The Best Things to Do in Metro Phoenix This Week: March 7-13
The Best Things to Do in Metro Phoenix This Week: March 7-13
EXPAND All about NASCAR. Melissa Fossum The Best Things to Do in Metro Phoenix This Week Cara Pencak , Jason Keil , Lynn Trimble , Benjamin Leatherman | March 7, 2019 | 6:00am In need of plans? We’ve got you covered. This week, you can laugh until it hurts at This Week Sucks Tonight , explore the diversity of the desert at Arizona Animal Encounters, or get creative at Design Your Own Beer Can Pint Glass. For more things to do, visit Phoenix New Times ’ calendar .
Lit time. Jake Friedman Get Lit
There’s a fabulous first Thursdays tradition at Valley Bar inspired by 17th-century French salons devoted to philosophical discourse. It’s a Get Lit gathering presented by Four Chambers Press, with a different theme each time. Head to the Reading Room, located inside the Rose Room at Valley Bar, 130 North Central Avenue, if you want to join the conversation happening at 7 p.m. on Thursday, March 7. The free event, for ages 21 and up, is a casual foray into local literary culture. If you wax more poetic with cocktails, you’ll have to buy your own drinks. But there’s no charge for the lively exchange of ideas. Poet and ASU faculty member Rosemarie Dombrowski will be in the house. Arrive early to assure you get a seat. Visit valleybarphx.com . Lynn Trimble
This Week Sucks Tonight
This Week Sucks Tonight , hosted by Anwar Newton and Michael Turner, has been taking place on Thursday nights for two years. Credit the local comedians for putting on a great show week after week when most of their audience still has to get up for work Friday morning. The duo are moving their weekly news roundup to its new home at Stand Up Live and bringing Tony Tripoli, Derek McFarland, Zack Lyman, Ben Anderson, Luis Alvarez, and maybe a few drop-in guests to celebrate.
Continue Reading The laughs begin at 10:30 p.m. on Thursday, March 7, at 50 West Jefferson Street. This is a free event with no drink minimum For more information, visit thisweeksuckstonight.com . Jason Keil
International Women’s Day
If you are looking for a creative way to celebrate International Women’s Day, the Phoenix Art Museum is creating a special slate of events to highlight the work of female artists. Giovana Aviles, the Mexican-born visual artist known for her inspired fashion statements, will be giving a talk. There will also be a screening of the film Wadjda by Haifaa Al Mansour and a happy hour at Palette, the restaurant located inside the museum, from 3 to 6 p.m.
This event goes from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Friday, March 8, at 1625 North Central Avenue. Admission is $14 to $23. For more information, visit phxart.org . Jason Keil
EXPAND Just a couple’s day out at ISM Raceway. Melissa Fossum TicketGuardian 500 NASCAR Weekend
NASCAR fans of the Valley, get your motors running. The sport’s biggest drivers will cruise into the Valley starting on Friday, March 8, for three straight days of events at ISM Raceway, 7602 South Avondale Boulevard in Avondale, during this year’s TicketGuardian 500 NASCAR Weekend. Race car superstars like Kyle Busch, Kevin Harvick, and Kyle Larson will put the pedal to the metal and make left turns aplenty as they compete for their share of glory, prize money, and a better standing in the ongoing Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series.
Things get kicks off on Friday with the Gatorade Pole Day practice session, which starts at 4:15 p.m. and will feature all of weekend’s racers participating. NASCAR’s biggest up-and-comers will take over the track during the NASCAR Xfinity Series Race at 2 p.m. on Saturday, March 9. It all leads up to the TicketGuardian 500 at 12:30 p.m. on Sunday, March 10, which will offer 312 laps of hard-driving action. Tickets price vary for each race and a variety of fan activities will be offered throughout the weekend. Call 866-408-7223 or visit ismraceway.com for tickets and more info. Benjmain Leatherman
EXPAND A night of thrills. Phoenix New Times Chandler Ostrich Festival
The 31st annual Chandler Ostrich Festival is a three-day celebration of the suburb’s relationship with the flightless bird. This year, it will be all about Apple Bottom Jeans and boots with the fur, because Flo Rida is bringing his Miami flow to the east Valley on Friday, March 8. Soul legends The Commodores and singer-songwriter Andy Grammer round out the rest of the weekend’s lineup. If getting low at Tumbleweed Park isn’t your thing, bring your family for the pony rides, pig races, and the ostrich exhibit.
The fun goes from 2 p.m. to midnight on Friday, March 8, at 2250 South McQueen Road in Chandler and continues through Sunday, March 10. Tickets are $8 to $65. For more information, visit ostrichfestival.com . Jason Keil
EXPAND Somebody’s watching you. Lynn Trimble “Welcome to Night Vale: A Spy in the Desert”
Ever spotted a cactus cam while driving through Paradise Valley? Turns out, there really are spies in the desert. And storytellers for the Welcome to Night Vale podcast decided they’d make a fabulous theme for a world tour. “ Welcome to Night Vale : A Spy in the Desert” comes to The Van Buren, 401 West Van Buren Street, at 8 p.m. on Friday, March 8. The tour features a new story about a surreal desert town filled with secrets, and every performance incorporates the audience into the tale somehow. You’ll never hear it on the podcast, by the way: This particular bit of fiction is only for tour attendees (who need to be at least 13 years old). Tickets are $32.50. Visit thevanburenphx.com . Lynn Trimble
Enjoy a cold one at Wizards and Witches Beer Festival. Modern Which-Craft Wizards and Witches Beer Festival
Initially, the Wizards and Witches Beer Festival was described as an event inspired by a certain fictional character known for his work with wands. It’s unclear if the dark lords of copyright came down to transfigure the name of this party, but the organizers decided to cast a name-changing charm just in case. There will be plenty of photo opportunities, cosplay, food, and Adult Butterbeer, of course.
