Kaya Jam

Before you think this is some kind of egg-y ice cream with bacon bits bookended by waffledsomething let me clarify that this is a Singaporean breakfast ice cream sandwich. Singaporean breakfast consists of a cup of super strong coffee (condensed milk optional), a soft-boiled egg splashed with dark soy sauce (white pepper optional) and creamy kaya jam on toasted white bread (non-negotiable). Let me further clarify that kaya is essentially the Asian Nutella but instead of chocolates and hazelnut and  deceptive marketing practices you have coconut cream and egg yolks infused with nutty pandan leaf and cooked until you get a super smooth, slightly green caramelized custard.

 

Singaporean Breakfast

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Singaporean Breakfast

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Singaporean Breakfast

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Singaporean Breakfast

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P.S. super aware that those eggs aren’t soft boiled but to me fried eggs >>>> soft-boiled because I don’t like how Jell-o-y the egg white situation is for soft-boiled eggs.

 

If you have never had pandan before the taste is hard to describe but I think nutty is a good approximation. It’s quite good and I recommend you try to find real pandan leaves or reallyyy good extract. I looked in my local Asian markets and could not source any, was about to buy a whole goddamn pandan plant online but then decided to go with this only semi-sketchy looking fresh pandan listing I found on Amazon that was much cheaper than the other fresh pandan options. Luckily they were totally legit and in a couple days I got a clear plastic bag with my little pandan leaves. Although the outer ones were a little brown and sad-looking the inner ones were a shiny, unblemished deep dark green.

 

I found that the best way to make super smooth but flavourful kaya was to grind up the pandan leaves and make a concentrated paste but for a lovely spreadable texture to use egg yolks only but then add some cornstarch to keep the whole thing together. And as much as I love whole wheat-flax-sprouted-whatever type breads, the kaya really tastes best on a plain toasted square of good ol’ pre-sliced white bread.

 

Kaya Jam

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RECIPE:
Kaya Jam
Makes one small jar

 

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 cup of full-fat coconut cream
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1/4-1/2 cup raw granulated sugar (depending on how sweet you want it)
  • 3 fresh pandan leaves (or good pandan extract)
  • 2 tablespoon water mixed with 1 1/2 tablespoons corn starch

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Whisk 1/4 cup of the coconut cream with the egg yolks until fully incorporated.
  2. Meanwhile, put 1/4 cup of the sugar over a sauce pan over medium low heat and cook until caramelized. Once the sugar is caramelized, slowly add the rest of the coconut cream and the pandan leaves.
  3. Whisk the coconut cream until the caramelized sugar is fully mixed in.
  4. Slowly drizzle in the coconut cream and egg yolk mixture in as well, whisking continuously.
  5. Let the whole thing cook for 15 minutes until slightly thickened, stirring the whole time.
  6. At this point add the mixture of water and cornstarch and cook for another 3-5 minutes until it has a custard like texture.
  7. Taste for sweetness and if necessary add more sugar to taste. Stir to dissolve extra sugar if any was added.
  8. Remove from heat and pour into a blender, leaves and all.
  9. Blend until smooth and leaves are mostly shredded into small pieces.
  10. Finely strain the whole mixture into jars. Let cool and then keep in the refrigerator.

 

Kaya Jam

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Kaya Jam

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Note that in most recipes you just infuse the pandan leaves in the cream but here I like to blend them in and then strain out the fibrous part to get a stronger pandan flavor. The combination of caramel, coconut, pandan and the silky custard texture is completely addictive. Spread it on top of buttered toasted white bread and served with some soft boiled eggs + dark soy sauce and hot coffee with sweetened condensed milk and you have a breakfast that feels both exotic yet oddly familiar.

 

Singaporean Breakfast

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Alternatively this flavour combination also makes a crazy, interesting, sweet and salty ice cream sandwich.

 

I started with a base of Snixy Kitchen’s Vegan Vanilla Bean Coconut Milk Ice Cream but you could use any vanilla or coconut flavoured ice cream you have on hand. To that I swirled in kaya jam, a quick egg zabaglione and soy sauce caramel. Once incorporated I stuck it back in the freezer to firm up. The ice cream was then sliced and sandwiched between two hot slices of toasted Hawaiian bread buttered on both sides.

 

It’s a bit odd but if you are the kind of person that enjoys salty + sweet combos and adventurous ice cream flavors it might just be your cup of tea.

