Four Seasons Wine Tasting in Bangalore

Posted: October 21, 2012 in Uncategorized
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Recently my friend Dhempe and I got invited to Four Seasons Wine tasting in Bangalore at Royal Orchid Hotel. We were hosted by ex-Miss India Shamita Singha who explained to us a lot more about Red Wines, Rose Wines and White Wines. She also mentioned what food items we should try with each of these wines.

Chicken Satay along with Blush/Rose wine was very yummy and perfectly complimented the wine. I couldn’t stop myself from gorging on these starters along with few veg ones too.

Royal Orchid hotel’s chef then showed us how to make feta, apple and lettuce salad with an orange dressing. This salad tasted very well with White Wine. Shamita Singha and Shalini of StylishByNature.com helped the chef in making this salad. Other bloggers huddled around these 3 to understand how to make this wonderful salad. Chef patiently answered all the questions about the food just the way Shamita answered all questions about the wines!

Here is a closer look at the Feta, Apple and Lettuce Salad. Olive Oil was generously used in this salad to make it very tasty at the same time very healthy. People who were enjoying the Sauvignon Blanc (white wine) were lapping up this salad!

My friend Dhempe helped the chef in barbecuing the chicken and I think he did a pretty good job even after having 3-4 glasses of wine! He almost tried putting some white wine on the barbecue to make it cook better!

The main course for Non-Vegetarians like me was Coal Smoked Chicken Breast with a Pomodoro Basilica Sauce. This was to be paired with Red Wine like the Barrique Reserve Shiraz. This full bodied garnet wine tasted very well with the chicken. We also had some grilled vegetables to go along with it.

I thoroughly enjoyed this wonderful opportunity to connect with food, travel and life style bloggers from Bangalore and also to taste some wonderful wines and pair them with yummy food! Looking forward to more wonderful events like this from Ginger Claps!

A few days back, I and a couple of friends were invited to Mai Tai Lounge in Orion Mall, Bangalore. They were creating waves in Bangalore with a relatively new concept of their signature cocktails. I’m a scotch person, however, I wanted to take a wild ride that day especially to pamper myself with varieties. And thats when started the most exotic tasting session I’ve ever been to.

Whenever someone says ‘Cocktail’, all I can picture is a shot of vodka, splash of orange juice and a slice of lemon on a sparkling glass. Well, that picture changed once and for all at Mai-Tai Lounge.

Stepping in to The Lounge is like walking into a setting of the South Pacific, Tiki masks are spread over the wall, a miniature replica of some statue from Easter Islands was lying at one corner. The lounge was situated in a place overlooking an artificial blue lake with an arc of a fountain, there was no noise of traffic, no honking horns, just the pleasant sound of splashing water and the soft music that was emanating from within the lounge giving the entire place an even more exotic feel. As soon as we entered the place, we were warmly greeted by the General Manager Mr. Gautam Yadav and the Bar Manager Shibu Joseph, who showed us to a table that was overlooking the lake and fountain.

We were comfortably seated on a plush seating arrangement that was able to accommodate our huge group of 6 people. We were introduced to Trader Vic’s Mai Tai Original Cocktail which was invented in 1944, the drink was served in Mai Tai’s signature glassware which was exported to India from the US.  ‘MaiTai’ in a polynesian language means “The Best”. That was the first time that I tasted Rum in a cocktail. It felt heavenly. We were give extra long straws that helped us sit in a more comfortable position and taste the drinks without having to bend every once in a while, while enjoying the ambience and the talks. Along with the Cocktail came a dish of Menehune Hummus, it was Classic Hummus with Green Chillies, Roasted Garlic and Grilled Pita bread presented in very elegant style on the platter. The dish wasn’t too spicy, it just hit the right note and the texture was really good. This one dish would satisfy all your hummus cravings.

Next, we tried the “Tiki Puka Puka”. The first time I heard it, I had chills down my spine. A few days after trying this drink, I tried searching for the right recipe online, but hit a dead end. Although, many Cocktail Connoisseurs warn that; too many off these and we’ll be praying to the Tiki God. The drink is made up of three styles of  Rums, orange juice, grenadine & spices. A very innocent-looking drink disguised with enough fruit juice to attract sweet toothed ladies. When the Manager summarized the making of the drink, the new level of complexity gave us a kick. A very strong drink with hints of spiciness and a bite of citrus, I might add.

