Sunday, June 27, 2010

My love for Maggi

Maggi my dear readers is its own food group. If you disagree I’ll be more than happy to introduce you to the next random person on the street and we’ll gleefully bludgeon some sense into your head.

I met Maggi in school. My earliest recollection of Maggi is not of eating it but of wanting to own it. That’s right. People want to be a lot of things when they grow up, Pilot, Doctor, Policeman, Circus Clown (I have this friend…), but not me. I wanted to own a Maggi factory when I grew up. Owning a factory was the only way my mind could guarantee an endless supply of Maggi that I could eat as much as I wanted, whenever I wanted. That and something to do with noodle straps. If it doesn’t make any sense do re-read the part about me having to grow up.

Obviously, I could never have more than two at a time and that too used to give me a preview of my distended belly future. One however was too less and left a craving on my tongue. The same craving I licked off plates and bowls the Maggi was served in. The last drops of liquid masala were manna from heaven and I could not leave a single molecule of it on the utensil. This gave a big inferiority complex to my imaginary pet dog. His name was noodles.

Since then, Maggi has come a long way. You can now get rice and wheat variants while the brand is spread across ketchup, soups, seasoning and other categories.  It's the ultimate comfort food. Most convenient to cook and one of the rarities that provide a full meal on just adding water, cooking in the least time. Mother's around the world keep a packet in the temple, thanking gods for this modern wonder. Everyone has their preference of Maggi making style and recipe. Some like it wet, some like it dry. Some like it in the pot, with veggies and fried. I liked mine poured hot into Tiffin box and during school recess to be found solidified with a jelly like consistency, cut into cake like pieces and then had. My friend’s mom being aware of my Maggi Tiffin stealing ways used to send with him a concoction with tomato ketchup. Needless to say I foiled their attempts and acquired a taste for it as well. Sadly, I could never replicate the experiment at home. Try as I might, I couldn’t steal from myself.

Me and Maggi co-existed in a perfectly hunky-dory world. If you know your bollywood then this is the time a villain makes the entry. Nestle lost the plot. First they took away my favorite flavor of 'Sweet and Sour' closely followed by 'Capsicum'. It probably left a bitter taste in their accountant's mouth but oh what I would give for a Sweet and Sour Maggi right now! They tried to fix what wasn’t broken and gave new meaning to the adage “Hitting axe on your own foot”. So we had a new Maggi that tasted like bird dropping (this is where you think, “how does he know what bird droppings taste like?”) and started being used by Doctors to induce vomiting whenever medically required, e.g. when you voluntarily swallowed bird droppings.

Sales plummeted and no one in Nestle made fresh lime soda because they took a while to recover from the hangover. Lesson learnt, they redeemed themselves by bringing the old Maggi back and all hostelites past, present and from the future breathed a collective sigh of relief. But, it was too late for me. I had already crossed over to the dark side and Top Ramen was my new bed fellow. Tempted with its promises of international appeal, smoother flat noodles and spicier masala, I gave in. I couldn’t resist. I had a collection of digestive juices crying in my belly and I did not have anything to feed them with. Maggi eventually did forgive me as I forgave it, as one must forgive their first love, but the damage was done. Now I spend time alternately with both of them and we are a happy threesome.

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Thursday, June 17, 2010

Cinnabon - Cinna Magic

             Cinnamon. Encounter a spicy stick in your Biryani or sprinkle some powder on a hot Cappuccino. Its unique flavor can elevate the most mundane to an exciting taste fest and if you like them sweet the only name that come to mind is Cinnabon, the world famous Cinnamon roll chain.

Following a successful debut in Delhi they are now sharing the magic in Mumbai. Located at Pali Naka near Cafe Basilico in Bandra, it is a quaint little blink and miss setup. Though to make amends a bigger one is coming up in Juhu as well.

For those not in the know, Cinnabon makes the most indulgant Cinnamon rolls. Here, you can indulge your taste buds with the Classic Cinnabon and revel in its cinnamon and sugar mixture rolled up in warm dough topped with cream frosting, baked fresh every half an hour for your eating pleasure. Want to make it more interesting? Try the Caramel Pecanbon, a Cinnabon topped with pecans (a walnut variant) and smothered with rich caramel. If your sweet tooth is still not satisfied have the Cinnabon Stix, dough brushed with vanilla and margarine, dipped in cinnamon and sugar, twisted and then baked.

