Thank You, Zoinkers! :)

It’s the Thanksgiving weekend, and boy, are we thanking our asses off or what! Zoink! is relatively new in the market front and is receiving plenty of rave reviews on its Facebook page and the blog posts. So we thank you. Yes, YOU, who is reading this post right now. Big hug to you too. Spread the love! 🙂

Roasted Turkey with Stuffing

So where were we, yes, Thanksgiving. Well, it’s not an oft celebrated holiday in India (in fact, it’s not even a holiday), but it’s a day, for just being grateful. And what Team Zoink! loves most about Thanksgiving are the traditional family dinners with endless dishes laid out on that table to be feasted upon. Fortunately, Team Zoink! has befriended quite a few Anglo Indian and American families in the city who celebrate the holiday and whip up this amazing dinner and graciously invite us to their homes. We always oblige (why shouldn’t we, they insist!) With all that wonderful goodness of a hearty Thanksgiving meal, we thought we’ll give our Zoinkers! a lowdown on what the traditional Thanksgiving dinner comprises.
The pièce de résistance of the Thanksgiving dinner is that large beautiful turkey with that delicious stuffing sitting like a proud hero in the middle of the table, in all its shining glory. For those of you who have had turkey, you would know how simply yummy the meat is ( we hardly find any restaurants serving us turkey in the city, the closest that would come would be Subway, where you could have a turkey salami sandwich). The turkey preparation is an extremely time consuming process, and sometimes takes up to 6 hours in cooking time altogether. But the wait is most certainly worth it.
The flavour of the turkey is enhanced by the delicious stuffing that goes into it. Usually, it’s a bread based stuffing that includes bread crumbs, carrots, celery, onions and a large helping of the sage herb, that blends in the stuffing well and gives it an immaculate taste. While the traditional stuffed turkey is roasted, a large number of people are also deep frying it to give the meat a crispy skin. However, we don’t advise you to try this at home, as deep frying a large bird tends to be quite a messy and an often disastrous (and dangerous) affair.

Pumpkin Pie

While the turkey is pretty much the hero of the Thanksgiving dinner, it simply HAS to be complemented by a plethora of side dishes. And the most important of them all is the sweet cranberry sauce (this was popularized by Chandler Bing from F.R.I.E.N.D.S. when he is proudly showing off to everyone that he made the sauce when Monica Geller informs him that the sauce is so easy to make, a monkey could have made it!). A bit of that sauce along with creamy mashed potatoes and gravy with a bit of that turkey is literally a bite of heaven. Bread rolls, sweet potato pies, pumpkin pies, Deviled Eggs (halved hard-boiled eggs scooped with creamy yolk and mayo), green bean casserole and corn on the cob.
All of the dishes mentioned in this post are just as tasty as they sound. And that’s simply the typical American Thanksgiving Dinner menu that we shared with you. If you have any recipes or would like to let our fellow Zoinkers! know about any dishes that we’ve missed out, do comment below. We always love feedback!
And, Happy Thanksgiving! 🙂

Zoink!’s Wine & Cheese Guide

Pinot Noir Wine

While we do a lot of dinners with wine, we love to pair our red wines with that perfect cheese that leaves us abundantly cheery. Here’s a simple wine and cheese pairing guide that would help you on your next wine and cheese night. A few tips to keep in mind: Pairing wines and cheeses from the same region is a good, “safe” place to start wine and cheese combinations. For example, a good Italian Chianti and a potent Parmesan will provide a fascinating mix. Also, remember that the harder types of cheese (i.e. Cheddar or Parmesan) can handle more tannic wines. While creamy cheeses, such as Brie, typically pair better with wines that have more acidity, like a Chardonnay. Give salty cheeses a sweet wine partner (i.e. Blue Cheese and Port).

1.       Cabernet Sauvignon

Cabernets can be mellow and mild, hearty and rich. It has a deep red colour, with the primary taste being black currant. Other overtones can include blackberry and mint. Traditionally aged in oak, the wine also takes on an oaky, vanilla flavour. Higher quality cabs age extremely well (although a bit slowly), developing a sprinkling of five or six tastes within it.

Cheese made out of cow’s milk complements the Cabernet Sauvignon best. We suggest the Brie, Camembert, Danish Blue and Strong Cheddar for this red wine.

