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Archive for the ‘Eating Out’ Category

Driving through Southwestern United States

In Eating Out, Road Trip on December 1, 2015 at 6:39 pm

Our bellies filled with a comfort-meal of dal-chaval and our hearts with some trepidation, we set off from Manisha’s house in our rented, practically brand-new, Toyota Avalon on the afternoon of June 16 on a two-week road trip through the Southwest US. With two camping trips behind us, a cooler in the boot, even if tiny by American standards, was now considered indispensable. I mapped our destination for the day – Grand Junction, CO – on GoogleMaps and we breezed along on I-70 (US Highway 6), getting honked at just once when we hesitated to make a left turn to allow the person behind us to pass. Old habits die hard.

It was an easy 4-hour drive with the Colorado River flowing gently alongside. We could see the railway track on the other bank, a travel mode we had considered briefly. In these barely 260 miles the landscape was changing dramatically already. We were leaving The Rockies behind and the tilted red rocks by the highway were preparing us for the grand mesas and buttes we were about to encounter all across the state of Utah.

To Arches National Park (12)By tea-time we were at the hotel in Grand Junction and met up with my parents, sister, and her family who had driven down from CT after a brief halt to visit family in Ann Arbor, MI. Rounds of tea followed though it was too early to whip out the kettle Manisha had insisted I carry. She was right; the hotel-room coffee/tea-makers do not get the water hot enough for a decent cup. We picked a Mexican place for our first dinner with the family and caught a glorious sunset afterwards.

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Thai Food Pavilion

In Eating Out on September 27, 2014 at 2:24 pm

A couple of weeks back I was at The Thai Pavilion at Taj Vivanta, Gurgaon, to enjoy a special lunch menu celebrating the first anniversary of the restaurant.  As I arrived, I met Chef Ananda Soloman, the executive Chef and the one behind Taj Vivanta’s Thai restaurants.  He was visiting from Mumbai and had put together the celebratory lunch menu, a mix of Thai Pavillion’s popular and signature dishes.

We were seated at the table, all pretty with the gold-rimmed plates, and the blue orchids, and served a fragrant lemongrass daiquiri mocktail; very refreshing after my mad-dash across town.  The appetizers started to arrive as we made conversation with the others at the bloggers’ table.  The amuse bouche bundle was pretty as a picture and whetted my appetite.amousbuche

seeds

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A Table for Two at West View

In Eating Out on July 1, 2014 at 12:43 pm

I am impressed with how I am making time for the blog again!  Even with college off, I have been busy to the extent that I have worked through two weekends in June.  I was determined to take this weekend off and step back for a brief respite.

Mom wanted us to come and help with the mango harvest over the weekend but that was not going to happen.  We had TH’s cousin and family visiting us over the weekend on their return leg from Manali.  We hadn’t met in quite a while and were looking forward to catching up.  They were arriving early Saturday morning and it was best to plan an easy morning for that day; overnight bus journeys are not the ultimate in luxury.  If they were up to it in this muggy weather, we would take them to Dilli Haat in the evening.  Sunday evening they were expected to go check out some local sights while we visited my cousin to mark the auspicious start of festivities for his daughter’s wedding later in August. 🙂 The other cousin, TH’s only relative in town, was called and Sunday lunch was fixed for a family get together.  The weekend was looking busier than the workweek!

the view

In the inbox, had been sitting that invite from West View, ITC Maurya, the same place where we met David Rocco last year.  I had made a mental note while travelling to Ludhiana earlier this week but had too much going on to respond.  Boy, did I have a good meeting with the Commissioner there! The presentation could have gone either way with those really radical proposals we had come up with. But it was well received and we even had a small celebratory drink in that city.  I returned from Ludhiana late Thursday night.  Friday evening was the only spot where I could see an opportunity to squeeze West View in.

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Cafe Turtle

In Eating Out, Vegetarian on June 27, 2014 at 4:01 pm

menu 01
Love that cute turtle on the menu!

Cafe Turtle is a small cafe tucked into the Full Circle book shop in Delhi’s Khan Market.  I have visited it a couple of times to catch up with friends over coffee.  They have branches in Greater Kailash and Nizamuddin as well, but this is the one I visit.  The other week I got an invite from them to checkout their summer menu. The sound of crisp, fruity salads, cold soups, and detox juices seemed like the perfect excuse to extract myself from the hectic-ness that work is at the moment.  In the middle of a busy day we stole some time for a relaxed lunch. Just getting away from the office is like a break!