If you balked at that thought of all the calories you’ll ingest go for the Minbon, Mini Pecanbon or CinnaBites which are bite sized pieces of the signature cinnamon rolls. Wash it all down with a Cappuccino or their signature MochaLatta Chill, perfect accompaniments to the delectably warm pastries.

My only grouse with this particular store is the exclusively outside and uncomfortable seating. While the kitchen and counter area are indoors and air conditioned once you are out with the order your only option is to find a chair in the limited space and share it with flies attracted by the feast you just bought. Don’t let that dampen your spirits though. It is safe to say that one bite of a roll and you’ll be instantly transported to food heaven conveniently forgetting your immediate surroundings. Better still get a takeaway CinnaPack and have it in the comfort of a private venue. The staff is very friendly and courteous which is more than what I can say for some other international hospitality chains.

Come to think of it, what might be the secret to Cinnabon's international success? Cinnabon claims to use the Makara Cinnamon grown in Indonesia on the island of Sumatra. It is smoother than its Vietnamese and Sri Lankan cousin. Well it's a no brainer, all I know is that the cinnamony after taste post devouring a Cinnabon is amazing, just amazing.

Main Items Price List in Rs.
Cinnabon Classic – 100
Minibon Classic – 65
Caramel Pecanbon – 135
Mini Pecanbon – 85
CinnaBites – 4pc – 65
Cinnabon Stix – 4pc – 65
Cappuccino – 70
MochaLatta Chill – 85

Visit them at for updated product news and discount coupons.

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Monday, June 14, 2010

Global Fusion - Bandra, Mumbai. A Foodie Adventure!

If there were Foodie adventure trips to be signed up for, the restaurant in question today would be leading the pack.

Global Fusion is a Specialty Asian/South East Asian restaurant located bang on a Linking Road corner in Link Square Mall opposite KFC. The Restaurant is buffet only and though I found it strange for a restaurant not to offer an a la carte menu, it all made sense once the evening was over.

The first thing you notice while entering are the buffet prices mentioned above the reservation desk. Depending upon which day you are there at and whether for lunch or dinner will decide how much you are going to fork out for this gastronomic experience. The Weekday Lunch is priced lowest at Rs. 570/-, followed by the Mon-Thu dinner at Rs. 720/- and Fri Dinner + Weekends raking it in at Rs. 850/-, all exclusive of taxes. This includes unlimited mineral water, iced tea and soft drinks while liquor can be ordered separately. Though at first glance the pricing looks prohibitive, for those who are patient it all falls into place around mid way through the meal.

As you are led to your table, first thing you notice is the cavernous space that suddenly opens up to you. High roofs, an art deco Chinese pavilion, running water channels and multiple sections add an element of space and relaxation.

Soon it’s time to get up and check out the exotic spread laid out for your benefit. I suggest taking a walking tour along the tables looking at all the options before grabbing a plate. You would need to pace your meal and it’s practically impossible for a normal person to try everything on offer.

You can choose from multiple soups, sashimi’s, dumplings, tempura, Fritters, raw papaya salad and Spring Rolls. Made to order Stir fried starters, sticky rice and the star at every sitting, Sushi.  Believe me when I say am just scratching the surface here when it comes to variety. I also loved the fact that it was extremely vegetarian friendly with every dish including sushi having equal number of vegetarian items and variants. While most of the items are self service, some of them will be made fresh and brought to your table. The main course served in the adjoining section is another delectable affair with Thai curry, rice, noodles and other meat, sea food items. Though definitely at above average levels I would still prefer to stuff myself on the starters and jump straight to desserts.

The Dessert corner is a variety of unlimited cakes and pastries with believe it or not an unlimited Baskin Robbins Ice Cream corner. Forget those miniature tasting spoons, here you can indulge your taste buds with unlimited cups of every flavor but only if you still have space left in your stomach that is. Though the dessert counter lacks in variety the unlimited Ice Cream more than makes up for it.

