Coffee Chats with Freia Lobo

Indian Mangoes, Ranch Opinions, and Spicy Pizza

Happy happy Wednesday! While we love talking to each other about food, we wanted to hear from some of our favourite people (offline and online) on what they’re eating. Welcome to the 2nd edition of Coffee Chats by Le Digestif!

I know friend of the [insert media content here] is a term that is thrown around quite a lot but this guest is really a real one. Thanks to a pal o mine, I was introduced to Freia IRL in 2017 but she is one of the best URL followers to grace the interwebz. We chatted with Freia about her range of movie theatre snacks, her love of Indian McDonalds, and of course her opinions on America’s ranch dressing.

Without further ado, let’s dig in!

Best food item you’ve purchased for $5?

Chaat Masala

What is your go-to midnight snack?

Nuts or ice cream -- I always have one or the other at home.

Favorite childhood meal?

Rice and Dal/Sambar. I grew up in India and this was my most common meal at home. Even now when I go home and my parents pick me up from the airport, they usually have it freshly made waiting for me at home.

What’s one thing you hated as a kid that you love as an adult?

I’ve always been a pretty easy eater, I don’t have allergies or restrictions or strong dislikes so I’ll really eat anything and dont really hate any foods. So instead I’ll say sushi and poke, which i just wasn’t exposed to growing up but as soon as I got to try them as an adult I really loved them. I’m also a lot better at really spicy food now, I used to be more scared of it as a kid but I enjoy it now.

What’s one food item that you loved as a kid but now hate as an adult?

I loved sour candy and now i just never eat it anymore. I think I’d enjoy it still but not as much.

Favorite restaurant in the last year?

I moved back to New York after a few years in California and my first priority was to find a new go to indian place by my apartment. I really love Diwan Indian Grill in Crown Heights, I have never had a meal I didn’t love there and I order from it frequently.

I also really love Thelewala on McDougal St -- I’ve been going since college but I was really happy to return this year and see it’s survived the pandemic. Still just as good.

Favorite food book?

I really enjoyed Priya Krishna’s Indian-ish as I’ve taught myself to cook Indian food over the last few years. I grew up eating it but regrettably didn’t really learn at the time. Her book and recipes make it really approachable and modern in a way that resonates with me.

Favorite fast food restaurant?

McDonald’s- especially in India

Five guests at your dream dinner party?

Right now, my family. I haven’t seen a lot of my family in the last year and a half because of COVID, and especially right now as cases spike in India I miss them more than ever and can’t wait to be reunited and go back home.

What’s the one food that everyone seems to like but you hate?

Hate is again, a strong word, I really do like all foods, but I definitely don’t like ranch as much as people love it. I don’t get it. (Editor’s note: Honestly, same.)

Show us the most recent food picture on your phone (#cameraeatsfirst)

Alphonso Mangoes. (Editor’s note: the most luxurious fruit on the market)

What is the most adventurous meal you’ve ever had?

When I was 9 years old my family visited Singapore and Thailand, and I got to try a lot of foods that were new to me having grown up in India. I couldn’t tell you what I ate, but that was my first real glimpse of food that was completely different to what I ate growing up and I really enjoyed it, especially the street foods. It stands out as a memory that really taught me to explore and appreciate cuisines that were new to me. 

Bucket list restaurant you want to visit?

I would love to go to Gaggan Anand’s restaurant in Bangkok someday.

Favourite beverage (non-alcoholic and alcoholic)

Non alcoholic: definitely chai. I’ve been drinking it every day starting as early as my parents would let me. My go to brand is Brooke Bond Taj Mahal which is what we use at home. But honestly any brand from an Indian store would do?

Alcoholic: I love a Margarita

Go-to bagel store order?

Poppy seed bagel with scallion cream cheese, occasionally with lox, capers, onions, and tomatoes. My go to place is my neighborhood spot Bergen Bagels.

Three snacks you’re sneaking into the movie theater?

Boring stuff- peanut M&Ms, nuts, coffee/some kind of pastry. Indian movie theatres serve samosas, which is my perfect snack and I wish was more common here (some Indian theatres here do serve them!). I did once sneak in a poke bowl because I was rushing from work and starving.

What’s the one food you’ve always wanted to try?

I really like Mexican food, but I’ve never actually been to Mexico, so I’d love to visit and get to experience the actual local cuisines.

Best food memory?

Festivals in my family, especially Christmas is always really great. We usually have a big lunch at someone’s house with a ton of home cooked Mangalorean food and lots of dessert.

Thanks Freia for such a fab interview! Will definitely be snagging some Diwani Indian Grill next time I’m in Brooklyn. For some food takes and good humour, be sure to follow Freia on Twitter and follow her candle review Instagram Le Lobo for some new recs to light up your life.

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