Saturday, December 27, 2014

Tian at The Maurya

Petit Fours at Tian DelhiThe Maurya in Delhi has a new restaurant. Most first time visitors to this grand hotel venture into one of the two iconic Indian restaurants here, Bukhara ord Dum Pukht. However, I have been here several times, and had eaten at Bukhara only recently. Therefore, it was a pleasant surprise to find a new Asian restaurant that had taken the place of My Hunble House on their rooftop.


Saturday, December 20, 2014

Opulent Jaipur

This was my second visit to Jaipur and a business trip at that.  I was here for an annual CEO summit: three days of round-tables and panel discussions held at the luxurious Fairmont Hotel.  While the location of the hotel can be inconvenient because of its distance from the airport and the city centre, the hotel itself is another splendid example of five-star opulence in a city that boasts of top-notch resorts.


Saturday, December 13, 2014

Roadtrip to Rudrapur

Road trip to RudrapurWhen I first realised I will be travelling to Rudrapur I confused it with Rudraprayag, a place made famous by the famous British hunter Jim Corbett.  Rudrapur is a small town in the Himalayan foothills of Uttarakhand close to the Nepal border.  Much to my surprise, our road trip from Delhi turned out to be quite a delight. Clearly, there has been much progress in the network of roads here during the last 15 years, since I last took a car to the highways in this region.


Saturday, December 06, 2014

MTR, Nagarjuna and Meghana

Biryani at Nagarjuna BangaloreBangalore’s rapid growth into a cosmopolitan capital has ensured a steady stream of new and trendy restaurants.  Expat chefs from Italy and Japan demonstrate their skills daily in fancy new dining spots while local chefs showcase fusion and flair in chic settings. I have reviewed several in this blog earlier.  This time I wanted to do something different. I went back to the city's roots and discovered local eateries that existed and flourished before the city’s new and modern avatar and its upscale dining options came into being.


Saturday, November 22, 2014

Pune Dining Update

Lately, we seem to have been in the mood for casual eat-outs than fine-dining ones in Pune.  Therefore, it has been a hunt for new early morning breakfast options, interesting cafes to chat over a hot beverage in the evenings or a good burger place for comfort dining.


Saturday, November 15, 2014

Dune Bashing in Dubai

After innumerable transits through Dubai airport, I finally had my chance to actually step out into this ‘city of gold’ in the Middle East.  Featureless sandy landscapes and dust storms were all I could see as my Emirates flight began its final descent. The barren landscape was only broken by man-made glory as our pilot brought us into a smooth landing.  Dubai clearly demonstrates both the triumph and excesses of mankind, of how you can make the impossible possible when you combine oil-money with clear vision!


Saturday, November 08, 2014

Fort Jadhavgarh

Among the princely states that ruled India before the Mughals arrived, the Marathas were known as one of the fiercest in battle. This was proven several times as the mighty Mughal armies were defeated in spite of superior numbers during the early 17th century.  These Deccan Wars are probably the longest recorded military engagement in Indian history - they were on for a period of about 30 years.


Saturday, October 25, 2014

Jottings from Singapore

I had two more days of day-long meetings in Singapore. I would walk from the Ritz Carlton hotel where I stayed this time to our Suntec City offices through a labyrinth of shopping areas and malls, all interconnected to each other. Of shopping and food there are no dearth of options here; a variety of ethnic Asian cuisines jostle for space with Western ones in tidy food outlets clustered in and around the shopping malls.


Saturday, October 18, 2014

Soccer and Food at Singapore

Singapore’s new stadiumSingapore has a fancy new stadium that opened earlier this year. Among some of the cool things the stadium has been designed for is its multiple ‘modes’.  You can go from an Athletic mode to a Football mode by moving the lowest tier of the spectator seating that will hide the tracks!  The other cool thing (literally!) is the blast of cool air that is pumped from under the seats to keep the spectators comfortable in this balmy city-state.


