Author Archives: NS

About NS

A traveler, foodie, fashion enthusiast, keen cook, music lover, zumba freak. I constantly need something new and exciting to engage my mind.

Egg Discoveries

This time, in Surat, I ended up trying a lot of new restaurants. I had a list of my favourite places I wanted to revisit but a busy schedule promoted me (and E) to choose restaurants based on convenience. Apart from the usual fast food, continental and beverage stuff, I had a lot of egg. And this happened to be the highlight of the Surat food expedition. I discovered some good egg dishes.

Egg lovers, read these reviews and head to these joints to gratify your egg cravings.

Mr. Egg

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Australian Egg

I visited Mr. Egg at Adajan at lunchtime on a weekday and ordered Australian Egg just as E suggested. I decided not to get confused by the wide variety of items on the menu and simply order what E suggested. Turns out, good choice. This dish, served with buttery pavs, contains a lot of cooked eggs soaked in yellow creamy, mildly spicy, highly flavourful gravy. It was love at first bite. Amazing preparation. It was pretty heavy but could be easily finished by me alone.

Prices are moderate and the variety is huge. Everything from Indian street flavours to world flavours to Mughlai flavours. All dishes seemed worth trying.

Just a word of caution. When I was there, I happened to be the only female in the whole restaurant. The rest were groups of men taking a break during their lunch hour. That was very awkward. I wasn’t comfortable at all. So girls, go there in groups.

Eggetarian Cafe

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Iranian Egg

Located on Bhatar Road opposite University, it is easy to miss this one. It is an average dhaaba style restaurant with its name very simply written on the top. It is a part of a small complex of 4-5 shops that stands in isolation. It is often frequented by college crowd.

They have a huge, simply huge, menu of whole bunch of dishes – omelettes, Chinese, main course. You name it and its there. We ordered an Italian Omelette and Iranian Egg. The omelette was amazing. Very cheesy and flavourful. Iranian Egg was bland with a lot of vegetables. You will like it if you love the flavour of egg on its own. These 2 dishes were easily shared by 3 of us.

The staff is really good – polite and courteous. The prices are quite low. They have a lot of variety. Every time you visit, you can line up your choices for next time.

Don’t forget to pair your food with Masala Soda. Damn good.

Categories: Gujarat Diaries, Restaurant Reviews, Surat, Travel | Tags: , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Baroda Food Favourites

I spent hardly 11 months in Baroda but within a month, it had become my favourite city. It has so much to offer. I barely settled there (took a week to settle down the house) and I was engaging myself in various activities and hitting new restaurants. It’s been 1.5 years since I left the big, little city and my mind (my taste buds, actually) still keeps going back to its food fare.

Picking a few was very difficult. But I managed to list down my absolute favourites.

Upma at Canara Coffee house

Canara Coffee House

Canara Coffee House

Never EVER have I had better upma. And will never. Unless I go back to India and reach CCH at 7 am. Reach there at 8 am and the upma is over. Upma is served with coconut chutney. It is neither plain salty not overly sweet. It is the right mixture of savoury, sweet and spicy. It is unmatched. M took me and E to CCH for breakfast before we headed for our first girls’ trip way back in January 2012. M, a big thank you for this amazing discovery.

CCH is also famous for its Poona Misal. I love their coffee too.

CCH is a very old restaurant. it has served several generations and is said to have maintained a consistent taste. It is a legend in Baroda.

Poona Misal

Gangaur Pyaz Kachori

Another reason to be grateful to M for. She told me once – What? You have never had pyaz kachori before? Babe, head to Gangaur. So one fine Sunday, I rushed there and got a couple of them for lunch. And I was floored. For life.

Gangaur is a Rajasthani sweet shop located on Jetalpur Road.

