Tag Archives: Eating Out

162: Sundaze

11 Jun

Yesterday was a packed day that ended much later than I’d planned. From late lunch drinks and snacks with friends to drinks and dinner with family, we spent most of our day out. If that wasn’t enough, we carried the party on at A’s cousin’s place till almost 4am – something I’ve seldom ever done. I loved it, to be honest.

A lot of my growing up years have been spent following a routine, being the “nice” girl who comes back home in time, who follows rules. Staying out till late is my brother’s forte and one I never really understood. I guess it primarily depends on the company you keep – mine always met during the day and wrapped up latest by dinner. There are only a handful of times I remember being out till late with friends, and that was either during a holiday or over a stay over.

Having said that, sitting outside in bhaiyya’s balcony; chatting, laughing, sharing stories, convincing A that Bangalore is a good place to live in, and generally just watching sheets of clouds roll by while gentle music played as a cool wind blew was an apt after-party. It’s one I’m totally game for if an encore was to happen. Age does mellow us down; the urgency to prove a point on the social front blunts itself till it fades away. No more do you find yourself in the company of people inebriated beyond their capacity with the sfx of nausea taking over.

As dawn began to unveil herself, we returned home and fell into a satisfying sleep. :)

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!

84: Fridaze

25 Mar


Walks, talks, reminisces, memories, food, and of course, whiskey on a bulk offer. 

How can one resist?

Hope yours was loverly too. :)

39: Dilliwali

8 Feb

A lot of me loves living in this city that I’ve now made my new home. It’s not a safe place to live in, is horribly polluted, but while it has quite a lot of negativity attached to its name and character, living in NCR has made me discover a lot about myself too. I never thought any place other than Bangalore could ever be my home, even after deciding to not settle in my home city. However, living in the northern part of my country has brought alive a lot that was latent in me. Bangalore will always be home, but I’ve come to realise quite some time ago, that home is wherever you’ll go; wherever you’ll feel like you’ve always belonged or are going to belong to. Cultures, people, climates, and other subjective factors aside, NCR has given me the space to germinate this feeling of home.

What I came here to do was to make this a picture post with captions. However, I seem to have digressed and overshot this caption word limit. Over the past week, I got to see more of Delhi while taking my in-laws out. Of course experiencing New Delhi is synonymous with diving headlong into its gastronomic delights. I promise that this really is the food capital of India – people love cooking, people love eating, people love feeding. It’s a collectivist attitude. From raw vegetables to greasy street Chinese, deep-fried snacks to steamed sweet potatoes, roasted groundnuts to chole bhature; this city has it all and more. I haven’t even experienced the tip of this iceberg.

Last week saw us eating at least one meal out. My MIL wanted some south-Indian fare, and the only one closest to us was a restaurant neither of us had visited. The previous place we took her to during her last visit was Sarvanna Bhawan all the way in CP which wasn’t feasible. However, the gem we stumbled upon just a ten minute walk from our house had me thank the universe – I don’t remember savouring a bowl of uddin vadas and rasam with this much satisfaction and joy, ever before. Their rasam is perfect, their vadas a pillowy crunchy dream. We gave this restaurant an encore a couple of days later – utterly delightful.

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Rasam Vada at Naivedyam

The best treasures to come across are when you’re knee-deep in shopping and too exhausted to care. If you’re in Lajpat Nagar, and you’ve either walked too much or shopped too much or both, you will stumble upon eateries tucked away in gullies, or stalls, or carts brimming with food. This is what we had and thoroughly enjoyed.

If the weather’s a dream, like it was when we visited LPN, do stop by for a roadside Chinese combo. At 130 bucks for a non-veg and 120 for a veg combo, it’s the perfect thing to have during winter shopping.

 

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Non-veg combo

Here’s what’s on our must-have list, when we visit LPN otherwise – ram laddoos and golgappe (not in the picture)

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Ram Laddoo

Now you know why I love living here more than I don’t. :)

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.

Throwing Back, This Thursday

21 Jul

Because Thursday has somehow become synonymous with being reminiscent, today I thought of becoming a sheep and following the herd trend as well.