Drink up from 6:30 to 10 p.m. on Saturday, March 9, at the Monarch Theatre, 122 East Washington Street. Tickets are $35 and will only be sold to those of legal drinking age. For more information, visit rockstarbeer.com . Jason Keil
EXPAND Add some aloha to your life. Arizona Aloha Festival Arizona Aloha Festival
Escape to the islands, as the free two-day Arizona Aloha Festival comes to Tempe Beach Park, 80 West Rio Salado Parkway. The festival opens on Saturday, March 9, with a rich lineup of music, dance, art, and cuisine. Learn to make a tiki, lei, or rattle. Watch traditional and contemporary hula dance. Try food offerings from poke to potstickers. Saturday hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. There’s also a 7 to 9 p.m. seminar on tattoos in Polynesian culture happening at the Phoenix Indian School Visitor Center, 300 East Indian School Road (admission is $10). Visit azalohafest.org . Lynn Trimble
EXPAND Don’t ruffle these feathers. Rio Salado Audubon Center Arizona Animal Encounters
Social media seems to favor puppies and kittens, but there’s a lot more diversity in the desert, and it’s especially intriguing when you can explore it up close. You’ve got plenty of opportunities over at the Rio Salado Audubon Center, 3131 South Central Avenue. The center has a family program called Arizona Animal Encounters, which features wildlife ambassadors sharing desert creatures, and talking a bit about the animals’ habits and habitats. Liberty Habitat will be showing birds of prey from 11 a.m. to noon on Saturday, March 9. If you’re an early riser, head over at 8 a.m. for a Saturday Morning Bird Walk. Both events are free. Visit riosalado.audubon.org . Lynn Trimble
EXPAND Celebrating Two Spirit people. Clayton Karas Photography Arizona Two Spirit Powwow
The inaugural Arizona Two Spirit Powwow is happening from noon to 5 p.m. on Saturday, March 9, at the South Mountain Community College Performing Arts Center Amphitheater, 7050 South 24th Street. The free event, which is open to the public, is being presented by Native Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG). It’s a gathering of Native LGBTQ/ Two Spirit people from 22 tribes, for celebration, ceremony, and conversation. The powwow will feature traditional performances such as singing and dancing, storytelling, arts and crafts, lectures, panel discussions, and a photography exhibit — as well as a Native market and food. Organizers hope the event will help to foster diversity, inclusion, and healing. All powwow dancers and drums are welcome. Visit aztwospiritpowwow.com . Lynn Trimble
EXPAND Celebrating Persian New Year. Persian New Year Festival Persian New Year Festival
The Persian New Year Festival happens on Saturday, March 9, along the Scottsdale Waterfront, 7135 East Camelback Road. Head over between 11 a.m. and 6 p.m. to enjoy a free celebration of Persian culture, featuring food and drink, crafts by local artisans, children’s activities, music, and dance performance. The event is organized by the Iranian American Society of Arizona, which fosters appreciation for Iranian culture, language, history, and heritage through education, food, cultural activities, and community events. Persian New Year is celebrated not only in Iran, but also other countries in the Middle East and Central Asia. The festival is a fun way to learn more about Persian culture and traditions. Visit persiannewyearfestival.com . Lynn Trimble
Springtime in the Valley means music festivals aplenty — and there’s practically one for every taste imaginable. Fans of down-home sounds of the 12-bar, Delta, or boogie-woogie variety, for instance, will flock to Margaret T. Hance Park, 1134 North Central Avenue, on Saturday, March 9, for the annual Blues Blast, a daylong celebration of the genre that’s put on by the Phoenix Blues Society.
This year’s edition will feature sets from such local and touring acts as The Paladins, The 44s, Chuck Hall, Georege Bowman, Cadillac Assembly Line, and Joe Kopicki. The Guitars4Vets Band will also provide a special performance. Art activities and displays, merchandise vendors, and local food trucks will also be a part of the event. Gates open at 10 a.m., the music starts at 11 a.m. and goes until 7 p.m. Tickets are $25. See phoenixblues.org for more information. Benjamin Leatherman
EXPAND Catty behavior. CatVideoFest CatVideoFest
Disney claims the studio is releasing a “live-action” remake of The Lion King this year, but we all know Simba and his friends will be CGI. If you want to see real kitties on the big screen, head over to CatVideoFest, a family-friendly compilation of animation, music videos, and home movies from all around the world featuring furry felines being funny, mischievous, or just plain purrr – fect . Proceeds from the event will benefit Cat Cavorting, an organization that helps communities manage outdoor cat colonies.
The screenings begin at 12:30 p.m. and 2:15 p.m. on Sunday, March 10, at FilmBar, 815 North Second Street. Tickets are $12. For more information, visit thefilmbarphx.com . Jason Keil
EXPAND Tennis time. Arizona Tennis Classic Arizona Tennis Classic
The ball is in your court, whether you’re a tennis novice or practically a pro. Head to Phoenix Country Club, 2901 North Seventh Street, if you want to check out the inaugural Arizona Tennis Classic that starts on Monday, March 11. Organized by the Association of Tennis Professionals, the event is designed to help find and foster emerging tennis talents who can move the sport forward. The tournament, which continues through Sunday, March 17, includes a 48-player singles draw and a 16-team doubles draw. Monday’s tournament play starts at 10 a.m. Evening matches are scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Weekday tickets are $20, and the event benefits Phoenix Children’s Hospital. Visit arizonatennisclassic.com . Lynn Trimble
Design Your Own Beer Can Pint Glass
It’s been said a pint of beer can help you tap into your creative side, so why not fire up your imagination even more with the glass that holds your suds? At Design Your Own Beer Can Pint Glass, you can choose a design for your chalice that speaks to you. Are you feeling bold? Then sketch out your own drawing on a dishwasher-safe piece of can-shaped glassware. You’ll be sure to impress your friends at your next beer tasting.