Mirch Masala Bhel & Jalebi

Mirch Masala Baroda

Mirch Masala Baroda

Loud colors. Kitchy walls. Truck decor. Outdoor bench seating. Flashy slogans. Filmstar faces. All MM outlets look the same. Except the Race Course circle one. Their outdoor snacks area is not only fun but also a haven for delicious Indian junk food. Chaat, Paranthas, Rabdi, Ragda Patties – you cannot choose just one. Believe me, you need to choose only one since the serving is so huge. I love their bhel. It is generously dosed with coriander-mint chutney and imli chutney (that’s the way I like it). It is pretty spicy and one bowl is probably enough for two. I like to smother the spicy taste with their hot crispy jalebis. One bowl (priced at Rs. 80 till last year) contains four large jalebis.

They hold food festivals regularly. I attended their Parantha Festival way back in December 2011. Yummy thick paranthas floating in white butter. Yummm. Must visit if you are looking for hygienic street food.

Danny’s Cold Coffee

Danny's coffee baroda

I wrote about them 2 years ago. Their cold coffee is the best. Period. They started in Ahmedabad more than 2 decades ago, serving as a favorite college hangout place, and are spreading their wings to different cities. Their decor is ordinary and the shop is tucked away in a corner of a complex on the busy Jetalpur Road. I am sure, 2 years after their opening, they must be receiving heavier crowds. I believe their Maggie is great too. Try it out.

Girls, just be wary of going there after dark. Danny’s sometimes witnesses rowdy men (they are sometimes friend of staff or staff themselves). Once, M was followed by some goons from Danny’s.

Mandap Thaali

Mandap Express Gujarati thaali

Express Hotel has existed in Baroda since forever. It is a part of my childhood. We lived there for a couple of days when my father visited Baroda for official work. My sister and I sat on their sankheda hichko wearing identical dresses. Later, we visited Baroda regularly for shopping and had evening snacks there. Every time my father visited Baroda for work, he would come back with Jam Cookies and ‘Melting Moments’ from Express. Now, I make it a point to have thaali at Mandap every time I visit home. When I lived in Maharashtra (between 2000 – 2008), I used to come home for holidays deprived of and craving for Gujarati food and my parents would take me to Mandap. Unlike most thaali restaurants, Mandap is calm, sophisticated and classy. Waiters will not crowd around you. They will not messily drop food onto your plate. They will not hover around you making you uncomfortable. They will let you in peace and nicely, peacefully ask you if you need something. The food is simply enchanting. Their Moong Dal halwa is to die for. You are lucky if they have it on their menu the day you go there.

Millennium Biryani

It’s easy to miss this one. It is located in Fatehgunj, opposite Cenetary Methodist church and above Rangoli restaurant. It is an average looking place with an entrance from behind the building. This entrance may often be blocked by buffaloes or a puddle of sewage water. Dare if you may and skip these obstacles. Go up the narrow, dirty staircase, order a Chicken Biryani (with extra masala) and be instantly transported to heaven. This biryani can be matched only by Hyderabad Paradise biryani. No other.

I have fond memories of Millennium sneaking out with my work colleagues for lunch (Guys, I really miss you). We would hog on Chicken Biryani, Mutton Curry and Kheema Masala. Incredible food.

Frigtemp Kheema Frankie

Frigtemp frankie

Earlier known as Hot Dog, they are pioneers of original Indian fast food like hot dogs, frankies and burgers in Baroda. They are in existence since 1977. Egg tikka hot dog and Kheema Frankie are innovations you don’t usually find elsewhere. Even if you do, they won’t be as good as theirs. During school, I have had loads of Kheema Frankies, oil dripping all over the place due to my inexperienced grip. They also have ‘English’ flavours like Egg & Ham, Egg & Cheese (Amul cheese, of course) and Pork Salami Chicken Sausage Egg Cheese hot dog.

Give McD a pass and head to Frigtemp, Fatehgunj. Check out their FB page for more luscious photos.

Salsa Habanero Burrito

salsa habanero baroda

Chef Prakash grew up in SFO California, eating vegetarian Mexican food and developed a penchant for not just eating but cooking Mexican food too. He went back to India and opened Salsa Habanero out of passion. He lovingly cooks and serves authentic Mexican food to Barodians on weekends (take away only). I loved the food the first time I had it. I love it even after spending a year in a country where there is a Mexican food joint after every 5 miles. I have had Mexican food at chains and Mom-n-Pop shops. SH is better than most of them.