A great drink is a work of art, passionately thought of and carefully executed. It’s the very extension of the drink maker or bartender’s identity. To determine what makes a great drink can stir as much passion as choosing a girlfriend.

We tried other different varieties of cocktails, some light, a few strong ones. Each and everyone of us had different tastes and preferences for the types of drinks, the more we had, the more we ordered. The long straws certainly helped us sit comfortably in the couches without having to lean much towards the table besides trying out a new platter brought for the group.

The innocent-looking Tiki Puka Puka really kicked off a start to strong drinks on the table. The other one that I really loved was, “Rum Giggle”. Well, my first thought was, ‘Is it so strong that after a couple of sips would I start giggling?’ The drink was presented in a big white conch shell sort of bowl, certainly their signature glassware. The more exotic the drink, the more exotic the presentation. The Cocktail was a combination of White Rums, amaretto & juices. It was certainly a drink made for a group and not a single individual unless you want to get high. A long sip within the crushed ice and the aromatic scent takes the word ‘High’ to a whole new dimension.

One of our friends started clicking pics of the entire place, the ambience just lets you melt into the polynesian magic. After a long day that all of us had had, the ambience helped soothe us down. The types and varieties of drinks that are placed in the Bartender’s area are too many, one can even see the types of signature glassware that Mai Tai has. We tried taking a couple of pics of the place, it was just one of those places where we can’t capture the place within a lens, we just have to experience it.

We were already full with the different types of finger food we had and the multitude of drinks we tasted and of course finished albeit slowly while enjoying the ambience and the discussion that was going on among us. We certainly were full, but hoped we had enough room for the Main Course. One of the Main Course that we tried and the one I enjoyed the most was Roasted Tomato Linguini, impeccably cooked. A very healthy vegetarian dish, more on the traditional side made up of Fire roasted garlic, Fresh Tomato, Thyme and Garlic Bread. My taste buds went for an exotic holiday.

Even though Bangalore enjoys a tropical savanna climate, with the rains around almost all of the time, in Trader Vic’s Mai Tai Lounge there’s always a tropical sunset.

MOJO

Posted: August 18, 2010 in Uncategorized
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We see many new theories & analysis coming 1 after 1 day by day. And most of the times these analogies are true and some are pretty much true & some are downright silly. Most of the times I wish I can do those case study papers, analyze & wildly hope that everything among mine researches r true & give mankind & woman-unkind a glimpse into the truth. For eg, my old theory about gods. Most of that was pretty much my opinion. Two civilizations fight, one of them emerges victorious. Writers start writing that the good wins & all those beneath-moonlight dialogues. Good is god & all our old kings & philanthropists become gods. May it be Ram or Jesus or prophet or babas.

We’re shifting a bit off perspective here. So, coming back to my theory which was inspired by a great mad female.. We, I mean, some or ummm many of us see cartoons. I too do the same, all the time..One cartoon series however captures my attention, power puff girls. I don’t want to comment on kindergarten chicks saving Townsville. But anyhow, I like watching those children fighting a bad capuchin monkey. “MOJO JOJO”

While many, don’t bother about his origin. I Ajan Kancharla, who goes by the screen name Abstract Psyche have found out through extensive research about his origin. And am proud to say that he’s from Kerala. Yes, boys & gals, ladies & gentlemen. Hey, wait a minute, why is it that chicks are given 1st priority after they hit puberty. Its boys & gals right? Then it should be gentlemen & ladies. Time for a new research. Anyways, back to Mojo from the puffy chicks cartoon. He’s a mallu. Put your hands together for Mojo the Jojo my friends.

