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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... :)

Thursday, September 26, 2019

Solkadhi... the drink!




I had seen images and posts on this, but never really thought too much about it. Infact, going by its name- Solkadhi, I kinda assumed it was part of the Kadhi family [ the curd based dish that is made both in north & south and eaten with rice].. 

During my recent trip to Goa, a friend asked for Solkadhi at a hotel, but they did not have stock.. And that is when my curiosity got piqued and I wanted to taste this, especially upon discovering it was a drink, specific to that region. 

The moment came when we were getting back to Bombay from Goa.. We had stopped at Kamat for a break, and that is when I sipped my 1st Solkadhi... Loved it, so much so that we had a 2nd one as well. It was pink in colour, which I attributed to Kokum, and was packed with flavour- garlic to whole bunch of other spices.. Since I love kokum [ my very 1st taste of this tangy fruit was during my 1st trip to Goa], I loved this drink as well... I was told this particular version we had was from a packet and the home made ones are even better... 

Wikipedia says
"Popular in Goa and the Maharashtra's coastal region, it is made from coconut milk and kokum, also known as Aamsol or Aamsul. It is the dried fleshy skin of a fruit called Garcinia indica, deep purple-pink in color, full of antioxidants that the pigment anthocyanins provide{{citation needed}}. Garcinia indica, or Kokum, owing to the presence of a high concentration of anthocyanins, is a great antioxidant that works like an anticarcinogenic and anti-aging agent. It is known for its digestive, refreshing, cleansing and cooling properties. The preparation is prepared from liquid extracted from fresh coconut known as coconut milk; however, nowadays you can also get this extracted milk in TetraPak. The coconut milk so obtained is usually mixed with kokum, a little bit of salt and/or chili-garlic paste is added for taste and enhancing the probiotic contents."

Look forward to exploring more local cuisine on my next trip...



Tuesday, September 24, 2019

10 years of On the Rocks, Crowne Plaza, Chennai




















Bring out the candles and the band, it is time to ring in the 10th birthday of this fabulous restaurant- On the Rocks in Crowne Plaza Chennai.. The place has been delighting customers for a decade now, with their yumm food and the amazing drinks that Anand whips up! He is one of those who's been around since the beginning days and continues to serve with a big smile on his face..  I don't remember asking for anything specific and am one of those who will watch in glee as he pulls out all the stops in creating a drink... This evening, he served us something called Crefe, that had so many ingredients and quite a bit of theatrics as well.

The place also offers a new menu, well some of the old & popular dishes have been retained, like the Baked Camambert served with garlic & honey reduction and few others as well. The new menu is just as good, if not better. The Eggplant Parmesan was a clear show stopper plus it was served piping hot.. same goes for the Falafel salad  & Pumpkin ravioli... 

Among the non-veg dishes I saw the guys enjoy the Chicken and cheese involtini, served on a bed of glazed carrots & a few asparagus on top with a side of Jacket potato.. I did sneak out some of the veggies & they were delicious.. 

As for the desserts, while I love my berry treats, this time it was the Hazelnut crunch that won hands down.. The flavours, the textures were all amazing.. this is one of the dishes from the old menu that continues its journey onto the new menu...  

If you are looking for a place that offers amazing drinks, good ambiance and fabulous food, then On the Rocks is a place you should head to. Worth the indulgence... 

Happy birthday On the rocks and here's to many more milestones~ 

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Taj West End’s Masala Klub pop-up in Chennai at The Verandah ,Taj Connemara, Sep 20 -29











The lobby that was once very familiar looked new, it had been completely revamped but then there stood the majestic staircase I had gone up & down mulitple times on. It looked the same.. The place had undergone a change, and yet felt familiar. I was at Taj Connemara after a year of their reopening..  As I made my way towards The Verandah, the familiar photographs of Chennai welcomed me, plus there were also a few new installations [ interactive ones]  ... 

Few minutes after settling in, we got to meet and spend a few minutes with Chef Paramjeet Singh, Sous Chef at Masala Klub.. He was infact heading back to Bangalore [had been called back urgently] but managed to spare a few minutes for us... He is known for his progressive Indian cuisine with some innovative creations like Crispy Edamame Pepper PotliVilayati Mirch ka JheengaSukhe Gulab ki Raan to name a few and over the course of our conversation he spoke about how he & his team would wander various regions across our country to come up with new ingredients or dishes they could recreate. One of them was the Motia Chole Palak, a dish that he had given his twist to. He also told us that each dish had just one or two spices that stood out, ensuring there was a good balance in flavours and the main ingredient was the highlight... 

Some of the signature dishes that stood out at dinner were Achari Ambi Paneer Tikka (Paneer flavoured with raw mango with a whole blend of homemade spices, finished in the tandoor), the Motia Chole Palak [ channa cooked down with spinach and served with roti] and not to forget the tangy spicy Tamarind sorbeta palate cleanser (The tamarind used is picked up from a 130-years-old-tree that overlooks the Masala Klub restaurant). 

 A few of the other dishes that I tasted during the course of the meal were - Bhunne Butte ka shorba (a thick soup made with corn, subtle flavours of coriander served with a spicy cracker) Dahi singada aur aloo bukhare ki tikki (spiced yoghurt with water chestnut patty stuffed with prunes and griddle fry) this was delicious, loved the varied texture; Paneer khatta pyaz (a paneer based gravy that was mild and unlike other paneer gravies I have had..) and Luckhnavi subz biryani (a fragrant assortment of garden fresh vegetables and basmati rice, flavored with saffron and mace, a specialty from ‘Lucknow', a town I have been meaning to visit for a while now...).

