Bangalore Calling

100 Happy Days – Day 81

The year began on a really happy note. A trip with friends.

Being a woman from Kerala, there are some of the privileges I haven’t enjoyed and so, my wishlist has got these simple wishes that weren’t easy to fulfill. Yes, ironic it is. Being a woman, certain simple things are hard to get. A few among them were fulfilled during the the second week of Jan in Bangalore.

  • Having food at midnight from a street side stall (Thattukada in Malayalam)
  • Strolling in the city streets after midnight.
  • Going to a pub (The moral police in many of you just woke up and you are judging me with your flaring red eyes, smoke escaping through your ears.)

Let me back up a bit. After our CA Final exams, a few of us decided to go on a trip to Bangalore. Many of our common friends are working there and so, we had to go there! After lots of planning, researching, discussions & creation of whatsapp groups, everything was set. It wasn’t a simple trip with friends. For me, it was an experience;

  • Traveling with tickets that are not confirmed –Three tickets were confirmed, while two were still in RAC status. The numbers were almost close to confirmation and so we hoped they would get through. But unfortunately, even after talking to the TTR, we were in no luck. At times I have wondered how it would be to travel without confirmed tickets. Not bad huh?We started off by playing Dumb Charade and soon the lights were off making it impossible to see anything. We began singing and talking alternatively. After a couple of hours, we tried to sleep; two in one berth which backfired terribly! All of a sudden, all of us were hungry and so; we had bread & aloo bhujia. It isn’t bad, you know! We spread the bhujia on the bread and hogged away.We sat up and with lots of efforts – note the point: only and only due to our efforts – it dawned! :DIt wasn’t difficult after that. Bangalore was nearing and sure enough, we were beginning to feel the cold. The view outside – the sunrise, the green fields, the waters half hidden by fog – was magnificent.
  • Cricket & Kayaking –We met up with the rest of the team exchanged some really loud pleasantries, clicked way too many selfies and reached our first destination, a resort, by lunch time!
    I love cricket and I have always wanted to play. I used to play with my cousins as a child and after that, I didn’t have a chance. And so, the nine of us decided to have a really serious match.  I gave the bowlers strict instruction that they HAD to aim at the bat my hand. 😀
    Amidst the game, we lost the ball to a coconut tree and while two of them went to get another ball, we sat on the floor and played Uno, the way people gambled with playing cards!This was followed by some lovely Kayaking in the pond. I was a bit frightened due to the fact that I didn’t know how to swim. I have rowed in a coracle before and so this wasn’t too difficult. It was super fun when I knew I was closer to the bank. Though these two weren’t on my long term wishlist, they totally got in there and was checked off! 😀

    Kayaking at Urban Valley
    The Captain is in control of the Ship

    For those interested, this was in Urban Valley Resort, Bangalore.

  • Trekking –We had planned on a midnight trekking at Skandagiri. The trip turned out to be a twisted one and that story could wait.
  • Street Food –What do we do when something goes wrong? Eat! We so a couple of roadside stalls and got out to have some tea. This was followed by halting at another location. We had lots of omelettes and some maggi. In this manner, my wish to have street food at midnight was fulfilled. The best part is, when half a dozen hands are tearing one omelette, you really enjoy even that little piece you have had!
  • The Pub –The crowd was nice and it wasn’t too shady in here. We danced for a while, sat for a while and commented on others, again danced when peppy numbers came up, ate something (I have no clue what that was since the others had ordered), danced again and so on. By the time it ended, there were some really amusing events that I shouldn’t mention here. You know, the type where your friends were embarrassed, you rolled on the floor laughing and promised not to tell anyone?
  • The Midnight Food Hunt –My favorite part. We started walking in search of a food joint. A friend was very very hungry and so the walk began. We found some authentic eateries, but apparently they weren’t the type that would satiate his hunger. Anyway, we walked & walked & walked until I sat down on the street. Though it was painful, it was nice. 1 am, not so empty street, five friends, just walking aimlessly; I haven’t experienced that.