Raise your glass from 6 to 9 p.m. on Monday, March 11, at Social Hall, 715 South McClintock Drive in Tempe. Tickets are $20, which includes all the materials to create your glass, some craft beer to put in it, and light snacks. For more information, visit modernwhichcraft.com . Jason Keil
EXPAND Quarteto Nuevo. Steve Steinhardt Quarteto Nuevo
You might have heard Jacob Szeley playing cello for Battlestar Galactica or The Walking Dead , or seen him perform with Mary J. Blige or Avril Lavigne. Now, you can witness him in concert, as part of a group called Quarteto Nuevo. They’re performing at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, March 12, at ASU Kerr Cultural Center, 6110 North Scottsdale Road, Scottsdale. They’ve drawn high praise from the folks who pick Kerr’s lineup: “We booked Quartet Nuevo because the group has marvelously diverse members and they pull so many wonderful influences into their sound.” Basically, they blend centuries-old rhythms with modern grooves. Tickets start at $25. Visit asuevents.asu.edu . Lynn Trimble
For this month’s ASU Film School selection at the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema’s Tempe location, Professor Jason Scott will discuss Easy Rider ’s influence on cinema 50 years later. Starring Peter Fonda and a young Jack Nicholson and filmed throughout Arizona, the movie explored how an entire generation raised on rock and LSD went looking for freedom and never found it. Best known for its explosive soundtrack, director Dennis Hopper’s modern take on the Western ushered in an era of independent film.
Chavi Rajawat – a woman of substance …
Two months back I was in Jaipur for a conference with my fellow speaker RJ Divya of Radio city , radio channel. Divya wanted to interview a lady sarpanch and keep mentioning about her work and dedication that I was intrigued with her narration and stories . She insisted me to meet her and I was like Neki aur pooch pooch.
Before meeting her Divya was trying hard to fix an appointment and always murmur ” she is in her village soda and very busy” . ” Her phone is not connecting as she is in interior of the village”
With her murmuring I was imagining a lady with traditional rajasthani costume with husky voice . I really dnt know what made me even imagine the voice too. Anyway finally she managed to fix an appointment with Chavi Ranawat who is known as the youngest sarpanch in India . We went to hotel ” Kailrugg i” to meet her . In the heart of the noisy city I found a peculiar calmness as soon we stepped into the hotel. I was informed that all the cooks working in the hotel kitchen are women from Soda village and most of the ingredients used are also from her village . When we reached I saw a beautiful young girl in her mid 30s wearing blue denims and light blue kurta with a dupatta around her neck. She was Chavi Ranawat who welcomed us and made us comfortable . I was speechless for few seconds . I found her very humble and warm . Graduated from Lady Shriram college in Delhi and topped her MBA in Indian Institute of Modern Management , Pune and later at London school of economics , she gave up her plum job abroad and decided to serve the underprivileged of her ancestral village ” Soda ” , Rajasthan.
I found her a true example of beauty with brain. Soda is 60 km away from Jaipur with a population of 7000 , had been officially declared as most backward area by the govt . As soon as she got elected as sarpanch she has laid down her priorities to sanitation, forestation, self employment for women , adult education and vocational training. Being a foodie I was also keen to know about her hotel Kailruggi . She told me because of lack of sufficient funds , she devotes some of her time in her family run hotel to support her projects . Named with her parent”s names Kailruggi is a beautiful hotel with 24 rooms and a cafe with Indian and International cuisines . Most of the ingredients are local and grown in the fields of her village Soda . She has engaged her village women in her kitchen giving them employment . It is a vegetarian cafe where you will not miss nonveg atall.
Life of this sarpanch is not easy as she had been attacked physically in the past . But her dedication to serve her people hasn’t moved her away. After a certain period we all look for a break and holiday to travel around , but this beautiful young sarpanch never travels for her holiday . Or you can say there is no holiday for her . She is a dynamic and determined personality who is not attracted to any plush holidays or entertainment . She has recently adopted a girl’s school in her village which is in bad shape with lack of funds. I am so fortunate that she could spare some time for us . We exchanged our cuisines, food thoughts and discussed alot about food of our regions and convinced her to visit Northeast with me .
I am dedicating this year’s women’s day to Sarpanch Chavi Ranawat , the youngest sarpanch in India as the world knows her like that .
I also want to thank RJ Divya Vasudeva to introduce me to Chavi .
Verve Weekend Guide
March 07, 2019 Verve Weekend Guide
From a legendary Spanish band’s first performance in India to a Nikkei cuisine special, Verve gives you the lowdown on the events that should be on your radar this weekend.
ART Nandan Purkayastha, Song of Childhood Nandan Purkayastha, Song of Childhood
The first in a series of exhibitions to celebrate Art Musings’ 20th anniversary, The Castle of Crossed Destinies, curated by Ranjit Hoskote, includes works in diverse media by artists Ajay Dhandre, Baiju Parthan, Chittrovanu Mazumdar and Nandan Purkayastha. Their artworks find a common theme in their pursuit to understand what it means to be human, animal or machine, and “to belong to several species or categories of being at the same time”. From multimedia works to sculptures, the artists’ creations are both evocative and intriguing. The Castle of Crossed Destinies is on display at Art Musings (Admiralty Building, Colaba Cross Lane), Mumbai until April 27.
