Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Millers 46 for a birthday


Mr P called us out for lunch on Monday for his birthday. He had taken the day off and called Mr VP, and also Ms BakeAcake. Luckily, I didn't have a lot of work to do at office, and so could slip out for almost, gulp, 4 hours for lunch! Millers 46 it was again, and so good food was guaranteed.

It's been a while since I'd met Ms BakeAcake, and it wasn't just me. None of us (P & VP included) had had a lot of meetings with BakeAcake since she got married. Yeah, we have a married girlie in our group, although I'm sure if Mr P or Mr VP read this, they'd protest saying she's not a 100% part of the group now that she's married (they're a little millitant that way). We started off with a round of lime sodas and soups, and we pretty much covered the soup menu of Millers. I had a combo stew, which had shrimps, mixed veggies and ladies fingers (okra) in it.
Ms BakeAcake had a chicken creme soup with mushrooms,
Mr VP ordered a chicken Minestrone soup,
and the birthday boy Mr P had a veg creme soup with mixed vegetables.

After the soups (actually while we were having the soups), BakeAcake told us she would need to hurry things up because of an irritating colleague of hers who usually tried to sabotage her work if she realises BakeAcake isn't at work. So we wuickly ordered a plate of chicken tenders for ourselves (the meat eaters)

and Mr P ordered a plate of cottage cheese fingers.
While tucking away at the food, we caught up on a lot of things we'd missed over the last several months (almost a year) with BakeAcake. And yeah, in the midst of all that, we also ordered our main course.

Mr P, being the veggie, went for a veg lasagna, and I have to say that every place I've been to that serves lasagna has a unique way of presenting it, and Millers was no different.
Mr VP stuck with chicken and ordered a chicken cheese grill with rice, and that thing looked mean and I was wondering how Mr VP was planning on finishing that alone.
Ms BakeAcake ordered a classic New York steak with cheese and bernaise sauce.

Before we go any further, I'll let you all know that she ate around 20% of the steak and said "I'm too full to continue" and tossed it over to me. All afternoon she kept saying that I've lost so much weight, now I know: she was readying me to eat what she couldn't! Women, you can never get anything straight out of them.

I was a lil busy clicking pictures of others food and engrossed in the taboo topics we were discussing that I forgot to click a picture of the bacon burger I ordered until I was almost half done. It was a classic BLT with some salad by the side for garnish, which I've always found a little funny, coz I've never seen anyone clean that up from their plate while eating.
I've been on this quest to find the perfect burger, and so I've been looking to eat burgers wherever I can. The steak sandwich I had the last time I came to Millers was very good, and although they called it a sandwich, if you're gonna put a steak in the middle of a piece of bread, sorry, it doesn't become a sandwich, it's a burger. I go by the stuffing, and not the outer bread/bun jacket to call it a sandwich or a burger.

I've had crisp bacon before at Fresco's, but this bacon was something totally different.. It was a little think, and had fat on it, and it wasn't chewy at all. Now I know why Americans and Europeans go gaga over bacon, especially when there's a little fat on it. This thing is delicious, truly delicious, and I'm glad I had the pleasure of wolfing it down.

We decided to have desserts outside at the Sweet Chariot on Cunningham Road, but while walking there, BakeAcake got a call from work that required here to go back at the earliest because, no surprises, the sabotage had begun. Mr VP took her, while birthday boy dropped me back to office and headed home. I wonder if BakeAcake owes us dessert now, since it was her work that got dessert taken away from under our noses. I guess we'll never know.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Ice + Spice

On Sunday, I went out to Blossoms bookstore on Church Street. It was a long time since I'd visited the place, and as usual, when I hit a bookstore, I almost always walk out with at least one book. This time was no different. On the way back, I stopped at Ice+Spice cafe on St Marks road. It's where the old Richie Rich ice cream parlour used to be, and from what I've heard of Ice+Spice, it was supposed to rival some of the best cafes in the city.

