Saturday, August 30, 2014

Is a Cronut All It's Cracked Up to Be?

No I didn't even try to get anywhere near a cronut while I was in New York. I don't know if the lines are still as long as they were when it first came out -- in fact I don't even know if the cronut still a thing -- but the fact remains that wherever one may be on this planet, waiting in line for several hours for a pastry cannot possibly be the best use of one's time. Well that's just my two cents. I have wondered about the cronut though, is it really as good as they say it is? Could it actually be worth the wait?

Photo by ccho

According to this young woman's experience, it may not be worth the hype... but then again how often is anything really worth the hype? As she aptly points out, "it’s hard to be satisfied with anything when you’ve been waiting for nearly three hours." Check out her full review. Personally, I'm kind of glad I didn't even try visiting Dominique Ansel's bakery in NYC.

Shake Shack

OK so you know that ridiculous burger craze they're currently experiencing here? One burger joint opening after another, all labelling themselves "gourmet burgers", all ridiculously overpriced, and most important of all, each and every one of them pretty much failing miserably at making anything that even vaguely resembles an actual burger? I don't know, but if I happened to own any of these burger joints I'd be just a little embarrassed that some basic burger chain in the U.S. produces burgers that are on the one hand fairly unexceptional yet on the other hand way better than anything we experience on this side of the pond.

I don't know if I'm conveying this properly, Shake Shack's burgers are fine. In fact they're pretty good. They're just nothing special. Yet somehow, at $4.75 a pop, they're better than anything you could have anywhere in or near Geneva. And that, my friends, is just sad. Just sayin'.

Anyhoo, while in New York, I had a few meals at Shake Shack, it's fairly inexpensive and one of their locations happens to be in Grand Central, fairly close to Murray Hill, where I was staying. If I lived in New York, I doubt I'd be craving Shake Shack on a regular basis, but they make a fairly decent burger, and it gets the job done. Also their hand-cut fries are actually quite good.

I guess I hadn't traveled much of late because somehow I was under the impression that Luigia came up with the concept of the buzzer as a way to let you know your food or your table was ready, but it turns out Shake Shack lets you know your order is ready in very much the same way. I don't know who started using buzzers in the restaurant business first, but anyway, it's a fairly effective approach if you ask me.

The ShackBurger. It's good, it's filling and it isn't expensive, especially compared to the ridiculous amounts we pay for burger imitation here. Oh and also, the bun is soft... why can they never make a soft bun here?? OK I'll stop ranting now.

Shake Shack's crinkle cut cheese fries. I think more and more locations are opting for hand cut fries and the latter are definitely better. I eventually started skipping the cheese, it's a little overkill in my opinion. And as you may have guessed, it tastes a little less than fresh and/or organic.

I had a lemonade that day, one of my favorite drinks, yet so very hard to come by in Geneva. While very common in the U.S., Starbucks seems to be one of the few places that lets you decide how sweet you want your beverage, otherwise, I hope you like your drinks very, VERY sweet... which I kind of don't. Still though, what can I say, I just love lemonade!

Your orders will come in cardboard boxes... now please don't get any ideas, Genevan burger joints, this works well for cheap chain restaurants, not for the "gourmet" label and prices you're trying to convince us are even remotely justified! Oh right, I said I'd stop ranting... OK please scratch that, there may be more ranting.

Anyway, back to our topic, you can also order hot dogs at Shake Shack's, the $4 Shack-cago dog variety comes buried under relish, onions, cucumber, pickles, tomatoes and mustard among another things. It isn't bad. Worth trying. This order also happened to include hand cut cheese fries. One order of fries is more than enough to feed two in my opinion.

Shake Shack are also known for their milkshakes which are actually pretty good. This is their black and white shake, and I really enjoyed it!

The day I left, I had a Shake Shack meal at their JFK location. Bye bye Shake Shack! You're nothing revolutionary and yet every single burger joint in Geneva could learn a thing or 12 from you.

NYC is supposed to be one of the most expensive cities in the world, probably on par with Geneva. I'll let you be the judge of what you'd pay in Geneva for a burger, fries and a large beverage -- the kind that doesn't come from McDonald's that is.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Katz's Delicatessen

For my New York Series reviews, I'm going to kick things off with one of New York's most iconic delis. Located in the Lower East Side of Manhattan, Katz's is now famous the world over for its pastrami sandwiches among other things! It's definitely one of those touristy things you do when you go to New York so I figured I would pay them a little visit even though I usually tend to go to delis that are closer to my neck of the woods when I'm in the city.

