Friday, December 27, 2013

Food Review: BUSAGO @ BANDRA


BusaGo @ Bandra
After the Christmas trip to Mount Mary Church & Taj Lands End, Vinny & I went to BusaGo in Bandra to buy a takeaway lunch. It’s a quaint little restaurant, tucked away in Bandra, with a few tables in the open and some more in the AC section.

Their menu on the wall
They have an open kitchen where you can see the cooks and waiters getting the food together. While they have a number of Thai & Burmese fare on offer – both vegetarian & non-vegetarian – we ordered Burmese Kaukswe which is what the place is renowned for.

How to make your bowl of Kaukswe
A bowl of Kaukswe – a type of Burmese Curry made in coconut gravy – comes along with a serving of noodles, white rice or brown rice. Zucchini, broccoli, baby corn, mushrooms and carrots were the veggies used in the gravy. We took three of these along with an extra portion noodle & brown rice for eating at home along with Venkat & Viggy. The bill was quite decent coming to less than Rs. 900.

Burmese Kaukswe with brown rice & condiments! Yum Yum
They serve a number of condiments with the Kaukswe which is what makes the meal rich in taste. There was fried onion, fried garlic, roasted peanuts, chopped coriander, chopped green onion stalks, chopped onions, chopped celery, chilli flakes and lemon wedges.

Seats both outside and inside at BusaGo
You make a bed of noodles or rice or both on the plate. Over this, you spread the various condiments that suit your taste, sprinkle a few drops of lemon juice and pour the Kaukswe on top. Now set out to polish off the whole. It tasted simply awesome! Definitely droolworthy!

BusaGo (Meals in a Bowl),
11, Gasper Enclave,
Opp. Gold’s Gym,
St. John’s Road,
Bandra West,
Mumbai
Phone: 022-61278897 / 98


Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Festival: MERRY CHRISTMAS 2013!


Mother Mary & Baby Jesus on Christmas Day 2013!
Merry Christmas!

Up the hill
I was quite thrilled when Vinny suggested that we go to visit Mount Mary on Christmas this year. While I have been to that area a number of times and even went to the church once, it has always been in the night. So, I was quite happy to go there in the daylight.

Candles sold outside the church
We got off the rickshaw opposite Mehboob Studio and walked up the sloping road. The weather was awesome and the walk quite scenic. We went down a couple of by-lanes, taking our time reaching the church at around 1.30 pm.

Vinny checks out the wares on sale
The church was packed with a number of people spilling into the compound too. Most of them were obviously not Christians, same as us. We both walked inside to sit on a pew. After praying for a few minutes, I got up to walk to the altar. Mother Mary and Baby Jesus wore diamond crowns to commemorate the birth of Jesus Christ. They looked beautiful.

Mount Mary Church in the afternoon sunlight
After praying there, I walked out from the right side where a crib had been set up. It looked lovely. I waited on another pew while Vinny completed her prayers and then the two of us left from the opposite door.

The crib
We walked down the hill from the other end and went to Taj Lands End where Christmas Carols had been organised in the main hall. Children from a nearby school were celebrating the birth of Jesus by singing carols.

The scenic walk downhill
We sat there to listen to “Jingle Bells” (my favourite) and “Silent Night”. It was lovely to hear their young, sweet voices. We left after having a glass of fruit juice served by the hotel.

Christmas Carols at Taj Lands End
It was a wonderful Christmas for me as we went on to buy a takeaway lunch at BusaGo in Bandra before going home to share it with Venkat and Viggy.

Cute stuffed Santa Claus at the Festivity Desk at Taj Lands End


One of the 4 pretty Christmas trees in the lobby of Taj Lands End!



Sunday, December 22, 2013

Jewels of Mumbai: UDIPI SHRI KRISHNA BOARDING

Outside Matunga Station
This blog has been long overdue. I have visited Udipi Shri Krishna Boarding umpteen times since I had planned the write-up.

The counter where you buy coupons
This restaurant was established in 1942 – yeah, since before Independence. Amazing to see the quality of food served and so cheap too!

The Full Meal begins...


