Indian and Asian Flavors with A California Twist at Tigerlily - Tigerlily Review (Berkeley)

Tiger Lily - Berkeley Review | Bites & Bourbon

Mint Leaf is out and Tigerlily is in. Hailing from the same owners and partners, Deepak Aggarwal (Mint Leaf, Khana Peena) and the Farm League Design & Management Group (East Bay Spice Company, Westbrae Biergarten) opened up Tigerlily, a new Indo-Asian, California fusion restaurant located in Berkeley's gourmet ghetto. 

They've been open for a little over a month and everyone's raving about the tikka masala fried chicken. My excitement skyrockets to the thought of my mouth biting into this crispy piece of heaven, so we went to check it out. 

Tigerlily's menu is fun and the creativity shows on the plate. Chef Joel Lamica (Bix, Nojo, Ramen Shop) runs the kitchen and the menu changes daily, prepared using produce from local farmer's markets and regional purveyors for meat and fish. The options are limited but diverse. Tigerlily operates "tiger style", which is to embrace the challenge of cooking delicious organic produce, using each ingredient to its full potential with as little waste as possible. 

The inside of the restaurant is bright and open with televisions above the bar playing classic Indian films. 

It was a chilly and beautiful day outside, so we wanted to enjoy dinner in the patio area with the heaters to warm us up. This section really should be two people to a table because it can get pretty tight. 

The Food

Tiger Lily - Berkeley | Bites & Bourbon

Tandoori Monterey Bay Squid ($13)

Served with squid ink naan, Joel's chili oil, hazelnuts, salsa verde, and carrot puree. This was a nice way to start off our meal. The naan was crusty and fluffy, could have used a touch more salt in the dough. I can't really tell the difference between the naan with or without squid ink, but I loved the comforting flavors combined with the squid and chili oil. A squeeze of lemon added a nice acidity that brightened it up. 

Tiger Lily - Berkeley Review | Bites & Bourbon
Tiger Lily - Berkeley Review | Bites & Bourbon

Buttermilk Fried Chicken with Tikka Masala Sauce ($24)

I've never had chicken breast so tender and cooked perfectly. That says a lot for someone who hates white meat. The chicken is marinated in buttermilk with turmeric and hot sauce for two days, then fried to crispy perfection in a lovely batter. Deepak's tikka masala sauce was rich and filled with aromatic spices. The collard greens, fried sage and red lasoda potato mash were thoughtful sides. I killed the entire plate.

An idea as simple as fried chicken and tikka masala sauce? I never thought of combining the two and now I don't think I can eat fried chicken the same way anymore. It comes off like southern fried chicken, but tastes like Indian tikka masala.

Tiger Lily - Berkeley Review | Bites & Bourbon

Green Buns and Lamb ($18)

I don't eat lamb, but Patrick says the burger was so good that he'd order it again. It's a garam masala spiced lamb burger with cheddar cheese, fried kaki farm egg, house fermented pickles, Natalie's raita and chili oil served on a house made green garlic and nettle brioche with Indian spiced bacon. I tried the spiced bacon and loved it so much that we're inspired to make a similar version at home. 

Final Thoughts

We look forward to going back and trying out the rest of the menu. The garden-inspired craft cocktail program (sister to East Bay Spice Company) looks very unique and worth the return to check out alone. A big welcome to the neighborhood, Tigerlily! 


VISITING Tigerlily

Location

1513 Shattuck Ave. Berkeley, CA

Website

www.tigerlilyberkeley.com

Phone

(510) 540 7900

Hours

  • Wednesday-Monday 5:30-10:30 pm 
  • Closed: Tuesday.
  • No reservations, walk-ins only. 
Tiger Lily on Urbanspoon

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Bar Review: Satisfying Speakeasy-Inspired Cocktails at Tupper & Reed - Photos + Menu (Berkeley)

Tupper & Reed - Berkeley | Bites & Bourbon

Tupper & Reed building in 1925.
Source: Berkeley Plaques

I continue to find more reasons to love the East Bay. Tupper & Reed is a vintage-style cocktail bar (brought to you by the same team behind Bourbon & Branch in SF) that opened up in downtown Berkeley last week, replacing Beckett's Irish Pub. Patrick and I went for a visit to check it out on Saturday at 5:30pm and had a great experience. 

