Simply South at Courtyard by Marriott, Chennai

Murugakai soup, 
Milagai Bajji
Sundal
Onion pakoda
Kerala Parota
Chicken Biryani
Rava payasam
Elaneer payasam…………. 

Ah, see, you are drooling at the mere mention of these dishes right? Well, all this and more is what you can expect when you visit Courtyard By Marriott over the next few days. Walk into the Hotel and enter Paprika, their coffee shop between 7pm and 11pm  before 31st March to experience all of the above and few more. 

They are currently hosting a Simply South Festival where the menu has been altered to include some local dishes from the Southern Indian region. Chef told us that they have decided to keep the dishes simple, and spread minimal but offer all that people have grown up eating. There are quite a few live counters- bajjji, pakoda, parotta, non veg tandoor and quite a few more!! 

You can enjoy a bowl of hot Murungakkai soup or chicken soup [ depending on what your preference is] and wait for the plate of piping hot bajjji to arrive at the table. There is Vazhakkai bajji [raw banana baji] bread pakoda and Milagai bajji [the big green chilli] to choose from. 

If you were to look at the menu, your head would swim and you would be left in a daze. That is how elaborate it is. What the Chef has done is retain some of the familiar dishes on the buffet while incorporating the Southern flavours as well. 

I tried the parotta with a mix veg korma that was quite good, albeit tad spicy [ black pepper spice]. What me and my friend liked was that the gravies were not overpowered with masalas and all we could taste was the zing of the black pepper!! 

When we wandered around the buffet, we noticed quite a few dishes- avial, elumichai sadam [ lime rice], chicken biryani, kovakkai curry, lamb korma, cabbage poriyal, different kinds of raitas, steamed rice, apart from which there were 3 Western dishes- The beef stroganoff, Rosemary tossed potatoes and Moroccan Stew. 


Wait, there is more- there are quite a few kinds of salads, and an entire section dedicated to desserts- black forest cake, strawberry mousse cake, sticky date pudding, ice creams and ofcourse the South Indian desserts- Rava payasam and Elaneer payasam. 

My, just writing about it has me wondering how a person can do justice to this buffet~!!  If you are already salivating about trying some of what i’ve mentioned, time to head out to Marriott tomorrow… 

This festival is only till the 31st March
Timing- 7pm to 11pm
Rate- Rs1250+taxes [yes, it does sound pricey, but there are a lot of dishes available] 

Address:
Courtyard by Marriott Chennai, [Opp Ramee Mall/Hyatt Regency]
#564, Anna Salai, Teynampet, 
Chennai. 
Ph No: 6676 4000

Disclaimer:
The reviews posted on this blog are based on my personal experience. Also remember that restaurants and eat outs sometimes change with time, so does their food and service. So, kindly consider these factors while visiting the places. Remember, no two palates are the same. Bon Appétit  🙂

Dot Yum, Aloft, Chennai

After the elaborate tour and the insightful session into the Dining options at Aloft, I was now all set to try the brunch.. 

As soon as I heard the name, I wondered what the story was behind the name. The Chef did not know, so I imagined it was either something to do with the Hotel being on the IT expressway or there is nothing better to define good food than saying “yum” and by saying “dot yum” you are basically telling the world this is where your search for the most amazing food ends~! 

Either ways, I was curious to try the food here. The only other time I have eaten at Aloft was a year ago at a wedding reception and the food had been outstanding. It was Saturday and the brunch was on. By the time I was done with a mini tour of the property, I could hear the hunger bell go off within me. The Chef spent some time talking about the place, his experience, the kind of crowd that comes, and how the crowds are scattered through the week – between the guests and those who come exclusively to dine. 


The Brunch Buffet was earlier priced higher but now has been brought down to Rs 550+ tax. It had a soup, couple of starters [ mix of veg & non veg] and quite a spread on the mains and the desserts. 