The restaurant serves a complete South Indian meal – read Karnataka style. There is a Full Meal section – costs Rs. 180 as of now. They serve everything unlimited here except for the sweet. In this meal, one gets to eat rotis or puris (puris are served only in the evenings and Sunday afternoons), rice, three types of veggies, sambar, rasam, dal, fried papad, one sweet, pickle, one cup dahi and chaas. You need a gargantuan appetite to do justice to this. But, it tastes amazing. We used to visit this section regularly some years back.

The Plated Meals section
Recently, not able to consume much, we have shifted focus to the Plated Meals section that costs Rs. 55 plus. The ‘plus’ is for those extras that you might want – like a sweet, extra sabzi, papad and so on.

Rotis being prepared
This serves three limited sabzis, unlimited sambar, rasam, dal, limited papad, pickle, curd, chaas along with 3 sets of staples. You can combine it any which ways. 2 rotis-3 puris-1 cup rice – you can have 3 cups of rice, or six rotis, or 9 puris or a combo that suits you. It’s quite flexible.

Puris & Papads fried here in different kadais
On a regular day, there is a choice of four sweets on offer.

They have one condition in both sections – DO NOT ask for items and waste. In fact, if you waste sambar, they charge you extra for that.

Cups of rice being readied
All the food items are freshly prepared and taste absolutely delicious. We always avoid going to Rama Nayak’s for Sunday lunch as the crowd is just too much. There is a snaking queue that runs down the lobby sometimes down on the staircase. You will probably need to wait for an hour or two to be accommodated.

Vattis for Sambar, Rasam & Dal
Any customer can visit their kitchen on request. They even allowed me to take pictures. I got to talking with the owner’s son on one of my visits.

They buy all vegetables from APMC Market in Navi Mumbai. Only seasonal vegetables are used. All the tables and chairs are moved against the walls and newspapers spread on the dining room floor for cutting veggies in preparation for lunch and dinner.

Diesel boilers for cooking rice, sambar, etc.

While LPG stoves are used for cooking rotis & dry sabzis, they use diesel to cook rice, sambar and the like. These are cooked in what look like boilers. The guy manning the rice cookers said that it takes barely 5-6 minutes to cook a few kilos of rice. Amazing!

The waiters, cooks and cleaning boys are well-behaved and treat the customers with respect. There are at least 2-3 supervisors keeping an eye on all customers to ensure that everyone is served well. One can get a copy of their booklet that tells you Shri Krishna Boarding’s historical journey since 1942 and even before, when Shri A. Rama Nayak came to Bombay.

Notice Board with newspaper cuttings
You will find all classes of people from different communities coming there to eat the excellent fare served. You will find a notice board full of clippings from various newspapers & magazines where the restaurant has been featured.

The restaurant is just one step away from Matunga station.

A. Rama Nayak’s
Udipi Shri Krishna Boarding,
1st Floor, LBS Market Building,
Matunga, Mumbai – 400019.
Phone: 24142422
Lunch: 10.30 am to 2.30 pm
Dinner: 7.00 pm to 10.00 pm
CLOSED ON MONDAYS


Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Book Review: THE INDIAN TYCOON’S MARRIAGE DEAL by Adite Banerjie

I saw that this book - The Indian Tycoon’s Marriage Deal by Adite Banerjie - had a 5-star review on Rubina Ramesh’s blog “The Book Club”. I love Mills & Boon and an Indian author is even better. So I bought a copy of the book at Sion Crossword and got to reading it.

I was hooked right from the beginning. Krish offers Maya a contract wedding to stop his father from running his life. Maya accepts the deal for the same reason - to thwart his father. But neither of them is aware of the other’s intention. What they don’t expect is to fall for each other.

A beautifully woven tale of romance with sensitive and sensible characters as protagonists - I loved both Krish and Maya. KD, the hero’s father, was also very realistic. I thoroughly enjoyed reading the many descriptions of the locales, houses, d├ęcor and the landscape. I absolutely enjoyed the sizzling chemistry between the hero and heroine. Very well written book, Adite Banerjie! Hope to read more of your work.
Adite Banerjie

Congratulations!

