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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... :)

Monday, December 28, 2015

Mountbatten Mani Iyer canteen at Vidya Bharati Kalyana Mandapam

It was Saturday, the day after Christmas.. I had decided to give Sabha Lunch a shot. Waited for the clock to chime 9:30 [cos that is when puliyogare travels would share the menu ] to decide where to head. Each sabha [hall] has a different caterer and there are meals from Breakfast, lunch, evening tiffin and dinner as well. So, it was such a treat for people here to go explore the treats across the sabhas during the one month. This is a trend that has picked up over the last few years, earlier the sabhas were renowned just for their evening snacks. Now, there are people who go to a sabha not for the concert but for the food.. ;o) 

Coming back, I saw the menu shared [ the toss was between Music Academy and Vidya Bharati Mandapam], asked a friend if she wanted to join in for Mountbatten Mani Iyer canteen's sappaad at Vidya Bharati Kalyana Mandayam and she agreed.Mount Sreenivasan of the famous Mountbatten Mani Iyer canteen is the man behind this company.. Few minutes later mom called asking about something, and I mentioned this plan and instantly she said she too shall join us! So, the plan was made and excitement was building. 

We landed at Vidya Bharathi Kalyana Mandayam close to 1pm, it is tucked away in a narrow lane and was quite an adventure getting there. While I waited for the friend, mom went and checked out the menu. I then went ahead and picked up three lunch coupons and made a beeline for the empty chairs. 

The menu for the day was [right side column],

The food was piping hot, and though it was weird eating on a banana leaf somewhere outside of a wedding/function, it was a good experience. I bumped into a few familiar faces, also saw how people came in groups and alone to enjoy this meal. Food was served at a good pace, there was repeat requests and servings. The meal was quite filling and for the 1st time in my life the leaf was clean when I got up . We also grabbed a cup of coffee to finish off the meal.

Priced at Rs275 it was total Value for money... 

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Mamagoto Comes to Chennai

Founded in January 2010 in Delhi, Mamagoto literally translated from Japanese means “to play with food”, and that is the very ethos of the concept – to make Asian eating fun, unpretentious and casual. So it was quite exciting to see the sigh board "Mamagoto" on Khader Nawaz Khan road..  

I have heard quite a few rave reviews about this place from friends- the signature bowls, robata grill, asian salads, dim sum, wok dishes and curries – experimental flavours from China, Thailand, Japan and South East Asian combine with the super quirky manga inspired graphic design decor. Here in Chennai, they had quite a quirky interior design, colourful vibrant and one that has you looking all around, including the ceiling. Oh and I loved the mason jar lighting above the fruit juice bar.. Wonder if they will serve alcohol in the coming days/months?!

There is also the teppanyaki grill that makes it’s debut in Chennai,located at the far end of the restaurant with a few chairs along the counter. 

I havent eaten at this restaurant and so was very open to the experience. The food was beautiful- pan asian flavours which I have come to love.. some of the dips were quite spicy, one intact was a red chilli paste which all of us took a liberal spoonful of thinking it was sweet garlic chilli paste, only to have our tongues on fire.. :D 

I went ahead and asked for a Wasabi Mary [a twist on Bloody Mary] while the guys ordered different drinks. We tried some of their starters- including the lotus stem dish which was wow.. That apart there was also a mixed vegetable tempura of sorts, which was crispy and light.

As the evening wore on, we decided to try some of their signature bowl dishes- one was a vegetarian Thai rice and curry which was outstanding. I loved the spices and flavours. We also had the Flat noodles, which was steaming hot and packed a punch. A friend kept talking about a fun menu they have in Bangalore. But when we spoke to the lady who was the Food Director, she said they have done away with the menu and might just introduce a few unique dishes into the menu to see how the response is and take it from there.

Moving on to desserts, we tried two desserts- the Banoffee pie which just blew us away so much that we asked for a 2nd serving.For someone not too fond of bananas, I couldn't stop eating this one. The Soft warm sponge cake with sauce was also amazing.