Like just about everything worth doing in New York, you have to wait in line to get what you came for at Katz's. However, the counter is a super busy area, and just looking around can be something of an entertaining experience, not to mention the gentleman preparing your sandwich will probably give you a couple of pieces of pastrami to sample while you're waiting. And frankly, I just enjoyed standing around and taking in all of the sights, smells and sounds at the counter including the assortment of pickles, breads and condiments (mainly mustard) coming in from all around me.

And then finally, after the wait, you're rewarded with the beautiful piece of art that is the Katz pastrami on rye. Your sandwich will come with complimentary pickles, and as I will no doubt keep repeating throughout my New York series, I love me some good pickles!

Katz's world famous pastrami on rye with just a hint of mustard. If this isn't one of the most beautiful sandwiches on earth, I don't know what is!

Pickles, pickles, pickles... I heart pickles!

Truth be told, after the first half of my sandwich, I was kind of stuffed, but hey, when in New York and whatnot... so I went ahead and finished it.

So during my vacation I only went to Katz's the one time, but boy oh boy, it was worth it! To be completely honest though, I wasn't overly impressed with the quality of their rye. I wouldn't give anyone in Geneva a pass for serving sub-par quality bread, and I have a strict "no double standards" rule on! Do the contents of the sandwich make up for unimpressive bread? Absolutely! Nothing in Geneva is even close to being in the same league as the deliciousness of that pastrami. But when you have something that close to sandwich perfection, in my opinion, it's just a tad disappointing to skimp on bread quality.

Overall though? Thumbs up! Highly recommended!

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

I'm on Instagram!

You can now follow me on Instagram where I will be posting photos of my food-related adventures on a regular basis.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

The GVA Foodie Goes to New York!

Well my dear friends, all work and no play makes the GVA Foodie a dull girl, so I decided to take some time off and enjoy a few days in one of the world's most iconic destinations: New York City. Now it's fun to be in New York for numerous reasons and you know food is definitely one of them! So if you stick around, I'll be posting individual reviews of the different places I visited and the different eats I definitely enjoyed!

I hadn't been to New York in a while, so you know, a couple of stops by Dunkin' were inevitable. Not something you should be eating every day, but if your last visit was several years ago, maybe having a few doughnuts here and there isn't all that bad...?

This isn't going to make me sound very young, but there was a time in the '80s/'90s when you could pretty much walk into any pizza by the slice joint in NYC and enjoy something vaguely resembling an authentic New York style pizza. Those days seem long gone, and now a little research may be required to locate the places that still make these gems.

A trip to New York City without stopping by its very own Katz Deli for a pastrami on rye? No way!

Levain's Bakery on the Upper West Side makes the most sinfully delicious cookies. I can't wait to post my review!

Rice gelato at Macy's Stella restaurant... wait, rice gelato? I am sooooooo in! Hope this delectable treat makes its way here someday soon.

Magnolia Bakery is known for its wonderful cupcakes, not to mention its famous banana pudding. Guaranteed to satisfy your sweet tooth!

New York is also home to many burger joints with sides of onion rings on many a menu.

Manhattan will also serve up some of the most exquisite Italian food in the world. Fresh ingredients, Mediterranean flavors and a great atmosphere to boot... how can you go wrong?

But maybe Chinese food is what you were craving? I loved these scallion pancakes and wish they'd make that kind of thing here more often.

More deli sandwiches in NYC -- corned beef on a roll that particular night.

Shake Shack has many locations around the city, and they know their way around a burger, fries or even a hot dog if that's what you fancy!

So please stay tuned, I will be posting a number of reviews in the next couple of weeks, and I hope you'll enjoy them.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Globus Food Court

It's 3 pm and you're looking for a place to grab a quick bite in Geneva -- where can you go? The truth of the matter is there aren't that many places serving food at that time of the day around these parts. Globus' food court is a sure bet though. Whether you're craving a burger, Italian antipasti or a crepe, the various eateries located in Geneva's flagship store will come to the rescue. Now is that to say the food provided is good value for money or even particularly good? I wouldn't go quite so far, but in a city like Geneva, you take what you can get at 3 pm.