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Click Here to check out Adite Banerjie’s website


Monday, December 9, 2013

Politics: HOPE BLOOMS IN MY HEART

When the Anna Hazare movement happened in 2011, I felt that something could happen to finally set right the politics in India. But later, things kind of fizzled out.

When Arvind Kejriwal decided to stand for elections - without Anna Hazare’s blessings - I was also one of those people who wondered whether it was possible for Mr. Kejriwal to uproot corruption from Indian politics.

Yesterday, hope bloomed in my heart after seeing the results of the Delhi elections as well as Arvind Kejriwal’s interview with Barkha Dutt.

Click Here to see part of the interview.

The headline “Don't need character certificate from Rahul Gandhi, says Arvind Kejriwal” can be misleading. At no point was Arvind Kejriwal rude about the other politicians. He did not attack anyone personally. His one mantra was to make life easy for the common man. And I am sure all of us are able to relate to that.

I had tears in my eyes as I watched the interview. AK’s politics is very simple – to do good and to say ‘No’ to corruption. He has proved that it is possible to do well in an election without gundagardi and black money. Hats off!

I could so relate to what he said when he mentioned that it is all not about Aam Aadmi Party but the Aam Aadmi himself. Finally, there is someone who understands despite being part of the power game.

I did wonder whether it was possible for Arvind Kejriwal to take on giants like the Congress and win. Well, I am so glad that he has proved me wrong in the very first election that AAP participated in.

I look forward to the whole nation waking up! 

Friday, December 6, 2013

Travel: SAI SAGAR FOOD COURT @ SHIRDI


Just before we went for the darshan of Sai Baba on the first day at Shirdi, Venkat and I decided to have a snack at Sai Sagar Food Court which is right across the temple entrance at Gate 1.

We asked for Upma and Dosa and both were very good. We saw that they also serve two types of thali for lunch and dinner – both vegetarian.

The first one costs Rs. 50 – yeah, it’s true – and serves 2 rotis, 2 sabzis, dal, rice & pickle. The second one is a Chinese Thali costing Rs. 60 – serves rice & Manchurian gravy. We never got the time to taste either of the thalis but we saw people queuing up for them. The restaurant is very spacious and ran full during lunch and dinner hours.

Sai Sagar Food Court is attached to Sai Palace Budget Hotel that offers rooms at reasonable rates.


The snacks on sale near the pastry counter
The best part I liked about the restaurant was their confectionary. On the first day, Venkat asked for a Black Forest pastry – a medium sized piece – at just Rs. 35. It was fresh and delicious. The next day I had a Blueberry Jelly topped pastry at the same cost. It just melted in my mouth. The restaurant is a must visit for their pastries if nothing else. Simple awesome!


Thursday, December 5, 2013

Travel: MTDC’S THE PILGRIMS’ INN @ SHIRDI

The Pilgrims' Inn

I have heard a lot from people about the comfortable facilities offered by Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation (MTDC) within the state. Once before, when we visited Matheran a few years ago, we went to check out their facilities there. We were not too impressed.

The Reception - the guy there was quite helpful
As MTDC’s The Pilgrims’ Inn is very close to Hotel Sai Moreshwar – where we stayed at in Shirdi – Venkat and I decided to check out the facilities.

Neem - the vegetarian restaurant
The Pilgrims’ Inn is quite close to Sai Baba’s Temple entrance and looked quite attractive. They have a vegetarian restaurant call Neem. I don’t know how good the food served here is.

AC room for three
We went to check the rooms – the cheapest costing Rs. 1700 + taxes. The facilities looked good. They have a website and booking can be done way in advance too. The rates are the same whether it is during the week or during weekends.

Quite nice!

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Sharing: DR. BHAU DAJI LAD MUMBAI CITY MUSEUM

Dr. Bhau Daji Lad Mumbai City Museum

There was a lecture by Dr. Kavita Singh, Art Historian attached to Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. The topic was ‘The Future of Ethnographic Museums’ and I don’t quite know what made me decide to attend. Dr. Singh’s lecture was very informative, only I could not relate much to the topic.

