Vegetarian’s Survival Guide to World Cuisine Eating

Whether you are traveling the world (on leisure or business), or are being adventurous and trying out an international cuisine restaurant in India, this article helps you eat without worries.

An excerpt:

Asian

The relative absence of dairy makes it easy to eat vegan at an Asian restaurant. Order steamed vegetables, stir-fried tofu, lo mein, brown rice or any other meatless offering at a Chinese place. Go for miso soup and a vegetable sushi roll if you’re eating a Japanese meal. Thai, Vietnamese and Korean restaurants usually offer multiple vegetarian options on their menus as well.

Strict vegans: Always ask to make sure your meal won’t contain any fish sauce or stock.

Barbecue

Although it seems like this category would be the toughest one of all, it’s probably the simplest—just go for the side dishes! Build a “sampler platter” of sides like grilled corn or asparagus (hold the butter), a dinner roll or two, steamed broccoli, a baked sweet potato with cinnamon sugar, or even steak fries.

Strict vegans: Ask whether your veggies can be cooked on a separate grill or otherwise apart from where the meat is cooked.

Breakfast & Brunch

Whether you find yourself at a Denny’s or at a fancy-schmancy brunch spot, there are lots of options when it comes to breakfast food. Fresh fruit, oatmeal, hash browns with ketchup, granola, bagels and toast with jam are a few great ones.

Strict vegans: Request that your oatmeal be prepared with water instead of milk, and always remind your server you don’t want butter on your toast.

The other cuisines covered are Indian, Italian, Mexican, Middle Eastern, and Pizza.

Read the article at menuism here.

(via lifehacker)

Restaurant Review: The Elegant Elephant

We have been wanting to try this out for a while. This is on the same building as The Great Indian Thali – Near Sony World Signal – Koramangala.

  • Serving type – Buffet – but served to the table. Not sure, if this is always like this, or, was yesterday an exception – because of low crowds.
  • Crowd – there was very less crowd
  • Food
    • The starters and the gravy had _no_ salt in them. And when I say no salt, I mean no salt, not less salt. Unfortunately, starters are something that you cannot ‘add’ more salt on. We did sprinkle away saltiness on our gravy to make it pallatable.Starters were Paneer Tikka, Baby Corn, and Corn Tikka.
    • One paneer gravy. One mix veg gravy. And one mushroom gravy (which we turned back – both R and I are not fans of Mushroom). Dal Tadka. Plain roti, Butter Naan, and Kulcha made up the roti basket. The Paneer was fresh (both in the starter and in the gravy). The rotis were not that great either. The dal was the only palatable side dish. For some reason, the chef put salt in it.
    • Jeera rice and Plain rice was the rice ‘varieties’. Again Jeera rice had zero salt, but this is a matter of preference between chefs.
    • Desserts were the only good thing to have happened – Gajar Halwa, Gulab Jamun, and Butter scotch icecream.
    • The over all service was fantastic though. The waiters filled water glasses even without asking. Jumped up in serving us when our plates were done. Great service I should say.
  • Ambience. There are two seating areas. One is the terrace. We skipped this. Was too bright for comfort in the afternoon. And there is an A/C dining room inside. This was nice and cool. Minimally decorated but clean. Washrooms etc were maintained well.
  • Damage to wallet: Rs 950 for two – all inclusive.
  • My opinion – Not worth it at all.

Review: California Burrito, RMZ Infinity, Bangalore

This is a new eatery opened at the food court at RMZ Infinity, Old Madras Road, Bangalore. California and Burritos? Yeah sure, California has a lot of Latino population, but never really associated these 2 names. Perhaps a competition to California Pizza Kitchen (which incidentally, I cannot place the association either).

It is the first week that the restaurant has been open. So this place was crowded. The food was good too. Again, the above two comments are probably because of the first week factor. We would have to check it out a month later and then figure.