The Soup was Minestrone soup, which was quite good, loved the flavours in it. The vegetables had been finely sliced and it was followed by Cauliflower fritters that had a Chinese touch to them. Crisp and fresh, they were hot when they arrived on the table [which is a big plus]. I declined further starters and went ahead to explore the Buffet- there were the few dishes that we see in almost all buffets- the Veg pulao, Veg noodles, but here apart from the veg gravy, they had one made with Raw bananas which just blew me away. There was also snake gourd manchurian which I tried out of curiousity but did not like too much [the veg has a unique flavour which is not my favorite].  The black bean veg curry was quite good, went well with the noodles.  They also had a pasta with pesto, which I felt had an overdose of cream [ normally pesto pasta is dry with just the right amount of pesto bringing them all together]. 

The buffet is laid out in 3 segments- the mains, the salad and the desserts. Again, the mains too were divided neatly between veg and non veg. There was also a live counter available, which changed periodically. In the Salads, I enjoyed the grilled Italian vegetables and the tender beetroot slices with sesame seeds the best. 


I was also offered an assortment of Indian breads [which is served in the table] and if you know me, you would know I ordered my standard Fresh Lime soda [salt], it is such a refreshing drink~!


It was quite relaxing, to just unwind and enjoy the food in peace and quiet. The place had a few other groups, but I saw people stream in around 2 onwards [which is when I discovered they had an afternoon menu- Sandwiches/pizza with beverages] .. I slowly made my way towards the Dessert section, and brought back a few treats- Baklava, Gulab jamun, Strawberry based dessert [sugarfree], few slices of watermelon and papaya and a simple white chocolate mousse cake with a slice of strawberry on top. There were more, including ice creams, which I passed up! 

Overall, it is a good value for money kind of a meal. And on a Saturday, after a brunch you are good to go through the day without thinking about food [ what to cook for lunch~?? being a nightmare for all of us] .. Infact, this would be an ideal place for a group to go hang out on a weekend.. Time to make some plans, are you game?! And next time, I want to try some dishes from Estia menu as well. 

I also had a cup of coffee about an hour later, which was the traditional filter coffee and not instant coffee..:-) Have to say, this was one good Saturday… 

Address:
Aloft Hotel
102, Rajiv Gandhi Salai,Sholinganallur,
Chennai -600119
Ph- 044 4592 5500

Disclaimer:
The reviews posted on this blog are based on my personal experience. Also remember that restaurants and eat outs sometimes change with time, so does their food and service. So, kindly consider these factors while visiting the places. Remember, no two palates are the same. Bon Appétit  🙂

Dining options at Aloft, Chennai

As you walk down the lobby, along
the curved path you see the textured wall with two words on it, rather three
words- Dot Yum and next to it is Estia. I wondered what those words meant when
Chef Ashok greeted me and welcomed me inside the restaurant. It was a two in
one restaurant of sorts, two different cuisines, two different décor, but both
under one roof.  This was the 1st
time I was seeing such a concept, and I was quite intrigued.
The Chef went on to explain how
Estia is their Greek restaurant, where they served up some amazing Lebanese
dishes, while Dot Yum was where they had the buffet for lunch and dinner, and
the weekend brunch as well. They also served alcohol along with the meals, for
those who request! And for those who wanted to create a combo meal with Beer
included, they could go for the Beer & buffet dinner for Rs1000+tax or for
the others, there is the Soft drink + buffet dinner at Rs900+tax. Else, if you
are just there for a good meal, then the Dinner buffet is Rs850+tax.

 The buffet lunch at Dot Yum on
weekdays is priced at Rs850+tax while on Sunday’s the brunch was priced at
Rs600+tax, which is quite the value for money, considering the spread they
had. 
Since it is a 24 hour restaurant,
they also had a different menu for the afternoon- Sandwich/pizza/burger with milkshake
priced at Rs550+tax [4-7pm].

