Padma Lakshmi Takes Us on an Epic Food Tour

Photo by: Michael Flores, R29
What do you look for in a restaurant when you're going to go out?
"Atmosphere is really important. That's why we go out; it's not just for the food. I like restaurants ... more 
Photo by: Michael Flores, R29
What do you look for in a restaurant when you're going to go out?
"Atmosphere is really important. That's why we go out; it's not just for the food. I like restaurants where you can have fun, and there's great atmosphere and it seems lively, but you can actually hear the other person you're with. I want privacy - I want to be seen but not heard at a restaurant."

Stop # 1: Mission Chinese

What makes Mission so good?
"I just love how so authentic and extreme it is. A lot of restaurants, especially ethnic restaurants, try and do gentle versions of their homestyle food to have a greater audience, but Mission Chinese doesn't do that. I love spicy food, and some of those recipes are even too hot for me. I love that it's gritty and it's about food, and they don't take reservations and they don't care who you are. less 
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Wed, Mar 20, 2013 11:30 AM EDT
By Kristian Laliberte, Refinery29



When Padma Lakshmi takes you out to lunch, it's go order big or go home. Like, really big. Like, four lunches big. So, when we spent the day with the Top Chef host, cookbook author, and accessories designer, we ate our way through not one but four of her favorite NYC restaurants in NYC's Lower East Side. Included on her must-try meal itinerary? A whirlwind global food tour, no passport necessary: We sampled spicy, spicy Chinese, some very authentic fried chicken, fresh Austrian Wiener schnitzel, and even some New Zealand pinot noir.



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Of course, along the way, we got some Q-T with the culinary star herself, whose brand-new, first-ever jewelry collection for HSN, PL by Padma Lakshmi, is available to buy today! And, not only did she dish on her affordable new baubles, the multi-tasking phenom also let us in on everything, from her stay-slim diet and workout secrets (hello, her job is to eat!) and tips for guaranteed glowing skin and makeup to what she looks for in a guy and, naturally, her signature dish. If you aren't hungry after clicking through, you're not human.



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