Archive for the ‘Food’ Category

Summer and travel definitely go hand in hand. Who wouldn’t want to be sitting on a white sand beach sipping a tropical cocktail right about now? But let’s face it, life gets in the way sometimes and we can’t always have our picture perfect summer vacation.


Even if the next few months aren’t lined up with exotic getaways and weekend excursions, there’s no reason why you can’t set out for an amazing experience right in your own backyard. I’ve lived in Los Angeles most of my adult life and still find myself discovering new places, hidden gems and must try restaurants that I had no idea existed.

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Recently, I’ve been inspired to celebrate the joys of being a tourist in my own town. Living in Southern California, we’re blessed to have miles and miles of beaches for sunbathing, biking on the boardwalk, playing volleyball with friends, and of course, the Pacific Ocean for a refreshing swim!

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I took a walk down to the Redondo Beach Riviera for sunset over the weekend and realized how picturesque the South Bay truly is. Gaze to the right and see the famous King Harbor Marina. To the left, the rolling hills of Palos Verdes, a view that one could easily mistake for the French Riviera. Strolling along the sandy beach brought me back to summers on the Mayan Riviera in the Yucatan Peninsula. When I closed my eyes, I was instantly transported.               

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The next afternoon, I found myself at the Riviera Village Famer’s Market. Mingling with local artisans and purveyors of unique fruits and vegetables gave me a new appreciation for So Cal.

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Chioggia beets, kumquats, rum cake, soy candles and organic coffee were just a few of the goodies I picked up along the way.

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After picking up flowers and some fresh mint, it was time for a cocktail. And what better locale to enjoy a drink than a rooftop with an ocean view?

KaraBirkenstock_HerringboneColdShoulderDress (1)I can’t wait to venture out for more exploring this summer and beyond! There’s still so much to see, learn and taste in Los Angeles. Luckily, with the sand in my toes and the salty breeze in my hair, the world is my oyster. Hmm, oysters….where should I go to try the best mollusks? Let me know in the comments!

*Thank you LONG TALL SALLY for providing the stylish inspiration for Summer in the City!*

Featured LTS Looks: Brights Print Strapless Midi Dress $95, Etched Herringbone Cold Shoulder Dress $109

Photographer: Rick Alderman

“Hello Summer” graphic created by Winkimages – Freepik.com

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Foodie Gift Guide 2014

Gifts for the ultimate food lover – from the novice cook to the master chef, these culinary inspired items are fit for every kitchen.


Food lovers can’t live without their Sriracha and now they’ll never have to! Just fill up the 1.25 ounce pocket size Sriracha bottle with the spicy condiment and have it handy whenever the need arises. Sriracha obsessed foodies can clip it to their key chains, throw it in a purse or slide it into their pocket, so they’re never without this go with everything, must have chili sauce.

sriracha2go $7

Sriracha2Go, $7

Moscow Mule Mug

Moscow Mules are on the cocktail menus of every hip establishment, recognizable by the ultra-shiny copper mug that it’s served in. Foodies know that those cups are a hot commodity, so they’ll be thrilled to add an authentic mug to their home bar collection. This mug features a brilliant copper-plated finish over a stainless steel base and holds 20 ounces of vodka and ginger beer. Pour, sip and enjoy.

BBB_Moscow Mule Mug $14.99

Bed Bath & Beyond, $14.99

Briefcase Cheese Grater

There is nothing more frustrating than grating a brick of cheese and losing half of it on the counter or floor. Well chefs, it’s time to show your cheese who’s boss! This handy, briefcase style tool has stainless steel graters on both sides, a non-slip grip and holds up to three cups of cheese (or veggies if you prefer) in one contained place with no mess. Problem solved.

(2) High Fashion Home_Briefcase Box Grater $15

High Fashion Home, $15

Foodie Dice

Chefs love to mix it up in the kitchen with new and inventive recipes. Foodie Dice challenges seasoned chefs and newbies alike to an at home version of “Knife Fight” with over 186,000 possible combinations. Laser engraved on wood, nine dice offer protein options, cooking methods, grain selections, seasonal veggies, herb choices, and bonus ingredients. Simply roll and accept your challenge.

