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 V.13 No.9 | February 26 - March 3, 2004 

The Dish

All the News That's Fit to Eat

Yashoda Naidoo does that Ayurvedic voodoo so well! The owner of Annapurna Chai House told me that she expects to have a third location of her popular vegetarian/Indian/ayurvedic restaurants open by early April. Right now there is one at San Mateo and Copper and another at Silver and Yale. After months of searching, she finally settled on the perfect location (2120 Juan Tabo NE at Menaul), close to the Ayurvedic Institute. Students at the Institute, Naidoo says, have long been requesting an Annapurna nearby. This will be a relatively small space, with only about 30 seats. Naidoo is planning a trip to India in March to pick up supplies for the restaurant and to scout for ayurvedic cooks who can help take some of the kitchen work off of her shoulders.

Sisters are cooking it for themselves at Graze (Central and Bryn Mawr, 268-4729) where Chefs Jennifer James and sister Kelly Burton are hosting a benefit for Women Chefs and Restaurateurs on Thursday, March 4. WCR is an organization that promotes the education and advancement of women in the restaurant industry by providing scholarships and mentoring programs. From Feb. 15 through Mar. 15, a series of 80 benefit dinners will be held across the country. The Graze dinner is the only one scheduled for New Mexico. Tempting menu items include five onion-walnut soup with Fontina crouton, beet ravioli with Sweetwoods goat cheese cream sauce, roasted vegetable lasagne with smoked tomato sauce. The cost of $80 per person includes wines from Sterling Vineyards, tax and gratuity. Call for reservations.

Café Dalat, perhaps the city's most elegant Vietnamese café (Central just east of San Mateo, 266-5559) is now serving beer and wine. I stopped in last week for an unusual but scrumptious plate of spicy pork chops, fried egg, egg roll and tofu and noticed not only bottles in the wine rack behind the counter but also a local wine salesman dining a few tables away. Owner Trong Nguyen is stocking Tsingtao, Kirin, Coors and Coors Light beers but unfortunately the only Vietnamese beer he could track down is only available in California; distributors here don't stock the brew known as “33”. More interestingly, he's got about eight attractive wines by the bottle—and none of them has the word Chablis on it. The house wines, available by the glass are Sutter Home but Nguyen's favorite (and the most expensive wine at $40) on his list is a Franciscan Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon.

It's all about positive reinforcement. You help me out by passing on your restaurant news and I reward you with a gift certificate to Al's New York Pizza Department or Page One Wine Bar and Café. E-mail your tasty tidbits to food@alibi.com, call 346-0660 ext. 245 or fax 256-9651.

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