Saturday, October 11, 2014

Trace at SF and More

Trace at the W in SFI have stayed at the W Hotel in San Francisco several time, but I had always ignored their restaurant Trace. Given all the great restaurants in downtown SF, I never gave it another thought.  Turns out Trace can be a great place for a dinner, especially if you are in the hotel and don’t want to venture out.  Like most trendy places in California that cater to the younger swish set, this one pairs fresh, local produce that is easy on the palate with smartly dressed, pretty waitstaff that are easy on the eye!


Monday, October 06, 2014

Foodie Trail in NYC

The New York Times with my morning coffeeNew York was remarkably warm and bright when I landed. If the weather here is so hospitable what else can possibly go wrong? Shortly after checking into my hotel, I decided to take a stroll in the welcoming outdoors and found myself looking up at the tall steel and glass buildings that make up the city’s familiar skyline; however, it was the older, darker building that caught my attention - the imposing facade of Grand Central Station.


Saturday, September 27, 2014

Varq at the Taj Mahal Delhi

Varq in Taj Mahal Delhi Traditional Indian dining experiences have always been about tastes, flavors, even fragrance and tables laden with a variety of savory and sweet dishes.  You almost always begin with an empty plate where food is served while at the table.  This is true of even Bengali and South Indian festivals where multiple dishes are served at the beginning in quick succession and placed in very specific locations in and around your plate.  Pre-plating is quite an alien concept to Indian cuisine.


Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Mumbai Madness

Wasabi by Morimoto in MumbaiBombay has something for everybody.  Whilst its days are crowded, dusty and sweltering, its nights are quite chilled out and fun. There is something for every taste: in food, drinks or in the right spot to soak in the vibe and energy that never seems to wane.  With my wife's birthday just around the corner, we decided to do something a little different this time by spending a weekend hanging out together in this City of Dreams.


Sunday, September 14, 2014

Sinful Desserts

Chocolate Hazelnut Crunch at Singapore's Conrad HotelMichael Krondl, in his brilliantly engrossing book Sweet Invention, notes that desserts were never a human necessity.  Unlike the rest of our food, desserts were purely a craving that reflected our culture and still do. Having traveled a good part of the world, I can see he is right.  The exquisitely crafted creme brûlée, pot de crème, and tarts are as much a reflection of the elaborate and formal French as apple pies, sonkers and s'mores are for the casual, easy-going Americans.


Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Tim Ho Wan

BBQ Pork Buns at Tim Ho WanYou know you are near Tim Ho Wan, the dim sum specialists in Hong Kong, when you see the large crowds outside. Names are called, people settled into closely packed tables, and orders are rapidly taken - with nary a smile or small talk. That don't seem like a place to attract attention from the high and mighty Michelin guides, does it?  That it did is testimony to the deliciousness they dish out daily to a growing number of patrons.  When it received its single star in 2009, Tim Ho Wan became the cheapest Michelin-starred restaurant in the world!


Sunday, September 07, 2014

Gourmet Seattle

Sockeye Salmon at Elliott's Oyster House in SeattleI have decided to nominate Seattle as the city with the most quirkily named restaurants! Where else can you find eating places such as The Whale Wins, The Walrus & the Carpenter, or the delightful Brimmer & Hilltap that opened its doors only recently.  Some research quickly yielded the fact that the creativity of their owners did not end at the names alone.


Thursday, September 04, 2014

Meandering Through Seattle

Hokkaido Ramen, BellevueThe rains welcomed me as I landed in Seattle, but that wasn't unusual in itself. Rains are a given in this lovely sea-facing city on America's north-west coast. The Emerald City is known for its Mediterranean climate, rains and lush green surroundings as it is for its hi-tech companies. However, much has changed from the last time I was here in the early 90s. People then knew the city for its two iconic companies, Boeing and Microsoft.  Now the big boys here are Amazon and Starbucks, both of whom are making big moves into India right now. Seattle has continued to grow rapidly; I was not surprised to learn that this city is the fast growing major city in the USA.


