To Leh and Back! :)

So one of our Zoinkers! visited the beautiful city of Leh recently and had a few foodie pictures to share. According to her, Leh (located in the state of Jammu & Kashmir) is not one of the strongest foodie places in the country for gourmands, but due to its picturesque view and landscape, is a must visit.

The view of Leh from ANY angle is simply breathtaking!

And while we were walking about, the delicious aroma of Aloo Tikki wafted through the air and caught our attention.

We managed to click something without letting our drool fog the camera lens.

And the long wait finally came to an end. Aloo Tikki and Chhole basted with mint and tamarind chutney. Yum!

And also indulged our sweet tooth with some de-lish garama garam Gulab Jamun.

And then snuck back for a crispy Dosa.

A visit to Leh without a visit to a local Tibetan restaurant is just not done.

A bowl of hot, steaming Thukpa. We found this okay, and also noticed that most of the dishes here had way too much soya sauce in them.

No, they’re not all the same. Each one has a different level of spice in them.

Jalebis occupy a special place in our hearts and their glass shelves.

These Mutton Momos were really good. They were from a small restaurant called Tibetan Corner.

Now this, was some good Thukpa. Some veggies, delicious soup, noodles and Momos. Quite a filling dish, and this was only a Half Bowl, priced at Rs. 80.

This is nothing but a bowl of mutton broth, which is constantly stewing in the kitchen. Perfectly flavoured and comforting.

Half Plate of Lamb Chowmein priced at Rs.40

This amazing chutney with their guarded secret ingredient was spicy, packed with a hundred flavours and brought every dish to life.

The kitchen team behind the awesome food at Tibetan Corner.

We also took a walk along the market picking up nuts, figs and the like.

And there are a plethora of options to choose from. You would have to bargain a lot with many sellers, if you’re not a local.

And then we stopped for another plate of Momos. The appetite is never satiated. Sigh.

Rinchen Cafeteria is located in Khardungla pass, the highest motorable pass in the world at 18,380 ft, making it the highest cafeteria in the world.

Where they had a fun Maggi story that was very enticing.

So we were enticed and tried a bowl of hot, yummy, the most tasty Maggi at the highest cafeteria in the world! 🙂

And also learnt about the benefits of black tea.

As well as the Siachen Glacier, which we thought all of our Zoinkers! should know about.

And this is us signing off with a last shot of the breathtaking view from the highest cafeteria in the world. Enjoy! 🙂

Desi Ishtyle Quenchers!

Yes, we know, we’ve taken quite a hiatus from our blog posting, and we apologize (we do welcome brickbats in our inbox just in case you feel like, er, venting). Anyway, we’re back and we promise you the blog posts will remain just as awesome as they used to be 😀

Summer is officially here and the sun is not being friendly to Bangalore at all this summer. The scorching heat, bad heat waves and humid weather is tiring us out way too quickly and making us uber thirsty. While we never run out of a stash of our chilled beers, we decided to put together a list of some great thirst quenchers for the season desi style.

Lassi:

You couldn’t have been living in India without being familiar with this wonderful drink. Traditional Lassi is a savoury drink sometimes flavoured with ground roasted cumin while sweet Lassi on the other hand is blended with sugar or fruits instead of spices. Enter any Punjabi household and watch how the refills of your Lassi never stop as you wolf down the Makki di rotis. (for the summer, we suggest a refreshing Mango Lassi, a recipe of which could be found here)

 

Kokum Sherbet: 

Kokum Sherbet is synonymous with Indian coastal cuisine and is an extremely popular drink in Mangalore and Konkan regions of Maharashtra and Goa as well. This drink is made from Kokum extract, sugar, and a hint of Indian spices and is extremely refreshing. Kokum Sherbet is an immediate acidity reliever, and is also popularly used in cocktails in Goa to give your drink that kick. Click here for a refreshingly easy recipe of Kokum Sherbet.