Last Thursday saw me wake up at my usual unearthly hour (for a holiday) and fumble around in the cool confines of our hotel room as I rummaged through tea bags to make myself a cup of tea at 7am. There was no bed to be made and the idea of slipping back under the sheets with my bevvy was an idea that toyed with my desire to throw all routine out of the window. However the practicality of balancing a hot mug of tea while remaining covered in bed didn’t seem very likely given the klutz I can be. So a sofa by the french windows whose drapes I’d slyly and slightly pried open without disturbing my sleeping husband (he doesn’t like the curtains open) took precedence.

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But the husband woke up soon enough and there we were, drinking our tea while he watched his tv and I read this rare gem. Soon after this entire tea ritual, I found myself being tempted by the desire to take a post bed tea snooze…I guess fluffy hotel beds with their sea of cushions and the idea of no regular weekday routine does the trick. We lazed around, read the newspaper, watched tv in bed and transformed into lazy hippos that didn’t have anything better to do; except that in sometime, our friend hunger began to make itself present.

Since our package in Shimla wasn’t inclusive of breakfast, we had the flexibility to eat from wherever we wanted to; which led us to exploring the town and the possible eateries we could feed our growing hunger at. We chanced upon a simple, non-fancy but colourful cafe just opposite Shimla’s Town Hall where quite some rather good food in the name of massive stuffed omelettes were wolfed down. But my best memory from this place was this astoundingly amazing coffee I had the pleasure of finishing my meal off with.

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I was a little apprehensive about the coffee; as I always am about tea/coffee as mentioned about in my previous post; but desperately needed some. It was the best decision off the menu, ever. Hideout Cafe makes one of the best cappuccinos I’ve ever had; strong, robust, energising and far from insipid like many I’ve had before. Please order it if milk coffee is your thing.

To tackle that post-meal slumber which effortlessly slides down one’s eyelids without prior notice, we walked around town and explored what seemed to be the more commercial and therefore crowded, touristy spots of Shimla. It was a good walk, though one we wanted to complete asap because we don’t like crowds or too many people in general. Sauntering through Shimla’s narrow lanes was a pleasure because not only do you walk in clouds more often than not, but because the buildings make you feel like you’re in a fun historical book…the authenticity of it heightened because not all roads allow vehicular movement on them, except garbage vans, ambulances and police vehicles. Do walk along some of these roads in Shimla and you won’t be disappointed, I promise. They speak a different story.

That was last Thursday for me. There was a lot of walking around, driving around, eating (though I wish I could’ve had that orange slush and ice cream priced at 60 bucks which is a rare find in cities – both slush and that price), and exploring scattered with slumber now and then.

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A loves going to the mountains; he says it refreshes him completely – his mind, body, soul and his digestive system. Haha! This is not the first person saying this to me; S thrives on going to the mountains in Kerala – it helps her immensely in every way. And they’re both right. There’s something about being in the company of these majestic mountains and all their splendid magic. We become sponges, soaking up all that fresh crisp air, greenery and general wholesomeness. While I was there this time, I really thought long and hard about the ‘beach or mountain person’ question that many ask. That’s for a separate post; for I feel like I’ve found a valid, and surprising answer.

Also, the answers you randomly chance upon when in the middle of nowhere, is strange and mind-boggling.

Also also, while I was on holiday last week; this appeared in the world.

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Yet another app, yet more artwork ready to morph photographs beyond recognition sometimes…yet another addictive toy to add to the repertoire of your phone’s credibility.

So yes, like I said at the beginning, I’ve become a sheep today…and I kinda like Prisma too.

Fail.

But happy throwing back to your favourite times this Throwback Thursday.

Ramzaan Reminiscing

17 Jun

First and foremost, Ramzaan/Ramadaan Kareem to each of you. I realize that this holy month started a while back, but here I am, hopefully still in time to wish you the very best of it, which winds up with a beautiful Eid and lots to learn and reflect about over throughtout this auspicious time. Being a non-Muslim, Ramzaan still holds quite a bit of significance to me, as does Lent, even though I am a non-Christian too. More than it being about food, which is just one factor that has made Ramzaan stand out in our world view for a lot of us, it does bring to perspective so much that we often either are too busy to see and acknowledge in and around us or that we simply just take for granted.

