Mirch Masala | Indian Food Gem

By Chris Chen mirch masala

Tandoori Prawns
Tandoori Prawns | Photo Credit: Mirch Masala

Mirch Masala is a hole in the wall restaurant in the West Village dishing out flavorful Indian food. The restaurant’s name came from two Indian Words: “Mirch” which means Chili and “Masala” which means a mixture of spice.

The restaurant is relatively small and sits about 20 people. Their hours of operation are from 11:30am to 12am on most days. On Friday & Saturday, they’re open all the way until 2am, perfect for late night munchies. They serve up well known Indian dishes such as Chicken Tikka Masala and Tandoori Prawns but they also offer more traditional foods such as Paneer and Lamb Roganjosh.

Mirch Masala does catering as well so let’s bring on the Chicken Tikka Masala and all the Naan you can eat.

Here’s a sample menu for your office lunch:

  • Chicken Tikka Masala – Marinated cubes of boneless chicken smoked in tandoor and sauteed in a rich tomato spices & fenugreek (Methi) sauce
  • Lamb Biryani – Marinated Lamb, spices & aromatic Basmati rice
  • Palak Paneer – Fresh baby spinach & cubes of cottage cheese cooked with onions, ginger, garlic & cilantro
  • Mango Lassi – Delicious Ratnagiri mango pulp churned with yogurt & sprinkled with cardamom
  • Rosemary Naan

Contact us at catering@foodtoeat.com to spice up your food.

DailyFoodtoEat is the official blog of FoodtoEat. We help build corporate culture by bringing the best local food to offices for team meals and special events. We believe in investing in your team. That’s why we’re committed to improving employee happiness through food – feed your team today with FoodtoEat! Check out the deliciousness here: FoodtoEat Catering

Lumpia Shack | Filipino Food in New York City

By Chris Chen

lumpia shack sign

Lumpias!| Photo Credit: Lumpia Shack
Lumpias| Photo Credit: Lumpia Shack

Lumpia Shack is a small West Village snack bar serving up all sorts of Filipino-inspired goodies. You’ll be in for a treat no matter what you decide to try – from their famous lumpias or their rice bowls. What makes lumpia so special? Well…who doesn’t love a fried spring roll? Neil Syham, owner of Lumpia Shack, wanted to introduce people to Filipino food through lumpias as a medium since they pack a ton of  flavor and are easy to eat.

The heavenly pork belly bowl!
Pork Belly Rice Bowl | Heavenly pork bowl!

Neil opened Lumpia Shack to diversify the Asian cuisine. When talking about Asian cuisine, people mainly think of Japanese, Chinese, Korean or Thai – however he wanted to put Filipino cuisine on the map – and we’re so thankful he did because it is absolutely delicious. Their lumpias are what the people initially come for, but Lumpia Shack’s other dishes are not to be overlooked. Neil’s favorite lumpia is the original pork as it reminds him of his childhood meals with family and friends. He created the Adobo Mushroom Lumpia for his wife since she’s a vegetarian. Other well-known dishes are Sisig (pork belly, jowls, ears, egg yolk, and calamansi), which was featured in the New York Times in 2014, and the crowd favorite, Adobo Chicken – chicken stewed in vinegar, garlic, soy sauce, bay leaves and peppercorn..

I had a chance to try their food and boy, was I a happy camper. The pork belly was just heavenly – it was melt-in-your mouth experience and so was the super moist chicken. Every bite I had was perfectly tender and flavorful. Their lumpias were crispy and tasty – I can see why everyone raves about them.

Bicol Tofu Mushroom
Bicol Tofu Mushroom | All the coconut goodness

I didn’t get a chance to try an Adobo Ramen Burger which is a fusion of Lumpia Shack’s pork belly & Keizo Shimamoto’s ramen bun, but it sure made my mouth water thinking about it. They have some secret collaborations coming up with their fellow Smorgasburg vendors but we’ll have to wait and see. For now, we’ll enjoy the seasonal items. This season, they’re dishing out Kabocha squash soup with coconut milk and topped with coconut yogurt and sage.

