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156: Another Holiday Monday

5 Jun


What if I become broke? But oh my darling, what if you become rich?

I couldn’t help adapt the popular quote to this bookshop that I first visited as a child. It was a new experience because this was a bookshop of a different kind; one where they sold old books that smelt the best and even took back books you’d finished reading. 

It was just normal instinct to walk into a bookstore enroute the restaurant my friend A and I were heading to, to stuff our face with Mangalorean ghee roast crab. 

Our afternoon was delectable, to say the least. 

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154: Snapshots So Far

3 Jun

Some experiences are best described without words. 

Here are some of mine so far, and I’m letting these pictures do all the talking. 

Banana chips and post-dinner conversations


Saris, dosas, window shopping in Commercial Street.

Friday afternoons with family and these eyes

Impromptu visits, conversations, and homemade fish fry and prawn curry meals

Sunny, windy, shade-laden walks under these gentle giants

Andhra meals, laughter, and bubbly fresh lime sodas

Relaxing with baking

151: Magical May

31 May

Here’s what it’s been like in pictures. 

Hot. 

Relaxing. 

Experimental. 

Filled with debauchery. 


And just plain amazing!

120: Thank God For This Sunday

30 Apr

Because I’m on the go, this post is a photographic one. And man is it exactly the kind of Sunday I needed – quiet pubs playing GnR, mugs of chilled beer, great oriental food, and some amazing company.


Please excuse me while I indulge in some raucous laughter and unbeatable fish fingers with my booze. Happy Sunday, ya’ll!

86: Of Revisits

27 Mar

The drawback of this challenge is that I’m constantly looking for potential blog posts whenever and wherever. It sucks because I become that creepy blogger who sneaks up on every unaware moment and throws the spotlight on it; waiting to prey on it with my bloggers’ magnifying glass. Sometimes I allow myself to be this way, sometimes I let go and let the blogger in me curse myself. The former option gratifies the post-hungry me, the latter gratifies the moment-hungry me. What can I say, it’s a win-win, lose-lose situation depending on how you perceive it.

I will not stop to tell you about the nasty pizza that ruined the culmination of what was an otherwise gorgeous weekend. I will also not stop to give you the gory details of just what it did to me and still continues to bestow on me. *have mercy* However, I will stop to tell you about revisiting my early twenties which were dotted with visits to my favourite pub (which of course, and sadly, doesn’t exist in its erstwhile form anymore).

Come Saturday evening, once we’d dropped my MIL off and returned back (to a comfortingly dark) home thanks to Earth Hour, we sat down together in the shade of a lone lamp and the embrace of a playful Spring evening breeze to this and daru (needless to say).

 

It was just a matter of time before one track tumbled into the other as memories snowballed into a collective of magic and washed all over me. A refreshing wave of magic and all things carefree and bespoke of earlier times when we’d guffaw over mugs of chilled beer, that free bowl of popcorn we’d judiciously savour (because two small packs came with one pitcher and what if we wanted to drink more but wasted it all on measly popcorn?), psychedelic paintings and conversations that were obnoxiously loud to keep up with the pub’s din. Those tables were much too large and broad, as we’d lean over them, still seated on our floor cushions, pretending like we were indeed too cool for anything. Sometimes we’d sneak in a smoke break if someone was feeling adventurous or had the money for such thrilling indulgences that made us feel rebellious and grown up all at once.

The music’d grow louder as we’d immerse our fast numbing senses into its depths; free-falling into the trippy world of classic music and alcohol. Someone would then rope onto their dimming inhibitions and adventure past page one of the menu; beckoning the waiter for more eats and beer.

 

 

Guns N’ Roses would come on and we’d lose it like we’d always belonged. Soon even the strictest of us would be lured into staying back, hanging out for another half an hour tops (what futile timelines those were). If GNR was on, that only meant the best was yet to come. And so it would. I always remember waiting for this magic to spread its wings and take me on its joy ride.

 

Pink Floyd epitomized the pub experience for me. It really was the cherry on this marvellous cake that this budding sense of adulthood brought my way. I remember sinking back into my floor cushions, shutting my eyes as I let chilled beer travel down my body like gold that knew exactly which spot to hit, and allowing myself to be carried away by this one particular track. Be sure to turn this one up. Always. :)

So it was just natural to be teleported back to those days the moment this track came on. And this hit the spot.