Simat kar kis liye nuqta nahīn bantī zamīn, Delhi
In this solo show that gets its name from one of Urdu poet Meeraji’s verses, artist Meher Afroz Wahid explores questions of personal, cultural and spiritual transitions, inspired by her own journeys and discoveries. Featuring artworks that include sculptures, installations, photography and video art, Wahid’s show “encircles culture, its impacts and its boundaries” and her explorations of these themes. Simat kar kis liye nuqta nahīn bantī zamīn is on display at Threshold Art Gallery (C 221 Sarvodaya Enclave), New Delhi until March 27.
Nikkei Cuisine Menu at Yuuka, Mumbai
Known for its unique spin on Japanese food, Yuuka at the St Regis Mumbai brings to patrons an exciting new menu of Nikkei cuisine. A mix of Japanese and Peruvian flavours — as the cuisine was created by the Japanese diaspora of South America — these Nikkei dishes are a mix of East Asian and South American flavours, giving the delicacies an interesting twist. Sample the Tiradito — a combination of Peruvian ceviche and Japanese sashimi — as well as other creations like the ceviche maki, anticichos, Nikkei- style rolls, and more. The Nikkei Cuisine Menu is on offer at Yuuka ( Level 37, The St. Regis Mumbai, 462, Tulsi Pipe Road, Lower Parel) Mumbai until March 20. Timings 12pm-3pm and 7pm-12am.
New Menu at Shang Palace, Shangri-La, New Delhi Mud crab deep fried with Pixan chilli Mud crab deep fried with Pixan chilli
Shangri La’s celebrated Chinese restaurant that has been satiating patrons’ appetites for several decades, Shang Palace in New Delhi is out with a new menu that features the best kitchen creations by its three speciality chefs. Chef Ye Haijun, who whips up dimsum platters, Chef Kong Fanyi, Chinese barbeque expert and Chef Fulei, proficient with the wok, have each added a new twist to the fine-dining space’s menu. Try the best of Chinese created by these masters, including the sizzling water chestnut and mushroom XO dumpling, lamb pot sticker, crispy roasted duck with beluga caviar, honey-glazed barbeque Iberico pork, bamboo shoot and mustard greens, and the signature sizzling lobster mapo tofu. A feast for the soul indeed! The new menu is now available at Shang Palace (Lobby Level, Shangri-La’s – Eros Hotel, 19 Ashoka Road, Connaught Place), New Delhi. Timings 12.30pm-2.45pm and 7pm-11:45pm.
MUSIC & THEATRE The Gipsy Kings The Gipsy Kings
If you don’t live under a rock, you’ve definitely grooved to the beats of Volare at least once in your life. The musicians behind this superhit number and many more tunes, the Gipsy Kings are performing in India for the very first time. The legendary band, that comprises two sets of brothers, will play their songs including Rumba Gypsy and Bamboleo to take fans back to the late ’80s and celebrate the best of Andalusian Spanish music. The Gipsy Kings will be performing at Tata Theatre (National Centre for the Performing Arts, NCPA Marg, Nariman Point), Mumbai on March 9 at 7pm.
Avial – Live at Skydeck, Bengaluru
An Indian alt-rock band, Avial is known for their twist on Malayalam folklore and lyrics. Consisting of Tony John on vocals, Rex Vijayan on guitars and synth, Binny Isaac on bass, and Mithun Puthanveetil on drums, Avial will be playing their hit songs including Nada nada and Chekele. Avial will be performing at Skydeck (VR Bengaluru Mall, 40/9 Devasandra Industrial Estate, Krishnarajapuram), Bengaluru on March 9 at 8pm.
Inside The Private Dining Rooms At Three Manhattan Restaurants
Whether you’re planning a corporate event, a private party or want an intimate dinner for two, these three Manhattan-based restaurants offer private dining rooms. The eateries’ private dining rooms cater to various needs, such as supplying full audio and visual capabilities for presentations or providing diners with a phone that has a direct, personal line to contact the bartender about requesting more libations. All three restaurants require a reservation to dine in the private rooms, so be sure to plan if considering hosting a future private event.
The Bar Room at Nerai. Courtesy of Nerai. Nerai
The Midtown Manhattan eatery serves an elevated take on traditional Greek cuisine with Greek wines and hand-crafted cocktails to accompany the dishes. Enjoy dining in the serene main dining room, or head downstairs to Cava Nerai—the restaurant’s new private dining room set in a wine cellar. Cava Nerai is comprised of two parts: a Wine Library that can accommodate up to 10 people and a Bar Room that can seat 20 people or accommodate a cocktail party for 45 guests. The Wine Library boasts a sophisticated decor comprised of wine cabinets and dark wood paneling. Upstairs, guests will find an airy atmosphere in the indoor garden that features a 15-foot olive tree. “We created Cava Nerai to provide our guests with two distinctly unique private dining rooms,” says Nerai owner Spiro Menegatos. “Our private dining rooms are priced competitively, the rooms are beautiful, have full audio/visual capabilities and the food is excellent.”
55 East 54 th Street
New York, NY 10022
The Pink Lady Room at Bell Book & Candle. Courtesy of Bell, Book & Candle. Bell Book & Candle
Bell Book & Candle
Featuring a sustainable and organic menu, the West Village’s Bell Book & Candle serves seasonal dishes mainly influenced by the production of the restaurant’s Aeroponic Rooftop garden. Guests can dine in the rustic sleek main dining room, or enjoy an exclusive experience in one of the restaurant’s two distinct private dining rooms. “The chef’s table is great for groups of 10 since it puts you right in the heart of the kitchen, so you can watch all of the magic happen,” says Bell Book & Candle owner Mick O’Sullivan. Guests seeking something more intimate can dine in the Pink Lady Room, which gets its name from the room’s unique and whimsical wallpaper. “For something a bit more romantic, we have a secret dining room for two hidden behind the front bar, equipped with an old school phone giving you a direct line to the bartender if you need more cocktails or champagne,” O’Sullivan adds.
