My fabulous weekend of the month

My niece and my favourite God, Sandy’s, pasta and Mud pie, good chicklit, shopping and friendship… these are a few of my favourite things! (Well, that does sound kiddish, but those created a perfect weekend for me :) ).

It began right on Friday – I was reading a book called In Her Shoes – a touching tale of two sisters, one of whom is frivolous and irresponsible, but is burdened with dyslexia and the insecurities it creates. Tears welled up in my eyes a couple of times. Highly recommended reading.

On Saturday, I came to my Mom’s place, after giving her instructions to make dal with tomatoes and raita for me. After enjoying the meal in the morning, I met my friend in the afternoon at Sandy’s Chocolab. We had sundaes (served in laboratory beakers!) – I ate one with warm moist flash baked cake (that’s how the menu described it) at the bottom, chocolate ice cream on it, topped by whipped cream and a delicious & endearingly stubborn chocolate fudge ball. It was accompanied by a fresh baked cookie (outta this world – I wish Coffee Day would serve them that way) and a test tube (yeah!) of dark chocolate milkshake. Mmmmmmmm….

Having done my sin for the day, I visited my favourite Hanuman temple (but after checking out the Lifestyle sale). The priest recognized me and seemed to say a few words of blessing (but his voice was low and I didn’t hear the words properly). The visit filled me with peace.

This was followed by another fantastic day. I had lunch with a friend at Pasta Bar Veneto in T.Nagar – my first visit (long overdue outing) after reading great reviews about the food. The place is charming – with huge glass windows overlooking a courtyard, sloped roof, walls decorated with framed pictures and cheery porcelain souvenir plates, wooden tables and nice music playing in the background.

We had Penne Arabiatta, that was flavourful and authentic – the Penne and tomato sauce were made for each other. In places like Dominos and Eatalica they seem a very reluctant pair. At just over 150 bucks, it put Pizza Hut cheese pasta to shame. We also had a wood fired pizza – which was good I suppose – I don’t enjoy pizza much, except if it comes with completely desi toppings.

Dessert was mud pie (fantastic blend of textures and flavours – chocolate powder with the texture of sand - but yummy yum – with gooey chocolate stuff around it, with a thick, milky paste inside.) Wowwww… this is one unique dessert. And yet it isn’t too heavy, like chocolate cakes. It is not to be missed. And at under 100 bucks, it is the perfect end to somewhat pocket-friendly fine dining. I finished it off with a Raspberry Mocha Latte that was creamy and didn’t really bring out the flavours but was soothing anyway (friend agreed to share both, but after a few spoonfuls, decided that her tummy was full.) Pasta Bar Veneto seemed to have more coffees on the menu than desserts. It enhanced the experience, almost transporting me back to Italy, where I and my Dad headed to cafes for coffee every time the bus stopped somewhere. Yes, this place gets two thumbs up!

After the memorable experience, I shopped a bit with my friend – and got the lovely purple top that I’d seen two months back (but a sale was going on there yesterday). It’s supposed to me my birthday dress. My birthday is in March but I usually buy them during sale season in January.

Following that, I went to my aunt’s place, which was nearby. My cousin had dropped off my niece there and we had a fun time. I showered her with overdue hugs and kisses. Then I showed some pics of a 1990 family trip to my perima on Facebook. Later I sat my niece on my lap and fed her dosas – the first time I was feeding a child – I really enjoyed it. Later at night my perima called and said that she was amazed because my niece ate without complaint. This doting aunt feels proud :).

Finally it was time to return to Chrompet. So I took my stuff and said bye. I hope to fill more weekends with such wonderful outings and moments :).

Escaaaaape… and wait, there’s more

What is Vivek’s favourite theatre? Escape! (considering that he made the expression popular :-P)

Ok, since I started this post with a PJ, I presume it can only get better (since PJs put some others in a bad mood but me in a good mood). 

I recently watched No One Killed Jessica at Escape – my first visit. The theatre’s name was “Weave”. Small place, but fun – a reason why I liked it better than the super crowded Satyam screens. I think there are about 7 other theatres at Escape – each centered on a theme, with names like Kites, Blush, Streak, etc.

I think the ad agency got totally carried away with this naming-shaming (that was intended) routine, because the loo was called “Flush” (excuse me!!). “Flush” it proudly announced in big fat letters, where everyone could see, near the loo corridor. At least they could’ve called it “London” with an underground style signboard – that would’ve been stylish, but sadly, not in keeping with the theme.