 

Singapore Breakfast Ice Cream Sandwich

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RECIPE:
Singaporean Breakfast Ice Cream Sandwich
Makes 4

 

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 cups of vanilla or coconut flavoured ice cream
  • 1/2 cup of kaya jam
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 5 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons dark soy sauce

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Fill a small pan with water and let the water reach a simmer.
  2. In a separate sauce pan, Heat up 3 tablespoons of the sugar over medium heat until caramelized. Remove from heat and add in the soy sauce. Quickly whisk to incorporate. Once mixed, set aside and let cool.
  3. In a separate stainless steel bowl whisk 2 egg yolks with 2 tablespoons of sugar. Set over the simmering water and beat the mixture until it is hot and forms thick ribbons, about 3-5 minutes. Let cool.
  4. Remove the ice cream from the freezer and let warm until it is softened and malleable (but not completely melted).
    Swirl in the kaya jam, cooled zabaglione and cooled soy sauce caramel.
  5. Put back in the freezer to firm up.
  6. Once ready to serve butter one side of 4 slices of white Hawaiian bread and toast on a pan until golden.
    Place on plate toasted side down and scoop or slice the ice cream onto the untoasted side. Place the other slice on top (toasted facing outwards) and then press down. Slice each ice cream sandwich in half.

 

Singaporean Breakfast Ice Cream Sandwich

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Singaporean Breakfast Ice Cream Sandwich

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Singaporean Breakfast Ice Cream Sandwich

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Singaporean Breakfast Ice Cream Sandwich

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Singaporean Breakfast

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I left the coffee out because it felt like one too many things going on but if you think the soy caramel might not be your thing you could always make it a coffee caramel….OR even make a soy sauce and coffee caramel?? Although I really have to say I can’t wholeheartedly back that one. That just might be the ice cream sandwich line.

 

Singaporean Breakfast Ice Cream Sandwich

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Parker Palm Springs

An alternate title would be “Palm Springs – 96.4% Hanging out at the Parker Palm Springs”. But with such a lovely hotel with multiple pools, shady secret garden-esque pathways, and the best breakfast + sweltering hot temperatures that made walking to the Vons across the street feel like Bear Grylls trying his luck in the Sahara desert (minus his crafty way to keep cool in the hot sun (don’t click on that link)), can you blame us.

 

Parker Palm Springs

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Parker Palm Springs

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Parker Palm Springs

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Parker Palm Springs

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Parker Palm Springs

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Parker Palm Springs

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Parker Palm Springs

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Even though going in the middle of the summer to the desert can be trying (re: really f*cking hot), it’s also when you find the best deals – obviously these are related. And Palm Springs always has just enough things to do that even on the 362 days of the year when Coachella is not happening its not a bore at all. But at the same time not too many things: so it feels ok to ignore everything and just hang out by the pool all day. I can’t tell you how many times we made plans to go on a hike to Mt. San Jacinto and after reading the warnings about bringing ‘as much water as you can carry’, re-applying sunblock ‘every hour’ and ‘possible rattlesnake sightings’, we just sighed, put our phones down and reclined the pool chairs another notch to settle in for the day.

 

And there are few better places to settle in for the day (or for a couple days) than the Parker Palm Springs. There is Norma’s (of ‘Best Foods I Ever Ate’ chocolate loaf cake French toast tower fame), there is croquet, there is petanque (like bocce but more French), there is giant chess, there are not one but two pools (one adult only for those who don’t want to be disturbed/delighted by the high pitched peels of joy emitted by small people as they cannon bomb into the pool), there is an adult lemonade stand, there are well-decorated chilly air conditioned rooms, there is a bar tiled with floor-to-ceiling green marble, there are bunnies and there are tons of bougainvillea lazily drooping over everything. And the service was entirely lovely. We were worried since it was a more posh hotel that the staff would follow suit but everyone from the valet to the front desk and our cheery server at Norma’s was entirely pleasant. We will definitely be back. When the temperatures dip below 100F.