Their taste and quality is consistent. The food will never disappoint.

Pop in on weekends between 6 pm to 10 pm for yummy Mexican food. Your visit will feel more fulfilling if you chat up with Prakash and Rita.

Payal Sev Khamani

sev khamani payal

chinese samosa payal baroda

 

Gujarati cuisine has extravagant variety that one can never have enough of – Nasta, Farsan, Shaak, Sweets, Athanu. Even after living there all my life, I haven’t tasted everything. i have lived in Maharashtra for a long time and travelled to different cities of the world but what drives me home is Gujarati food. So, like having a thaali at Mandap is mandatory for me, picking up some farsan from Payal is a must too. I invariably go there for Sev Khamani. I like their Chinese Samosa too but somehow I never get them. They are probably too much in demand.

Payal is a very old, renowned shop. They started in 1986 and have become a favourite farsan shop today. They closed down their old shop and opened a new one a couple of years back. I personally liked the older one and miss it. Of course, their taste remains the same.

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There are many more legendary food options in Baroda that can satiate your palate – Mahakali Sev Usal, Raju Omlette, Vishal Samosa Sandwich, Manmohan Bhajiya, Paras Pan, Shreenath Cold Cocoa. I hope to try them on my next visit to India. They would then become my Favourite Baroda Foods II post.

Categories: Gujarat Diaries, India, Restaurant Reviews, Travel, Vadodara | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 14 Comments

Art Around San Jose

Wikipedia defines Street art as ‘an umbrella term defining forms of visual art created in public locations, usually unsanctioned artwork executed outside of the context of traditional art venues.’ A lot of street art in and around San Jose is hardly unsanctioned, thanks to the Art Box Project SJ driven by Tina Morrill. She identified several utility boxes across SJ (especially in Downtown), collected contribution from the community, recruited artists and got the boring grey metal boxes converted into beautiful art pieces. As of January 2013, 40 boxes were done and more were in progress. Check out their FB page to see more beautiful paintings and know more about the project..

Here are some pictures I could capture. Unfortunately, I do not have artist names.

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downtown san jose art

painted utility boxes

san jose street art

The first three pictures were taken in Downtown SJ. The fourth one is on Bascom. This one is my fav.

street art meridien ave

Outside University of Art, Meridian Avenue

See how SJ is so decked up?

When I came to SJ a year ago I was looking for walls filled with graffiti and art. I didn’t find those walls but these paintings made up for it.

Here are some more pictures I took in several cities.

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Wall Art on Museum of Monterey, Monterey.

street art san louis obispo

street art san luis obispo

The above two were taken in San Luis Obispo Downtown

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Categories: Bay Area, California, Photography, San Jose, USA | Tags: , , , , , | 4 Comments

Spring

Spring officially started on March 20th. And with that, we said goodbye to harsh cold, dead trees and fallen dried leaves. By now, trees are full of green leaves. The transition is beautiful. I watched the barren tree in front of my house for days, searching for some sign of life. Then one day, I spot a few green leaves. The next day, there are some more. And after a few days, whoosh! The tree is loaded with bright green leaves!

My dry Bougainvillea and reduced-to-nothing Minuteman have sprung back to life.

Nothing makes me happier than seeing a dead plant come back to life.

Taking walks in the neighborhood has become a pleasure. Birds are chirping away to glory. Fragrant flowers are everywhere. Everything is so cheery.

I spotted these rose plants on one such walk. I never liked roses. But this one looks magical.

When nature is blooming with so many pretty colors every where, who am I to defy??

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Ps: Even though I had just 3 pictures (that too instagram pictures), I could not resist sharing them. I will probably keep adding more.

Categories: Bay Area, California, Photography, San Jose, Travel, USA | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Old Fisherman’s Wharf, Monterey

Old Fisherman’s Wharf is located in Downtown Monterey. It is a very old, historic wharf used for trade in the olden times. Now, it houses several souvenir stores and sea food restaurants. It is a pleasure walking along the wharf. Competitive restaurants give out samples of Clam Chowder soup. There are so many souvenir shops selling cute items that can be bought once in a while for keeps’ sake.