We decided to split the soup and they were happy to halve the salad servings for us.  We started with the fruity salads:  the spinach-mango, and the pear, rocket and beetroot, both with balsamic dressings.  Both were good but the combination of mangoes, the essence of the Indian summer, with spinach and balsamic vinegar was very pleasing.  We followed that up with the Spanish Gazpacho, which they claim to be their signature soup.  The brown-green soup didn’t look very appetizing and a taste did nothing to change the impression. It was bland and watery and desperately in need of help – a touch of garlic, a spoon of yoghurt, bread, a dash of olive oil perhaps?  In one word, disappointing.

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A Goan Sojourn

In Eating Out, Goan, Travel on May 29, 2014 at 5:18 pm

Anjuna

I have been traveling a lot the last few months.  About a month ago (or was it two?), one such work-related trip took me to Goa for a week.  Immediately upon arrival it was conveyed to the client that in the interest of the tourism-related nature of our project, it was imperative that we experience authentic Goa as much as possible.  We were to stay in Panjim but our sites criss-crossed the state and there was much opportunity to enjoy the landscape and local food.  I and my colleague Tushar were very lucky to have Sunil and Isha, ethnic Goans to boot, be our companions through the week who guided us through some fabulous Goan lunch menus as well as foodie shopping while making sure we started work early and stayed on the job late.

We got off to a great start, arrive as we did at lunch time.  I don’t seem to have pictures of that first lunch of pomfret fry and cafreal; it was too early in the meeting to whip out the camera at the sight of food I suppose.  We talked about food and Goan rice, and I let it slip that I write a food-blog.

Colva Beach

Many of the sites were by the beach but it was not tourist season yet, and the locals had the beach and the sea to themselves.  There is something about the sun setting over sea that gets to us and pictures are not always able to capture the full magic.

[I pick the thread up again, after a gap of a few (six!) months, and the memories less sharp…]

placemat, O'Coqueiro
placemat, O'Coqueiro Read the rest of this entry »

Cafe Lota, at the National Crafts Museum

In Eating Out on January 5, 2014 at 9:47 pm

As I was telling you, one of the most memorable meals I have partaken in the recent past has been at this, relatively new, cafe attached to the National Crafts Museum at Pragati Maidan, Delhi.  During the foodie madness week, all of us, Manisha, Nandini, Ajit, V, and I, picked Cafe Lota for a relaxed late afternoon lunch.

Cafe Lota (2)

We arrived at around two in the afternoon and the place was packed.  After a brief wait we got a table and were handed the menu by the ever-smiling staff.  We had spent the morning at the forlorn Ugrasen ki Baoli in Connaught Place, and were hungry and thirsty.  The “small-plates” called out to us and we ordered four! We sampled Beetroot Chops – Bhaja Moshla Cream Cheese, Arbi ke Kebab, “fish and chips” – amritsari machli aur shakkarkandi – batter fried fillets of sole crusted with popped amaranth, served with sweet potato chips), and palak patta chat – batter-fried spinach served chat-like with potatoes, chickpeas, spiced yoghurt and chutneys.  Each bite of all “plates” was a mouthful of great flavours and textures; with the spinach ‘pakoda’ staying crisp till the last crumb.  This was a very promising start.  Our drinks too had arrived by now: Manisha, A, and I had ordered from the single-estate artisanal coffees, N had asked for a masala chai, while TH had requested the masala chaas.  The coffees were served in individual French-presses and we were all very happy with our brews.

kebab
Beetroot chops, and other kebabs. Read the rest of this entry »

Much Food and Talk

In Eating Out, Tea Party, This and That, Travel on December 21, 2013 at 3:34 pm

Teen Deviyan
The three of us at Ugrasen ki baoli, Connaught Place

Manisha, and A and N were here last week and what a food-packed week it ended up being!  I put work aside and for a whole week we just ate, talked with our mouths full, ate some more, drank a little, and walked a lot.  I focused on Kashmiri food at home and we ate out some, crossing off some of the better known Delhi-delights.

Kachori
Here it starts: kachoris and bedmi poori!

streets
The streets that offer daulat ki chat, the frothy, dew-kissed winter-morning dessert.

