Wednesday, June 10, 2009


Launched by ParleAgro to compete with Pepsi's Nimbooz, LMN, the lemony soft drink is marketed with a tag-line 'Emergency lemon Refresher'. Promoted through a funny commercial (see here) which will keep you glued, and modestly priced at Rs. 20/-, this drink is not your 'essential lemon drink'. It is, as the tagline says, a quick-fix.

I had my DEHYDRATION EMERGENCY while shopping in Colaba. There were plenty of options, but I wanted only LMN! I searched, I searched, clarifying the name to several shop-keepers. But only one of them had heard of LMN, as compared to Nimbooz, which mind you, every other shop-keeper offered me.

The only reason I can think of is because the drinks are marketed differently, while Nimbooz is your essential doze of lemon, LMN is only a small respite. Further, LMN entered the market almost a month after Nimbooz. Perhaps, that can explain the lack of LMN awareness and

That was a month back. Today I spot LMN everywhere!

I'm not a fan of lemon, especially not things that are strongly lemony. LMN is so not that and that's why I like it. The taste is subtly lemony, the soda is toned down, so is the sugar. It is the tastiest dehydrater (after water). Incidentally, it has no articifial flavours and is packed with Vitamin C (errr.....won't that mean it's artificial? :S) and that shall please the health conscious Indians.

Sadly, Nimbooz seems to have caught on and LMN lacks behind, despite a superier advertising and packaging. I hold this view after seeing the LMN aversion among my friends and family, though the actually statistics may be otherwise.

If you haven't tried LMN yet, you're missing a nice drink. Also, if you're a teacher in the Kindergarden, you could hand a kid who can recite "A-B-C-D...." beyond "LMN" a free bottle of LMN! The kid will be pleased, it is my gurantee for I trust my taste buds :)

Monday, May 18, 2009

Authenticism Redefined.....China valley

China Valley, 10 minutes from Siddhivinayak Mandir serves authentic chinese cuisine. The restaurant is build like a vintage chiniese monastery with a sloping roof and curved edges. The use to two strong colours, red and green, in the exterior were part mysetrious and part inviting. The dragon theme furthered the autheticism.

The restarunt, as we entered was not as large as it looked from outside. The seating was the usaual wooden chairs and a strong table with covered white tables cloth. However, the leg space was restricted and we mostly had to do with sitting stifly in our seats. The colour-scheme of the walls was in-line with the restaurant exterior. I noticed that the wall art, the pottery and the chinky waiters transported me to another world, despite the discomfort lent by the furniture.

There is a grand variety to choose from - drinks, soups, appetizers, sea food, meats, stir fry, momos, dessert. We were spoilt for choice until we finally settled for a crab soup, chicken momos, a chicken dish, fried rice and noodles. The noodle was delicious, just the right amount of thickness. The crab , tenderly cooked gave it a new flavour altogether. It was my first taste of crab soup.

The momos-food I associated with Dilli Heart and Sarojini Nagar on cold winter evenings-were steaming hot and sitting pretty in the wick-steamer. I was eager to dig my teeth into these steamed dumplings for it had been long since I'd savoured one of these. The momos were accompanied with schezwan, chilli and soya sauce. The chicken and the veggie stuffing was bland, while the sauces lent it a whole new character, just how it is meant to be.

The rice, noodles and chicken were also served piping hot. The fried rice was totally tasteless for my Indian pallette. The noodles hoever did not disappoint. each strand was the right thickness and the garlic and schezwan appealed to my tastebuds. Blame it on my prefernce of noodles over rice, or the cook's haste, the noodles was far better, while the rice is conveninetly avoidable. Maybe a ginger, garlic or spiced up rice would be better.

The chicken was boneless with a thick red gravy. It went well with the plain rice. We were too full to even think about dessert and went directly to pay the bill and thank the staff for their hospitality. Since my first visit there, we're ordered twice from this restaurant.

* Portions are plenty and one serving of noodle/rice is enough for two people, if accompanied by soup and/or side-dish.
* If you like spicy food, order a spiced up rice/noodle dish because the fried rice/standard noodles are just too bland for Indian palettte.
* Home delivery is good, but be patient and make sure you have change.
* The waiters, especially those from north-east or maybe China (i'm not sure) have a slight communication problem. So make sure they undersatnd your order.
* A meal for four, complete with soup, side-dish and main-course may cost anywhere between 1,500-3,000 depending upon your order and appetite.
* We were visiting on a weekday and hence prior reservation was not required. However on weekends a reservation is a must.
*Avoid home delivery from here on a weekend for the wait time is too much!
China Valley
 Jayant Villa Co-op Society, Appasaheb Marathe Road, Prabhadevi, Mumbai
 : 24221065, 24300272, 24329701

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Idli Upma: Quick fix from left over idlis

Ever so often our estimates about the guests appetite go wrong. And sometimes you can churn out a whole new dish from the left overs.