Catch hold of some ice-cream (if you are feeling adventurous because it is always so cool and windy there) or coffee and stroll along the wharf. Sometimes, there are street shows going on. Otherwise, it is just fun to watch people making merry.

You must end your walk with lunch at one of the many restaurants offering wonderful variety of fresh seafood (Try calamari and crab). Clam Chowder in sourdough bread bowl is a must-try! All restaurants are on ocean front, so that’s a plus. While you are waiting for food, watch seagulls fishing around for food.

From here, you can go for whale-watching (when the season is right), take a glass-bottomed boat ride, watch otters and sea-lions lounging around or go on a fishing trip if you have the right amount of patience!

Monterey is a very interesting location that has a lot to offer – everything from hikes to museums, aquariums, golf resorts, historic walks and parks. You can plan to spend a couple of days in Monterey exploring all your interests.

Other places of interest in and around Fisherman’s Wharf: Cannery Row, Monterey Bay Aquarium, 17 Mile Drive, Museum of Monterey, Old Custom’s House (both located at the Wharf), Carmel.

Interesting fact: The Monterey Bay Aquarium runs a “Seafood Watch” program, and keeps a list of which sea life is overfished and which are safe, and environmentally friendly, to eat. Pick a copy of the list up at the Aquarium, or around town. Many local restaurants have signed on to the Seafood Watch program. (Source: Wikitravel)

Personal Opinion:

- I prefer Clam Chowder at The Golden Gate Grill, SFO. In fact, that’s the only clam chowder I have ever liked. Fisherman’s Wharf at Monterey is known for its Clam Chowder and you must taste it yourself to decide.

- The Wharf is a fun, family place. There is something for everyone. It is a busy place on holidays and weekends and yet that place has something very calming about it.

- There isn’t much to do on the wharf itself. It is attractive during the first visit. If you want to go there the second time, it is a good idea to plan other places in Monterey as well.

british pub monterey

You get a feel of the Wharf’s old world charm even before reaching the main wharf.

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An old model of the wharf.

fisherman's wharf birds

A great option for kids.

monterey whale watching

Whale watching season has begun and will be on through mid December. Look for deals online to enjoy this experience.

clam chowder wharf

Open counters like these display mouth-watering, luscious breads, pastas and seafood. Go ahead. Drool. And then try ‘em.

Look around the wharf and you will see many rustic, antique-looking items that are true to its archaic nature.

fisherman's wharf

fisherman's wharf old

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monterey bay sights

old fisherman's wharf

If you want to have coffee and relax, try Coffee House (and give Starbucks a pass). It is located in the beginning of wharf (on the right) but in a secluded portion. You can enjoy coffee with crepes on the deck along with the sounds of water lapping against the wooden columns.

coffee house monterey

coffee house

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Categories: Bay Area, California, Photography, Travel, USA | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Solvang In Pictures

California has its own little Europe corner. Head to Santa Ynez Valley in Santa Barbara County to enjoy your slice of Denmark. Solvang is known as the Danish capital of California. Solvang literally means ‘Sunny Fields’. Quitely aptly named, Solvang was created by a group of Danish teachers who were looking for a settlement away from Midwestern winters. But it was only in 1947 when Saturday Evening Post ran an article on the “spotless Danish village that blooms like a rose in California’s charming Santa Ynez Valley” that Solvang gained attention and attracted visitors.

Solvang decided to retain its Danish look and constructed buildings that offer a taste of Denmark in California. There are several quaint windmills all over the town and the half timbered houses are very typical Danish. Some other well known pieces are the copy of Little Mermaid statue from Copenhagen, bust of famed Danish fable writer Hans Christian Andersen and replica of Copenhagen’s Round Tower.

Solvang is a cute place to spend half a day. You can walk around enjoying the Danish feel of the place, take a surrey ride, browse through cute souvenir shops, lay around on the grass of one of their parks, enjoy some ice cream and Danish pastries. Oh yes, the food there is a highlight. I had had lunch at Paula’s Pancakes. Their French Toast was amazing.