“Lost in thought and lost in time

while the seeds of life and the seeds of change were planted…

…While I pondered on this dangerous and irresistible pastime

I took a heavenly ride through our silence…”

50: Unchanged

19 Feb

50 days, 50 posts.

Through all the changes, here’s my toast.


While 50 is not much, I think it’s deserving of some special attention, even if it’s with something small.

A lot has changed since I first sunk my teeth into these smilies back in 2006/2007 (I can’t remember).

Then I was a student, now I sometimes wish I was.

Then I thought twice about ordering a plate all for myself, now I can’t do without sharing them for old time’s sake.

Then the waiters hated waiting on us, now they go out of their way to say hello. (It happened yesterday)

Then it was coffee and smilies, now it’s rum iced tea and smilies.

Then they were shared over project discussions, now they’re downed over reminisces and current stressors.

Then we’d wait for money to decide our next meeting, and now we wait for time to be kind.

Unnecessary Happies

4 Sep

I don’t think I can blog enough about the woes of not having a gas cylinder at home. A lot of me just wants to shut that part of my life at present out and think about all that is going well for us. And then I feel hungry which triggers the grouse all over again. We don’t have a gas connection and never bothered getting one – yay us. Now that we’ve shifted, I thought it best to get one for the many reasons why a gas connection is a must-have. But it’s taking time, naturally, since it’s government related, I figure. The two of us are caught in a weird scenario, a middle path of sorts…of whether to try and wait it out for some more time or to chuck it altogether and find an alternative. I don’t think we can eat out anymore – apart from the fact that eating out feels like a punishment in more ways than one (thanks to taxes and what not), it’s eating a hole into our pocket which is getting more outrageous by the day.

So yes, I don’t want to think about this or talk about this or have to deal with this…I promise to stop soon.

In lieu of all this adulting drama, we chanced upon two places in a span of <24 hours, places that I’ve keenly noted down.

While on a drive last night, we ended up in New Delhi and around Connaught Place, when we began feeling the pangs of hunger poke our mind and belly. We ended up stopping at this supremely crowded roadside eatery which is a healthy sign we look out for when eating at roadside places. This collection of four shops, all belonging to a Jain Chawal Wale brand, I presume, is where we fed ourselves a plate of rajma chawal and chole bhature. This place is known for its rajma chawal (kidney beans stew on rice) and so I gave it a sceptical try; sceptical because it was also the most reasonable meal I’ve had in my life – a solid plate of food for INR 50. Makes it sound dubious, yes. But I took the chance anyway; it’s a thing I’ve learnt about these big cities especially. It was a really decent meal, I’ll admit, and I was glad to brave it…we do it in other countries, why not ours, I thought. We’ve had better chole bhature, though. I’ve been trying to master making rajma myself, and the husband thought mine was better than the one we had here – so I’ve no idea what to say, really. But if you’re low on the pocket arena and are willing to try this out and are most importantly, in NCR, do give Jain Chawal Wale a try.


Today as the day proceeded, we figured a brunch scene would make sense. We stopped by for a proper English breakfast at this quaint Joint Cafe which plays not only amaze rock music and is very tastefully done up, but also serves some soul-satisfying food. Well fuelled and ready to do some serious work, the husband came back only to snooze, and me to, well, dream. Food coma happened to us, I presume.


Here I am now, sipping on some tea along with a muffin that came along with our breakfast we obviously couldn’t finish. I feel very English in my own way and it makes me happy. Unnecessarily happy, you know? There’s so much of it sometimes that it’s hard to feel grouchy or moody about the sluggishness and general lack of interest that’s hanging around the air like stale, musty air. Speaking of which, I got us some air freshener pouches which mum introduced to my world – the stale, musty air is being tackled literally and figuratively. These pouches have also been life changing.

Unnecessarily happying.

I hope you’re indulging in some of this stuff too.

Have a great Sunday, ya’ll.

