Category Archives: Food

Street Food from Delhi: An Insta Story

Evening spent the old school style with those cookie jars and that chai glass.

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Breakfast tales!!!

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Now that's how I define a Sunday morning 😊

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Customary Hometown Post – A visit back home can never be complete without this 😍😍😍

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My representation of a weekend – Visit to Lotan Jee 😊😊

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The Italian Dream

Bellissimo!! One of the few words that I know from the Italian language and one of the first words that came to my mind when I had a lunch at The Pasta Bowl Company. The food and the place are simply beautiful.

If you are looking for the best Italian meal in Gurgaon, The Pasta Bowl Company (TPBC) is the winner hands down! Located in the Cross Point Mall, TPBC also scores additional points because of it’s central location, proximity to the Galleria Market and a comfortably accessible parking.

 

 

It had been more than a year since I had been hearing about TPBC, (and all good) but somehow could not visit the place. This time when my friends and I finalised TPBC as the venue for lunch, it was a happy happy day.

On a weekend, as I sat gazing different food pages on social media, I came across this Instagram post on the official handle of The Pasta Bowl Company introducing the late lunch menu ‘Cucina Con Amore’ which means Cooked with Love. So I dialled up my friends number and we decided on the ‘happy day’. The new menu offers a three course meal for late lunchers especially aimed at the corporate sector.

We arrived just around noon. I believe it was such a great choice of time because it made the place look beautiful with the natural light peeping in from every possible opening. The brick wall interiors just give you a sense of calm and you can not ignore the huge clock on one end and small sports cars on the opposite end. TPBC also have an open kitchen which gives you a good view into live cooking. A very special and cute attraction is the fresh grown basil right on the kitchen shelf.

 

 

We started with the ‘Primo’ which was Bruschettas and ordered the Pomodoro and the Funghi E Olio Di Tartufo. The latter had pesto sauce and cherry tomatoes. For me anything with authentic pesto is a winner. Additionally, If you also add Truffle Oil to the dishes on my plate, you are not an ordinary winner but you are a champion. Both the Bruschettas gave this place a head start in the championship. TPBC is known for using ingredients imported from Italy. This can be experienced through the Truffle Oil Bruschetta. The chef made sure that the truffle oil is used in right quantity and does not over power your taste buds. We were left wanting for more.

 

 

Then came ‘Secondo’, that is the second course, offering a choice of pizza or a pasta. I ordered the Pizza Ortaggi Siciliani and my friends ordered the Fusili Bianca. Both theses dishes took me to Italy for a while…… They were not the usual Italian food that we are used to in India with cheese overload. The pizza had a very different shape and was topped with fresh and colourful vegetables. It was both a visual and a gastronomic treat. The Peperoncino Chilli stood out distinctly both in taste and appearance. Whenever I think of the meal at TPBC, I always think of freshness. It was just the way I experienced as I enjoyed my meal!

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Coming back, the Fusili Bianca made me change the way I cook pasta at home. It was very light and mild on flavours. The Parmesan, cream and parsley were added in quantities which allowed me to relish the texture of the pasta as well. The pasta and cheese were very well balanced. The objective of cooking pasta highly rich in cheese has now taken a back seat for me.

 

The final stages of foodgasm had almost set in as I flipped through the menu to see what is next. Dolce Vita (Life is Beautiful and luxurious) when desserts are on the way……Ah!! The third course named ‘Dolci’ offered a choice of Cannoncini and Panacotta della Stagione. My mouth is watering as I write about the Cannoncini. The texture of the lemon cream was amazing. You could feel the flavour bursting on the palate slowly and in a smooth manner. What surprised me was  the taste of the Brioche because I was not expecting it to have that delicious taste and was extremely soft. The Cannoncini brought out the kid in me as I relished it in a manner I have enjoyed cream rolls during my childhood.

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Hold your breath to read about the most delicious dessert I have had in a long time. The Panacotta della Stagione which luckily for me was the Mango Panacotta. With every bite I took I wanted more of it. I wish it was served in a magic plate that would refill every bite of it. The gooey texture, the right temperature and the appropriate amount of sweetness made it very very delectable.