Lumpia Shack does catering, so bring the food to your office and grab a bite of the Philippines with your team. Contact us at catering@foodtoeat.com – we’re here to make your belly happy.

DailyFoodtoEat is the official blog of FoodtoEat, a socially conscious online food ordering and concierge catering service featuring your favorite restaurants, food trucks and caterers. Check out the deliciousness here: www.foodtoeat.com

FoodtoEat Delivers. Handybook Cleans. Together, We Serve Drinks

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Free drinks, good company and maybe even some promotions? Don’t mind if we do! On Tuesday, August 12th, we’re officially launching our new joint happy hours with Handybook, your #1 online resource for housecleaning and handymen in the city! Stop by the Manchester Pub on 2nd Avenue from 5:30-7:30 and your first drink is on us (but don’t literally spill on us, please). Bring friends and spread the word.

happyhour-invite2 DailyFoodtoEat is the official blog of FoodtoEat, a socially conscious online food ordering and concierge catering service featuring your favorite restaurants, food trucks and caterers. Check out the deliciousness here: www.foodtoeat.com

So, How Exactly Does Social Ordering Work?

By Emily Collins & Debra Liu

Our brand new website has an incredible new feature: social ordering. This feature gives you the power to follow your friends, become a part of a social network of foodies and order food with a group without the stress because you can literally split the bill right on our website. Check out our step-by-step guide to the social ordering process.

Step 1: Get an account. You can sign up directly on the website or sign up via Facebook. Make sure to verify your email before you start an order. Please enjoy the throwback picture.
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Step 2: Invite your friends. If they don’t have an account already, have them sign up. Once you’re all signed up, you can follow each other. To find your friends on FoodtoEat, you can search by name or by email.

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Step 3Find a place to order from. When searching for a place to order from, make sure the address you’re using is where the delivery is going. If the address is different, the restaurant may be out of the delivery zone.

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Step 4: Start your own order. Once this order is started, you can invite as many people as you want ! If they’re not signed up on FoodtoEat, you can send them an invite via email. If they’re already signed up, just search their name and click to send them an invitation to join your order.

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Step 5: Start choosing the food you all want. While you’re selecting your food items, a chat feature will pop up in the bottom right-hand corner of the page. Everybody in the order can freely chat and update each other on the status of the order.

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Step 6: Once everybody is done adding food to the cart, the Order Owner will click “check out” and this will bring everybody to a new page to pay the bill.

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Step 7: Paying the bill. There are 3 options for bill payment. The Order Owner has the power to decide what happens:

(1) Cash – you’ll need to gather up cash to pay for the food when it arrives,

(2) Credit Card – by clicking on Credit Card, the Order Owner is paying for the entire bill his/herself  (so generous!), and

(3) Split Bill – the Order Owner has to add their friends to the bill split by clicking on the friends’ profiles on the left hand side of the screen.

  • The bill can be split evenly by clicking on “Split Evenly” or everybody can pay for what they ordered individually by clicking on “Pay Your Own”.
  • Each person puts in their credit card number and once it is confirmed, each individual will have “ √ PAID” next to their name.

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Step 8: Once everybody has paid, the order will go through to the vendor. If there are any special requests, these can be put in before the order is paid and confirmed.

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Step 9: You’ll receive an email confirmation summarizing your order. If you have any urgent changes to the order, please contact the vendor you ordered from directly – this will be the most efficient way to update/change your order.

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Step 10: While you’re waiting for your food to arrive, share your order on social media! Social ordering is more than just splitting a bill between friends; you are now able to follow your friends, check out where they’re ordering from, share on social media and even favorite restaurants.

On your homepage, you can see who is following you, who you’re following and their recent activity. This means you can see where your friends are ordering and who they love! It makes choosing a restaurant just a little bit easier.