 

Aam Ka Panna:

A sip of this fresh, tangy drink really marks the beginning of summer. This sweet, sour and spicy drink is largely consumed in Northern parts of India and renowned for its heat resistant properties. It’s a simple drink made from raw, green mangoes, blended with peppercorns, sugar and a dash of spices to bring that zing into this drink. Beat the heat this summer by storing up the Panna in jugs in your refrigerator. Find an easy recipe here.

 

Nannari: 

This lesser known yet delicious drink comes from the herb ‘Sarasaparilla’, a wonder herb, otherwise known as Nannari. The root of Nannari helps in curing many infections and regular intake of it keeps the body cool, especially during summers. The Nannari syrup is simply made of ground Nannari root, water, sugar and lime juice. This syrup is then used for making that cool Nannari Sherbet recipe. Find the recipe here.

 

Jigarthanda:

Jil jil Jigarthanda is an extremely popular summer drink having originated in Madurai. Jigarthanda literally means cooling the heat, and the ‘Jil Jil’ means ‘Cool Cool’ denoting that the drink cools your body. This is an extremely rich drink and comprises of cold milk, malai, ice cream,  Nannari syrup and Agar Agar (China grass) or Badam pisin (now used in most shops). It is extremely popular in Madurai as it is vastly available in road-side pull ins and small shops. Get a fun recipe here.

 

So those are our favourite desi coolers for the summers. How are you beating the heat? Leave your comments below, and keep Zoinking! 🙂

A slice of Italy! :)

Mmm, pizzas. That piece of bread smeared with sauce, veggies, meat and oodles of cheese that make our office days so much better (we know you agree)! And these delicious treats are just 30 minutes away that make this an office habit come way too easy (we prefer the freshly baked wood-fire-oven-ones actually, but we don’t even let greasy boxes come in our way of our appetite)! 😀

Pizza is Greek in origin. The Ancient Greeks covered their bread with oils, herbs and cheese. In Byzantine Greek, the word was spelled πίτα or pita, meaning pie. The word has now spread to Turkish as pide, and Bulgarian, Croatian and Serbian as pita, Albanian as pite and Modern Hebrew pittāh. The Romans developed placenta, a sheet of dough topped with cheese and honey and flavored with bay leaves. Modern pizza originated in Italy as the Neapolitan pie with tomato. In 1889, cheese was added.

The bottom of the pizza, called the ‘crust’, may vary widely according to style—thin as in a typical hand-tossed pizza or Roman pizza, or thick as in a typical pan pizza or Chicago-style pizza. It is traditionally plain, but may also be seasoned with garlic, or herbs, or stuffed with cheese.

Be it an office lunch, a night out with friends or a party at home, a big food comforter for us has been that unforgettable pizza. And here are our top 5 places in the city that get it right for us:

1. Huckleberry:

Nestled in a small corner near Toit in Indiranagar, this little restaurant is the perfect pizzeria haven. One of the few places in Bangalore using a wood fire oven, Huckleberry uses fresh ingredients which makes their pizzas stand out in taste and quality. Try their Lamb and Caramelized Onion pizza and the Jalapeno and Sweet Corn pizza. It’s simply delicious!

2. Little Italy:

This is one of our favourite Italian restaurants that never disappoints us. While they are purely vegetarian, their freshly made thin crust pizzas are really to die for. Our favourites here are Pizza ala Vodka (Mozzarella, Parmesan, jalapeno, red pepper, capers, pineapple and a dash of vodka) and the incredibly sinful four cheese pizza, Calabrese (Mozzarella, Gouda, Cheddar, Miraj cheese and olives). Orgasmic.

3. Pizzeria Romano:

One of the first through and through city-based pizzerias in Bangalore, Pizzeria Romano is a crowd favourite. A restaurant theme befitting that of Hollywood and rock ‘n’ roll, the pizzas rolled out are 100% Italian and spiced up to your liking. We suggest the Roadies Pizza (crushed garlic, Kalamata olives, marinated mushroom and Mozzarella) and the super indulgent Buffalo Soldier (grilled chicken in spicy Buffalo wing sauce, diced tomatoes, onion, Cheddar and Mozzarella).

