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Am a contradiction of sorts. i love going out and having a good time with friends, and i can also stay home chill out over a book or a movie.. Am very passionate about writing, so give me a topic and watch me float away into wonderland... I Am crazy about music,books,friends and my doggie... :)

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Sunday Lunch- Noodles, Schezuan style

I stood there in the kitchen wondering what to make for lunch when the doorbell rang. Glad to get away from the fridge and stove, I answered the door to find a courier. It was a set of Knorr sauce mixes. Nice. Just the inspiration I needed to make something new. It was going to be a one pot dish.  What did I make? 

Noodles, Schezuan style. How? Read on to know how... 

Ingredients:
1/2 onion [ thinly chopped]
2 cloves garlic [ finely diced]
6-7 button mushrooms [cut into small pieces]
6-7 beans [cut into 1inch pieces]
1 egg
1 tsp Olive oil
1 tsp salt
1/2 packet Haka Noodles

2 cups Water
2 tsp Knorr-Chinese-Schezuan mix


The process:

1) In a pot, add 1 to 1.1/2 cups of water and cook the noodles. I added the egg to the same water and let it cook for about 10mins and removed the same. 

2) In another pan- add the oil, saute the garlic and onions, before adding the remaining vegetables [you can add any vegetables to this dish], add some salt and pepper. 

3) Remove the veggies once cooked and in that same pan-- mix about 2 tsp of Knorr-Chinese-Schezuan mix to 1/2 cup of water and allow it to come to a simmer. Add the cooked vegetables to the sauce and check for seasoning. I also added the noodles and finally the egg to complete my lunch. 



How easy is that? I am now itching to try the others from Knorr range!!

Cooking time: 25mins
Prepping time: 15mins 
This portion I cooked serves - 1 

Monday, June 24, 2013

Food Trials at Wok a Toque

Practice makes perfect, right? And this phrase applies to pretty much every aspect of life, so why food be left out. Restaurants these days test the waters before opening the doors. This is not only to make sure the food they are serving works, but is more than welcome and is well received as well. Just as at home when we make a dish for the first time, we call our friends or family to be the guinea pigs, restaurants invite people they know and bloggers to run their trials on. 

Where am I going with this? I wanted to share the experience of a Food trial I was a part of that was held recently. Wok a Toque is the name of the restaurant and it is located within Hotel Chariot on Thirumalai pillai Road, opp Vidyodaya School. 



I have seen this Hotel quite a few times but never ventured inside. So, when I was invited to be a part of the Food Trials, I took this as the opportunity to check the place out. We were received by the Manager who told us how the group has taken over the F&B in the Hotel and is opening a restaurant "Wok a Toque" and a bar/pub "Elevate" here. 

The giant door is what you see as you get onto the 1st floor, and the decor inside is beautiful to say the least. Simple oriental light fixtures, textured wall, subtle art work is all you see. The music playing is also Oriental and quite mild. The main dining area is divided between the Lobby and 1st floor, with the 1st floor offering Lunch Buffet and dinner a la carte, while lobby offers only a la carte. They also plan to launch a Breakfast menu and Midnight buffet eventually.  The tables were dark brown with a beige sofa against the wall and red plush chairs on the other side. 

Moving on to the main aspect of the evening, the food. It was Indo- chinese, as is everywhere else but the food served was quite good, I loved it.


All the tables had a plate with three bowls- pickled vegetables, peanut based snack and Kimchi, except here Kimchi had a lot of sesame seeds on it. These are again typical of most chinese restaurants [atleast the ones I've been to]. We were then handed a makeshift menu that ran to nearly 9 pages. Quite an extensive one at that, and I also noticed the vegetarian items were just as many as the non veg [earlier it was very few veg to a lot of non veg items]

I chose the Burnt garlic soup and woah, it was divine. Loved the flavour of the burnt garlic and the sweetness of the chinese cabbage in the clear broth. Moving on to the starters, I once again opted for a dish that I havent tried before- Stuffed Lotus stem fritters that was served alongside chilli honey sauce --> The fritters were sinful, there was a stuffing of sorts between two lotus stem slivers and it just melted in my mouth. 



While the non vegetarians devoured the various meaty starters, I began scanning through the menu looking for the main dishes. There it was, new ingredients yet again. While we decided to order Kwai Teow Pad Thai Wheat Noodles, and a Ginger-Capsicum fried rice, for the side dishes I chose the Bamboo Shoot and Mushroom in Chilly Bean Sauce and Mapo Tofu. The former was a hit with all, we couldnt get enough of the dish, the latter was alright- tofu is an acquired taste and not many like it. 