Saturday, August 30, 2014

Alice Waters’ Chez Panisse

Chez Panisse Cafe BerkleyAlice Waters is probably among the most influential figures in American food and cooking in recent times. She moved into Berkeley California in the early 60s as a young, single woman with a talent for cooking and much less else.  Over the next 40 years, she would go on to open and run one of the most famous restaurants in the country and in the process redefine what American cuisine was about.  Waters opened Chez Panisse in 1971 and over the years this restaurant has won several awards and together with its famous owner spearheaded the movement towards locally sourced and organic food.


Sunday, August 24, 2014

Yan Ting at the St. Regis Singapore

Yang Ting at St. Regis SingaporeYang Ting at the St. Regis in Singapore promises to dish out innovative interpretations of Cantonese classics.  Inspired by culinary masterpieces from the Ming dynasty, this elegant restaurant showcases a fine-dining experience that is best savored over a long and lazy Sunday afternoon lunch. Which is why the Weekend Dim Sum is such a great opportunity to show up here if you don't mind the families and resulting higher decibel levels.


Saturday, August 16, 2014

Greek in Pune

It was a pleasant Sunday morning in Pune when we began contemplating lunch.  A quick search on the Internet threw up a new name, and one that seemed to have several fans. Greek food in Pune, really?  That sounded exciting enough to try out.  So off we went to their Sunday lunch buffet. The restaurant itself is a cross between a roadside shack and a real restaurant, which is why I had never noticed it even though it occupies space right on North Main Road between ABC Farms and Hard Rock Cafe.


Saturday, August 09, 2014


Aveline in San FranciscoFoodies in San Francisco, there is reason to rejoice! Aveline, which opened its doors in the Warwick Hotel in the theater district, is one of the best things that has happened to the dining scene in this city lately. Chef Casey Thompson's new restaurant is my top recommendation right now for those looking for a fancy dinner night.


Friday, August 08, 2014

From Iran With Love

Anar in San FranciscoIranian food continues to be called Persian in the United States; not sure if this is the Freedom Fries phenomenon at work! Iran’s ancient culture dates as far back as 2000 BC, sharing borders with then Indian territories. Just going by the names of culinary ingredients and food alone, I can see some influence of India and Iranian influences in each others' cuisine.  Sabzi, shorba, chai, sherbat, dopiazah, koofteh, and lobia are words that mean the same thing in both Persian and Hindi. While India discovered the fragrant rice dishes garnished with dry fruits, Persia took back spicy curry recipes that influence its stews to this date.


Sunday, August 03, 2014

Hops & Hominy

Hops & Hominy, SFThe quirkily named Hops & Hominy is a recent attempt by three friends to bring a modern version of Southern cuisine to San Francisco.  Located in a small alley near Union Square this restaurant succeeds in putting together a killer combination of quirky cocktails, a beer list from American micro-breweries and finger-lickin’ Southern dishes.


Sunday, July 27, 2014

Food with a View

Sinful eclairs at Sweet Spot, Marina Bay Sands SingaporeThe Marina Bay Sands is now one of the defining landmarks of Singapore.  The three iconic curved towers supports a boat-shaped SkyPark on the top that houses a large infinity pool, restaurants and a garden. As you can imagine, the views from the SkyPark on the 57th level is spectacular. Ku De Ta is one of their several trendy restaurants with a club lounge located right here on the top of the city.


Sunday, July 20, 2014

Gourmet Bites

Wild Nettle Soup at Ame, San FranciscoI ate at several new restaurants around the world during the past few months.  Some I have written about, but others never got their own post.  I also had a chance to return back to some old favourites.  Here’s a round up on the best experiences of the last six months.


