indian potato fritters  “served on spiced garbanzo bean stew topped with tamarind & green chutneys, sweetened yogurt, and crunchy chickpea noodles (sev).” This was a warm, spicy appetizer that had all those aromatics and flavor you love in a classic Indian dish.

Kale Fritters

Kale Pakoras

Indian style savory kale fritters made with curried chickpea batter. Served with green chutney & sweet yogurt.  So unexpected, Chai Pani sent out these kale fritters that were A-MAZE-ING. Get them get them get them!  My mouth waters thinking about them. They’re like kale chips taken up 1000 notches. Super crunchy perfection.

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Butter Chicken Thali

I mean you just cannot go wrong with Butter Chicken. Marinated and seared Joyce Farms chicken in an aromatic tomato cream sauce with butter and jaggery. It’s described on the menu as a North Indian favorite and one of Chai Pani’s signature dishes. You might need two. We didn’t because of all of the above, lol.

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Vadouvan

While the Butter Chicken was mainly for the kiddos, this spicy dish was for Mr. foodie and myself. I will say that the rice at Chai Pani is perfection, but basmati done right usually is as traditionally it’s made in a large amount of water and drained off so that you get beautiful individual grains of rice. See them?

The dishes were just the perfect balance of savory and a touch of sweet with the appropriate tangy requirements from yogurt, citrus. You just can’t get any better.

The kitchen actually sent out a couple of desserts for us to try. My daughter really enjoyed the “mango ice cream sandwich” on a wafer cookie and I absolutely loved gulab jamun, which is deep fried dumplings made of milk, flour, butter and cream, soaked in cardamom & rose syrup. There’s just something about the texture of those little dumplings in the syrup. And they’re just the prettiest little things. If you’re a fan of Indian rice pudding, it’s also an option.

The Chai Pani restaurant group has locations in Atlanta and Decatur, GA and you may have also heard of Buxton Hall Barbecue, also in Asheville. Another can’t miss eatery if visiting the area. For cocktails, you’d love Asheville’s MG Road and now Irani, who must not be busy enough, has launched his own spice company, Spicewalla.

So if you’re traveling in Western NC and you see fit to make some time in Asheville. I just cannot recommend Chai Pani enough. Service is wonderful. Drinks are great. Food is incredible.  And even if you think you don’t like Indian food, Chai Pani may convert you with their fun, shareable plates.

Chai Pani
22 Battery Park Ave (58.67 mi)
Asheville, North Carolina 28801

 

 

 

Join us for triadfoodies Chef’s Table at Taaza Bistro this Wednesday!

Good golly it’s been a while since I posted. I will try to change that.

With homeschooling (OMG) and writing each week for YES! Weekly and the general responsibilities of life, I find it hard to stop and make myself post something. But I def wanted to let you know that we have a few more seats available at our monthly Chef’s Table coming up Wednesday in Greensboro at Taaza Fresh Indian Bistro.

What is Chef’s Table? It’s basically our way of getting you into a restaurant and in front of a chef for a VERY affordable price for a taste of what’s on the menu. It’s a way of letting the chef surprise us and it’s SUPER fun. We started in May 2016 and we’ve gone strong since then, some with sell-out crowds. There’s limited seating available and as I write this we have 5 seats remaining.

Here’s how it works. You click this link and it sends you to the Eventbrite site and there you purchase your tickets. You’ll enjoy a multi-course global meal… but I never know what’s going to be served. We’re all surprised. No menu…just delicious surprises…all from the creative noggin of the chef/culinary team or maybe something they are wanting to highlight from the menu. And sometimes it requires you to think out of the box, get out of your comfort zone. Most of the dishes are served family style, so if you don’t like chevre or kale or venison, then you can nibble and let the rest of your comrades enjoy.

About Taaza Fresh Indian Bistro….you can read the review I wrote about them in YES! Weekly.img_0485 It was amazing and the BEST Indian food I’ve ever had with excellent service.

I think you’ll love it. Join us by clicking the ticket link above!

I also have some exciting news to share but you’ll have to wait until the next post.

See ya later foodies!

