Friday, February 13, 2009

Aero India 2009

Every two years Bangaloreans are treated to a wonderful Air Show. Haven't been to past couple, I decided to check this one out. We didn't have the tickets and made the mistake of assuming that we can get the tickets at the Venue. When we reached the venue we didn't find the tickets but found the pointer to it.

The only option to not buying tickets was find the place on the sign board like these people did. Looking at them and the available space, we decided to make extra efforts and buy the tickets. The tickets were available on the Gate which is a bit of a drive away from the main road. Finally bought the tickets only for the airshow and got in. All this confusion resulted in us missing initial part of the show. Anyway, we caught the Sukhoi and Suryakirans Check them out.

This time there were no breathtaking maneuvers by Suryakiran. They used to make a heart and then a single plan would go through like an arrow and also no high speed crossovers. Also disappointing was the fact that choppers did not take off in the afternoon so we missed the chopper show which is actually pretty good.

Anyway, hopefully it will turn out to be better next time!!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Restaurant Review: Sri Krishna Cafe - Finally a sambhar which ain't sweet

I have been hearing a lot about Sri Krishna Cafe being the perfect destination for authentic Tamilnadu food and today I got the opportunity to check the place out. If aren't really looking for it, chances are you will miss this place. This place is right next to G K Vale and above Kairali and the narrow entrance is right beside Kairali. Check out the pic below.

The staircase were narrow enough that we had to wait to go up because a couple of people were coming down. The restaurant is on both I and II floor. They serve meals on both the floors however tiffin (Dosa etc) is available only on II floor. Our focus was on meals so we found an empty table on I floor and sat ourselves.

A few minutes later banana leaves were placed in front of us and the efficient meal-machinery went to work. Myriads of curries and kozhambus were served. I loved them except for the beans curry (dry with coconut) which tasted weird. However what took the cake was the wonderful drumstick sambhar and not an iota of jaggery/sugar in it, unlike other places in Bangalore. Finished it off with curd rice/pickle/fried-chilli combo and it was perfect.

The only gripe is that coffee isn't available after those wonderful meals and yes, the place could be a little cleaner but those are minor nits to an otherwise perfect place for Tamilnadu sapaad.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Restaurant Review: Gangotree - Best Jalebies in Bangalore

I was born and brought up in MP where Jalebi and Poha breakfast is as ubiquitous as Idli/Vada and Dosa in Bangalore. In the morning, one could go to any sweet shop, wait for a few minutes and eat piping hot Jalebies. When I moved to Bangalore long time back, I found that though Jalebis are available in sweet shops, they were prepared some time back and served cold (like any other sweet in the sweet shop). I always longed for those piping hot Jalebies fried in Desi Ghee.

Almost 6 years back, I discovered Gangotree (Jyothi Nivas College road in Koramangala) in Bangalore and eating Jalebies in Bangalore was never the same again.

I like my Jalebies thin, crisp, small and fried a little longer so that they are crunchier. Thinner Jalebies absorb less syrup and hence are not too sweet. When one goes to a place like Gangotree, Jalebies can be customized to one's taste because they are being prepared on the spot. I have always found fascinating to watch the whole process. Check out the following video that I made.

There are several places that I know in Bangalore which make fresh Jalebies but in my opinion Gangotree is still the best. My only nit, they used to add saffron to the syrup which they don't seem to anymore, I really miss that!

If you know a place which can make better Jalebies than Gangotree, please let me know.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Restaurant Review: Egg Factory

Did you know that a restaurant exists in Bangalore where every preparation in the menu has egg!! Reviews indicated that it is a good place for a quick meal which was perfect because it was a busy day at work for my wife and we didn't have time for a long meal.

Egg Factory is located right behind Dewar Wines on St Marks road (opposite SBI). One can see the board from St Marks road itself. Parking, as usual, is a nightmare in that area so it is good to keep that into account.

It is a small restaurant with 10 to 12 tables and furnished in a spartan manner. Menu was very interesting. It was like a multilingual manual that comes with electronic products, a big page folded several times into manageable size and has contents in four different language. Very cool!

We ordered ice teas for us and found them to be not as lemony as we liked. Requested them to get some extra lime for us and that did the trick.

There are subs, omelettes, frittatas, pastas with cooked eggs in sauce, egg curry with rice ... the list is pretty long!! We ordered a frittata with zucchini and cilantro sauce and a penne pasta with desi sauce (tailored for indian palate i.e. spicy). Pasta sauce had cooked egg pieces in it. Both the entrees were served with a big slice of garlic bread. Advantages of small restaurant is that food comes piping hot on your table and sometimes that makes a lot of difference. We really enjoyed the food although frittata could be a bit thicker with chunkier vegetables in it.

For dessert, we had a variation of french toast stuffed with raisins and served hot with orange sauce on a sizzler plate. It was very nice (and very filling too).

Music is un-intrusive and service is prompt. Prices are very reasonable. We liked the place and will go again for a quick lunch. Thinking about it again, it would be a perfect place for a Sunday brunch!

All in all, thumbs up for egg factory.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Lore surrounding Solar Eclipse

Today there was solar eclipse. It was partially visible in India although not in Bangalore I guess. My Mom told us to not venture out today and not to eat during this period. While I don't believe in this superstition, that got me thinking. I am sure Indians are not the only ones with superstitions around celestial events. All ancient civilizations must have them as well. A bit of quality time with Google and we have lots of interesting stuff.

Early humans thought of eclipses as evil omens, possible signs of catastrophic events. Earliest recorded eclipse was in China, in 2134 BC. Two court astrologers to the emperor were beheaded because they couldn't predict it.

Thales of Miletus, first known philosopher, scientiest and mathematician, was apparently the first one to predict the solar eclipse (Lunar eclipses are much easier to predict) although there are debates about that and some believe that even he had predicted the first one correctly, he probably wouldn't have been able to predict the latter ones.

Coming back to the lore surrounding eclipses. Hindus in ancient India believed that Solar and Lunar eclipses happen because Rahu (one of the daemons) gobbles up Sun and Moon and they need to free themselves up. People of ancient China believed that a giant dragon was devouring the sun. Some of the egyptians sects believed that a big serpent is eating the sun god.

So, what do people do during eclipses. In India, many Hindus still believe in shutting themselves in the house, not eat anything during the eclipse, take bath in holy river (and if you are not close to one, shower at home would do) and pray. Muslims traditions hold that Prophet Mohammed prayed during the entire duration of eclipse so prayers are held during eclipse.

Even though the reasoning behind the lore isn't correct, the practice of keeping people in places where they can't see sun is beneficial anyway because looking at sun directly is a bad idea anyway however while the concept was relevant then because people used to work in fields those days, it isn't valid anymore. Wait a second ... with a large chunk of a billion Indians associated with agriculture, its probably still relevant in Indian villages.


Lets get rolling

This blog exists to satisfy my inherent need to give fundas to anyone and everyone. I am not choosy when it comes to subject and can and will talk about anything and everything in this blog. Every blog is started with the intention of continuity but only time will tell the fate of this one.