In my mind what really works for the restaurant is that they take away the question of money right at the beginning. With the still experimenting and testing Indian crowd there are times when ordering from a menu makes one wonder if what one is ordering is going to be good or not, hope it doesn’t get wasted, etc. This turns off most of the people from venturing out and trying new stuff especially at specialty restaurants and they end up ordering the tried and tested stuff. Since money is taken out of the equation right at offset, you can try every exotic item as many times as you like and if not to your liking move on to the next one. Consequently, it was quite entertaining to see my companion experiment with wasabi and its surprising bite. Once you realize the exclusivity of dishes that the restaurant is offering and think about what they would cost had you ordered them individually the buffet price suddenly seems very reasonable or for that matter even cheap. Whatever it is worth, it is definitely value for money.

It’s very rare that an establishment blows you away with what it has to offer and everyone I have talked to who has been there shares the same opinion. I definitely would be visiting them again and I hope that this review makes you do that at least once.

P.S. Please excuse the quality of pictures as I had to rely on my meager 2 MP Phone Camera to take them in low lighting.

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Tuesday, June 08, 2010

A KISS synopsis of the new Apple iPhone 4

To cut the long story short and "Keeping it simple stupid", am gonna layout what the new iPhone 4 as revealed at WWDC yesterday has in store for you:

1) The most exciting feature is the new 5mp camera with led flash. A departure from Apple's usual stingy ways in the lens department.

2) FaceTime Video calling - Video calls using the new front facing camera with no setup required working over wi-fi and both devices being iPhone 4. You can switch between the front and back camera's along with Portrait and Landscape mode in between calls.

3) 720p HD video recording at 30fps. This is how Apple will take over YouTube. Funnily enough, AT&T cancelled all it's unlimited data plans a few days before this launch. I guess they couldn't suffer the thought of users uploading 720p videos over the ever stricken network.

4) Bigger battery meaning better battery life. Around 2 hours more than what the 3gs gave.

5) Retina Display: That's a display of 326 pixels per inch with 800 to 1 contrast ratio! Closest to a book reading experience now that iBooks too will be available for iPhone.

6) An added Gyroscope for six-axis motion sensing. Game developers are drooling already.

7) For trivia fans, the stainless steel band around the phone holds the structure together but is also part of the antennae system.

8) New platform software iPhone OS 4 now rechristened iOS 4 which will roll at as a free upgrade for all 'i' devices starting June 21st 2010.

9) Multitasking.

10) Unified inbox similar to Blackberry with e-mail threading.

11) On the App front, they now have iMovie for iPhone which will debut on the App Store for 4.99$.

So that's it folks, a roundup of the most compelling features that take the iPhone beyond it's competitors who are still busy playing catch up to the previous generation models.

Though not all the added features are revolutionary, it is about how the iPhone is now a complete package building on its existing strengths. As with Copy Paste and now Multitasking, Apple might come late for the party but sure does know how to rock it.

Pricing would be similar to what it has been in the past, i.e. 199$ for the 16 GB and 299$ for the 32 GB. The 8 GB iPhone 3GS can still be had for 99$. If ever I've been tempted to go the Apple way it is now.

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Monday, May 31, 2010

The Moto Cafe - Pune's first motorcycle themed cafe

There are those who dream and there are those who make their dreams come true. Located in the biker check point of Chandani Chowk, 'The Moto Cafe' is a personification of dreams and biker passion. A brainchild of Nikhil Sood who quit his plum IT job to start Pune's first Motorcycle themed cafe, The Moto Cafe is fast becoming the place for all bikers to be seen at.

Complete with bike miniatures placed all around the cafe along with caricatures of legendary racing champs adorning the walls, the cafe exudes a warm feeling that makes you sit, kick back your legs and soak in the atmosphere. Appreciate the wheel arm rest on your sofa or race theme wallpaper on the mezzanine, the cafe just reels one in, calling to the motor head in you.

As a bonus, the cafe is internet enabled, has multiple LCD screens to indulge the fan boys during race days/sports events, provides automobile paraphernalia, magazines and coffee table books for the literary buffs along with puzzles, UNO and other card games to keep the kids busy for hours.

On special request the owner might even allow you a go at the Play Station 3 console hooked up to one of the screens and you’ll see time fly by when busy pummelling Hercules in Gods of War or lining up those mean machines in Need for Speed Shift amongst other games.