4. Toit:

A great pub in Bangalore serving up some equally great food, this place is not famed too much for their pizzas, but we really like them. Something about the ambience, the great booze, the crowd and the music that makes those thin crust pizzas a whole lot tastier and crunchier. We are big fans of the Seafood Pizza (loaded up with all of the freshest seafood) and the Mexican Beef & Jalapeno Pizza (the flavours make it more exotic and tasty).

5. Domino’s Pizza:

Yeah, don’t kill us. While we like all of those amazingly exotic woodfire thin crust pizzas, we need our shot of greasy pizzas off cardboard boxes from time-to-time as well. And, Domino’s is really one of the best among the chains. We love the Mexican  Green Wave pizza (onion, capsicum,  tomato jalapeno and Mexican herbs) and Chicken Golden Delight pizza (golden corn, double BBQ chicken and extra cheese) loaded with the Cheese Burst. One bite and all of that cheesy goodness takes you to heaven. Guaranteed.

If you’d like to sample a variety of pizzas, without having the whole pie, try Vetos in Koramangala. You pay per slice and the slices are huge, mind you. But you can easily try a few and figure out your favourites 🙂

And those are our top 5 pizzerias for us in Bangalore. Do you agree? We’d love to hear your favourite hotspots in the city! 🙂

Toast to your Valentine! :-)

Yes, yes, We know! Love’s in the Air and all of us are grinning silly ; either thinking about your valentine or watching other people have silly smiles on the faces that they just can’t seem to wipe off 🙂

Anyways, we could not help but ask ourselves, so which would be the most romantic place in Bangalore to take your guy/girl out for a night to remember! There were quite a few options and we could not narrow it down to one. So here are the top 5 that we decided at Zoink, these are the places which is bound to bowl over your darling to fall in love you.. All over again! 🙂

In no particular order here are our picks…

1. Under the Mango Tree : Apart from the rustic romantic ambiance lend by the mango tree, they are also offering a five course meal. Starting it off is corn n chilly tangy broth followed by light  salads, smoked chicken and Waldorf. Then come the  high light of lobster raviolli in creamy wine sauce & sundried tomato pate (Ymmm!!!) and Hawaian cottage cheese with hot turkish salsa.

And also to set the mood are wines to complement and desserts for completing the indulgence! Priced at Rs 1200 per couple we think it’s a bargain! Call 22111112/3/4 or 9686601021 for making reservations.

2. Olive Beach*: Set smack in the middle of the city ( Near Brigade Road) is a tiny Mediterranean oasis off to which you can whisk away your sweetheart to whisper sweet nothings to. And no need to stay hungry while you gaze into her deep brown eyes, instead reward your other senses with dishes like Smoked salmon Tartare with Toasted Sesame Brioch or Pit roasted chicken with pomegranate glaze. Then both of you can feed each other bites of Pistachio crusted lamb tenderloin,Lobster tail ravioli with saffron butter or Tomato and red pepper risotto with provolone. Toast to your love with raspberry sorbet. All this for Rs 3000* per couple.

3. Ebony : They keep asking you to treat your angel to heavenly food among the clouds and we sure agree with them. The food is exquisite and the view 13 floors up, while not at cloud levels, is high enough for you to feel the high! 🙂 This has been one of the all time favorite spots of Zoinkers and we are sure you’ll not be disappointed one bit!

4. Huckleberry *: ‘Cook for love’ is the theme all over here at this joint in Indra Nagar making the dinner a wee bit more personal and special. The treat is a 4 course dinner including wine pairing for each course and the dessert course can be made by you for your sweet heart ( with excellent assistance from chefs who know what they are doing even if you dont! 😉 ) Either ways, Valentine or not, their brick baked pizzas are beyond scrumptious and a must have for anyone who loves good food. You just cant go wrong here paying Rs 2400* per couple

5. The Lalit Ashok : This one just takes the cake – Moon lit garden with your own private tent and romantic dinner awaiting both of you inside. What could be more perfect?! They also give you the choice between Mediterranean and Indian cuisine. You can have a bottle of bubbly while gazing at the stars or better still, at each other! To book your private tent call 080 – 3052 7777 now!

