The Bazaar by Jose Andres

One thing (of many) that I love about my in-laws is that they are always up for an adventure, especially when it comes to food. So when they were in town for Vishnu’s graduation, it was one of our goals to take them to unique restaurants they may not try on their own.

That goal coupled with our desire to try The Bazaar by Jose Andres, pushed us to make reservations for Saturday night. The price point for this restaurant is on the higher side, so it worked out well, since this was very much a celebratory meal.

Before I share more about the restaurant and the food, I just want to note that I wasn’t planning on blogging about this meal in detail (never mind an entire post). However, I ended up taking (iPhone) picturess because my in-laws would pause and look at me as each dish arrived to our table. And if someone went to take a bite (usually me) before this happened, they would swat our hands away. They just assumed I’d be blogging about it, so I figured I may as well. So funny! I did edit the pictures to be a little clearer though (the lighting wasn’t the best).

The Bazaar, located inside the SLS hotel in South Beach, is the brainchild of Jose Andres, a world famous Spanish American chef and restaurateur. First of all, the ambiance and décor is beautiful and very chic. Long red curtains, clean white walls, pillars with words written all over them, backlit pictures, candles – love! As soon as you sit down, you know you’re about to have an unforgettable meal.

That brings me to service. Our waiter was nothing short of amazing. He made great suggestions (and told us what not to get), came by to check on us frequently, and really just made us feel like we were the only ones there.

Now for the food! It was…an experience to say the least!

We started with drinks. I ordered a Moscow Mule (vodka and ginger beer), dad got a sea salt foam margarita (interesting concept with the foam), Vishnu got a drink called Big Bison (vodka, cucumber, and lemon), and mom ordered a virgin drink. Everyone was happy with their choices! I may have snuck extra sips of Vishnu’s drink because it was SO refreshing and light.

Our waiter recommended that we order 5-8 tapas style dishes to share, so that’s what we did. Here’s what our order included.

Bazaar_rice cups 
These were rice cups filled with veggies, peanuts, shrimp (for the fish eaters) and topped with a delicious chili sauce. One of my favorite dishes of the night!

This dish was a unique take on the Spanish omelet. The eggs were cooked to a “perfect” 63 degrees, and because they were still liquid in form, we had to stir the mixture first before eating/drinking. Super interesting idea! My father-in-law loved it!

These were endive leaves filled with goat cheese, orange segments, almond dust, and orange dressing. Loved all the different textures and flavors in this dish. And that’s saying a lot since I’m not a huge fan of savory orange dishes.

This was Vishnu’s favorite dish – Japanese baby peaches (the green things), burrata, and hazelnuts. Again, so many different flavors and textures that came together really nicely. The peaches were juicy and sweet while the burrata had a bit of saltiness to it.

Bazaar_Brussels sprouts 
This was the best Brussels sprouts dish I’ve ever had! It included tender and slightly crispy sprout leaves, lemon puree, apricots, grapes, lemon air (I KNOW!), and crushed plantain chips. Delicious doesn’t even begin to describe this dish. It was as if a flavor bomb went off in my mouth and I didn’t want it to stop!

This was a stuffed pepper dish that included goat cheese, some kind of aioli/sauce, and plantain chips. Super flavorful.

Bazaar_sea bass 
I didn’t try this sea bass dish, but everyone else did and thought it was perfection. Vishnu said the fish was buttery and flavorful (due to the fact that it’s cooked in a bag with olives, capers, and a bunch of other stuff). Not going to lie..I was thisclose to being a pescatarian for a few minutes! It looked delicious.

No surprise here but I loved this veggie/quinoa dish (as did my mother-in-law). The quinoa mixture was great, but the tamarind sauce stole the show! It was part sweet and part salty and finger licking good!

Believe it or not, this was a banana mojito dessert. The outside of the banana was frozen solid while the inside was filled with a tart mojito sorbet.

And for the s’mores dessert that stole my heart – dense chocolate cake topped with toasted marshmallow and chocolate sauce (created by lighting a piece of chocolate on fire!) with peanut butter ice cream and caramelized bananas on the side. HEAVEN!

Needless to say, we all left full and happy. I’m so glad we got to share this experience with Vishnu’s parents. If you’re in Miami and looking to celebrate something special with a unique meal, we all highly recommend you try The Bazaar!

Happy Friday!

What’s your go-to restaurant? Special celebration restaurant?

Three Things Thursday (12)

You guys, Vishnu and I are moving in two weeks and two days! Tell me why our apartment looks like we plan to live there forever. Maybe because I feel super confident that we can knock out all the packing in a few days. Let’s hope I’m right!

Anyways, enough about packing, let’s move on to my 12th Three Things Thursday post. Lots going on right now, but I’m choosing to keep it light, fun, and random today. Enjoy!

3 Things Thursday1. Sweeti and Sunay’s wedding!

Friends forever 
We’re so weird!

