Monday, January 22, 2007

All The Epithets

Yesterday, my peeps and I narrowly escaped the insanity that was the riot. After driving near Ulsoor Lake trying to avoid the traffic jams, we headed back on St. John's Church Road going the roundabout way to Old Madras Road. When we reached Coles Park, stopping because of a blockade at Haines Road, outside Siddique, a Matador Van filled with people doing rounds/going to the VHP-sponsored Virat Hindu Samajotsava.

Some dudes just pop out of the woodwork i.e., Siddique Chicken Centre, handkerchiefs covering their face and attack the van (and people inside, I guess) with metal pipes. We saw them break the windshield and climbing into it while we quickly drove away.
Now these dudes with the orange flags were not heading in the direction of the rally but driving into the "sensitive area", possibly with the same mentality that Ganapati-processions in Bombay are loudest near the mosques.

Blr Bytes was on Assaye Road (near the Bengalee Association) when he was stopped by more of the protestors and got roughed up, when he was in his car, through the window.

A few nothing-to-with-this Korean tourists were pulled out of their bus and watched it being torched. They were escorted (possibly by a quick-thinking policeman) to the State Fire HQ and stayed there. A lot of foreigners are in the city to attend IMTEX, so the statistical chances of a foreigner getting caught in this would be higher. It's extra trouble we don't need.

Apparently, this started a couple of days ago, when a Jaffer Sharief-organised procession to protest the hanging of Saddam Hussein (20 days after the hanging, albeit) went wrong with some RSS-types attacked that rally (possibly because they were good friends of the Kurds that got gassed). Yesterday's trouble, was therefore a retaliatory attack.

Never a good idea to have people like Praveen Togadia in your city. Someone should take Mr. Togadia, Mr. Sharief and while we're at it Mr. Modi and the Imam of Delhi's Juma Masjid, place them in a single cell in the already housefull Parappana Agrahara Jail. And place them under CCTV surveillance. Should make for interesting viewing.

Granted, we're no longer the Pensioner's Paradise or even Garden City or a "progressive, cosmopolitan city" that romantically reminds us of the quiet, worry-less days. Alongwith the success of a large number of people, it also brings a serious discontentment to a large number of no-so succesful people.

It doesn't help that politicans and "community leaders" foment fear and insecurity along religious lines for more power and more personal gain.

It's an indication of failure of our society and nationhood when politician is a four-letter word.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Blogged Out

So my man, Blr Bytes decides he's done being a blogger. Which is such a pity because, you know, he was pretty good at it. The reasons he has done so, he has articulated well enough. It's a pity but we move on.

Now, what can You, Dear Reader expect out of this blog? The flavour of this blog might change just a little bit (especially with the regularity of new posts). And youm who come back here looking for especially for restaurant and food reviews, do keep coming back - I think BB can be persuaded to cameo the odd review. In the meanwhile, visit My Link List with which he still posts, but no witty social commentary a la India Uncut. Yet. When he does, Amit Varma better watch out. hehe.

It's been a good ride.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

It's Time To Say Goodbye...

I've been blogging a little over a year now and as my college T-shirt says, it's been a long strange trip. And I'm happy I did because I made some great new friends and one very special friend. But in the end, it's become far too difficult to give this blog the attention that I once did and it rightly deserves.

The 55-word rallies have been what I enjoyed most. It's only fit, even if it's not Friday yet, to sign off with one.

It enters in soft whispers and undying declarations, where words mean more than actions.

In time, the words fade to black as the actions speak for themselves; screaming for sweet release.

And it leaves in broken promises, a city unbuilt and the ruins for the world to see, of what could have been only if...
Like Chamique, I'm all blogged out.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007


I'm not entirely sure how I came across this website but I hope everyone in Bangalore reads it. It's just what our city needs. Some good old fashioned vigilante justice.

And is appropriately warned. A sample notice is below. You can download 'em from their site. Print. Plaster. Repeat.

It's a pity that they do "not support making the notices provided into stickers in the intent to adhere said notices onto offending assholes."