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Since Debra L. is following me, I can check out her recent orders, favorites and followers. Debra seems to be a bit addicted to Decadent Donuts…

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Once you’re done social ordering with your friends, you can tweet or share it on Facebook! Let people know where it’s best to order from in the city.
follow4Share the food love over social media! We love getting tweets and pictures of your orders. Now, all you need to do is click a button and you can automatically share your social order on Facebook and Twitter.

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DailyFoodtoEat is the official blog of FoodtoEat, a sustainable online food ordering and concierge catering service featuring your favorite restaurants, food trucks and caterers. Check out the deliciousness here: www.foodtoeat.com

FoodtoEat: Where We Began and Where We’re Going

By Emily Collins 

As you may have noticed, we are undergoing a few changes here at FoodtoEat! Our new website is another step to help our mission of making online food ordering as easy as possible. In 2012 our CEO, Deepti Sharma Kapur, felt her stomach growling, went to get food and realized how long the line was at her favorite food truck. They say it only takes one spark to start a fire (or in this case, a growl to start a roar) and Deepti took advantage of this hunger and started something great.

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Valducci’s Pizza | Photo credit: Sulav Darnal

As we embark on a new chapter in our business, we want to bring it all back to where it began and what we continue to strive for. FoodtoEat, at its very core, is about social responsibility. We want our vendors to thrive in a business that can be dangerously competitive. Our mission is to help local restaurants, food trucks and caterers get more business by putting their products online and ready to order at the tips of your fingers. While our competitors are charging 15-18% per order, we only charge 10 cents – you can order knowing you’re putting money back into the vendors’ pockets. New York City is a bit of a food mecca; keeping the food culture alive is important and taking large amounts of money from hardworking vendors is not a way to do that.

Not only do we give our vendors an easy online ordering platform, we also provide them with corporate catering connections. By signing up with FoodtoEat, vendors and clients have the chance to be a part of our growing concierge catering service. Unlike your typical online food ordering service, we help our vendors flourish by exposing their food to offices around the city. We also help our clients by bringing incredible food to their offices. Whether it’s an ice cream bar, build your own burger or a food truck directly to your office, we’re always finding ways to help our vendors cater to our awesome clients like Tumblr and Hulu.

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Ordering with friends made easy on our new website.

Because of our connections and low fees, we are able to make online ordering not just easier on the vendor, but for the customer. This month, we launched our brand new website that features social ordering.

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Split the bill at the press of a button!

How many times have you wanted to order food with a friend and splitting the bill is an absolute disaster? We’ve solved that. You can invite your friends into an order from different computers and you can buy delicious food together.

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Our new chat feature lets you interact with people while you’re ordering together.

At the end of the order, all you need to do is click a “split bill” button and voilà! You no longer need to walk to Duane Reade and buy a pack of gum to break your $20. You can order from your office computer with co-workers or on your iPad in your dorm, it’s just as simple as the click of a button.

At the end of the day, we want to make online food ordering the best it can be. Help us feed you by ordering today.

For the launch of our new website and social ordering feature, we are running a promotion. Invite your friends, family, co-workers, dogs, anyone to order with you and you can receive 20% off the entire order!

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Join the party! Make a social group order with your friends and receive 20% off the entire order.

DailyFoodtoEat is the official blog of FoodtoEat, a sustainable online food ordering and concierge catering service featuring your favorite restaurants, food trucks and caterers. Check out the deliciousness here: www.foodtoeat.com

 

Foodies of New York: Kafilah Muhammad

Kafilah Muhammad
Kafilah Muhammad

By Rachel Wells

Part of a series that documents real New Yorkers and their love affair with food.

Kafilah Muhammad is a high school senior at Benjamin Banneker Academy. The Brooklynite is a self-proclaimed avid reader, front-end web developer and, most importantly, a “big-time foodie.” In her spare time, she participates in various social justice projects, manages two blogs of her own and still finds time for African dancing. Next fall, she will attend Wesleyan University and plans to major in computer science with a focus on premed – “as a feminist I am motivated to close the gender gap in computer science.”