Our trip ended with a visit to the Bannerghata Biological Park. My good friend and an awesome blogger Anoop had written about this place in his blog and that is how I got to know about it. It was a day well spent. You don’t always see tigers, leopards, bears, lions & white peacocks. My favorite was the marmoset. We did not click his picture, but I could show you one from the web and you’ll know why I loved him.
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Courtesy: BERND SETTNIK / Getty Images via Buzzfeed

Though they belong to the Monkey family, are only around 20cms in length with a huge tail. I wonder how they carry them.

The trip ended well and it gave a fervent start to this year. I do not know what the year has in store for me, but at this moment, I am at peace! 🙂

This blog post is inspired by the blogging marathon hosted on IndiBlogger for the launch of the #Fantastico Zica from Tata Motors. You can apply for a test drive of the hatchback Zica today.

11 Random Eateries For The Kochiites

Prepare for a tantalizingly delicious ride

A quarter of a year just whooshed by and here we are pensive about what is in store for us in the latter part of 2015. Lots of food I’d say. 😀 I am not much of a foody. But sometimes, I stand in a street filled with cafes, bakers, pizza shops, Chinese, Indian and God knows what restaurants, craving for some food. The weird part is, I don’t want to eat from any of those places.

Why? I want something nice.
Pizza? Umm… No. It must be cheap.
Cutlets? No. It must be filling.
3 cutlets? Er… Right now, they are not the type of nice things I want. I like them. But I want some other kind of nice things. 😛

If you can relate to this, here I summon all the Kochi foodies. This one is for you all! 😀

1. Kailash chaat center – If any of my friends are reading this, they would smile, for I just began the list with a chaat center. 😛 I love chaat and I would say proudly that I am one of the big reasons for bringing the chaat culture in our office. Many of my friends would thank me for the same. Having tried many Yadav stalls and other chaat centers, I stumbled upon this one.It looks similar to the Yadav chaat stalls. If you love spicy stuff, try the Pani puri without the sweet. Somewhere in my head, a tap just opened and water poured out of my eyes & nose. Sniff! (Um… It wouldn’t be much spicy with the sweet sauce. So the rest can chill. :)) Damn spicy and yummy!
Handpicked Specialities: I have tried only Pani puri, Sev puri, Sookha & Samosa chaat. All awesome! The best street chaat I have had in Kochi.
Location: Opposite Yashoram Mart & Amul Ice cream parlor, Convent road, Near Convent junction, Ernakulam.
Price range: Around Rs. 25.

2. Gokul Oottupura (For chaat items) – Chaat again! 😛 It is a bit more costly here, but definitely affordable. This is THE place for cleanliness freaks. If you despise having chaat from the street, you can visit one of the Oottupuras.
Handpicked Specialities in Chaat: Sev Puri, Dahi Puri, Papdi Chaat & Assorted Chaat.
I’d suggest you try the Assorted first. It comprises of all the chaats I just mentioned. While you’re at it, try their Pav Bhaji too. You may try their Bhel & Pani puri at your own risk. Me no likey there. :/

Image courtesy: Tumblr.com

Location: There are three Gokuls – Panampilly Nagar, Kadavantra & South. I’m not sure if they serve chaat everywhere. I have had from Kadavantra & Palarivattom Byepass (Which unfortunately closed down recently :().
Price range: Between Rs. 40 to Rs. 80Note: If you’re not fond of curd, you may ask them not to put curd in Assorted & Sev Puri.