The last time I wrote about it was in this post here, as the time for me to leave my home city was nearing. I remember mentioning how our upbringing played a notable role in our perception and perspective towards other ways of life and living. Thanks to my mother, we grew up in the company of her friends who practised different religions, and whose ways were so different and yet so similar to our own. Some of her friends, who by society and family or by adoption, belonged to a certain religion and either practised it very actively or observed their respective religion minus its many rituals, while some didn’t participate in the active practice of it at all. It was a healthy mix to grow around, which also assisted in us forming our own ideas about religion, practice, understanding, and most importantly, about tolerance. My brother and I, owing to our school and our social interactions, do similarly have friends just like our mother does – some practice, some don’t, some remain spiritual while some believe to not make that a definitive part of their identity at all.

This is my first Ramzaan away from Bangalore. I remember the first time a friend and I decided to go to Mosque Road and MM Road specifically, to check out what all this fanfare about the holy month was, back in 2011 if I’m not mistaken. And so we went. When I look back, the first thing I remember thinking and feeling was a sense of awe and disbelief; because here was this same road I used to pass on a daily basis which was now alive and bustling with people and stalls, its air bursting with the aroma of grilled meat that makes you salivate instantly.That was the first time this concept of having stalls brimming with all kinds of meat, along the entire length of the road came into place. I hardly remember seeing such an event like this before, unless I’m forgetting.

If you love meat, then this is your place to be. I don’t think I even remember the varieties of meat on offer. Of course a lot has changed from 2011 to now; what with it becoming more commercial, hyped and accessible to a larger crowd. The first time I went, I remember not being jostled around as much while I ate my treats in peace. Today is a different scenario altogether, but one that still must be experienced. I won’t be surprised if it’s on Bangalore’s tourism guide, really. Here are a few pictures from the first time I went there; and of some of my favourite things to eat.

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One of my all time favourite meat treats is a good, juicy, bursting with flavour seekh (stick) kebab. It’s a must have if you’re interested and I promise you won’t be left disappointed.

Beef seekh kebabs One of the most melt in the mout

The first time I went, I tried my hand at seekh kebabs made two ways – one that was grilled (in the first picture) and one that was pan fried (in the picture above). I’d always had the grilled one all my life, but this particular pan fried version stole the show, really. I’ve tried looking for this man who made them but haven’t been able to find him since the first time. He was so confident I’d ask for another plate which also probably added to how delicious it really was – soft, juicy, packed with flavour and oh so tender.

Seekhs over embers just the way I dig them )

On trying the mutton and beef seekh kebab versions, I favoured the latter by a great deal. Sometimes ordering a mutton seekh kebab can be a risk because the ones I’ve had so far were either dry or lacking in flavour. The beef ones blow your socks off, in every measure and I highly recommend them. Besides, a plate of mutton seekh kebabs can range anywhere between 100 bucks and above, while an explosive plate of beef seekh kebabs can be as less as 35-40 rupees. The last time I ate a really good plate, which was last year, I remember paying 60 rupees for it.

Chicken satays coated with vermicelli (semiya)

MM Road will also be filled with truck loads of chicken dishes, should poultry be your choice of meat. These chicken satay sticks are quite delicious if you dunk them in a dipping sauce, without which they’re quite dry and lifeless.

Seekhs over embers )

But once you’ve had that mind-blowing seekh kebab, it’s hard to turn to a chicken dish, to be honest.

Beef mince pies

Another delectable snack was this meat pie that was zomg smashingly good. I remember having some on MM Road and packing some for home as well. Lip smacking is an understatement.

I love the variety available at MM Road – it’s nothing short of a gastronomic roller coaster ride. From chicken to quail to other game meat to camel, beef, lamb, mutton, veal to offal, desserts, thirst quenchers and more, this place has it all.

The stalls usually function full-swing around the time of iftar, which is around 5pm onward. It’s best to go empty stomach and really try not having lunch, either. It helps you pig out more minus feeling sick later.

Last year, we stumbled upon this roadside cart selling Arabic tea which was the bomb because it not only hit the spot (it was raining outside plus having a milk product after a particularly spicy meal reduces the heat factor drastically), but because it also had a sugar factory in it which sort of ended up being my dessert, sadly. But if a small cup of very sweet tea is not your idea of a dessert, like it isn’t for me, then do check out their dessert spread. It’s a tough choice to choose from their puddings and sweetmeats such a chaand ka khajur (which is my favourite), shahi tukda, among many, many more. If you’re feeling too full but would like to have a sweet bite, do indulge in the dates that are on display and sale from around the world. The ones from Jordan specifically, feel like a puffy melt in your mouth cloud once you bite into them. Divine.