2.       Pinot Noir

Pinot Noir is typically a lighter-bodied, fruit-forward red wine. Its flavours are reminiscent of sweet red berries, plums, tomatoes, cherries and at times a notable earthy or wood-like flavour, depending on specific growing conditions.

The distinct floral and fruity fragrance of this wine is most suited for Swiss, Brie, Gruyere and Muenster cheeses. Avoid blue cheese with the Pinot Noir – disastrous pairing.

3.       Shiraz/Syrah

Syrah or Shiraz is a dark-skinned grape grown throughout the world and used primarily to produce powerful red wines. Strong flavours like black cherries and roasted pepper are very distinct of this wine.

With the extremely fruity flavour of a Shiraz, cheeses like Farmhouse Cheddar, Edam, Gouda and Alpine-style cheese are recommended which really help enhancing the flavour of the wine.

Fruity Merlot Wine

4.  Merlot

Merlot is the Zoink! Team’s favourite red wine. It has a very versatile flavour profile and we love it because it can be paired with anything from meats and vegetables to pastas and salads. A range of fresh flavors such as plums, cherries, blueberries and blackberries mixed with cocoa and black pepper tones, often dominate this type of red wine. This medium bodied red wine with its fruity juicy flavours often make it a hit among the ladies.

The fruit flavours of this often are quite dominant and their flavour is enhanced when complemented with Brie, Camembert, Cheddar, Gorgonzola, Gouda, Gruyere, Jarlsberg, Parmesan

5.  Chianti

Chianti comes from the Chianti region of Tuscany, Italy. Chianti is a red wine, strong and bold. Typical flavors in a Chianti include cherry, plum, strawberry, spice, almonds, tobacco, vanilla and coffee. Chianti goes well with well-seasoned foods and is often called a “fruity” wine, which makes it extremely appealing to new wine drinkers.

The strong cherry and plum flavours of the Chianti wine often go well with Italian style cheeses like Fontina, Mozarella, Parmesan or Provolone.

6.  Zinfandel

The colour of a zinfandel wine is deep red, bordering on black. Zinfandel is a spicy, peppery wine, with a hint of fruity flavour – berries or dark cherries are often the taste range. Zinfandel goes well with “typical American” food – pizza, burgers, and steaks. It’s hearty enough to match up with thick red sauces.

With the extremely strong flavours of this wine and the sweetness being very prominent, a variety of cheeses go well with this wine. Blue cheese, Asiago, Blue, Feta, Gruyere and Muenster are a heavenly pairing with this type of wine.

Do you have any other fantastic wine and cheese pairings that you have tried and tested or discovered by accident? We’d love to hear about it! After all, we love our cheeses, and love how cheery and blissful it makes us with that glass of wine! 🙂

Top 5 2D foo-D!!

We love food, and we love foodies. So we cant help but love these guys. In no particular order, here are our top 5 comic characters who love food and hate diets as much as we do!

He’s the star of the longest running scripted show in history of television. The greatest comic creation according to The Sunday Times. In 2000, his family of 5  from Springfield were awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Still don’t get it? Do’H!  Homer Simpson.  The lazy, boneheaded yellow man from Springfield knows his donuts and that alone is reason enough for us to love him.

The only known feline who can be caught using a tuna sandwich baited trap. Club president and first tiger of G.R.O.S.S. (Get Rid OSlimy girlS). Philosopher, patient listener to ego maniacal ranting of a six-year-old and friend extraordinaire. But why we love him is because this tiger eats his veggies! 😀 You rock Hobbes!

Preferred customer for Pop Tate‘s Chocklit shoppe. Possibly gay* drummer for “The Archies“. A gourmet cook coupled with a metabolism that F tv models would die for and the most fine tuned taste buds in the world, Forsythe “Jughead” Pendleton Jones III**  has to be one of the best loved Foodie of all times! 😀

Collector of ancient roman legion helmets. A big softie with super human strength. A menhir delivery boy with a weakness for roast wild boar. We adore him as much as Dogmatix because Obelix … well  what’s there not to love about this bog boy with his good cheer and voracious appetite !

He’s rude, lazy, sarcastic as hell and hates mondays as much as anyone could possibly do. But he loves his Pooky bear and would die for Jon.. no, wait.. he would die for lasagna. Though we hate the way he bullies Odie, we just can’t help liking the fat cat who hates diets as much as we do. Go Garfield!