Take for example 'idlis' (I detest calling them steamed fermented rice dumplings, so if you don't under stand idli...too bad then!) Re-steamed idlis aren't the best thing to eat. Instead if you have left over idlis at home, put them in the fridge and they easily last upto 3 days. When in a fix about what to have for break-fast, heed my quick-fix from left over idli advice, and make idli upma!

1. Steamd idlis, cut into small pieces or crumbled into smaller particles.
2. Cooking oil
3. Kadi patta
4. Rai
5. Haldi
6. Salt and chilli powder to taste

1. Heat oil in a pan.
2. Put the rai and let it blacken a bit.
3. Add the kadi patta, salt, chilli powder and haldi.
4. Add the cut/crumbled idlis to the tadka
5. Stir vigorously so that all idlis get coated in a nice yelow of the haldi.
6. Cover the pan with a lid and let it cook for 2-3 minutes.
7. Serve with tomato ketchup or coconut/dhaniya chutney.'s probably the quickest breakfast! ;) Suits the modern girl like me :P (epitome of laziness!)

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Palak Paneer - a perfect sunday lunch!

Sundays are for relaxing and catching up with friends and family. Lately I've been socialising a bit too much and the odd-sunday at home is a refreshing change and more than welcome.
Sunday is synonymous with lazying around, eating a delicious home-cooked meal and catching a movie. I did just that!

After much debating, my cousin and I settled on Palak paneer and chapatis for our cook-it-yourself-sunday-lunch. As a cook in compulsion, chapatis weren't such a complex task (save for the snail's pace execution) but palak paneer was something I had been savouring for years, never paying attention to how it is prepared.

Nevertheless, I borrowed my aunty's recipe, fused it with mom's recipe and added the ingredients that were available at home! Read the recipe here-

(Serves two)
  • One bundle palak
  • Two green chillies
  • 2 tablepoon cooking oil
  • 10-15 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 250 grams paneer, cut into cubes
  • Jeera for the tadka
  • 1 finely chopped onion (optional)
  • Salt to taste
  • 2 teaspoon fresh cream (optional)
  1. Clean the palak by breaking off the hard stem and wash it twice or thrice to remove all the dirt.
  2. Steam the palak for 4 minutes in a microwave cooker. Alternatively, you could boil water in a steel vessel, dip the cleaned palak in it till it gets cooked.
  3. Once steamed, run cold water over the palak. This will held retain the nice green colour in the final preparation and not make it look blackish.
  4. Grind the palak and green chillies with a little water to make a smooth paste.
  5. Heat the oil. Add jeera and chopped garlic to the heating oil. Let it sizzle and cook until the garlic turns brownish.
  6. Add onion and cook it until it turns golden brown.
  7. Add the palak paste and give it oil boil.
  8. Add water to bring the palak gravy to a nice consistency (remember the gravy will thicken slightly once it cooks)
  9. Add salt as per taste and chilli powder if needed.
  10. Add paneer cubes and give it one stir without breaking the paneer cubes.
  11. Let it simmer on slow fire for 2-3 minutes.
  12. Add fresh cream for a creamy look to the gravy.
  13. Serve hot with chappatis or rice.

Once the palak paneer was almost ready, my cousin set the table while I made a small surprise salad!

I mixed boiled macaroni and steamed american corn with one spoon of Fun & Foods Pasta & Pizza Spread and good old Amul cheese spread. I finished up the one minute salad by adding salt and freshly ground pepper for taste.

The food turned out to be pretty good. The salad was a quick-fix and a rather taste one. The black grapes for dessert (my cousin's surprise) was a perfect end to a sumptuous home-cooked lunch on a lazy sunday afternoon, while the 'Hip-hop' movie 'You Got Served' kept us glued way past lunchtime.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Cook in Compulsion, and Lovin' it!


Looking at me no one would ever say that this girl isn't a foodie for I'm a BIG FOODIE and proud to be so. But funnily, my foodiness was restricted to relishing good food. I never really took interest in preparing food, or the effort to learn the art of cooking. I know it is a paradox, perhaps even hard to believe, but that is how things were.


