With the flourishing of new restaurants and cafes, we at times tend not to visit our old haunts, those timeless places. One of those for my generation is Tastebud restaurant. This place has been well-known for its exceptional custom-made cakes and its variety of cheesecakes particularly the Nutella Cheesecake as well as their platters. I remember it was one of the first places to have its own Red Velvet Milkshake. I loved it ! In addition to this, their ambience and interior design is always a favorite.
As we were going through offers in various restaurants on Facebook, we came across what Tastebud has to offer. The 'Oven-Baked Platter' caught our eye, and we placed a reservation with our choice of platter, although not before some interchanging with the drinks and desserts offered with their 2 other platters (I’ll list them at the end of the article).
As we entered, we found that it was ‘house full’. We were served our platters few minutes before the azaan for Maghrib. It included BBQ Chicken Pizza, Spicy Bruschetta, Lasagna, Poutine, Nutella Mini Cheesecake, Watermelon Juice, Dates and Water. As it arrived, the fantastic smell of cheese in particular was turning those last few minutes into an agonising wait for my senses I must admit. Food can be sinful at times.
All the items tasted at least satisfactory, as one would expect at Tastebud, but undoubtedly the best time I had was with the pizza. The strong flavor of the barbecued chicken pieces rose above the walls of cheese to win the attention of my tastebuds. The lasagna was okay, not too cheesy. Overall the whole platter was decent. The only problem was that the poutine got cold as I was romancing the pizza. Couldn’t quite blame them for that either.
Tastebud’s iftar platters are priced at Tk 550+ Deep-fried Platter contains Chicken & Wedged Sandwich, Fried Mushroom, Chicken Lollypop, Spicy Chicken Burger, Brownie, Coffee Milkshake.
Stir-fried Platter contains Stir Fried Rice, Chicken Chili Mexicana, Mongolian Chicken, Cheesy Potato Wedges, Red Velvet Cupcake and Virgin Mojito.
There’s probably no recipe that better showcases salt and pepper working in multiple ways and together than Chinese salt and pepper shrimp, an enticing dish of plump, moist fried shrimp with shells as shatteringly crispy_and appealing to eat_as fried chicken skin, and a killer savory-spicy flavor profile.
A quick salt-rice wine soak improved the shrimp’s texture, plumping them, as well as contributing flavor; the Sichuan peppercorns gave the dish sparkling spice and aromatic piquancy, while black peppercorns provided a straightforward hit of heat.
We added the black peppercorns and Sichuan peppercorns along with cayenne and sugar to the coating and then fried more of the same with ginger and garlic to make a flavorful paste that we tossed the fried shrimp in for great depth. For an extra jolt of spiciness, we also fried a couple of thinly sliced jalapeños.
We like to use frozen shrimp; thaw them overnight in the fridge or under running cold water and blot them dry. Use a Dutch oven that holds 6 quarts or more for this recipe. Serve with steamed white rice.
CRISPY SALT AND PEPPER SHRIMP
Start to finish: 1 hour
1 1/2 pounds shell-on medium-large shrimp (31 to 40 per pound)
2 tablespoons Chinese rice wine or dry sherry
2 1/2 teaspoons black peppercorns, coarsely ground
2 teaspoons Sichuan peppercorns, coarsely ground
2 teaspoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
4 cups vegetable oil
5 tablespoons cornstarch
2 jalapeno chiles, stemmed, seeded, and sliced into 1/8 inch-thick rings
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
2 scallions, sliced thin on bias
Shredded iceberg lettuce
Adjust oven rack to upper-middle position and heat oven to 225 F. Set wire rack in rimmed baking sheet and line large plate with triple layer of paper towels. Toss shrimp with rice wine and 1 teaspoon salt in large bowl and let sit at room temperature for 15 minutes. Combine black peppercorns, Sichuan peppercorns, sugar, and cayenne in small bowl.
Heat oil in large Dutch oven over medium heat until oil registers 385 F. Meanwhile, drain shrimp and pat dry with paper towels; wipe bowl dry with paper towels. Transfer shrimp to now-empty bowl, add 3 tablespoons cornstarch and 1 tablespoon peppercorn mixture, and toss until well coated.
Carefully add one-third of shrimp to hot oil and fry, stirring occasionally to keep shrimp from sticking together, until light brown, 2 to 3 minutes. Adjust burner, if necessary, to maintain oil temperature between 375 F and 385 F. Using wire skimmer or slotted spoon, transfer shrimp to prepared plate and let drain briefly. Transfer shrimp to prepared rack and keep warm in oven. Return oil to 385 F and repeat frying shrimp in 2 more batches, re-tossing each batch thoroughly with coating mixture before frying. Line plate with clean paper towels as needed.
Return oil to 385 F. Toss jalapeno rings with remaining 2 tablespoons cornstarch in separate bowl. Shake off excess cornstarch, then carefully add jalapeño rings to oil and fry until crisp, 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer jalapeno rings to prepared plate. After frying, reserve 2 tablespoons frying oil.
Heat reserved oil in 12 inch skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add garlic, ginger, and remaining peppercorn mixture and cook, stirring occasionally, until mixture is fragrant and just beginning to brown, about 45 seconds. Add shrimp, scallions, and 1/2 teaspoon salt and toss to coat. Line serving platter with shredded lettuce. Arrange shrimp on platter and sprinkle with jalapeno rings. Serve immediately.
