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Padma Lakshmi


Padma Lakshmi

There was a day - sometime in early 2010 - when we came up with the idea for Friday Fives, sitting around a dinner table somewhere in the East Village. It’s a day that will undoubtedly be celebrated by future historians and scholars alike. It’s also the day that our quest began for Padma.

You see, just like pretty much every other dude that started watching Top Chef once they figured out that she was on it, we’ve been big fans of Padma for a very long time. And why wouldn’t we be? She’s hot, she knows food, she loves the Knicks, and she will ruin you if you under season a piece of duck. We like a woman with high standards. So once we decided that we would set out to get weekly restaurant picks from our favorite personalities, The Indian Queen of Food and Sexy™ went instantly to the top of the list.

Fast forward to this day, September 27th of 2013, and our quest has come to an end. We finally have a Friday Fives from Padma, and the timing couldn’t be better. A new season of Top Chef premieres on Bravo on October 2nd, and this time the competition is going down in one of our favorite cities - New Orleans. Padma was nice enough (she’s very nice) to hop on the phone from the Big Easy and give up some of her go-to restaurants around town, including one super-secret spot that, well, we already knew she frequented. Sorry, Padma. We get good intel, AKA we’ve been following you.

Read on for Padma’s “Perfect For” picks, and get pumped up for next week’s Top Chef premiere. We’re going to prepare by drinking some beers in the street and then trying to find out if the Central Park Zoo has alligators. Or maybe we’ll just eat a po’ boy at home. Either way, it’s gonna be awesome.

padma's "Perfect for" Picks

The Canteen At The Hindu Temple Society of North America Perfect For: Authentic Ethnic Eats 45-57 Bowne St

“In the basement of this Hindu temple, you will find the most Authentic Indian restaurant that exists around here. You can eat a mountain of food, all vegetarian, for $3. It’s literally a cafeteria with orange trays, folding chairs and styrofoam cups. I don’t go out to eat Indian food in NYC unless it’s at this cafeteria. As someone who grew up in South India, this feels just like home. It’s so authentic, and as close as you can come to eating in downtown Chennai in New York City.”

Tacombi @ Fonda Nolita Perfect For: Strollers 267 Elizabeth St.

“I’m good about not taking up too much space in the world, but my stroller is like the hummer of strollers to help keep the auto fumes out of my child’s face. At Fonda Nolita, there’s actually enough space for this massive stroller. They also have a cool surf video on constant loop, and if the person who rides in the stroller is my child, that’s the only tv they get, so they very much enjoy eating here.”

Wild Edibles Perfect For: Quality Fish 535 3rd Ave

“It’s a fish market that doubles as a low-key restaurant. I love to sit at the bar, have a pint, which I don’t do often, and order the fish and chips which are excellent. It’s like a boat of fish and chips, which you can share with two friends.”

Indochine Perfect For: First/Early In The Game Dates 430 Lafayette St.

“I love Indochine. It’s one of the few places downtown you can still hear yourself, and more importantly, your dinner companion, talk. It’s a beautiful, romantic restaurant and the food is always consistent. The wait staff is so good looking it makes you up your game when getting ready for the evening, too.”

Il Posto Accanto Perfect For: Brunch 190 E. 2nd St.

“I’ve never plugged it because I didn’t want anyone to find out I went there, but Il Posto is my neighborhood hang. I absolutely love it. It’s my Cheers. Everybody knows my name and I always eat the same thing for brunch – pasta out of eggs, uova in trippa, with tomato and basil. It’s one of the few places I will let my daughter sit at the bar (or go behind it for that matter, which she does constantly).”

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