Exploring Asia in the Triad

The entire triadfoodies clan has been hitting some bucket list spots lately here in the area. Most of them…well ALL of them…Asian. Did I mention the microfoodies, who surprise me with their annoying quirks about food, pretty much LOVE Asian cuisine? I mean, these kids turn me into a liar. One day, I say they don’t eat anything but grilled cheese and PBJ and then the next day they are scarfing down Tikka Masala like a champ. I mean, what the what??? And it doesn’t stop there. They like Vietnamese, Thai, Japanese, Chinese, Egyptian (??) and Moroccan (I know, NOT Asia). But it’s pretty much nuts since I can barely get them to eat a cheeseburger. It’s exhausting.

Due to being slack about consistent posts, I’ve now, ahem…compiled a lovely treasure chest of goodness that you definitely should check out in Winston-Salem and Greensboro. These are in no particular order except the first one. If I don’t list them first, my kidlets will tackle me and demand all my naan.

Nawab Indian Cuisine 129 South Stratford Rd, WS

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My first taste of from scratch Indian food was in my own home when I made a slow cooker Chicken Makhani (Indian Butter Chicken). The flavors were to die for and my children, God bless them, ate it like it was their last meal on earth. I even went all out and allowed them to eat with their fingers as we sat on the floor around our coffee table. Fun times, but I digress. At Nawab, you will eat at your standard table with standard utensils and the flavors there are authentic and delicious and as spicy as you want it. Go Indian hot for the full effect. You can’t go wrong with a delicious Tikka Masala with its slightly smoky, sweet and zesty flavor. Amazing. And we highly recommend getting Rogan Josh. They have various choices with seafood, lamb (which is what we ordered), goat, etc. You GOTTA get the naan bread. Everything is pretty much family style, so the 4 of us shared 2 entrees with plenty left over and clean plates even. Not so sure yet? Nawab has an amazing buffet that has everything from Mango Steak to Tikka Masala to Tandoori Chicken and plenty of veggie options too along with a salad. $12 for the all you can eat buffet. True bliss. It gets busy at lunch so if you get there at peak time, you may wait for your table but it goes pretty quickly. And the service is just impeccable as the owner makes her way to every table to make sure your experience is an enjoyable one.

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Another trip: Lunch Buffet

Cha Da Thai 420 Jonestown Rd, WS

Located in a shopping center on Jonestown Road (as well as a location in Boone) there’s a great selection of Thai specialties and favorites and pretty moderate prices. Food here is also served somewhat family style as most Thai places and it comes out piping hot with fresh vegetables cooked al dente. The boy kidlet even ate his fried spring roll. He was not aware there was cabbage in it so we won’t say anything. I ordered the crispy duck and mr. foodie ordered the Chicken Curry. He gets that nearly everywhere and he has a standard so if it’s delicious then that’s great news. Great spice in the broth that soaked up the rice and great tender chicken. We ordered the boy the chicken fried rice and helped him put a good dent in it. We had plenty left of that though and it was enough to make an entire family of four “leftovers” with some rotisserie chicken. Delicious day of and a few days later.

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Sushi Thai 826 South Stratford Rd, WS

At first glance, this little place in a former something else (maybe a steak place?) looks like you might just pass it by. But we say, do not! Delicious fresh Chicken Teriyaki for the kids, Chicken Curry for mr. (I told you) and it was chocked full of fresh veggies as you can see below and I ordered sushi. It was all really good and it came out in a timely manner with great service. It was pretty deserted but for 3-4  tables on a Sunday evening. Definitely check them out for a nice quiet meal that won’t cost a lot of $$.

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Thai Sawatdee (3 locations)

Thai Sawatdee has 3 locations,  but if you ask anybody in WS, they will probably tell you that their favorite Thai is actually the one that’s a walk up counter at the Harris Teeter on Cloverdale Avenue. Affectionately called Teeter Thai. But the new location on Robinhood may be able to give the walk-up a run for its money as there’s way more space to sit and enjoy dinner with your family. I can only speak of the Teeter location which did not disappoint with its Spicy Noodle and Pad Thai. I did think the Pad Thai was on the sweet side, my wide spicy noodles were great. And where else can you end your meal with a quick jaunt over to the dessert section at HT and buy some tiramisu? It’s definitely a perk. Plus you can order, then shop, then have Thai food. That’s pretty awesomely convenient. You ain’t hitting Teeter Thai for the ambiance, that’s for sure. I was just at the HT today to get some olives from the olive bar and I sure wish I’d gotten some spring rolls while I was at it.