First off, if you're claustrophobic, don't sit inside, because you may freak out, but otherwise, this place is dandy. It's a very small place, so if you happen to visit when college students or the pretentious "yo crowd" of Bangalore decides to hang out there, then parking your bottoms may be an issue.

The menu is classic cafe material- coffees, teas, and beverages, along with burgers, sandwiches, quiches, pastries, etc. The food is good and fresh, and the service is quick. In case you're trying a burger, try the 'Tons of fun burger', which comes with an option of lamb or chicken.

It's a big burger, with lamb/chicken, a fried egg, chicken salami, and the usual lettuce, tomato, onion, and mayo. I just loved the burger, and I have to say that since I've been on the lookout for 'the perfect burger' most of my 'eating out' life in Bangalore, this place so far I think has the real deal. Indian's used to be good during the early 90s and Mac Fast Food on Church St. used to be the best, and for those who are satisfied with the crap a McD's or a KFC throws at you, then you can go and ... never mind.

The smoothies are really great and worth the money you pay. I had a frozen strawberry smoothie, and this thing was sinful.

This place isn't overly expensive, but the food here is most certainly better than the 'food' dished out at most cafe, like a Casa Picola or CCD. That's right, you heard me, this place serves better food than a Casa Picola. They may not have the variety a Casa Picola offers you, but at least they ensure you quality with what they serve. Definetly worth a visit if you're going down St Marks road.

PS: Also, try to step inside and check out the AC they have. I've never seen an 'upright standing AC', and this thing looks really cool.

Food: Very good; my fav. burger joint
$$$: Not expensive
Service: Fast food, what service do you expect? Anyway, it's pretty decent and quick
Verdict: My fav. burger joint - says it all don't it?

Ice+Spice, 22, opp. State Bank of India main gate, Adjacent to Kabab Korner, St. Mark's Road, Bangalore. Phone: 41121160, 32507859

Righteous Kill, a nice meal, and a funny sign

Went out with the brother on Saturday night to watch Righteous Kill, starring Robert DeNero and Al Pacino, and the movie went along predictable lines. However, since it was time for my brother to unwind from his studies - a break of sorts - I agreed to whichever movie he wanted to watch. Just before going to the theatre, we stepped into Transit to grab a quick bite. While he had some masala corn, I had a honeydipped bowtie, which was nothing but a doughnut shaped liked a bowtie glazed with honey, and extremley soft, soft to the point where it melts in your mouth and you go mmmh. Just as we were stepping out and headed towards the theatre, I saw this sign at the entrance/exit of Transit:
Hmm, I'd really like to see how the eatables will be prosecuted. I wonder if they'd be marched off towards the dustbin prison camp or the garbage penitentiary :)

After the movie, we had a plate of chop suey, which surprisingly, my brother the fussy eater actually liked.

I ordered a plate of butterflied shrimp (which was batter fried),
and we rounded it off with a paneer dhokla.

Although it tasted good, I realised that there was hardly any paneer at all in it, instead there were cheese slices in between and I'm certain those weren't slices of paneer.

A picture of my brother enjoying his chop suey... so much so that he said the next time he comes here, he's having only that (yeah, when I said fussy, I meant in in every way).

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Umerkot

Just as we visited Ginseng for a birthday lunch of a couple of team mates from work, we headed out to Umerkot today. Since it was a weekday, we couldn't afford to spend time as if we were on vacation and so had to settle for the sitdown buffet (pre-selected menu). Once we got there, I noticed that the interiors didn't have too much of a Mughlai look, which I thought was a little strange since the cuisine served here was Mughlai. However, having said that, I must say that whatever was there was very pleasant and nothing was overdone: from the upholstery to the cutlery, from the music to the decor, everything was pleasant and not tacky or loud.

Again, since this was an outing from work on a weekday, we went in for the buffet served at the table. For this buffet, there are two menus to select from: the Jasmine menu and the Lotus menu, with the difference being an additional non-veg item in the starters and main course in the former. We started of with a tomato shorba,

and although it's colour made you wonder if the yused the funky yellow coloured tomato instead of the traditional red coloured one, the taste simply blows you away. It was really good, without being overly tangy or whatever the taste is that you get when someone has been extremely generous with the amount of tomatoes used.

