One of our annual visits to Virginia is with our stay at one of my favorite resorts called Landsdowne resort. One of the most beautiful properties that I have ever stayed at, Landsdowne is kid friendly and my kids always have lot of fun at the swimming pool and making smores. The Spa is awesome, Happy hour at Coton & Rye, these are few out of many things we enjoy during our stay at Landsdowne. Landsdowne Resort is very kid friendly and has a nice indoor heated pool and a hot tub and they have a huge fire pit which is usually used almost every time we go to roast S’mores at night. Kids love roasting S’mores in the cold winter nights and we usually tend to go around Christmas time the resort has a huge Christmas tree that is decorated ever so beautifully and the whole atmosphere is so festive. We also enjoy hot breakfast served at our room every morning which gives us the luxury of sleeping in and what more can you ask for:)
Chef MARCUS REPP is one of the most talented chefs who comes up with these exotic creative dishes for my favorite restaurants within Landsdowne like Coton and Rye, Piedmont’s table and Riverside Hearth. Chef Marcus handpicks fresh vegetables from various local farms and designs exceptional menus for the restaurants within the resort. He is my absolute favorite.
This year, I wanted to venture out a bit and check out a few local restaurants with vegetarian options. So here goes,
A good Indian restaurant with very good ambiance and a bar. I found the food to be good, the reason being I am a person who is not a big fan of Saag Paneer. My husband loves Saag and so we decided to order the dish. I kid you not THE SAAG is out of this world and I literally ended up licking my fingers eating up the Saag from my plate. We ordered North Indian style Paneer which was very good and its not on the menu so you need to ask for it. It had no cream and was made of simple ginger garlic, onion tomato gravy and was simple and delicious.
We ordered some Naan bread and some onion kulcha and this was a slight disappointment for me. I wished for the bread to be crispier and hot when it arrived. But oh well, overall a good experience.
2) CATOCTIN CREEK DISTILLERY:
One of the best part of the trip was a visit to Catoctin Creek Distillery. The guy gave us a brief tour of the process and had a great sense of humor. The tour was enjoyable and informative with lots of chuckles and giggles. For 10$, you can take advantage of the tour as well as order a flight ( which offers 3 different whiskies you can try and taste).
There was a nice and small burger joint down the street and we ordered some fries to go with it and made the experience very enjoyable.
3) BARCELONA RESTON:
Once again, by far a very hip upscale joint with fun music and bar with excellent Spanish tapas food. We ordered a bunch of small plates like Pita with Hummus, Shishito Peppers, Eggplant dish and the best was the Vegetarian Paella.
For dessert, the flan was exceptional and Churros with chocolate dip(not on the menu, you must ask for it) is a Must try.
Loudon County is a beautiful place to pick if you like calm, quiet and a beautiful enjoyable vacation. Even better, stay at Landsdowne Resort and have the best vacation ever in scenic beauty of loudon county!
I have been wanting to start this new category which helps people find some good vegetarian offering restaurants during their travels.
During my recent travel to VA beach, I found 3 gems of restaurants which offered excellent vegetarian choices. Usually I look for more vegetarian choices on the menu, quality of the food, taste and flavor profile of the dishes before I am completely impressed and have to write about the restaurant.
So lets do this:
TUPELO HONEY: Tupelo Honey is one awesome place and the Chef is Eric Gabrynowicz. Chef Eric is a four-time James Beard Award semifinalist, Top Newcomer from Zagat was voted Food and Wine Magazine’s “Peoples Best New Chef- New York.” He brings Tupelo Honey Southern inspired dishes that are simply crafted and made from scratch with responsibly sourced ingredients that bring the best of every season. Dishes we ordered and ate: My pick for cocktail which you can never go wrong is Tupelo Margarita was so smooth and perfect drink for the evening paired with an Appetizer like Blistered Spicy Okra with buttermilk ranch dip. For main course, my favorite pick was the Cauliflower steak with parsnip puree. I have never come across a dish so healthy grease free baked just enough to give the perfect crunch at the same time cooked so well. The icing on the cake was their unique dessert which came in mason jars and my most favorite pick was the Banana bread pudding – hands down! Let me tell you the one thing that blew me away was on the kids menu – there was a veggie burger which was delicious and my daughter wiped her plate clean.( https://tupelohoneycafe.com/location/virginia-beach/)
WHISKEY KITCHEN circa 2014: At Whiskey Kitchen, they have partnered with outstanding local vendors, and hired a team of motivated employees who are all inspired to share our mission of bringing authentic, honest and regional cuisine to their community.My recommendations would be the Strawberry jalapeno cocktail. I love spicy cocktails but this one was so smooth. They use fresh strawberries ( all the fruits and vegetables are from an all natural local sustainable farm) and jalapenos which is de seeded just enough to leave that slight kick of spice at the end of your palette.For Appetizers we ordered Buffalo cauliflower bites which used a WK red sauce. I must say the sauce is a bit tangy so if you like that you must definitely order it. I liked the Jalapeño popper pizza which was different and had just the right amount of spice kick to it. For the mains, we ordered the Beet burger which was delicious and the Fiesta Bowl was out of the world. The corn straws that come with this dish is amazing. (https://www.thewhiskeykitchen.com/)
Masala Bites: Nestled in Red Mill Commons shopping center of Virginia Beach, Masala Bites is rapidly becoming an Indian culinary hotspot. My recommendations here would be Gobi Manchurian for appetizer, couple favorites for the mains- Paneer Makhani, Mewa Malai Kofta and Amchuri Bhindi Masala. Let me tell you guys the bread was simply out of this world – we got the Garlic Naan and the Amritsari Kulcha yummy yum! It is a must try! Its fresh and hot out of the clay oven or tandoor. Simply amazing! (http://www.themasalabites.com/about.html)
Come and watch me cook at the Varli Food Festival on September 10th from 4-9 pm. Sanjeev Kapoor is judging the cook off and you can even taste different cuisines from famous Indian restaurants in NJ and NY.
