Saturday, June 11, 2011

Falafel, grilled chicken and noodles for the soul!

To say that the last few weeks have been busy would be an understatement. With a house being done up for yours truly and her brood to settle into, its just been a life of running around like a headless chicken. So when a kindly viral fever took over me and subsequently Purushu, we had to sit back and take some rest. In the evening today, although still getting over the fevers, we decided to go out for a drive and ended up ordering take out from the Food Village in Jawahar Nagar.

See, Food Village is not some place you would generally gravitate to by just seeing it from outside. For one thing, their decor and seating leaves a lot to be desired. We had ignored this place for the longest time just because it looked so uninviting with its minimal decor and cafeteria like look, almost like it was just another one of those wannabe multi-cuisine eateries where the only dishes they could serve correctly were the regular Gobi Manchurian, Chilli Chicken and Kerala Porotta. The bland lighting and glass paneled doors all contributed in making this place look, frankly, unappetizing.

But when I finally found myself eating at Food Village upon the recommendation of Shailaja, whose opinion on food I value tremendously, I was quite impressed by the Hot and Sour Soup that contained copious amounts of exotic ingredients like shiitake mushrooms and tofu (as opposed to just the carrots and cabbage we are all so used to); the Caesar Salad that was not just filled with yummy bits of roast chicken but also loaded with Parmesan Cheese (a rarity in the market); and the heartwarmingly delish Pad Thai, which hitherto, even some of the so called best restaurants in India have disappointed me with.

With this background info on the restaurant's strive towards authenticity, I took the brave step today of attempting to try their Falafel, to soothe out my Taameya craving. I knew it would not be as good as Egyptian falafel, just because they were making it out of chickpeas rather than fuul beans, but hey, something is better than nothing. The fact that it came with some hummus was a good enough incentive. In embarrassingly multicuisine fashion, we also ordered some noodles and dragon chicken for the kids. We gave the order and they said that they would deliver it to our home, which was very welcome, as it meant we didn't have to sit around waiting in that rather cold environment.

Instead, we decided to induce more food into our waiting period by heading to our favourite joint for grilled rotisserie chicken, Al Barad, at Vytilla Junction. Here, a fine full chicken, perfectly marinated and grilled, was chopped into four and packed with the complimentary garlic paste, tangy pickled carrots, cucumbers and green chillis and qubus bread. I assure you, we have tried out so many places in town, but nobody does grilled chicken like the folks at Al Barad. While we got into the car with this "parcel," we got a call from home - it was my mom letting us know that the Food Village delivery guy had reached. Wow, their speed was quite impressive! Now we only had to wait and see whether the food would do justice as well.

And sure enough it did. The falafel was perfectly fried, without any extra grease and with as much flavour as chickpea falafel can have. The accompanying hummus, that was embellished with tasty olives, was a winner too. I made myself a Taameya sandwich and truly relished the flavours that had been missing from my palate for so many years now. The noodles were great value for money and Rehan particularly loved the Dragon Chicken which consisted of around ten pieces of juicy boneless chicken tossed in a spicy sauce garnished with spring onions and cashew nuts. The grilled chicken from Al Barad, as always, hit the right spot.

All in all, our eclectic dinner was just the perfect dose of medicine for the fever we had been fighting off. And it is such a wonderful feeling to know that we could get this tasty meal consisting of so many different types of cuisine, here in our own Kochi - without having to pay a bomb for it. I am liking where the food journey of my city is going, that's for sure!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Watery ways

The monsoons are finally here and the cool weather is a wonderful respite from the heat that the city faces through the rest of the year. But as any Kochiite knows, along with rain, comes the flood filled streets. Really, on even a meagerly rainy day these days, the roads are completely sloshed, making driving through them an absolute health hazard for our cars. We already have one spark plug as a casualty of this! Automobile agencies and car workshops are sure to be laughing their way to the bank at the moment.

And at least those of us fortunate to be able to travel by car can avoid the wetness in our recirculated air cubicle. For those who are traversing by feet, its an even more horrendous experience. Time to return to the mundus and lungis and Hawaii chappals!! For all those forward emails going around about Mallus and their mundu folding behaviour, this is the perfect answer...we sure know how to be practical about our clothing!! Atleast with a mundu, only our feet get wet, not our garments (atleast from the water beneath).

On a serious note though, its almost scary how our city has become incapable of dealing with rains. Hello, we live in a tropical area! Why is it then, that when it pours, the roads look like we are living in a city experiencing rains for the first time in hundred years! That be said though, its a relief to see that one day of dryness does allow the water to flow out somewhere, enough to allow us to, for once, be relieved to see our pothole-ridden roads' surfaces. But how much longer can this city sustain that also? With the construction that is constantly growing in any area that can be remotely called "waterfront", more and more land is being reclaimed, and less and less area is available for the water to go. Hence during the rains, the drains have nowhere to empty out into and its our roads that get inundated with all that sick water. Scary thought that. And the fact is, no road escapes this peril. Least of all, the grand ole M.G.Road, which starts to look like the M.G.River on rainy days, especially towards the North side.

If the civil society doesn't join hands to do something about this, together, this flooding crisis is just going to get worse with each year.

Lets start from the very beginning!

Welcome to my blog folks!

Been wanting to do this for so long now, but somehow always kept putting it off. Plus I had too many different genres of things I wanted to write about, hence I couldn't decide on what my blog would be about. Then Eureka! Why not write about everything and use this as a chronicle of the growth of this city I live in through the eyes of Kochiites like myself, my family and my friends! Its a lovely thought to know that with this, I can literally write about anything I want that's called freedom!

Here's my take on food, movies, shopping, events and entertainment, along with, almost surely, cribbing of everything that goes wrong, as it is wont to do in our kitschy city. Fellow Kochiites, feel free to join me in venting your views too in any of these spheres.

Okay, just as I was engrossed in typing this, my two year old son, Karan, managed to get his hands on a jar full of kumkumam(vermillion) that we got from the temple, and yes, its all over the place and my hands are smeared with the Devi's bright red powdery blessing, sent via the little brat!

So on that auspicious note, here goes...lets start this journey of Kitschy Kochi, today, Thursday 09 June 2011. Am excited to see where we go and where we land up. Sure its going to be one fantastic experience!