The starters were brought on as soon as we were done with the shorba. However, one disappointing aspect about the service came to light here. While serving the starters, if they ran out of it before serving everyone (we were a group of 13), they would just move onto serving the next dish, and would serve the one that got exhausted much later, almost like a second round. That was not only disappointing, it was very annoying too. And that explains why you have two pictures here, with the second one prominently featuring the chicken, which was served to me almost at the end of the starters.

In the picture, going clockwise. we had mutton sheekh rolls (10 o'clock position), crispy potato cutlets (which by the way were very good, and this from the guy who isn't too crazy about about potatoes), some mint chutney, veg sheekh rolls (which I didn't care too much for), and some black gram, which was a complementary accompanyment along with papads.
Ths chicken was very nice, but it was a pity that I had to wait for it and couldn't have it with the rest of the starters.
For the main course, a basket of naans and parathas are served along with a mixed veg curry (which was very good), a paneer dish (which wasn't bad, but I've had better), a mutton dish (probably the best I'v ehad in a long time) and a chicken dish (again, very good). The usual yellow dal was there, and after the breads came the veg pulav. The pulav wasn't bad, but neither was it something that made you sit up and take notice. No photo, coz there are certain foods, especially those with gravies, that ought not to be photographed with a phone camera in low light, lest it appear like a very bad abstract art painting.

For dessert, it was the standard Indian duo of gulab jamoon and Vanilla ice cream.
Good food and good convos, especially since Lehman Brothers sat on a wall and Lehman Brothers had a great fall, and none of the king's horses and men could put Lehman brothers back together again. With the collapse of Bear Sterns earlier this year, and with Lehman sinking now and AIG fortuitously being bailed out by the US federal government, let's hope things get better. Luckily my job isn't one that could get too affected by the slowdown in the US economy, and all this needn't necessarily change post the November US elections. Got my fingers crossed.

Umerkot, No. 30, 80 Feet Road, Koramangala 4th block, Bangalore. Phone: 25500426

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

The Omnivore's Hundred

Found this on a site called Very Good Taste, and it seemed nice. It's basically a list of 100 things that all omnivores should try to eat (I hope we can add stuff to the list, coz I'm sure there'll be things missing which would make someone or the other go "Duh!!!"). The one's in bold are the ones I've eaten, and since most of the items are weird Greek and Latin sounding (and probably Chinese and other funny languages, like French :) ), they're linked to Wikipedia to know what they are.

So here's what Andrew of Very Good Taste would like you to do:

1) Copy this list into your blog or journal, including these instructions.
2) Bold all the items you’ve eaten.
3) Cross out any items that you would never consider eating.
4) Optional extra: Post a comment here at www.verygoodtaste.co.uk linking to your results.

The VGT Omnivores hundred:

1. Venison
2. Nettle tea
3. Huevos rancheros
4. Steak tartare
5. Crocodile
6. Black pudding
7. Cheese fondue
8. Carp
9. Borscht
10. Baba ghanoush
11. Calamari
12. Pho
13. PB&J sandwich
14. Aloo gobi
15. Hot dog from a street cart
16. Epoisses
17. Black truffle
18. Fruit wine made from something other than grapes (I've had passion fruit, jack fruit, and also darepuli, which is a variant of the gooseberry - all home made, of course)
19. Steamed pork buns
20. Pistachio ice cream
21. Heirloom tomatoes
22. Fresh wild berries
23. Foie gras
24. Rice and beans
25. Brawn, or head cheese
26. Raw Scotch Bonnet pepper
27. Dulce de leche
28. Oysters
29. Baklava
30. Bagna cauda
31. Wasabi peas
32. Clam chowder in a sourdough bowl
33. Salted lassi
34. Sauerkraut
35. Root beer float
36. Cognac with a fat cigar
37. Clotted cream tea
38. Vodka jelly/Jell-O
39. Gumbo
40. Oxtail
41. Curried goat
42. Whole insects
43. Phaal
44. Goat’s milk
45. Malt whisky from a bottle worth £60/$120 or more
46. Fugu
47. Chicken tikka masala
48. Eel
49. Krispy Kreme original glazed doughnut
50. Sea urchin
51. Prickly pear
52. Umeboshi
53. Abalone
54. Paneer
55. McDonald’s Big Mac Meal
56. Spaetzle
57. Dirty gin martini
58. Beer above 8% ABV
59. Poutine
60. Carob chips
61. S’mores
62. Sweetbreads
63. Kaolin
64. Currywurst
65. Durian
66. Frogs’ legs
67. Beignets, churros, elephant ears or funnel cake
68. Haggis
69. Fried plantain
70. Chitterlings, or andouillette
71. Gazpacho
72. Caviar and blini
73. Louche absinthe
74. Gjetost, or brunost
75. Roadkill
76. Baijiu
77. Hostess Fruit Pie
78. Snail
79. Lapsang souchong
80. Bellini
81. Tom yum
82. Eggs Benedict
83. Pocky
84. Tasting menu at a three-Michelin-star restaurant.
85. Kobe beef
86. Hare
87. Goulash
88. Flowers
89. Horse
90. Criollo chocolate
91. Spam
92. Soft shell crab
93. Rose harissa
94. Catfish
95. Mole poblano
96. Bagel and lox
97. Lobster Thermidor
98. Polenta
99. Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee
100. Snake

Pretty good I would say, considering I haven't been to any fine dining places (and don't think I'd be headed that way anytime soon). Luckily my visit to the USA in 1992 helped me check off a few items in the list.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Café Fresco's

After a long Saturday morning and afternoon, and an evening spent with the realisation that my computer wasn't switching on, Mr VP decided that we head to Fresco's for dinner. Fresco's, on Cunningham Road, was a place we'd been to on 3-4 occasions before, but for breakfast, as the breakfast spread was truly amazing for the Rs. 150 we paid. A classic English breakfast buffet, with loads of fruit juices and the quintessential bacon and eggs, hash browns and baked beans and a lot more.

Anyway, we went for dinner, and it was a la carte. I knew a day would come when one of the places we visit would turn out to be a real disappointment, and ta daa! Fresco's it was. Apart from the settings, which are almost perfect with the open settings, and trees all around, we didn't find anything else interesting. The dim lights and a nice(?) candle on the table would make couples happy I guess, but for my buddies and I, we really struggled to read what was on the menu under the dim lights, and what's more, since there was no girl in our midst, we didn't get a candle on the table!!!

The soup we started off with, a veg Grusso was lousy(I was giving Mr P company with some veg food and didn't want him to feel bad that he'd be the only veg eater tonight).

It was thick and gooey, as if the cook dropped an extra quart of flour into the soup while making it. And wait till you hear this: the pepper in the shaker on the table had white pepper, not black! Imagine our surprise when we kept shaking pepper into the soup and tasting it, but didn't have any change in its taste. We also ordered a plate of fried cheese sticks, and these weren't good either. The cheese had an odd taste to it, and the salad with it was nothing great either.

The main course that we ordered was, well, not bad, but I've certainly had way better for the same cost. The lamb pepperoni which Mr VP ordered was well cooked, but bland! I guess they added more white pepper instead of the regular black pepper,

The veg goulash was ok (from what Mr P said),

and the chicken rockers (what I ordered), was, again, bland, and smelt funny, and I didn't care too much for the teddy bear face look with the presentation.


Our glasses weren't filled with water until we asked for it (maybe they were busy, it being a Saturday night, but then again I wasn't having a free meal), and we had to wait for 20 minutes for the bill to arrive! That's it, game, set and match...this place is outta my list for good! We went to the near by Barista for dessert and were quite happy to getting something good to what was otherwise a pretty disappointing meal. On the bright side, we got to see a Yahama R1, which Mr P told me would cost around Rs. 12,00,000 after import duties, etc. Sweet!

Café Fresco's, Hatworks Boulevard, Cunningham Road, Bangalore.