Friday, April 22, 2011

World Cup finals...a day to remember

Becoming world champs in any discipline isn't a joke. And in cricket crazy India, to lift the coveted trophy that the teams play for is almost a demand, a mandate and not an option. Captains and coaches have lost their jobs in search of the elusive trophy that came to our shores once before, in 1983, a couple of months after I was born. And so on the evening of 2nd April 2011, the day of the cricket world cup finals between Indian and Sri Lanka, I was at Ms Quiche's place, along with Ms BakeAnything. After the semi finals against Pakistan (also watched at Ms Quiche's house), we'd decided that we were going to watch the finals there too, sitting in the same spots in the same positions.

Ms BakeAnything had baked a cherry pie, and while it was sitting in the fridge after it came outta the oven, we were watching our bowlers get tonked all over the park by the Lankan batsmen. The recipe for the pie shall be put up on their blog and I shall provide a link to it in a later post. Midway through the innings, both ladies decide we need to cook something to go with the pie. I was pleased as punch...cooking, food, and a cricket match. But these two ladies didn't allow me anywhere close to the kitchen, let alone the ingredients or any action that could've helped in the whole cooking process.

Some of the tweets that I tweeted once the game started








So while I had to settle to click pictures and keep myself entertained with the cricket and give a little commentary to the ladies, they set about boiling potatoes and peeling them, slicing them thin, seasoning them with Italian seasoning and then pan frying them. Once this was done, some cheese and water to get it a little runny and presto - one world cup winning snack ready to be downed :) I tell you, we were convinced that we had a small part to play in the victory - sitting in the same positions when fours and sixes were hit, realising that different positions made our chaps get out and so shifted back to original positions, and of course, eating the right things.

Some of the conversations we had:
Ms BakeAnything: Against Pak, when I was cleaning the house, Sehwag was hitting 4s. The moment I sat, he got out!
Ms Quiche: So clean, take the broom...fast!
Me: Yes please!

During the middle overs, the game got a little slow.


Jayawardene then started taking our bowlers to the cleaners!


Q: SL will make 275, but we will win.
Me: It's 268, with one ball to go. He has to hit a six for your theory to work!

Six of the last ball!

Me standing hands akimbo in front of Ms Quiche.
Me: You'll pay dearly for this! That last six had better not cost us...
Q: Hehe.. we'll win, don't worry (very unconvincing voice).

Our start was disastrous. Two wickets down in no time, that crazy Lankan called Malinga with his hideously bleached blond hair is giving rise to a lot of potty jokes. We're all worried whether our batsmen are going to choke. The crowd has all but lost hope, but this being the Bombay crowd and not the Calcutta crowd, they don't want to throw stuff onto the field and hand the match over to the Lankans (a la 1996), so they stay behind and try to pretend that they can actually be sportive. People make Rajanikanth jokes and want him to save the team.



There's a partnership building. Looks like our team has some spunk and fight in them. The Lankan skipper starts resorting to cheap lawyer tricks to get a breakthrough. The umpires aren't having any of it though. Thankfully!


Now the boys are fighting back. The run rate required is still manageable. Some bimbo named Poonam Pandey had promised to strip for the team if we won the cup. Do it for Poonam at least, the chants on Twitter get louder. Murali, the ace Lankan spin wizard is getting tonked around. There's real hope now. And it isn't even optimistic hope, we're talking realistic hope here.






Oh boy, in between all this, there's food to eat. And it's awesome what these ladies have made. The pie is abso-effing-lutely delicious, and the potato sliced thingy with the cheese dip was pretty darn good as well. After pan frying them, the ladies had drained the slices on tissues to remove the excess oil, and so when we bit into them, they tasted quite 'light'. And if you like fried stuff, and cheese dips, then too bad you missed out on this :)




The match began to get interesting again. Gautam Gambhir was leading the charge along with young Virat Kohli. All of India was praying for Ganbhir to make a century (he was well on his way). Twitter is chirpy again. People making jokes...until Sanjay Manjrekar opens his mouth, and the dreaded commentator's curse strikes! Gambhir is bowled for 97. Damn!