Saturday, July 12, 2014

A Weekend at Gulmarg

This was my first ever trip to Kashmir. I am always excited when I travel to a new destination, but this was particularly special.  My wife and I were getting a chance to attend a summit at Gulmarg over the July 4th weekend; with much of our colleagues in the USA on vacation, this was when we could get some time off from our daily routine.  This was also the first time in quite a while when we would be traveling without our daughter.


Monday, June 30, 2014

Dinner at Plume

Plume is an extraordinary restaurant that can instantly transport you to an earlier age, one of unhurried opulence, with French food so amazing you can save that trip across the Atlantic.  Set within the luxurious and classy Jefferson Hotel located only a few blocks away from Washington D.C.’s most famous address, this restaurant is characterised by multiple segregated dining spaces, immaculately dressed tables, crystal chandeliers and soft classical music in the background.


Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Along the Potomac

I was back again in Washington DC, but unlike my last few trips this one was for an industry event that was being held in a resort hotel on the banks of the Potomac.  The Gaylord Resort and Convention Center is a large hotel set in National Harbor, an area that is specially designed for recreational tourists.  Restaurants, shopping and waterfront bars abound, and in line with the trend now-a-days, you also have the 'Capital Wheel’ if you wish to get a bird’s eye view of this capital city.


Friday, June 20, 2014

The Brooklyn Shuffle

Pune needed a good burger place and now we have it!  The Brooklyn Shuffle opened its doors several months back, but I got around to visiting only recently. Located in the heart of Koregaon Park, right opposite Post 91 in the Sanskruti complex on Lane 7, the restaurant is quite a delight.


Sunday, May 25, 2014

Briefly Orlando

Dinner at Todd English’s BlueZooI was in Orlando on business, which is rather rare. Instead of having to spend the days outdoors lining up for rides, here I was stuck in a conference room while the day was bright and sunny outside.  However, what we missed during the days, we made up during the evenings.  A couple of dinners at restaurants here were quite memorable and here’s a brief summary of my impressions.


Sunday, May 18, 2014

Cinque Terre

“If you ever get tired of life, bypass the therapist and  decamp immediately to Cinque Terre.  Here five crazily constructed fishing villages, set amid the most dramatic coastal scenery on the planet, ought to provide enough to bolster the most jaded spirit.”  That is how Lonely Planet describes this amazing place, and I could not have done a better job.   Our two days here were a delightful addition to an already memorable Tuscan vacation.


Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Dining in Florence

Spaghetti in pesto sauce and sun-dried tomatoes at Zeb Italy and good food are synonymous! This is particularly true in Tuscany, the land that produces much of Italy's Chianti wines, porcini mushrooms, rare truffles and Pecorino cheese among other delights.  While Tuscan cuisine have evolved from simple peasant fare that tend to involve offals and four-finger thick steaks, there is enough for the non-adventurous foodie too.


Tuesday, May 06, 2014

Touring Tuscany

The famously pretty Tuscan countryside was lush and green in its spring-time glory.  As we drove out of Florence, we saw undulating landscapes dotted with Tuscany's signature cypress tress, vineyards and olive trees stretched out all around us.  We spent most of our time in the Chianti area, home to the famous Italian wine, that is dotted with small farms producing dairy, meat and wines.


Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Home of the Medici

Since our first family vacation in Paris, we had never been able to find more than a week in Europe at a time.  While we made many memories during our trip to Rome, we had also wished we had more time to spare to explore more in that part of Italy.  This time, we had nothing to complain about!  We had all of two weeks to spend in the crucible of the Italian Renaissance and the heart of Tuscany: the city of Florence.


Saturday, February 01, 2014

Delightfully Swiss

I was in Zurich on a short business trip and I decided to make up for not finding the time here while on my Switzerland vacation a few years back.   I had then taken the train directly to the picturesque hill town of Grindelwald, without getting out of Zurich airport.  This time I was lodged at the atmospheric Hotel Schweizerhof right in the heart of this city.