We left the place with a promise to return and explore their menu some more.. For now, all i can say is Pan Asian[ esp Thai Flavours] is my kind of food and so this restaurant sits right on top with my other favourites. 

Shop No. 9, Khader Nawaz Khan Road, Nungambakkam, Chennai 

Meal for two - Rs 1200- 1500

For Reservations call: 044 33999610

Friday, December 18, 2015

Food is all that matters- Chennai Floods IV

"Thani oru manithanukku unavu illai enil jagathinai erithiduvom"  said Bharathiar.. 

[Meaning- If there is no food available for even one individual, we will destroy this world.]

How true! 

During the weeks when it poured like there was no tomorrow, the only thing on everybody's mind was "do we have adequate drinking water and food".. The bunch of us who were working on providing relief were also focussed on the same thing! We realised, people might be stranded, might not have power, phones were down, so was internet, but the one thing we all needed was clean drinking water and three meals a day.. 

The two weeks was sheer madness, figuring out who was doing food packets,who was collecting water packets/bottles. All we did was run from pillar to post, collecting as much of these as possible and getting it to people who were stranded. 

A friend of mine who lives in Pallikaranai, one of the severely affected area said he got food courtesy a chopper one noon. I can't even imagine what it must have been like. And then there were others struggling with little ones and no milk/biscuits/bread even..

We saw people make a grab for anything they could get their hands on. The minute they saw a car or truck come by, they knew it was relief materials and would attack instantly. People fought, there were words exchanged, children who came to pick up stuff were getting squished. 

One of those days when we were on OMR, we discovered Fathima Child Welfare centre, the place had a good 2-3 ft water. The lady in charge, came out in that to meet us at the gate. She told us they got lunch courtesy the local counsellor but they had three centres in all and did not have enough water or other things, including medicines.  We gave her a bag of water, some medicines,and sanitary pads as well .. One of the kids from that centre was sent to show us the way to their other two centres, and he was one spunky kid. Said hot food was sent over daily, and he had been there for a few months now.. There were little ones at one centre, where we gave quite a few biscuit packets.. There were teen girls who sheepishly took the sanitary pad packets, some refused to come out and had friends picking up stuff for them. 

There were moms in some areas who were happy to pile in as many biscuit packets as possible, and some even gabbed the Glucose boxes we had. They said there were few old people who were zero on strength and this would help them..

Food packets given by a team in Anna nagar.. 

Relief material at Hyatt Regency 

Just 10% of what we loaded that particular day.. we were all to track in this lorry but it was overloaded with stuff that we drove in cars..

While it made us happy to help people, we also noticed a few being rowdies. They would take food packets, inspect the content and either chuck this to eat the one they had received earlier or chuck that and eat this... Biryani over lime rice.. you get the drift... and one or two were trying the sell the food packets they got to people who had no energy to make it to the trucks.. we also stumbled upon a few who graciously turned us down saying they had already received food, and asked if we had few other times..  

Another interesting moment to be shared is - we had hired this lorry and had gone to give out relief material.. Friend, her husband , son & I were in one SUV.. We had stopped in one place, loaded stuff onto the cars and went to distribute. The kid saw the lorry driver pick up a food packet and dig in.. few minutes he grabbed a bottle of water when loading and gulped it down.. this continued through the day. The kid got peeved. He kept saying "how can he just like that take and eat/drink.. not done... ". We smiled and told him "its ok, as long as hungry soul is fed, we are doing good.."

Tough times teach you to survive, it also teaches you it is survival of the fittest.. 

Well,all said and done, the relief centres were all whipping out food packets and relief materials by the millions.. each packet hopefully reached the hungry souls, giving them hope to get through the day!! 

The other posts in the Chennai flood series can be read here,
When the going gets tough, the tough gets going…Chennai floods -I

When the going gets tough, the tough gets going…Chennai floods -II

When the going gets tough, the tough gets going…Chennai floods -III