We’re flying to Detroit tomorrow for my friend Sweeti’s wedding, and I could not be more excited! She’s going to be an absolutely beautiful bride! As for me, I’m pretty much counting on lots of dancing and no sleep…wish me luck!

2. NARS Blush

I went to the mall last week to pick up a graduation present for Vishnu. This mall isn’t very big at all, so before I knew it, I was walking past Sephora. And let’s be honest, there was no way I wasn’t going inside to “browse.” As I was looking around, the NARS makeup section caught my eye. I’ve been in the market for a good blush for a while now, and I remembered my cousin telling me about the NARS Orgasm blush. A quick internet search showed tons of positive reviews and also convinced me that the color would work well on my skin tone.

Thankfully the internet was right! I love this blush. The color is pretty and light and gives the illusion of perfectly flushed cheeks. And the coverage is buildable, which is perfect for people like me who only want a hint of color.

3. Pitch Perfect 2

Pitch Perfect 2

Earlier this week, a group of us went to see Pitch Perfect 2. If you loved the first movie, you’ll definitely like this one. Personally, I think the storyline was better with the first one, but the singing and dancing alone is enough to keep you entertained. And Rebel Wilson is HILARIOUS! I was afraid she was going to be too over the top for me, but I loved her acting. So funny!

Also, there’s a surprise half way through the credits, so if you can, stay until the end. Totally worth it!

And now I wish I knew how to sing…*sigh*

Have a great Thursday!

Your turn to share – what are three things you’ve been thinking about/doing this week! If you’re a blogger, write a post and link back to one or all of the hostesses: Raj from Pink Chai Living, Nisha from Love Laugh Mirch, or Salma from The Write Balance. Then share a link to your post (not your blog’s home page).

Ruchi’s Work-Life Balance

Today we have another guest post from Ruchi that is all about how she balances (or tries her hardest to) her life as a wife, a daughter-in-law, the Head of HR for the family company, and the owner of her own company – Pink by Ruchi.  Phew!  I’m tired just thinking about all of that!

Please welcome my friend Ruchi!

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In preparing for this post, the title I chose has really tested its meaning.  Because I’ll be guest posting over here, it is forcing me to get even more organized and hit deadlines.  Yes, I have goals and lists and tasks I try to accomplish on a daily basis, but when you’re running your own business, there’s a lot of flexibility AND a lot of room to get nothing done.  Throw in living with other people, and you’ve really gotta learn how to balance everything and wear multiple hats.

Okay, I’ll start with the first hat.  I’m a wife.  Now, don’t get me wrong – Jai doesn’t really have many demands.  But, there are still the daily expectations that come along with being in this role.  Does he want his lunch packed or is he going to come home?  Picking up after him and honestly myself.  Handling the few things he’s asked me to take care of.  Making sure we’re getting enough alone time and fulfilling our family and social obligations.

ruchi jai eng ganesh puja
Jai and me during one of our engagement events!

This leads perfectly into my second hat.  I’m a daughter and a sister.  When you live in a joint family, you have to be respectful of everyone’s time, space, and likes/dislikes.  Besides Jai and me, there are 4 other people – my grandmother-in-law (Maa), my father-in-law (Dad), my mother-in-law (Mom) and my sister-in-law (Didi).  So, what I’m trying to get at is we’re dealing with many ages (me being the youngest), personalities and schedules.  It is so nice living in a big family – the support, the full feeling of a home, the traditions, all of it.  Along with this though come quite a few distractions.  Either, I’m helping Mom with house chores (which is a whole other topic in this type of set-up) OR I’ve found myself trying to spend time with Dadi OR we’re stopping everything because Dad and Jai come home for lunch (at different times everyday) OR we have a random visitor OR an artisan shows up – you get the point, right?  And, each day is totally different and unexpected (so it’s difficult to stick to your plan, and I’m a huge planner).

Well, this is a great time for my third hat.  I’m the owner of Pink by Ruchi.  This means I need time to sketch designs, purchase fabric, work on current orders, create my new season line, meet with tailors (who are very unpredictable), be active on social media – once again, you get the point, right?  It’s crazy!  And, as many lists as I have going on, other things always pop up.  And, I know I’m not alone in this – every woman, everywhere in the world deals with this.  WE can ALL relate.

Fabric Shop
Deciding on fabric at a local shop!

Finally, my fourth hat.  I’m the Head of Human Resources for the family business (we grow and manufacture tea).  Jai needed someone part-time who could help him organize and implement certain processes in the company, and with my background from the States, I was the perfect fit in his opinion.  So, I had to figure out when to fit this role in as well.

I decided I would spend the first half of the day at home (splitting up house chores and meeting with tailors, running to fabric stores, etc.), and then the second half would be dedicated to the office (with mainly HR and some Pink by Ruchi work mixed in).  Perfect, right?  I wish.  But, it works ohhhhh, half of the time.  Ha!  Throw in our crazy travel schedule, weekly weddings, monthly pujas (rituals performed in the house on auspicious days), committee meetings and other random things, and I’m lucky if one list actually gets completed!  Hehe, I’m being a little dramatic.