So here’s our final line of 2D Foo-Ds! So who is your favorite 2D foo-D!? 🙂

Dreaming Donuts!

Tuna Sandwich Connoisseur

Faster than light metabolism!

 

 

 

 

 

 

These Zoinkers! are crazy!

Lasagnaaaa!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Team Zoink!

* What?? Don’t tell me you have never considered the possibility!?

**Bet you dint know his first name till now!! 😛

Foodies’ book of the month: The House of Blue Mangoes

Disclaimer:  This is not a book review. It’s a review of the food in the book!

David Davidar's The house of blue mangoes

There are times in a book which makes you desperately wish you were one of the characters because you seem so near, yet so far away from a wonderfully aromatic, subtly laced with saffron and generously proportioned mutton biriyani. You can almost feel the soft meat falling away under your fingers, practically melting ( writing about it is turning my insides into goo!) and the smell of the masala is lingering just beyond tips of your nose. And suddenly you are craving a biriyani, but not just any biriyani will do. It has to one prepared by Charity*. Then you cave in and for the lack of better option, you order in from Nandhini. While you are perfectly happy with Nandhini’s you cant help but wonder what it would have been like to have just a bite of the real thing.

Not many writers talk about food, leave alone inspire a craving. Occasionally a snatch or so escapes though, but most often they are used more as a background for setting a conversation, or framing a silence. Which I think is the most unfair because whether you are a foodie or not, there is no taking away how central food is to our lives. Good food always makes everyone happy. And it’s as simple as that.

Least as Indians we just can’t get over food and we drag it in, in one form or the other, to celebrate, to mourn. Isn’t Dewali much anticipated as much for the sweets as for the lights? And isn’t Holi without bhang a Holi without psychedelic colours? Imagine Christmas without it’s cakes and puddings, or Eid without it’s biriyani?

And Davidar gets it. Who else would show the height and decline in prosperity by pointing out how many courses were there in the feast? Of course we don’t expect anything less from a guy who chose to name his book after mangoes**.

Love Mangoes.. In any colour!

We think you should just pick it at least for the chapter where they go mango tasting. It’s a wonderfully whimsical chapter, rather unrelated to the rest of the storyline, about how the hero goes around the country to find the best mangoes in the world. Everything related to mangoes. You almost wonder if Davidar is purposely teasing and taunting you while sitting on a pile of mangoes just to see you writhe with craving. Unfortunately in the middle of October there is no place you can go and order, so for the next meal you placate yourself with a generous portion of grandma’s special mango pickle that you had been saving for times you are home sick!

All through the book, you get a sense of the writer as someone who loves food. Each of his words are chosen the way a master chef chooses his ingredients, with infinite care and precision. The end result is just as compelling; it’s sensual in a way that the writing inspires all the senses. The very last scene in the book is also the, in some ways, the sum of his book. The gleam of the blue mangoes, the smooth texture of the skin and the weight of the mango against the palm; the slightly sharp smell of the sap mixing in with the heady soft ripe of the pulp. The slight pressure against the teeth before breaking away to the first taste and feel of the juice against your lips and your mouth. The way your brain lights up at the information and how you feel complete with sun on your skin and more yellow nectar running down your hand towards the elbow… you can feel against your skin as your read it. And it makes you just as happy 🙂

Don't you just love licking it off your fingers! 🙂

*For us it was Charity’s mutton biriyani…Not fish biriyani that enticed!

**Best read in summer. Else you’ll be forced to dream for a bite till the next mango season. Telling you from experience!

The Gourmands are Here!

While we may not be champions born with effortless and splendid culinary skills, we proudly call ourselves the Zoink! Gourmands who like to mix business with pleasure (gastronomic pleasure, before you jump to any conclusions). While we dine at some of the best restaurants in Bangalore, our minds are always racing and figuring a way how the wonderful product could be marketed and shared better on a social platform.