141 West 10th Street
New York, NY 10014
The private dining room at Utsav. Courtesy of Utsav. Utsav
Located only a block away from Times Square, Utsav serves authentic Indian cuisine and offers both an à la carte and prix fixe menu. The rich and delicious butter chicken can be accompanied by any of the restaurant’s creative cocktails. For those looking to host private lunch or dinner events, the establishment’s private dining room adorned with a sleek and elegant lighting fixture can seat up to 25 people. “Utsav’s private dining room boasts floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking our Plaza, which allows guests to feel like they’re dining in the center of the universe,” says owner Nandita Khanna. “We brought in deep purple design elements to create an Oasis in Times Square for our diners.”
1185 Avenue of the Americas
New York, NY 10036
Ever Tried Chocolate Pav Or Noodles Vada Pav? Head To Vada Pav Junction To Savour The Delights
Ever Tried Chocolate Pav Or Noodles Vada Pav? Head To Vada Pav Junction To Savour The Delights Ever Tried Chocolate Pav Or Noodles Vada Pav? Head To Vada Pav Junction To Savour The Delights Deeksha Sarin | Updated: March 07, 2019 16:05 IST Tweeter
Delhi is a treasure trove of good eating joints. From desi Indian cuisine to global cuisines, there is no dearth of cafes and restaurants in the city that are offering delectable variety of dishes. However, if you are someone who has a desi palate and loves to gorge on regional delights, then Delhi would seem to you like a paradise. If you happen to have a special liking for Maharashtrian food, especially vada pav, then we’re here to help. Vada pav is one delectable street food item that is loved by people across the country. Not only is it immensely appetising because of its bursting flavours, but its appearance is quite pleasing to the eyes as well. To satiate your vada pav cravings, Vadapav Junction & More is here.Located in three locations in Delhi – Vikaspuri, East of Kailash and Green Park, Vadapav Junction & More is serving umpteen varieties of vada pavs. From savouries to sweet, they have it all. You think of a probable combination that could go well in the form of a vada pav, and they would have it. If you wish to stick to basics, then you can opt for their classic vada pav. Stuffed with a potato-filled vada, the vada pavs here are prepared using fresh pav bread that complements well with the flavours of the vada stuffing. The addition of garlic and coriander chutney in the vada pav is what takes the flavour game to the next level.
‘Top Chef’’s Kenny Gilbert leading Florida Blue makeover
News & Trends > Business & Industry ‘Top Chef’’s Kenny Gilbert leading Florida Blue makeover New management and menus tied to local tastes are bringing a fresh look to the health insurer’s cafes. Megan Rowe | Mar 07, 2019
When GuideWell awarded its foodservice contract to FLIK Hospitality Group last fall, the switch set in motion a few changes for cafes at the company’s Florida Blue division, headquartered in Jacksonville, Fla. The new management company floated a number of ideas to modernize the insurer’s employee cafes, including a guest restaurant program.
Damian Monticello, Florida Blue’s senior director of hospitality services, suggested local restaurateur and “Top Chef” alumnus Kenny Gilbert as a natural fit for a guest restaurant appearance. His eateries, Gilbert’s Underground Kitchen and Gilbert’s Social, already had a loyal following, and Monticello and Gilbert had stayed in touch over the years after working together at Ritz Carlton.
“Our initial meeting with FLIK led to additional conversations around Kenny’s approach to food, what we were trying to do for our employees and FLIK’s approach to food,” Monticello says. “And we quickly realized there was something more substantial there.” So, instead of a guest restaurant appearance, FLIK brought Gilbert on as executive chef for the GuideWell account.
FLIK’s food-first culture, celebrating natural ingredients and seasonality, and Gilbert’s understanding of the local tastes dovetailed with GuideWell’s goals. “As a company, we want people to achieve better health, and those people include our employees,” Monticello says. “We also want to make sure the foodservice we’re putting forward is something that speaks to them. Kenny is in tune with what the local population is looking for here and in Miami as well as many of our other locations.”
FLIK’s plan for Florida Blue involved whole ingredients, scratch-made soups and stocks, fresh produce and a focus on wellness. Gilbert added the local flair. “We researched the demographics of the employees and came up with a cycle of different menus every day linked to that,” Gilbert says. The result is a concept called Café Fresh, envisioned as a food hall-style eatery with something for a wide variety of tastes.
Each weekday spotlights a different ethnic theme—Indian, Italian, Asian, Latin and Caribbean—linked to the makeup of the 7,000-strong workforce at Florida Blue’s Jacksonville headquarters. On Indian day, the hot bar presents curries, healthy grains other Indian specialties, while other stations feature the standard daily menu alongside items like a curried chicken wrap with mango chutney or a grilled chicken breast with tandoori marinade. Regular stations serving Italian specialties and wings, a grille, a griddle and a huge salad bar were built into the facility as well. Additional Café Fresh locations under development in a different building on the Jacksonville campus and at other GuideWell and Florida Blue sites will offer menus reflecting local food trends and preferences.
To kick off the new direction and introduce Gilbert at Florida Blue headquarters, FLIK organized a weeklong outdoor barbecue. FLIK had already scheduled a smoked food truck for the site, so Gilbert simply took advantage of the smoker to finish off his brand of barbecue.
“We wanted to take advantage of his notoriety in the community and beyond from his television appearances,” Monticello (above) says. “It also helped people understand the investment we were making.”
Following that, a team from one of Gilbert’s restaurants started a regular, three-day-a-week gig at the café, serving barbecued brisket, pulled pork, turkey and rotating Southern-style sides at one of the stations.