Night trek to Skandagiri

Posted: August 9, 2009 in 1
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It has been a long time since I trekked again, looks like I barely remember my previous trek. This is one such trek that sometimes doesn’t go wrong at all when perfectly planned even an hour or two before. Well, watching the sunrise from one of Tipu’s fort hills on a Sunday is something to watch out for trek-hungry people…

I really don’t know how fast this long ride + trek was planned among the Wing Riders. But since Sunday was a holiday plus bandh, it was a good thing that people turned up in a good number bracing the cold biting winter.

Skandagiri is one of Tipu’s fort hills in the Nandi Hills range. The dilapidated walls of Tipu Sultan’s fort can be seen even today. History says this was a small but strong hill fort. Tipu reportedly captured by bribing two milk women (or herdsmen according to the locals) who used to supply milk to the ruler to poison him and his men to death. It surrendered to British Troops on 19 Oct 1791. It remained in British hands until the peace treaty of 1792, which concluded the third Anglo-Mysore War.

One of the remaining fort walls

There are two caves, one starts from the base and as per locals, leads to the temple at peak and another one is somewhere midway which is about 30 feet only. Both are yet unexplored, especially the first one. Locals say that there are pythons lurking at the caves and had swallowed their goats at times. Supposedly, there are 6 Graves (Samadhis) in that cave.

The trek is pretty tedious as the hill is precipitous and high. The trek starts from the Papagani Temple at the foot of the hill. The fortress is in full sight throughout the trek uphill. This steep and fantastic trek through a maze of Skandagiri is a teaser. Just as you have topped the hill, you see another ring of fort. No sooner do you reach there, than you find another majestic fort wall waiting to be conquered. There are six such series of stonewalls protecting an abandoned temple on the hilltop.

The Hill, as seen (halfway after we climbed)

The entire hill is haunted and people say that they can sometimes hear the battle cries of the long dead soldiers still waging an endless war against an endless army. Some say, once you reach a fort wall- you can hear the war cry of the timeless soldier guarding his post. Okay, just kidding I made that up!!! Hehehe!!  The only war cries we heard were of one of our friend’s who was ahead than us.

The trek-trip started in Namma Bengalooru, 11 of us gathered at Mekhri Circle as planned and the remaining 4 joined mid way. A small break before and at CCD helped us refuel, refresh ourselves, chatter and plan for what was to come besides deciding on the way. Since we decided to keep the returning members’ number to 15 itself, a small strategy of speed limits and other stuff was discussed before setting off.

Everyone went in pairs with the “Swift” keeping track while tailing us. For me, it looked more like an Army armed with a Tank and guns going in a uniform pace with a pattern set to conquer Tipu’s fort. Wonder how it looked from the top.  5 pairs of 10 bikes and one cool looking “Swift” tailing us.

While we were waiting in Mekhri Circle, two cops stopped by the bikes (parked without violations). Since all of us were sitting in the bus stop on the opposite lane, we had a good view of the bikes as well as the traffic. Anyways, after we told that we were planning to go trek Skandagiri, the cops told us not to get into any sort of trouble (which might relate us to the bandh) or over speed. Someone from the group later said “Probably they got scared when they saw 11 guys stand up at once and head towards them without thinking.”

Finding the right way was not a problem, we declined a guide, planning to explore everything ourselves. And since we already noticed a couple of bikers going in ahead of us, we thought we didn’t require one. The trek started at around 2AM by the base of Papagani Mutt. The hill is at an altitude of 1350mts. Though all of us started out in one big group, we split into 3 different groups on way. 2 started running ahead of us. Besides the moonlight, the torches surely helped us a lot on the way filled with loose wet stones, horny shrubs and a narrow goat path. There were times in the mist where we were able to see only the person next to us while the remaining looked more like shadows out of a ghost movie. Try to take a snap with the flash turned on in the mist, you are bound not to see anything for the rest 5-10 secs.

The Goat Path ( Pic was taken on the descent)

All of us, the three groups reached the top with an interval of 10-15 mins. Two warm fires near the Temple on the top of the hill welcomed us with hot tea and some snacks. Everyone was completely drenched owing to the clouds all over us. When the last single person whom we thought would’ve gone back to the car and sleep proved us wrong by arriving at the top 10 mins after us, famished but exhilarated. All of us, whooped, cheered and burst out shouting celebrating the reunion of the entire gang on the apex of the hill which once held one the strongest forts of the “Tiger of Mysore”.