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Wen Hwa Asian Fusion Cuisine 134 N Spruce Street, WS

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Speaking of ambiance, there’s just about nothing that compares to it Wen Hwa.  Its black and red interior definitely transport you to an exotic place. It’s pretty quiet and the general feel of it is really nice, yet casual. Cloth scroll menus that unroll…pretty cool! Service is terrific and we were checked on a number of times by the lovely owner. The General Tao’s chicken is slightly spicy and amazing, the Singapore Street Noodles are so yummy. Also worth a try is the Sesame Honey Chicken. AND the Chicken Wraps. As I type this I’m thinking it’s definitely time to go back. There’s an entree called Vietnamese Black Pepper Beef & Shrimp that has my taste buds wondering….
UPDATE: We did go back…for lunch…and though the above beef and shrimp dish was tempting, I simply couldn’t pass up the lunch special of General Chicken with Spring Roll for 5.95. It’s really the best General Tao chicken in the Triad bar none. So fresh and crispy and just-right spicy. By the way, I have a STACK of 10% off coupons so if you want one, holler!

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General Tao's Chicken $5.95 with Spring Roll

General Tao’s Chicken $5.95 with Spring Roll

Chef Samir Shaltout (pronounced Shal-toot) Egyptian Treasures 4212 W. Wendover Ave., GSO

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Egyptian and Mediterranean done right. With terrific service and maybe even a visit from the Chef himself. We decided to go for the Babaghanoush, Falafel, Chicken Shawerma and Lamb Kabobs. I really could eat food like this nearly every day. I love hummus, feta, rice, flat bread, all of it. All of the items we tried were freshly prepared and the restaurant itself has a nice Egyptian decor in spite of the fact that it’s in a shopping center that’s anchored by a Staples. For something truly unique, we highly recommend. Plus he has a catering truck! If it just opened on one side, Chef Shaltout would have one heck of a food truck option. I mean, people would flock, don’t you think?

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Chef Shaltout

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Mooney’s Mediterranean Cafe  101 W. 4th Street, WS

And by no means does being last on this list, mean anything at all except it’s a blend of Greek, Lebanese and other Mediterranean fare so it’s not all Asia all the time at Mooney’s. Mooney’s is definitely one of the more popular restaurants in downtown Winston-Salem at lunch. Sometimes it’s difficult to find a seat. At lunch, you walk up, order and take a number then get your food. At dinner, it’s table service. Of course the hummus and falafel are divine as is the babaghanouj. Here, I’ve also gotten the Shawarma and for lunch I ordered the Kafta with steak. This is a wonderful restaurant in which to just nosh, nosh, nosh.  Hummus, pita, dips, wraps, falafel…so good. Heck for the less adventurous people in your life, they even have burgers! And fries! Win win.

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Not pictured above and not to be missed: Phoenix Asian Cafe (1641 New Garden Road, GSO) has been open a few years and looks VERY similar to that large Pan Asian chain restaurant, but I swear it’s even better and the bonus is eating local. Plus, Phoenix has great sushi. My favorite items on the menu are the appetizer, Firecracker Shrimp, and the entree, Spicy Fish. Phoenix’s food comes out so hot that you will have to let it cool before you can enjoy it and that’s okay, right? Very similar in concept in Winston-Salem is Hakka Chow (615 St. George Square Ct) Also with pretty decent sushi and the Hakka Zen Shrimp (kind of like the aforementioned shrimp) and good Chicken Curry. This restaurant is brought to you by the restaurant family that owns Bernardin’s and Bleu so you know they don’t do things halfway. If you find yourself craving that big Chinese chain you find at upscale malls, drive the extra few minutes to the locally-owned version. You won’t be disappointed and you may save a few bucks.

That’s barely touching on all the amazing places to eat that represent such a vast continent. I’ve already talked about Winston’s Mizu and Greensboro’s Pho Hien Vuong and High Point’s Full Kee in separate posts (they’re that good…and…I had way more time on my hands to do separate posts :D). This compilation is  much more convenient for me and hopefully for you. Definitely let me know if you have a suggestion for a can’t miss spot for Asian cuisine in the Triad and beyond.

Until next time, foodies…eat local!