The loos were spacious, but had low-ceilings – kind of lending a village pannaiyar veedu loo feel. To top it off, part of the interiors were muddy brown. Ok, I guess that’s too much feedback.

A primary difference between Satyam and Escape was that samosas are 65 bucks (yes, didn’t you hear about how expensive those fattening things can get?) and the caramel popcorn 85 bucks (a whole
20 bucks more than that at Satyam). Coming to the décor – it looks good, but the place is too small to awe me.

Now, a word about No One Killed Jessica – the movie was really good. Vidya Balan, especially was fantastic in a character rarely portrayed in Hindi movies. NOKJ was also mercifully short, so that we had some time to roam around vettily.

After the movie, we headed to Pizza Hut at the food court. Now I really have to crib a little ‘coz it is pathetic when they give my pasta in a plastic container with an aluminium foil lid – I am not at all happy with that when I pay 150 bucks for my pasta!

Then we checked out a few shops that had sales – Vero Moda, Marks and Spencer & other such places, but thankfully, we bought nothing.

We decided to end the evening by visiting Gloria Jean’s coffee (I’d read a glowing review in Metro Plus). The place always used to be crowded. But we were in for a terrible experience. This place is more expensive than most other coffee shops around, but the coffee my friend ordered was horrid – I don’t know how she managed to drink it. My Iced White Chocolate drink wasn’t great either – to make that worse, it came generously topped with crushed ice that stayed there like a big blob till the last sip.

Lessons learnt at the end of the day – Bad ones: blowing money on food is sometimes only marginally better than spending it on clothes you won’t wear and AVOID Gloria Jean’s Coffee. Good ones: Caramel popcorn is still yummy and you don’t mind the price as much as you do for GJ coffee, watch Saat Khoon Maaf and Dil to Bachcha Hai Ji (after watching the trailers  :-) ).

Hawttt Coffee ;-)

Café Mocha wins the “Sexiest Coffee at CCD” Award hands down! CCD’s sundaes were my favorites till now – brownies, chocolate, muffins, vanilla ice cream, cookies, blue Curacao… a variety of things go into them, but they never look as alluring as the Café Mocha (and downright messy when half eaten).

This sizzling coffee, besides serving as a great camera subject and an invigorating glassful, delights you till the very last sip – as the foam collects at the bottom, the last layer of chocolate syrup underneath trickles down into your mouth, through the foam, along the edge, in a tantalizing rivulet. The sight is too
hot to handle.  

The next time I visit CCD I am definitely ordering it – till it seduces me to the point of saturation.

Till then, Café Mocha, I am all yours!

Man, what a Cookie!

How far can a cookie craving drive you? In my case, it was all the way to Citi Centre, from Cenotaph Road. All for 2 cream brandy cookies at Cookie Man (yes, I am a bit crazy). But, oh, what a marvelous treat it is!

It has delicious yellow cream sandwiched between two coconut cookies. It is one of the few things I like at Cookie Man (I also love the rum n raisin mousse and brownie J). I’m not a big fan of cookies – not even the chocolaty variety (but otherwise I’m a dyed-in-the-wool chocoholic).

I had a terrible craving for the yummy treat today and felt I probably couldn’t survive without the cookie for the next few days (I won’t be in town this weekend). I didn’t want to agonize over it later, so I decided to get kooky for my beloved cream brandy and took the 20 minute drive to the place. The woman at the counter must’ve had sixth sense and offered me an extra cookie to taste (a small reward for my efforts, but also because they do let us sample them :-P… you probably know that.) The cookie wasn’t great and I didn’t end up buying it. I felt sorry for her, and so, bought a “snowy” cookie along with my cream brandies. 

The cookies are waiting in a package, for me to sink my teeth into nirvana… I’m going mmm just thinking about them! (But only 1 cookie a day! So, the other will be consumed tomorrow. I’ll probably give off suspicious “snowy” to the husband – I am biased towards anything but the brandy cookie).

I think the best way to end this article is provide a list of sinful treats that are worth a bit of travel (but they’re best done right when you have the craving – don’t wait!):

-          Belgian Chocolate Drink with tantalizing toppings of ice cream and whipped cream at Coffee World
-          Chocolate potions and waffles at Sandy’s Chocolab
-          The apple pie and brownie at French Loaf
-          The delicious array of cakes at Carnival, Alwarpet – plus, they make birthday cakes that are simply out-of-this-world

The above is a recycled list because I’ve never bothered to go anywhere else, as these places haven’t allowed me to extend my quest beyond them. Sandy’s is the pick of the lot – I haven’t tried a lot of stuff there, but there’s something about the place that is completely addictive.