My look still the same. But I've begun appreciating mom's more for the three meals that they churn up for us, without being lazy. I've begun appreciating the art of cooking, chopping vegetables, playing with spices and cooking up full meals for my tiffin! having lived on the bad hostel food for nearly 1.5 years, the desire to made my own 'dabba' at 5:30 am, before leaving for class was just too strong. I wanted to eat good food, and not the dabbas I had been eating just for the sake for eating without ever looking forward to it.

In one line, 'I'm a cook and compulsion and strangely I'm loving it'!

Till date I've taken wide-varities of food in my tiffin - idlis, uttapams, pizza, pasta (very popular with my collegues), dal fry and roti, parathas, pulao, roti/sabzi, salads, thalipeth, pav bhaji etc :) I've even tried making new stuff - tacos, khajur pak etc.

I feel proud of myself. I always kept cribbing because mom tried forcing me to learn cooking. But I'm the kind who'll not do anything until I feel like I should do it. In this case, it worked in my favour. For now is the time when I can take tiffinf and I'm taking tiffin. I'm learning each day about the nuances of cooking and it has opened up a whole new world ready to be smelled, tasted and explored.

It has also given new a whole new confidence. I can be on my own and not just survive on bread. I too can make a full meal of Dal, chaval, sabzi, roti, salad, maybe even soup. Though, right now I'm keeping the dishes simple, but soon I can probabily match upto mom.

This new 'cooking' fad in my life has also made my mom happy on two levels, viz. she is proud of me for finally learning to cook, but the strongest one possibly is the fact that I have another quality for an eligible bride! The former makes me proud. The latter.....well, I'd rather not comment on it! ;)

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Tamnak Thai

(All dressed up...I'm good to go....)

The choice was between eating Chinese, Indian or something else. By the time I was dressed(look above), we'd still not decided where to go. Finally, we decided on Thai food and the easiest and most convenient to reach was Tamnak Thai, Shivaji Park, Dadar (West).

(Red....for hot.....for Thai)

The red glaring words announced our arrival at the abode of Thai food. This restaurant has a valet parking so you can sit back, enjoy your food without worrying about parking space or towing away! handing our car keys we casually strolled in.

The restaurant had a nice calm to it. The ambiance was in the colour scheme of brown and tan. The seemingly earthy colours got a new life from the authentic and some unconventional decoration pieces. They had a cabinet full of Chinese/South Asian looking vases and memorabilia.I absolutely loved them. Then there was the big Ganesha idol perched on a wooden half-pillar that infused colour and Indian-ness to the Thai place. But the most stunning decoration certainly was the wine display!!

(Their collection of wines.....take your pick!)

Yes, doesn't that^ look stunning. The wines greet you as soon as you enter the restaurant. I'm not much of drinker, and hence the sparse knowledge about wines. But judging from the speed with which wines were being ordered, i guessed they did have a good collection!

The restaurant has two levels. The lower level and the upper level. If you care to share some private moments, the higher level is suggested. But if dim lights are not your preference and you'd not mind overlooking the road , then take a seat at the lower level. When we arrived the restaurant was quite empty. We choose to sit on the upper level (which is just a step higher than the lower :P) on a corner table. We commented that the seating area was huge, until we realized that the wall behind us had mirrors!!

Each table was covered with a white table cloth. The chairs were comfortable with a low back support. On each table, gracefully set is a candle votive, an orchid stem in a stark white vase and white salt and pepper shakers. The candle and the orchid make it totally romantic, while the clanking of cutlery and the soft talks creative a conducive environment for a casual business dinner, family dinner or a social gathering.

The staff was friendly and guided us well while placing our order. Most people were beginning their meals with wine/mocktails or other drinks. But we decided to go for a soup instead, while my uncle ordered a drink. We ordered a crab and bamboo shoot soup. The soup was served in a mug like bowl which had two ears, and hence no need to drink the same with a soup spoon. But we realized that a little too late and started sipping with a table spoon :P The soup was a clear soup and boiling hot. The crab was succulent, the bamboo crisp but the ginger pieces were too big and overpowered all the other flavours. Had it not been for the ginger-overdose, I'd have loved the soup!

With the soup we ordered a chicken dish with broccoli(appetizer). The chicken was tender, the broccoli was crunchy, the thick accompanying red gravy was spicy and tangy. All in all a very well prepared and presented dish.