Uncommon Goods_Foodie Dice $24

Uncommon Goods, $24

Pizza Stone

Neapolitan style pizza restaurants are all the rage, with wood-fired ovens creating delightful, charred, well balanced pies that leave diners craving more. Foodies will love creating the same mouthwatering recipes at home with the Emile Henry Pizza Stone. The 14.5 inch glazed pizza stone can be used in ovens or on grills and heats up to scorching hot temperatures in just 15 minutes. Just add the pizza dough, toppings and a bottle of Chianti for the perfect evening!

emile-henry-red-pizza-stone-12-inch-15 $55

Emile Henry, $50

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I’m so happy to announce that Style Bites, the TV series I wrote, directed, produced and hosted, is airing daily on The Lifestyle Network! Check it out at 6am/12pm/6pm/12am PST on DirectTV, Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks. Full episodes are also available on YouTube.

I was blessed with the opportunity to create my own show back in January and it’s been a whirlwind ever since! I haven’t had a chance to recap my wonderful experience as it’s been an extremely busy few months! So, I’d like to share a bit about my adventure with you now…

Style Bites is based on this blog, Your Gal Kara: Your Glam, Affordable and Luxurious Resource.

Watch Highlights from Season 1 of Style Bites here!

As you all know, I am a true fashionista! I love fashion magazines, watching (and walking in) runway shows and learning about new designers and collections. And like a true style savvy gal, I love a fashionable deal! After all, I’ve been working in the fashion industry since I was a teen; from modeling, styling and producing shows to creating PR campaigns for new and renowned brands, I’ve done it all!

Some of you may not know that I come from a family of restaurateurs. The Thai women in my family have been in the restaurant business since I can remember, and food has always been at the center of my life. I love to cook and experiment with new spices and recipes. And my biggest love in life is to travel and explore world cuisines! 

It seemed like a natural fit for me to create a show that combines my two loves, fashion and food! Style Bites grants exclusive access to the latest restaurants and hotspots, offers tips on how to achieve the latest trends and reveals coveted secrets from fashion and beauty insiders. "Style Bites is the ultimate bible on chic living," said Olivia de Jesus, Managing Director for ABS-CBN International North America.

Style Bites

Glam Guide breaks down the hottest fashion trends from the runway to the red carpet. Learn practical tips and discover affordable finds to help you live with flair. Featured guests include Halston Heritage, Liza Stewart Showroom, L.K. Bennett, IFBB Pro Gigi Amurao, Aerithe and Linea Pelle.

Designer Dish grants exclusive access to the industry’s top designers, exclusive events, fashion previews, and beauty hotspots. Indulge with an in-depth look at today’s most coveted style influencers. Featured guests include celebrity brow expert Kelley Baker, Traffic Women at the Beverly Center, butterflyzebra, Lou Razon, Calleen Cordero and Sew Down.

Style Bites also gives audiences a Taste of the Town, a premier table at must-try restaurants that guarantees to satisfy cravings for unique food finds and mind-blowing cuisine. Featured restaurants include supperclub LA, Crème Caramel LA, Crustacean Beverly Hills, White Rabbit Truck, Paiche and Cornell Winery.

And if just a taste is not enough, learn to Cook Like A Chef. Walk into the kitchens of renowned chefs and tastemakers as they share their most celebrated recipes that you can make at home. Featured chefs include Coreen Peralta of Tia Conchita Brands, Frankie Garcia of Local 1205, Nick Nishi of Hamakaze Sushi & Izakaya, Marius Blin of Esterel, Penpim Jittorn of Thailand Plaza and Carolos Tamazos and Lisa Crossman of Waterloo & City.

Check back here for behind the scenes photos from Style Bites season one, as well as full length videos of all 24 segments. I’d love to hear from you to see what you think of the show, so feel free to leave your comments below. And if you have a favorite designer, fashion tip or restaurant that you think I should feature in a future episode, let me know too!