The Warm Fires

The warm welcome boosted up his as well as everyone’s spirits and energy, so, we set out exploring the entire hill that was filled with people. The abandoned temple that we heard about was Not So Abandoned after all. It was a combo of a micro-mini cook room and a temple. No one bothered to check the temple since nothing was in it, besides the stone room and a small Nandi looking expectantly towards the chamber expecting the Idol to disappear at any moment in the swirling mist.

The Inside of the Temple

The wait for the Sunrise sincerely tested our patience not to talk about our restlessness. Obviously all of us were tired and the hot food did little to warm us up. And to make another fire required an extra amount of hunting for dry twigs and leaves in that foggy condition which no one were ready to give up for their comfortable huddled up positions.  The Temple/CookRoom guys didn’t have any extra firewood and even if they had they would need it for making food. Besides, the entire place looked too windy and wet to hold or make a fire. And we weren’t able to find any non-windy place in that darkness (once the sun light came up, we found two such places with the remains of soot of a previously held fire).

It was nearing 7AM and the Sun hasn’t risen though there was light everywhere. Other people started to leave by 6-6:30AM. And we didn’t want to give up hope. But when a local guide said that it usually doesn’t rise till 10AM or so on TOP OF THE HILL, the reality started to sink it. Peak winter season, and clouds refuse to leave till the Sun is hot enough to drive them away. Armed only with snacks and water we reached the peak in time but none of us imagined sitting with empty stomachs and empty water bottles on the edge of the mountain over looking the small town of Chikkabellapur expecting to witness the birth of a new day with mist clinging all over us like sea weed.

Sunrise Later

So, we decided to start our trek downhill before our stomachs started growling and fatigue overtook us. We took a couple of snaps mid way, and we were in the company of a professional photographer and so had some photographic and photogenic fun. Trek downhill proved to be quite dangerous, not tough but dangerous, filled with loose dry stones and dry sand sometimes with sloping paths.

The Entire Bike Gang!!!

While returning, we tried to form some patterns together taking full advantage of the nearly empty NH7. But looking at the size of the formations we were making, a group of 9-10 cops stopped us mid way and suggested us not to try it since it might attract attention and reminded us of the bandh to add to our formation-making miseries. A breakfast plan was formulated but abandoned for various reasons (a smaller group had a breakfast in a different place) and everyone left the place for different destinations at various KmPH!!!!!!

Thums up + Petrol = ???

Posted: June 10, 2009 in 1
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Have you seen this comedy scene from a telugu movie in which Ali (one of my fav comedians) steals petrol, and in the process drinks a bit when he transfers the petrol from the vehicle to a hidden can? Later Ali becomes a walking bomb in the movie, he goes to a doc and the doc in a way congratulates him since his body has become a form of petrol production factory. He pees somewhere and alights it, it BLAAASSSSSTTTSSS!!! Headlines everywhere, comical discussions in police stations and stuff. Love it a lot.

Well, a similar incident happened to me. It started off as a normal day, and since past 2 weeks my roomie was unhappy that no interesting incident was happening around. Anyways, lets cut to the chase. Our man, Madhu (Freelance Graphic Designer) , bought a Thums Up pet bottle  and set it near a 2 ltr Coke bottle (filled with petrol). Both were standing merrily by the monitor (a new one Samsung 933, 17″ TFT). We both were taking alternate sips at the Thums Up while he was working on some project. After a couple of rounds, whilst talking I lifted the bottle high in the air and tilted it. Everything happened in a couple of seconds. I got the whiff of the petrol, the 2ltr heavy bottle was still in the air and my mouth was filled with petrol. Madhu was weirdly teasing me not to drink the petrol by mistake and he was looking at the screen. I stopped the flow of petrol by tilting it back, it was too late though. I ran into the kitchen and gagged. (1st thought after I gagged, FIRE) Whole mouth was tasting metallic and cold and weird. I’ve never tasted petrol in my life though sniffed it a couple of times. I washed my mouth again and again, still the taste was there. I didn’t dare swallow even my saliva. Madhu suggested to gargle with the thums up, and since we know what happnes when soda is shaked, the same thing happened. It was horrible. I didn’t think when I called up my mom who suggested some gargling with hot water+salt. That helped a lot, a real lot. Taste was gone, numbness was gone too. Dad called within a couple of mins and started shouting about visiting/calling some doc and stuff.