It goes without saying that all these are only perfunctory add-ons to the real deal and that is the menu. It is a gourmet’s delight at its best. Gorge on the delectable Panini’s, Bagels and sandwiches or indulge your taste buds with Mint Brownies but where The Moto Cafe really excels is in the liquid department. Much recommended is the ‘Moto Mint’ a heady concoction of mint, cream and espresso, ‘Speed Triple’ a spiced up coffee variant, ‘Black Currant Shake’ and flavored Frappe’s apart from the usual suspects you would expect from a coffee shop.

If you are on the way to a group ride in the hills and need a pit stop or just looking for a cool place to hangout, drop in and indulge the motor head in you.

Join their Facebook group, follow the twitter account or check into foursquare:

Please see the location tag for exact directions to the venue.

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Saturday, May 08, 2010

Iron Man 2 - A Review

The biggest question plaguing everyone's mind is whether Iron Man 2 is as good as its first iteration. As trends go sequels have a tendency to fall flat on the face though recent successes like the Spiderman series seemed to have turned the tide. Thankfully, Iron Man 2 contributes to that growing minority.

Without giving away the story, I am going to try my best and give you all a faint idea of what to expect from this action powerhouse.

Robert Downey Jr. reprises his role as the smooth talking, swashbuckling Tony Stark. His dialogues are full of wit and humor and like in Sherlock Holmes the audience falls for all that glib talk hook line and sinker. Gwyneth Paltrow is back as Pepper Pots and despite looking old in some frames stands her own against Tony Stark's shenanigans and at times dick head behavior. What also redeem's the movie is that the viewer is able to separate the characters of Tony and Iron Man and see them separately. Tony Stark is shown with all the human imperfections he is known to have and yet has that endearing hero like quality that makes him acceptable under the metal suit. Iron Man whenever he is on screen is invincible in all his shiny metal glory and nothing can keep him down. Tony's increasing despair at the life threatening condition and how it leads him to behave incorrigibly pulls at the viewer's heart strings. Not to be missed is a drunk performance by him in the Iron Man suit that elicits some good laughs.

Terrence Howard was not so lucky and is not missed either. His shoes ably filled by Don Cheadle as Jim Rhodes who hits paydirt by getting to be War Machine. Though not true to his comic book origins, the character development is believable and he plays worthy adversary/sidekick/partner to Iron Man.

Another character high on the anticipation list was Scarlett Johansson, very drool worthy as Shield Agent Natalie Rushman aka Black Widow and boy does she have those curves down pat. Scarlett can act no doubt and does ample justice to her secretary avatar, however there seems to be a lack of finesse and fluidity in her brief appearance as Black Widow. The script writers should have spent more time fleshing this one out. Her main action sequence is contrived and does not do justice to the expectations that weight down the character. Nor is the character important enough to be required by the main story and could have been done away with to give more emphasis and justice in later movies.

I was also pleasantly surprised to see Olivia Munn of French Maid Pie Jump and Eating Hot Dog fame in a newscaster role. A short and sweet appearance but her innate sassiness was very much missed. Stan Lee also does his customary blink and miss guest role.

Playing villains are Mickey Rourke as Whiplash an out of luck Russian Physicist able to duplicate Tony's reactor core design and Sam Rockwell as Justin Hammer who  wants to make an army of Iron Man suits and sell them to the US Army. Though worthy adversaries they never seem to offer anything other than a minor distraction to Iron Man. Both of them lack the devilish quality and do not inspire awe and hate like The Green Goblin from Spiderman and Joker from The Dark Knight. However, the final action sequence between Whiplash's robotic minions and Iron Man backed up by War Machine is a redeeming factor and worthy of all the cat calls and inappropriate whistling your mouth can manage.

Fanboys also have enough goodies and easter eggs to keep them on the edge of the seat. Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury gives up chasing superheroes after end credits roll and appears to seem all important, nudge Tony Stark in the right direction and still look like doing nothing but eat screen space. The studios do seem to be prepping up the audience for the Superhero universe they want to explode in our faces. As with all recent Marvel movies, do stay back till end of the credits roll to know what I am talking about.