Thanks to everyone for your love and support! xo

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Style Bites Magazine

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Holiday Gift Guide 2013: Best Gifts for Foodies

Gifts for the ultimate food lover — from the novice cook to the master chef — these culinary inspired items are fit for every kitchen.

Oulesa olive oil

Made from the rare Palomar olive from the Catalonia region of Spain, Oulesa is quickly becoming the most sought after olive oil among foodies. This aromatic oil is deep green, with a sweet yet light flavor amid tones of artichoke, grass and fruit. With a distinct aroma and bountiful flavor, Oulesa is best used for dipping, brushed atop a fresh baguette or drizzled over your favorite soups, salads and specialty dishes. Imported exclusively by Tia Conchita Brands in the U.S., you’re guaranteed a unique and exceptional gift as only 5000 bottles are made every year.

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Oulesa Olive Oil, $32 , available at TiaConchitaBrands.com

For more Foodie gifts, click here.

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GAL Travel – St. Kitts & Nevis (Leeward Islands, Caribbean)

St. Kitts & Nevis are a set of tropical island gems in the West Indies.  Nestled between the Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea are the two sister islands, rich with history, culture, and lush vegetation.  Locals, known as Kittitians, are warm, gracious, and welcoming.  The beauty of the island and serene environment is intoxicating, and after a few days, you’ll be limin’ (Kittitian for “relaxing”) like a local!  The delectable West Indian cuisine and native seafood are a food lover’s dream, while the sugar cane rum cocktails pack a powerful punch!  If you want to discover a unique tropical oasis, St. Kitts & Nevis is a must visit vacation destination! Read More…

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GAL Travel – Santa Ynez Valley Wine Country (CA)

Located in the heart of Santa Barbara’s world renowned vineyards is the Santa Ynez Valley Wine Country. Just 125 miles from Los Angeles, Santa Ynez features breathtaking views, intimate wineries, and charming inns, the perfect destination for wine lovers and foodies alike. In 2004, Santa Ynez Wine Country gained celebrity status when it was featured in the hit film, Sideways. Whether you’re a movie buff, a wine connoisseur, or simply looking to experience a beautiful part of Southern California, Santa Ynez is a must see! For a Glam, Affordable, and Luxurious take on the Santa Ynez Wine Country, here are my GAL Travel recommendations for your next trip!

Gainey Sunstone Winery

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Spring Travel Deals 2011 – Unwind on a Dime

Planning a vacation on a budget can be a daunting task, especially when it seems that airfare and hotel prices are continuously on the rise. One of the best parts about getting away is relaxing, whether it’s by the pool, at the spa, or by taking in the natural beauty of the destination. In order to unwind on a dime, sometimes you need to think outside the box. Ever think to travel to Colorado in the off season? Think Sedona is the only place for pure relaxation in Arizona? As your GAL resource, I found the following travel steals that will let you rest easy when it comes to booking your next getaway. Whether you desire a quick trip or a weeklong retreat, these undiscovered gems won’t put a damper on your wallet!

Park Hyatt Beaver Creek Resort & Spa (Avon, Colorado)

Beaver Creek_Fall Pool

Colorado is often thought of as a winter destination, but the spring and summer months offer travelers the same lush accommodations and beautiful surroundings at a more reasonable price. The “Spring Renewal Package” at the Park Hyatt Beaver Creek Resort & Spa is an ideal way to enjoy an affordable stay at one of the premiere properties in the heart of the Vail Valley. For rates starting at $169/night, visitors will enjoy lodging at the award winning resort, plus your choice of a 50 minute Swedish massage or a 45 minute custom facial at Allegria Spa, named one of Colorado’s Best Spas (a $145 value). Whether travelling solo or with your significant other, there are plenty of outdoor activities to satisfy your adventurous side. From hiking, biking, and river rafting, to dipping in one of the five whirlpools beneath a mountain waterfall, you’ll feel renewed while taking in the natural beauty of your surroundings. For foodies, enjoy small plates and organic local wines at 8100 Mountainside Bar & Grill. And for a nostalgic twist, resort guests can enjoy a complimentary s’mores happy hour from 4-5p at the outdoor fire pit, including handmade marshmallows with flavors ranging from M&M to Grand Marnier! With no minimum stay required, the “Spring Renewal Package” is available from April 9 – June 16, 2011. To make a reservation, visit www.parkhyattbeavercreek.com or call 866-471-7658.