Well, so what do you think of our picks? You know a secret hideout which is juust purrrfect for Valentine’s? Do share the secret with us!

* Book through PoshVine for these experiences!

Rolling in the meat!

Ever had one of those days where you’re at work and thinking of a nice, juicy kabab  packed in with onions, chillies, pepper and wrapped in a chapatti roll served hot up? Well, we certainly do. At least 3 times a week (refer the delivery orders during lunch time at our office to get a more accurate number). These soft, fluffy rolls have been a favourite of ours since childhood, and so yummy that made us fall in love with them at first bite.

So how did the legendary roll originate? The Kati Roll is said to have started its life from the Nizam Restaurant in Kolkata, a popular eatery founded in 1932 that sold kebabs and parathas and other Mughlai food in the heart of Kolkata. There are many stories about how exactly the roll got started. Some centre around harried office commuters who wanted something quick and portable, some mention British Babus who were too fastidious to touch the kabab. The most likely origin is probably more mundane, but in any case someone decided to roll things up at some point. Nizam enjoyed a virtual monopoly of this method of serving a kabab for decades, but it eventually became commonplace in Kolkata and later spread elsewhere.

The Kati part of the name came later. Like everywhere in India, Nizam’s used iron skewers to make their Kababs; they were easy to maintain and lasted a lifetime. However, as Nizam’s popularity grew, these long heavy iron skewers started becoming a problem; far more was required than could be handled. In 1964, Nizam moved to bamboo skewers that were lightweight and available in large numbers. These skewers are referred to in Bengali as Kati or stick, and the names Kati Kabab and kati roll soon stuck. The name eventually became synonymous with any kind of Paratha rolled with stuffing (even when neither Kati nor Kabab was involved) such as the egg roll or the potato roll, and later even for other breads such as Naan or Roomali.

The good samaritans that we are, we decided to help you out and prepare a list of places where we love Kaati Rolls we love in Bangalore.

1. Kaati Zone:

This is one of our all time favourite places for rolls in Bangalore, and the variety is impressive. You can also choose whole wheat rolls and play up with sauces on your rolls. The meat here is succulent, spices are just right and the taste is spot on. Try their Turkish Chicken Kabab with the Pudina Punch sauce and Chicken Tikka rolls. Super yummy! 🙂 (they have many outlets across the city, you can check their site http://www.kaatizone.com/zones.html  for more details)

2. Siddique Kabab Corner:

Ok, so  this place doesn’t score high on ambience but blows the charts for a rating on some of the yummiest rolls in Bangalore. This place is just the right place for some well done meat and rolls. Priced at a measly Rs.25 (last checked), their famous and absolutely delicious Nizam Roll, Beef Sheek Roll and Bhuna Rolls draw people from all walks into this small joint. You have to try them to believe them! (located in Frazer Town)

3. Chakum Chukum:

This place though literally a hole in the wall, serves some great rolls in Bangalore. Opened by a couple who wanted to bring the real taste of Kolkata rolls to Bangalore, the taste and consistency of these rolls is pretty good. You can even get them to spice up your roll with plenty of diced chillies. Their Double Mutton Double Egg roll is definitely to write home about. (located in Indiranagar)

P.S. The service here might put you off a little, just giving you the heads up.

4. Lazeez:

Frequented by JNC and Christ College students, Lazeez is a popular hotspot for college goers. Been around for more than a decade now, this place has some great rolls and definitely doesn’t hesitate to load up on the meat front. Succulent meat with plenty of spices make the rolls here simply fabulous. Our favourites here are the Double Chicken Roll and the Mutton Shammi Roll. (located in Koramangala)

So those are our top 4 favourite places for rolls in Bangalore. What are yours? ‘Roll’ in your answers below. 🙂

2012 and More Food! :)

It’s the new year and we thought what better to start this brilliant new year than by gorging on lots of yummy food! 🙂 So we found ourselves landing in Sue’s Kitchen in Indiranagar (which was a top 5 in our Christmas buffets in Bangalore post) and piling on plenty of Caribbean food on to our plates!