Prince Albert on the pedestal flanked by two lovely ladies; a bust of David Sassoon
I enjoyed the visit to the Industrial Arts Gallery on the ground floor of Dr. Bhau Daji Lad Mumbai City Museum. It used to be called Victoria & Albert Museum after Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. A tall statue of Prince Albert on a pedestal flanked by two lovely women is placed in the centre of the hall. There are busts of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert behind the tall statue. There is also one of David Sassoon in front of the main statue.

The ceiling with a chandelier at the entrance
As I walked from the left, I saw glass cases filled with different wares created across India as well as some foreign lands.

Welcome!
There were swords and shields made of iron wrought with gold and silver. This work is called Koftagiri. Bison horns were used in making different ornamentation like lampshades and more.

The main hall ceiling. Doesn't it look gorgeous?
There were Ivory works from Japan & China; metal figurines from Nepal & Tibet. Lacquer ware – items made of lac looked amazing. I think these were from Kashmir.

The Art Gallery & a view of the first floor gallery
There were works from Ceylon (today called Sri Lanka), Dacca, Burma and more.

Intricate stone carving of Sun!
The papier mache work was very attractive – hand painted with vegetable colours. While there were pieces from South India, those from Kashmir were the best.

Model of Bidri Craftsman
Bidri work is black in colour and is made from an alloy of tin and copper. It has the advantage of never fading. Hooka bases, betel nut containers, jug and spittoon were some of the pieces on display. The Surahi was lovely.

A model of a weaver's home
There were brass lamps collected since the Harappan period (3300-1300 BC).

A decorate hooka
I will leave you to check out the rest of the items on display instead of making this a lesson in History.

Sandalwood carving
I remember visiting Salar Jung Museum in Hyderabad a few years back. In fact, I have been there at least three times. Dr. Bhau Daji Lad Museum is the only other museum I have been to. While you cannot compare the Mumbai City Museum with the collection in Hyderabad, it was quite an interesting visit.

One of the beauties on the side of Prince Albert's statue
I did not have the time to check out the first floor and the rest of the place as it was closing time. I am sure I will be visiting the place once again pretty soon.

On the way to the first floor
Dr. Bhau Daji Lad Mumbai City Museum
91 A, Rani Baug,
Veer Mata Jijabai Bhonsle Udyan,
Byculla East,
Mumbai-400027
Phone: +91 2373 1234

Visiting hours: 10 am-5.30 pm
Closed on Wednesdays

Entry:
Rs. 10 for adults
Rs. 5 for under 12
Rs. 100 for foreigners

Monday, December 2, 2013

Sharing: BULLOCK RUNS SUGARCANE JUICE MACHINE

Little Anushka with Bullock Rushi!
On our way to Shani Shingnapur Shrine, we saw a number of sugarcane juice machines run by bullocks. We stopped at one such place to drink some juice. It was manned by Nanda and her 3-year-old daughter Anushka. The pretty little girl was extremely friendly and was thrilled to receive the groundnut chikki that Venkat offered her.

Nanda giving instructions to her Rushi
Nanda persuaded her bullock Rushi to walk around the wooden machine crushing freshly cut sugarcane. She gave Rushi verbal instructions that the bullock followed perfectly. I was not too surprised as I know my cat Simba understands every word that I utter. I was glad to see that she never used a stick on her Rushi. I managed to capture the process on video.

Nanda & Anushka
We refused her offer of ice and had the fresh juice that tasted so yummy. I believe the family of three owns one more juice machine about 15 feet away that is run by her husband Namdeo.



I asked Nanda if she will be sending little Anushka to school. She told me that her daughter would be sent to school when she was four. She also said that they lived not very far away from where they sold cane juice. The whole place was green with so many trees and fields around. I told her that they were very lucky to live amongst nature and Nanda agreed with a wide grin. Mother and daughter posed for a couple of pictures and Anushka was quite thrilled that I had taken one with her and Rushi in the same frame.

We said goodbye and left the smiling mother-daughter duo to return to Shirdi.