Manisha arrived on the last Saturday of November and A and N were here by noon the following day.  They barely got enough time to wheel their bags into the bedroom before we were off on our first foodie trip.  Reeta (Delhi Foodie’s Zone) had graciously agreed  to be our guide through the labyrinth of Old Delhi’s streets!  Read the rest of this entry »

Breakfast at Fifty err… Thirty-Nine

In Eating Out, Travel on October 2, 2013 at 11:53 pm

Yesterday it was TH’s big 50th birthday and we had a small family get-together.  I had hoped we would go out but my family (primarily my parents and sister) resist going to fancy restaurants and spending good money.  The maid chose this very day to play hookie, so I decided to keep it relatively simple with some of V’s favourite dishes.  The son, now a young man, handled the bar.  Most of the munchies were store-bought; only I ate the   blue-cheese crackers I had laboured over.  To think I went to the trouble when I had so much else to do!

birthday cake

There had to be a cake to mark the milestone, and I baked the Lime Chiffon Cake and gave it a fudge frosting.  For dinner there was Hyderabadi Qabooli with tatziki, and also poori-bhaji.  Those who had room for dessert got kheer.  When everyone had left, we sat chatting with the son into the early hours of the morning.

thirtynine 11 Read the rest of this entry »

Couch Potato

In Drinks, Eating Out, on the side on October 1, 2011 at 11:11 am

drink
L’aperitivo Italiano at The Grey Garden

I have been vegging the last two days.  TV and the couch have been a major part of this weekend.  Before the weekend comes to an end I think I should clear a few pending things [too late…it’s midweek already almost end-of-week the weekend already!].  Reviews for one…

Washington Apples

In March this year (yes, you cannot depend on me for a timely post) I was sent a box of picture perfect Washington apples by the India representatives of Washington Apple Commission(!).  I was invited to a tasting session which I declined since my 9-6 time is usually spoken for during the workweek, and hence, the delivery.  Each one of those seven specimens (Braeburn, Cripps Pink, Fuji, Gala, Red Delicious, Golden Delicious and Granny Smith) were easily amongst the best apples I have ever eaten.  Crisp, juicy, and flavourful.

The only problem with the apples is that they are not local.  Far from it.  They really are from Washington, USA!  I was hoping that they had just been named after some Washington varieties grown in Himanchal.  It is one thing to occasionally try out exotic fruits (and ingredients) but quite another to eat apples on a regular basis that are flown in all the way from the US of A!  Is it the same as Indians in the US splurging on the recently-allowed-to-be-exported Alphonso?  Perhaps not since our own apples here are neglected for lack of proper storage and transportation facilities.  Look for good apples from Kinnaur and Kashmir; crisp, with just a hint of tartness.  It is impressive that the imported ones sell at all since they are priced at double the local ones (Rs90 vs. Rs 180/kg!).  But, then in summer Delhites will buy the ones imported from New Zealand at almost Rs300/kg!  I think I might be too middle class for Delhi. If only we would import quince… Well, we could encourage the Kashmiris to plant some more quince trees instead, I suppose.  Here’s a promise – if I am ever safe to return to my homeland I will start my own quince and sour cherry orchard! Read the rest of this entry »

All in a day’s work

In Eating Out, Gujarati, Travel on June 13, 2008 at 12:15 am

packed breakfast
Every chance I get, I use. After locating my ride at Vadodara the first question I put to him was where I could get some good ‘snacky’ Gujju breakfast! He knew just the place. We went to Payal Farsan Mart from where I got packed a bite of quite a few things – very like the proverbial kid in the toy store I was. Masala dhokla, a redder version of the above, was not even my favourite! That would have to be the crispy methi na gota: deep fried spiced besan + whole wheat flour batter with just the hint of bitterness from methi leaves. How they get the gota to be spongy-soft has got to be a skill, for I saw no holey signs of baking soda. There was khandvi which I had to try, naturally (mine’s better 😉 ). Pattis – a different kind this time. These were stuffed with a mixture of grated fresh coconut, ground peanuts, coriander, and sesame, with the thinnest outer layer of cooked mashed potatoes. These are much in demand by ladies who are observing a fast, all ingredients being kosher – permitted as fasting foods! I also tried their house-special makai ni bakarwadi – which was a very delicious version of the common bakarwadi. A very rewarding breakfast; absolutely worth the wait.

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