Author Archives: Katie Nathan
BBQ is the in thing in today’s restaurant scene and few major players are Absolute Barbeques, Barbeque Nation, Coal Barbeques and it is a Buffet available with Vegetarian and Non-vegetarian menu items. The challenge in visiting this restaurant as a family is our inability to do justice to the large menu and a Rs.700 plus and minus per person price tag. This has prevented us from visiting this restaurant often much to the disappointment of the youth gang in our family. We got this issue addressed finally when we visited Axpress BBQ located in Karapakkam (Opposite to TCS) with its a la carte offering. Another plus is it is a Quick Serve Restaurant (QSR) and has an interesting menu on cards. The ambience is vibrant and a flash mob now n then adds to the enthusiasm of the crowd. Contributing to the Go Green initiative, disposable paper containers and plates are used to serve food, we leave the restaurant with a gift box with seeds to make our home green. The moment we go in, we are greeted with a welcome drink, dhaniya Shorbet, light and an appetizer in soup form.
Being hard core South Indians, we took a trip to Ujjain and got hooked onto it. It was not all that difficult as my husband knowing not even a word in Hindi made it out to be. I studied Hindi in school and also lived couple of years in North India and so was quite confident of managing the trip well. It brought about a change in my husband who started enjoying trips to North and he was proud of his language prowess he had gained during the trip. So bang came our next trip and this time with our daughter to Haridwar and Rishikesh. All people and the internet told us is about Ganga Arati and its spiritual specialty in the evening on the banks of Ganga. The trip we planned was in the month of May to align with our daughter’s holidays. With people scaring us on the heat, we, as Chennaiites are never to be discouraged by heat, after all we live in a place where the sun rules most of the months in the year.
Our daughter put the first block saying if it is only about Ganga, she is not interested. I assured her that we will make the trip worthwhile for her. We decided to hire a 4-wheeler from Delhi and retain it till we return to Delhi on the way home. The only thing we arranged was the stay, again a shot at #TheBlindList we had curated from the net. We arrived in Haridwar and we had booked a solid 4 days there with a trip to Rishikesh in between. It did not take us long to understand that we were at the base of the Himalayas and the town of Haridwar meandered along the banks of the Ganges.
How old is earth? How was it 3000 years back? History says there were more land than water then. We could travel by foot to most of the continents and probably the reason for our ancestors to have moved across geographies. Places carry more knowledge having seen thousands of years of our existence. Every place holds a charm of its own and travelling to places without much expectations, an Openminded travel, is the best way to enjoy it in its glory. The surprises that such travel opens to us is the real adventure, each moment gets recorded in our life to be recollected as fond memories later and many times it turns out to be an enriching experience. From childhood when I read about Mayans, I was enamoured by the deep jungles of Central and South America, history of buried cities, spiritual mysteries, mathematical ingenuity and the connect I felt with the ancient culture made me go wide eyed whenever I came across any information on them.
With the internet entering my life, any free time would take me to read more about Mayans, their customs and the reasons why the civilisation was completely erased from the world. There are many documentaries and studies on Mayans, but the more we know about them, the more we have questions on their identity. It is not a search on Mayans but a internal search, a form of self exploration, built on a keen interest in knowing our roots. When things are not clear, the best way to get across details is to get to the places, creating #TheBlindList, the ground zero where one place will lead to another based on the information I get in these places. So my bucket list is to hit the places where there are significant historical connect with Mayan civilisation, obviously Central and South America travelling as a local. Though I cannot go in detail on the knowledge I have gained over the years, here are the places I would love to visit.
Masterchef season is On in Star World and for those Masterchef fans out here, there is certainly a change in the way we look at food and its presentation. Though we do enjoy the presentation, there is always this absence of not getting to taste that description, the great chefs George, Gary and the food critique Matt so adoringly explain through their words and expressions. To a certain level, we got an experience which made us connect to those food at the Café CakeBee, the newly opened Café at Seethammal Road, Alwarpet, Chennai. The location is a bit difficult to locate now as it is still not up in the map, but do not worry, we are putting the location map at the end of the post, because we are sure you will want to visit it as soon as possible.
Finding a gift for a man has always been a challenging factor. To those who have tried finding ways of making the gift unique will know the difficulties they have undergone to make that special day surprising. The gifts that we choose are always off the shelf limited to watches, shirts, pants, shoes, perfumes, pens and wallets. Surprisingly the products designed for men are much durable and stand for a longer time.
A Cross pen or a Tissot watch or a Nike shoe doesn’t need a replacement at least for the next 5-6 years. So, we always end up racking our brain whenever a birthday or an anniversary of our man at home is on the cards. Now, after exhausting all our options, we are now fixed at either a pant or a shirt or both and try our best to look for something unique in it. Read the rest of this entry
There are several getaways in and around Chennai that guarantee a break from monotony for travelers. Let’s take a look at a few of these getaway destinations, most notably Madurai, Kumbakonam, Pondicherry and Pulicat.