3. Sree Krishna Inn – To start with, this is a vegetarian restaurant. So you may visit this place while intending to have some veg. Well, the food is really good. A bit too expensive perhaps. Here is the reason why this place is on my list.
Handpicked Specialty: Chilly Paneer for starters!!! 😀
No! Don’t stereotype this. You must have had many a chilly paneer from many restaurants. This is the only chilly paneer I remember. Once, I bought three packets of the same for parcel and ate them for evening snack. It is mind-blowing. Garlic lovers! You have a mine in here. 😀 Others, please skip this dish.
Highlight: Even the green chilly tastes yumm. I don’t spare even that.Location: Next to Chinmaya Vidyapeeth, Warriam Road.
Price range: Was Rs. 120 when I had last time.

4. Quick Snacks – My all time favorite! 😀 The reason being, I have had breakfast, lunch, snacks and dinner here. When I got to know about this place initially, they were cheaply priced. Now, you can’t say it is reasonable. But, not too expensive either. If you love cheesy, saucy food, you must try this. However, I’d warn you not to be misled by the images they have shown at the place. The food & images displayed there are unrelated. Regarding the ambiance, don’t expect a closed restaurant or cafe. It is a small, square, open room with common long tables attached to the wall. You can see it for yourself. 🙂
Specialties: Paneer cheese franky, Veg franky, Aloo Paratha, Vegetable and Cheese rollers. You do have some varieties here. And I just love them. Listen to some bollywood songs and plunge into some paneer & cheese. 😉

Paneer Cheese Franky. Cheesalicious :D
Paneer Cheese Franky from Quick Snacks. Cheesalicious 😀

Location: Next to the medical shop, Regional Sports Center, Kadavantra
Price range: Rs. 40 to Rs. 80.

5. Coffee Cube – No introduction needed. Yep! The ones who frequent convent junction and the ones who are on the lookout for free wifi would know about this cafe at the heart of convent junction.
Specialty: I have dragged it up here for their Choco chip Frappe. I love the Chocolate chips and What-nots I get at the end of the drink. Lip smacking indeed! 😀 Next time, you visit convent junction, do try it if you haven’t.
Location: Convent junction, Ernakulam. Reach the junction and ask anyone. 🙂
Price: I don’t remember.

6. Coffee Always –  Friends! Stop sneering. Well, this is just next to my house and so I am the top customer. Most of the people don’t miss the pyramid building where this is located. That is the first attraction. Secondly, they have mind blowing interiors. Ranging from paintings to engravings, they have done a fabulous work.
Highlight: Don’t forget to look for the cave-like area. You could get some good clicks in there.
Handpicked Specialties: Caramel Spice Latte. The drink is as elegant as the name. And I haven’t had anything so satisfying in any of the cafe I have visited before. To put it simply, it is coffee with spices. They serve Ice cream with it. I have always gone there for more of this.

The Caramel Spice Latte with Ice Cream.
The Caramel Spice Latte with Ice Cream from Coffee Always.

They earlier served hot chocolate. It was just that – melted dark chocolate. Since it was imported, they had some problem with importing the same later, and it was discontinued. I haven’t had Hot chocolate ever since! Well, since I am a frequent face there, they have promised to text me once the drink is available and I am waiting for the message. 😀 When you drop in for some spice latte, enquire about the Hot Chocolate too. You might get lucky! 😉
Location: Opposite More Super Market, Next to Real Arabia, Civil lane Road, Padivattom, Kochi
Price – Rs. 120 (Currently)

7.  Waffle Street – Yes! The one set up by the Actor Asif Ali. I went there a couple of days back. I – being not much of a sweet lover – wasn’t interested to try Waffles. But, once I did, I loved it.Waffles are new here. (Correct me if I’m wrong. Not much of a foody. Remember?) Many of my friends said that they did not get satisfactory reviews. The reason being, waffles are foreign breakfast specialties. We, tend to compare everything with what we have eaten. The quantity, ingredients, taste and texture. While trying something new, it doesn’t work that way. So, before you visit this place, I’ll tell you what to expect.Milk, butter, flour, eggs and sugar is what basically goes into the batter that makes the base. The variants of waffles are made from the toppings you choose. They have a list of waffles, each with different toppings and they are all sweet. You can also choose extra toppings from the list.

