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Monday, 26 April 2010

Lunch out at 'Banana Leaf'

It is rude to look at other people’s table to see what they are eating but this is something which most diners cannot avoid, especially if you are visiting the restaurant the first time and want to know why it is so popular that you had to wait for about twenty five minutes for the table to clear for you.

‘Banana Leaf' was as curious to me as its’ name. The food was served on a banana leaf with the tastiest south Indian Cuisine. It said in the menu card that “the name conjures aroma of the yummiest mouth watering delights of southern flavors. As the meal comes to you in ‘Vazhaillai’ a freshly cut banana leaf, the traditional experience transports you to southern states of India. Eating out of Banana leaf requires combination of reflex, skill and practice and the benefits are multiple, clean and hygienic”

Some time ago, my friend had suggested this restaurant to me saying that this one was most famous for its Appam and vegetable curry. As soon as we entered the restaurant my friend warned me that the food was good but was over priced. Which I didn't think so cause that extra charge must be for the ambience and the service, and both were good. The waiters were friendly too (one even posed for my camera haha!) and he was the one who suggested the dishes that were good and popular amongst the diners and was cooked with care and interest and he was the one who suggested that I have Appam with spicy vegetable curry, although personally, I think that the next time I go, I might try Appam with veggies in coconut curry. Ahem!

The restaurant had great d├ęcor with graphic on the wall, (which made enjoyable time pass practicing my reading skills) but the tables were quite close to each other and it was distracting (especially if the person on the next table burbs too loud such that you almost get soffocated and choke on your meals). hahaah! just kidding! The food was spicy. We had raw mango juice that has tangy flavor, and we order khichdi and uttappa. What I liked the most was the free assortment of chutneys like garlic chutney, mint chutney, coconut chutney and rasam. The service was quick and the pan that they served after lunch melted in the mouth leaving a minty taste.

It’s a good place to take my NRI vegetarian guests for lunch. And it is not very far from my house, on the back lanes of four bangalows, in Varsova, it takes me just fifteen minutes to reach there from Bandra. I am going again, as for my guests, they will like it, I am sure.

Friday, 9 April 2010

A free Entertainment

Nothing comes free and that I am sure, time and again I have been fooled many times and each time disappointed. I have learnt this long ago but how do I explain to my friend who is always looking for freebees and tagging me along? And Me, never able to refuse, always suffer a silent death. This evening was a free pass to some musical show-cum-stage show and my friend calls me up to accompany her to this show. Now I had already reserved this evening for a book launch at Crossword. I wanted to attend this launch because I was attracted by the title and the promising story of 5 Sindhi ladies. A book called ‘Beyond Diamond rings' by Kusum Choppra. Here I was asking my friend to accompany me to this book launch and she was flashing free passes. I finally relented, just rushed to crossword, picked up the book, could not meet the author (since they are late comers and don’t start the program as schedule, supposed to start at 7pm but till 730, there was no sign of the author nor any audience, just a flute player playing music till the author arrives, I would have loved to hear her talk about what inspired her to write this book and which was her favorite passage) anyways, my friend couldn’t wait for me to enjoy such luxuries, so I rushed off with her to attend this show at Rabindra Natya Mandir at Prabhadevi

I was surprised by the loud music of drum being played at the entrance to welcome the guests. There were cameras flashing at every guest. Never before have I attended any stage show with such loud reception. I asked her whether we were attending some festival or some wedding occasion, but all she knew was that she was attending some show that was free and it had snacks and drinks on the house too. I just followed her, picked up my share of snack and drinks and entered the auditorium to wait for the program to start.

We sat near the exit and watched every guest that entered the auditorium. It seemed like a fashion parade. Most of the audience was either Sikh or Punjabi, and every body was a guest. Well, it turned out that this was just a promotion program for the upcoming TV serial to go on air on Doordarshan from 13th April onwards at 10pm, every Tuesday. The TV serial on life of 'Maharaja Ranjit Singh'. The 52 episode serial by Ral Babbar Film pvt limited, is a historical epic story of Ranjit Singh, the warrior who protected the borders from Ladakh to Punjab. A few hundred Sikhs, living on their horsebacks were ever ready to challenge the might of the invaders. The Sikhs were victims of a number of massacres both at the hands of the Mughals as well as the Afghans, which only made their resolve stronger.

So here I was, not attending any stage-play or musical show but attending a serial-promotion show. No Surprises then that drinks and snack were free and the program was fully sponsored by serial producers.

Over the next two hours, we heard different people relating the story and the behind the scene stories, Jaggit Singh who has sung for this serial gave a part of his performance, and then we were introduced to all those people who contributed to this serial and finally some film shots on the big screen.
Ah so boring…well, it was free.. so no complains.

However, I think I would have still preferred the reading at the Crossword.

Tuesday, 6 April 2010

Exotic Meals

When cooking is a pain, salad is the better option and happy that I like salads because it is just boil and mix.

Last night I went for marketing and brought lots of veggies. When I was back home after shopping, I organized everything immediately, boiled those small potatoes and steamed corn and fresh mung.

In the morning I was ready to make salad for me. Mixed boiled potatoes, steamed mung and steamed corn, added sprouts, tomatoes, cucumber, bell pepper and carrots, added dried herbs, lime juice and salt, mixed little mustard oil and served with millet crackers and dip.

I make small quantity of dip at a time. Normally my friends use hung yogurt. But I just take a normal yogurt, add cream cheese. Next add black pepper, salt and dried herbs and little bit of coriander leaves.

I just had salad and noodles soup. It’s a complete meal and I kinda enjoy it, a day without too much of masalas and no headache of cooking too.

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