Since the hotel is located on
OMR, it is also a good drive from the city. If you are in the mood for
something different, and maybe away from the city, you should head here for a
Lunch or Dinner on a Saturday, enjoy a relaxed meal [priced very nominally at
Rs550+tax] and unwind at their Wxyz bar in the evening before heading back on
the road home. Saturdays is when they have a DJ night as well. And through the
week Happy hours is between 11am to 8pm, how cool is that? You buy a drink, and
get the next one free~!!
Apart from these, you also have a
banquet hall where you can host parties of all kinds- birthdays to conferences
to wedding receptions. Infact, now they have come up with a new concept for
this space- “Your rate Our menu”. For those who have a budget of say Rs499 per
head, you simply tell the chef this budget and they will create a menu within
that budget [but mind you, it will be pure veg], if you need non veg, the price
goes up a notch and beyond [depending on what non veg items you are looking
for]
So, next time you are in the mood
for something different, you know where to head….

Pizza and beer fest till 21st March at Skillet, Hablis, Chennai

It has been a long day, and
nothing like a glass of chilled Amstel Light to help you unwind and maybe a few
slices of pizza? Well, if this is your idea of an ideal evening, then grab your
car keys, call your friends and head over to Skillet at Hablis, Guindy.

For the next 3days they have an
amazing offer running- one 
9” pizza and a beer for Rs 400 [all inclusive]. And it is not like they have limited pizza options, no way- there are 4 Veg pizzas and nearly 7 non veg options for you to choose from.This offer is till 21st March only… 



We started the evening with an Orange juice[this is not part of the deal, I had this while waiting for a friend to arrive] and the Margaritta pizza [ tomato sauce, plenty of cheese and olives]- though the base wasn’t exactly thin crust, the pizza was good, simple flavours. I also ordered a bottle of Amstel Light beer- it was good~! They have 3 kinds of beers- Kingfisher, British Empire & Amstel Light. Once we were done trying out this pizza, we got the next one which was a Pesto Pizza-  pesto sauce, olives, jalapeño, sun dried tomato, aubergines, coloured peppers and fresh basil with a sprinkle of cheese. 

The beer [Image courtesy- Karan]

Pizza Margherita


Pesto Pizza

Pizza Capricciose 

 The offer

 Orange juice

Pizza Marinara [seafood pizza]

I quite enjoyed this pizza, the pesto flavour and various
textures. We were 4 of us, and one non veg who went ahead to order a Seafood
pizza that he devoured [it had calamari, fish and shrimp]. I noticed the restaurant
also had a buffet dinner going on, which drew quite a crowd. Apparently the
buffet is available for lunch as well and Skillet is their 24 hour restaurant.  While we took it all in, the next pizza landed
on our table- Pizza Capricciose– it
had broccoli, olives, artichokes, basil and cheese over a bed of subtle tomato
sauce.

After about 4-5 slices, we were
full. I was curious about the other Mediterranean pizza they had on the menu,
but have decided to try it out the next time I visit. This was my 2nd
time at Hablis [1st time was to The Moon And Six Pence] and I must say, both times I have had such fun and enjoyed the
food. 

Address:
Hablis No.19, Grand Southern Trunk Rd, Guindy, Chennai, Tamil Nadu 600032 
Phone:044 2233 4000

Disclaimer:
The reviews posted on this blog are based on my personal experience. Also remember that restaurants and eat outs sometimes change with time, so does their food and service. So, kindly consider these factors while visiting the places. Remember, no two palates are the same. Bon Appétit  🙂

Avenue 195, Greams Road, Chennai

[image courtesy-www.ocr-it.com]
No, no I am not learning a new
language, but infact just telling “hello” in different languages. You might
need to know this before you step into Avenue 149. This is a restaurant, it is
an address, it is all about global cuisine.