Yes, we are a social media agency, but we like to focus exclusively on restaurants, because, that’s where our strengths lie. And just because we are a social media agency, we don’t want to abuse this space by just dishing out Facebook and Twitter gyaan taken straight from Mashable. No, sir. We want to create a space where we can discuss our favourite food hot spots, favourite dishes, easy recipes – to unite everyone in the universal love trance of food. Coupled with that maybe, we’d like to share how social media is helping us spread this love! 🙂

Yes, we paid for the Bruschetta:-( No, we didn't get paid for the Z! Approval 😛

Many of you have already seen our FB page (those who haven’t, ‘Like’ us on the right.. Right Now!!), and have been asking us on the food recommendations that we dish out on the pages.

Just a disclaimer – whatever recommendations you see on the page are entirely by the Zoink! Team and are not a sponsored story whatsoever! We do not promote restaurants on our FB page. Period. There have been a lot of people asking us whether we are paid by restaurants to put up these glorious food updates. The answer is a big fat NO! The Zoink! Team dines out very often and knows which are the best places in Bangalore to eat at suiting your taste, cuisine, budget, etc. We will NEVER recommend a restaurant to our Zoink! followers that we ourselves don’t like, or haven’t tried ourselves. This blog space, and the FB pages and Twitter handles are dedicated to giving YOU honest recommendations that we know you’d love! 🙂

Before we sign off, here’s a little food trivia of the day – Did you know that carrots used to be purple before the 17th century? Yup, you read right. Purple (also the Zoink! Team’s favourite colour :P)

The Ancestral Purple Carrots!

The modern day orange carrot wasn’t cultivated until Dutch growers in the late 16th century took mutant

strains of the purple carrot, including yellow and white carrots, and gradually developed them into the sweet, plump, orange variety we have today. Before this, pretty much all carrots were purple with mutated versions occasionally popping up including these yellow and white carrots among others.

Pretty cool, huh? These Dutch farmers could put Gregor Mendel to shame! Follow us to learn more fun facts on food and get Zoinked! 🙂

The Beginning

How did Zoink! Start? Yes, that’s a question we’re getting a lot lately. Well, it all started on one fun evening when two very drunk  and extremely cheery friends decided that all those social media agencies out there didn’t do much justice to the fabulous food offered by some good restaurants in Bangalore.  No, really.

The Zoink! Team has dined in more than 400 restaurants in Bangalore and we really felt that a lot of the restaurant out there were unable to/incorrectly expressed in a lot of social media forums. With our deep understanding and love for food (even more than Edward Cullen* could love Bella), we realized the need for a social media agency that understands the best of both worlds – food and social media.

 

We are taking this integrated space not to offer restaurants only-Sheldon-Cooper-understandable metrics, fake FB Likes or forced fan activity. We offer quality content, trivia and facts on food many of the customers were unaware of, promoting not just the in-house specials and menus, but also the culinary skills of the big chef comfortably hidden in the kitchen (How many of us can even flip an omelette without dropping it?).

Being hard core foodies, we understand food. And being hard core FB addicts, we understand social media. It’s amazing how that 1+1 adds up to give a solution that not only promises a great brand identityfor the restaurant, but also retains existing customers and invites new potential customers. We don’t give the customers what social media norms dictate us to; being customers ourselves, we give customers what they want.

That's what we want, right? Steak, Chicken Fillet and TWO servings of Dessert!!

That’s enough about us. Lengthy blog posts tend to make us sleepy too. Watch this space for more social media gyaan and some of the best places in Bangalore to indulge that gastronomic urge!

And it’s only the beginning! (Buahhahaahhaa!) J

Zoink! Team

*who sparkles [giggle!] 😛

Word of the day: Zoink!

I know, I know… you been dying to ask,”What in all of good god’s blue creation is ‘Zoink!’?”

Well, there are multiple answers depending on the situation.The simplest is, it’s a sound. Like Wham! Bang! Aa..aa..achoo!

If you are Scooby Doo fan, then it’s what Shaggy says when he’s scared! Or Excited!
The Harry Potter fans in the Zoink! team like to think of it as the sound when things apparate or disapparate.

( For Muggles, that means when things magically appear or disappear… and if you don’t know what Muggle means, then it’s time you crawled back under the rock!  :-P)

It can also be a feeling. When you wake up in the morning feeling like P.Diddy, chances are you are feeling pretty Zoinked!

There’s also mutual consensus amongst the team that it also means a crazy contained kinda creative energy just waiting to burst out in rainbows and stars 😀

And I think that’s the best description of the Zoink! team as well!