Tag Archives: travel

Food Tales from Bunta Bar, Janpath

I had the chance to visit Bunta Bar at Janpath, Delhi on a blistering afternoon last week. The place was exceptionally quiet except for the light music in the background. The interiors were pretty and there is a huge space divided in two floors.

I started with “Banta”- a popular carbonated drink of India that is usually served in lemon flavor. It contains salt and spices along with crushed ice and is quite popular as a quick go to option.

At Bunta Bar (Bunta is spelled differently here), it was available in different flavors here and that is their USP, hence the name. The staff is very polite and recommends you to try new dishes.

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My Bunta is here!

With my Banta, I ordered paneer tikka and arnacini as starters-both delicious and fresh. I especially enjoyed the arancini which were given a little Indian twist as they were stuffed with kidney beans made in local style.

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Paneer tikka

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Arancini with kidney beans (rajma)

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Pretty plating

I ended the afternoon with a margherita pizza- simple and classic with tons of cheese.

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WANT! NEED!

Are you hungry yet??

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All About Pizza: An Insta Story

Sometimes I am amazed at Delhi, the city that I have now been calling home since 2010.

Why am I amazed??

Simply because of the number of options it gives me for food! And for PIZZA!

If you search for pizza in Delhi, a whole new world that opens up! You will get a variety of pizzas in every size, shape and errr color. And let me tell you, no two pizzas are ever alike. You will agree with me at the end of the post 🙂

Mid week happiness😍🍕

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I love my veggies… Especially when they are on a pizza 🍕🍕

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When in Rome….What?? . . Just go and eat Pizza 😊😊

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Say Cheese!!! 😁😁

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Tag a fellow pizza lover you would love to share this pizza with 🍕👇

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That's kinda loaded 🤗🤗

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"Joey doesn't share food!!!!" Yes!!! You leave it there 😈😈👻👻

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Summing up the sumptuousness 🤗🤗 @italiano_restaurants

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Love comes in all shapes and sizes 😍😍

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Do you agree with me??

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

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Are you on Instagram?? If yes, do give in a follow and drop in your handle here 🙂

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!!!

Turning 30 in the land of the namesake

When you find your calling….

It redefines you. It redefines your purpose, your attitude, your perception. Exactly what I experienced last winter.

When you find your calling??

It took me four years to arrive at this one destination. I do not regret that it did not happen four years ago for me. I believe I was not wiser than today to make the most of it. And surely one is expected to be more wise at 30.

December 2016 I finally took the plunge. I am usually not very upbeat about birthdays and even if it is the 30th. However, everyone around me was quite excited about my 30th. I decided to do it my way. I booked myself for Vipassana at Bodhgaya in the same week in which I turned 30.

‘Be Careful What you Wish For’

New Delhi to Bodhgaya are connected by railways as well as airways. You can take a train to Gaya which takes approximately 15  hours. I have always loved train journeys and have always wanted for more of them. My excitement of going for Vipassana almost went a notch higher when I realised that I was getting ready for another train journey. The journey that was supposed to end in 15 hours lasted for 29 hours.  Someone has righlty said ‘Be Careful What you Wish For’. I spent some time clicking a few pictures around the station and how could I have not tried a few eateries around the train station.

 

Vipassana at Bodhgaya

Vipassana is a Buddhist form of meditation which has its roots in Myanmar (erstwhile Burma). It was revived in India by S.N. Goenka who is fondly referred to as ‘Goenka Ji’. This technique was practised by Gautama Buddha about 2500 years ago.

It is ten day meditation course wherein the participants are required to practise complete silence and refrain from any activities such as reading, listening to music, consuming intoxicants etc. The millennials need to take note that mobile phones are not allowed during the ten days.

The campus in Bodhgaya is located at a 45 minutes drive from the railway station and is very near to the Magadha University. Going from Delhi it was a transition from an urban concrete jungle to an ocean of greenery. I was able to spot butterflies and that too in different colours throughout my stay at the campus. Break during the lunch were spent strolling amongst the woods like I have done never before. Breakfast time was one of the most serene and beautiful morning times I have seen in a long time. Foggy, moist mornings with Goenka Ji’s recitals echoing all around the campus were pure bliss.

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A day at the Centre

Our day used to start at 4:30am. We were woken up using the prayer bells. Breakfast was served at 6:30am after the first session of early morning meditation. The second session led us to lunch which was served at 11:30am. The last meal of the day which somehow turned out to be my favourite was served at 5:30pm. This was one level of discipline I have never observed in my life. The day had 12 hours of meditation which ended with a televised discourse by Goenka Ji.

I am sure if this routine is incorporated as a part of our daily lives, it would transform us in ways more than one.

My Learnings

The centre at Bodhgaya is within touching distance of the Bodhi Tree where Gautama Buddha attained enlightenment.  There was some energy at the centre that made me feel that I was so close to the iconic location which has no parallel in this world. Fellow participants who had attended the course at different locations earlier agreed to my observation .

The course had 100 participants from all over the globe. I mean it when I say that. Africa was the only continent which was missing. Would have loved to have had a complete grid though. It was such a privilege for me to have participants who had done the course at various locations almost a dozen number of times but were back again. Such is the power. Their belief and faith was not only extremely positive but also very re-assuring.

We did not speak a word to each other but it was the faith that was the common thread. It helped us strike friendships and connect with people after the course ended. I am lucky to have met wonderful and inspiring people with so much to learn from.

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Jim, Petr, Azar and Me

I will not be able to do justice to the course by trying to write what I learnt and gained from it. Firstly, it is just not possible to explain the feeling and I also believe that every person would gain differently from the other one. Everyone has to have his own judgement independent of any perceptions.

However, there are two things which I would love to conclude with and highlight from my experience. While I was preparing to leave from Delhi, I felt it would be a kind of retreat from the world and its worldly concerns. No doubt that was true but this was the closest I could have come to myself and understanding myself.

Last and most important, one thing that Goenka Ji always reminds us and which has been eternally etched in my mind is ‘Annica’. This is one word to describe how I have started living my life – everything is temporary and it shall pass.

Annica.

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!!