If you are the kind who loves a
good buffet, then this is the restaurant for you. They have quite a spread, and
it is quite the value for money, if you ask me! Even though a buffet is a spread that I am not likely to head straight for, I was very keen to check it out here. All thanks to the kind of food offered and the service and price factor ofcourse.

The buffet starts with the soup, a
few salads, 4 starters, quite a range of main dishes, including the live
counter for pasta, Chinese noodles, and rice dishes, and then there is the
elaborate dessert section. From the Indian gulab jamun to cheese cake to not
one but 4 flavours of ice cream, you have it all.

Talking to the man who helped set
up and kick start the place, Chef Vijay, we learnt quite a few inside
information about all that goes into setting up a kitchen. It was very
interesting, insightful and fun discussion. He spoke to us about the different
ingredients they have used in the sauces and dishes, for example, their Pesto
is made with Coriander+ mint+ pistachio as against the traditional basil and
pine nuts.  The main concept behind this
restaurant was to introduce people to different cuisines and offer good food,
nothing more~!!

When I questioned him about the name and the style of the name board, he explained that “195 countries in the world are registered with the United Nations and therefore the ‘195’, the ‘Avenue’ was cos it was used to denote an area, an address.” The name board is in the shape of an arrow, just as it is all over to denote the direction. What a cool thing! 

And over the weekend, the menu
contains not 4 but 14 starters. Yes, you read it right.  What makes it all so exciting is that menu
changes nearly every day. So even if you were to visit the place more than once
in a fortnight, you are in for quite a few new dishes and surprises.

I had the Minestrone soup which
was good, lots of vegetables followed by a mix veg tempura [ though I felt the
outer batter was bit too much], then came the gobi Manchurian which was quite
good. And then came the big bowl of nachos with baked beans instead of refried
beans [ the 1st thing I noticed was that these nachos were round unlike the usual triangle]. While the non veg starters were devoured with a lot of Ooh aah, I
enjoyed the veg starters as well. Then came the two chaat items, both of which
were really fresh, crisp and filled with flavour- paani 
puri and dahi papdi chaat.  

Oh, and I also tried veg sushi [ it was good, but bland and needed the soya sauce to add some zing to it, I missed the wasabi]…By now, I had lost track of how
many starters we had. And that is when Chef asked if we wanted to order
something to drink- we each chose a drink- I chose the carrot & apple pie
juice, and while others chose the banana honey juice and the other one was
simply divine [ blend of orange, pineapple, strawberry and something else- it
tasted divine indeed]..


And then came the main courses,
we took our sweet time wandering around, exploring the buffet, choosing the
pasta, veggies, the sauce [ I tried the fusilli pasta with broccoli and zucchini
cooked in pesto] and also took sample of some of the other dishes on the
buffet. I loved my pasta [though i felt the pasta had been cooked a few seconds
more than I liked] and going by the reaction, others did too. There was tomato
sauce and cream sauce as well for the pasta. Was fairly stuffed and so did not
try the Chinese rice/noodles live counters, reserved it for next time.  I declined the request for Indian breads and
steered clear of Indian gravies.  We
spent some time chit chatting, building up an appetite for desserts. I tried
the tiny gulab jamuns, a small scoop of strawberry ice cream and the cream with
kiwi sauce.

So, if you are planning a family
lunch or just a casual meet with your friends, this place would be a good
choice. And don’t go expecting to see all that I have mentioned, remember I
told you the menu changes…

Timings: 12 to 3 pm and 6.30 to
11pm
A meal for 2 would work out to about Rs 1200/- on a weekday and about Rs70 more over the weekend. 

Address:
13/33, Shafee Mohammed Road,
Opposite To Apollo Children’s
Hospital & below Zaitoon
Nungambakkam,
Chennai- 34
Ph: 044 43195195, 044 28290195

Disclaimer: The reviews posted on this blog are based on my personal experience. Also remember that restaurants and eat outs sometimes change with time, so does their food and service. So, kindly consider these factors while visiting the places. Remember, no two palates are the same. 
Bon Appétit 🙂

Sunday Brunch at Little Italy, Besant Nagar

A hot cup of Cappuccino 
followed by 

bowl of hot sweet delicious mushroom soup
A plate of crunchy nachos with
salsa and guacamole
A bite of the cheese & corn
balls
and 2 kinds of 
Bruschettas
Oh and the rich jalapeno dip
This is how the brunch began on Sunday!


