Yamini Lal’s world of flavors

Yamini Lal. Photograph by Mary Shustack.

It didn’t surprise us that Yamini Lal, the blogger known as the Fairfield County Foodie, offered to meet close to WAG’s Westchester offices for this sequel to our July 2016 profile.

After all, Lal savors the chance to explore new tastes, whether around the world or just down the highway.

The Weston resident — who introduced us to East African cuisine via Teff in Stamford last summer — was more than open to meeting at a Rye patisserie: “Sounds great! Never been.”

Anticipating another lively chat with Lal — and we were not disappointed — we settled into a cozy table for a midmorning update.

Within moments, we were again dazzled by Lal’s knowledge of — and enthusiasm for — all things culinary.

Travel, we heard, remains a constant.

“It’s such a global society,” she said. “One of the reasons I want to travel… You can’t live in a bubble and write about everything and say ‘I’m the judge,’” without having a reference point.

Upcoming travels, she shared, would include Vienna and Prague — accompanying her husband on a business trip, as she often does — and then a Paris-to-Normandy river cruise to celebrate her mother’s birthday.

The thread tying it all together? 

“I’m totally expecting to do some serious eating. Definitely,” Lal said, with her trademark laugh.

Lal has been cooking at home a bit more recently, thanks to her new schedule. She left her marketing job with fashion-jewelry firm Carolee late last year, deciding not to participate in the company’s relocation from Stamford to New York City.

The blog, she shared, has become “much broader because I’m traveling a lot, because I’m not in Connecticut as much lately.”

While recent posts have shared details of her “Perfect Saturday Morning” visit to a secret Fairfield destination for artisanal bread and her embracing the new season of the Westport Farmers’ Market, she’s continued to spread the word about destinations farther afield, from a New Haven food-truck experience that created “A Party in the Mouth — Vietnamese Style!,” all the way to Washington, D.C., where she enjoyed a “Molecular Gastronomy Bonanza” at one of the properties of the ThinkFoodGroup.

As Lal and her husband look to an eventual move to California, she said would like to parlay her food knowledge into a professional role.

“I do feel I’ve made it my business to learn a lot about food.”

Tied to Lal’s doing more cooking at home is her work on a project to gather the recipes prepared by her mother when Lal was growing up in India. Family food traditions, she said, are part of your personal history.

“I think it’s such an important thing for my son and his children, for my brother and his children.”
Throughout her culinary adventures, it’s always about sharing the passion that finds Lal “inspired by things I eat all the time.”

She spoke of the quest for the perfect French omelet, of discovering stroopwafels in the Netherlands and of replicating an appetizer sampled in London, a burrata memorable for its unusual spices.

“It tasted so Indian. It talked to me. It spoke to me,” she said. 

With her son about to start his career, the proud mom was already dreaming of dining opportunities when she visits.

“He starts a job in Boston, which I’m very excited about. Boston is a great food city.”

But Lal remains committed to finding food not only delicious but that also resonates with her on many levels.

“It’s the quality of the ingredients and where they are sourced,” she said of some of her most memorable experiences.

And those, it seems, are destined to keep coming.

A couple of days after our Rye reunion, we got an email from Lal telling us she may have forgotten to mention her very next destination — the Atlanta Food & Wine Festival.

As she wrote from Georgia, she was exploring Southern food, drink and “Having a blast here…”

Of course she was.

For more, visit fairfieldcountyfoodie.com.

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