I was so nervous and excited to see Alton Brown and to be a part of Cut throat Kitchen. We were all taken to the sets which was Hollywood studios in L .A. – a humongous studio in the wee early hours in the morning. We had a car inside the studio that took us to the make up studio first to make us all look pretty in camera although i was sweating thinking about the show the whole entire time. Then we hopped in the car and it was another 10 min ride to get to the studio where we were actually filming.
On my way back to the set, I see this simple looking guy in glasses and in a plaid shirt walking across from me and I glance at him and am almost ready to scream- It was none other than Alton Brown. I have never seen a guy who is so simple yet so knowledgeable and smart. He said hello to all the contestants.
The only contestant I got talking and we share a great relationship now is DAVE MARTIN! Besides what happened in the show which all of you will watch at some point- we shared a great rapport with each other being very supportive and kind.
Chef Dave Martin if you all recollect took a chance on a new reality show called ‘Top Chef’ in Bravo with Padma lakshmi and did so well for himself and was the runner up.
Chef Dave also owns his food business in NYC that he has been managing with great success for over several years now.
So to say the least, I was competing on the show with a Chef who had his food business so well established, he cooked for Hollywood actors after his success with Top Chef back in 2006——– It wasn’t easy at all. Chef Dave beside being a great cook was also extremely smart.
Cut throat Kitchen is not just a simple food show. It involve so much of strategic planning and making each move wisely with the money that is offered to you.
I also had this wonderful opportunity to meet Richard Blais whom I love, respect and admire dearly who was the guest Judge in our show.
Both Alton Brown and Richard Blais had the kindest of words to say to me and I must say I completely enjoyed working with both of them on the show.
We had three rounds with challenges:
First round was the Breakfast Tacos, second round was the Crab cakes……lets take a pause here. Me being a vegetarian- every single time I have meat or seafood to cook with although I get extremely nervous I am also super challenged and excited to cook with it.
I have believed in vegetarianism since my birth and so always have stood by the fact of not tasting any meat or seafood that I cook whatsoever. This makes it even more challenging because of the fact that I have no idea if the dish has enough seasoning or salt in it.
Richard Blais was very kind enough to say good encouraging words for my crab dish.
Last but not the least was baking filled cupcakes in such a short amount of time that I almost passed out hearing the time I had to make them.
I enjoyed all 3 rounds of challenges in Cut throat Kitchen and absolutely love Alton Brown and Richard Blais.
Not to mention, Chef Dave and me have become such good friends and respect each other so much so much so that we still give each other food advice and exchange recipes:)
MY BEST GIFT WAS A RED BAG THAT SAYS CUT THROAT KITCHEN ON IT AND A BOTTLE
THAT WAS SIGNED/ AUTOGRAPHED BY ALTON BROWN —WILL ALWAYS TREASURE..
HUGE THANK YOU TO MY PRODUCER KATIE & my friends at the network- Chris, Billy and the list goes on….
I hope you all watch and enjoy this episode and please write your feedback under the comment section. Your feedback and support means a lot to me and so until next time ….
Loads of love from my kitchen to yours….
Plan to post the you tube video soon so please tune back in to curryliciousme.com to watch.
I was asked to make crab cakes during Cut throat Kitchen with Alton Brown on Food Network channel. I am raised a vegetarian and continue to be one so cooking meat or seafood is always a challenge since I do not get to taste my dish and its like cooking blind!
For people who followed me on Master Chef they know that I was asked to cook beef and I did although I refused to taste it. Gordon Ramsay said- ” Its cooked better than some people who cooked it who eat meat”
This simply means that I am blessed to use my finger to throw spices and get lucky with flavors and end up with a tasty dish.
I did exactly that at Cut Throat Kitchen too where I made the crab cakes for Alton but I always try to come up with a vegetarian version.
My quinoa zucchini crab cakes are super healthy and packed with flavor.
Here s the recipe:
1 cup Quinoa
1 cup grated zucchini
1 small potato grated
1 small onion grated
1/2 jalapeno chopped finely
Spice blend- 1/2 tsp turmeric, lemon pepper powder and garlic powder, curry masala powder and dried fenugreek leaves
Salt to taste
1 teaspoon of all purpose flour
1 teaspoon of olive oil
Grate zucchini and add some salt and let it sit for 10 minutes. After 10 min s squeeze all the water out.
Then cook the potato and grate the potato
Cook quinoa. For 1 cup of quinoa add 2 cups of water and let it cook.
Take a bowl and add all the spices, dried fenugreek leaves and salt. Mix well.
Then add grated zucchini, potato, onions, jalapeno and quinoa to the spice mix and mix it well with a spoon mashing everything well.
Add 1 tsp of all purpose flour and mix it in.
Make round patties with this mix.
Place it on a cast iron skillet with olive oil for 2 min s on each side and flip to cook the patties well.
I usually make a mango chutney during the summer and it goes so well with my quinoa zucchini crab cake. You can use any chutney or dip with it.