If you thought these sounded wow,
you are in for a surprise with the rest of the items on the menu.
There was freshly baked Focaccia
herb bread
,  fresh watermelon juice, a
whole selection of cold salads– pasta salad, macaroni tomato sauce salad, Greek
salad and coleslaw. Hop on to the next section and you see a selection of cheeses [ red chilli, garlic, black pepper and plain] with olives and a tomato+basil+ cheese platter as well

Apart from these, there were 2
kinds of pizzas [one with broccoli and other with vegetables], a Lasagna that was rich & cheesey heaven and the beautiful
melody of Rice dishes- Mongolian rice & Mexican rice. Oh wait, there was
also the Mongolian noodles which had me smiling [quite a unique blend of flavours]!

For those who love their pasta,
there was the live pasta counter where you could get pasta cooked just the way
you like them- pick the pasta, pick the veggies, pick the sauce and get cracking..

We are not done yet!! Wait up!
Take your pick from the bowl of fruits, or pick up a shot glass or two with
some yummy desserts- Mango cheesecake? Strawberry cheesecake? Chocolate mousse
or Tiramisu? So many divine treats all in one place, well that is Little Italy
for you! We were also privy to an extra dessert- gooey molten lava cake– chocolate cake with gooey center served with a vanilla ice cream that had a drizzle of chocolate sauce over it. 



This Sunday brunch is priced at
Rs 699 [all inclusive], I would say this i s total value for money meal.. Enjoy
a lazy Sunday morning, savour the dishes while enjoying the music playing
overhead.

Address: Little Italy 
E-50, 17th Cross Street, 
[Behind State Bank of Travancore] 
Besant Nagar, 
Chennai -600090 
Ph- +91 89392 95000 
URL: http://littleitaly.in/
Disclaimer: The reviews posted on this blog are based on my personal experience. Also remember that restaurants and eat outs sometimes change with time, so does their food and service. So, kindly consider these factors while visiting the places. Remember, no two palates are the same. 
Bon Appétit 🙂

Tour of Aloft Hotel, OMR, Chennai

“Where
is the place? How much further? Are we headed to Bangalore?” were some of the questions
in my mind the 1st time we drove down to Aloft Hotel in OMR. It took
us more than an hour, beating the evening traffic to reach the place. And today, it took me about 45mins to reach the place. I had been invited to spend half a day at Aloft Hotels and that it all began as soon as I walked in and was met by
Chef Ashok who spent a good few hours talking to me about the place and giving
me a tour of the property as well.  Aloft is part of the Starwood hotels group, SG as they are commonly known. This is the only property in Chennai, situated in OMR, near the Sholinganalur Signal and they cater largely to the IT and Expat community.


At
first glance, the place looks neat and chic, no over the top frills or fancy
fixtures. The lobby is funky, with colourful seating square light fittings and
a play area of sorts on the right side. There is the “remix” lounge with a pool table, beyond which are
a row of computers where one can check their mails or surf the net in the area called “stay connected”. Going further
you find their Banquet hall, typically used by Corporates for seminars and
conferences.

Now,
if you were to head back to the lobby and go the other direction, you will spot
a small area where there are a few ready to eat snacks and fruits along with a
microwave- people who visit and those who stay here can use this service- kind
of a quick grab and eat/drink on the go kind of concept. Very good one if you
ask me. Instead of relying on room service or wondering if there would be
anything to nibble on during those odd hours, you can walk down to the lobby,
pick up what you need, pay and enjoy.