For main course we ordered fish(pomphret) in green sauce (as we needed something less spicy) and vegetable fried rice. The restaurant staff suggested ordering plain rice so that we can enjoy the green curry without altering the taste. But we decided to go with the vegetable rice as it added more flavour. Our choice was right. The vegetable fried rice was nicely flavoured though less spicy. The pomphret in green sauce was creamy and very well prepared. By the time we were through with our meal, we just had enough space left for dessert!

We ordered a caramel pudding and a coconut pudding. The coconut custard was huge! Cut into 4 rectangles, it was enough to suffice three, not do hungry diners who have a slight craving for dessert. The coconut pudding was too coconuty, so unless you like coconut, do not order this. Also, it was heavy on the stomach and calories. The caramel pudding was a winner! The custard had the perfect juggle, while the caramel was not bitter, yet brown and thick!

We wound up our meal in about 1.5 hours. Not because the service was slow, but because we really liked sitting there, savouring each bite and each sip. By the time we paid up and left, the place was nearly full, that too on a Friday night. That just speaks for the crowds that they usually get. So I suppose if you're planning to drop by at Tamnak Thai on a Saturday or Sunday, it's advisable you book your table in advance.

The place is expensive. A meal for three with one drink, one soup, one appetizer, one curry, one rice, 2 dessert and 'tipping' cost us about Rs. 2,600/- which comes to about Rs. 866/- per person, which certainly is a rare indulgence.

Ambiance : 8/10
Soup: 6/10
Appetizers: 9/10
Main Course: 9/10
Staff: 8/10
Dessert: 7/10
Pricing: 6/10

PS - you can save a few bucks by heading to Natural's ice cream, right next to Tamnak Thai for natural dessert! :)

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Tacos - a mexican treat

Tacos is a traditional mexican treat made of maize/wheat flour filled with vegetable, meat stuffing and served with salad or salsa. I do not quite remember when I heard about tacos. Perhaps it was while I ate tortillas with cheese dip at Creme Centre, Bandra that I googled up for tortillas and in the process stumbled upon another mexican treat, TACOS!

I like to experiment with food, but somehow I never found tacos on the menu card of most restraunts I had been to. Even if I did, the people dinign with me weren't quite experimental. About a month back a senior of mine in office told me about her delicious dinner of home-made tacos. I immediately took down the recipe for the taco shells and the rajma stuffing (kidney beans in tomato).

Realizing that taco shells were no easy task, I kept delaying 'when to try making tacos', until I found ready-to-stuff taco shells at a nearby departmental store. Delighted, I indulged in some mexican culinary treat for sunday's dinner.

(A packet of 10 small-size hard taco shells, ready to be stuffed : Rs. 30/- only)

(The stuffing: rajma(kidney beans) in tomato gravy, grated cheese with pepper and cabbage shreds)

(Tacos, ready to be savoured: Layer one- cabbage; Layer two- rajma in tomato gravy; Layer three- Cheese and pepper)

(Stuffed Taco, up, close and personal)

I wondered if vegetarian taco turned out to be this delicious, how'd the non-vegetarian be? That's next on my what-cooking/dish-to-try-out list!
Incase you do not get ready-made taco shells, you can make your own! For recipe of HARD TACO SHELLs & RAJMA STUFFING, go here--->
Though, I used a different recipe for the rajma stuffing, after all what suits your taste buds is what you should cook, why always follow cookbooks blindly?!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Strawberry Milkshake!!

If Life gives you strawberries....make milkshake! :D

About two weeks back, at my bhabhi's place in kandivali, I had the most heavenly strawberry milkshake.

Inspired by her magical milkshake, I made my own!

These strawberries look tempting!

They go into the blender with cold milk and some sugar's done and nicely chilled!

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Pizzeria - Pizza & Pasta by the Bay....

For all of the four years that I've been in Mumbai, I've been passing By Pizzeria and Jazz by the Bay, whiffing the delicious smell of freshly baked pizzas and vowing to go there for dinner at the earliest. Ankit owes me a treat there, but I always wondered when that'll happen and if it'll ever happen! :P After a four year wait, on I met Pizzeria and Pizzeria met me!

