Friday, December 14, 2012

Plantain Chips from Turbana

I'm sitting on an airplane right now, snacking away.  What else is there to do?  Thus it seems fitting to post about one of my more recent snack food finds these days, plantain chips, from Turbana.

I think this is the only product they make, available in a slew of flavors.  They are all fairly starchy like a potato chip, but have a slightly more interesting texture and flavor.

  • Chili Lime: The lime flavor is interesting, but I don’t particularly like it.  I don’t really get much chili flavor, and I wonder how they compare to the plain lime or plain chili flavors they also make.  I want to like these, but don’t due to the strange lime.  Perhaps I needed a margarita or guac with these …
  • Lightly salted: Salty, starchy.  Not particularly great, but an interesting cross between a potato chip and a banana chip. ] [ More interesting than a standard potato chip, good when craving some salt. ] [ Not that salty, not that interesting, good dipped in stuff … like salsa or peanut butter ] [ I really like these dipped in peanut butter, sorta like the classic combo of bananas and peanut butter, in an easy snackable format ]
  • Sweet: Definitely sweet.  Almost too sweet.  You can taste the plantain though. [ Sweetness definitely strange, not a huge fan ] [ Very sweet, also good with peanut butter, but the salty ones were a better match with that ] [ Very sweet, seems strange to think of them as a chip since they are so sweet,  but I enjoy them more as a dessert. ]


Thursday, December 13, 2012

Donuts from Henry's Cafe and Deli

Whenever GoPago runs a promotion, I tend to wind up with ~$1 in remaining credits after my main purchase.  I have a new favorite way to spend them: donuts!

You may recall that I indulged in these a few months ago when Ojan had some leftover credits, and I got a donut from Rolling Pin.  I wasn't very satisfied with that donut, but mostly because I picked a kind I didn't want, due to limited availability.  I was determined to set out earlier in the day this time, for better selection.  Unfortunately, I didn't go early enough.  What time do you donut-eaters get up, anyway?

This time I went to Henry's Cafe and Deli, as their donuts get very good reviews.  I'm not sure where they source them from, I asked, but the woman did not know.  I had only three choices: a cruller, which after the Rolling Pin cruller didn't sound all that appealing, a chocolate covered donut, and a glazed donut.  Hmm, still not really my top choices.

Again, I loved using GoPago.  I walked in the door and was greeted by a friendly smile and by name.  I can't get over how great it feels to be warmly welcomed like this at a business I've never been to before.    So personal, and I got to feel like a regular!  I'll definitely go back another time, hopefully when the selection is larger.
Glazed Donut.  $1.
This was a pretty classic glazed donut.  It was big, puffy, fairly light.  It was perfectly glazed, a ridiculous sugar bomb.  Basically, exactly what you'd expect for a decent simple glazed donut.  It tasted too much like oil for my taste though.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Lahore Karahi

I've been on a quest to find some indian food I like in San Francisco.  I've been to plenty of places that have been mediocre, but no where that I really find myself wanting to go back to.  So when I recently got some more GoPago credits, I decided to use them to gamble and try out another Indian place.

I decided on Lahore Karahi, a place with fantastic Yelp reviews ... until a few months ago.  I read that it was sold recently, and people are very unhappy with the new ownership.  But I still gave it a try, since I figured that some of the negativity was just people not dealing well with change.

It is a very small place in the Tenderloin, with a somewhat strange model.  Normally, you order at the register, but they bring the food out to you when it is ready.  They seemed to mostly do take-out, and have several online ordering systems, like GoPago, which I used.  I liked that they had a dine-in option available through GoPago.

This is not somewhere you go for decor or ambiance.  The tablecloths were all dirty, stained, and wrinkled.  They then had a plastic layer on top of them, so it seemed really strange that they were so dirty, given the protectors on top.

The staff weren't unfriendly exactly, but said very few words.  On one side of the room was an area with water and unlabeled carafes, with a big sign saying "Self Service".  Luckily, I'd read about this beforehand, so I knew that I could help myself to some hot chai, but I got the impression that no one would have told me about this otherwise.

Overall, it wasn't really good nor bad, just fairly unremarkable.  But, it was definitely the cheapest indian food I've had, and was a fantastic value for the money.  I'd consider going back, but wouldn't go out of my way for it, and will continue my quest to find somewhere I like more!
Chai.  Complimentary.
As I mentioned, there were some unlabeled carafes over on the side, with paper cups next to them.  They were filled with piping hot chai.  It was unsweetened, but there was also sugar you could add in to taste.  It wasn't really remarkable, very milky and barely tea flavored, and almost soapy tasting, but I liked having a nice hot drink, and the price sure was right!
Shahi Paneer.: Lightly fried cheese cooked with nuts in tomato sauce.  $7.99.
My shahi paneer arrived piping hot, within just a few minutes of my ordering.  It stayed incredibly hot the entire time I was eating, with steam continuing to rise from it, even when I was finished.

The sauce was very creamy, clearly made with a lot of heavy cream.  It was also glistening with oil.  A little too heavy for my taste, but I somewhat expected that.  It was pretty flavorful, with decent spicing, and large chunks of spices throughout, including whole leaves.

The paneer was a bit of a disappointment   It was mushy, kinda rubbery, and not really fried on the edges.  It did have a nice flavor however.

The portion size was generous, with a lot of paneer, far more than anywhere else I've been.  And for only $7.99 this was a really good value.  I'd consider getting this again, but it wasn't particularly remarkable.
Naan.  $1.
The naan was freshly made to order.  I saw it being kneaded out after I ordered.  It was actually a really nice size, smaller than many places, which I liked.  Slathered with some oil, and cut into quarters.

It was decent naan.  I wouldn't rave about it, but it was better than most.  Hot, fresh, fluffy, with a good char in a few places.  And only $1?  Very good value, and I'd love to try some of the other flavored/filled naan next time.
Kheer: Special rice cooked with milk and sugar, served cold with pistachios.  $2. 
And, time for dessert! The rice pudding wasn't anything special.  Tiny bits of rice, sweet milky base, some spicing, a few sliced nuts, and a total of 2 raisins in my entire portion.  I added cinnamon and blueberries to it when I got home, and enjoyed it much more.

This was a small little container, but just the right amount for one person, and not bad for $2.  I wish all restaurants offered up small little desserts like this!

Anyway, this wasn't bad, but it wasn't good.  I wouldn't get again.