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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... :)

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Hotel Dalama, Bhubaneswar

When travelling to a new town/city/country, I am always curious about their food and lifestyle. It is therefore fun to spend time with the locals, talk to them, visit their homes [if possible] and even eat some of the local dishes.... This time during my visit to Bhubaneswar, while I kept collecting notes on different local dishes, I got the opportunity to have a meal a few days into the trip. When I enquired with an auto guy and the hotel room service staff member, they both recommended this hotel called Hotel Dalma. 

On that day, when I was heading to the market place, the auto guy told me Dalma was in Unit 8, Madhusudhan Nagar, not too far from the market. The place looked small and nondescript, but then such places offer the best fares and so I went looking for the restaurant. It was located in a slightly run down building on the 1st floor. 

Walked in, found a table and asked for the menu... It had quite a few items, but then I went for the Special Thali with extra curd [surprisingly, in their Thali they don't give curd] I was served a plate with freshly made papad first followed by the thali platter. 

It had a cup of plain rice, yellow rice [ which I later discovered was peas pulao but quite sweet], Dalma [ dal with veggies], korma [tomato, drumstick brinjal], potato brinjal dry sabzi, another daal, bhoondi raita, and sabudana payasam/kheer [which was out of the world]. 

All the dishes were yumm, the spice factor was low and it was not doused in masala or oil... I was quite surprised at the flavours, each one tasted different and I quite enjoyed it. Do wonder why this region has a lot more brinjal than other cities....  This thali was priced at Rs180 and the place did not charge tax or service charge... I walked out smiling, ready to take on the rest of the day... 

Pretty much every table in the hotel had thali platters on it, and people were happily digging into their plates, and some even asked for more rice.. *gulp*

At another hotel, I ordered a dish that was a mix of potato and brinjal[both had been deep fried] and cooked with mustard paste in mustard oil.. Loved loved the flavours... :) 

Monday, January 29, 2018

Lavazza launches Il Mattino Vivace

What does Coffee mean to you?

* It is the first thing I reach for every morning. Only when I have had a hot cup of filter kaapi [as we say it in South India] does my day begin.

You better not talk to me till I have had my first kaapi 

Coffee needs to be strong, piping hot and have the perfect sugar. Love the way my husband makes it for me daily. 

Coffee - Ahh, don't ask.. My father in law wakes up first and puts the filter every morning. He will make himself a cup and one for me as well and wait. It is the time we spend together, talking about news and the daily menu as well. 

Kaapi reminds me of my father. He had specific taste on how his kaapi should be and it had to be made to perfection. He was the only one allowed to brew the filter and then would ask my mom to make him his morning cup. They would then sit watch tv, chit chat and drink their kaapi.. 

Well, these were some comments, bits and bytes I got when I spoke to a few people around me and asked them about their coffee/kaapi routine.  For many, it was a ritual of sorts and for others it was their wake up call , gearing them for the long day ahead. And each one had specific taste/brand preferences as well. We had one brand that we had been using for years now. But then, when I read about the new range of Coffee from Lavazza- Il Mattino Vivace, I got curious and decided to try it out.  Il Mattino Vivace, which translates to "the lively morning" sounded like it was just what I needed to kick start the day [esp since I had just come back from a holiday and wasn't ready to get back to routine]

It comes in a vacuum packed pouch and is specifically made for the Indian audience who love their Filter coffee. Lavazza has been around for a while, and quite renowned for their coffee, and this  is  a fine blend of Arabica and Robusta beans sourced from select plantations in Coorg and Chikmagalur regions in the hills of Western Ghats in India. I brewed it in our filter at home and the decoction had a lovely aroma to it. Added a splash of milk, a dot of sugar and voila, the kaapi was ready. It had good flavour and depth, but was not too strong neither was it too mild/watery. Gave a shot to gramma and she approved of it [she is quite finicky about her kaapi as well] :-) So, I guess it passed the test!! :D 

This coffee is available in leading modern retail outlets, it comes in packs of 200 grams and is priced at Rs. 150.

Find more about Il Mattino Vivace , visit

Monday, January 22, 2018

Golden Dragon, Taj Coromandel...