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The entire experience of eating here became more interesting when you have Chef Om and his team ready for a chat on everything Italian. We also had a chance to learn a lot of Italian words and one word that comes to my mind after the lunch at TPBC was ‘Grazie’.

An ‘Impromptu’ evening

Not always is an impromptly planned evening such a wonderful experience as this one turned out for us.

When in Gurgaon, we all are quite used to the routine pattern of lifestyles. From the start of the day where we can see the suave and the crisply dressed millennials deboarding the cabs and boarding the elevators, to the regular exchange of emails throughout the day. It is all in the routine. Lately, even the patterns of recreation have become robotic. Most of the office goers take a flight down the office stairs and land up for a couple of drinks. A few decide to drive across the ‘valley’ for some ‘leisure’ time.

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Apart from these usual places, there are very few places in Gurgaon that come under the “WOW” category of Gurgaon’s nightlife. Impromptu is one of them. Definitely not your average run of the mill place, Impromptu is a rare find of space and a little gem in the middle of Gurgaon. As I crossed the roads of Golf Course Road and entered the place, sexy is what came into my mind. That’s how the place is. It’s so chic and tastefully done with subtle lights at the entrance, the cool interiors clubbed with outside sitting makes it a win win!! A bonus is the huge flat screen make you want to sit there for hours. ( Cricket lovers!!)

My partner and I were super impressed and wondered why we didn’t try this place in the past 2 years. It was just our type of the place with the coolest music playing and most importantly at the right volume. Helped us have a good conversation over some amazing drinks and food.

Our first order was cocktails and we went with the quintessential Italian Martini and a cocktail called Rusty Nail. The Rustic Nail was made using a Drambuie. It was the first time that we tried the Drambuie. Drambuie is a liqueur made of Scotch whisky, honey, herbs and spices. The service was very polite and not at all overbearing and all our food was ordered as suggested by our server Vikram.

 

We started with the Soya Kebabs which were very delicious and tender. We also ordered a Shish Taouk which was a chicken dish inspired by Lebanese cuisine which was followed by a Crunchy Caprese Pizza (not salad but pizza) which was quite different loaded with cheese. The best pick of the evening was the Keema Pao so flavourful and probably competing with soya kebabs 😉 We would definitely recommend this dish to everyone. Rich in flavours and the soft pao was a delight. It was almost 1130 when we ordered the dessert. Time passes so quickly when you are having fun no??

Dessert included their house special which was flourless chocolate cake with ice cream. It melted in the mouth and was extremely extremely soft. Thank you Impromptu for a great evening. This is a place that shouldn’t be missed and I would go there again and try their buffet which runs all week.

Cost on the Pocket – Rs. 2000 for 2

Where – Vatika Towers, BLC-143, Golf Course Road, DLF Phase 5, Sector 54, Gurugram, Haryana 122002

Raising a Toast to the bravehearts -Bunker, Gurgaon

Goosebumps!! I feel it  every time I hear Jana Gana Mana playing around me.

Blood Rush!!! I feel it every time I am at the stadium watching an Indian Pakistan Match and the crowd chants out loud “Bhaarat Mata kiiii…..Jai!!!!”

Patriotism, nationalism and love for the nation are common on these occassions. The above feelings are just so natural in the above mentioned situations.

The last weekend was something new for me. The same feeling while sitting for dinner. For the first time I was visiting a place that pays homage to the brave and selfless soldiers of the Indian Armed Forces. Bunker, which is owned by a former Army official, is the place where you feel hungry and patriotic at the same time. The cafe is completely dedicated to the Indian Army.

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That’s how they serve French Fries 😉

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The Bar

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#Patriotism

The food and drinks are named on all things “Army” and the decor will make you feel as if you are no longer in the Millennium City. You enter a different world here when you see trivia about the forces, their weaponry, the order of precedence in all the forces and even uniform blazers hanging in the cafe.  The first signs are visible as soon as you look at the door which has a gun shaped metal handle. Enter and you have multiple TV screens sharing facts about the defense forces and showing clippings from the war zone.