Giolito Mango Ice Cream

I don't typically review store bought items on this blog just because I don't have very much interest in writing about products one can purchase at the supermarket -- be it a high-end and some might say overpriced supermarket -- but I thought I'd make an exception just this one time for Giolito's product line of ice cream. I had the mango sorbet the other day, and I have to say for a store bought sorbet, it was kind of delicious! Rich and creamy in a way I just didn't expect.

Do you like Giolito ice cream?

Friday, August 1, 2014

Indian Food Festival at Hotel d'Angleterre's Windows Restaurant

This week I was fortunate enough to be invited to a tasting of Hotel d'Angleterre's highly prestigious annual Indian Food Festival. However, as I was unable to make the event due to a prior engagement, one of my fellow foodies kindly attended in my stead. And judging by what she told me and the pictures she took, I am seriously starting to regret not being there in person.

In fact, had I not planned a vacation during the very dates the festival is being held, I would have definitely made it a point to find a suitable date between July 30 and August 16 to go and enjoy what is clearly a unique selection of Indian fusion dishes currently offered at Hotel d'Angleterre's Windows restaurant. I definitely hope I'll get an opportunity to do so the next time the festival is held.

For those of you who would like to enjoy an Indian fusion meal at Hotel d'Angleterre, the annual 2014 Indian Food Festival is being held from July 30 to August 16. For more information on Hotel d'Angleterre, you can visit their website.

So exceptionally this review is by my friend and fellow Genevan foodie, but before we get to her description of the evening, I just want to add that she happens to have visited India numerous times over the years and is therefore particularly familiar with Indian cuisine. Furthermore, I often take restaurant recommendations from her because I trust her judgement, and somehow, she always seems to know where to go -- in fact, stay tuned for an upcoming review based on one of her recommendations!

For the purpose of this post, each photo will be accompanied by my friend's comments.

Mango Lassi

A lassi is a traditional, yogurt-based drink served in India and its surrounding countries. Unlike some of the disappointing lassis served at other establishments in the city, the mango lassi served at the Indian Food Festival was as fresh as it was delicious. Definitely a winner!

Selection of starters

The evening's guests were then treated to the following assortment of starters: 

Prawn Kalimiri, a crispy fried shrimp flavored with white, green and pink peppercorns. Not for the faint of heart -- it is quite spicy.

Pudhina Tala Murgh, grilled chicken served with lemon, ginger, chili pepper and dried mint and other Indian spices.

Channa Chaat, a spicy chickpea salad with mint and tamarind chutney, sweetened yoghurt and pomegranates. 

In keeping with the fusion theme, starters also include perch fillets marinated in traditional Indian spices.


An Indian classic. Can you really have an Indian meal without a traditional side of raita? This dish really hit the spot and was the perfect complement to the spicier dishes served.

Chicken Pepper Masala

A spicy chicken dish served in a traditional Indian Masala sauce. 

Biryani and Saffron Pulao

In addition to many other side and main dishes, two types of rice were served, you can enjoy a dish of Biryani, an aromatic rice that can come with your choice of vegetables, prawns, chicken or lamb. Alternatively, you can also order the Saffron Pulao, a rice cooked in cumin and -- as you may have guessed -- saffron. 

Sorse Maacch

The sea bream cooked in a special yoghurt sauce was  one of the highlights of the meal. It was cooked to perfection and a genuine delight for the taste buds! Highly recommended!

Various menu items including fish, two types of rice, lamb and potatoes were served at the media dinner.


Attendees were also invited to visit the restaurant's kitchen, which is equipped with a tandoor, a special oven used extensively in India and its neighboring countries. Naan is traditionally made in a tandoor.

Chocolate Naan

Again, to honor the fusion aspect of the festival, special items are included on the menu such as this naan topped with chocolate-hazelnut and slivered almonds.

 Mango Panna

The dessert menu also includes a delicious financier cake topped with a scoop of lime and vanilla sherbet served in a special mango soup.

Overall, the Indian Food Festival is definitely worth a visit. The food is delicious, the menu manages to be both original and traditional and the service at Hotel d'Angleterre is top-notch. It is therefore no mystery this establishment is a member of the Leading Hotels of the World.

Gopal, the chef at the Indian Food Festival who came especially from London for the event, also deserves a special mention for preparing the exquisite dishes we savored with such delight.