At this point one might wonder what is the movie doing with so many characters who must be jostling with each other for screen space but all credit to the Indie actor turned producer/director Jon Favreau who helms a tight ship even putting in a cameo himself and never allows the movie to go out of hand. The story moves forward seamlessly and even the minor characters have enough personality to make the audience feel for them yet not get distracted from the central ones.

As expected from any Hollywood creation of this caliber the production is top notch with no cost spared on the CGI. Apart from usual strapping on the suit and robots going all guns at each other scenes, one of the most jaw dropping ones are of Tony interacting with J.A.R.V.I.S. his lab AI which makes Minority Report look amateurish in comparison. However, that star shield didn't really seem like it belonged to a super soldier but maybe there is a deeper explanation for it. (*evil grin*). The retro/rock soundtrack infuses a sit back, look how cool we are and enjoy the movie feel. AC/DC has a major hand and the wait for end credits to roll is made bearable by "Highway to Hell" belting out from the Dolby speakers.

So does it stand up to scrutiny and deserve a watch? Hell Yes it does. Even if you are  someone who has not followed the Iron man series and is just looking for some mindless weekend entertainment from a film that does not take itself seriously then Iron Man 2 will provide you the escapism into a fantasy world of flash boom bang. So go out and break out the popcorn tub cause Iron Man 2 does not disappoint. 

Rating: 3.5/5

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Friday, April 30, 2010

Bedekar Tea Stall - Legendary food places of Pune

Bedekar Tea Stall, popularly referred to as Bedekar Misal has been the mainstay of Pune’s Misal aficionados for more than six decades. Established in 1948 by Dattatrey Bedekar, this quaint little establishment has withstood the passage of time and changing tastes of new generations. In its 62nd year it’s being managed by a duo of third generation Bedekar’s.

Located in the busy environs of old city at Narayan Peth, reaching it is akin to a pilgrimage with lot of penance and pain on the way but a desired and pleasant objective at the end. Yet, if one expected place with such history to be old & musty with an aura of nostalgia around it you couldn’t be farther from the truth. Apart from a small Marathi paper clipping adorning the wall, the establishment gives nothing away about the fan following it demands. To the casual visitor it might be just one of those random Amrutalays dotting the cityscape. One could come in have a meal and get out without ever realizing that we were one of those footfalls that have been coming to this place for more than half a century. The interiors are modern, functional and Spartan. The entire premises consist of a small hallway with tables on either sides, the serving/billing counter at the end, a board announcing the menu items on top and kitchen at the back.

On to the food then. Those accustomed to ordering Misal Pav everywhere else, don’t be perturbed by the missing Pav. Bedekar take their Misal very seriously and serve it as they have always done, with sliced bread. The bread soaks up the Tari better and offers a unique experience with focus completely on the Misal. As the bread soaked with Misal hits your tongue already salivating at the wait, the bread lets go as easily as it absorbed, the juice breaks out and assaults the taste buds with its medley of spices. The crunchy onion and Farsan sprinkled with lemon juice adds the tangy crunch and texture. That’s when you lose track of your surroundings and every bite becomes a step towards food nirvana. Bedekar’s Misal is not the hottest Misal around but still ranks up there with the rest. A word of advice? When the tongue starts burning, cool it down with a bowl of fresh curd (it still doesn’t stop the nose from flowing though).

Some purists argue that, the Misal not being fiery enough which traditionally seems to be the standard measure of a Misal’s quality, and consequently Bedekar does not deserve the accolades reserved for it. Historically, hotness is attributed to its Kolhapuri cousin. What Bedekar has succeeded in doing is to put Pune on the Misal map with its own unique taste and characteristics. The repeat visitors and the very fact that Bedekar is still around after 60 years is a testament to the fact that they are good in what they do and deserve every adulation that their fans afford.

Having Misal at Bedekar befits the image of a traditional Puneri Manus relaxing with a soul satisfying cup of tea after a plate of his favorite Misal, an ideal culmination to a slow day at work before he heads home to be with the family.

They do a mean Kharwas too but hold off ordering any of the cooler drinks there. Bedekar’s Misal is best washed down with flavored sugarcane juice at ‘Cool Cane’ on Laxmi Road a minute’s walk from Bedekar. Cool Cane offers cold sugarcane juice without ice in 9 different flavors with or without ice cream and is a treat for the taste buds. I would recommend mixing them up and found the Mint, Lemon, Ginger and Chat masala combination to be very refreshing.