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Banana & Maple Syrup after nibbling from the sides 😛

 

Strawbarian Waffles. This was the best :)
Strawbarian Waffles from Waffle Street. Yeah we ate this 😛 This was the best 🙂

Handpicked Specialties: We tried Waffles with Strawberry, Banana & Maple syrup and Marshmallows & Whipped cream for main toppings. Strawbarian was the best.

If you’re in the mood to have something sweet and you feel a bit experimental, go for this! Do not compare it with Indian food. As for the boys – It is not as filling as Indian food. Try this when you’re in for some knick knacks. 🙂
Location: Opposite Alibaba restaurant, Panampilly Nagar, Ernakulam
Price: Starting Rs. 110.

8. Sweet Corn: I prefer chewing the sweetcorn from its cob rather than eating the loose kernels. And the only place that served corn with the cob was a tiny stall near the Rainbow bridge, Marine drive. I don’t think they serve it anymore. Well, the next option is loose Kernels. The taste is the same, just the experience (and the rate) differs.

Image courtesy: sharonxoxo.tumblr.com

They serve sweet corn in almost all the malls in Kochi. A word of caution; there are many people who do not like sweet corn. So, if you haven’t by any chance tried them, don’t expect too much. They come in four flavours – Masala, butter, pepper and plain. I love the buttered/peppered ones! They are juicy, tasty and filling.
Location: Look for tiny stalls in Central, Oberon, Lulu, Baypride, Gold Souk & Nucleus malls.

9.  Bread World – Again, I got the wind from my office. I wasn’t very fond of this place since it is quite expensive. But, since it was near our office, I have been here many times. During one such visit I memorized this dish.

Handpicked Specialty: Caesar chicken salad. Mainly comprising of bread crumbs, lettuce and chicken, this is a must try for salad lovers. When it comes to salads, you can imagine the quantity. You can’t expect it to be filling but, definitely worth a try once in a while.
Location
: Next to Food Village, Subhash Chandra Bose Road, Jawahar Nagar
Price: Rs. 90 during my last visit.


Cake Lovers Cavern

10. Bake my Day: Chocolovers, Hear hear! My office was just next to these bakers and that is how I stumbled upon their cakes and pastries. We have ordered almost all variants of their cakes and I got addicted to one particular delicacy.Handpicked Specialty: Mudcake!!! 😀 I know many of my friends would be nodding their heads vigorously. They have pastries of the same mudcake. But that wouldn’t give you the real experience. If there is an upcoming Birthday, do try a full Mudcake (chocolate). The cake is covered with melted dark chocolate that, you wouldn’t stop licking it.(Shhh! The first time we bought it at office, a few of us waited for the crowd to clear. Needless to say that the cake was over. We took the base & the knife into the pantry and licked all the sauce. It is richly Chocolicious! ;))
Location: Near Petrol Pump, Subhash Chandra Bose Road, Kadavantra.
Price: Rs. 600 approx. (Pastry costs approx Rs. 50)

11. Ohmycake.in: We have ordered cake from this place for around half a dozen occasions. On one big function, all the visitors kept saying that they would definitely buy from here. The reasons? The cakes are fab, they have home delivery and you can easily order online. Simply google the store name and you can place orders from their site. (Note: Some cakes take as long as 3 days for preparation.)
Specialty: Haven’t tried all their cakes, but the Blueberry Cheesecake just stole my heart. So did their chocolate specialties – Dark chocolate and Belgian chocolate cake.

Blueberry Cheesecake. When I liked a flavor other than chocolate for the first time.
Blueberry Cheesecake of Ohmycake.in. When I liked a flavor other than chocolate for the first time.

Location: Not sure of all. They have stores at Palarivattom, Vazhakkala and near Inforpark.

Price Range: Starting Rs. 550. Assured value for money.