Here's what I think about the place, ambiance, food, music, crowd and pricing-

  1. Drinks: We were four of us, Uncle, aunty, my cousin and me. Each of us ordered a drink - one fresh lime soda(Rs. 45), one coke(Rs. 40), two mocktails of Rs. 85/- each viz. Bahama Mama ( Guava, mint and orange juice) and Alice in Wonderland (Cranberry nectar, pineapple juice and watermelon syrup). A comment on fresh lime soda and coke isn't necessary. But the mocktails were quite good, especially the Bahama Mama ( choice!). The Guava and mint, both strong flavours, contrasted beautifully to create this memorable mocktail. Alice in the Wonderland was on the sweeter side and I left a sweet after taste. There are just four other mocktails to choose from, luckily, each carry a description of ingredients, so make your choice wisely!

  2. Pasta: We ordered one Pasta (Pasta Alla Pizzeria containing chicken, bell peppers, sun dried tomatoes in a creamy tomato sauce - Rs. 275/-) .We contemplated ordering another medium size pizza, but the two main course dishes sufficed. The pasta was tasteful, with the right amount of spice and sauce while the sun-dried tomatoes created a delicious burst in the mouth. The quantity was meagre, but the taste made up for it!

  3. Pizza: The 12" Large Pizza (Super Supreme - Rs. 485/-) took about 45 minutes to bake and serve. The wait was killing especially when the slight wind was whooshing into our ears amidst the soft music and quite a bit of chatter. The sights and smells furthered the hunger. The pizza was cut into 8 pieces and each of us enjoyed 2 pieces each. It had all my favourite toppings- sausage, chicken, onion, capsicum, mushroom, pineapple and extra topping of olives. I thoroughly enjoyed how the texture and taste of tangy olives, succulent mushrooms & sausage and the oddity of pineapple sweetness played with my sense of taste. I was the only one who enjoyed the pineapple topping, hence the good fortune of more flavour play in every bite of mine! I'd have liked another slice, but gulping down a glass of water I realized that the two P's were rather filling. There is ample choice in Pizza especially with make-your-own-topping being the most popular. However, one drawback is the non-interchangeability of pizza base. Suppose Meat Ultimo Pizza (pepperoni, sausage, pork, Italian herbs and seasoning) is available as a topping on stuffed crust. I prefer a basic crust and request the staff to swap the stuffed crust for a basic one while keeping the Meat Ultimo topping. Instead of allowing such whims of the customers, the staff refuses to do so. The only reason I could think us was that certain base maybe suitable for certain topping. But then again I suppose this drawback costs them big cash!

  4. Dessert: OK. I firmly believe that my stomach has compartments for every kind of food. In my case, the one for the dessert seems to be the largest! We ordered brownie with ice cream (Rs. 95) and Apple pie with ice cream (Rs. 95). The brownie was too dry, maybe even stale. The apple pie had too much cardamom and tasted better without ice cream. So I'd suggest ordering an apple pie or better still heading to Baskin Robbins, Naturals or K. Rustoms for dessert.
  5. Pricing: The total bill was Rs. 1200/- inclusive of taxes. It works out to Rs. 400/- per person (drinks, main course and dessert). For a killer view it offers, and the fabulous food, it is totally worth-it!
  6. Seating: The seating space is ample with round tables for 2, 4, 6 or 8 people. The table tops are hassle free with green/red check table cloth sealed between the transparent plastic tables tops and hence the stain free maintenance. Each table overlooking the street certainly has a better view of the Bay. In rush hour, the crowds are crazy and hence a reservation is advisable. We had to wait for nearly 1-hour as opposed to the no more 30-minutes wait that we the staff promised. If possible as for a table over-looking the Arabian sea for the sheer view, breeze and joy that comes with it.
  7. Service: The staff is jovial and well versed with the menu. They help you with the quantity to order and the pasta/pizza to suit your palette. But in the peak-hours, the staff does not respond to the calls of the customers or delays the same. Further, the pizza takes too long to be baked and served. The taste is authentic, but a shorter wait will only please the hungry customers. Also, they insist on you filling out the feedback form. I filled it up, in slightly excess details, but it was only for their betterment.
  8. Crowd: The crowd is mostly young. But it is a total family place and you'll also find several large and small families enjoying the dinner and the view. If you do not enjoy noisy places, or chaotic places, give Pizzeria a miss on weekends.
  9. I've heard that they serve a delectable lunch buffet. They also serve Gnocchi(Italian name for a variety of thick, soft noodle or dumpling served with varied toppings-wikigyan) and Risotto(rich and creamy, traditional Italian rice dish-wikigyan) So that's next on my agenda apart from stuffed crust pizza and Bahama Mama cocktail!
  10. NOTE:
  • For home delivery Contact No. 22856115/22820883
  • You can see how your Pizzas are made, just ask the Manager to give you a mini-tour.


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