Food Tales – Sam’s Pizza

Decided to get some pizza love this evening. Have been hearing about Sam’s Pizza for a while now so headed right there with Nandy. I don’t have any pictures to post because of this new rule that Nandy and me have implemented. No phone, social media, photographs while eating. Whoever does it first will have to pay for dinner. Have not won even once until now. Hope to soon.

Ordered a plate of Salad from the salad bar. OD’d on the salads. Liked the soya chunky salad, kimchi, carrot and raisin salad.

Ordered the thin crust Hawaiian Pizza 9incher. Toppings were some chunks of pineapple and some chunks of paneer on a Cheese Pizza. The crust was crunchy at the edges and soft on top just the way I like it. Cheese was not up to the mark, too chewy and tasted quite bland. Pizza was way too greasy for my liking.

Service was OK. Water was served in a dirty plastic glass I asked for a replacement and it was done quickly. Had to wait for the salad bar to be refilled. Also the tables and chairs look really worn out from regular use.

They have a wall painting with the nutritional value of pizza. But no mention on what basis.

Bill came to Rs. 670. Will definitely go back for their salad bar. Will give the pizza a miss.

TOI vs Deepika Padukone

In a country with a shortage of toilets it is no wonder that Times of India is the highest selling newspaper supposedly. They cover the news, news which fills pages and pages but is hardly of use to anyone. I would have preferred if TOI was called a tabloid. Anyhow that is not what this is all about.

Times of India wrote an article about Deepika Padukone’s Cleavage to which Deepika Padukone responded and to which TOI has responded again.

Dei, stop it both of you. Wasting precious time of so many people. Deepika if TOI thinks your cleavage is news hit them hard where it really matters. Stop attending events which has TOI as sponsors cut TOI out of your life. Also Read The Hindu. They are a much more South Indian paper and they cover sensible news.

And Times of India, shame on you. Why don’t you come up with a gallery of Man Boobs? Feature men with moobs.  Do something worthwhile for your readers and also please read The Hindu.

I dedicate this post to Prabhu Jayachandran he is in love with both Times of India and Deepika Padukone and exactly in that order.

Stop fighting there are enough wars being fought and enough journalists being killed.

PEACE OUT FOLKS!

Food Tales – Pizza Two (Not The Villa)

pizzakaaran

Pizza Kaaran is a pizza outlet in Sivakasi which reminded me of Karagattakaran.

This is Part Two of my Pizza Tale. Go read part one HERE

The first time I really tried Italian food at an italia restaurant in Chennai was at Bella Ciao. Nope not the one in Kottivakkam but the one which was on the top floor of Chotabhai Center. A few friends told me that they even served wine on the sly. So there I was looking for Pizzas and finding a ton of other confusing names staring at me from the menu. Pasta, Fusili, Arrabiatta well so many weird sounding names and the worst was how to pronounce them? I prayed to St. John Bosco and his mother Mamma Margaret and they told me to just ask the person taking my order.

So I pointed to the stuff on the menu and asked them about the pizzas. (I was not a fan of the pastas then). So the guy was explaining to me about the Pizzas and he mentioned Jalapeno which he pronounced as “Halapeno” I had to stop and ask him what it was and he described “JALAPEENOS” to me. He figured that he had to teach me to say it like them Italians and he made me repeat Halapeno atleast 10 times before I think I got the first part of it right. I did ask him about the wine but the poor fellow just shook his head and walked away having failed in his attempts to make me pronounce Jalapenos.

The pizza arrived 20 minutes later and it was one of the best pizzas I have ever had. Bottom of the base was crunchy, top of the base was slightly soft and man there were toppings which I really loved Sun-dried tomatoes, olives, bell pepper, Jalapenos and some cheese. Up until that day I had thought that the pizza was about the cheese. But it was that day that I realized that the Pizza is much more. Grain Base, the Pizza sauce, Vegetables/Meat and cheese for that flavour. Since then I have tried not to eat from the Pizza Huts or the Dominos or the Pizza Corners. These places had just one option for the base and it was chewy and they always over did the cheese. Each time I would eat a pizza from the Pizza chains it would look like a cheese flood on top.

This is precisely how cheese should not be overloaded onto a pizza. 