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Pistol and Soldier Salute

As we started with our dinner, the most confusing part of a dinner turned into the most entertaining part for my partner and me. Yes, I am talking about the time when we were handed the menu cards. Everything is so uniquely named. Very innovative and entertaining for me.

To start with, we ordered drinks named Pistol and Soldier Salute. Both the drinks were innovative with different alcohols and flavors. Pistol was more strong while Soldier Salute slightly more refined as it had wine in it. We loved the quantity of the drinks. They were ‘Fully Loaded’ 🙂

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Chicken Strips

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Cheese Torpedo

Next came good old French Fries which were tasty and crisp served with a red plastic gun (don’t get scared) that had the ketchup inside. Again, Quite innovative! For a moment it brought out the kid in me. I immediately wanted to pull the trigger and run around mimicking the rattling sound of a gun. Those were the days 🙂

We were ready to eat more so we ordered Cheese Torpedo, slightly spicy for us. Our favorite were the Chicken Strips because of the delicious accompaniment of the pepper sauce. It was cooked to perfection!

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Bunker Special Pasta

Our snacks were delicious but we were not yet “Fully Loaded” and wanted something more. Next came the Bunker Special Pasta which was spaghetti in meatballs. Tasty pasta and definitely not overcooked which usually happens when you eat outside.

If guns fascinated me as a kid, my present day fascination lies in drones. How could I miss laying hands on one at Bunker. We ordered Bunker’s signature dish which was the Drone Pizza- an octagonal shaped  pizza filled with juicy vegetables and served with a mint sauce. The pizza was so different (Take a look) and delicious (Take a bite) that the pasta felt left out for a change.This should be tried for sure!

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Drone Pizza

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Signature of Bunker

We ended our evening with a delicious dessert filled with three different flavors of ice cream and gems and jellies. The creativity in the names was on point. This was named ‘The Battle Tank’ and this one surely came towards us ‘All Guns Blazing’. Phew!!! Was I stuffed or what. Still tempted to hog, hog and hog more.

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Overall, we loved the place and would definitely go back. It is a welcome change from the cafes and joints of Cyber Hub and Sector 29. The service is exceptional and the manager here is very welcoming and polite as is the rest of the staff. Music was on point… especially after 830!

Jai Hind!!!

It’s that time of the year again…

 

‘Winter is coming…’

‘Winter is coming’ and it’s that time of the year that we foodies look forward to. Time for food, feast, fun and food fests.

With every passing year and with my growing love for food, another thing that is growing is the size of the hoodies and pair of jeans that I have to buy for this year’s winter. My love affair with food has now come a full circle. Palate Fest Delhi 2015 was my first visit to a food festival since I started dating food. This year, I was very lucky to be present in  Chandigarh, The City Beautiful, as the curtains on the Lloyd Palate Fest 2016 were raised.

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the perfect set up…

The lush green environs of Leisure Valley in Chandigarh proved to be a beautiful set up for my date. Perfectly placed in the lap of nature, basking in the nascent winter sun and each other’s love, it was just my food and me.

We walked around, enjoying each other’s company and clicking a lot of pictures as well. I have always believed, a thing of beauty is a joy forever, and love turns out to be really beautiful when you have fallen for food. I would like to spread this joy through this photo diary.

The line up at the fest had some really interesting names such Dera by The Taj, Browse – the in house bakery at The Lalit, Kylin, Uncle Jack’s, Keventer’s Shakes, Casa Bella Vista and more. In addition, the music was like an icing on the cake with Astitva doing the closing act.

Casa Bella Vista

In my opinion, the prettiest set up was done by Casa Bella Vista.

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Casa Bella Vista

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Asparagus Pizza by Casa Bella Vista

Magic Wok

Among the other pretty places was the Magic Wok. It provided for a huge space and with lot of colors and a vibrant decor.

Keventer’s Shakes

And there was Keventer’s Shakes and they reminded me of the historic war cry ‘Dilli Ab Duur Nahin….’