Food - 3.5/5
Value For Money - 4/5
Ambiance - 2.5/5
Service - 3/5
Hygiene - 3/5

Overall - 3.2/5

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Thursday, April 15, 2010

The Immortals of Meluha by Amish Tripathi - A Book Review

The Immortals of Meluha is amongst those rare breed of novels that dare to delve into Indian Mythology and come out unscathed.

The book's premise is based on the possibility that modern day gods were normal Men during their time and by lieu of their greatness and accomplishments came to be worshiped as Gods. Though the very religious might find it blasphemous, the theory does have it's merits and takers. Amish builds on it and has scripted a wonderful story that keeps the reader hooked from start to finish.

The Immortals of Meluha follows the life of Shiva, a mountain tribesman and his adventures through the country's lands. Shiva obviously is a reflection of Lord Shiva, one of the Hindu Tridev (Three Gods). The author's ingenuity is particularly reflected in the way he makes popular characters and incidents associated with Lord Shiva become a part of the fantasy world he weaves around the mythology. It really is nothing short of genius and very innovative.

Though his writing is not winning The Nobel anytime soon, it is lucid and clear enough to be read at a trot without hiccups. That said, it could do with a bit of refinement that would have raised the book to a higher level.

I haven't been as entertained by an Indian author since Samit Basu got done with his Gameworld Trilogy. Interestingly this one is going to be a trilogy too and Amish runs the risk of having set high expectations to meet. Now that the characters have been fleshed out adequately, I would like the story to pick up momentum and for the author to raise writing quality by a notch as well. I can't wait for Mr. Tripathi to release the next one.

There is a video trailer designed for the book that can be viewed at

You can also follow the author on twitter at:

Buy the book with 25% off at Flipkart:

Buy at Amazon: The Immortals of Meluha

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Monday, April 12, 2010

Zero Percentile Missed IIT Kissed Russia by Neeraj Chhibba - A Book Review

Of late, everyone who can or sometimes cannot write a sentence is running to the presses in an attempt to sell their college life.  

Zero Percentile is an earnest book written by first time author Neeraj Chhibba. The book follows the story of Pankaj, a young Delhi lad from his school days to his student life in post communist Russia.

What makes this book stand out of the clutter is it's major part of the story being set in Russia. Russia has always had a special place in the hearts of Indians. At a time when the country was isolated, it was only Russia that we could count upon as a friend and for whatever political reasons the friendship evolved and has stood the test of time. As a result Russia does evoke more emphatic feelings of brotherhood than any other country in the world.

The book takes the reader through Pankaj's school life, college life in Russia, a brief shot at entrepreneurship, taking on the Russian Underworld and matters of the heart with equal fervor.

The book is peppered with anecdotes and incidents that help the reader identify with it's main characters. As noticed with the Chetan Bhagat and other authors of his ilk that's what they intend the book's USP to be and Neeraj Chhibba follows on the same path.

Though largely autobiographical, Neeraj does spin a good yarn with the necessary masala elements thrown in. From parental disappointment, to sex, mafia and romance. In fact one could be forgiven to think that the book is tailor-made for a bollywood screen adaptation yet it delivers on the entertainment front so no qualms there.

If you are on the lookout for a college life story to pass your train journey with, this book comes recommended.

Zero Percentile is available with considerable discount at

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Monday, February 01, 2010

Cafe Maroo - A piece of Korea in Pune

Authentic international cuisine has long tried to make its presence felt through stalwarts like the now defunct La Dolce Vita and The Galaxy Grill offering Italian and Greek offerings consecutively.

Completing another piece of the international puzzle is the newly opened Korean "Cafe Maroo" in Aundh, Pune. Aundh boasts of a sizeable korean population, and the owner probably thought it good business sense to offer them a taste of home in this foreign city. Not to mention, the locals get to benefit from it's delectable offerings as well.

What attracted me to this place was the mention of Green Tea right on it's art deco hoarding. It's very rare for an establishment to advertise green tea as a USP and this was worth checking out. I can safely say I came back enchanted.