Nutrition information per serving: 370 calories; 251 calories from fat; 28 g fat (2 g saturated; 1 g trans fats); 143 mg cholesterol; 729 mg sodium; 11 g carbohydrate; 1 g fiber; 2 g sugar; 16 g protein.
London, May 18 (AP/UNB) — It's been an eventful first year of marriage for Prince Harry and the former Meghan Markle, now known formally as the Duchess of Sussex.
The besotted couple wed on May 19, 2018 before rapt crowds outside of Windsor Castle, with one of the largest TV audiences ever assembled.
The couple was lucky enough to enjoy beautiful spring weather on their wedding day. They made the best of it by taking a carriage ride through Windsor.
They maintained a frenetic pace of official engagements until Meghan withdrew from most royal duties in March ahead of the birth of their first child, Archie, who was born this month.
Harry and Meghan have also moved from central London to a more secluded location near Windsor Castle in a quest for privacy.
Cannes, May 17 (AP/UNB) — Elton John and his biopic "Rocketman" landed Thursday at the Cannes Film Festival, where the 72-year-old pop star came dressed in a tuxedo with "Rocket Man" emblazoned on the back and regaled attendees with an after-party performance on the beach.
John, an executive producer of the film, hadn't spoken much about the movie before it made its premiere at Cannes. But donning heart-shaped, red-tinted glasses he gave the movie his hearty blessing Thursday. At the post-premiere party, he called it "an emotional night."
"Even if the movie doesn't make one penny at the box office — which will kill (Paramount Pictures chief) Jim Gianopulos — it is the movie I wanted to make," John said from the stage.
At the party John performed "I'm Still Standing" before being joined by Taron Egerton, who plays him in the film for a rendition of "Rocket Man." Egerton was visibly moved to tears after the premiere.
"Rocketman" is directed by Dexter Fletcher who also took over directing duties on last year's hit music biopic, "Bohemian Rhapsody," after Bryan Singer departed mid-production.
"Rocketman" isn't so dissimilar from "Bohemian Rhapsody." It's a glossy music-stuffed biopic with a star-making turn from Egerton. But "Rocketman" is R-rated and less cautious about its star's homosexuality.
Paramount Pictures hopes "Rocketman" can also mimic the box office of "Bohemian Rhapsody." It grossed $903 million worldwide.
A separate war: Pioneering black Marines endured, prevailed
Washington, May 16 (AP/UNB) — A federal judge is siding with public health groups suing the Food and Drug Administration to begin reviewing thousands of e-cigarettes on the U.S. market.
The ruling handed down Wednesday in district court states that the agency shirked its legal duty when it postponed reviewing all U.S. vaping products by several years.
The American Academy of Pediatrics, Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids and other groups filed the federal lawsuit in Maryland last year. The groups say the lack of FDA oversight has led to an explosion in underage vaping by teenagers, threatening to hook a generation of Americans on nicotine.
"It is now the FDA's responsibility to take immediate action to protect our kids and require manufacturers to apply to the FDA if they want to keep their products on the market," the groups said in a statement.
E-cigarettes are nicotine-emitting devices that have grown into a multibillion-dollar industry in the U.S. despite little research on their long-term health effects, including whether they are useful in helping smokers quit cigarettes.
The FDA gained authority to regulate the products in 2016, but it has allowed thousands of products to remain on the market without formal rules or product standards. The agency says that both FDA staff and manufacturers need more time to prepare for regulation.
The public health groups have warned that the lack of oversight could undo decades of anti-tobacco efforts as young people migrate toward newer vaping products.
U.S. Judge Paul Grimm agreed, calling the FDA's delay "so extreme as to amount to an abdication of its statutory responsibilities."
FDA spokesman Michael Felberbaum said in an emailed statement that the agency is reviewing the court decision and "will continue to tackle the troubling epidemic of e-cigarette use among kids." The agency will have the option of appealing the decision.
Gregory Conley of the American Vaping Association said the government "must appeal this ruling" to "protect adult access to less harmful alternatives to cigarettes."
Under President Donald Trump's FDA commissioner, Scott Gottlieb — who departed last month — the FDA said it would not require e-cigarette manufacturers to submit their products for review until 2022. Shortly before stepping down Gottlieb moved the deadline up to 2021.
But Grimm's ruling suggests the FDA must move much faster. He calls for the health groups and the FDA to submit plans for moving forward with product reviews within 30 days.
Wednesday's ruling follows a similar decision last September, when a federal judge said the FDA must move ahead with adding graphic warning labels to cigarette packs. The FDA was required to take that step under a 2009 law, but the process has been bogged down by legal challenges from tobacco companies.
"The courts are clearly pushing FDA — at behest of medical and consumer groups — to step up their regulatory pressure on industry," said Marc Scheineson, a former FDA official who now advises companies with the law firm Alston & Bird.
Scheineson said he expects the FDA to argue that it doesn't have the resources to process the flood of applications that industry would submit if the ruling is enforced.
The FDA and most health experts agree that e-cigarettes are likely less harmful than traditional cigarettes because they don't produce the cancer-causing byproducts of burning tobacco. But there is little research on their long-term health effects, particularly for young people.
Nicotine is what makes both cigarettes and e-cigarettes addictive, and health experts say the chemical is harmful to developing brains.
Separately on Wednesday, North Carolina's attorney general announced the first state lawsuit against e-cigarette giant Juul, which dominates the U.S. vaping market.