The lobby
 The bikes/scooters across the floors

The grab & go counter



And
if you look on your right, ta da, that is where the W XYZ Bar is located- loved the simple clean look of the place.
Comfortable seating and simple menu. They also have a DJ playing here regularly!

Walking
further down the corridor is where the 2 restaurants are located. The interesting
thing about this is that both restaurants shall one space- Dot yum and Estia
are the two restaurants. Dot yum is where you find the buffet and a la carte
meals [Indian/oriental/Italian cuisine] while Estia offers Lebanese dishes.
There is a small seating area as soon as you enter that can accommodate about
30-40 pax and offers excl Lebanese cuisine. While the main kitchen/dining area close
at 3, the other kitchen works round the clock [catering to room service
requests], and they have one section catering to those who come in for a bite
to eat- sandwiches, and pizzas [which is the most popular] along with beverages.



one of the corridors and a room facing the pool

The special fittings in the 2 rooms for specially abled guests.



The
food here deserves a separate post, before that let us look at what else the
hotel offers.  There is yet another
banquet hall around the corner. Instead of getting off at the lobby, you drive
further down about 10 yards and that is where the banquet hall is located. It
can accommodate about 200 people comfortably and if more, then the buffet is
placed outside the area. Infact, my 1st visit to the Hotel was for a
wedding reception held in this very hall.

And
for those who are looking for an option to stay, this hotel has 129 rooms,
across 3 categories- the Single room, double occupancy and the suites. Tariff
starts at 8k and goes upto 15k.  Few
rooms have the lovely view of the swimming pool “Splash” outside. I quite loved the way
the pool is located- you walk out on the 1st floor to a separate area
where above a few steps is where the pool is located, below that a small casual
seating area and then on the other side is the Spa & Fitness zone. A fully
equipped gym “re:charge
 with a trainer is what awaits the guests. I loved the murals and
colours on the walls, oh and how can I forget to mention the Vespa, and other
vintage bikes across every corridor.



Top image- The corridor to the swimming pool, the spa and fitness center and 
below- the casual seating area below the swimming pool



In total, there are 3 floors with rooms across
the floors- and they sure looked inviting. A big cozy bed, simple décor, and a
neat bathroom, the suit has a large spacious living room.  A special mention to the Hotel for creating 2
rooms that is for the specially abled- the beds are lower and the bathroom has
extra handles and fittings that work for them. Kudos to the hotel for this~!!

Overall,
I was quite impressed with the hotel and irrespective of the other Hotels in
this area, felt this one should be getting better mileage considering their
services and competitive prices.



Address:
Aloft Hotel
102, Rajiv Gandhi Salai,Sholinganallur,
Chennai -600119
Ph- 044 4592 5500

Hollywood at CPK [California Pizza Kitchen] till 16th March

California Pizza Kitchen is a place
I associate with good interesting pizzas and have enjoyed myself the few times
I have been there. The very first was with a friend a day after they had opened
the outlet. Just the walk to the restaurant in open air is refreshing and puts
me in a good mood. So, when I received an invite to get a taste of their
Hollywood at CPK I was curious. I knew Hollywood is in California, but throwing
caution to wind went over with a few friends. 
The menu was a one pager, looked
interesting but on first glance I was slightly put off. Why? Because in total
there were 4 veg dishes while non veg were more than double that. I don’t get
it, why do restaurants not pay importance to vegetarians or is coming
up/cooking veg dishes that tough? Ok Ok, let me not digress. 
The first few dishes to arrive were
the pizzas- 5 of them in total, 4 non veg and 1 veg. See what am talking
about!?! [you can also check more pics via my twitter feed.. Simply look for “#hollywoodatcpk#]