This is precisely how cheese should not be overloaded on a pizza.

Since then I have been to a bunch of Italian places which serve Pizzas and Pastas and I have learnt to cook the pizza and pasta. But my favourite pizza will always be the first one that I really tasted at Bella Ciao. Tuscana and Darios serve good pizzas too. But nothing like your first love, right? Pizzas were like The Godfather to me. My love for Pastas came much later. But nothing to beat the Godfather right?

If you are a pizza lover or a foodie remember to always ask what ingredients go into making your pizza dough. You would be surprised by the number of ingredients you would have to google for.

Which is the best pizza you have tasted? and if you love to make a pizza, will you make one for me? :)

Help thy Liver to Help thou

The liver is the largest organ organ in the human body. I am sure you don’t need me to tell you that unless you did not pay attention during biology class in school. The liver works tirelessly to kick out all the toxins from food that we ingest. Yes, there are so many toxins out there and we don’t even know what we are eating these days. Do you know what went into that pizza you gorged on last night? But when the liver can’t handle stuff anymore it gives up on us. We would not be happy if that happened to us.

But what if we did not give up on the liver and somehow cleansed it.

There are so many natural foods which will help us in doing just that. I am not a scientist so I am saying this from personal experience. Here are some.

Garlic does wonders for the liver. Just boil it in water or milk for a while and then chew well before you eat it.

Water flushes out a lot of unwanted stuff from the system. Not just the liver. So stay hydrated.

Turmeric is is a wonder root which not only cleanses the liver but is also a antiseptic and soothes any ulcers you may have in the mouth or stomach.

Greens is a MUST eat and the leaves should form part of everyone’s diet. But the Keela Nellii is the the best for the liver. It flushes all those toxins out.

Food is the best medicine. So listen to your body closely, it tells you what you need to eat. Remember most times you just hear the tongue talking because it is closer to the ear. :)

Food Tales – Pizza One

Keep Calm and Eat Pizza

Pizza is wholesome healthy food when done right. It does not mean that you can eat Pizza for every meal.

The first time I had a Pizza was in Cakes’n’Bakes in the late 80’s. My cousins would come visiting from abroad and they would tell me tales of giant frozen pizzas which they would buy and put it in their freezer for weeks together and how each time they felt like a pizza all they had to do was take a slice of pizza from the freezer and put it in the microwave. I would wonder why the folks at home did not eat pizza and why did we always stick to Dosai, Idli, Pongal, Sambar and Chutney. The closest thing I had tasted to a pizza up until that point was the Onion Uthappam and even that was a novelty item which I could order when I went out with my parents to a restaurant.

I don’t remember the pizza from Cakes’n’Bakes but I definitely remember the pizzas we used to eat at McRennett Bakery on Anna Salai. It was these 6 inch affairs which seemed tiny compared to the description of Pizzas I had heard from my cousins. These McRennett pizzas used to sit in their display, the cheese all dried up and crusty and the pizza base near stale. They used tomato ketchup for pizza sauce and some veggies which seemed like they came from the salad leftovers from some restaurant.

Pizza Corner started their first outlet in Chennai sometime in 1996. I had just finished my 12th board exams and had joined Khan’s entrance coaching classes in Nungambakkam. The first reasons why I chose Khan’s classes is immaterial to the post but the second reason was because it was at a walkable distance from Pizza Corner. But I hardly had any money to spend on a Pizza whose prices were in triple digits. But the occasional chance when I could save some money I would somehow get my friends along too (so we could share, not the pizza). I still remember asking a friend if he wanted to join the gang for pizzas and he said “dei, ennaku indha bun, roti ellam set agadhu.” (I don’t like this bun and roti stuff) I was appalled when he uttered those words bun and roti. I used to call him “Panroti” after that. My Pizza Corner visits got a huge lift when they offered unlimited Coke at the price of one. But sadly I could either drink lots of coke or eat lots of pizzas but never both together. Tricksters those fellows were preying on young people like me. :)