Solvang residents celebrate many festivals. If you are lucky, you can experience one of their festivity celebrations.

Attractions: Solvang Festival Theater, Vintage Motorcycle Museum, Elverhoj Museum (check out old B&W pictures on their website. Quite enchanting).

Interesting facts: Michael Jackson’s Neverland Ranch is 10 miles north of Solvang.

Windmill @ Solvang

Brewery in Solvangsolvang main square

art shop solvang

 

copenhagen inn solvang

Hamlet square solvang

 

vintage bench solvang

Categories: California, Photography, Travel, USA | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Boats Through My Lens

I came across this picture recently when I was going through my photo collection looking for a photo to submit to a contest. And I realized, I had so many pictures of boats!

Surat, India

Taken on one early Sunday morning on ONGC bridge, Surat. The full post here.

The picture above and the one below were the first pictures of boats I took (with a simple point and shoot camera. In fact, they were one of the first pictures I ever took for the purpose of blogging). I used to look at these boats everyday while going to and coming back from work. They captivated me. Somehow. I thought they looked lonely, desolate and sad floating all by themselves.

2 red boats tapi river

Two very red boats tied on Tapi River, Surat

Over the years, I clicked a lot of boats. I have no particular attachment to boats or the ocean or boating. It’s just that they make good photography subjects.

So let me show off my boat collection.

These ones were taken at Allepey, Kerala. Allepey was all about boats. There were houseboats, of course. And then there were these fishermen boats that would silently, confidently stroll by the huge houseboats, totally oblivious to their own littleness.

Allepey backwaters

fishermen allepey kerala

One place I have visited a lot in the last one year is Monterey Bay. Monterey is a merry place where families pour in on weekends and feed on clam chowder soup and crab. I have been there several times and am never bored of that place. It is a coastal place and there are all kinds of boats all around. The first picture is my favourite. It is currently my screen wallpaper.

Boat at Monterey

Monterey bay

Yacht parking Monterey

Another coastal place I visit a lot is San Francisco. SFO is always cold and windy. Like Monterey, SFO’s Pier 39 is flocked by families for clam chowder, chips (pigeons flock here for the same reason), street shows and boat rides. The boat in this picture is probably nothing special but the background is. The pier has a lot of history like the rest of SFO. From the pier, one can see (on a clear day) the Alcatraz Jail island and the Golden Gate bridge. This pier is one of the old retained buildings of the city.

SFO pier

My first experience of being surrounded by boats was during Christmas of 2012, 10 days after I landed in the US. This was at Two Harbours, Catalina (near Los Angeles). It is a beautiful, sparsely crowded island with just 1 restaurant and a couple of lodges. It is an adorable place. I should be writing about it soon.

Catalina Island

The next 3 pictures have been taken in Tulum, Mexico. Mexico… ah. Pure ecstasy! The tropical climate soothed my senses and allowed me to take a dip in all its offerings – exotic fruit juices, summer clothes and beautiful blue beaches. I gasped when I had got the first glance of Tulum beach. Its waters are in the prettiest of blues. Take a look yourself.

boat and a man mexico

Boat at Tulum beach

Neon boat mexico

I loved the color combination of this one. I wish I had better zoom lenses.

And this last one was taken at Hume Lake in Sequoia National Park. The lake enthralled me completely. 4th of July long break crowds were all over the place – swimming, jumping off rocks, picnicking – and yet the lake made the atmosphere look so serene. i could have sat there for hours watching the calm waters and people frolicking around.

Hume lake boating

After looking at the effect of this picture, I am happy for once that I do not have high zoom lenses. The enormousness of the mountains and minuteness of the boats would not have been so apparent.

If you look through your archives, you may discover that you take too many pictures of a particular subject like food or flowers. Or clocks, maybe?!

Share with me!