I’m still figuring it all out and learning how to balance my personal needs with my professional ones, and I may not ever have it completely sorted out, but it will work in my little world.  It’s exciting that I get to wear so many hats, and some days I just want to throw them all in the closet, but hey, that’s normal, right?

Side note (because I just can’t help myself):  People in Kolkata refer to the day in 2 parts – either first half or second half.  No one ever wants to give a specific time.  It’s literally like pulling teeth to get an exact meeting time from someone.  The conversation usually goes (I have translated from Hindi):

Me:  What time?
Random Person:  Uhhh, Wednesday.
Me:  What time on Wednesday?
RP:  Uhhh, second half?
Me:  What time in the second half?
RP:  You will be there in the second half?
Me:  Yes, that’s why I asked you ‘what time’?
RP:  Uhhhh, second half, madam.
Me:  I need an exact time.  I have other work.  I am not sitting around for only you.
RP:  Oh, right, right, of course not madam.  Uhhhh, between 2&4?
Me:  That is a two-hour gap.  Will it be 2 or 4 or 3?
RP:  Okay, okay, we will keep it for 4.
Me: OK.  Please call when you are on the way.
Day of, approaching 4:00pm…
RP:  Madam, I am on the way.
Me:  You’re only on the way now?!  You were supposed to be here at 4!
RP:  Madam, I had some problems.  I will be there as soon as possible.
Me:  Okay, fine.  CLICK.

Now, try planning your day!  Well, at least he called!  ‘Til next time!  Thanks for tuning in!  And feel free to follow along on my blog.

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Great post, Ruch!  And I think it’s safe to say that you are not alone in your quest to find balance.  I think that’s something all of us are striving for!

A Celebratory Weekend

This was a huge celebratory weekend for our family!  Vishnu graduated from medical school on Friday.

Vishnu's Med School Graduation 044
Most people don’t know this, but Vishnu’s road to becoming a doctor has been paved with lots of ups and some downs.  He’s worked SO hard to get where he is, and I could not be more proud of him!  I know with 100% certainty that he’s going to be one heck of a doctor, and I can’t wait to start the next chapter in our journey.

The graduation ceremony was beautiful and a little emotional.  I found myself getting teary eyed more than I care to admit.  My favorite part was watching Vishnu get hooded and officially become a doctor.  SO. MANY. EMOTIONS.

Hooding ceremoney
A little blurry but still perfect!

The best part of the weekend was having Vishnu’s parents be a part of it.  I loved seeing them so proud and happy.  This was a huge dream of theirs as well!

Vishnu's Med School Graduation 046
More graduation pics!

P&V graduation
Proud wife!

Vishnu's Med School Graduation 021
Vishnu and Robin!

Vishnu's Med School Graduation 024
Vishnu and the Dean

Vishnu's Med School Graduation 028

Vishnu's Med School Graduation 055
There are two doctors in the family now!

The celebrations didn’t stop there.  In fact, we continued to celebrate all weekend long.  Mostly by eating lots of delicious food, including pizza, tapas, Mexican, Greek, and a super extravagant meal at Baazar (a Jose Andres restaurant in South Beach).  I’ll be blogging about Bazaar very soon!

We couldn’t have asked for a better weekend – spending time with two of our favorite people, delicious food, and perfect weather!

And while we’re excited about everything that’s about to come, both Vishnu and I are also a little sad about leaving Miami…ok, very sad.  It’s such a bittersweet time.  This once foreign and crazy city definitely grew on us and left a major impression on our hearts!  I NEVER thought I would say this, but I’m going to miss it and all of our friends so much!  I keep telling Vishnu that we have to make a few trips back before we move to Chicago.  It’s not goodbye…just see you later.  Again…SO. MANY. EMOTIONS.

Before I sign off, I just want to express how thankful Vishnu and I are to anyone and everyone who has cheered us on in our journey.  We could not have made it (so successfully) without the support of our family, friends, and even complete strangers.  THANK YOU from the bottom of our hearts!

Well, off I go to figure out some move details with Vishnu.  Hope you had a great weekend!

Do Not Forget Your Parents

Growing up, my mom would always sing a special song in Gujarati about not forgetting your parents.  The lyrics are beautiful and so full of meaning.  And I can truly say that each and every line of the song applies to my parents. 

After I was done saying my prayers one day last week, I was rearranging a few things in my little temple and came across the English translation of the song.  Reading it and thinking about my mom singing the song to us when we were little brought tears to my eyes. 

I knew it was something I wanted to share on the blog.

Do Not Forget Your Parents

Between my parents and Vishnu’s parents, we have a pretty awesome support system.  I honestly don’t know what we’d do without them.  And even though we don’t see them nearly as much as we want, I don’t think I could ever forget them!  EVER!

Have a wonderful Friday and give your parents a hug today (or send a sweet email or text)!