The Food Week That Was – Celebrating The Men That Matter

Last week’s food journey was memorable. I re-discovered an old favorite restaurant. And made a new favorite. But over and above all of that, I had two special meals with two special men. Having the perfect dining company accentuates your meal, taking it to a whole new level, and I experienced that two nights in a row. Read on for the full story:

Mamagoto with my Papa:

Really, I am the last person to go around celebrating Mother’s/ Father’s / Neighbour’s / Kaam wali Bai’s Day. But this year dad and I decided to make an exception to the rule, and actually go out, dine and celebrate. Sometimes you just need a reason to go eat out, and I think this was our reason. Also the rains were making us both mope around the house, and there’s nothing like good Asian food to cheer you up. So we decided to brave the downpour and trek up to good ol’ Mamagoto for some steaming hot dimsums, and curry.

Mamagoto turned into Papagoto on ocassion of Father’s Day which I think was such a cute gesture with a huge Papagoto sign at the entrance. I was back to Mamagoto after a really long time. Sometimes we tend to visit restaurants when they launch, and then forget about these places because of newer places cropping up. The same happened with Mamagoto and me. I had a memorable meal here a year ago when their Andheri branch launched, and somehow the place managed to slip out of my memory.

I really love the ambiance here. Quirky pop art and Oriental anime adorns the room, and adds such colour and life to the industrial, bare walls. The meal we had was delicious, just like the last time. Dad loved the Honey Chicken with Bell Peppers which was the perfect balance of sweet and spicy, and is a comfortable Chinese dish. I particularly enjoyed the Gyozas where plump herbed chicken pieces came steamed and then pan fried. With the perfect outer coating, and a drizzle of chilli vinegar on top, I loved eating this! 

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My ‘The Bombay Canteen’ Experience

I visited the much talked about The Bombay Canteen four days ago. Yes, I know I am late to the bandwagon, especially since everyone rushes to review a new restaurant seconds after it has just launched. Some how I am always weary of those reviews since initial teething problems need to be taken into consideration. My The Bombay Canteen visit was long overdue, for some reason I was never in Lower Parel during meal hours. Having gazillion dining options in and around Bandra makes one lazy.

I had read and heard such wonderful things about The Bombay Canteen – impeccable food, innovative menu, comforting ambiance, and an ever smiling staff. I went and experienced all those things for myself. My The Bombay Canteen experience was filled with lots of hits, a few misses, making for an overall above average meal. I decided to do a review of the place initially, but I later realized nothing I say or write will make a difference to the popularity of The Bombay Canteen. It is a hit, immensely popular, and will do well irrespective of what we write about it, akin to a Salman Khan blockbuster if I may.  

The Bombay Canteen is here to stay. Here is my take behind this eatery’s unprecedented success. And why I think we need more such innovative dining out options in a city like Mumbai which is open to experimenting with what’s on their plate. 

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Three Things I Learnt From My Late Grandfather – And So Can You!

I lost my paternal grandfather a year ago. It was a difficult time. Even though we did not stay with my grandparents, I was particularly fond of him. We spent extended summer holidays with my grandparents at their home in Dahanu, during which I got to understand him closely and love him even more. There are so many memories that I have of him. The way he used to call me ‘Madam’, his nickname for me. His love for wrist watches and how he used to observe everyone’s hands to see what watch they wearing. That old, white ambassador car with curtains on the windows that used to drive him to and fro. 

I could go on and on. I am writing this post to share with you’ll what a wonderful man he was. I learnt a lot from him – big things and small. But here are three pointers that he taught me, which I’m keeping with me for life. And so should you.

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Trailing Through Tuscany

One of the many reasons I love the power of food is it’s ability to make you travel. One bite of a dish and you are immediately transported to bustling cities or calming coastlines or old school villages – depending on the origin of that dish. I have never been to Tuscany, or Italy for that matter, but was looking forward to a foodcation at Prego, The Westin Mumbai. Their ongoing ‘Tuscan Trail’ at the hotel’s famed Italian restaurant, Prego, is where I would board my flight to Tuscany’s hearty and simplistic fare. I’ve had a spectacular meal at Prego previously, and I could not wait for this one to begin. 

A wonderful evening filled with warm company, delightful conversation, and freely flowing wine – but the food was the real star here. Executive Chef Rahul Dhavale excitedly chatted with us about his newly conceived menu highlighting the best of what Toscano has to offer – Farm Fresh local produce, truffles, sea food, meats, soups, cheese, steaks, ethnic pastas & wine inclusions. Cuisine from Tuscany is simple and hearty with the produce being highlighted. No overdose of cheese, no addition of unnecessary spices, and definitely no overcooked pasta here – everything is as authentic as you can get. I’ve never really been to Italy, but I’ll take his word for it.

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Lanka Diaries: Must Do

Here’s my second post of my Lanka Diaries series. I just cannot seem to get over the vacation I had. Hoping you have read the last one featuring the best of Sri Lankan food and where I found it. (Read it here). Lanka is so raw, beautiful, and untapped – it has everything from surly mountains, to bustling cities, to pristine waters, to clear blue skies. It has the potential to become THE next tourist destination. But I sincerely hope it does not. I rather prefer a quiet, less commercial holiday over a fast paced, ‘touristy’ one. 

In this post I jot down my ‘Must Do’ recommendations while considering a holiday in the land down south. Remember this does not even cover a fraction of the actual list. This is just a list of the some of the stuff I did there, and enjoyed so much; so I thought I’d share the love. There are only so many hours in a day, after all.

1. Feed a baby elephant at Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage

A half hour drive from the main city of Kandy in the Central Province lies a quaint little town known for it’s elephants. The elephant orphanage in Pinnawala is known for having the largest herd of captive elephants in the world. Over here you can see daddy, mummy and baby elephants in their natural habitat prancing around, or even bathing in the nearby river. The elephant bathing happens only at a particular time during the day, so make sure you research that beforehand because it is quite an experience. We went during elephant feeding time in the evening, where the grown ups were munching on leaves and branches. The babies on the other hand were being bottle fed (awww). Pay a little extra and get to bottle feed a baby elephant yourself. Don’t forget to touch the little fellow’s wrinkly, tough trunk while you’re at it. Accompanying elephant stalls try and sell elephant rides to you but we didn’t do that. These gentle giants are supposed to be admired from afar, not ridden.

Guaranteed: Maternal instincts towards the little one as you see him gulp his bottle down, and holds your hand with his trunk asking for some more feed.

Lover’s Tiff
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