One of her favorite restaurants in the city is Gobo – a restaurant focused on food to satisfy all five senses. As a vegetarian, she loves the multitude of veggie dish options. When there, she orders the spiced bean curd and pepper stir-fry with Asian kale and brown rice. “The food is scrumptious and a great introduction to vegetarian food for anyone – not just vegetarians,” she says. Gobo NYC was recommended to her by one of her friends. She has tried many NYC food trucks but her sweet tooth ensures that Wafles & Dinges is her top choice every time. She orders a liege waffle with whipped cream, strawberries and chocolate drizzle.

Gobo's Soy Cutlet Platter (Photo Credit: Yelp)
Gobo’s Soy Cutlet Platter with black pepper sauce (food credit: Yelp)

Kafilah doesn’t order online very often, as she prefers eating in a restaurant, but added that ordering-in is simply more efficient for large orders. FoodtoEat’s ordering and catering options are vast and can accommodate a large order in advance – even from a food truck or an exclusive local restaurant.

She believes the plethora of options is natural in the city – “Food is part of NYC life and culture [because] the diverse population contributes to the food scene.” Like the rich and famous, NYC food has it all – “from Italian to Indian, you can literally find any type of food.” She suggests that all tourists try the Italian food from one of Eataly’s many restaurants because of their ability to transport you to Italy for the duration of your meal – “It was cozy and made [me] feel like I was visiting a family member’s house on vacation.” She commented on the over-all ambiance and gave it five stars on everything from lighting to the staff to the hand-made gluten free pastas. She is sure you’ll “fall in love” with the food at Eataly NYC.

Pizza at Eataly NYC (Photo Credit: New York Times)
Pizza at Eataly NYC (photo credit: NY Times)

DailyFoodtoEat is the official blog of FoodtoEat, a sustainable online food ordering and concierge catering service featuring your favorite restaurants, food trucks and caterers. Check out the deliciousness here: www.foodtoeat.com

 

 

Fast Food Advertising – Too Good To Be True

By: Parth Mukhi

Have you ever just stared at your fast food meal and thought, “Wow, this is not at all what I was expecting.” When you go to order fast food, you look at the displays they have outside their store. You gaze back at the large, bold font words entrapping your attention. “Succulent”, “Tender”, “Delicious”, is what they say. To top it all off, the food in the picture’s always look even better than the words can describe. All that anticipation & excitement comes crashing down when the cashier hands you the food, you unwrap it, and you see mushed up pile of bread-meat-bread.

How do McDonald’s, Subway, Wendy’s, Taco Bell do this? In the same manner that film companies put their actors & actresses through hours of make up to get them perfect for the screen, these food companies go through extensive preparation for the advertisement of their food. Burgers, tacos, and salads all go through a photo shoot where they are touched up to look like the perfect product.

The food itself is prepared at the studio. From there, the food stylists take over. For burgers, they’ll push all the main ingredients to the foreground, making them standout. Cheese & patty are steamed to make them seem more appetizing. Following this, skewers are placed in the burgers to keep everything in an attractive, upright position. Subway sandwiches always look much more bulky in the commercials because the studios will add cardboard or foam in between the layers. Fast food salads will never look like they do in the ads, and have never tasted like an normal salad should. In order to give them that fresh & tasty look, they are sprayed with a bottle of glycerin. Finally, all the food is fixed up with photoshop, to enhance every last detail.

Company respond to these claims by saying that the food moves, or that the packaging & backing may cause for the food to be squashed. Though the companies are including everything in the burger that they claimed would be there, people still preach false advertising is in play. Technically, these companies are doing nothing legally wrong, and day after day people go back to these fast food restaurants and buy their food. At the end of the day, false advertising can be shouted from the mountain tops, but will it ever effect whether people decide to go out and buy fast food?