Visit the lotus-shaped temple town of Madurai and get busy discovering not just themagnificent temples but several hidden gems like the famed fish market at the heart of Madurai, the Gandhi Museum with the clothes he wore on his last day, and the Thirumalai Nayak’s palace among others. The aroma of jasmines, the Jallikattu festival, and the Meenakshi 10-day festival called Thirukalyanam are not to be missed and unique to Madurai.
Engineers, so sought-after professionals a decade back, specifically computer engineering and its associated branches, are struggling to find a job today. If you are not from the premium institutions such as IIT or NIT, your chances of getting a campus recruitment is almost close to Nil. If at all, you do get one, it lands out to be something that does not concern the specific area of study negating the efforts to qualify in the subjects concerned. Movies such as VIP have subtly highlighted the same. But it is not so rosy all the time with support from home as in the case of the movie.
Many parents especially from the rural area aspire to make their children an engineer and end up selling their precious piece of land and house to get them a seat in an engineering college. Engineering colleges became a lucrative business and it mushroomed all over Tamil Nadu to cache on the computer engineering craze and mechanically generated thousands of engineers every year onto the roads.
Arguments such as “create a job if you cannot find one” is applicable for ones who can afford to set up a business or at least have the resources to acquire a loan. For the ones whose parents await at the village expecting a son or daughter with an Engineering degree and a lucrative job to repay loans and help them to lead a life of sufficiency, it is a far-fetched dream. Even education loans demand the loan repayment 6 months after the course completion, the engineering graduates are still searching for their job past 1 year or have started working in a job which hardly fetches them 7k to 8k. No wonder, education loan features the highest NPA among loans.
This short film, 90s Kidz Entertainment’s “Subramani B.E” , written and directed by Jawahar Sekar, conveys the pain of the Engineering graduates today in a simple yet effective tone. Brilliant acting by the team made the short film interesting though the subject is a well-trodden one.
Copper chimney known for its traditional and authentic North Indian food has opened its new outlet in Phoenix Market City, Velachery, Chennai adding to the gastronomic journey of food outlets in the mall. Being an avid lover of Copper Chimney, we were happy when they opened their outlet in Ascendas IT Park. Now they have moved from there to Phoenix mall which is much closer and better for us. A sampling of their menu gave us an idea about the variety fare they have brought us with specialties in their own signature pattern. Here is a review of the food we had which was a full course meal beginning with soup, starters, main course and dessert.
Ab-e-hayat – light vegetable and coconut water soup flavored with turmeric and celery. It was refreshingly different, less creamy with a lovely aroma.
Talk about Indian wedding, a feeling of joy and exuberance gets into our life and as rightly said, a marriage in India is not about getting a girl and boy married, it is a bondage that extends to families. That’s why probably, in India, we have names for relations that go beyond just uncle and aunt. A marriage is an all inclusive event in which the bride and the groom are a part. Today with thematic weddings and ideas that go beyond getting a bride and groom married, expectations and plans keep moving a notch higher and wider. Whatever may be the complaint of those who call extravagant marriages a waste of money, no doubt that it has its own charm and as long as the concerned families do not have a problem, I guess we should not either.
The joy of living as a teenager has its own merits.
It is one of the best times of life where we begin to experience adulthood without the burden of being one. College was always fun and all the internships we served gave us small amounts which we happily used for our own food cravings. And above all, we have parents who are forever concerned about our day to day affairs and ready to give a lending hand whenever we feel low. Days started rolling too fast when we entered our final years, seriousness set in and it was all about clearing papers, practical exams and getting all ready to face campus interviews. That was the time it dawned on me that life is becoming serious and the possibility of getting a job in my hometown or even nearby city in Gujarat is farfetched.
Kerala food is quite popular in Chennai with few specialty restaurants serving authentic mallu cuisine. It was a welcome food festival at Courtyard Marriott – Paprika café as Chef Saji P Alex, the masterchef who has cooked for Ellen de Generes, curated the special dishes that spelt traditional Kerala food in every mouth. The festival is on till 20th, do read our experience and look out for that exquisite offering at Rs.1399 plus taxes. The festival menu has the special dishes along with the regular menu and is quite widespread and quite satisfying to our palate. We had starters, main course, dessert and a special mention to the chips and pickles that drew us repeatedly towards the counter. The ambience was so aesthetically organized to give a street food feel and being in Kerala environment. Now to the food – We had two starter options Cheeri masala vada. This was our typical south Indian vada, a crunchy spicy starter, a good start to a lovely culinary experience.
Should food festivals revolve only around continental cuisine……? No not necessary proved the recent food experience at Regenta Central Deccan’s Olives restaurant where Chef Arun and Kumbakonam Mrs. Prema Nambiraj ( Kumbakonam Prema mami) presented us with vegetarian nostalgic delights as a part of the Mylai Mami Samayal festival. The festival is on till May 6th – more details at the end of the review.
The immediate thought that came into our head was that of a relief that Chennai does celebrate its own cuisine with pomp and show. Very often, we face situations where people from outside Tamilnadu visit Chennai and request us to give them the option to have local food in home style. It was always a tough call and we end up hosting them in friends’ places. Regenta Deccan must be applauded for bringing in Mrs. Prema from Kumbakonam for this festival.