But, if you do have space, hop over for some kulfi from Bombay Chowpaty which is right next to the mosque. They have a variety of flavours which helps soothe the fire that’s blazing in one’s mouth after all that gluttony.

My order to go

Come rain or shine, slush or too many people, iftaar at MM Road is an experience to have. I haven’t ventured towards the Shivajinagar area because MM Road has everything and more. I urge you to give it a try because there’s nothing like savouring a piping hot, tangy and tender plate of beautifully cooked kebabs in the company of friends, rain and that celebratory atmosphere in general.

PS, please do give this gem from our beloved Savoury a try sometime. You’ll go back for more if you have tummy space, I promise.

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The blitzing of lemon, mint, soda, water and sugar has never felt or tasted so delightful ever before. Pair it with your meat dishes, and you won’t be left with a sore and tired stomach the next day.

What are your favourite Ramzaan treats?

Oh Yay!

6 Jun

My internet, which was down for whatever reasons (the monkeys switched the phone lines off so perturbed net-izens like me couldn’t ask valid questions about its reappearance and why it was snatched away so unannounced in the first place), is back again and of course I made a dash to log into WP just because, you know, my internet is back. I don’t even really have a post in mind and I wish I could write something random – like a happy jolly lalalala – and then traipse around the place because I finally get to use this service that is more an addiction than anything else.

I opened the newspaper today to find the MET department assuring the people of NCR that these hot days aren’t to last too long; that dust storms and rain are finally here. Yay to the rain, not so yay to the dust storm maybe. You can imagine my joy because it’s been unbearably hot with that added touch of humidity which doesn’t allow an AC-non lover like me to function properly without one. Coming from Bangalore makes you an AC-non lover by default, you see. But over here, it’s downright cruel to not use one. The weather outside already announces the arrival of a storm which would require me to leave this post at any minute and rush to close all my doors and windows (which the Bangalorean in me had left open as evening began setting in) to prevent all that dust from wrecking havoc inside my house.

My weekend began with a lovely ring of the doorbell to herald the arrival of that much loved tub of Natural Mango ice cream I had ordered on Friday night. On discovering that this slice, or tub, of heaven could be ordered and sourced didn’t warrant waiting of any sort. I don’t usually like the ringing of my doorbell unless it’s because the people – and usually the fun ones like family or friends or people bearing surprise gifts – I’ve been waiting for, have arrived. I’m adding my ice cream man to that list because he brought me ice cream from a shop that isn’t even there in my city. So now if he rings my doorbell even at 11pm, I will not scowl at him as I may have earlier. This one came at a peachy 10am or before because I made my husband open the door given I was still asleep. It was a great beginning, I tell ya! Also, nothing satisfies my heart like ice cream does. One could try and be all healthy and uppity about the entire experience by savouring and moaning over sorbets, gelatos, fro-yos and what not. But really, ice cream can not be replaced, no it can’t. I mean I love them all, but I love ice cream most. What heightens the experience is eating it directly from the tub. Just imagine!

There has been a lot of eating out that’s been happening, much to my joy to be very honest. Apart from the fact that my mind draws a complete and stark white blank when I enter the kitchen sometimes, it’s a huge relief to just.not.cook. Sometimes I want food to magically be there, available and ready for consumption minus any effort. Ha, but who’s kidding me, I’m all grown up now and have to take charge. *wail* Therefore it isn’t a surprise that FreshMenu shows up right on top on my Zomato listing. I love it but I’m slowly trying to wean myself off of it given its steady price rise.