Reception to the new global approach has been warm; café traffic has picked up in the short time it has been in place. Gilbert plans to rotate in new cuisines on a regular basis to keep selections fresh. Indian day will probably stick, thanks to demand from a large contingent of Indian staff members, but themes like Moroccan or Mediterranean are on the horizon. “Being able to showcase that we identify with the community is smart. But at the same time, we have to switch it out,” he notes.
More guest restaurants are planned as well, with local chefs doing popups at one of the Café Fresh stations one or two days a week. “We’re leaning on Kenny’s network of other chefs in the area who would be interested in having a station here once our second café opens,” Monticello says. Florida Blue has hosted a mix of local operators and national chains as guest restaurants already, but the focus now will be strictly local in an effort to support area businesses. Bringing in outside providers helps keep employees on site at lunchtime, but it’s also good citizenship. “It’s a way to feed our employees and gives the restaurants an opportunity to showcase their menus,” he adds.
The top 5 new halal restaurants in Toronto
New halal restaurants in Toronto comprise a lot of fast food favourites, but it doesn’t stop there. These recently opened restaurants also give those with a halal diet options for Indian street food, Montreal smoked meat, and much more.
Here are my picks for the top new halal restaurants in Toronto.
Chaska Not only are all meats halal at the new Chaska Express location of this Indian street food brand in the Atrium on Bay, all chicken is free run and all lamb is grass fed.
SumiLicious Smoked meat and Portuguese-style chicken sandwiches are totally halal at this Scarborough deli, so those on a halal diet can get a worry-free taste of Montreal.
Scotty Bons Named for the scotch bonnet pepper that’s ubiquitous in island cuisine, you can build your own roti, rice bowls or poutine at this restaurant near Eglinton and Warden that specializes in halal scratch cooking.
Jessy’s Pizza Not only can you find elusive Halifax donair at this Roncesvalles Village pizza joint, you can also get it on a pizza and it’s totally halal.
Burgers n’ Fries Forever This newcomer blasted onto the halal scene with outrageous burgers and poutines at their first Toronto location, right on Ossington.
Spicy Vegan Gluten-free Protein-packed Snack
Spicy Vegan Gluten-free Protein-packed Snack
If you would like a healthy vegan, gluten-free, spicy snack that will help you ward off the munchies as well as dead working, try Saffron Street Crunchy Chickpeas. They include three flavors, in increasing amounts of hot: falafel, Bombay spruce, and wasabi. As you will imagine, you cannot inhale these individuals as quickly and thoughtlessly as you possibly can a big bag involving chipsvegan, gluten-free, and fun as chips could possibly be.
The snack in your accompanying photo is this delicious Saffron Road Wasabi Crunchy Chickpeas, that had been recently on sale on Whole Foods. Even in the event you could somehow manage to down the whole 6-ounce bag in one particular sitting, you would have consumed a huge 36 grams of protein in support of 720 calories. Try that feat which has a 6-ounce bag of snacks.
These spicy crunchy chickpeas also provide benefits for everybodywho is snacking on them while concentrating on a project at, suggest, your computer. If the project is definitely detailed and requires your better efforts at concentration (like the actual manuscripts for various HIPAA acquiescence books and CDs that an vegan is editing and even formatting for publication at Veterans Press through Overland Park), these chickpeas will surely keep you awake not to mention focused. Two warnings: to start with, make sure that you could have lots of water practical; second, make sure you have tissues handy. You may need the tissues once you begin tearing up andcontain trouble deciphering what is using your laptop screen. Youmay also desire the tissues because that wasabi can certainly help cleanout your sinuses (which your own vegan finds helpful with Kansas in July).
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Spice(s) of life: The world inside your pantry
ADVERTISEMENT Spice(s) of life: The world inside your pantry The spices to have on hand to cook a variety of cuisines from around the globe by Kelly Brant | Today at 1:49 a.m. 0 comments Cinnamon sticks, dried chiles, coriander seed, cumin seed, ground chile and oregano are common spices used in Latin American cooking. – Photo by John Sykes Jr.
This is the first in a two-part series about spices and global cuisines. Next week will feature recipes using these spice blends.
Writing a story about culinary spices is a bit like opening Pandora’s box. Spices have played an integral role in human history — the good parts and the horrific parts. It is not my intention to belittle or dismiss the ramifications of the spice trade on vast populations around the globe, but that’s a topic for another day.
There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to stocking a spice rack. But depending on the types of cuisines you like to cook, there are some key spices to have on hand. How serious you are about authenticity and how far you want to delve into any particular cuisine will dictate the specific spices you keep.
The following information is for those stocking kitchens for the first time, or who have a fledgling interest in a particular cuisine.
I read somewhere that Americans really want Japanese-ish food, and I think the same could be said of many home cooks’ approach to most global cuisines. We want flavors that are the hallmarks of the cuisine but appeal to American palates. In other words, most home cooks aren’t looking for authenticity. They’re looking to cook food they enjoy eating that is inspired by foods from around the world.
And that’s pretty much my approach for the following — this list it is not definitive and it is not comprehensive. ESSENTIALS
Technically, spices are made from the dried seeds, bark, berries, buds and roots of plants. Herbs are the leaves — fresh and dried. But for practical purposes, this story will consider dried herbs to be spices.
Allspice : Used in Mexican, Caribbean, American, Turkish, Polish, Scandinavian, North African, East African, West African cuisines, among others.
Bay leaf : Most commonly found in Indian, American, French, Mexican, Middle Eastern recipes. Cardamom
Cardamom : This fragrant spice is native to India and Sri Lanka. It is used throughout the world, but most commonly in Indian, Malaysian, Middle Eastern and Scandinavian cuisines.
