There’s no shortage of articles and television shows that showcase the dishes that chefs love to cook at their restaurants. But, what do they love to eat at the end of their exhausting 16-hour days? Or on their days off?
In this series, we ask Milwaukee area chefs to share their favorite dishes – both from area restaurants and for making at home. In this edition, we talked with Chef Barkha Limbu Daily of the cheel. Daily will be among eight featured chefs at the fourth annual Moveable Feast event at the Milwaukee Public Museum.
Barkha Limbu Daily was born and raised in Kathmandu, Nepal. Her first exposure to American food came via the cafeteria fare at Lakeland University in Sheboygan, where she attended college. It was not an appropriate introduction.
"The food seemed so bland," she recalls. Fortunately, she had a variety of friends who were kind enough to introduce her to a wider variety of cuisines, as well as shops where she could find ingredients to make her favorite dishes from home. Now she shares her inspiration through family dishes and inspired takes on Himalayan fare at the cheel in Thiensville.
"Everything" at Shah Jee's
"I first visited in 2006 when I was finishing my undergraduate degree at Lakeland University. I’ve traveled quite extensively in Northern and Southern India, and the food is so diverse. What I love about the food at Shah Jee's is the simplicity. The flavors are complex, but they’re not overcomplicating things. And there’s consistency. That’s so important. I can always expect the same reaction when I eat it. I love the chana masala, the aloo gobi and the baigan (eggplant and potatoes)."
Lamb tacos at Poco Loco Cantina
"I love their Strauss lamb tacos with verde sauce. The lamb is diced and marinated; it’s perfectly seasoned and just delicious. Their guacamole is also amazing; it’s just simple, good avocado with tomato and cilantro. Again, it’s about simplicity. The ingredients are so fresh. They make their tortillas, and it’s nothing like what you know of a regular taco. They also have great fresh seafood."
Oeuf mollet avec champignons truffe at Lake Park Bistro
"This is my must-have whenever I go there. I grew up eating soft boiled eggs for breakfast. And Adam and his team make them so well, and then they fry it so it has a lot of texture. When you cut open the egg, the yolk mixes with the salad and the vinaigrette, and it's so good! And then the truffles, the mushrooms and the frisee... If I could get this as a meal, I would totally order it."
Special occasion dish
"In Nepal, our culture is very food-centric. So, we are always eating. The bigger the occasion, the more food there will be. We almost always start our meal with appetizers; my family calls them "tidbits." There might be five or six dishes that you’d enjoy with drinks while socializing.
"Some of my favorite tidbits are kalejo bhutuwa, which is goat liver that’s lightly sauteed with garlic and ginger, or bhitrans, goat tripe that’s cooked with black caraway, turmeric and garlic.
"For a main meal, there are a number of dishes that I love. I might make pork simmered with daikon, tomatoes and spices; that would be served with rice. For a starch, I might serve koiralo ko aachar, which is like a version of potato salad that’s made with the addition of mountain ebony flowers and spices like fenugreek, toasted white sesame, serrano peppers and fresh lime juice.
"In the spring, I also love ningro ko saag, which is a dish made with baby fiddleheads. We used to go to the hills and forage for our fiddleheads, so that was part of the experience. Then we’d bring them back and saute them in ghee with toasted garlic. They’re finished with fresh lemon juice. And they’re so delicious."
Lori is an avid cook whose accrual of condiments and spices is rivaled only by her cookbook collection. Her passion for the culinary industry was birthed while balancing A&W root beer mugs as a teenage carhop, fed by insatiable curiosity and fueled by the people whose stories entwine with each and every dish. She’s had the privilege of chronicling these tales via numerous media, including OnMilwaukee and in her book “Milwaukee Food.” Her work has garnered journalism awards from entities including the Milwaukee Press Club.
When she’s not eating, photographing food, writing or recording the FoodCrush podcast, you’ll find Lori seeking out adventures with her husband Paul, traveling, cooking, reading, learning, snuggling with her cats and looking for ways to make a difference.