Well how could I not make a mention of the desserts, the Green apple kheer [ you would not believe this was a green apple kheer- it was more like Basundi blended with apples and saffron]- truly sinful & rich ; and my favorite, the Baked anjeer halwa (mashed figs topped with thickened milk, baked and served hot)- I highly reccommend this , esp for those who love figs... 

All this awaits you for Lunch & Dinner at The Verandah, Taj Connemara from 20th through to the 29th September... 
Please call  +917825890094 for more details or reserve a seat... 

Psst... there are equal veg & non veg dishes on the menu and going by the reaction on my non veg loving friend's faces, go indulge...... 

Psst Psst...all images shot on my new Samsung M30 [ i did use my DSLR, but decided to use the images from the phone and they are quite good, if you ask me ]

 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  :-)

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

The Birthday & Goan flavours

The Birthday came and has gone by... As with the past few years I did manage to escape.. But the ttrip this year was different and special.. I know I say similar things every year,but then this year it truly was different and I felt special... Why? Cos this time it was not a solo trip, it was not a trip to a new destination but infact was to a place I have been to before but it was a whole new experience.

I have done trips with friends and random groups as well, but then it is always good to travel with someone who ensures you have a good time, who takes the effort to do things for you and is someone you get along very well with... Makes sense?

My 1st trip to Goa was almost a decade ago, alone and one where I did plenty of touristy things- see all the popular sights, walk around the beaches, take the local transport and melt away in the heat of October- November. This trip on the other hand was a total contrast, I was not alone [ as mentioned earlier], the weather was awesome [ crazy rains to cool breeze] and I did explore a side of Goa I hadn't seen before.. Above all this, got to try local Goan dishes that I dint venture much into last time around. It was a culinary treat for both of us... :-) 

The only Goan food I had tried & loved was Bibinca, the layered dessert... That apart I had tried their Feni, and cashews.. but then this time around, I got to taste some of their popular dishes and enjoy the variety of flavours & spices.. some were too spicy to handle, while others were simply yummilicious. 

From Day1, we steered clear of all generic dishes like pasta or pizza and ensured the main meals had one goan dish in them. For breakfast, we were ok to do omelette toast, pancakes hash browns etc, but then when it came to lunch and dinner, we went to places that served authentic Goan food.. One afternoon we went to Brittos, in Baga Beach. The place is situated right on the ocean front, so you get to enjoy the cool ocean breeze, watch people enjoy themselves as you sipped on chill beer and dug into the freshly made fries and food. Oh boy, the fries were sinful, they were fresh soft and just amazing.. almost like the hand cut fries I had few years back at a restaurant in Chennai.. We finished up the meal with a slice of Blueberry Cheesecake, which was alright.. I like my cheesecake tad sour but this was fresh cream & sweetish.... 

Another evening we decided to order in [it had been pouring non stop and so we were in no mood to get dressed, drive out], but then as luck would have it, we had to do just that... We had ordered  at Lio Loco burgers and drinks via Zomato, but 45mins passed and no update. When we checked, came to know the delivery guy had a flat tire and hadnt even reached the restaurant, zomato wasnt being helpful, and so we decided to cancel the order & request a refund. A call to the cafe and we were told food was ready, and waiting for us. Since the place wasnt too far, we grudgingly got off our asses and headed over to the place. The poor guy [also the owner] had kept the place just for us [ he said he usually shuts at 8pm], reheated the burgers, made us fresh fries & drinks to go as well. During the course of the conversation came to know the place was quite popular among students, there was a school/college nearby...  We sat there, chit chatted with him a while as we dug into the juicy burgers. One of the burgers was double patty, I was unable to go beyond a few bites, heck I couldnt even get my mouth around the ginormous thing.. Friend took it and polished it off in minutes.. :-) The place had a few cool posters on it and a seriously gorgeous wall art - a Lion's face that was vibrant and details blew us away... 

One of the dishes that I was told was a MUST in Goa was the lobster Thermidor, my companion had tasted it a decade plus ago, remembered how amazing it was and wanted to give me the same experience. One after, braving the crazy rains, we drove down to Calangute and he walked ahead, declining my offer to get under the umbrella and walked towards Souza Lobo, located right along the ocean... The place was fairly huge and was near packed when we walked in... mmmm... 

One more... The night before we were to leave Goa, we headed to a place called The Hangout, a small resto pub of sorts [ that was open for the 1st time this year during monsoons] where I tasted Sorpotel..served with a side of Goan Pav... This is a dish that traces its history to the Portuguese but is now cooked across the coastal Konjan region, mainly in Goa and Mangalore. A simple stew, it had masala made with vinegar and not just red chillies.. The spice factor was fairly low and went very well with the pao bread. While talking to the owner of the place, he mentioned that this was a dish that you would find at all special occasions, even weddings and was made by slow cooking the whole thing.. He also went on to share that many had this dish for breakfast with eggs and bread... 

Well, I could go on and on about the dishes I tried and the rich flavours... But the bottomline is that food is also about the company, the place,and  the experience... not just the flavours and the taste... 














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