Chile : Assorted peppers in varying levels of heat, from none to fiery, can be found in cuisines across the globe. Mexican, Indian, Thai, Chinese, Turkish, Hungarian, North African, East African, West African, Korean, Caribbean and Spanish cuisines are known in particular for their use of peppers.
Cinnamon : A hallmark flavor in many European baked goods, cinnamon is also commonly used in savory dishes around the world. It is a must-have in many Mexican, Cuban, Brazilian, Indian, Middle Eastern, Turkish, Armenian and Malaysian recipes. Whole cloves
Cloves : This pungent spice is commonly used in European and American baked goods, barbecue sauce, Indian, Chinese, East African, Brazilian, Malaysian and Middle Eastern recipes.
Coriander : Every cuisine that uses fresh cilantro — Indian, Mexican, Thai, Chinese to name a few — uses coriander seeds. Coriander seeds are used in where the leaves (cilantro) are not commonly used.
Cumin : The flavor of these tiny seeds is transformed by toasting, giving cumin a different flavor profile in Indian food than in Mexican food. Cumin’s an essential ingredient in everything from the American Southwest’s chili seasoning and Bengali Panch Phoron to biryani and Egyptian dukkah.
Fennel : Ground or whole, these seeds are commonly used in Indian, Italian, German, French, Bengali, American, Brazilian, Malaysian, Mediterranean, Egyptian and Chinese recipes.
Oregano : Technically an herb, varieties of dried oregano (including marjoram, Mexican oregano, Greek oregano and Sonoran oregano) are commonly used in Mexican, Argentine, Chilean, Cuban, Italian, Mediterranean and Turkish cuisine. Note that not all dried herbs labeled oregano are true oregano. Sonoran oregano is actually a member of the verbena family.
Paprika : A type of chile, paprika refers to specific varieties of Spanish and Hungarian peppers. It can be sweet or hot, and smoked or unsmoked. It is used in most European, Middle Eastern, Mediterranean and Central and South American cuisines. Turmeric
Turmeric : This vibrant yellow root is most commonly used in Indian, Asian and Moroccan recipes. It is what gives yellow mustard its signature hue. VERSATILE EXTRAS
Anise seed : These tiny seeds, not to be confused with star anise, are native to the Middle East. They impart a licoricelike flavor and are commonly used in Mediterranean, Middle Eastern, German and Scandinavian recipes.
Caraway : This seed is a pantry-must for anyone interested in German, Eastern European or North African cuisine. Star anise, saffron and a cinnamon stick
Saffron : As one of the world’s most expensive spices, saffron is used often but sparingly in many Indian, Middle Eastern and Spanish recipes.
Sesame seed : Mediterranean, Middle Eastern, Mexican, Chinese, Indian and Japanese cuisines make use of sesame seeds. They are also popular in American and European baked goods.
Star anise : This star-shaped fruit is indigenous to China and North Vietnam. It is commonly used in Chinese, Vietnamese and Indian recipes.
Sumac : This tart-sour spice is common in Middle Eastern cuisine, especially Syrian, Israeli, Turkish, Palestinian and Jordanian.
Thyme : This herb, which includes many species with slightly different flavors, originated in the Mediterranean. It is commonly used in Greek, Italian, French and Middle Eastern recipes.
Sources: The Spice and Herb Bible by Ian Hemphill; East/West: A Culinary Journey Through Malta, Lebanon, Iran, Turkey, Morocco and Andalusia by Shane Delia; Madhur Jaffrey’s Quick and Easy Indian Cooking ; Modern Spice by Monica Bhide; Our Syria by Itab Azzam and Dina Mousawi; Mr. Todiwala’s Spice Box by Cyrus Todiwala; The Malaysian Kitchen by Christina Arokiasamy; Classic Turkish Cooking by Ghillie Basan; Under the Shade of Olive Trees by Nadia Zerouali and Merijn Tol; Gran Cocina Latina by Maricel E. Presilla; and Polska by Zusa Zak A basic Indian spice box includes (clockwise from top) cumin seeds, whole cloves, green cardamom pods, turmeric, fenugreek seeds, black mustard seeds and Indian red chile as well as star anise, saffron and cinnamon (center). Photo by John Sykes Jr.
Indian cuisine’s spice rack, or box in many cases, is quite possibly the most complex. Spices vary by region and from cook to cook. Flip through half a dozen Indian cookbooks and you’ll find half a dozen different lists of essential spices for cooking Indian food at home.
According to Kumar and Suba Mahadevan, authors of From India: Over 100 Recipes to Celebrate Food, Family and Tradition, “all Indian households would use garam masala, but the ingredients differ according to recipe requirements and personal choice.”
A typical garam masala might include cinnamon, cloves, cardamom, black peppercorn and cumin.
There are some really good brands of garam masala available, but none can surpass the flavor of homemade. Plus, by making your own, you can tweak the amounts to make it your own. Garam Masala
6 to 8 cardamom pods
1 (3-inch) cinnamon stick
5 to 6 whole cloves
1 tablespoon cumin seed
1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
Heat oven to 260 degrees.
Lightly crush the cardamom pods. Remove seeds; discard pods (or save pods for another use, such as steeping in tea or flavoring sugar as you would do with a spent vanilla bean).
Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil or parchment paper. Scatter cardamom seeds, cinnamon stick, cloves, cumin, coriander and black peppercorns in pan. Roast 10 to 12 minutes; turn oven off and let spices cool in the oven as it cools. Transfer spices to a spice grinder or, using a mortar and pestle (using the parchment or foil as a funnel is helpful here), grind spices to a powder. Transfer to a small, airtight jar until ready to use.