It's still not over. The game I mean. The food's been polished off, we'd stepped out and come back with some dinner, and now we had only our finger nails to chew on. And in comes the captain and plays the innings that'll go down in history as the epitome of a captain's innings, courage under fire, call it what you like. And finally, just as the last shot of the Lankan innings was a six, the new drug we were all high on, MSD, lambasted one over and above the stands to send a billion into a frenzy never seen before.











Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Toit

So Bangalore got its first micro brewery, but before you go all gaga googoo over it, they still haven't started brewing their magical elixirs as yet - on the lookout for a brew master (those interested and know a thing or two, please go apply and join so we can get the party started). And since this place is so close to work, it made it all the more interesting that we pay it a visit...and soon!

Toit derives its name from the Irish pronunciation of the word 'tight', usually used whenever a hot member of the fairer sex meanders within visual range of horny male members. "Ooh, she's tight!" would be the expression, and with the Irish twist and twang from their accent, tight gets pronounced as 'toit'. And so the idea was born. Toit is spread over a large area - over three floors, with sufficient seating, and types of seatings available.

When it comes to the food and drinks, there's quite a bit on offer here. You can see the menu here. The soup we had the first time, the mushroom and barley soup was nice, and the use of barley was a first for me in a soup. Mr. P polished it off without too many complaints, and the texture too wasn't course and grainy, but just right.

Mushroom & barley soup

Toit also serves wood-fire oven thin crust pizzas (this wood fire thing is catching on pretty fast). The simple Margherita was quite a delight, except for the fact that a little flour was present at the bottom of the crust, sticking to the fingers after each slice, requiring us to 'dust' our hands to get it off. That apart, we thought is tasted quite nice. However, when Ms BakeAnything and Ms Quiche visited Toit, they said the sauce on the Margherita was just wrong, and it spoilt the taste for them, so I guess maybe this is one of those things that are right sometimes and not at other times.

Another angle of the Margherita pizza

The BBQ chicken pizza was simply superb. The chicken was cooked very well, and the juicy morsels that they were along with the BBQ sauce and the cheese felt divine. The veggie attack pizza was also good, with a good selection of toppings doing the job, although I suspect anything that has sauce and cheese on it with something that's bread-based or the likes would automatically taste good if the basic setup is there :)

BBQ chicken pizza

Veggie attack pizza

The blue cheese and fettuccine pasta was quite filling and has a very, very strong odour/smell to it, so unless you're someone who has had blue cheese before and like it, I'd suggest you stay clear of this on unless you don't mind experimenting.

Blue cheese and fettuccine

The Swedish meatballs (combo of beef and pork) was a slightly weird dish. This too came with a strong smell/odour - I'm guessing those Swedes have remnants of their Norse heritage, and so don't mind a few things that reek a bit. Taste wise, they were ok, but I thought it was a little difficult to discern the taste of the pork from the beef. And also, come on, don't serve it with just sauce! Some creativity for a dip would've been nice.

Swedish meatballs (beef & pork)

When I heard the words 'Mexican bhel', I didn't know whether to be excited happy or excited scared. However, whatever 'fear' I may have had was unfounded coz it turned out to be a real winner. The dressing for this salad-esque dish was something like a 1000 island dressing, and this had quite a zing to it.

Mexican bhel

Fruit punch

Long Island iced tea

Some of the other starters that we had were the bbq baby corn. This was ok, nothing great, but having vegetarians in the group does make you have to order some of the dishes that may otherwise be just blah. The chicken wings, on the other hand, were quite superb. Juicy, meaty, well cooked, well flavoured...what more dya want?

BBQ baby corn

Chicken wings

As I mentioned before, some of the vegetarian dishes were quite insipid, and the potato wedges were a prime example of this. Bland, and without any real flavour besides that of the potato, this was something we could've done without. On the other hand though, the cottage cheese fingers was a good option to go with, especially since the cottage cheese (paneer) was quite fresh and soft.