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Tasting Menu @ Shiok

If you have ever dined at Shiok you should not miss this and if you haven't dined at Shiok you couldn't ask for a better introduction to their food!

Madhu is organizing a Mixer Event, on the 14th of January, with a fabulous looking tasting menu.

The non-vegtarian menu is priced at Rs. 500 per person and includes such wonders as:

* Tea-smoked chicken and celery with sweet soy sauce and sichuan pepper-salt
* King prawn with essence of shrimp and brandy cream, mix mushroom stir-fry and green salad

The vegtarian menu is priced at Rs. 400 a head and you can expect:

* Dumplings of vegetables with two sauces - brown butter and chilli ginger
* Sesame Eggplant and Rice wine Zucchini with toasted almonds and Asian "pesto"

... and much much more.

For details and RSVP please look here.

I'm going. Are you?

More X'mas Food

Provo writes in with his Christmas Menu. Hang tight, it's a long one!

◊ Christmas Day Specials ◊


Calabasa Pumpkin Soup
with Maple Crème Fraiche


Chilled Orange Pekoe Poached Caicos Lobster
with Stolichnaya Spiked Apricot Essence, Won Ton Crisps
and Radish-Carrot Slaw

Entrée (Carving Station)

Traditional Roasted Turkey and Ham
with Mashed Potatoes, Steamed Broccoli, Giblet Gravy,
Sage and Walnut Stuffing and Cranberry Sauce

◊ A∙p∙p∙e∙t∙i∙z∙e∙r∙s ◊

Tasting Assortment of Providenciales Lobster
blackened lobster with tomato marmalade
lobster salad with creole salsa
lobster tempura with bok choy salad

Trio of Conch
conch tacos with tomato and ginger chutney
conch tempura with sashimi sauce
conch creole

Degustation of Duck, Shrimp, and Vegetable Spring Roll
with sweet & sour sauce, beetroot and ginger dressing

Providenciales Conch Chowder
with mild cherry pepper and aged rum

Sushi Crab Roll of Smoked Salmon
with asian salad drizzled with wasabi and a ginger dressing

Tartar of Ahi Tuna
with a tower of cucumber and tomato
served with flour tortillas topped with lime & lemon yogurt

Goat Cheese and Shitake Mushrooms
wrapped in carpaccio of beef on toast,
blueberry vinaigrette scented with rice vinegar

Spinach Salad
with brie cheese, walnuts, raisin and herb vinaigrette

Chilled Consommé of Tomato
with crab and baby corn

◊ S∙a∙l∙a∙d∙s ◊

Mixed Green Lettuce in a Plantain Ring
with herbs and honey vinaigrette

Romaine Lettuce Hearts
with garlic croutons, bacon, a light caesar dressing
sprinkled with aged parmesan cheese

◊ E∙n∙t∙r∙é∙e∙s ◊

Seared Filet of Red Snapper
with shaved fennel and beignet of sweet potato, served with tapenade sauce

Rare Cooked Ahi Tuna
marinated in sweet chili sauce served with sautéed bok choy
and pickled carrot, sour cream and horseradish

Sautéed Sea Bass
served with bok choy, blackened parisienne potatoes
and tomato salsa dressing

Mahi Mahi in Papillotte
with julienne of leek and celery, served with sticky rice and stir fry sauce

Grilled Providenciales Rock Lobster Tail
complimented with carrot mousseline, plantain chips
and draw lobster butter

Ravioli of Lobster
oven baked shitake mushrooms and freshly sautéed bok choy,
served with ginger reduction

Roasted Magret of Duck
with crispy skin, duo of potato and asparagus with warm honey dressing

Broiled Rack of Lamb
garnished with couscous scented with mint, tian of eggplant,
lime and lemon infusion

Oven Baked Free Range Chicken Breast
filled with conch, fried sweet potatoes and risotto of christophine,
served with sweet and sour mango sauce

Seared Veal Tenderloin
served with mushrooms and homemade potato gnocchi
drizzled with marsala reduction

Grilled Filet of Beef Tenderloin
served with fondant potato and oven baked tomato, infusion of cardamom

I told you it was some menu!