  • Had the Spicy Panneer Burrito. The Burrito is fairly authentic. Slightly sticky on the outside. Warmed a little bit. The other options are salad bowl style and hard taco.
  • Next the filling. The two veggie options were spicy panneer and barbeque panneer. Panneer in a burrito is mixed-racial already. I didnt want to mix one more cuisine (bbq) in it. So spicy panneer it was.
  • You get an option of Pinto beans or black beans. And you get to choose if you want it spicy or not. I chose spicy pinto.
  • Additions include guacamole, sour cream, jalapenos, and grilled veggies. I took grilled veggies, guacamole, and sour cream. I was a little wary about the guacamole, but it was done just right.
  • Each of the above steps is a different guy. So it is a three person assembly line operation. Fairly swift and efficient. The last guy rolls the burrito and gives it to you in a bowl.
  • I also took a side of chips and salsa. Right amount of crisp and salt. The salsa was fresh as well.

Damage to wallet was Rs. 150.

Verdict: Pretty good (for now). If only they can sustain the quality, I think this would be a good place for a lunch.

Advise (for now): Reach before 1PM. Gets super crowded. Not much seating left. So you would have folks waiting for you to finish and get up (a la CTR/MTR style).

 

 

 

Worlds Best Masala Dosa – Part Deux

We covered the trip to CTR (Central Tiffin Rooms), Malleswaram and spoke about the Worlds Best Masala Dosa here. Now is the time to go behind the scenes. Watch how the Benne Masala Dosa is made at CTR. Kudos to the guy who was able to get permission and go inside the kitchen.

Health Alert: You might get increased cholesterol levels by just watching some parts of this video (such as around 2:40).

 

Power of a smile …

On Saturday morning, I had gone to the nearby Darshini (“Krishna Upahar”), the super awesome food joint near my place for breakfast. I am quite a regular here. The dosa master here is a fantastic guy. Churns out one of the best dosas ever. Though he is kind-of in the back, I always smile and sometimes give some appreciative gesture in sign language. The dosa grill is quite at the back of this small restaurant.

I digress. On that day, I had ordered a masala dosa. I had paid up, given the chit to the front-guy, who took it and gave a bark – “Bhattare – ondhu masale ….”. The guys who work in this restaurant have always called this dosa master as “Bhattare” .. dont know why (I wish I knew enough kannada to ask…). No sooner than he had said that, the dosa master had started pouring the dosa. Just then I realized that, I was not up for much spice that morning. I quickly said, “Red chutney beda”. The masala dosa in these parts have a spicy red chilly-garlic-tomato chutney spread inside the dosa for added flavour. But only then I realized that the dosa master had started spreading the chutney. The front-guy looked at me and shrugged – which basically meant – sorry dude, damage is done.

But then, I saw through the corner of my eye that the dosa master had heard this conversation. We made quick eye contact. He smiled and asked in sign language if I did not want the chutney. I nodded sadly. Without a second thought, he removed the dosa which had just started cooking, tossed it into the bin below, and poured me a fresh new dosa. And he turned and smiled.

It may have been due to a variety of reasons, but the one that strikes out to me, is that this compassionate gesture was all because of the simple smile.

 

Jowar Roti Meals at Kamat

(Image credit: flickr user chocolate geek)

Went to Kamat Swad over the weekend. I had tried the Jowar Meals here before (well I had tried it at Kamat Bugle Rock), but the wife had not tried it before .This is one type of meals that is worth trying atleast once. My review of Kamat Swad and the Jowar Meals:

  • Excellent ambience – 3rd floor of Kamat Swad .
  • Directions: From Sony World Junction, Koramangala, drive towards BDA Koramangala. You will see a Panasonic show room on the left. Make an Uturn immediately. The Kamat is the second building on the left, once you make the U-Turn
  • Despite being the top floor, the A/C was tuned beautifully to be at the perfect temperature – not too cold, not too hot. Both the wife and me had the exact same comparison – it felt like being under a tree.
  • The 3rd floor serves only Jowar Meals. But I did see a family in the next table, for whom, the waiter had brought Idly from the first floor for the baby. Good customer service, Kamat. Keep it up. There are some hotels, who just go overboard with their rules.
  • The meal is served on a clean banana leaf.
  • Awesome buttermilk is served initially, and also topped up.
  • A dhokla type appetizer and toasted papad is served.
  • A few leaves – I have no idea what leaves – are served. Peer pressure made me swallow my pride and swallow the leaves as well 🙂
  • The main meal starts off with Holige (for the tamil folk – this is our traditional poli ; and for the Maharashtrians, this is the Puran Poli). Awesome stuff, especially with the generous spoon of ghee 🙂
  • 3 gravies and one raita are served. 2 of the gravies are legume based – sprouts, channa, peanuts etc. This brings out the similarity in food between the North Karnataka regions, and Maharashtra. There is one egg-plant based gravy. The gravy was consumed with gusto, and the eggplant was gingerly kept aside (I hate eggplant!!).
  • The star of the show obviously is the super soft Jowar roti’s that are served. A small cube of butter is initially put on the roti. You can ask for more if you want. But the roti’s keep coming, and coming .. until you say STOP. 🙂
  • Then white rice is served. And Sambar, Rasam, and curds.
  • An ice-cream with fruit-salad is the finisher.
  • The above is the special meal. The difference between the special and regular meal is that the special meal has the poli, and ice-cream etc.
  • Service is Ok. As regular readers would note, our bar was not quite met. We had to ask for refill of water.
  • Even before we were finished, the bill and 2 bananas (wierd combination) were brought and kept at our table. I guess that was an indirect suggestion to scoot.
  • Reasonably priced meal (Rs 160 per person)

Pav Bhaji Pasta

When it comes to food, the wife and I are both passionate and adventurous. So R came up with this brilliant idea last weekend – Pav Bhaji Pasta.

  

Click on images for larger pics

 1. Cook pasta the usual way (boil in water with a few drops of olive oil and salt until Pasta is cooked and soft).

2. Make Pav Bhaji the way you like (or just google for Pav Bhaji Recipe)

3. While the Pav Bhaji is simmering, add the pasta, and toss.

4. Garnish with grated cucumber, finely cut coriander (or whatever entices you).

5. Optionally add grated cheese.

Over the Flames (pizza and pasta)

Trying to get back to blogging, and what better way to re-enter, than a restaurant review. This is technically not a “restaurant” review, since I ordered delivery – but none the less.

Image from their website (http://www.overtheflames.com)

We got this pamphlet stuck along with our weekend news paper, and we thought we would try it. The restaurant name sounded fancy enough – and the menu looked even more enticing. It just said “Pizzas, Pastas, and more”.

<rant> No Tandoor, No Chinees, or any of that nonsense – that some restaurants add, just for name sakes. I have nothing against Tandoor or Chinese food, it is just that, it irritates me to no end, that some restaurants add it for “completeness sakes”. Why? Can’t you be a good restaurant, which does not serve anything other than these?” </rant>

Anyways, here is my take on the food:

  • Good number of vegetarian options (on pizzas and pastas)
  • Very good customer service (the person who took the order on the phone, actually helped me with my order)
  • Food arrives in a hot bag (similar to the Pizza hut guys), and the food is actually hot.
  • For a starter, we had ordered roasted pepper toast – the description said – roasted capsicum/other stuff on top of french bread, with olive oil sprinkled. My review – awesome. After a long time, tasted some true french bread – good quality olive oil,and the veggies were sauteed just perfectly.
  • For the main course, we wanted to try a pizza and a pasta
  • We had ordered a spicy cottage cheese pizza . The menu decsribes it as “Grilled cottage cheese, bell peppers, onions, blk olives, drizzled with mustard paste on the top and garnished with celantro.” On first look, it sounds like a tarkaari paneer pizza – no it is not. It has an awesome italian pizza taste. Base is made fresh (there were still of flour to be seen on the base, and it was soft and spongy). On the whole, top stars.
  • For the pasta, we had ordered lasagna. Again, awesome, in one word. Just the right amount of cheese. The veggies were done perfectly. Not too many sheets of lasagna. The quantity looks slightly less, but it is heavy. Again, top stars.
  • This restaurant is in the Gachibowli-Telecom Nagar area of Hyderabad. They serve Kondapur/Madhapur/Gachibowli area.
  • For continental food lovers, I think it is a must try.
  • I have heard stories about these kind of restaurants losing their flair/quality after a few months into existence. I really wish they do not.
  • Bottomline: Guess how much all the above food costed us: Rs. 333. (this is the amount I would have paid for one medium pizza with Pizza Hut).
  • http://www.overtheflames.com (they have the menu online)