Its been 2 days since this incident happened and I’m fit and fine. Madhu is happy to gossip/laugh about something. I’m happy that I didn’t drink it. :)

My New GirlFriend

Posted: April 29, 2009 in 1
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Ordered on 24th April 2009

The Guy called at 12:18PM 29th April 2009 ( It was to be home delivered)

My Mac :)

Arrived at 12:30PM 29th April 2009

B’day gift from my Dad and Mom.. :D

P.S: Pic luks kinda dark, sorry about that :D I’m near euphoria.. So, don’t mind my expression too.. I was trying to give a decent small smile, but my eyes betray me :P

Grumblers Part 2

Posted: April 12, 2009 in 1
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..Contd.. from Grumblers

This is more like an update, but I thought “Hey, WTH Lets go with the same name and continue with chapters instead of updating the same post again and again.

So, I’ve decided to rename our friends as Hallucinators. Isn’t it nice how well they imagine hallucinate? One person whom I met hallucinated that I was drunk, this was when  and my friends were returning from Hoganekkal tired like hell. So, he sniffed my open mouth with his pock marked nose with a strong scent of some whiskey or w/e he had and let us off. See the irony here, he had alcohol and he’s sniffing ME if i had.

The person I met today in so called MAHATMA GANDHI Road a.k.a M.G.Road hallucinated that there’s a “No U Turn Board” where there was no divider in the first place. I & my friend made a U turn from the parking lot towards the other side (which has an imaginary divider in the Hallucinator’s point of view). So, I was nearly whining to S.I. A.Shanmugan (9448448122)  that I’m outta cash. You see, they hate whiners. No idea why. So, he keeps my driving license and takes out some China Mobile kinda thing and gives me a slip that says:

Government of Karnataka
Notification No FTD 5
TMR 83 Dated 27/7/1984
CRR No: C/2/1014/2664
Date: 12-04-2009
Time:08:49:57 PM
Place: M G ROAD MOBILE
Vehicle Type:
Motorcycle

Vehicle Reg No: KA53 K
803

DL no: 2007/03
Driver Name: Mr Ajan
Address: BNG
Name of offense:
JUMPING TR. SIGNAL

Total Amount:100

Driver Sign
(no sign on paper in real)
Officer Sign
(no sign on paper in real)

So, on the back.. it says in Ball Point Blue Pen

Amount.. due
100/-
9448448122
A.Shanmgam
SI
cpark TrPS
..(his sign)

So, this guy has a short term memory loss I presume. Coz, the traffic signal was like around 1Km or something and he hallucinated twice in the span of 5 mins. Once saying that there’s a rule that no one should do a U Turn in a non-divider zone and second on his china mobile kinda set. I’m still wondering when the heck did I jump a traffic Signal!!!! His friend/collegue Govinda Raju (or w/e  was printed on his name plate) of Mr.A Shanmugan or Mr.A Shanmgan (w/e his name is) kept saying something like, “acchaa,no money aa.. no petrol aa??” Anyways, I thought it better to give the money and showed them how awesome my purse looked with just a 20 Bucks note, Whined away from there and took the U turn, came back home

By the way, did anyone notice that the traffic guys come in full-force from 12th-15th day of any month? You see ’em everywhere, its like the govt. is doing their best to CONTROL the TRAFFIC of BANGALORE.

Pshaw! Mahatma Gandhi Road.., they better change the name to Nathuram Godse Road or Osama Bin Laden Road.

Update: I just lodged a complaint in the BLR Traffic Police site and checked if there was/were any fine/fines registered on my bike. This is what I got:

SO?

SO? Looks, like my 100 bucks evaporated and it doesn't even reflect anywhere.