Things I’m Eating In Bangalore

10 Sep

To help further categorize my gastronomic necessities and adventures, I’m classifying all these posts on places I’m eating at in Bangalore before I leave, under this title. Because as surprising as it is to even me, there are things other than eating that I would like to engage in that remind me of Bangalore as well, if not more. Shocking, indeed.

Also, to slightly deviate, did you notice my in-your-face background? Testing times, this blog is going through, eh? Let’s see what next. It still isn’t it, but it currently satisfies that ants-in-my-pants need to do something on this blog. Also, going the parchment way makes me feel like I’m writing substantial stuff even though it may hardly even classify to be. Now that I’ve made my self feel a bit better, let me proceed to the next tale of how I’ve been adding copious amounts of fat to my body.

This is with what.

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Ja ja, courtesy Bangalore’s longtime sweetheart, Corner House’s ice creams and sundaes. You’re welcome.

This is that one universal spot that makes Bangaloreans and non-Bangaloreans alike, converge at. Be it for brunch, lunch, for dinner, a midnight snack, a drive treat, a rainy day’s companion, a feast, a nibble – you name it, and we’re all here, gobbling away at their varied range of ice cream sundaes. From saving space at fancy restaurants for a trip to Corner House later to crowding its space after college over conversations and swiftly melting scoops (pun intended), from family gatherings to crazy orders at work, there’s not a time I remember when we didn’t turn to this place. Heck, I’m (blindly) sure that folks on a “strict” diet visit this place too. As do our folks who live outside Bangalore; this is a place they look forward to visiting and one that we feel so proud taking them to.

It’s a place I will always associate with home because it is non-fussy, not ornate, comfortable, comforting and definitely only fancy in taste – the stuff that defines a classy home meal and one that makes you come back for more. What was once just a tiny and overwhelmingly crowded corner shop on Residency Road, which I first got introduced to so many years back that it’s hard to remember or even count, has now multiplied generously all across the city and its outskirts only. No mister, you cannot find them in Mumbai or Delhi, New York or even on a plane leaving from Bangalore. I guess that’s what makes it even more Bangalorean than ever and its loyalty makes me beam; except now when I won’t be able to just take an auto and get my fix whenever I want.

It was the first place I ever wrote about when I worked at a newspaper and it comes a full circle when I write about it today as my Bangalore chapter comes to a close. It’s not like their products are imported or fancy; I think it’s just the sheer confidence and belief in doling out combination after combination that makes them such a hit. However, they do have a magic chocolate sauce which is what lifts their chocolate-based sundaes like no other chocolate sauce does or ever can. But do note that there’s only so much of it that you can eat, which has its benefits, because I doubt anyone ever wants to get sick of the place.

While many find it overrated and not as great as they imagined, it is to many of us that quintessential small-town ice cream parlour that is everyone’s go to. In fact, the first time I ever went to this place was on a very cold, rainy night, where I dug into my first hot chocolate fudge standing under an umbrella. It’s these small experiences that count and one that I will hopefully remember for as long as I can. There’s a fondness to this place that makes it feel like a place you can always come back to at any time.

Because I’m not very adventurous with new dishes and combinations, I stick to my regulars and have of course, a few standard sundaes that I can blindly fall back on.

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Hot Chocolate Fudge

This is a classic order of vanilla ice cream, hot chocolate sauce and peanuts, which is something you can always count on if you’re not adventurous or in the mood to try anything fancy. Simple, delectable and delicious.

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Trilogy

If you love fruits and ice cream, here’s the jackpot of all – a combination of fresh and canned fruits, ice cream, jelly and sauce. Most delightful. Though I’m not a fan of jelly, my staple fruit sundae orders are Peach Melba (vanilla ice cream, peaches and melba sauce) or even Impeached (a more versatile combination inclusive of fruits other than just peaches). You could even try their Fruit Jackpot, a favourite of my cousin’s who totally digs fruity sundaes.

My all-time fruit combinations are their fresh fruit with cream and ice cream combos, the highest ranking being this beauty.

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Alphonso Mango with Cream and Ice Cream

One can even try their inviting strawberries with cream and ice cream during the strawberry season. They are even kind enough to tell you when the strawberries and mangoes are sweet enough to try.

No one can ever ever go wrong with a fruit and cream combination. Fruit-cream lovers, you know what I mean.

