If you are on
a budget but want to “eat” around
the globe, The Traveling Palate at the Kiva Café
in Soho should be your next destination.
Palate is a foodie’s delight, hosted by
cookbook-memoir writer, Jennifer Abadi, and Beebe
Okoye, the founder/owner of Kiva Café.
Abadi and Okoye
met at a workshop when opening a café was
still just a gleam in Okoye’s eye. Their
culinary connection continued and Abadi approached
Okoye with the idea of creating a “tasting”
with food from different regions, a food lover’s
passport. This was the beginning.
Now about once
every four weeks, the Traveling Palate features
tastings from a different region from around the
globe. There is no one way that Abadi and Okoye
choose which region’s food they will promote.
They take suggestions or literally look at a map
when they decide which location to highlight next.
After every tasting they discuss what worked and
what did not work, so no two tastings will ever
be the same.
During the tasting,
Abadi works in the kitchen styling the food while
Okoye serves the dish in nice white mugs to all
of the guests. The night I attended, Okoye brought
out the first tasting - Monlar Oo Thoke (a Daikon
(white radish) Salad with rice vinegar, peanuts,
and fish sauce). This dish had a real kick to
it due to the radishes. It was also garnished
by cilantro, which added to the bold flavor. It
would be perfect as an appetizer.
The second tasting
was tofu with cloves, chili and tamarind. This
dish was simply delicious due to its combination
of flavors. Even someone who is not into tofu
would eat every bite. The tofu absorbs all of
the flavors (especially the chili) to make for
a hearty dish. The dish is similar to Thai food.
The Nga Soke Lone
Hin (fish kofta curry with garlic, ginger, turmeric
and shrimp paste). The third dish was my favorite
tasting of the evening. The texture of the dish
was thick and hearty and reminded me of a soup;
it was comfort food at its finest. The flavors
wove together excellently but the fish and ginger
were the main stand outs of the flavors. The last
dish of the evening was a sweet drink called Moh
Let Saung (tapioca refresher with palm sugar and
coconut milk). This dish was true to its name;
it was very refreshing.
While the food was wonderful, the added attraction
of The Traveling Palate was the people. People
who attended the event came because they missed
home cooking or the wanted to expand their culinary
horizons. Also since the Kiva Café is an
intimate space, it was easy to meet people and
start up a conversation.
Attending the Traveling
Palate is a night of fabulous food, drink and
wonderful conversation in an exotic location that
anyone can have without breaking their bank by
leaving New York. Get ready to pack up your taste
buds; the next stop is Bolivia.
To find out more
about The Traveling Palate, go to www.abadisms.com
Monlar Oo Thoke
Nga Soke Lone Hin
Jennifer Abadi and Beebe