The decor is very relaxing with muted lighting and traditional korean floor seating at a raised level along with the usual table and chairs. The service is extraordinary and an experience in itself with the mostly Korean and oriental staff very humble and extremely polite.

 The cafe offers a variety of Korean meals, snacks and beverages. Right from the traditional Kimchi, Bulgogi Kimbab (Beef BBQ) and Korean Ramyeon to Maggi and Spaghetti with Korean Sauce. Wash it down with a Green Tea latte or traditional Korean herbal tea. An added bonus is that the Chef does Vegetarian varieties of most of the items on the menu which turned out to be a very pleasant and tasty surprise for me!

Maroo Kimbab - 80 Rs.

Jjajang Myeon - 120 Rs.

Maroo Green Tea - 80 Rs.

 Most of the items on the menu are in the range of 80 to 120 Rs. and for the complete variety and culinary experience the establishment offers, it's quite a steal. They also sell variety of Korean tea's, cups, etc.

 So if you are in an experimental mood and want to take your taste buds for a test drive, do give it a dekko and it will not be found wanting.

Food - 4/5
Value For Money - 3.5/5
Ambiance - 4/5
Service - 3.5/5
Hygiene - 4/5

Map Location:

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Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Don't lose your mind, lose your weight by Rujuta Diwekar - A Review

“Rujuta has not just changed my body but also my mind and soul. She is the best thing to have happened to my life!” - Kareena Kapoor

Don't lose your mind, lose your weightWow, best thing to have happened to her life? Wonder what position Shahid, Saif and their likes have been relegated to. Jokes apart, when the poster child of stick thin figures makes a declaration like that everyone sits up and takes notice. I did and I am tempted to add my name to Bebo's quote there but I'll spare you the scandal. What you get instead are my thoughts on “Don't lose your mind, lose your weight”, the very effective health guide by “Rujuta Diwekar”.

    Bollywood has always dictated terms to the common man. From how to look and what to wear the general populace has followed it's screen idols blindly. So it doesn't come as a surprise that the current trend of six packs and zero size bikini figures has translated into a nation obsessed with achieving the same.

    One could fault Rujuta Diwekar from wanting to take advantage of the opportunity but she can be forgiven for the fact that she helped create it. Counting celebrity figures like Kareena Kapoor, Amrita Arora and Anil Ambani amongst her clients, if one's work is their calling card Rujuta definitely has arrived. Thankfully she does not sit in a high and mighty place charging fees to make you lose weight worrying about the amount. She reaches out to the common populace in this very useful book bringing high flying consultancy within our reach.

    So what does Rujuta have to say that one doesn't already know? Lots, I believe. The book offers some excellent insights in the area of weight management which when understood make you go, “damn, why didn't I think of that before?”. The very first and most important of which is the distinction between weight loss and fat loss. One could go on a crash diet and lose a lot of weight but might come out of it with an even higher fat percentage and lower bone density (a sure shot recipe for disaster). The intention should be to lose fat, what happens with your weight would be just incidental. A well muscled body with lower fat % and high body weight would still be considered more healthy than an anorexic with fat % in the 30's. Consequently it's important to measure body fat % and track changes in that instead of our normal weight measuring morning ritual.

    The book then follows to debunk the myths on fad diets that everyone indulges in, most common ones being, the compensation diet, detox diet, GM, dry fruit, orange juice diets and why never to go for any of them. Followed by a lot of interesting anecdotes from her personal experience and the experience of her celebrity clients drives home the point with effect. Subsequent chapters deal with adapting your lifestyle to your health needs with health needing to be the number one priority for everyone. Nuggets on what to eat and the basic dietary constituents like carbs, protein, fats, vitamins & minerals are dealt with exceedingly well. Chapters are followed with cheat sheets summarizing the content, while some of them come with a daily tracker to help track your diet. The writing is lucid and what makes it successful is that Rujuta is able to explain the most complicated concepts in a very “easy reading” way. It's a light snappy practical read with tonnes of useful information.