Saturday involved some retail therapy followed by what I can only describe as a soul-satisfying meal. As the universe almost always has it, my husband’s food always ends up looking and tasting much better than mine does. Sometimes I even hear imaginary laughter at my expense, over and above my husband’s who hardly lets moments like these pass without a laugh. Sometimes it’s funny and sometimes it really isn’t, especially when you’ve imagined your beautiful order to be a certain way and are drop dead hungry of the ravenous kind. But my order of crispy pork over fresh salad accompanied with sticky rice and miso soup hit the ball right out of the park. Smashed the ball outta the park, I mean. We frequent this Japanese restaurant/diner whose dishes are written in their Japanese terminology without much of an elaborate English subtitle to explain all the dish’s components below it; so more often than not, I don’t always end up getting what I imagined I would. It really was one of those days I want mark down in my calendar as being the closest to perfection I’ve seen and felt in a very, very long time.

Sunday of course ended with beer and salad and Shahrukh Khan. I’m far from complaining. :)

Update – the dust storm has arrived. How I love accuracy and assurances.

Winter Debauchery

23 Dec

I think it’s fast becoming a tradition to open every blog post with a weather status update, and so I must continue/maintain the same.

It was 5 degrees Celsius the other day. Of course I was told this much after the figure decided to change to a higher number, what with the added psychological effect of feeling cold in accordance to numbers presented to you, yes? I gasped on hearing the news of the dip but since the given moment had passed (and strategically so), I wasn’t able to be as dramatic and ‘psyhcological’ about it as I would’ve liked.

The sun has decided to sit behind a curtain of clouds and smog today and I miss him dearly. So very dearly. I hear it’s going to get worse what with the added touch of rain and a hibernating sun. I’m not looking forward to that experience as such. At present I am sitting on a blanket on a sofa; woollen socks, fleece pyjamas and added warm wear. My exposed fingers have a different story to narrate what with me erasing the many typos created courtesy them.

However, come what may, I’m delighted to be in a place where the beautiful seasons we talk about in such glory are so well defined. Winter feels like a time when you’re bundled up, snarfing down warm, beautiful winter food like one should, winter inconveniences aside. The produce, the vegetables, the colours, the feeling; it’s one I’m getting to experience after decades; and much to my surprise, it’s one that I missed. I love winters minus the struggle of having to get out of anything warm and cozy. It’s an experience I’ve always loved and look forward to. I’m not so sure I feel the same way about any other season, maybe barring Fall and Spring, respectively.

Winter has brought with it a sort of debauchery that is true to its character. There’s been a lot of eating (of the stuff winter demands), a lot of clothing and there’s been a lot of snuggling in big, fat, very warm quilts that are synonymous with winter. Of course the feeling of  dipping my freezing hands into hot water is something else altogether and one that I’m still unable to word effectively; it’s a sort of prickling numbness that I’ve never experienced before…like that of hot water attempting to (very vigorously) get its heat molecules charged to combat the cold with a vengeance; except that the end result is most definitive and which feels like pins pricking your skin to an extent that the heat feels cold. It’s so weird but something that is stark and so new that I’m curious enough to keep experiencing it till my curiosity permits.

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I love this season so much and even though it’s been such a long time since I experienced a proper north Indian winter in its force, I’m looking forward to the experience; inconveniences and all. I’m glad to be here and watch winter unfold in her characteristic way, and what a marvellous season she can be.

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I’ve grown up understanding vegetables to be defined by their seasons, as they are here where seasons are so beautifully spelt out. Having spent most of my life in Bangalore whose seasons are less defined and therefore whose produce is more or less stable throughout the year (much to my happiness, especially while growing up), I was so heartbroken to learn that it wouldn’t be the same once I left. However, as always, Nature has her way of giving you what you need exactly when you need it. And so I’m a happy kitten skipping in the glory of everything that this season has to offer.

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The greenest, freshest peas and the reddest, crunchiest carrots – ta die for, and something so native of the north. I’m wallowing in the wowness of it all, and of course I’m crunching them down like I haven’t ever before.

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And customary to every north Indian winter, roasted peanuts with masala salt and chutney is a given. They complete every winter experience and so, just to soak in the experience of it all to the maximum, I went and roasted an entire packet of them the other day. Of course no one is complaining because it’s a part of the winter package and something we munch on quite automatically.

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Kullar chai

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Pakoras and steamed chicken momos

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Aloo bread pakora and samosas with chutney

It’s been a month since I left my home to make my new home and all I can say is that it’s been filled with copious amounts of chai, coffee and food. Mandatorily. And I’m not complaining. Except my clothes don’t fit as well anymore. Sigh.