Makes about ⅓ cup.
Recipe adapted from Mr. Todiwala’s Spice Box by Cyrus Todiwala
This traditional Moroccan spice blend is aromatic without being overpowering. It is used in savory and sweet recipes. Blends vary and can often contain 20 or more spices. This is a basic version using easily accessible spices. Ras el Hanout
Renaissance Lucknow Hotel is a three-year old, five-star lifestyle deluxe hotel, strategically…
Gaya Travel Magazine
Renaissance Lucknow Hotel is a three-year old, five-star lifestyle deluxe hotel, strategically located in Lucknow, the capital of Uttar Pradesh in India.
Authentic and does not feel touristy, Lucknow is also known as the city of Nawabs (titular native governors who led lavish lifestyle during the time when the Moguls ruled India beginning late 16 th century up until early 18 th century; then endured until the British seized control of Lucknow in the middle of 19 th century).
So, why should you stay at Renaissance Lucknow Hotel, you might ask? Read on to find out… Bright, sharp, posh, efficient and homely, Renaissance Lucknow Hotel offers excellent Indian hospitality that revolves around the central idea that the guest is God, hence should be treated accordingly. Deluxe Room The hotel’s interiors are bright , courtesy of the large floor-to-ceiling glass panels that permit generous amounts of natural light. It seems like one of the hotel’s defining design principles is to let in as much daylight as possible to its public spaces and guestrooms to enliven its interiors and uplift guests’ mood. Renaissance Lucknow Hotel’s lobby. Renaissance Lucknow Hotel dishes out sumptuous food and beverage options via the smart-looking all-day dining restaurant called L14, and the elegant dinner-only restaurant named Sepia, which features Awadhi cuisine (Mughal cooking techniques with Northern Indian cooking pattern), known to have existed since the times of the Sultanate of Delhi (early 13 th until 16 th century) prior to Mughal rule. Sepia’s flattering dishes such as Nalli Nihari (flavourful lamb-based dish slowly cooked overnight in lamb stock) and Murg Korma (chicken cooked in rich Mughlai gravy) lets guests dine opulently like the Nawabs . L-14 All-day Dining Nalli Nihari, a flavourful lamb-based dish served at Sepia. Guests should head to the fabulously cosy Sky Bar on 16 th floor for pre- or post-prandial drinks. This bar is fast becoming the city’s watering hole for people to unwind indoors or al fresco from evening until night, especially when the weather is cooler and drier from October until March. Be sure to try out Sky Bar’s refreshing cocktails and mocktails served up by experienced bartenders while taking in the memorable bird’s-eye view of Lucknow. Sky Bar can hold up to 200 persons, ideal for intimate gatherings and parties. Renaissance Lucknow Hotel has the one and only infinity pool in the city , which opens from 6:00 a.m. until 6:00 p.m., located on the same level as Sky Bar, affording guests with panoramic view of Lucknow while swimming. Infinity pool at Renaissance Lucknow Hotel. With a 22,000-foot squared Ren Garden , the hotel can convert the space into a spectacular venue for weddings or large-scale events for up to 1,500 people. Ren Garden being set up for reception. Guests can appreciate Lucknow at a deeper level by utilising the hotel’s dedicated lifestyle concierges called Navigators who are experts in unearthing the city’s gems. It is recommended that guests ask the Navigators to take them to the following unique places: Hazratganj – this shopping area is filled with the city’s hidden gems like the almost 160-year old perfume shop called Sugandhco ; Royal Cafe that sells scrumptious popular snack called basket chaat ; Ada Designer Chikan studio that showcases exquisite handmade embroidered fabrics called chikankari ; and popular street food like the souffle-like malai makan and the satisfyingly sweet kulfi and ras gula because the city is a street food haven. Bara Imambara – this complex comprises ornate arches, ramparts, mosque and hall with excellent acoustics built to commemorate the fallen grandson of Prophet Muhammad, Hussein. It was completed in 1797 A.D. under the patronage of Nawab Asaf-ud-Daula, the Governor who moved the capital of Awadh region from Faizabad to Lucknow in 1775. Architecture and heritage enthusiasts will be awed by the complex’s grandeur, ingenuity and timelessness, including the imposing gateway that can be seen in the distance called Rumi Darwaza. To enter this site, guests need to wear modestly with full length clothes (no sleeveless tops, shorts or revealing attires are allowed). La Martiniere College ( http://www.lamartinierelucknow.org/ ) – this institution was founded by General Claude Martin, a Lyon-born French adventurer who amassed great wealth while serving under Nawab Shuja-ud-Daulah and his son Nawab Asaf-ud-Daula. Travellers can pay homage to this much revered figure by visiting his grave at the basement of a neo-classical palace called Constantia, which is part of La Martiniere College. General Martin is hailed until today as one of the influential figures who helped turn Lucknow into an important city, especially after Nawab Asaf-ud-Daula moved the capital of Awadh to Lucknow from Faizabad. Cappucino Blast ( https://www.facebook.com/cappuccinoblastlucknow/ ) – this ornate, boldly decorated and whimsical café is the oldest in town and has been attracting the well and good since its inception 19 years ago, serving satiating western-inspired dishes like tacos and pizzas, definitely recommended for lunch and dinner. Shopping for perfumes at Sugandhco. Basket chaat, popular Lucknow snack. Exquisite traditional embroidery called chikankari. Part of Bara Imambara complex viewed from the top of Imambara main hall. Bold interior of Cappuccino Blast. 7 Reasons Why You Should Stay at Renaissance Lucknow Hotel Renaissance Lucknow Hotel is a three-year old, five-star lifestyle deluxe hotel, strategically located in Lucknow, the capital of Uttar Pradesh in India.