DailyFoodtoEat is the official blog of FoodtoEat, a sustainable online food ordering and concierge catering service featuring your favorite restaurants, food trucks and caterers. Check out the deliciousness here: www.foodtoeat.com

Prison Food: Cheaper than FoodtoEat

By Maria Laposata

As a college student, I try to keep my daily food expense around $0, and, every day, I fail with reinvigorated bravado.

Somehow though, over a million Americans every day eat for $2.30, tops.

Wait, what?

The missing piece of information here is these people are all members of America’s healthy prison population, and their food is so cheap for a number of reasons, most of which I’m incapable of replicating.

Let’s talk numbers for a second. As of 2005, prisons were at 111% capacity, with some states like California hitting 141%. So, it’s safe to say that prisons are full. The issue is that prisons are constantly getting full-er. That 2005 statistic represents a 10% increase in prison population since 2001.

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With large growth in population and budgets growing at a much, much slower pace, prisons find ways to cut costs—food costs. In 2001, prisons spent $955 on food per inmate per year—that’s $2.62 per day. In 2005 that number fell to $2.30. Places like North Carolina even managed to reach $0.52 per inmate per day.

Again, what?

There are a few explanations as to why prison food is so inexpensive. The go-to answer is that it’s all some form of disgusting broth/slime. But that’s apparently not completely true.

The New York Times claims that many prisons eat the same foods we do, but their method of production is different. I might put my leftovers in a ziplock bag. Prisons “regethermically” freeze everything. Nothing goes to waste, no nutrients are lost, and they cut their expenses by around 15%.

The Bureau of Justice Statistics features another explanation involving prison-operated farms and food processing centers with the helpful interplay of economies of scale.

More recently, NPR featured a story claiming most food was “canned, frozen, or fried.” (Cases of botulism in the past year would back up NPR.)

I would imagine that all of these explanations are responsible for the low costs to some extent. Cost of food per inmate varies widely across the country, implying that different strategies are used in different states.

Hilariously, as prison food costs decrease, requests for Kosher meals increase. Clark County Jail says that, in 2011, 1% of their inmates requested Kosher meals, which they are, by law, committed to honor. In 2013, 10.8% of their prison population requested Kosher meals.

I highly doubt so many Orthodox Jews were arrested in the past two years. It’s much more likely that the request for Kosher meals says a lot more about the state of the non-Kosher cooking.  Again, point for NPR.

Food innovation in prisons isn’t limited to cost reduction though. Prison food is also used as punishment.  The “Food Loaf” has been the subject to multiple court cases, in which prisoners argue their 8th amendment right was violated, subjecting them to “cruel and unusual punishment.” The “Food Loaf” is a mix of pretty tasteless foods (cabbage, oatmeal, etc.) with no seasoning. It doesn’t sound like cruel and unusual punishment, but, by multiple accounts, it makes you sick and is, all in all, disgusting.

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Prisons are also helping their inmates to break into (har har har) the food industry after they are released. As of 2005, 956 of the 1,821 prisons in the U.S. had some form of vocational training program. The Northeastern Correctional Center has a restaurant open to the public staffed with inmates who are in a food service training program. This program model even hopped across the pond and is being integrated into prison culture in the U.K. One training program cites recidivism rates of only 12.5% among those who participated—compared with 47% nationally.

A hundred and fifty years ago, meals in prison were made from scratch every day. With the increases in both technology and population, such culinary nostalgia is misplaced. While I’m sure my wallet looks at the state penitentiary’s food budget today with a mix of envy and pain, my stomach is still thinking about “Food Loaf.” At least now I know what to serve my brothers next time I make dinner.

DailyFoodtoEat is the official blog of FoodtoEat, a sustainable online food ordering and concierge catering service featuring your favorite restaurants, food trucks and caterers. Check out the deliciousness here: www.foodtoeat.com

Sushi Chefs Land in Hot Water After Serving Whale Meat

Back in 2007 two California sushi chefs were first accused of selling endangered whale meat from their Santa Monica restaurant; now the issue has been brought back to light and the two chefs may face serious punishment if convicted.