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

New Year's Eve

What did you eat on New Year's Eve?

As I was going out, I made a potato, leek and bacon soup served with mustard toast for the parents. The main course was leftover turkey, ham and Russian salad and dessert was fresh strawberries marinated in champagne and served with cream.

I, on the other hand, had a far simpler meal. Eggs, toast, baked beans, sausages and fries. Yes. For real. My dining partner had grilled fish in a nameless brown sauce and we both had an iced tea spiked with a large vodka. Where, you ask? Koshys, of course.

Provo had to send his menu and it kind of eclipses all else.

GBC Seafood Cocktail
fresh chilled Lobster, Stone Crabs, Jumbo Shrimp Cocktail
and Cracked conch with mustard and cocktail sauce

Pan Seared Scallops
wild mushroom ragout and truffled mash potatoes

Foie Gras Tasting
green apple tart, pan seared with French toast blueberry compote truffle pate

Mixed Greens
candied walnuts, raspberry vinaigrette and anjou pears
with pecan goat cheese frittes

Romaine Heart
drizzled with lemon anchovy dressing and Focaccia Croutons

Herbed Seared Sea Bass
sun-dried tomato risotto cake, white and green asparagus tips, and saffron beurre blanc

Brioche Crusted Lamb Chops
double cut chops, wilted chard with pine nuts and seedless grapes
with goat cheese mash and mint jelly

Filet and Foie Gras
petite baby vegetables, white truffle Potato Grating and port natural sauce

Asian Stuffed Lobster
fresh local lobster stuffed with Maryland lump crabmeat served with
Asian stir fried vegetables and crispy potato sticks

Champagne Toast at Midnight

The kicker is the price. The "experience" was $ 400.00 per person!

Whatever you ate and drank and wherever you were, I hope you rang in the New Year with someone you love.

Happy New Year everyone!

Monday, January 01, 2007

Small Town Food

This weeks issue of the Outlook is a special devoted to food from small town India and it's most certainly worth a read.

Pankaj Mishra writes on looking for vegetarian food and his reminisces about the best idlis and anda bujiya he's ever eaten.

There's things you didn't know about Surat and the magic of Undhiyo.

And about fudge that's been localized in Almora. Or has it been?

Who knew that Bikaner produced close to 40 tons of bhujia a day?!

That a paan shop in Varnasi is the equivalent of the local tea shop in the South.

Guntur is a riot of red when chillies are harvested and the local economy runs of chilly power.

Of port and sausages and feni and pao in Mapusa.

Potato-less samosas in Allahabad, sitabhog in Burdwan, the original Kholapuri mutton and fun things to eat in Tamu and their local disdain for "local" liquor.

I've been to Rampur but didn't know of it's regal heritage when it came to food. So much to try.

Konkani food in Karwar is besieged by alien cuisines. I'll vote for the former, how can a ghee roast chicken lose to an anonymous butter chicken?

Frogs and worms and all things crawly in Kohima are on the menu.

Chettinad food must be had in Karaikudi. Everything else is a bastardized version. Can't say I disagree.

Of a Sufi food tradition in the heart of Punjab. With bhatti da murg, degh ka gosht and communal harmony in Malerkotla.

Missing spices and Telicherry, now Thalasserry, Black Pepper and superlative, yet light biryani.

Laila Tyabji extols the virtue in the uniqueness of Indian food.

And the Editors moan the virtues of those that couldn't make the issue.

As an aside, this is one good reason why the processed food industry is still so nascent. We have no pan-Indian flavours and it's too damn hard to cater to every regional fancy. Well, it's too difficult for large companies which is why smaller food companies prosper. It's also why the most popular processed foods in this country are essentially alien to us, Maggi Noodles, Top Ramen Smoodles, Knorr Soups and Sunfeast Pasta even if they are "localized" in some generic fashion.

I'm sure there are exceptions, like bhujiya, but not too many.

I'd love to hear from you, on small town food and processed food in India.

Update: Dhoomk2 shares his take on the Outlook story.

"... like anyone will actually turn up in Surat or Almora for a bite. I have had some of these impostors preening off as cuisine..."