Thursday, December 31, 2009

Annual Roundup of Eating Out

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I just cannot stop myself from humming the classic Sinatra song, "It was a very good year". As 2009 comes to a close, I look back at all the eating out during the year and pass my verdict. I wish I could have devoted a full post review to all these restaurants, but alas! the time did not permit (or they just weren't in some cases worthy of a full post).
I have deliberately left out the ones I visited in Paris. They are worthy of a full post review and will follow soon.

1. Five Guys, Wilmington - Great place for Burgers, fries and munching on some peanuts. Never knew a place flipping burgers could get me so crazy.

2. Ranta, Espoo (Finland) - Leave the Italian fare that dominates the menu. Go for the set menu including the Salmon soup and the reindeer steak.

3. 360 Degrees, Oberois, New Delhi - My favorite haunt in Delhi. Great Sushi's and worth sampling Risottos. Indian food is passable.

4. Chor Bizarre, New Delhi -The place to go to for Kashmiri food (I do not know any other in the Capital). The Tarami is a great way to sample. The Gushtaba is a must try.

5. Cafe Lurcat, Minneapolis - Minneapolis offers some fantastic dining. This one remains my favorite. You can read my review.

6. Las Iguanas, London - Craving for some good latin food. Hop into Las Iguanas and get transported to a whole new world. Apart from good food and a buzzing atmosphere, the palce also has a great view of the sites nearby, like the London Eye.

7. Desi Vibes, Noida(India) - Very touristy in its decor. Everything else dissapoints you. Stay away.

8. Zelo's, Minneapolis - Unpredictable ...both in food and service. I know the menu by the back of my hand, having eaten there atleast half a dozen times. Try the Ahi Tuna's really good.

9. Casa Sarita, Park Hyatt, Goa - Goan food never tasted so good. I have been a convert since eating there 10 months back. A must visit for all going to Goa.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Restaurant Zetor - A Review

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Earlier in December, I found myself spending 2 days in Helsinki. It had just started to snow outside and after spending hours in meetings, we decided to go out for dinner. The restaurant we chose to visit was Zetor. One of my colleagues had been there earlier and we decided to sample it for ourselves.
The setting of the restaurant is very rustic and country style. You can find tractors in it and a hen coop in the middle of the restaurant also. Now finding a tractor is not surprising since Zetor is the name of a famous Czech tractor brand ( It is also known as the Tractor restaurant in Helsinki). What is suprising is that it does not come across as trendy rural setting, but something done up in a hurry. Now what can one expect when a restaurant claims to be designed by the Leningrad cowboys.
For beginners, if you are going in the winters and need to store your coats at the reception, it will be Euro 2.50 per piece (Steep!). It is a good warmup for the steep menu prices to follow later.
The dishes on the menu make for some interesting reading, but be sure to ask the dish before you order it based on the name. We almost ordered the dessert because it was named Priest's Wife Bedside Table (and the description read like, "We Don't even dare to describe it here. Be Brave and ask us about it!). We asked and regretted doing it. The rest of the menu also has quite a few good ones, including a Tiger Woods joke.
The fried herrings for starters were good and so was the roast reindeer for main course. The reindeer was accompanied with a lingonberry glaze, which nearly spoiled the taste for me. Finnish beer was a good revelation.
Service was a mixed bag again. Our initial stewardess really gave us an impression we were not welcome and we nearly had to go hunting for our to take our order, but voila! there was a change right after the starters and the new person waiting our table, really changed the mood. We might just credit the extra round of beers to her cheerful nature and good service.
Overall, the place is a little hyped and made so for the toursity traveller, but it is the only place that I know of serving traditional Finnish food. Go there for the Finnish beer and the roast reindeer, but dont stay too long!


Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Sarsonwaali Grilled Broccoli ( Mustard flavored grilled Broccoli)

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Travelling across the globe for work has never made me miss home so much as it did this time. The reason was simple. December is the time to be in Delhi. The weather is perfect to grill out and spend time with close friends. Nothing can beat some nice cold weather and a group of friends huddled around the grill, cooking and talking. Moreover, the atmosphere is so festive that staying away can seem like a punishment.
When it comes to grilling, vegetarians typically tend to get a little ignored. While you take pains to make something new with the meat and chicken products, vegetarians are given the same tandoori paneer, gobhi and stuffed aloo dish everytime. It is a little different for me though. Having a better half who is vegetarian makes me ensure I have a menu planned out for her in detail. While sampling some vegetarian items for the upcoming new year'e eve, I tried out a little brocolli. Must say, it was a refreshing change from the usual fare of tandoori bharwan aloos and paneer tikka's.

Sarsonwaali Grilled Broccoli

Broccoli, washed & cut into thick florets - 200 Gm
Mustard Paste - 5 Tsp
Hung Curd - 1 Cup
Yellow Chili Powder - 1 Tsp
Red Chili Powder - 1/2 Tsp
Cream - 2 Tblsp
Cumin Powder - 1 Tsp
Mustard Oil - 25 Ml.
Salt - To Taste

For Garnish:
Chaat Masala - 1/2 Tsp
Garam Masala - 1/2 Tsp

1. Blanch the broccoli in boiling water. Refresh.
2. Prepare a marinade out of hung curd, mustard paste, yellow chili powder, red chili powder, cream, cumin powder, mustard oil and salt.
3. Rub the marinade into the broccoli covering all florets. Keep aside for 45 minutes.
4. Heat the grill and place the broccoli florets when it is hot. Cook till it is cooked and crisp.
5. Serve hot, garnished with chaat masala and garam masala sprinkled on top.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Mocha Muffins

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I have been travelling for the last 7 days (which explains this silence) and I miss the cooking part when I'm on the road. However, the last thing I baked before I left were some good old Mocha Muffins. The whole idea with me baking muffins centres around my kids loving them and me aiming to put atleast a dozen different muffin recipes on this blog. They are easy to bake if you follow simple instructions. Personally, they are also a good 'pick up and eat on way to office' stuff.

Mocha Muffins

Refined flour - 1 3/4 Cup
Granulated sugar - 3/4 Cup
Cocoa - 2 Tblsp
Instant coffee powder - 2 Tsp
Baking powder - 2 1/2 Tsp
Salt - 1/2 Tsp
Milk - 1 Cup
Unslated butter, melted - 1/2 Cup
Egg, beaten - 1 No.
Vanilla essence - 1 Tsp
For topping -
1 tblsp powdered sugar mixed with 1/2 tsp cocoa

1. Heat oven to 375*F (190*C). Sift together flour, sugar, cocoa, coffee, baking powder and salt in a large bowl. Mix well and set aside.
2. In another bowl, combine milk, butter, egg, and vanilla essence. Whisk until well blended.
3. Pour the wet mixture into the dry mixture and stir until moistened.
4. Fill into greased and floured muffin tins (only three-fourths full). NOTE - Makes a dozen muffins.
5. Sprinkle the topping mixture of sugar & cocoa over top.
6. Bake for 15-18 minutes at 375 deg F (190 deg Celsius).

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