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Browse – Hyatt Regency

Browse, the in house bakery by Hyatt Regency had some lovely desserts to offer. With the sweet tooth I possess, they were one of my personal favourites. From croissants to brownies to Danish pastries, Browse was a good experience.

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Danish Pastry by Browse

A few more special moments

As the evening set in, I decided to take my parents to meet my first love. Beautifully lit up, it was a typical pre-winter evening which we experience in ‘the North’ around Dusherra. My photo diaries have a few experiences which might just make the viewer a bit envious.

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Dilli Ab Duur Nahin

After this lovely weekend, I am ready to hop on to the next bus to Delhi and as I said ‘Ab Dilli Duur Nahin….’ Definitely not. Come November and Palate Fest now comes to Delhi. I wait to take all of you along on my next date in Delhi very soon. Stay Tuned and ‘Keep Eating, Keep Clicking’.

 

In search of a Peace of Food

We usually toss a coin to decide between two extremes. Batting or bowling, leaving or staying and many more such dilemmas. Success and Failure, however, are on two opposite sides of a coin which both eventually lead to the same decision – ‘Travel’ .  You succeed, you travel to celebrate. You fail, you travel to make peace with it. Eventually, both ways you have stories to tell. After a long hiatus on the blog, I return with stories to tell.

No prizes for guessing the hero of my story. Food. The story is based in the picturesque town of McleodGanj- a suburb of Dharamsala in Kangra District of Himachal Pradesh. There is a lot more to tell about the history of the place, but my story takes you around the cafes in this beautiful town. What to eat and what not to eat. There is a slim chance that you will find the latter recommendation though.

The Tibetan Government in-exile is headquartered in McleodGanj. Very appropriately I will start my story from a couple of places serving authentic Tibetan food.

Tibet Kitchen

Located very close to the main McleodGanj Square, Tibet Kitchen serves one of the most authentic Chinese and Tibetan food in Mcleodganj. It also has a few Bhutanese dishes to offer. I ordered a Chicken Datse (also known as Datshi) with Tingmo Bread (pronounced as tee-mo) and Fried Chicken Momos. Try almost anything at this place and you will not return disappointed.

My feel: Spend a good time with your family and do not miss a view of  the hustle bustle at the square from their balcony.

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Four Seasons Cafe

Stand outside this place and you will feel a whiff of warm fresh air kissing your face. The warmth comes from the lady who runs this place. I loved the facade of this cafe which had a very sweet four column window and a small door. Interiors are all orange and well lighted and a symbol of the religious / spiritual inclination. Do not miss the cute little book shelf in the cafe.

My feel: Sit and catch up with an old friend on cold winter evening. 

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Tibet Quality Bakery

I intentionally did not save the bakers for the last. I reserve that space for my favourite cafe. Located right next to the post office and right in the middle of the Jogiwara Road stretch, this was my go to place every morning. Trying new cakes just became a routine start to the day and how I miss it still. Special mention to the Coffee Walnut Cake for the very gooey and homely base and the Rum Raisin, amongst many that I tried. Get the Rum Raisin cake warmed for drool worthy results. If I had to choose a favourite, it would be the latter. This bakery also sells Yak Cheese during winters.

My Feel: Just keep eating without worrying about the calories

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Woeser Bakery

I would rate this one above the Tibet Quality bakery. It is one of the most quaint places you will find around. You are bound to fall in love with this place. Cute and quaint. The lady who runs this place has a kitchen where she bakes all her desserts and in that kitchen itself she has placed two tables for the customers to sit. She will continue with her work as you relish the lovely desserts she has to offer. Interestingly, she is a self learned baker and has learnt the entire art by watching videos and through the internet. She has not attended any classes and trust me, you would probably taste the most fresh cakes at this place. Please do visit and do order the Home Made Cappuccino for sure.