The chefs, Kiyoshiro Yamamoto and Susumu Ueda are believed to have sold whale meat while employed at a restaurant called the Hump, which closed down voluntarily in 2010. The whale meat in question comes from Sei whales, the third largest species of whale following Blue and Fin whales. Sei whales were aggressively hunted in the 19th and 20th centuries and the world population suffered, now estimated around 80,000.

Sei Whales are protected under the Marine Mammal Protection Act, and the U.S. Department of Justice believes the whale meat was purchased from a Japanese official named Ginichi Ohira, who in turn purchased it from a supplier in Japan, where whales are legally hunted for ‘scientific’ reasons. The whale meat was then mislabeled in restaurant invoices as “fatty tuna” to keep attention away from the true origin of the meat. The Hump also did not print whale meat dishes on its regular menu, to avoid detection and keep concerned customers unaware that they served the endangered species.

The issue was buried for some time but came back to light when activists alerted the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the group that manages the National Marine Fisheries Service. The two chefs could face prison time, with up to 67 years for Yamamoto and 10 years for Ueda. Typhoon Restaurant, Inc., the company that owned the Hump could face up to $1.2 million in fines.

When The Hump shut down in 2010, it claimed that it hoped to bring awareness to illegal whaling and the dramatic effect is has upon the oceanic ecosystem. According to its website, “Closing the restaurant is a self-imposed punishment on top of the fine that will be meted out by the court. The owner of The Hump also will be taking additional action to save the endangered species.”

DailyFoodtoEat is the official blog of FoodtoEat, a sustainable online food ordering and concierge catering service featuring your favorite restaurants, food trucks and caterers. Check out the deliciousness here: www.foodtoeat.com

 

Customers Receive Lifetime Restaurant Ban for Eating too Much

A Mongolian all-you-can-eat buffet in London recently banned two of its customers for eating too much food. The restaurant is called Gobi, and advertises a buffet deal for 20 pounds (roughly $20) with the promise of “The finest meats, seafood and fresh vegetable” stir-fried for you “as many times as you wish”.

However this advertising slogan did not apply to George Dalmon, 26, and Andy Miles, 25, who were banned from Gobi after the manager called the duo “a couple of pigs” according to the British press. Dalmon and Miles were regulars at Gobi, and regularly ate approximately five bowls of stir-fry each every time they dined.

“Basically they just come in and pig out,” said the manager who asked not to be publicly identified. “We have put up with them for two years but I’ve had enough.”

According to the manager, in two years neither of the customers tipped their waiters of purchased anything on the menu aside from water and the buffet. The manager claims that banning these customers is based on the restaurant’s livelihood as a business. “We are not a charity, we’re a business. It’s our restaurant and we can tell people not to come back if we don’t want them to.”

Gobi is not unprecedented in its refusal to serve certain customers. A new website called Badconsumers.com collects complaints from small businesses about customers or other businesses that abuse their services, to provide them with rights and act as a warning to other businesses that may have dealt with the same consumers.

Dalmon and Miles feel they have done nothing wrong and believe that Gobi should not have the authority to kick them out. According to Dalmon, “They’ve only got small bowls and you can’t get enough in there so we always go back for more.”

While it’s hard to confirm or deny the manager’s or the customers’ version of events, it is not unusual to hold back at tipping at a buffet-style restaurant, where the waiter does not perform any direct service to the customers. The larger problem here seems to be the restaurants advertising slogan which tells customers can eat stir-fry “as many times as you wish.” Perhaps gobi would be better off changing it to “stir-fried for you, up to four bowls and no more than that.”

DailyFoodtoEat is the official blog of FoodtoEat, a sustainable online food ordering and concierge catering service featuring your favorite restaurants, food trucks and caterers. Check out the deliciousness here: www.foodtoeat.com