The Turkey in all its glory

The endless salad counter

Crab Curry straight from Tobago

 

Jamaican Jerk Chicken and Chicken Accra

The HUGE buffet spread!

Jealous much? 😛

Oooh, desserts! 🙂

Just Round 1 for us 😛

The lady behind it all - Sue 🙂 And. yes. That's Eggnog 🙂

From Team Zoink!, we’re wishing you a happy, fun and food filled Zoinktastic! New Year! 🙂

Pics Courtesy: Amith Krishnan

Zoink! Foodographer

The Fab F.A.P.S. Food Fest! :)

Remember the school fests and carnivals you loved attending as a child? Lots of food stalls, friends  running about in circles in ‘colour dress’, all the fun you could have and best of all, no classes! 🙂 The Zoink! team was reminiscing one of those days at work recently and decided to gatecrash into the Frank Anthony Public School’s Carnival held on December 18th.

This carnival was like no other school carnival we had been to. Sure, it did have the variety of game and food stalls, but it was the kind of food served to use here that impressed us bigtime. For instance, one of the stalls here offered us a delicious Pork Vindaloo (all fatty pork, mind you) with warm Sanas. Pork. At a school in Bangalore. They SO had us. 🙂

Robin Uthappa's fateful cameo

The fest was bustling with energy with children running helter skelter playing countless games at stalls, parents being tagged along with their kids, the MC’s providing a running commentary on a certain Coconut Shye we had to visit to “knock the coconuts and take it home to make a coconut curry”, Robin Uthappa’s cameo appearance (he was casually strolling about till the MC announced that he was at a specific stall, where he got flocked and fled the scene). There even was a stall where one merely had to ring a live duck and could take it home if they did so. Team Zoink! tried to ring the duck, but in vain. The duck just would just keep running everywhere!

Beef Cutlets and Chicken Wings from Lucette's stall! 🙂

The aroma from many of the food stalls beckoned to us, and we stopped by each and every one of them to try what culinary delights they had to offer. We began with Lucette’s stall where she had a host of goodies whipped up for us. We tried the Chicken Sandwiches which were simply minced chicken and mayo and was delicious, crispy tasty Beef Cutlets, and the best of all Chicken Wings marinated in red wine. We simply couldn’t get enough of them.

Moving on to other stalls (the stalls are mainly set up by the FAPS’ teachers or parents of the students), we discovered other yummilicious food! Hot dogs with fresh sausages and mustard and ketchup, beef sandwiches, Mac and Cheese, Prawn and garlic crackers; the spicy Pork Vindaloo was our favourite though. There even was a stall by Town Essentials (a gourmet grocer that mainly runs its business online) that sold amazing pickles – we liked the Mushroom Pickle and the Lime & Dates Pickle the most, and picked up a couple of bottles for experimentation.

Cakes and Marzipans from Candice's stall! 🙂

In addition to all of these amazing stalls, there were also those that were dedicated exclusively for you to indulge your sweet tooth. Being the Christmas season, almost every stall was selling home made fruit cakes, chocolates, candy canes, cookies, carrot cakes, home made wines, sweets and yummy marshmallows and marzipans. We tried every single one of these goodies and came out of the stalls licking our fingers clean.

You have to hand it to the parents and teachers here though. Given the generation of takeout and ready-to-eats, a lot of them turned up bringing packed food from home and whipping up hot dishes in the stalls for the kids. Add to it the once-a-December-stinging-heat-day on the fest, and kids demanding food constantly, it becomes sort of a hellish task. Zoink! salutes y’all!

So that was that. While there were a lot of other activities happening alongside (pairing up little kids with the choice given to the lady to pick her partner 😉 ), we were mainly hovering around the food stalls and loved every moment spent there. If your school/college is having a food festival/carnival  soon, please get in touch with us. We LOVE food! 🙂

P.S. Anyone who wants to purchase the gourmet pickles we mentioned could log on to http://www.towness.com

Anyone who wants to buy home made fruit cake, carrot cake and marzipans can contact Ms. Candice on +919886024790

Pics Courtesy: Amith Krishnan