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Allegria Spa at Park Hyatt Beaver Creek

Scottsdale Resort & Athletic Club (Scottsdale, Arizona)


If you’ve never thought of visiting Arizona for an invigorating wellness retreat, the “Spring Escape Deal” at the Scottsdale Resort Club will definitely change your mind. The Scottsdale Resort & Athletic Club is a family owned and operated establishment offering breathtaking views and unsurpassed recreational facilities. The “Spring Escape Deal” starts at just $89/night, and includes accommodations for two in one of the resorts comfortable guestrooms, complimentary continental breakfast, a $25 restaurant/bar credit, 10% off at the award winning Eurasia Spa, plus free access to the private athletic club. With 11 tennis courts, 2 levels of fitness studios and unlimited access to all the fitness classes you can imagine, guests will feel rejuvenated after experiencing all the resort has to offer. Start your day with a pilates or spinning class, and then enjoy an afternoon in the sun with a game of tennis on the championship hard courts (Top 50 Tennis Resorts in Tennis Magazine). To unwind after a day of exercise, take a refreshing plunge in to one of the resort’s 3 swimming pools, or enjoy a calming aromatherapy massage at the Eurasia Spa. The possibilities are endless at this renowned Scottsdale resort! The “Spring Escape Deal” is available from April 5 – June 1, 2011. For more information, visit www.scottsdaleresortandathleticclub.com or call 866-733-9564.


Center Court at Scottsdale Resort & Athletic Club

Las Villas Hotel & Spa at Estrella Del Mar (Mazatlan, Mexico)

Estrella Del Mar

Located on a 3.5 mile pristine white sand beach, Las Villas Hotel & Spa at Estrella Del Mar is truly an undiscovered gem on the Pacific coast of Mexico. Opened in June 2010, Las Villas offers luxurious accommodations and world class amenities in a beach town rich with Mexican history and tradition. Their Garden View Room “Vacation Package” is just $212/person, and includes lodging for 4 days/3nights, free transportation to/from the airport, welcome margaritas and daily breakfast for two. Garden view rooms are spacious, featuring oversized bathrooms, marble flooring, rain shower heads, wet/mini bars and a private balcony. Upon arrival to the resort, guests will receive a personally guided tour of the 816 acre estate, vibrant floral gardens, private beach, spa, and the most unique attraction of the property, the Turtle Preserve & Sanctuary. The Turtle Preserve is the largest of its type in Mexico, giving visitors the opportunity to view and interact with the incredible sea creatures. The Preserve hatches, nurtures, and releases more than 30,000 baby sea turtles each year! In addition to this wonderment, Estrella Del Mar boasts a gorgeous seaside golf course that is fully accessible to guests of Las Villas. And if you’re looking for more beachfront fun, try horseback riding in the sand followed by a swim in the stunning invisible edge pool. Need another reason to visit Las Villas? The extremely affordable full service spa, with massages and facials starting at just $35. If that’s not unwinding on a dime, I don’t know what is! For more information, visit http://www.mazatlanhotellasvillas.com/.

Estrella Del Mar Golf Robert Trent Jones, Jr. Golf Course at Estrella Del Mar

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Last Minute Holiday Gifts 2010

No matter how far in advance we start our holiday shopping, there always seems to be someone else on your list to shop for! Whether it’s your pet-sitting teenage neighbor, your foodie coworker, or the ultimate fashionista in your life, it’s difficult to know which gifts are best. With the help of the Internet and some amazing last minute deals, you can easily find a gift for even the most discerning person on your list, without breaking the bank!

