Monday, January 26, 2009

To each their own...

Panino Special Today is The Apple Alexander. Crisp Granny Smith apple, triple cream French brie and honey grilled on ciabatta.

Last night I was invited to a friend's home for Pani Puri - an street food popular in India. You take a small, crispy, hollow "puri" and tap out a hole on one side to create a cup. Then it is filled with any combination of potato, onion, chickpeas, spicy (or sweet) sauce, tamarind, puffed rice, chili-coated peanuts..... well you get the idea. Then the whole thing is popped directly into your mouth and eaten in one bite. It is seriously yummy and just the thing with a cold beer.

Everyone assembles panipuri according to their own preference. I loved the chili peanuts and hid one or two in every bite, but others at the table were clearly avoiding the fiery nuts. Each of us had a unique dining experience. The Monin flavorings at the Cafe offer the same opportunity. Of course you can get an Italian soda or coffee with a shot of Vanilla, but why not try a Coconut Hot Cocoa, Peach Iced Tea, Raspberry Chocolate Milk or a Caramel Frothy Steamer? Shake yourself out of the midwinter doldrums and try something new!

And with a little online research and a trip to the Punjab on 33rd Street, you can host your own Pani Puri party.