Categories: Bay Area, California, India, Mexico, Photography, South India, Travel | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 11 Comments

My Trusty Travel Companion

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The bag that travelled 10 countries and uncountable cities with me

This bag has been with me for 3 years now. I bought it before my Australia trip (Has it only been 3 years since that trip? Seems like a decade ago). Since then, it has been with me on all my travels. Sometimes I travelled alone, sometimes with friends and sometimes with family. This bag was never left behind.

I totally take this bag for granted. It’s there. Period. It goes with me everywhere. But come to think of it, I am heavily dependent on it. I CANNOT leave it behind. I can’t even think of it.

My first job involved lot of travel. Every time I travelled, I forgot something essential like toothpaste or contact lens solution, etc. I would go looking for an open medical store late night only to find that everything in the area was closed. After I got this bag, things changed. I made this my permanent travel bag and kept a set of essentials in it. Things like toothpaste, toothbrush, moisturizer, perfume, hair clips, body wash, etc.

And so, every time I need to travel, I just put some clothes in and I am good to go.

Not only has this bag been so loyal to me – stuck along with me without tearing, breaking or giving away, it has come to my rescue whenever I was stuck at airports with extra check-in baggage. I have stuffed it with all kinds of stuff and it is still intact. I have used it roughly, it has lost its original shine. But it still ‘backs’ me up (Pun intended).

I owe this bag a lot. It facilitated and enabled my travels. Without it, I would not have seen 10 countries. Without it, I will not see any new place.

Categories: Travel | Tags: , , , | 7 Comments

Bangalore’s Culinary Treats

Five days in Bangalore has added some inches to my waist. Being a foodie, it is difficult for me to refuse food, especially when I am in a new city and I know I may not be visiting that place again. I tend to eat greedily like there’s no tomorrow. And this is exactly what happened in Bangalore. M, the perfect host, took advantage of my weakness and stuffed me with lots of wonderful food.

I experienced quite a many restaurants and cafes during this time but the following 4 are my favourites for their uniqueness and history.

Koshy’s, Bangalore

Koshy's Bangalore

 Koshy's Bangalore

 Koshys Bangalore

Koshy’s was founded in 1940. It has retained its old world charm. As such it is a very ordinary place but it is popular because it is more of an institution and a legend than a restaurant. The waiters dress in traditional white uniform to add to the aura. Koshy’s is known to have served Prime Minister J Nehru, Soviet Union dignitary Nikita Khrushchev and Queen Elizabeth II. It is a very laid-back place and I read in reviews that service is usually slow. We went there on Makar Sankranti day for breakfast. We landed there at 9 am sharp when the restaurant just opened and 4-5 tables got occupied quickly. Our waiter moved really slowly and I was half afraid we would miss our flight.

This place is not to be visited in a hurry. You don’t go to this restaurant to eat. You go there to relax, think, ponder, converse and absorb the charming aged air.

They have a huge menu, which makes it difficult to make a decision. Our Veg Spanish Omelet was stuffed with loads of vegetables and cheese giving a very happy feeling. The Chicken Liver Toast was yummy too. I have never had such delicious chicken liver ever. Incidentally, Chicken Liver in various forms is their specialty. Their toasts and omelets have also got good reviews. Complete your meal with their hot or cold coffee (a tad expensive but in Bangalore every meal MUST end with coffee).

CTR, Bangalore

CTR Bangalore

 Benne Dosa CTR

CTR or Central Tiffin Room (erstwhile Shree Sagar) is a very old restaurant located in Malleswaram. The hotel was originally established in 1920s by a family. It passed several hands and changed names several times before being rechristened CTR. It is a small, ordinary place often crowded and messy. The reason why one goes to CTR is their superbly delicious food. Their specialty is the award winning Benne (Butter) Masala Dosa. This thick dosa is crunchy and soft at the same time. One side is crispy and the other is soft, which makes it so unique. I had taken one bite of this heavenly butter laden dosa and then eaten the rest of it in complete blissful silence. Have their Benne Dosa before trying out other dishes for that must not be missed. Their coffee is one of the best I have ever had. Other dishes worth trying are Kharabhath and Mangalore Bhajji.