The Fashionista

What fashionista doesn’t appreciate a fabulous pair (or two) of shoes? If you’re in need of a great gift for the style savvy set in your life, you can’t go wrong with the gift of shoes. DSW Shoes is your one stop shop for all the hottest designer shoes at incredible prices. Great for men, women and teens, a DSW Gift Card is the perfect present for those that love fantastic footwear! When you purchase a $50 DSW Gift Card this holiday season, you’ll receive a $10 gift card in return – so you can share the shoe love and get something for yourself too! Order a DSW Gift Card by December 22nd or an e-Gift Card by midnight on December 24th for Christmas delivery.

dsw gift card

The Traveler

Beautiful luggage and chic travel accessories make a wonderful gift, but they can be costly and difficult to select. For an affordable and useful gift for the jet setters in your life, try the Ultraviolet Sanitizing Wand. At just $12.99, this must have travel accessory kills 99.9% of surface germs, bacteria, molds, and fungus. Recent reports have proven that the knobs and switches on airplanes carry the highest levels of bacteria, not to mention the remote controls in hotel rooms! Ideal for travel, home and office, the compact wand will fit into your carry on or handbag so it’s readily available whenever you need it. No traveler should be without this ingenious item!


The Foodie

Igourmet.com brings the best of international gourmet products right to your kitchen at affordable prices. If you want to delight your foodie friends, give the gift of an igourmet gift basket, with products ranging from fine cheeses and condiments, delectable desserts, and wine from all around the world. As an added bonus, promotionalcodes.com is offering a $10 off coupon for any order. Combine that with any of the wonderful assortments available on igourmet (many for under $100) and you’ll be sure to impress any culinary extraordinaire!

igourmet intl gift basket

The Teen

Teens are so difficult to shop for, particularly when it comes to buying clothes. But when it comes to teen style, one item stands out above the rest – the graphic tee. From vintage inspired to modern pop culture designs, teenagers live in graphic tees, perfect with everything from jeans and shorts to leggings and skirts. Rotemgear.com is an eclectic website with a fantastic selection of ethnic, retro, and pop culture tees and products that are super reasonable. The Kitty and Dog crossbones collection ($18.99 and up) is a fun, quirky, and rocker-chic style that both teen guys and girls will adore. No matter what the teen’s taste, remember that a cool graphic tee is an easy and affordable gift that would put a smile on anybody’s face!Kitty Crossbones

The Luxury Lover

To satisfy the sweet tooth of the luxury lovers in your life, give the gift of pure decadence – a collection of delicious Champagne Petit Fours from Valerie Confections ($55). The luxurious mini confections are made of rich butter cake layered with Champagne ganache, then hand dipped in dark chocolate. As an exquisite finishing touch, each cake is topped with an edible piece of 23 karat gold. The twelve piece gift set comes beautifully packaged with an elegant gold satin ribbon. Your friends will be so impressed with this lavish gift, and you can rest easy knowing that it didn’t set you back a fortune!


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Thanksgiving Dining Deals

For those who don’t already have a Thanksgiving feast planned for Turkey Day, many restaurants are taking the stress out of the food filled holiday by offering affordable pre fixed meals and dinners to go. From contemporary comfort food in the south to inventive organic cuisine on the west coast, these restaurants are serving up healthy, delicious, and affordable fare, so you can give thanks for what’s really important – your family and friends.

Stefan’s at L.A. Farm (Los Angeles, CA)

Well known for his appearance on Bravo’s “Top Chef,” award-winning Chef Stefan Richter presents a distinctly American meal for Thanksgiving for just $39 per person. Served buffet style in the casual yet sophisticated bistro, Stefan’s at L.A. Farm, guests will enjoy Richter’s unique yet traditional fare. Some of the mouth-watering selections include crispy, whole-roasted turkey, honey-baked ham, pumpkin soup with cinnamon and maple syrup, baked yams with marshmallows, mashed potatoes, green beans almondaise, and of course, pumpkin pie! Spend your Thanksgiving dining amongst the stars, with celebrity chef Stefan Richter! For reservations, click here.