 All the non veg dishes.. Pizzas, chicken and the Mango drink 

The veg dishes-The Malfati, Spaghetti, Pizza & Pineapple Twister

The non veg pizzas were –
Hawaian chicken & grilled pineapple pizza                          
(say aloha, grilled pineapple and garlic chicken with homemade pizza sauce on a Traditional crust)
Jamaican jerk & chicken pizza  
(you will love this jerk. Spicy sweet caribbean sauce, authentic jamaican spices, garlic Chicken, roasted peppers and red onions on our regular crust)
*Add smoked bacon 
Deli style bistro pizza                                                                   
(our pesto marinara makes this pizza iconic. Italian sausages, capicola ham and Canadian bacon, finished with lemon herbed rocket leaves and bocconcini comes on a Crisp thin crust)
Spicy sonora pizza                                                                                          
(some like it hot, we like it hotter. Our housemade roasted corn & blackbean salsa and Spicy smoked chicken with cilantro and lime cream sauce hits well on a traditional
Crust) 
The one veg pizza we dug into was
Rustica pizza                                                                                                    
(a cpk version of italian classic, grilled zucchini, saute white mushrooms, green olives And capers spread on a thin and crispy crust)
*Add garlic chicken   [yes this has a nonveg version too]

A special mention to this pizza- it was the only thin crust pizza on the menu.  Now, I don’t know about Hollywood and connected flavours, but this was good, I quite liked it. It was nearly bland, void of the Italian herbs which is what made it different.  Few sprinkled red chilli flakes to add some zing to the pizza.

Moving on, we ordered drinks, I chose the Pineapple twister, while few others chose the Mango mint ecstasy…. I enjoyed the drink, filled with strong pineapple, lime and mint flavours [even though it arrived after what seemed like ages].  It also had a nice big pineapple piece on top.

The next round was for the Pastas [I wondered if pasta too had become a staple in USA, but then with influx of people from all over the world I just convinced myself that the country was a Melting pot of sorts]. The first to arrive [once again] was the non veg  pasta- it was  the Spaghetti carretierra  (an italian classic with a california twist, with hot red chilies, rocket, bocconcini and Freshly crushed pepper in a tangy creamy sauce) . The mozerella cheese and rocket leaves were fresh and lovely [I stole them from the pasta]. The guys loved the pasta that had been cooked in chicken broth.  

What came next was a bit of a surprise to most of us. It was the vegetarian Pasta- Mediterranean roasted mushroom spaghettini (a fiery blend of roasted mushrooms, garlic, onions, serrano chilies , mediterranean Herbs and spaghettini tossed in extra virgin olive oil) – the pasta was dry [could have used a drizzle of olive oil or some creamy sauce] and was quite void of any flavour. A pinch of salt made a world of difference.
I am sure you are seeing a pattern here, yes, the next dish that came was also a non veg one.  The non veg were in for a treat. They were served the Speciality dish, which was California Peri Peri Chicken [Peri Peri from Portugal landed in California as well?] California peri peri chicken (boneless chicken grilled with our housemade california periperi marinade and baked in Our creamy sauce). The boys couldn’t stop eating it, or raving about it. Infact some went on to request for another portion of the same thing and polished that off as well.  It came with a nice big side of grilled veggies which I happily dug into.
We were happy to see another dish arrive on the table with the veg tag on it. It was the yummiest dish of the evening, I loved it and so did everyone else. It was Spinach and Paneer Malfati with Milan sauce [gnocchi] served with a side helping of chargrilled corn and greens.
And then came the dessert – California Delight (a trio of white chocolate, strawberry and dark chocolate mousse with cranberries And almond praline)- chocolate lovers are in for a treat with this one. It also had a side of Cinnamon sprinkled pita bread [naan]…  

The festival is on till the 16th! So if you are a meat eater and haven’t tried CPK yet, this would be a good time
to visit.
The pizzas come in two sizes- 9” and
14” and the cost for a meal for two should work to around Rs 1000-2000 [depends
on what you order]
Overall Verdict- I love CPK and so
shall definitely go back there~!!