 

(but it’s dry heat says every person ever)

 

Parker Palm Springs

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Parker Palm Springs

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Parker Palm Springs

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Parker Palm Springs

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Parker Palm Springs

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Parker Palm Springs

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Parker Palm Springs

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Parker Palm Springs

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Parker Palm Springs

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Parker Palm Springs

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Parker Palm Springs

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Parker Palm Springs

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Parker Palm Springs

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Parker Palm Springs

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Parker Palm Springs

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Parker Palm Springs

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Parker Palm Springs

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Parker Palm Springs

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Parker Palm Springs

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Parker Palm Springs

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Parker Palm Springs

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Parker Palm Springs

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Parker Palm Springs

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Parker Palm Springs

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Parker Palm Springs

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Parker Palm Springs

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Parker Palm Springs

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Parker Palm Springs

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Norma’s

 

We had brunch at Norma’s the second we got there and then again the next day. Virtually everything we got there was delicious and in fact we pretty much just re-ordered the exact same thing the next day. Except for switching the shared chocolate cake French Toast tower (the very aptly named Chocolate Decadence French Toast – did we mention it includes strawberries, pistachio, Valhrona chocolate sauce and whipped cream) for the slightly healthier albeit less aptly named Waz-Za? Which yes the question mark is part of the name and it is a waffle topped with brûléed bananas and fruit. I was especially fond of the Upstream Eggs Benedict with smoked salmon on blinis, a tiny dollop of caviar and the most perfect salty wrinkled little roast potatoes. The boys loved their Scrambled Eggs and Bacon Breakfast Quesadilla with Monterey Jack cheese, guac, and salsa on the side. My sister got the Normalita’s Huevos Rancheros which I thought could have used a bit more beans but still was very filling. The cold brew coffee was also excellent. Note that brunch is a tad pricy with most dishes starting at 20+ dollars but you get a fair amount of tasty food.

 

Norma's

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Norma's

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Norma's

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Norma's

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Norma's

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Norma's

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Norma's

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Norma's

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Norma's

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LEMONADE:

 

No game of petanque (or whatever, 30 minute period of watching other people play petanque) is complete without an ice cold beverage. Although they suggest a pastis I went with a Lemon Shandy, which felt more appropriate and in my head packs some kind of hydration power. I asked the boys if they were hungry to which I got a resounding no, so I proceeded to order myself a Falafel Sandwich with a side of fries. The falafel was super crispy and together with the very fresh tomatoes and yogurt sauce this was a perfect lunch for one. Although. We all know how this goes right.

 

Lemonade

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Lemonade

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Lemonade

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Lemonade

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Lemonade

Like vultures.

 

Of course afternoons at the Parker are just as, if not more, pleasant than the daytime. Although the sun is gone the temperature cools down and you can hang out in the hammocks (ok there are actually only two and they are hotly contested) or go to the bar for a drink. Or sit by the fire pit for a picture while beads of sweat run down your back and you wonder how long it will take your boyfriend to figure out your camera is on Auto and get the shot so you can get the hell away from any sources of heat. Oh and can you believe it, we actually made it out of the hotel after all. That is after taking our sweet time getting ready and listening to the entirety of the Guardians of the Galaxy soundtrack (with some old school Tupac thrown in there and we could never forget about Dre)

 

Parker Palm Springs

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Parker Palm Springs

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Parker Palm Springs

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Parker Palm Springs

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Parker Palm Springs

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Parker Palm Springs

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Parker Palm Springs

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Parker Palm Springs

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Parker Palm Springs

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Parker Palm Springs

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Parker Palm Springs

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Parker Palm Springs

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Parker Palm Springs

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Parker Palm Springs

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Parker Palm Springs

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Parker Palm Springs

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Miro’s

 

Miro’s is an old school restaurant serving Eastern European classics like beef stroganoff with spaetzle, beef cabbage rolls, pork schnitzel and goulash. You would think it would not make sense in Palm Springs but we love going here and are especially fond of the Scallops Rockefeller and Beef Stroganoff. It’s not trendy or hip in that pseudo-bare bones Ace Hotel way but the food is great, the atmosphere is nice, the service is excellent and the crowd is a bit older than the youths running amock the Saguaro Hotel pool parties. We like it that way. No pictures of the food because it was quite dark and it makes it look not yummy.

 

Miro's

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Miro's

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Miro's

Don’t even know why he looks, he always gets the same thing.