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Capriotti’s Sandwich Shop (Los Angeles, CA)

For a non-traditional Thanksgiving meal, check out Capriotti’s Sandwich Shop with two locations in Beverly Hills and Encino. Their signature sandwich, The Bobbie, has been referred to as “Thanksgiving on a Bun.” Loved by celebrity fans such as Kathy Griffin and Ryan Phillippe, The Bobbie consists of homemade, roasted pulled turkey, whole cranberry sauce, stuffing and mayo on a fresh baked sub roll. Recently voted "The Greatest Sandwich in America" by an AOL poll, The Bobbie is just $7 for a small sub and $12.75 for a large. With this tasty treat, you can feast like its Thanksgiving all year round! For locations, click here.

eleven at Loews Hotel (Atlanta, GA)

Executive Chef Olivier Gaupin has created a savory Thanksgiving menu of contemporary fare at eleven, the southern bistro at the recently opened Loews Atlanta Hotel. Combining seasonal selections with local, organic produce, Gaupin’s five-course menu will delight all of the senses. Start with a warming butternut squash soup, followed by your choice of seasonal salads. For a tasty appetizer, choose between a lovely crab risotto or duck confit terrine. For the main course, go the traditional route with roasted free range turkey with giblet gravy and all the fixings. Or, opt for prime rib with rosemary garlic jus with truffle mac & cheese or fresh Florida lobster tail with seared sea scallops. For dessert, satisfy your sweet tooth with either the southern corn meal custard, pecan tart, or a chocolate caramel dome. The five-course dinner at eleven is just $38 per person, $18 for children ages 5 to 12 (under 5 are free). For reservations, click here.

eleven Loews Atlanta dining room

Serpas True Food (Atlanta, GA)

Acclaimed Atlanta Chef, Scott Serpas infuses the tastes of his native Louisiana, Asia, and the Southwest for a unique and innovative, “True Food” experience. This Turkey Day, families can enjoy classic comfort food with a twist by pre-ordering a Serpas Thanksgiving feast to go! The delectable three-course meal is available for four ($100) or eight ($175) people. For the first course, select between butternut squash soup or a mixed Fall green salad. The main course consists of herb roasted turkey breast with corn bread stuffing and cranberry relish. And if you’re craving fried turkey, that’s also available for an additional $40 each. In addition to this, you can choose three satisfying side dishes, ranging from maple sweet potato casserole to bacon braised collard greens. Top off your meal with one of Chef Serpas’ delightful desserts, apple or pecan pie, pumpkin bread pudding or double chocolate brownies. Extra sides for four may be added for $25 per side, while additional desserts are just $12 each. All orders must be placed by Monday, November 22nd. To order your Thanksgiving feast to go, click here.

Urban Farmer at Nines Hotel (Portland, OR)

Executive Chef Matt Christianson’s Thanksgiving selections are inspired by Northwest bounty, and features organic, sustainable food from the region. With an emphasis on simple, straightforward fare, the Urban Farmer “Enjoy Our Home for Thanksgiving” meal will consist of three inventive courses for $49 per person. There will also be an ala carte menu of traditional holiday favorites available for children. First course options range from a farm charcuterie platter including foie gras torchon to a Dungeness crab cake, with truffled celery root slaw. For the entrée, select from Oregon honey and spice roasted turkey, allspice cured Oregon pork loin, or Highland Oak grass fed New York strip steak, to name a few. Diners will also receive a selection of festive side dishes served family style, including roasted brussel sprouts with almonds and cinnamon maple candied yams. For reservations, click here.

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East Indian Co. Bar & Grill (Portland, OR)

Culinary Director, Pradeep Chandrana, has created an exotic twist on the traditional Thanksgiving dinner with Indian inspired specialties. Spice up your holiday with a whole turkey infused with Indian seasonings, served with mashed potatoes and stuffing ($70, take-out only). Other delicious offerings include tandoori grilled turkey tikka and sheekh kebabs ($15 per order), khatta metha kaddu, or sweet and sour pumpkin ($12 per order), and for dessert, a sweet potato halwa ($5). While the East Indian Co. Bar & Grill dining room is not open on Thanksgiving Day, guests can enjoy the limited edition menu in the dining room from November 22nd 27th. Take-out orders are also available and must be placed by November 23rd. For reservations, click here.

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