Say Cheese!

Alright, we’ve pretty much established that I like cheese. A lot. And sometimes, I get this hankering for a cheese omlette. Not just any cheese omlette, the particular one they make at Alliance Francaise in Bangalore. I mean, it’s the best goddamned cheese omlette I’ve eaten ever. And I’ve eaten a lot of these. Jeez, Anuradha, it’s just an omlette; get over it, you say. But see, here’s the thing. It’s not just an omlette, it’s the omlette. The first time I ate it, I knew I’d keep going back to them for more. Hoping that no one from AFB will read this blog post, I’m even going to admit that I’ve lied about attending classes there just so I could eat that oozy, delicious omlette.

The omlette is light and fluffy, and perfectly spiced. It has just the right amount of vegetables to add texture and flavour. The egginess doesn’t overpower the veggieness, and vice versa. Now, this ratio of egg to vegetables is very important, because more often than not, I’ve noticed that an omlette becomes overpowered by the taste of vegetables. This omlette, though… So anyway, I’m here for the cheese, so let’s just talk about the cheese for a bit, shall we? I love me any food that just oozes out oodles of cheese when you cut into it. And with this omlette, all I had to do was poke at it with a fork for all that creamy, semi-melted cheese to start flowing (that’s what she said?). Oh, and what amazing cheese it was. Gooey. Melty. Salty. Golden. Excuse me as I wipe the drool off my keyboard.

Oh, it also comes with thick buttery slices of bread, but who cares about that, next to all the cheese?

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Introducing Cheesy Blasters?

So you know how Liz Lemon says “take a hot dog, stuff it with some jack cheese, fold it in a pizza”? That. What if I told you that kinda, sorta, well, some bastardised cousin of it at least, exists in the quaint hamlet of Patiala?

Say hello to Patiala’s very own pizza burger; the delight of students everywhere and well, sometimes of their parents too. So I’ve already mentioned that I have this special affinity to street food, ‘Patiala Burger’ just proves why. Priced at a mere thirty rupees a pop, the bhaiya works at lightning speed preparing what is perhaps in my top ten list of the most amazing things I’ve ever eaten.

So instead of the usual burger patty, Patiala Burger incorporates the best part of the pizza (okay, so I think that the crust is the second best part, don’t jump at me), the toppings, and puts it in between two burger buns. Pretty straightforward right? Wrong. The procedure also involves multiple kinds of cheese, and other spices, finally finishing it off with a dollop of fresh cream. And then this goes into a grill where it sits for about five minutes before coming out all cheesy and delicious. Slightly burnt with the cheese all oozing out of its sides. Yes, cheese. So much cheese. All the cheese. Because, cheese.

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The organisational level of the bhaiya is better than J’s organisation in Men in Black, and as you sit there, munching on bhel, waiting for your order, you can’t help but the struck by the finesse of his making these amazing burgers. It’s almost as good as the burger itself.

 

Shimla Diaries

So my friends and I went backpacking (kind of) across Shimla this last week, and we had fun. There was snow, and scenery and a lot of other things, but because this is a food blog, let’s focus on the food here.

So we landed in Shimla on the evening of the 12th, and we were starving. Like haven’t seen food in a week starving; and as a result of that, there is no photographic evidence of the food, but I will try and paint you a word picture. So we had chicken momos, cheesy garlic bread, the family veg pizza, and the sausage cheese burger at Beekays, a bakery at the very beginning of Shimla’s Mall Road. The chicken momos, which came with a generous amount of mayonnaise, Schezwan sauce, and the local green chutney were amazing. The chicken was tender, and well spiced, and the skin wasn’t thick enough to overpower the chicken-ness of it. The mayo, oh my dear god, the mayo! As a person who is usually not a fan of mayo, if I tell you the mayo was edible, it means that it was pretty good by normal standards. But this mayo, I sing praises of. It was thick, creamy, and not too eggy. It was brilliant. The garlic bread was freshly toasted, and the cheese was all melty and oozy, and well, delicious. It quite literally did melt in our mouths. The pizza was good, really good. I mean, how do you describe good pizza, right? 😛 The sausage burger was basically four pieces of tender, juicy sausages smothered with cheese, and placed inside a burger bun. And it was heavenly.

For dinner the same day we went to Wake and Bake cafe. I ordered their bacon, cheese and egg waffle with cream sauce with a cafe mocha, and the others ordered hummus with pita, white sauce spaghetti with garlic bread, lemon iced tea, and chicken hollandaise. My waffles were amazing! The cheese, the egg, the bacon- they were all perfect, and the cream sauce added the right amount of flavour and texture to it. Also, bacon! *fangirling hard*. The hummus and pita was pretty damn good, except well, for the lack of garlic. The chicken hollandaise, though, must be top three amongst the blandest things I have eaten in life. The salad that came with it was nice and crisp, and the chicken was cooked well, but that’s about as far it goes. My coffee was brilliant, though, and being the coffee addict that I am, I am going to put it up on a pedestal, and call it the highlight of my day. The iced tea was also quite good, but coffee is coffee. For dessert, we had the apple pie, and the carrot cake, both of which were average.

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Waffles with cheese, egg, and bacon. There is bacon under the egg and cheese. Really. I don’t lie about bacon. Also, coffee.