The non vegetarians went rampant and ordered Duck, Chicken, beef and pork. They enjoyed some while they felt others were similar to the starters. By the time they were done, it was time for me to leave, I had a movie to catch and so I skipped desserts. Did hear from the boys that there were about 3 desserts which were decent. 

The doors opened on Monday- 24th June and I wish them all the best! If the food we had during the trial was anything to go by, am sure they would be a roaring success.. 

As for the price factor, most dishes are priced between Rs 250 to 400, while items like Lobster and crab were priced higher.  Am guessing a meal for 2 should work out to about Rs 1200 - 1500. 

Address:
The Chariot
#4, Thirumalai Pillai Road, T Nagar, 
Chennai- 600017
Phone: 044 2834 1212

URL- http://www.thechariotchennai.com/

Disclaimer:
The reviews posted on this blog are based on my personal experience. Also remember that restaurants and eat outs sometimes change with time, so does their food and service. So, kindly consider these factors while visiting the places. Remember, no two palates are the same. Bon App├ętit  :-) 

Breakfast at Eco-cafe, Anokhi, chennai

Breakfast with a friend and her friend was what that saturday morning was dedicated to. This friend Ar, had a friend As visiting her from the Middle east and woven within the tour of Chennai was this Breakfast! I was the first one to reach Eco Cafe [ Anokhi] on Chamiers Road. The other gals landed within a few minutes and after a brief spell of introductions, we got down to business- ordering breakfast.

Ar & I ordered for a masala omelet with egg whites, As ordered one with both white & yellow and we also went ahead and ordered for some waffles. The waiter told us they had waffles with cheese & jalapenos only. And we also ordered coffee and iced teas. 


I love Eco Cafe- it is one of those quiet places where you can sit and sip on a hot chocolate, read a book or do some work [free wi-fi]. There is no TV blaring or music screaming in your ears. Infact, that particular morning the music couldnt have been better- it was Jazz and all the legends were featured~! :-)

Soon, our drinks arrived following which came the food. The table was too small for the dishes and so we requested them to hold the waffles till we were done with the omelets. The omelets were served alongside toasted bread accompanied with butter and jam.







It was divine. We had the toast with butter & jam, with omelet and along with the conversations the food and time also swept by. The waffles then landed on the table and we were amazed at their size. They were huge. We knew then that here-forth we shall order one waffle and share it. We were able to eat only 1, packed the other for later. 


Before we knew it, it was nearly noon and Ar had to go pick her son up from school. Spent a few minutes browsing through the store upstairs and one on ground floor and scooted from there. There are very few places in Chennai where you get this kind of food and ambiance. Totally worth the money you shell out. 

They have quite an elaborate menu to choose from, so indulge!

Breakfast worked out to Rs450 per pax.
Food- 9.75/10 [waffles had gotten cold by the time we got them]
Service- 10/10 [very attentive and prompt]

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Illusions- The Madras Pub, Chennai

The name reminded me of David Copperfield. The man popular for his breath taking mind boggling Illusions. This place on the other hand was called Illusions, The Madras Pub. Wonder why the tagline though! Any ideas?

The place opened up a few months ago and friends made a lunch plan, but then Mr Murphy came in and changed my plans, and the lunch dint happen, rather I was unable to join the girls for lunch. And so,  when this other friend called asking if I wanted to join her and another friend for lunch, giving me options, I chose Illusions. The reason being- I had not been here before. 

I reached the place on time, 1 pm, and made my way up the staircase into the pub. Took me a minute to get used to the dim lights and layout, but soon found a table and made myself comfortable. I noticed a room in between the restrooms and discovered it was for "smoking". Friends came in a few minutes, we got settled in and started to order. The 1st order of the day was drinks- i went for the Blue island iced tea, the ingredients were blue curacao instead of coke and rest of the items were same as the long island iced tea, friend ordered the same and the other friend ordered whisky with soda. I also ordered a mushroom and cheese starter. 






The place was dim lit, actually quite dark, and I was told one seating area transforms to a dance floor in the evenings. There was a nicely filled bar on our left and more seating spaces all around. The place is very different from the other pubs I had been to.

Within minutes our drinks arrived on the table and we started diving into them. Our iced tea was alright, we missed the Long island iced tea, this felt a little watery and diluted. Oh well, only if you order will you know what such drinks are, right?