 

Bootlegger Tiki

 

We actually rarely go out in Palm Springs and instead like to conform to what I assume is the predominantly senior demographic and be in bed by 10:30 pm. We made an exception this time and ventured out to Bootlegger Tiki. An awesome little establishment that is hipster coffee shop by day and adjacent no-holds-barred pufferfish lamp fixture tiki haunt by night. The drinks are awesome and the garnishes, fire, dried ice smoke and skull cups are awesome-r. Its a bit packed but nothing crazy. We were trying to sit outdoors but quickly realized that was the smoking spot and 90F temperatures + cigarette smoke do not a pleasant atmosphere make. So we found stools inside and sipped our frosty, flower bedecked drinks as the hum of cocktail shakers and clinking glasses was drowned out by the occasional chants of “One dick for life!” rising from the bachelorette party occupying one of the booths. Fun times. The drink with passion fruit was A+

 

Bootlegger Tiki

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Bootlegger Tiki

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Bootlegger Tiki

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Bootlegger Tiki

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Bootlegger Tiki

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Bootlegger Tiki

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Bootlegger Tiki

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Bootlegger Tiki

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The next morning we spent more time walking around the extensive grounds, bizarrely being followed by a very persistent hummingbird friend. We also finally got some time in the hammocks, I saw a free one and practically sprinted then dive-bombed onto it to hoard it until the rest of our group made it. It was also too hot to really share the hammock with anyone for too long so maybe that’s why they were so conspicuously empty. Still makes for a nice photo op though.

 

Parker Palm Springs

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Parker Palm Springs

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Parker Palm Springs

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Parker Palm Springs

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Parker Palm Springs

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Parker Palm Springs

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Parker Palm Springs

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Parker Palm Springs

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Parker Palm Springs

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Parker Palm Springs

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Parker Palm Springs

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Parker Palm Springs

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Oh and I’ve always wanted to stop by those dinosaurs they have off the 106 and we did and it was disappointing and crowded and the Burger King had a long line and flies and their orange soda tasted watered down. Do not recommend.

 

Palm Springs

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Palm Springs

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World Curry

Last week I was fortunate enough to attend an event World Curry put together for their 20th anniversary. It had been ages since I had been to World Curry, when I was in college this was a frequent stop for Panang Curry and Thai tea and it was lovely to re-visit after so many years. Bruce and Momo got their inspiration for the restaurant from Momo’s native Japan where they often saw homesick Americans had a fondness for curry dishes. They have been operating this restaurant for 20 years – which in PB years is realistically probably 200 years with so many restaurants that come and go in this busy area. Their idea was to open an ethnic restaurant that wasn’t an ethnic restaurant so people wouldn’t feel intimidated walking in and trying a completely foreign dish whether it was super spicy Phaal curry or meltingly tender Indonesian beef rendang.

 

They created a 3 course set menu for their 20th anniversary and they will be serving this menu for $20 from August 10th-30th, 4-8 pm. Even though nearly any 3 course menu is a steal, you get to sample a variety of appetizers and 2 types of curries. We had a great time at the event and loved hearing the story of how this small local institution got its start :)

 

World Curry

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World Curry Menu

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World Curry

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World Curry

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World Curry

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World Curry

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World Curry

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World Curry

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World Curry

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World Curry

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World Curry

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World Curry

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World Curry

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For the first course, the phaal popper had cream cheese and suuuper spicy phaal curry which is apparently even hotter than its more famous brethren, vindaloo curry. Naturally sriracha-addict extraordinaire bf loved this. The veggie pakora was like tempura with a more heavily spiced batter and naan is…naan. The runaway hit of the night were the chicken Tikka tacos that were encased with soft roti bread and dolloped with the creamiest yogurt sauce. As for our entrees, I preferred the smooth pale green Thai curry over the more heavily seasoned tikka masala but nonetheless finished both of these, in the process destroying the neat rice pyramid sitting atop our plates. For the dessert we really liked that the coconut ice cream was made in-house and the banana fritter was fresh out of the fryer,shatteringly crisp on the outside and super hot. We left with full bellies and spicy tingling lips (does this happen to other people as well). Most impressively, although the bf was a self-proclaimed curry hater before attending this event I think he has now fully converted and we cannot wait to try the beef rendang here.

 

Definitely check out Faye, Mary and Lynn’s posts on this event too!

 

A big thanks to Amanda from Passion Roots PR who set up this whole event and to the DD who delivered us safely there and back, cup of vino in hand. How can we ever repay you for delivering us from the hell that is trying to find parking in PB.

 

The DD

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We were invited to this event at no cost, but as always all opinions are our own.

 

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