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Chocolate Malt Thick Shake

There are days when I want something like an ice cream but wish not to have an ice cream (I’m weird, thank you). And for those days, I reserve this beauty. Made solely with ice cream, this shake is one to stir even the ice cream loyalists. So good. So thick. So tasty. Be sure to ask for the thick shake, because that’s where the goodness of ice cream lies. Yum.

And here’s for the final, though it’s here not because I order it but because it’s Corner House’s signature, do give this a try if your appetite permits.

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Death by Chocolate

This magnum is for those true-blue chocoholics who can have it all and then some more. A meal by itself, do savour it when your chocolate cravings are at their worst (or best); enough to keep them satisfied for a while and more.

If you want something lighter and don’t mind eggs, you could give their chocolate mousse a try. Though not on top of my list, it’s one of those combinations I indulge in for the sake of eating something at Corner House.

Their Brownie Fudge Sundae, similar to the Chocolate Fudge Sundae, except with brownies, is another delight, should you want something cakey in your sundae.

When I really want something sweet, I opt for their Royal Butterscotch Sundae – this one is caramel heaven topped with butter roasted almonds. Delightful.

I’m going to miss this place and there isn’t enough I can write about it or its ice creams. All I can do is eat my fill and feel at peace for the madness that it can create.

Thank you, Corner House, for just being.

Things I’m Doing Before I Leave Bangalore – V

7 Sep

My lack of willpower when it comes to food is preventing me from being bridanal about one of the most crucial things brides usually are anal about – not gaining weight/losing the perfect bridal figure (whatever that’s supposed to mean). It’s not as if people aren’t already weighed down by unreal and unnatural ideals of body shape and size, often clouding the understanding of their own body shape and size, that we have an added pressure of “not gaining weight”. Obviously this pressure is too much for my food-loving, almost gluttonous habits, which is why steering clear of it is easier and makes me feel more at peace. Friends, I don’t know how you do it on a regular basis, forget for when special occasions arise. Kudos to your will power. (Let’s note that this isn’t addressing that section of us who refuse to eat their meals point blank; for that, well, I’m not speaking about today.)

Naturally whilst I’m on an expedition to eat my remaining days in Bangalore away, the resulting gift of extra adipose is a concern, though one that hasn’t rung its alarm bells in my consciousness yet. I’m hoping I won’t be too off my rocker and that if I do go past the line, these alarm bells ring sooner. Le sigh.

The weekend has been of eating and eating some more; of eating to the point where one automatically felt the need to get their butt moving rather than sit back and let their digestion envelop them in a siesta. While there was no walking of the “exercise” category involved, there was just enough to lead us to another *waitforit* food place, but naturally. Where has this need to eat come from? Is it because of the excessive importance we give to food everywhere the mind and eye can reach or is it that we’ve been so deprived of food all our lives? Clearly it’s the former of course. We do have much healthier and stronger generations before us to prove that fact, yes we do.

From joyous ice cream moments to seafood shenanigans, from toasts to iced teas, I’ve no idea how varied and crazy things did become over the weekend. While listing down all the places I love visiting, and will hopefully continue visiting, is beginning to make a heavy impact on the scales, here’s a place for all you seafood lovers that I’m most delighted to share.

We barely even looked at the menu of this restaurant which made me almost feel like I owned the place. Do you know that feeling where a particular place feels like it is yours; enough to make you get territorial about it, enough to make you take over the waiter’s job and recommend dish after dish to your friends? Yeah, that’s how all these places make me feel, and that’s precisely what I’m doing on this medium – recommending the good stuff to you.

So without even actually perusing through the menu in its entirety, we rattled our orders away. This one was obviously a quick hit – prawns in butter garlic sauce. There is something about this blessed combination of butter and garlic that makes this match one made in heaven.

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These guys added onions and chillies to the dish, which isn’t the authentic way to go about a butter garlic prep, but no one really cares or complains. Prawns + butter + garlic = nocomplainswhatsoever.

Of course being an avid fish fan fanatic, I felt indulgent (because of the long overdue visit) and ordered my staple of fish. I’m a lover of any fried fish and this was an anjal (king mackerel) masala fish fry.