Then the biggies finally set shop in good old Madras. Dominos, Pizza Hut and now in the recent years Papa John’s and California Pizza Kitchen. There were also some local ones which I preferred for the price and also for their taste. I think it was Chef Express who ran an ad in local papers saying that their Pizzas would be home-delivered on a bicycle there was something about them being eco-friendly and stuff. There was our very own Pizza Republic which tasted good to my Indian Tongue. Every other Pizza joint was hell bent on reducing the consumption of rice based food in Chennai. Buy one Get one Free offers or the no cook Wednesday and No Cook Friday offers that Pizza hut keeps bombarding my phone with:) But I will tell you what never NEVER screw around with rice in this part of the country. A few months back Pizza Hut introduced Birizza which is nothing but Biriyani stuffed inside a crust, wonder what those guys were upto when they came up with that one. Each pizza joint wants to give a twist to the humble pizza. Now each time I go to an italian place I have finally figured out that Pizzas in India are as good as the Dosas in Italy. To be continued…

Chennapatnam to Madras to Chennai

Usually there is this 2nd Part Jinx theory. But that sure does not apply to the CBC Tablog-2. Running successfully in blogs near you.

I was born in Madras and now live in Chennai. As time goes on who knows what else it would change into. But what’s in a name? The city has changed with the times but Madras is unbreakable. Madras has been ruled by so many countries but it was during the British rule that the Madras Presidency covered part of present day Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Kerala. No wonder the North Indians still call people from the south as Madarasis. While I was in Delhi I tried to educate the northerners that all South Indians are not Madarasis and that the language that we speak is not Madarasi. Futile efforts.

There is hardly anything I want to change about the city, well expect maybe the drainage and the garbage collection and disposal system. But what I would really like to change is the attitude that people have about Chennai. Madras is what you think it is and it is much more and as a friend used to say you can expect to see a person praying at the temple in the morning and he could be seen later in the evening at Shastri Nagar Sharks Bar with a mug of beer chilling out with friends listening to Heavy Metal Music. So anyone who wants to experience Chennai all that they need to do is be Open Minded. Madras is a relatively young city compared to the other metros. But there is so much happening here that people need to change their opinions about the city. The city has always been about change. Well any great city is about change.

And as Rocky says “If I can change and You can change, then everybody can change.” Embrace Chennai!

Dedicated to the city of Madras

Next Up is Dr. Jennifer Divia Clement who blogs at Princess of God and also at Dr. JC’s Classroom The zoology blog has some interesting stuff and I hope to read more blogposts from her especially on the Zoology blog..

Independance Day 2014 speech by Shri Narendra Modi

Modi is a great speaker and for the first time I listened to him speak and such a great speech. Stuff like this must be listened to every time one doubts the self and the nation.

1. Say no to violence
2. Teach responsibility and accountability to sons
3. Build toilets in every school for boys and girls.
4. Clean India
5. Bank accounts to every person in the country.
6. Create model villages. Model villages will make a model country.

And for the manufacturing sector

1. India is not isolated from the world so let’s think the world.
2. Zero Defects – in the goods and Zero effects – no negative effect to the environment
3. Manufacture Goods which we can proudly say “Made in India”

The strength of the saviour is greater than the strength of the destructor.

And all these points and more were made not by the Pradhan Mantri but by the Pradhan Sevak Shri Narendra Modi.At one point during the speech he mentioned how standing on the lofty ramparts of Red Fort he can say a lot of things and then he added that if the people work for 14 hours he will work for 15 hours.

A motivating speech and if the crores of people can take one step forward then the entire nation would have taken a step forward.

First time I heard a Prime Minister call out Bharat Mata ki Jai and Vande Matram in addition to Jai Hind.

Vande Matram!
Bharat Mata ki Jai

Jai Hind!

Food Tales – From The Past

Food tales is a chronicle of my experiences with food. I love what I eat but do I write about food with equal passion. These tales are an attempt to explore that and of course share my love for food.

I am a proud product of Don Bosco, Egmore. I spent 14 years of my life studying there and recently at DB Converge our alumni meet I had a chance to interact with a few of my teachers. I realized that the only people other than your parents who still get to hit you hard (even if you are old and have a huge belly to prove that you are old) are your teachers. Teachers definitely hold a much higher position than the Gods. So Mrs. Sarojini Govindan who was my Hindi teacher in primary school saw me and recognized me in a split second (even though I have lost all my hair and grown a huge paunch) and whacks me on my shoulder and says “You don’t have what you should have and have something you definitely should not have, lose your paunch Aravind.” That was indeed an eye opener for me.