My feel: Take ‘her’ for a coffee to Woeser Bakery

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Jimmy’s Italian Kitchen

For all those driving down from Delhi to McleodGanj, this one is home away from home for all of you. This one is a replica of The Big Chill Cafe. From the decor, to the menu, to the presentation of the food, this place seems highly inspired from the Big Chill Cafe. This place is highly recommended for their breakfast, in addition to the Italian they offer. I did not try the breakfast but after some interaction with a few people around I was recommended that Jimmy’s Italian Kitchen near the square, on the road towards Dharamkot has a better breakfast to offer. I would recommend their Gnocchi Pasta and fresh fruit juices.

My Feel: Hog.Period.

Seed Cafe

My search for that peace of food took me to the Seed Cafe. Quite a peaceful place with very interesting decor. Mr. Morrison to welcome you and Mr. Hendrix to sing along inside. At this location, that part of the story unfolds where you would want to ditch your gang and sit at a place without being found. I would also suggest you to be alert enough to spot this cafe as you walk around in McLeodganj. For those privileged ones reading this post, you can find this at a distance of 1 kilometre from the square, as you walk from the square towards the Dalai Lama Temple Road.Sit and read. Sit and do nothing probably.

My Feel: The Hide Out Cafe (“Don ko pakadna mushkil he nahi, namumkin hai…”  if Don chooses to hide here)

Illiterati Books and Coffee 

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*Drum rolls*  And my favourite location on the sets of my story was this cafe full of books and lots of food. Illiterati was started by a Belgian almost about 3-4 years ago and an year ago he had to leave India and go back. That is when, Nalin who hails from Dharamsala and his friends decided to continue running this place. Whether you sit in the balcony staring at the Dhauladhar Ranges and sipping coffee or you sit inside in the company of hundreds of books, you are bound to find this place cozy and fall in love with it. Not only the place, you will also fall in love with Bhai Saab. The cute little Dachshund.

My Feel: Sit all day. Coffee. Read. Write. Chill

These were my favourite seven places to visit in McleodGanj. However, other than these do not forget to indulge in the randomness associated with the hills. The little joys the hills offer in the form of Maggi stories, Chai stories and more. Snippets from my joyous time.

Moral of the Story: Whether success or failure, life is all about living in the present, enjoying the small joys that life brings your way.

Live in the present and eat, you never know tomorrow the food might turn stale 🙂

Ciao!!

Chai ka Chaska!!!

In one of my earlier posts I remember writing about how we all need to stop for a moment and enjoy the nature’s beauty. When I clicked this picture below, once again a similar thought came to my mind. The need to stop running the race, sit back and relax. Yes, I do associate sipping a cup of ‘chai’ to relaxing. I am quite open to relishing a cup of tea every now and then, unlike people who have quite a rigid stand against it. The funny part about this latter group is how stern they sound when they refuse an offer for tea. You will always get a robotic reply, “Yaar main chai nahi peeta/peeti.” To me it sounds like, “my mom told me not to talk to strangers.” 🙂

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Moving on from choices and preferences. Finally, after very long, I landed at Chaayos. A place which Delhi has welcomed with open arms and has been showering a lot of love on. I am also pretty confident that my next visit will not be far enough. Also, now that they are open in Connaught Place as well, you could surely catch me sitting in the corner quite often.

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This was my first visit and just to play little safe, I tried the ‘Desi Chai’ with a few desi add ons . I was keen to draw a comparison with a usual home made tea. Chaayos surely did not disappoint me. It definitely gave me a homely taste and feel. They also give you an option to play with quantity of add ons and milk as per your personal taste. Now once I am done with the basics, I am looking forward to try the Kuhlad Chai and the Pahadi Chai with some Bun Maska the next time I am at Chaayos.

However, the ”Sambossa” did not really live up to my expectations. It gave me quite a train travel feel and taste. Reminded me of my regular Delhi Chandigarh Shatabdi journey. But I am quite willing to let this be an exception and head back to this place.

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Chai surely can be relaxing too, just like many other beverages coming in shades of  brown. This one does not even need you to be above 25.  I would recommend this place for some “Chai pe Charcha” to all the people I mocked above and all my buddies who have ‘Chai Ka Chaska’.

Ciao!!