You can read about my earlier visit here 
Address:
California Pizza
Kitchen
Phoenix Market City,
Velachery
Chennai 
Ph- 044 65108888
Disclaimer:
The reviews posted on this blog are
based on my personal experience. Also remember that restaurants and eat outs
sometimes change with time, so does their food and service. So, kindly consider
these factors while visiting the places. Remember, no two palates are the same.
Bon Appétit  🙂 

[Recipe] Veg korma

A bunch of us friends had decided to do a potluck dinner at a friend’s house and I was assigned the task of making a Veg korma. The other dishes that came were Biryani/pulao, cupcakes, paneer tikka, chilli-carrot soup, roti, curd, ice cream and cheesecake.. 🙂 
Here is how I made the korma [dint follow any recipe, just went with my instincts]
What you need- 
Oil – 2 Tbsp   
Cinnamon Stick – 1 inch piece
Cardamom – 2
Cloves – 5
Black Peppercorns – 1/4 tsp
Broken Cashews – 1/4 cup
Raisins – 1 Tbsp
Onions – 2 big ones chopped up roughly 
Salt – to taste
Yogurt – 1/2 cup 
Ginger Garlic paste – 1 tbsp [alternative would be fresh ginger & garlic chopped up]
Green Chilies –2

The Masalas:
Cumin Powder – 1 Tbsp
Coriander Powder – 1 Tbsp
Red Chili Powder – 2tsp
Turmeric Powder – a pinch
Paneer – 1 packet 
Tomato – 3 large
Carrots – 2 
Cauliflower – 2 cups
Potatoes – 2
Green Beans – 1 cup
Water – approx 2 cups
Note: All veggies to be chopped in the same size [paneer can be slightly bigger]

The process:
1. In a pan heat some oil, lightly fry the cashews and raisins. Remove all, incl the oil and set aside.  
2. In the same pan, add cloves, Cinnamon, Cardamom, and Peppercorns. Dry roast for few seconds and set aside.  
3. To the same pan, add some oil, then saute the Onions with Turmeric Powder and a little Salt. To this you can add the ginger garlic paste and green chillies as well. Once all cooked well, add tomatoes to this and saute for a few mins till tomato is soft. Remove and cool to blend.  Blend to a puree in the mixie. You can also blend the cashews like I did, makes it rich and thick. 
4. Now, while sauteig the onion and tomato, put the vegetables to boil in another pan. I did this on the induction stove. Cooked the Cauliflower, Peas, Carrots, beans and potato with a pinch of salt. 
5. Back to the pan- add the vegetables and the paste made with onion & cashews and cook till the oil oozes out of the sides.  
6. Time to add the masalas– Cumin Powder, Coriander Powder and Red Chili Powder. Add required amount of water to help bring them all together.  
7. Just before turning off the stove, toss in the Paneer and mix well. 
8. Add the curd and allow to come to one boil. [any more and it will split]  
Ta da.. Korma was ready!! At every stage, check spices and seasoning by tasting and add whatever you feel is required.. This tasted yumm, even if I do say so myself.. And well, the bowl was wiped clean by the end of the meal.. :-)) 
This quantity served 6 adults
Took about 20-30 mins to prepare [incl chopping time] 

Food Tales…. The taste

I was in LKG or UKG, studying in TVS School in madurai when this new taste got into my life. At school, we were served milk and biscuits post lunch following which we used to take a short nap in the classroom. An aaya of sorts used to bring a big vessel and serve us milk in stainless steel glasses. I distinctly remember going in for a 2nd helping of the milk, eating it with milk bikis biscuits. Mom used to talk about how I would make such a fuss to drink milk at home but would happily lap up this milk at school, which was infact burnt and had a strong burnt flavour to it. 
I dont know why, but a taste for this kinda milk stuck with me thereon. Even today, I am ok to drink milk that is slightly burnt, I dont mind the taste… 🙂 

Do you have any such quirks ?