Published at Brookfieldpatch.com
By Donna Christopher
My pad Thai loving daughter first suggested I try the noodles and since then I simply can’t get enough of them.
Lately I ordered it for lunch at Haiku Asian Bistro & Sushi Bar in Cross River, N.Y.
Luckily I was in with a colleague for lunch and the budgetary menu offered noon to 3 p.m. daily meant two of us ate for $20 including tip.
Haiku, where I’ve eaten previously, is a place I’ll suggest when a family or friend is willing to drive up from New York and meet me “half-way.” Well sort of.
I’d guess my coworker drove 20-30 minutes, while my Ridgefield trip took around 15. Cross River for the uninitiated is minutes from Katonah and I-684 Exit 6.
Our meeting was social and lasted about 4 hours – thankfully the establishment is open all day until 9:30 so we never felt rushed.
So if you enjoy Asian and want a suitable meeting spot (White Plains is about 20 minutes away) try Haiku.
Here’s what to expect.
Sushi foremost is from a menu exceeding any expectation, I am confident. And since I’ve eaten only that on previous trips I recommend any special roll on the board the day you go.
Meanwhile, there are dozens of varied dishes, ranging from Chinese, to Japanese to Thai. Some are ordinary, others exotic.
The décor is easy on the eyes, an unobtrusive color scheme mostly of cognac woods punctuated with red lanterns throughout. Soft lighting and background music are part of the experience and servers here too offer efficient, genteel service, nothing showy.
I learned Haiku poetry in 3rd grade and liked writing the short verses, sticking to the “rules” that words painstakingly chosen should evoke nature and the 5 senses. The name works well to describe this restaurant. Food plates are presented in an artsy-earthy way I usually think.
My noodles, for example, were loosely piled across a pretty platter that included small pyramids sculpted of carrot curls as fine as thread and crushed peanuts generously plentiful as garnishes.
Prior I had enjoyed a small bowl of wonton soup I deem memorable because the tiny dimpled dumpling wrappers were paper thin and the mini meatballs peaked through.
The lunch met my family/unemployed for now budget with sushi bar options, ranging from $10.95 to $18.95. Less expensive are the Asian lunch dishes that include three rolls for $13.95, inarguably a deal. Also priced nicely, $7.75 to $10.95, are typical Asian fare of chicken with broccoli in brown sauce, Szechuan peppercorn crispy white meat chicken, and prawns and vegetable tempura.
Up next to try would be appetizers, chicken or beef stay, Vietnamese style sashimi wrapped, and yellowtail jalapeno perhaps.
Haiku is at Cross River Shopping Center at the Route 35/121 intersection.
For more information, call 914-763-9120.
Published in my column: Reviewing what’s amusing, brookfieldpatch.com
I’m a devoted food fan of wheat products in this pecking order: bagels, scones and pizza crust. It’s that simple and simply forever.
Still, I have friends who can’t eat wheat for dietary or digestive reasons so I’ve been wanting to make a tasty pizza that rather than rely on a poor substitute for dough made of corn or rice flour, eliminates the crust altogether.
Today I succeeded. I didn’t originate the idea to make cauliflower pizza; mine turned out better than images of one I’d seen on a blog a few weeks ago.
And while the outcome a family member and I ate a few minutes ago, he calling it “nice” mainly for the savory toppings of sautéed onions, spinach, bacon and garlic, oregano and basil, my sense for dinner is incomplete. Here’s why. I miss scavenging the pizza pan for tossed out blistered edges of someone else’s crust. I love the crust and will miss it every time.
Still this recipe is tasty and a suitable pizza for a “topping lover” or someone who usually tosses crust to cut back calories. Here’s my recipe:
Steam a bag of frozen cauliflower. The key here, I have learned from researching it based on my disdain for the colorless vegetable because of the odor, is steam it once then throw out the water, drain, rinse, and steam again, then drain. The result is the mashed vegetable that only mildly resembles the taste otherwise.
Oil a non-stick baking pan, pour the cauliflower then mash it with a fork to create what looks like pizza dough. Add your toppings. Bake at 400 degrees until the “crust” appears dry and sturdy and the cheese is bubbly.
By Donna Christopher
It’s not moody yet an air of sophistication lingers as does a homey feel.
That’s what it’s like to be at Rumors European Café at 22 Mill Plain Road in Danbury. It is next to Mill Plain Diner (I-84, Exit 4 Lake Ave.)
Owners Sabrina and Brian Hebert opened the upscale coffee shop in November and since then I’ve been in twice.
The accessibility is convenient for anyone living or working in and around the city.
Meanwhile, passersby may wish to include a stop at Rumors - Lake Ave. Exit (Interstate 84) while on their way to mundane medical appointments and routine shopping errands.
My recent coffee stop was to meet a friend who works in Brookfield.
A colleague had suggested Rumors to me a previous Sunday. On that occasion I noted the classy spot is also unassuming. I was hooked.
Lately I went on a frigid Thursday, and my friend and I ordered a pair of lattes, and a couple of sweets.
Mine was a blueberry scone that the barista brought warm to our table. There are also small sofas and soft seating, of course free WiFi and jazzy background music.
The coffee drink, like one enjoyed there previously, was of creamy skim milk blended evenly with fresh bean espresso, a mild tasting bean with no bitterness at all.
Barista Nick Maiorano explained why to me a few days later.
“You can use any beans to make espresso. What makes it espresso is it’s ground finer than drip coffee. The finer ground increases the surface area and extracts more of the flavor and the caffeine. Our house coffee is a blend of the owners’ two favorite beans. It’s a nice, medium roast. Our dark roast is not very bitter for a dark. It is a single origin bean from Costa Rica. They grow really great beans there. The espresso we make is considered a medium to medium, dark roast,” he said by phone.
My friend and I talked, and talked, and softly behind our conversation were songs by Sinatra and other jazzy music.
I must admit with the weather in the single digits, and our energy focused on the next snow, ice, then snowfall scenario we were expecting, my mind did drift to wishing Rumor was open later as closing time drew near.
So if you go to Rumors, here’s what to expect. Skones and croissants baked fresh on the premises throughout the day. The scones from a bakery in Illinois arrive as frozen dough then are baked on site, barista Nick Maiorano said.
Other baked goods, including coffee cake and cookies, are made off premises by area bakers. Croissants are baked fresh at Rumors as well. Other tasty treats include waffle, made to order, and served with fruit, Nutella spread and whipped cream.
Rumors has drawn a medley of regulars since the fall launch.
“We get a lot of our business from business meetings. It’s a more professional setting than other (coffee shops), a little more upscale, but homey too. People say it feels like they’re having a cup of coffee at someone’s house.: With the westside campus nearby, Western Connecticut State Univerisity students are finding their way in, Maiorano said.
He noted that music played is modern and upbeat on weekends.
Rumors is open daily from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. For more information, call 203- 942-2653.
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