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Showing posts from December, 2013

Frill-Free Cups of Tea

Very, very close to where I work lies one of Pune's iconic landmarks that one should plan for whilst they're on a visit in the city. This landmark is nothing more than a near-dilapidated old Irani cafe called Vohuman Cafe. It's got quite a small little space filled up with plastic round tables and chairs, a few counters for display here and there and nothing much else. 

The owner (known to be both cheery and nasty at the same time) takes charge from the cash counter which is right at the entrance. Seated, he greets familiar faces, hurls orders to his staff and carries out the cash exchanges. Those who've patronized his cafe, swear by the tea and cheese omelette the kitchen churns out. You can routinely expect a roar of laughter and chatter  from huddles of men revelling in life's simple pleasures - chai and bun-muska post their morning work-out. I can't believe that despite having lived in Pune for several years now, it was only last week when I first visited th…

Restaurant Review - Nico, Mumbai

So whilst I was at lunch with my friends at one of my favourite restaurants called 'Salt Water Cafe' in town (their honey cinnamon roasted chicken is avoidable, go for the Kingfish instead), I was told that a new "up scale" dining spot called 'Nico' was only recently launched and the food there was "on a whole different level" (well, at least that's what my friend claimed). So, that was that, I wanted to experience some culinary elevation.
Located in Kala Ghoda, we did have to walk around a bit to find Nico. Of course we tried Google Maps but it seemed the restaurant wasn't yet listed on it. But the breezy December weather made the walk a pleasant one and stirred up quite an appetite. We spotted the restaurant and walked in. We didn't make a reservation and a server led us to a table on the condition that it be released by 10PM so that it was vacant for the guests that did take the effort to call and reserve a table. Fair enough. 
I liked …

A Problem Called Clutch

Clutch. You darn thing. My nemesis.

Yes, after having learnt how to ride, I am now learning how to drive. Embarrassed for a long time for not knowing how to move a car and bike, I made up my mind I would just learn and get these two things done with once and for all. 

I gave myself a breather of a month post my bike classes to actually pick up the phone and enrol myself into driving school. Maruti Driving School was highly recommended to me and I was quite keen on opting for them having heard highly about their professionalism and their teaching modules. Besides, I did not want to repeat the mistake of joining one of those private training schools who are only interested in your money and care little about whether you actually learn to ride/drive at the end of your sessions. 

One of the first things the trainers at the school laid emphasis on is road safety. They have a simulator that you spend xx hours on and they have theory classes and a demo where the function of every car part is e…

Hanisha's Food Glossary

A Aubergines – I don't know too many people who will jump in the bus with me on this one. This is one vegetable I love - right from its deep purple color to its flesh. At home, we deep fry thin slices of the aubergine and then sprinkle it generously with powders of coriander, red chilli, mango and salt. Deeeevine!
B Bananas– Fatty fruit this one, but lord, 4 of them for 10 bucks is a steal. And what’s more, no annoying seeds to deal with. Simply peel, bite and relish! Not just the fruit itself but I also remember loving this particular banana wafer biscuit I used to eat when I was a kid. Banana toffee or caramelized banana is nothing short of a heavenly sweet treat after a meal. If I see it on the menu, I won’t go for anything else listed in the dessert section.

C Chocolate – Dark, silky and sinful, I take this aphrodisiac in copious amounts, guilt free! We have got just one life to live, remember? Cheese – Jerry (of Tom & Jerry fame) has risked pursuit by his feline ‘frenemy’ just …

My 2013 Travel Breaks Recapped

Not too long after I started earning did I realize what I wanted to spend my savings on. Not clothes, not shoes, not bags but on travel. With work pressures steaming up and city life in Mumbai spiralling out of control for me, travel was my only relief - it became something I pampered myself with and something I gifted myself every now and then. I surely deserved it. 2013 turned out to be a great year for me on the travel front...I ended up doing a lot more trips than I had planned.

January 2013 - Bangalore

I've been to the city a number of times. But every time I go, it's always a treat because of the  friends I meet and the dosas I eat. Yes I love these lentil pancakes, I can live on them! Here's a picture of a supremely crisp dosa I ate standing with my friends at a typical udipi joint by the road on the very sunny morning that we reached the city by an overnight bus. 
February & March 2013 - Goa

April 2013 - Turkey

After months of cooking up a dreamy international trip…

An African Myth - Part II

Following 'An African Myth - Part 1', I wrote part deux in July 2010, so keep that in mind while you're reading and if you think some details are outdated. Enjoy :)

To get out and about in Nigeria, it was never safe for us non-locals to walk on roads or hail a taxi or ride pillion on the 'okada' (local two-wheelers), so we had to depend on our tall and frail driver, Mr.Emmanuel, one of the few Nigerians with a heard-before name. Otherwise, Nigerians have the most amusing names. Take for instance, old Tunday who drove the school bus and Mr. Saturday who taught me 'la langue du francais' and Peace (or was it Happiness?) the cook, and Mr.Yellow, one of dad's brawny customers. Want to hear more names? Chew on these – Messy, Blessing, Gift, Monday, Tuesday, Godfried, Ejyoma, Tolulope...(Oh btw, Tolulope is the mega star creator of the Youtube video series 'Don't Jealous Me'. Watch this webisode below called 'Pronounce My Name'). 

As differe…

An African Myth - Part I

I wrote this post in 2010. It's just me reminiscing about growing up in Nigeria. My attempt is to take you on this journey with me...

It has been only a few years since I moved to the Indian subcontinent. Before this, I spent over fifteen years of my life on the other side of the globe, and it is the memories of the times spent there that I cherish most! The country I was born and brought up in is one that I find most intriguing and peculiar at the same time and I always thought it to be an interesting subject to write upon. I shall do so in two parts and here goes the first... 

Just a little over two decades ago, a baby girl was born in First Consultancy Hospital located in the coastal land of lagoons, sandy beaches, palm trees and…petroleum reserves. The baby was me and the hospital was in Nigeria - Lagos city, to be precise. Yes, I hail from this busy and overcrowded African city reputed to be one of the most expensive in the world. Marred by stories centered mostly on crime and …

Food Stalking at Restaurants

How many times has it happened that you are not quite happy with what you've ordered at a restaurant? That what you thought you'd get is not what's in front of you waiting to be often has it happened that what the people seated on your adjacent table are eating looks way more scrumptious than what lays on your table? How is it that you can never identify the beautiful dish that the waiter who passed by your table just carried? And how is it that you can't figure out which dish that was when you were scanning the menu? Why do the dishes your neighbouring table dwellers are devouring smell so good? How do the portion sizes of their dishes look SO worth the money? Why does your dish arrive after the one that the table next to you ordered for even though they arrived AFTER you? How is it that you don't find any waiters there to take your order, while so many other huddle around other tables! How man, how! Maybe we should wear blinders when we walk into a re…