I still remember amma asking me to study but I simply hated school work though I loved reading everything other than my school books. At one point my mother even locked me up in my grandfathers office room asking me to study a few chapters and when she opened the door a few hours later I was found reading the telephone directory. So amma figured that the best way to get me to study was not to use the stick but to use the carrot. I was not a bunny to go eat carrots so what did I love the most?

We simply called it “Urundai” at home. It was besan (Chickpea flour) mixed with powdered sugar and ghee and formed into the shape of a ladoo. Sometimes cashewnuts roasted in ghee would also be added.

So the deal amma made with me was, I had to finish a chapter then she would ask me questions and if I answered it to her satisfaction I got one Urundai. I would finish chapters which I didn’t have to so I could get lots of bonus urundais. So things were fine at home because of the urundais. Back in school it did not look too good. My teachers would keep complaining to my mom that I was a brilliant student but my lack of effort made my brilliance very dull. My teachers would not give me urundais when I did well in class.

So life went on with me studying well at home in the company of Urundais but only scrapping through in exams. My maternal grandfather would keep telling me that I should not have exam fear. Little did he know about my love for Urundais.

And then in 1991 Narasimha Rao became the prime Minister of India. He along with Finance Minister Manmohan Singh opened up the Indian Economy and in came food pouring in. Food that earlier could only be brought in select stores in Madras or you had to ask people who went abroad on trips.

Recipe for Urundai

1200 gms – Chickpea flour
200 gms – Powdered Sugar
200 gms – Hot Ghee
Cashewnuts

Mix the chickpea flour and powdered sugar with the hot ghee and mix well.
Make them into the shape of ladoos. I am sure you will get a lot of urundais with so much kadalai maavu.

Simple recipe, right.

We now do a healthy version of the Urundai. No Ghee, No Sugar and no Kadalai Maavu (Chickpea flour). But I will keep that for another post.

The Leh Trip – 5 years From The Past

It has been 5 years since a group of friends decided to go on a trip to Leh, Ladakh. It was a high that has been pretty much un-beatable since literally we travelled the highest roads in India. This trip happened much before the bollywood movie 3 Idiots. So not too many Indians. Actually it felt like I was in some foreign country. Leh was flooded with foreigners. We had a chance to taste food from different countries. Of course we were there for a different purpose. Capture the beauty of the region.

Like my friend Joel aptly said “Even a blind man can take beautiful photos of Leh.” Beauty is all around you. If you get a good home-stay from removals eastbourne then you get the additional experience of living the Leh life and also drink endless butter teas. We stayed at the Sia La family at their guesthouse. Lovely family. Great place to stay and walking distance to the Bazzar.

I wish I could do this trip again sometime soon. Only regret I had was we could not spend enough time in Pangong Tso and Nubra Valley. But we visited so many monasteries and the plates of momo’s and bowls of thukpa that I consumed were innumerable.

This trip was one that I cannot forget. Cheers to my friends Adele, Erina and Joel. It has been 5 years guys. Let’s go on our next adventure soon. :)

Kakoos, Latrine, Lavatory, Toilet

Each of those words mean the same thing to me the place to SHIT.

A healthy body needs to excrete and excrete it does. But at times it tends to get clogged and create problems for the body and the mind too. Similarly when people shit in the open it clogs the smooth functioning of the society. If people in the cities think that open defecation is common only in villages please think again. It happens in every place where there is a huge density in population. People in the Indian metros will agree that open defecation happens not just in slums. Parents let their children defecate in public. Women have to attend natures call in the dark because of lack of toilet facilities. Men claim that there is great pleasure when they get to crap in the open with the breeze caressing their arse.

Several schools in the country don’t have any toilet facilities for girls. Of course the boys can do it in the open. Bus Stands, Railway Stations, Parks there is so much shit everywhere. Dog Shit, Cow Shit, Human Shit, Shit in railway stations. By the way our Railways leaves the shit in the open. You Shit in their stinking Lavatory and it drops right to the track. There is so much shit in railway stations. Someone’s got to clean them. Say hello to the scavengers. People who make a living cleaning shit. See how I put the Shudras in their right place.

If we need to progress as a nation we need to get our shit cleaned.

