Category Archives: FOOD

Gluten intolerance leads to the discovery of Risotteria in NYC

By Lakshmi:

Siddhi was recently diagnosed with gluten intolerance and living in NYC surrounded by some of the best Italian restaurants is sheer torture!  Till of course the discovery of Risotteria in Greenwich Village last night.  The place is a mecca for those with a similar challenge, doling out pretty much every dish on the menu in a gluten-free version, rightfully earning their stripes as “The Gluten Free Pioneers of America.”

It is a small place, able to seat 20 at a time and was packed with a 30 minute wait on a Thursday night!  Already famished at the end of a long day in the city, we bought some banana bread to hold us over till we took the bar seats.  In front of us was the biggest array of gluten-free baking mixes, ranging from croutons to cupcakes, including the Sundar family favorite (red velvet cupcake).

The bread sticks came out first, 3 tall ones in a glass.  Just amazing Italian food, bearing no resemblance to the dense, doughy masses of food that are usually served/sold as celiac friendly.  This was followed by a mozzarella and oven dried tomato pizzette with pesto sauce, a portobello, oven dried tomato and spinach panini and a mozzarella pesto vialone nano risotti.  All well done, with the pizzette being our favorite with just an awesome crust.

Having an avid sweet tooth, we had to eat dessert, the state of our now filled stomachs restricting us to order just the Tiramisu and the toll house cookie, both making us very happy.

You may want to give Risotteria a try even if you have no need to go gluten-free, especially since devouring good food needs no excuses!

Risotteria is located at

270 Bleecker Street

Between 6th and 7th Avenues

Greenwich Village, NYC

Phone: 212-924-6664

Cacio e Pepe – One divine dish across two continents

By: Lakshmi

Cacio e Pepe – A dish that literally translates into “cheese and pepper” was a foreign word in our culinary palate till a recent trip to Rome.  A cousin of a dear friend, a Roman who we had never met picked us up at our hotel and announced that she was taking us to a Trattoria, a family run restaurant frequented only by locals.

The place “Li Scalini De Marisa” was tucked away in a residential area and was packed.  Right away, our hostess insisted that a visit to Rome would be incomplete without trying Cacio e Pepe.  We consented and as the dish appeared, our thoughts were, “What’s the big deal?  It seems to be spaghetti with some cheese and pepper.”  That was before we had our first bite.  And we were in culinary heaven.  The pasta cooked just right, the cheese lovingly embracing each strand with the perfect seasoning of freshly cracked pepper.  Could something this simple be so divine?

Passionate about trying out recipes in my own kitchen, I thought it would be a simple task to recreate such an “easy” dish back home.  But success was elusive.  It did not achieve the magic of that night in Rome.

That was until we ended up in Eataly in NYC….the everything Italian can be savored under one roof concept by Batali and Bastianich.  With an Italian from Milan for company, we decided to order the Cacio e Pepe, expecting it to be a far cry from our Roman experience.  And Eataly did not disappoint.  The Cacio e Pepe was an almost exact rendition of our Roman plate…..the pasta cooked to perfection, the cheese coating each strand perfectly and the pepper oh so freshly cracked.

As a foodie, nothing makes me happier than a great meal and the fact that I can now just head to the city any time and grab a perfect dish of Cacio e Pepe and be transported back to that magical night in Rome makes me smile.

You can savor the Cacio e Pepe in Rome at

Li Scalini De Marisa

Via Roberto De Nobili, 17

00145 Roma

Phone: 06-51601969

And in NYC at


200 5th Avenue

NY, NY 10010

Phone: 212-229-2560

Prima Bruschetteria in Rio de Janeiro

By: Siddhi 

Traditionally, we like eating at hole-in-the-wall kind of places when we travel to truly live the culture we are fortunate enough to be a part of. So we did feel guilty stepping foot (multiple times, admittedly) into Prima Bruschetteria, an Italian restaurant that surely  wasn’t serving us typical Brazilian fare. But the decision to eat at Prima was one that none of us will forget. Not just for some of the best Italian food we’ve eaten outside of Italy, but for the ambience that made us feel like we were living the life we always dreamt of : cafe-hopping people of the city who can enjoy great meals in places that care about quality over anything else and at the same time, soak in the amazing world that surrounds us.

Less than a five minute walk from the coast of Leblon Beach, Prima Bruschetteria is a small restaurant that despite its sleek modern elegance manages to make you feel like you’re eating in your own dining room. When the heat of Rio isn’t overwhelming, you can sit outside the restaurant on bright red barstools and people watch (something nobody can get enough of in a city as culturally rich as Rio). I can’t point my figure on exactly what it was that made Prima so distinct design-wise, but the closest description I can give the place is a diner designed by Ikea. You feel like you’re in a modern getaway, yet at the same time, in a place of comfort.

The food at Prima had some of the freshest Italian flavors I have tasted internationally. The highlight of the restaurant is the same dish the place’s name proudly boasts: their bruschetta. It’s hard to imagine just how good a usual tomato, mozzarella, and basil spread over a slice of bread could get, but the freshness of every item even in something as simple as a bruschetta was very much mood medicine, curing our jet lag, heat-induced moods, and of course,  huge appetites after climbing Sugar Loaf and hiking across Ilha Grande.  The desserts were also standout (although served in somewhat small portions). This is the dessert kid talking here, the one who eats real food just to get to the sugar. The tiramisu was just irresistible.

To reiterate- we understand that eating Italian food if you find yourself in Rio de Janeiro may not be a priority. It certainly wasn’t for us. But sometimes, a sudden craving can lead to a very memorable discovery, as it did for us when we walked into Prima Bruschetteria.

Prima Bruschetteria is located at Rua Rainha Guilhermina, 95 – Leblon  Rio de Janeiro – RJ, 22441-120.

Phone Number: 21 3592-0881

Check their menu out here: