Search This Blog

About Me

My photo
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... :)

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Hot Chocolate with a twist

For some strange reason, felt like having hot chocolate. I am so not a chocolate person, which made me wonder where this craving came from. Anyways, decided to experiment a bit [I dint/dont really know how hot chocolate was/is made]

Made my version of hot chocolate and it came out quite nice... Here is how,

Milk- 1 cup
Handful of chocolate chips[Ghirardelli]
Cinnamon powder- a tiny pinch
Ferrero Rocher chocolate- 1/2
Salt - a tiny pinch
Coco pops cornflakes- 1 tbsp

The process:
1. Bring milk to heat up, added the chocolate chips ,Ferrero Rocher and cinnamon powder- let it boil.
2. Switch off gas, add the salt
3. Sprinkle a good spoonful of coco pops cornflakes and serve hot...

It was delicious!!

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Crimson Chakra refreshed...

Crimson Chakra is a name that is familiar to all of us, and for those who have been there numerous it is 2nd home! The smoked rice, the elaneer soufflé are so popular that there have been days when we have walked in and the staff knows our order without us spelling it out. The place has been the venue for many workshops, home bakers meet and most recently the venue for Farmer’s market as well. We were therefore back in familiar ground.

But this time it was to try out a new menu that Nikhil and his team had put together. These dishes would be incorporated with the existing menu. Oh and they have recently launched CC by the night- just what the city needed. It is to satiate those late night cravings or dinner option when you are done with a midnight movie show. Just call, order and pick up the food or have it delivered home piping hot. Food is neatly packed and the kitchen is open till 3am. So if you are going to be getting back home late or thinking of hosting a midnight party, this is where you turn to.

Ok, before I forget and get lost, let us get back to the new menu. There are dishes that sound simple but tasted exotic and then there were a few that had quite a name but were simple comfort food types. The murungakka soup [Drumstick soup] packed quite a punch, it had  a teensy weensy bit of daal, and was just amazing. Was skeptical and thought it might lean more to the sambar side but wasn’t anywhere near it. And then came the 2 paneer starters- one Thiranga Paneer tikka served with 2 kinds of chutneys which was simple, while the other had my taste buds doing the tango- Paneer skewered [it was a satay] and served with peanut sauce.. Absolutely amazing!  And then there was the Patiala sheikh kebab which was alright[ am personally not a big fan of sheekh kebabs]

 The non vegetarians also had 3 starters, all of which were polished off in silence.  As the conversations flowed, so did the dishes, and there were quite a few of them. For the main, we had Paneer Pitha roll, which was made using pita bread [made in house] with a good filling of paneer and spices and served alongside boiled vegetables.

We then moved on to the heavy duty dishes- different kinds of rotis and stuffed kulchas[ there was one with cheese which was divine]. The 1st plate was brought out for photographs, but few of us dug into it and were surprised to see that even though the breads had gone cold, they were still soft.  It was served with Vegetable jalfrazi [ which we ate as it is and nearly licked the bowl clean]. There was also a plate of Basil vegetable fried rice which I dint dig much [ it felt like Chinese fried rice toned down and I couldn’t taste basil. I would have loved a punch of basil, but Nikhil did mention they were playing around with the recipe so it still had those familiar tastes that people seek].. burrp!!

Oh wait, there was the slice of kulfi that was to be Savoured.  It was good.. but for me, Crimson stands for elaneer soufflé! Hehe…

We also got a chance to meet the chefs and the team!! Was good to see the faces behind the kitchen and hear about their journey as well. Apart from this, the one other awesome concept that Nikhil follows is that he buys only local produce- fresh & straight from the market. He mentioned changing vendors, paying little more than he would normally but doesnt mind it because he is guaranteed good quality products!

13, First Crescent, Gandhi Nagar, Adyar  Chennai, TN 600020
096 77 277900

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 Appétit  :-)

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Mom's bday and Lunch party at Annalakshmi

We were at an Uncle's 60th Birthday function and that is when we realised that mom's birthday was coming up in a week's time. After a brief discussion with grandparents, decided to do a lunch party for the family on 31st, the saturday. Granpa was hell bent on GRT, but I had other plans in mind. I did not want to host a get-together at one of the same ol cliched places, but wanted something new. 

But for some strange reason, Annalakshmi landed in my head the minute we decided to host the Lunch. Except I kept it to myself and did not squeal a word. I went and checked out the place, got the details, decided on the menu and knew this was where I wanted to host the Lunch. I also had a quick word with my sister on splitting the cost, I decided it was not fair to lean on grandparents all the time, even though they offered to foot the bill. They had already spent a lot, bought mom a piece of jewellery, dad some clothes and so on.

I announced the venue and final menu details 2 days ahead of the Lunch, and requested mom & gramma to invite all at the family function on Friday. Uncle was flying down from Delhi with family, my sis was coming down and so it was going to be a super cool fun weekend.  I thought all their arrival could be a surprise, alas, they had to go share information with gramma which soon spread like forest fire!! 

Have heard of rave reviews of Annalakshmi, but none of us had visited the new outlet in Egmore. Throwing caution to wind, I prayed and hoped it would be a great afternoon! Oh, and I forgot to mention- Saturday was also parents' anniversary and another uncle's birthday! I had asked a friend if she could bake cakes, but she said she was busy.. 30th Aug night I was out with my Delhi uncle and cousin, shopping for shirts, and then we hit Cake walk around 8 pm to order cakes. We broke our heads quite a bit, and finally settled on 2 lovely cakes. One for mom/dad and other for uncle. 

They have two options for Lunch, either 12 to 1.30pm or 1.30pm to 3pm. I chose the 2nd one cos even if it gets delayed, it should not be a problem. As for the hall, I chose the Buffet hall, it was open, bright, and seemed spacious. The hall could accomodate 100, and we were expecting about 60-70, but since I did not want outsiders encroaching in, I chose to take the entire hall. 

So the morning dawned bright and early. I left for grandparents home around 11, and we were all ready and set to leave. All were piled into cars, while I hopped in the one with driver and we went picked up the cakes and reached the venue on the dot at 1.30. I noticed most family already there, piling into the hall slowly. Mom saw me with the cake and was surprised! :D 

Pretty soon, almost everyone arrived and the hall was buzzing with excitement.  So many of them, actually all of them came upto me and said "wonderful choice of location".. I was beaming!! The buffet was all laid out, and the welcome drinks were served. 

The buffet consisted of
1. Aloo bonda
2. Paani puri- which was absolutely divine, so much so that gramma had a few ..
3. Dahi papdi chaat
4. 3 kinds of Rotis- Tandoori roti, naan and kulcha
5. Paneer butter masala
6. Daal makhani
7. Carrot Rice
8. Veg Pulao
9. plain steamed rice
10. Beans usuli
11. Potato curry
12. Boondi raita
13. Curd rice with pickles
14. papads and vadams
15. Salad- tomato & cucumber

And for dessert, I chose to do something different. I opted for Jangiri and Mothi choor laddoo as against the conventional Gulab jamun. There was also Paan which I heard was amazing! 

Phew!! the food was quite good and piping hot. The volunteers at the restaurant were serving the items and it was such a pleasant morning. We must have all had quite a few pani puris and aloo bondas. They were delicious. Similarly, the daal makhani was divine, I lost count how many refills I went for. I think I gulped it down as it is, with no roti or rice. 

Finally, before people left, we got together for the cake cutting combined with a lovely surprise. My aunt who had come down from Delhi took the mike and invited all to come to the table with the cakes on it and announced that the lunch was hosted by Me & my sis.. :-)) It was later that I realised that gramma was the one who had asked her to say this... I was so touched, overwhelmed infact~!! 

The entire afternoon went off far better than I had hoped for. *touch wood* 

The meal was priced at Rs430 per pax [incl tax].  It is a place I would definitely recommend, especially for pure vegetarians! 

While talking to Mr Kumar, the man in charge, I learnt that only a few were employees and rest were all volunteers. They also had a few from the catering college, who were paid a nominal salary that helped them get off their feet. Apparently there were quite a few housewives who came over to serve during lunch and dinner! How awesome is that!

8/3 Rukmani Lakshmipathy Road (Marshalls Road)
adjacent to Raja Meyammal Hall,
Egmore, Sigapi Achi Building, Ist Floor,
Tel : 044-28525109, 044-42141210
email :

The Gateway comes to Chennai..

REFRESH... F5 ... those were the key words for the day! Why? Well, it was time to refresh the hospitality sector in Chennai, time to welcome a new entrant, accept the fact that Chennai had also arrived.. 

We walked into the open lobby and instantly I noticed the piece of art on the wall- it was from Kailashnath temple in Kancheepuram, and the seating area beyond that had another section from the same temple. And suddenly there was sunlight streaming in, a long pathway that led to the banquet hall flanked by the swimming pool on one side and a restaurant on the other. We then entered the hall and it took us a minute to get our eyes adjusted to the dim lighting. Straight ahead was something that resembled a stack of honeycombs. There were 7 in total with people sitting in them. There were a few with musical instruments and 2 ladies who looked like dancers, one on the top grid and another below. The performance that followed was beautiful, soothing and captivating! So, what was the event? The Gateway was opening its doors officially in Chennai!! 

The Taj Group launched The Gateway Hotel IT Expressway Chennai, the first hotel under the Gateway Hotels & Resorts brand in the city. The brand unveiled in 2008 caters primarily to the upscale segment, welcoming business executives and travellers alike. The rooms here range between  Rs 4,500 and Rs 8,500. 

The group plans to set up 20 more Gateway hotels over the next 2-3 years pan India -Tirupati, Corbett, Pune, Raipur , Kolkata, and Faridabad with an investment of Rs 50 lakhs a room.  During the launch meet, Prabhat Verma, chief operating officer, The Gateway Hotels & Resorts said "Eight more hotels will come up in the next 18 months and we will have 40 plus hotels coming up in the next three years and double this number in six years". Wow, that is quite an overwhelming number!

We were also introduced to the chief Chef- Natarajan who spoke about how Tanjore cuisine is going to play a big role int he food served in the main restaurant. And then we were given the grand tour of the place. First stop was the Sian - the restaurant offering Oriental cuisine.  it has been elegantly done up in simple colours and comfortable seating. 

From there, we meandered through the lobby towards Swirl, the bar.  Long and spacious, it was quite bright unlike most other pubs/bars we see in the city. Looked like a cool place to hang out with a bunch of friends.  The walls across the corridors were done up aesthetically with art work reflecting out tamil culture and heritage. We were then shown to the elevator and headed upstairs to take a tour of the place beyond. We saw a few rooms, the conference halls, the gym, the spa and wound up with a view of the beautiful swimming pool.

And then, Lunch was served. There was a strange looking barrel filled with ice with glass bottles filled with water like liquid in them. Discovered these were flavoured water- some had slices of strawberry, while others had thyme, and then there were a few with cardamom pods and sabja seeds in them. The one thing that impressed me about the entire space was the use of natural lighting. It makes such a big difference, both visually and aesthetically. It is always lovely to sit in a restaurant that is naturally lit against one filled with light fixtures. The restaurant offered buffet lunch, with dishes spanning from  India [both North Indian & South Indian], Italy and to other parts of the world as well. 

There was quite a spread- breads, juices [bitter gourd and gooseberry], different kinds of cheeses, olives, cured meat, salads, mini starters, lasagne [single portion size in circles], naan daal, vathakozhambu Knol kol curry to exotic dishes as well. There were some interesting desserts, some of which had fresh figs, kiwi, strawberries and other candied items on them. 

The  buffet is priced at Rs 850 +tax and is ideal for those who are looking for something that is away from the city. And if you happen to visit, do take a look at the art work around the place :-) 

Rajiv Gandhi IT Expy, Sholinganallur  Chennai, TN 600119
Ph- 044 6680 2500

Friday, September 13, 2013

[Recipe] Celebrating International Chocolate Day - Chocolate Pancakes

To be honest, am not a big chocolate fan. Am not the kind who will rush to grab that last piece of chocolate or attack the bar once someone hands it over. I don't opt for chocolate ice cream or chocolate cake, i always reach out for the apple pie or anything with berry in it. But then, one morning I walked into my kitchen, pulled out pretty much all that sat in one particular shelf in my fridge and discovered there was a bag of chocolate chips.. That was probably a sign from above asking me to make something with chocolate! Who am I to disagree..

I ended up making Chocolate Pancakes for breakfast and they were yummy..


1 cup flour
1 tablespoons sugar
¼ teaspoon salt
1 tbsp Milk
1 egg
2 tsp butter, melted
1 tsp vanilla essence
Handful of chocolate chips[Ghirardelli]


1. Combine all the dry ingredients
2. Now add the wet ingredients and whisk well
3. Take a pan, add some oil/ butter and add dollops of the batter in small circles. Allow them to cook for 2mins on each side and voila, fluffly soft delicious pancakes are ready..

You can pretty much add anything you like to the pancakes. I have made using fruits, once with cheese and jalapeno as well.

I had these with honey!!

And guess what, today is International Chocolate Day! Who would have thought :-))

Preparation time: 5mins
Cookigg time: 5mins

Monday, September 9, 2013

Tuscana.. un'altra [once more]

 For someone who has been bitten by the travel bug, am one of those who enjoys visiting new places everything I plan a trip. But since I was not really travelling, but just revisiting a familiar cuisine, I was ok to head back to Tuscana in Wallace Garden. This is a slightly smaller place when compared to the one on Chamiers Road. 

I have been here quite a number of times, sometimes with friends and other times for a meeting. This is the restaurant that introduced me to thin crust pizzas and panna cotta. From then on, I have had these dishes numerous times and quite like them. 

Another thing that was going to be different about tonight was that there was a new lady in the house, Neha had left and Priyanka was in her place. She wanted to meet the gang and introduce us to some of the new dishes that had found its place on the menu.

We were seated in the room near the pizza oven, which had quite a rustic interior. The walls were covered with paintings made by specially abled people and were up for sale. And then suddenly the  place was pitch dark, power had gone. But luckily restored in a few minutes! By then all had arrived and finally the evening was on its way. The 1st to arrive was an appetizer of sorts- a plate with crisp pizza base served alongside a tomato dip and some cut veggies. We were all quite hungry and the plates were polished within moinutes. Next up arrived the hot juicy garlic bread, it was called Baguette all’Aglio and was oozing with butter and garlic.  We had quite a few of these, which shows how hungry we all were.

Thankfully, there came along plates of fresh salads- Insalata Caprese and Insalata Toscana. the1st was a salad that we all loved- fresh slices of mozerella cheese, tomato, basil, and crisp chips. The other salad was a total contrast, it had heaps of lettuce, olives, crunchy pears, cheese and a splash of Chives.   

As the conversation flowed, we went through one more round of black out and then came the pizzas. There were quite a few pizzas, one with a variety of veggies- colour capsicums & onion, then came the Chilli pizza which I felt was quite spicy [ couldnt even finish the 1 tiny slice I cut, the heat of jalepenos was a killer in this] and I have lost count of how many glasses of water I gulped down. Phew... 

Along came the pastas, showing off their flavours and hogging the limelight.. First up was the Alla Norma (Gluten Free penne).. Next up, put your hands together for the show stopped, the winner of the evening- Aglio Aromatizzata, fettuccine that was filled with oomph. What a way to end the meal.

 Oh wait, i see something squarish small arriving on a plate. What is it? it is a chocolate cake? or was it a tiramisu.. Yes, it is a tiramisu, served alongside some gooey custard it was heaven. Unfortunately I cant say the same about its friend, the expresso panna cotta- dint like it too much, and the texture was tad weird as well, we literally had to cut through it to take a bite.  

And with that ladies and gentlemen we shall draw the curtains on yet another evening.. Was it good? Was it bad? well, it was definitely somber, the entire evening was missing the usual buzz and energy.. wonder why!! 

Tuscana is a place you to go for the thin crust pizzas and interesting salads. 

Wallace Garden 3rd St, Thousand Lights
Chennai, TN
044 4503 8008
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 Appétit  :-)

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Tadka Talk- Sunday Brunch and set lunch!

Here I was, heading back down the road that had by now become familiar. Sunday 12 noon  and I was headed to Tadka Talk [Situated behind Chennai Business School, in road opp TCS on Velachery Taramani Link road] for their Sunday brunch.

I had been here earlier  few months ago and felt the place was alright, there was nothing that stood out or made me want to go back! But then there is always a 2nd time, always a "maybe there is something different" circumstance, which is what led a hunch of us to land here this Sunday!

I walked in, grabbed a table and looked around the place waiting for the others to stream in. I noticed there was a change in the interiors, the artwork on the wall and so on. The Brunch was laid out in Buffet format, and there was also a separate counter in a corner for Pani Puri.

The menu is quite extensive-

We started the day with paani puri, and they were good, I did wish the puri had been crispier, maybe they had gone soft since they were kept in open in the AC restaurant. Moving on, I grabbed a glass of Lassi [kesar pista wali lassi] and then tried the cranberry juice. Also sipped some Shikanji which was very good, quite refreshing! 

Hunger bells began ringing in our bellies and we made a beeline for the starter section- there was a hariyali tikki [1st batch was very good while 2nd had overdose of salt], malai gobi [which was dunked in mustard sauce], paneer tikka [good], mirchi bhajji [I died and spent a good half hour in hell after the 1st bite, normally we make this with the light green big chillies, but here they had used regular green chiliies with seeds and all , which led to my state] there was also an assortment of bhajis [potato and few other veggies]. These were served alongside sweet chutney, spicy sauce, tomato ketchup and mango chutney. 

I braced myself for the maincourse and went ahead and asked for a few Indian breads [naan/kulcha] and took a spoon of the side dishes-  Aloo capsicum, kadai paneer and kadi pakoda. I quite loved the kadi pakoda side and had it with a hot naan. Did take a spoonful of the Peas Pulao, but felt it was tad oily and veggies were overcooked. Since am not a big rice eater, I went ahead and tried the Kulcha. There was also pickle, a boondi raita on the menu.

I was tired, hadnt sleep and all I wanted to do was get back home and crash! But not before trying their desserts- had a bite of the Gulab jamun which was very good, and also tried the Phirni- taste was good, but texture was funny [almost custardy, like they had added gelatin]. 

Somewhere during the brunch, we were told they had a set menu lunch for Rs199/- and a sample plate was shown. it looked good enough, infact I have realised that most times the set lunch looks small but is more than enough..

I had had a crazy night and so wasnt really myself, which when combined with barely any sleep showed in my eyes and overall feel of the day. Friends infact commented that I was withdrawn, quiet and dint spend much time yapping with them. I wish the food had perked me up, but alas.... Looks like this will be my 2nd and last visit to this restaurant. Plus, let us not forget the distance and time it takes from home!! 

I request the chef to relook at the recipes, get the staff to follow it to the dot if they want the salt/flavours to be consistent.

The rotis need to be softer [even though they were hot they werent soft.] 

The Sunday brunch is priced at Rs 450+tax
Set lunch menu- Rs 199/-

#6 & 7, Baby Nagar First Main Rd, Ramagiri Nagar, 
Chennai - 600042
Phone: 044 4321 3838
Tadka Talk is located in the narrow lane right opposite TCS Velachery, it is behind Chennai business school.

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 Appétit  :-)