UNICEF is running the Poo2Loo Campaign. You might wanna check it out.

Also there was this interesting video about a group in Kolkata which hoses people urinating in public. BEWARE!

 

Why vote? Indian elections 2014.

20140424-141946.jpg

Went to cast my vote at Bain School, Kilpauk at about 10:30am found my booth and was waiting in a queue to exercise my right in this democracy. An old man and his wife tried to move past my place in the queue and I informed them that they need to stand in a queue and they excused themselves and went and took their place in line.

I had an Amit family standing in front of me waiting to exercise their right. Apparently one of their family members a guy named AMIT joined them much later and a guy from their family who was standing in front of me asked him to come join them in front.

Annoyed me: Should we not follow a queue especially since we are voting in a democracy.

amit: This is not a Democracy man.

AMIT: This is not a democracy. You are a joker.

Annoyed Me: Shut up man. You guys don’t even know what you are talking about.

amit and AMIT: you must be an illiterate joker.

Annoyed me: Mr. Booth officer please ask the police to come and regulate this queue.

AMIT : you must be a joker

Annoyed me: Dude, I am not even talking to you.

amit: AMIT was standing in the queue and he had gone out on some important work.

Angry me: Mr. Booth officer policekaranga enga sir? (Where are the policemen?)

two police men turn up asking in Kovai Sarala’s voice ” Enna inga prechanai Enna inga prechanai??? (What’s the problem here? What’s the problem here?)

So the booth officer tells them that AMIT has jumped the queue and that I had questioned them and there was some argument and I had requested for the policemen

Police to me: Saar Konjam adjust pannikonga.

Angry me: Naan en Saar adjust pannanum. Queue system simple vishayam ingayavidhu follow panalamla. ( why should I adjust sir? Queue is a simple system we should atleast follow it here.

AMIT: you must be illiterate. Are you trying to show of?

Angry me: dude, I am not even talking to you so please shut up.

Police officer to me: Saar prechanai pannama vote podunga Saar. (Sir, please vote without causing any trouble)

Angry me: Saar prechanai naan panala. Kelvi ketta prechanai Dhan pola Namma naatula. (Sir, I am not the one causing the problem. Looks like questioning causes problems in this country. )

Booth officer: Saar adjust pannunga saar.

Some lessons I learnt after today’s incident

1.) If you question anything or anybody in the Indian democracy you will end up being called an illiterate joker.

2.) We Indians are assholes.

3.) The truth in the old Tamil saying “dushtanai kandal dhoora vilagu” Keep away from the bad guy.

4.) amit and AMIT think that India is not a Democracy.

5.) We need someone to overlook our actions. We cannot function in an disciplined manner by ourselves.

6.) We Indians have a solution for all the problems in this world ADJUST.

Hope you folks have cast your votes. But remember whoever comes to power never,NEVER ever question them. Because just as amit and AMIT pointed out this is not a democracy.

Sadly this incident happened with an Amit. But some Indians on a whole don’t like following the queue system. We love to beat the man in front of us.

If a government can regulate a simple queue, I think we as a country will be the best. This is precisely the reason why you need to go and vote. Vote for change. Vote for a better India.

JAI HIND!!!

P.S.: Someone needs to do a cartoon series on amit and AMIT. It will be very popular. Especially in the south. :)

Medhu Vadai or Masala Vadai?

There you go. Do you prefer medhu vadai or the masala vadai? But how does one decide on what one wants. Will you go with the choices that have been given or will you give a whole new spin to the vadai.

Some people like to choose from a given set of options. A Menu.

While some people prefer to BE FREE of A Menu.

But why just go with choices that are offered by someone. why not give it your own spin. The simple vadai was thus made into several new tastes. Rasam Vadai, Sambar Vadai, Curd Vadai, Vada Kari, Mor Vadai, Keerai Vadai. But why and when did we stop thinking beyond. Why has not one tried Vadai Kurma, Chocolate Vadai, Nutty Vadai, Mint Vadai, Chutney vadai. Why have we not gone beyond the obvious.

Why stop with the choices that someone offers us?

Vadai is a popular South Indian snack. It becomes a complete meal by itself.

This post is dedicated to my friend Adele who simply loves Vadais.