Most of the Chinese food we get in our city and country is Indianised and so the flavours are quite different when you eat authentic Chinese food. In the city, Golden Dragon at the Taj Coromandel in Chennai has been regarded as one of the finest Chinese cuisine dining options.  This was a restaurant we have frequent during my childhood days, and I have a cousin who visits the place every single time he comes down and considers it the best in this cuisine...Today, the restaurant has undergone quite a few changes, from the location to the decor and now it was time for tweaks to their menu..

Chef Ho has brought in a variety of ingredients from western cuisine like Taro, Silken tofu, pink salmon, scallops and imported duck breasts in combination with other elements. And the use the homemade sauces like Sha Cha sauce and Pickled Chilli Sauce is also seen on the dishes. Here is a walk through of the dishes I got to try that evening... 

Pickled Pumpkin & kimchi

amuse bouche

Spicy Peanut butter soup... 

Taro chips served in wanton wrap on a bed of crispies... Was yummilicious..

Twist to the onion rings...

 White & Green asparagus in simple sauce...

Spicy Silken tofu- it was melt in your mouth... divine!

Simple Noodles

 Matcha cake with candied pineapple and dollop of cheese & slice of strawberries

The gorgeous toothpick box..

Well, if that has gotten you salivating,  time to book a table and go experience the food.. 

Meal for two - around Rs 2500- 3000/-

Disclaimer: The reviews posted on this blog are based on my personal experience. Also remember these were just my views!! Remember, no two palates are the same. Bon App├ętit :-)

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Breakfast - From a box..

I love a good breakfast and during the years when I lived alone, it was the my cherished time in the kitchen. I would stare into the fridge for a few minutes [ even though I could recite what was there, in which shelf and how much was left of what].. And then there would be these voices in my head going - pancake, sandwich, french toast, cornflakes,etc... Depending on the mood, I would finally get around to cooking up the breakfast. I have also done breakfast in a jar- where I pack a jar/bottle with oats, fruits, honey, chia seeds, nuts and a small spoonful of milk or curd.. In the morning, just before eating it, I add more of milk/curd and allow it to get soaked up before diving in.. Quite yumm. I cant be bothered to do those fancy breakfast bowls or smoothies you see online, esp Instagram... 

Even if it was pancakes, there would be days when it would have apples, other days for chocolate and then some days just dry fruits.  But ever since I moved back to grandparents house, breakfast though remains an important meal, has become blah. On most days it is Ragi porridge with some fruits, or cornflakes with fruits. Last week when I had gone to visit my folks, mom gave me this box that my sis had brought from Amsterdam. Mom's idea of breakfast is cornflakes or a 2nd cup of coffee/tea. Mom gave this to me saying "She said you can eat it as it is for breakfast but I am kicked about trying it, why dont you?". 

Upon inspecting the box, I came to know it was a Granola mix made with kelp, Spirulina, coconut and few other ingredients, including various nuts & oats. It did not have any sugar and was Vegan.  The first day, I took out my bowl, filled it with milk, cornflakes, fruits and topped with a few pieces of this granola and ate it. I  realised it did not have any specific flavour on its own and was alright... 2nd day, I had this as it is in a small bowl, but I do prefer it with something warm/hot. And so this week I have had it with my ragi porridge - I add maybe a tsp of this on top . 

Some of the Product benefits listed on the product are, 
  • A non-cereal breakfast cereal.
  • Flavoured using coconut and spirulina.
  • One portion of Green Granola Coconut & Spirulina contains 0.23 mg of iodine, which is 150% of your recommended daily allowance (RDA).
  • The nuts in this granola have been pre-soaked.
  • Wholesome, certified organic, vegan and raw.
  • Dried and processed at low temperatures.
  • Totally pure and free from fillers and other additives.
  • Contains no gluten, soy, dairy products, artificial additives, refined sugars or genetically modified (GMO) ingredients.
  • Suitable for vegetarians, vegans and rawfood fans.
Well, since I love experimenting with food, I am always game to try new things. Plus lets be honest, who in Chennai has seen Kelp and these kinda granulas [some of them are available now in stores, but quite sweet]  Next up, am gonna try my hand at making granola at home, quite easy from what I see on other blogs..

What is your go to breakfast?