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It was rather alright and didn’t make my skirt fly. I’m a fan of the more deeply fried masala fish, the way it’s made in Kerala. Kerala fish fry FTW! Therefore what is a staple in any seafood order, isn’t really one here.

What is indeed a staple order at this place, which by the way is Anupam’s Coast ii Coast, is *loandbehold* their crab *freakinawesomemeltinyourmouth* ghee roast. Please order only the ghee roast. It’s the only kind of crab roast you should ever have.

Seriously indicative of coronary threats, this is a beauty that should be kept for those special times when you really want to go all out on crab.

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Lathered in beautiful Mangalorean masalas and fragrant of ghee (clarified butter), this is must-have. It makes me actually prefer eating crab in Bangalore more than in any other coastal area; which to my astonishment I find more harsh on my pocket than over here, in Bangalore.

Order a side of neer dosa (clearly crab becomes the main) and feed a burning but completely satisfying fire in your mouth through those (rather loud) cracks and crunches.

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Such a beauty, this. You can skip the fish entirely if you wish and go for more crab. Made with red chillies and more magic, this is a dish that is appeasing, satisfying, addictive and most delicious. When your mouth burns but you cannot stop and keep asking for more, it’s a sign of only good things.

Their service is very fast and their food is beyond tasty. If Mangalorean fare is something you enjoy, this is where you need to go to. The vegetarians at the table loved their food as well, but of course I was deep into the crab-eating process which made it impossible to click their food. They ordered appams and vegetable stew, which is a very comforting dish. Albeit a Keralite dish, I hear it’s a good order here.

It looks like I’m done on the crab-eating front for the time-being. It was a meal worth all the madness and absolute lack of table manners. Don’t do first dates over crab dishes unless your date knows what the date’s getting into.

On a more organizational note, I am contemplating categorizing these food-related posts separately, but while I still gain some clarity on how to do so, do hop over for some crab!

Things I’m Doing Before I Leave Bangalore – IV

4 Sep

Here’s another place that’s much more accessible and easy to go to when I’m craving a hearty, warm, soulful bowl of soup or noodle soup. Noodle soup is, in my honest opinion, that one complete, comforting meal that fits the bill whenever, wherever. You’re feeling ill – noodle soup. You’re feeling blue – noodle soup. It’s raining outside – noodle soup. You’re too lazy – noodle soup. You want something healthy – noodle soup. Wait, noodle soup is healthy right? Ah well, that really doesn’t matter when you get that most delightful goodness steaming away to glory right in front of you.

Close to where I work, Phobidden Fruit is a place I first ventured to because it was easy to go to. They serve us glorious bowls of spiced magic – pho – a traditional Vietnamese dish of flat noodles, broth that beams of the beauty of balanced flavours and star anise (oh dear lord), vegetables and spices; a dish I return to this place for every time. Most marvelous, especially when you’re privileged to live in a city like Bangalore, whose weather is enviable like you totally know how. :)

Because I’m not a beef-eater unless I really crave it, I first ordered their chicken pho.

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Massive as it is, this one bowl is as hearty as a meal can get. But I’m not a fan of their chicken pho as much as I am a fan of their beef version. This one is truly up my alley and makes it all feel perfect.

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If you’re at this place on a relatively warm day, I couple it with a Vietnamese iced coffee. Not the best one I’ve had, but it’s a great balance of hot and cold. Of course it’s a little much to have given the size of a pho helping; but a generous combination nonetheless.

Sometimes it doesn’t stop there when we order this.

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Their chilli beef. Delectable and spicy; it’s a starter that I imagine going well with beer. But they do not serve alcohol and no one really cares. It goes down as soon as it appears on our table. And that says it all.

To end it, do try their lemongrass ice cream and/or their coconut sorbet. Mild, smooth, palate-cleansing; they appease your senses in the most refreshing way. Give them a try. They’re not wow, but definitely worth a try.

If you’re looking for a comforting, tender, loving, fulfilling and wholesome meal, this is a place to definitely visit. Set in a verandah by the garden of an erstwhile bungalow in Indiranagar, this place feels as Asian as its food gets. Give their fried rice dishes a miss and head straight for the authentic stuff – these dishes are a to die pho! (Sorry, I just had to!)