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A Happy Meal at Uno Chicago Bar & Grill

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I’ve eaten quite a few pizzas in these 35 years. Some really good ones, some exactly the opposite. Some fat ones, some the size of zero. Some oozing with molten cheese, some so dry that the Indian chapati felt softer in comparison. Some absolutely fresh and aromatic, some giving away the synthetic taste of canned marinara. Some just out of the woodfire oven, with the buffalo mozzarella glistening against the cherry tomatoes and rocket leaves, some sadly making do with tinned jalapeno, shrivelled up mushrooms and stringy chicken.
Yes, I have had quite a few pizzas in these 35 years. But today I ate the best one of my life. A deep dish pizza that resembled a pie. Where the dough didn’t overpower the sauce and the cheese. A pizza that was invented at Chicago’s Uno Bar & Grill in 1943, and which has stood the test of time. Where the mozzarella folded in the chicken chunks perfectly without taking away from the flavour of the tomato sauce. And where, I could taste the tomatoes in the …

Taste with a twist at Baar Baar...

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You might want to check the credentials of Chef Sujan Sarkar before walking into Baar Baar at Khan Market. He's an illustrious one. One of the first proponents of the farm-to-table concept, Chef Sarkar's mark is felt at this sunny little restaurant. That is if you are seated on the top floor. The lower rung is stylish in dusky pink and jade, in tandem with its New York cousin, the original space where the Chef dishes out a modern interpretation of regional Indian cuisine.
Well, haven't we heard that before? Modern Indian, contemporary twist, nouvelle, et al... It was time to test Chef Sarkar's rendition... Or rather, the tricks he has trained Chef Harpal Singh with… We couldn’t wait. The sun was streaming in, the homemade hummus and crisps had been pecked on and we were raring to go. Winters are for digging into good food and after Olive and Ek Bar, this was another turf that promised fun.
While we waited for the food to be brought out at this Indian Tapas Bar, we sipped…

Kerala Kitchen at Holiday Inn, Mayur Vihar

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The thing about weddings is that you throw the diet out of the window. That is, if your lifestyle is controlled by one. Regardless of what your stomach can brook, you gorge on delicacies one after the other as if there was no tomorrow and pray to God about making it to the next day by popping a digestive pill. No meal can be missed because weddings do not happen every day. So, the pill with the enzymes better be a strong one! I’m talking about Bengali weddings, where even if you do not remember what the bride wore or how beautiful the hall decoration was, there is detailed analysis of the mutton kosha, the pulao and the maacher paturi served at the party for the next ten years at least! When I received an invitation from the Holiday Inn to partake of Chef Regimon’s rendering of specialities from God’s Own Country, I tried to wriggle out. I was just back from Calcutta having participated in the wedding of my only blood brother. The only thing the body needed was to feed on its own fat. …

Nitin Kohli Home... Building Beautiful Dreams, One Nest at a Time...

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If you have seen Sofia Coppola’s 2006 historical drama Marie Antoinette , thenyou might remember the scene where the 14-year-old Marie Antonia enters her chambers in the Palace of Versailles for the first time. The young Austrian princess who has been sent to marry the dauphin of France as a sign of political alliance is starry-eyed seeing the architecture and interiors of her now home. Her exquisite and opulent royal home. Despite being born and brought up in a palace herself. The fair lady almost gawks at the large halls decorated with European art-deco furniture finished with rich silk and chinoiserie upholstery, the flowing velvet curtains and the ornate gilded carvings on the ceiling. The shimmering glass chandeliers, the invaluable table accessories, the luxurious stain sheets and bedspreads. After exploring one room, she peeks into the other to find golden chairs upholstered with duck egg blue satin and a colour palette of ivory and pink ruling the room. Nothing is out of place.…

Purvaiya--- the aromatic breeze from Bihar

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A long, long time ago, there were jute mills in West Bengal. And, in those mills, the labourers were the migrated communities from Bihar, the neighbouring state. They brought a bit of their culture and a lot of their food in their own ‘promised land’. As they worked and lived in Bengal, they adopted the food habits of their new settlement and adapted to its living as well. But they did not forget the food of their motherland. They ate the simple meals at home and spread the flavours around. The merge and the mix were somewhat inevitable.
This simplistic deconstruction doesn’t really shed light on the plight of the jute mills workers when gradually the mills shut down one by one but it does one thing… point out how, with time, the food of the two cultures grew close. Yes, the foods of Bihar and Bengal have much more similarities than one might be aware of, but as I tucked into the Litti and Baingan ka chokha at the Bihari Food Festival called Purvaiya in Holiday Inn Mayur Vihar two days…

On a Delectable Trip at Orza

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There is a saying in my house that goes like this. “You don’t have to flavour mutton. Because, it has an intrinsic taste of its own.” So, in my Bengali kitchen, we cook mutton in the most simple and straightforward way. With the essential onions, garlic, ginger, yoghurt, turmeric and chillies. And we top it off with a sprinkle of home-crushed garam masala.
Hence, when I eat different variants of mutton or lamb at eateries, I try to figure out how different each dish is and how uniquely they have tempered the meat. At Orza this Monday, I ate a Kandhari mutton that was tangy yet subtle, the redness of the gravy more from the tomato slush than dried red chillies. The Awadhi dish might have been a tad too sour for my liking, but I must mention that it was very different from what I had of the animal protein so far in life. The meat fell off the bone like molten butter and the umami aftertaste lasted long. Food is a subjective topic so maybe once the tanginess is checked a wee bit, I woul…