Tupper & Reed is named after the building's first tenant Tupper & Reed sheet music and instrument store from the 1920’s to 1940’s. The decor and experience of the bar is themed around the music and instruments of that era. In the next few months, they plan to have live music and entertainment. 

We are happy to welcome Tupper & Reed to the neighborhood. They offer elaborate and satisfying cocktails that are different than most bars in the area. It's the kind of bar that we can see ourselves stopping over before catching dinner in downtown Berkeley. Here are some photos and a few of the drinks that I'd recommend. 

Tupper & Reed - Berkeley | Bites & Bourbon
Tupper & Reed - Berkeley | Bites & Bourbon

The Drinks

The drink menu for the first floor is divided into three main parts: citrus driven, spirit driven, and punch (requires minimum of three people). Each drink we ordered was incredibly smooth and handled with great attention to detail. For those of you who like your drinks bold and strong, you should go with the spirit driven cocktails. 

Our bartender was very friendly and knowledgeable, fun to watch. The menu does give a warning that each drink may take a while to make, but the turnaround was very quick during the time we went. 

Here's a look at the four drinks I'd highly recommend. 

Tupper & Reed - Berkeley | Bites & Bourbon

Crescendo ($10)

Made with Punt e Mes, Fernet Menthe, Lemon, Raspberry Syrup, Grapefruit Soda, Old Fashioned Bitters. This was my favorite cocktail because it was like an adult version of a lemon-raspberry soda. It's sweet and tart, very easy to drink. Each sip had a lovely menthol taste that enhanced the refreshing component. 

Spice Trader ($9)

Made with Gin or Vodka, Lime, Grapefruit, Ginger Syrup, Allspice. This was Patrick's favorite cocktail. Bold gin herbal flavors layered with a tart and bitter grapefruit taste. They make their own allspice dram, so a couple of dashes gave it an exotic twist. 

Tupper & Reed - Berkeley | Bites & Bourbon

Devils Run ($7)

Made with White Rum, Lemon, Pineapple Gomme, Basil Eau de Vie, Absinthe. A bright and refreshing cocktail that reminds me of a Pisco Punch. The pineapple gomme's bright acidity helped to bring out the aromatics of the basil and absinthe.

Revolver ($9)

Made with Bulleit Bourbon, Tia Maria, Orange Bitters, Coffee Liqueur. You can't go wrong with one of the most popular and original Bourbon & Branch cocktails. You get the bold and strong taste of whiskey balanced with the coffee, finished by the lovely fragrance and brightness of a fire-lit orange peel. A drink that will satisfy any bourbon lover. 

Tupper & Reed - Berkeley | Bites & Bourbon
Tupper & Reed - Berkeley | Bites & Bourbon

Tupper & Reed uses high-quality ingredients in their cocktails, making use of house made liquors and syrups and incorporating fresh herbs and fruits. 

the crowd

The crowd's age range falls somewhere between their late-20s to 40s. I find that going on a Saturday at 5:30pm is perfect because it wasn't crowded, the audience noise levels were low, the music was at the right volume, and the vibe was casual and comfortable.

TUPPER & REED Menu - FIRST FLOOR

There are two sections at Tupper & Reed. The first floor is casual and open for walk-ins and the second floor is reservation-only. The menu offered on the first floor is limited in comparison to the second floor menu, which according to Inside Scoop offers 70 drinks on the menu, along with a list of 300 spirits, including 21 rye whiskeys, 44 bourbons, and 65 Scotch whiskeys. There are also 10 spirits flights for sampling. 

Here's the full menu posted by Eater SF

You may click on the images below to enlarge the first floor menu. 

The next time we go Tupper & Reed, we will likely make reservations to check out their upstairs menu.


VISITING tupper & Reed

Location

2271 Shattuck Ave. Berkeley, CA 94704

Website

www.tupperandreed.com

Phone

(510) 900-2588

Hours

  • Monday - Saturday: 4:00 p.m. to 2:00 a.m.

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Malaysian Lunar New Year Feast by Eat with Tracy - A Feastly Experience

My friend Sandy (Foodhoe) and I have been following the Instagram account of a Malaysian chef named Tracy (Eat with Tracy) for over a year, obsessing over her food creations. Born and raised in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Tracy is a self-taught cook who is influenced by her mother and the variety of street foods found at morning markets and night bazaars where she grew up. Tracy specializes in Malaysian cuisine and her food is enticing because she cooks dishes that you definitely cannot find anywhere else. 