Moving on to food, we went ahead and ordered different combos. One friend ordered a wrap [mexican or italian, I forget, but the weird thing about it was it had paneer and when we asked the waiter about Italy and paneer, he got back a minute later and said "Chef says in Italy they use paneer a lot".. hmmm.. that is a 1st!] I ordered a penne in red sauce and the other friend ordered the chinese combo- chinese fried rice, gobi manchurian and wontons.

I enjoyed my penne though I wonder why it had no veggies. As we finished our drinks, we also noticed the place filled up quite a bit.

The meal worked out to about 800 bucks each [incl tax and tips]. The place would be an option if all others were full or shut. 

Overall Rating- 5/10

Address:

105, 1st Floor,[adjoining Nilgiris supermarket]

 Dr. Radhakrishnan Salai, 

Mylapore, Chennai- 4

Phone: +91 9841157869, 044 42144449

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

The Corporate Lunch at Dario’s

“Oh no I have just under an hour and a half to squeeze in a lunch before the next meeting begins” seems to have become the phrase that every corporate executive utters. But then, going to a restaurant, ordering food, waiting for the food to arrive, enjoying it and making it back to the office or meeting venue is always a dicey situation. This is why these Coporate lunch deals are awesome! They are total value for money, quite extensive and filling as well. 

There I was at Dario’s, my newest favouritest [yes, I cooked up that word] restaurant.  It is an all veg Italian restaurant that is just about 6 months old and has me hooked. The food is simply amazing, and they have managed to maintain the standards as well.

Sometime back they introduced a special menu for 3pm to 7pm slot. There are people who waltz in expecting something to eat, but then the kitchen is just taking a break before they gear up for dinner service. So, these guys have launched a special menu consisting of simple sandwiches and pizzas for this zone during the day.
And now they are back with this new offer. When I met Suresh Cumar, he mentioned that the corporate lunch deal has just been rolled out and the response has been quite promising.  Nice!

I was shown to my table, and the menu was offered. I half expected a simple menu, but then was quite surprised to see how extensive it was. There were 3 drinks, 3 soups, 3 salads, 5 pizzas, 2 risottos, 6 different pasta dishes and 4 desserts. You could choose 1 from each category and create your lunch meal. Wow, that is quite a lot to choose from. And all this for just Rs390 plus taxes.

I opted for my favourite drink of the season- Fresh lime soda [salt], the Funghi Soup [ Cream of Mushroom soup], Mista salad [mixed fresh lettuce leaves, iceberg, lollo rosso & ricola with tomatoes, olives, cheese and mustard dressing]. For the main course, I knew what I wanted even before I saw the menu- Asparagus Risotto [even though it is not listed in the menu, I was told it was available]. And finally for dessert, once again I ordered without blinking an eye - Lemon Cheese cake. They also had the Baked Yoghurt tart, rich chocolate mousse and Chocolate brownies with chocolate sauce.

I have eaten here at Dario’s numerous times, once with family and they fell in love with the place, esp my grandparents. Simple, no masala and flavourful delicious dishes is how my gramma describes the place.

The Fresh Lime soda arrived within minutes and while I was enjoying the cool drink, I noticed the place slowly fill up, some in groups of 5 or more and others in 2s and 3s. It was good to see the place got a good lunch crowd even on a weekday.










My soup arrived and it was thick, creamy and every spoonful had the lovely mushroom flavour in it. Then came the salad, now for those of you thought salads are boring and bleh, you should try them here. With shavings of Parmesan cheese on top, it was refreshing. During the course of the meal, chatted a bit with the Chef and Suresh about the menu and the recent workshop they had [for kids]. Suresh also mentioned he had few other interesting plans up his sleeve and shall reveal them with due course of time.

Ta da, there was my Asparagus Risotto. I could see the chunks of asparagus through the risotto and generous sprinkle of cheese on top. I actually thought they had increased their portion size and felt this was too much for a single person. It was heavenly… wiped my bowl clean, well, not literally. Must mention that my gramma is keen on replicating this risotto at home [God save me] Cooled off my heels for a bit preparing for the Lemon Cheese cake and ended the meal with a smile on my face and a happy tummy.


So next time you are around Alwarpet or Poes garden and wondering what to do for lunch, drive down to Dario’s and enjoy their corporate lunch meal. You won’t regret it~!!  

Dario's Address:
#11, Kasturi Rangan Road,
2nd Street,
Teynampet,
Chennai- 600018
Ph:             044-4919 3333      
URL: http://www.darios.in [you can not only read about the restaurant, but also see the detailed menu]
Landmark: Next to Aswene Hospital [1st right after the Russian Cultural Centre]
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