    I am almost tempted to type out the whole book for the benefit of readers here (Yes, I found it to be that good!) but our little remaining respect for Intellectual property rights being what it is, before I sign off I'll share some philosophies that really stood out as remarkable:
  1. Track your fat % and not your weight. Weight is incidental. Concentrate on decreasing your fat content and increasing your lean body weight (muscle mass).
  2. Eat global. When in Italy, eat pasta. A region's cuisine is developed to suit its climate which in turn helps your body keep balance with it.
  3. Know your genes: Marwaris can get away with their high ghee diet. Everyone can't. Eat what your body has learnt to eat since childhood.
  4. Eat small quantities as frequently as possible. This keeps your metabolism fired throughout the day resulting in more efficient calorie burning.
  5. Cheat meals and high calorie foods if any should be in the first half of your waking day. This will give your body time to burn them off. Eating a pastry just before you sleep is going to get stored straight away as fat because while asleep your body has no use for that energy.
  6. Eat your last meal at least two hours before you sleep. That gives your body time to digest the food.
  7. If you took much on your plate and don't think you can finish it. Don't. Don't worry about insulting the food gods. You'll be insulting a higher temple if you overeat. Your body! You'll find enough hungry street children to earn favor with the almighty.
  8. Water. Amrit. Nectar. Get it?
  9. Last and most controversial one in my book because I haven't been able to follow it myself: Don't start your day with coffee or tea. An apple would serve the same purpose of waking you up as caffeine would.
    To sum it up, I would recommend this book to anyone and everyone because it is everyone's business to take care of their health and from what I have experienced after reading it, your's will be better off once you have done the same.

You can get it from Flipkart for Rs. 150/- at Rs. 50/- discount with free shipping!

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- Written and Published from my tiny Asus eee 701 4G. It feels like a marvel!

Asus Eee PC 4G Surf Celeron M 900MHz 512MB 4GB SSD 7-Inch Linux

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Sunday, January 03, 2010

Cafe Good Luck - Legendary food places of Pune

 You know a restaurant is successful when it is used as a landmark by anyone and everyone throughout the city. Good Luck chowk on F.C.Road is just that. A prime busy crossing deriving it's name from the Irani establishment that lords over the corner.

Since 1935 is what their hoarding proudly proclaims and 75 years in the business is no mean feat. Even donkeys years feels short of an adjective to describe the legacy of this place. From octogenarians to the now college going crowd, everyone fondly remembers at some time having had a cup of Irani tea with brun maska in it's hallowed confines.

 Cafe Good Luck is primarily a non vegetarian place with the mutton biryani, mutton cutlet curry and mutton kheema being the mainstays of its eclectic menu. However, many a vegetarians are found enjoying the thali during lunch hour and breakfast time is when I believe the place truly offers a unique experience with the most varied egg options. From omelette's, fried eggs to the most soft and fluffy scrambled eggs on toast, you'll get them here. French toast is served either sweet, salty or both to your taste while the baked beans allow the most fitting accompaniment to the spread. Keep an eye out for that waiter though, he's not going to make way to your table in a hurry nor he is going to greet you with a 32 teeth smile unless you are a regular and are known to tip generously.


Café & Restaurant Design
Nostalgia pervades the surrounding with glass mirrors decorating the main hall. Antique decoration adds the quintessential touch. For that Good Luck has retained it's original character. It still is at face value a true blue irani joint. Cheap food with no frills service.

 Food pilgrimage if there is such a thing ends with the shrine of it's premises where to find a solitary gentleman reading his morning paper with the customary cup of tea gives you a deep sense of satisfaction. At that moment you know, that every thing is alright with the world and there's nothing that a lazy hour spent in the gastronomic temple cannot fix.

 There comes a time when you don't just visit a restaurant for the food it offers but as part of a ritual. An arcane rite of passage that isn't complete till you confess to having succumbed to it's marble top charms. For you haven't really experienced the culture and the soul of the city if you haven't tried to absorb it looking out of the window, seated on its chairs wondering about the person who might have sat on the same seat as yours 50 years ago staring out of the same window as the world nonchalantly went by.

 So if you are in Pune with a little time to spare, visit this place and you'll find one piece of the puzzle that makes the city complete.

Food - 4/5
Value For Money - 4/5
Ambiance - 3.5/5
Service - 2.5/5
Hygiene - 2/5

Overall - 3.2 + 1 for old times sake = 4.2/5

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