Our Native Village, Hessaraghatta

Ragi Roti Our Native Village

Our Native Village (ONV) is an eco resort located in the secluded flatland of Hessaraghatta. People primarily go there to spend a quiet weekend with basic forms of living away from all modern interruptions. We ended up at ONV to have lunch after visiting Nrityagram. We were starving by the time we were looking at the menus and hoped the food would do justice to our hunger.

It did. We ordered simple wholesome food like Ragi Roti, Akki Roti with Tomata Palaya & Cabbage Gojju. The Tomato Palya was exceptionally tasty. We were told that the restaurant grinds their own masala (spices) and grows their own vegetables. We also had the option of plucking vegetables ourselves. We were too famished to do that. Lately, they have started serving non vegetarian food but otherwise, their vegetarian food is cooked using less or no oil and feels very light on the stomach.

Their filter coffee was a letdown.

They have a buffet option too. Food is amazing. The ambience is good. They also have some books you can read while waiting around. It was totally worth going there instead of Taj Kuteeram, which is right opposite the dance school.

Kamat Lokaruchi, Mysore Road

Moode Idly Kamat

 Sugarcane Appams Kamat

If you are travelling towards Mysore, you cannot not stop at Kamat. It is located 70 kilometers away from Bangalore and is a perfect lunch / breakfast destination for travelers. Done up simply yet tastefully in traditional ‘hut’ style, the ambience is really cozy. They have lots of seating, most of it is outside. They serve buffet on weekends and holidays. Otherwise, you need to battle your gluttony and order something from their vast menu. They have lot of popular and traditional dishes that are served with very little wait time. Try their Moode Idli (Steamed cylindrical idli wrapped in banana leaf) served with wada, sambhar and coconut chutney, Ghee Rava Dosa, Sugarcane Appams or Ragi Dosa. Dosas are often served with Tomato chutney and Veg Korma. Do not forget their memorable filter coffee in the end. I chose to have a glass of refreshing sugarcane juice. I was denied this tempting drink throughout my India trip for the fear of falling sick. But the Kamat sugarcane juice did me no harm.

For adventurous foodies, there are more ethnic dishes like Akki Rotis, Jawar Rotis and Ragi Mudde meals. Such meals are usually consumed by farmers and locals in interiors of the state.

Kamat concluded my tryst with ethnic South Indian food. And it was totally unforgettable.

These were some memorable food moments of my Bangalore trip. It could not have been better devoured than with M & E.

Any more food recommendations from you hardcore Bangalore foodies?

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Categories: India, Photography, Restaurant Reviews, South India, Travel | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

Sahaj, Baroda–Shopping for a cause

SAHAJ is a NGO that works with tribal women artisans of Gujarat. Sahaj has helped several tribal women earn a livelihood and support their families. Their main base is Dahod but they do have a store in Baroda (named Dharohar). That’s how I came to know of them.

M and I have often visited their store and had a lovely shopping time buying jewellery, baskets and generally browsing through their collection. They have a pretty big collection of skin care products, coffee mugs, bags and decor items. I had bought a huge mud coffee mug that i used as a pen stand. It has a rustic look and is of very fine quality. All their products are.

In my last few days in Baroda, we visited their exhibition held at Trisha gallery (They had lovely dupattas. I made things difficult for M by telling her to buy all that she liked instead of helping her choose). That’s when we met their entire team. Because I was taking photographs, we got talking and they offered to show us around their Dahod camp. But I was moving out and that wasn’t feasible.

Apart from the fact that they collaborate with tribal women to make products and that they have done a swell job at uplifting economic levels of the villages, I do not know much about them. Ashima has personally visited them and has written about them at length. I will just let my pictures and Ashima’s post to do all the talking.

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These are on my wish list. Buying one of those on my India visit.

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If you are in Baroda or visit Baroda, head to this store for cool Indian accessories perfect for yourself or gifting. You will be shopping for a good cause!

Do not forget to read Ashima’s write up about Sahaj to know their story. Visit their Facebook page for updates.

Categories: Photography, Travel, Vadodara | Tags: , , , | 17 Comments

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