Potato wedges

Fried cottage cheese

After some spiritual upliftment, if you do get as far as the main course, then probably everything would taste good or everything would taste bad depending on the levels of spirituality attained. I had a chicken burger, and it the kind you'd get at most cafes, where the patty seemed to be one of those that're already made and then fried. Not really the kind I like.

Chicken burger

That's a blurred out image of me, caught unawares when a friend took a picture with the flash on - talk of a deer caught in headlights!

Dazed

The veg macarena and the moussaka were also nicely done, if you like dishes that have tonnes of cheese in them or those that are baked - I was a little high on spiritual content, and so didn't really care what was what, and what tasted how, but I think I liked the moussaka over ther macarena (although I like dancing and the Los Del Rios and all that, the moussaka was better).

Veg macarena

Moussaka

On to the desserts, and once again, those who weren't high went to enjoy the kahlua mousse, the Toit special (dark layered chocolate cake), and a crème brûlée. I liked the Toit special the most, while the others chose the mousse. The crème brûlée tasted good, but I've had better (which isn't saying that it was bad).

Kahlua mousse

Toit special

Crème brûlée


Food: The drinks aren't too expensive; waiting for the micro-brewery to get started; bar & finger food is very good, rest is decent.
$$$: Not very expensive, considering you'll be spending on drinks as well. only food, for two, could work out to around 1200 or so (if you eat well).
Service: Very good
Verdict: Must visit


Toit, #298, 100 Feet Road, Namma Metro Pillar 62, Indiranagar, Bangalore. Phone: 25201460

Friday, April 15, 2011

BM Review: Tangra

A few weeks back I'd been to Tangra, a new Chinese restaurant in Jayanagar, part of Hotel Eden Park. The review for Bangalore Mirror can be read here. Some desk monkey has gone and changed the title from "Buddha ain't laughing" to "Hakka steaming the neighbourhood". What's the connection, I have no idea, but whatever...their paper, their wish.

Tangra is a region in Calcutta that housed a large number of tanneries owned my migrant Chinese, commonly known as Hakka Chinese. The food brought to India by them was adapted for the Indian palate (actually the Bengali palate), and the result is there for us to see all over town (and the country).

Unlike many 'Chinese' restaurants, Tangra thankfully isn't set in dingy, dim red lights with clichéd images of dragons and Chinese writings all over the place.

The wanton soup we had was quite a pleasant way to get started. The clear soup was well flavoured and there weren't too many flotillas to mask the taste of the wantons in them. The other dish that brought a warm smile was the prawn dumpling, with it's soft exterior shell and delicately flavoured contents. The Hawker's style Singapore chilli crab came quite close to the real deal, but we all agreed that there was hardly any chilli and it would have tasted better if it were a soft-shelled crab.

Wonton soup

Hawker's chilli crab

The veg sui mai was quite bland and felt sticky inside the mouth, while the lemon chicken — strips of batter-fried chicken with a lemony flavour — felt a little insipid; perhaps a more robust dip would’ve helped. Spring rolls that are deep fried need to be served piping hot or else the charm is lost, which was the case here.

Tangra lemon chicken

Spring rolls

Among the mains, perhaps the sapo chicken caught our fancy because of the use of rice wine in it. The sizzling noodles too were nice, but why it's called Japanese sizzling noodles has left us flummoxed.

Sizzling noodles


Date pancake

The service is quite nice and guests are helped with suggestions for what to order.

Food: Standard Chinese fare
$$$: Not too expensive, given the setup and all. Maybe around Rs. 800 for two.
Service: Good
Verdict: Can visit if in the area and if you want to dine in a little more comfort.

Tangra, Eden Park Restaurants, 722/2, 36th Cross, 10th ‘A’ Main, Jayanagar 4th Block, Bangalore. Phone: 42777333