She hosts events through Feastly, a website that allows you to find homemade meals and food experiences prepared and served in a cook's home, pop-ups, or any inventive space. Many of her events sell out, so when the opportunity to attend a feast for Lunar New Year arrived in our e-mail inboxes, we jumped at the chance and grabbed the final four remaining spots. 

Sandy, Mr. K (her husband), Patrick and I joined 5 other eager eaters/strangers at Tracy's home in the Inner Sunset, SF to experience an elaborate 8-course Chinese-Malaysian Lunar New Year feast. It was a wonderful first introduction to Malaysian food for me and I can't wait to explore more dishes. Here's a recap of our experience and a look at each dish served at the feast. 

The Food

Raw Fish Rainbow Salad - Prosperity Toss

The first course was an incredibly flavorful, savory and refreshing salad consisting of thinly sliced sushi-grade fish, vegetables, crispy noodles, fried crisps, pomelo pulps, herbs, five spices, and sweet & sour plum sesame dressing.  

Malaysians celebrate the beginning of a new year with a prosperity tossing ritual, where everyone at the table is supposed to stand up and mix all the neatly arranged ingredients together with chopsticks while saying wishes to each other.

Cured Duck Wagyu Leek Wraps

I always enjoy eating with my hands, so this dish was a fun one. We all made our own wraps filled with a little bit of wagyu, cured duck pieces, negi leeks and pickled jalapeño and Mandarin orange glaze

The cured duck tastes like duck prosciutto, very nice in small quantities. The slices of wagyu were so incredibly tender. The entire combination was explosive - savory, rich and salty balanced with a sweet citrus. 

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Longevity Fried Noodles

The recipe used for these noodles belong to Tracy's mother. We could smell all the wonderful aromas as she was cooking it. The noodles were chubby and chewy, very flavorful and overall just really good. 

Shrimps with Duck Egg Crust

I am familiar with the ingredients used in this dish, but never had anything like it before. The perfectly cooked large shrimps, which symbolize happiness and good fortune, were coated in a duck egg and curry leaf crust. Just give me the duck egg sauce alone with a bowl of rice and I'm golden. It was one of my favorite dishes!

Champagne Coffee Ribs

Everyone raved about the sauce on these sticky sparkling wine & coffee pork ribs. The ribs were packed with flavor. 

Sous Vide Chicken

According to Tracy, this Malaysian/Singaporean "Hainanese" chicken is "a seemingly simple dish that is actually quite hard to perfect. Chicken cooked skin-on at a low and precise temperature, then immediately ice-shocked to achieve a tender and smooth texture."

If there was a prize out there for the most tender chicken, this would win first place. The chicken had a great natural flavor. I went crazy with the three amazing sauces: caramelized shallots, garlic lime chili and scallion oil. 

This was one of the few dishes where she used her Nomiku sous vide machine. It actually made me really excited to get my Nomiku next month because I need to recreate this dish at home. 

Abalone Scallop Vegetable Platter

This is a classic Southern Chinese banquet dish with sliced abalone & sous vide scallops on a bed of mushrooms & greens in master stock reduction. Abalone is considered to be a luxury item and is commonly served during Lunar New Year to bring good fortune. 

Agar Jelly Art - Koi Fish

Our minds were blown away when she presented these beautiful koi fishes made of lima beans, sugar and rice flour (nerikiri) floating in almond-rose water agar agar with roasted black sesame "gravel".  It was mildly sweet and refreshing. Fish are considered to be lucky, symbolizing abundance. I can't think of a better way to end a memorable meal. 

Final Thoughts

Would you believe me if I told you that she prepped and cooked every single dish completely by herself in a tiny kitchen? 

You can taste the hard work, passion and culture in Tracy's food. I've never been to Malaysia, but it almost felt like I was transported there through the meal. We are already thinking about going back and doing a private group meal with her in the future. 

You can book a meal with Tracy on Feastly or e-mail her at eatwithtracy(at)gmail.com. Be sure to follow her on Instagram at Eat with Tracy. You will be glad you did. 

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