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Carrot cake for dessert.

So the next day, for breakfast, we had amazing paranthas and pakodas, and average coffee. Again, we were ravenous, so no photos, but the food was amazing. The paranthas were steaming hot, and the mixture of potatoes, cottage cheese, and other vegetables (I think) was dotted with little green chillis. Being the sucker for chillis that I am, this was a clear winner for me. But really, the food was really good. The others agreed with me. The pakodas were slightly doughy, though, so that was slightly disappointing, but hey, one can’t have everything in life.

We then had Maggi (instant noodles), because as every Indian can relate, Pahadi Maggi FTW. For the others, Pahadi Maggi is the Maggi served in the hillier areas, towards the northern part of India. Nobody knows why we’re so fascinated with this particular Maggi, but everyone knows that it tastes amazing. And amazing it was, complete with onions and carrots and capsicums, and perfectly spiced. So far, Shimla food hadn’t disappointed me.

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Maggi!

And then began our search for jalebi (fried batter dipped in a sugary sweet syrup) and doodh, because it is apparently a specality here. Now, we had no idea what this tasted, or even looked like, so we were walking in blind on this one. Turns out it’s just crushed jalebis served in a tall glass of sweetened milk. It wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t really good either. I mean, I love jalebis, but this was just… different. Not that I have a problem with different, but you know, I wouldn’t go out of my way to look for this again.

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Jalebi-doodh. Doodh means milk in Hindi, and the orange pieces are the jalebis. Jalebis are amazing, but that’s a story for another day.

We didn’t really want too much dinner after this, but we opted to get some stuff packed from this place called Hide Out Cafe. I think this place gave a new meaning to the term ‘pleasantly surprised’, because we went there sans expectations, and the food there was brilliant, to say the least. I had the chicken panini sandwich, and it was really good. I think I need to take a moment to applaud the people of Shimla on their mayonnaise. The others had the family sized veg pizza, which was also pretty good!

We ended up having breakfast the next day (well, some of us) there as well. I had the Mediterranean omlette, and a flat white. And both were delicious. The omlette was an eggalgamation of cheese, onions, peppers, tomatoes, and olives if I remember right. It came with a side of hash browns and toast. Even the toast here was good man! Another friend had the pancakes with chocolate, whipped cream, maple syrup, and berry compote. Again, it was really good, except for the berry compote, which tasted like chemicals.

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My Mediterranean omlette.

We were only there for about 3 days, so we didn’t really have a chance to try out other places like Honey Hut, but what we did try, we liked.

For future travellers, however, I’m linking a Huffington Post article here, to help you find ten other amazing places to eat at.

‘Til next time!

 

I Miss Maggi

I  miss midnight Maggi while studying. I miss the weird masaledaar Maggi the canteen in my college makes. I miss the cheese Maggi at the dhaba. Most of all I miss the steaming hot plate of Maggi that my mother used to put in front of me. I miss Maggi.

It’s been some 4 months since Maggi was banned in India, and spewed a whole slew of hilarious Maggi memes. It was funny for a while, but man, the void in my heart! I mean. That little twelve rupee packet of pure indulgence. That little packet of instant noodle joy that made headlines after the devastating tsunami. It was India’s ultimate comfort food; uniting people across regions, and languages. It was the lifeline of every student living away from home, in hostels (like me). Because, you know, budget. Also time. They broke our hearts when they raised the rate to twelve rupees a packet from ten, sparking *economic debates* across the country. Who knew it would get worse?

True, the ban has been lifted. True, Maggi has begun to hit the markets. But last night, when I wanted that little bite of delicious instant noodles in my mouth, I got none. And you know, what I felt sad. Truly. Like a part of me was missing. Deep, you say? I’m overreacting, you say? Well, maybe I am, but the truth is the truth! That little bite of Maggi always did make my day.

Remember that you’re missed Maggi. And that you’ll always be in my heart.

Garlic Bread and Vada Pav

Okay, so clearly I’m obsessed with vadas :P. So anyway, we made mom cook again. Garlic bread and Vada Pav. That garlic bread though! Modelled on the famous garlic bread exotica of Pizza Hut, full with olives and paprika and cheese. That amazing crumbly, melty cheese. And my mouth is watering. But this seems like a good place to make my point. Is there anything better than milk products? No, seriously think about it. Every food you love, you love because of milk products. Ice cream? Check. Pizza? Check. Paneer Butter masala? Double check! And I’m rambling. 😛 Anyway, I would like to get back to my original point. That garlic bread though!

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And then came the vada pav. Sweet, yeasty bread with an aloo patty of sorts in between. Yeah, yeah, it sounds like a veggie burger. But it’s not. It’s much, much more. It’s a soft spongy bun complemented by spicy, potato-filled vadas. It’s the perfect mixture of sweet, salt and spice. And it comes with this sweet, sticky chutney-like sauce. Peanutty and tangy. One of the most amazing combinations of tastes and textures. Perfection, indeed. Oh, and you want a double whopper? It comes full with a roasted green chilli. So yummy and spicy, it made my eyes water, but I just wanted more. 😛 Why eat out when you can have perfection at home?

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P.S. Kudos to mom for making these dishes. She hates garlic, and both these were smack full of it! 😛