Monday, July 23, 2012

Woodstok, Bangalore

I have been a little busy and plenty lazy this past month. This is the first of many overdue reviews. While Woodstok's decor screams artsy cafe, its menu is surprisingly dominated by unhealthy, greasy pub food.  The menu extends to several pages and includes pizzas, sizzlers, burgers, pastas and continental fare. 

The loaded potato skins with bacon is the sort of food that is sure to send your cholesterol sky-rocketting and lull you into a carb-induced high. 

Loaded potato skins


For mains Asma ordered the Chicken Marsala and I chose to sample the Veggie Pot Pie. The Pot Pie was a let down. So much cheese and cream sauce and a miniscule portion of vegetable hidden somewhere inside that cheesy, gooey mess. I have on many previous posts made it very clear that I don't believe in overpowering a dish with cheese. None of the other flavours even had a chance.




The disappointing Pot Pie
The Chicken Marsala, on the other hand, had a wonderful flavour. A light, subtle flavour in an understated wine sauce. It wasn't the kind that would blow you away but it will leave you content. Their desserts looked mediocre so we decided to give them the miss. 


Chicken Marsala


Portions at Woodstok are MASSIVE. Two people can easily split a starter and a main course and be happy. The food at Woodstok is also of the heavy variety. So be careful with what you order. Service at Woodstok is average. 

Woodstok isn't fine dining, it isn't the best restaurant in the world. But it is a nice place to have a heavy-duty lunch. 




Pricing: A meal at Woodstok will easily set you back by Rs. 600.

Location: #3777, Domlur Service Road, HAL 2nd Stage, Indiranagar, Bangalore

A big shout out to Asma for joining me. 

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Things I Eat: Part IV

Salad, The Bake Shop, Prague
This place had some rich desserts. I hoped that having salad and soup for mains would balance
indulgence in their luscious desserts

Chocolate Eclair, St Michel, Paris
Velvety, dark chocolate in a a soft eclair bread. My mouth waters at the memory. 

I had to sneak in another photo of this lovely eclair. Nobody bakes like the French do.
 It is my life's dream to marry a gorgeous French baker. 

Fried Latvian Dumplings with veggies, herbs and a rich cream sauce, Riga, Latvia

 Latvian cuisine was amongst my favourites on the trip. It was hearty, wholesome, flavorful, rich and soo cheap. I wish some Latvian restaurants would open closer to home. Know of any in Bangalore? 

The upside down meal, Riga, Latvia
Disregarding convention, we decided to have dessert first. Ice cream has to be the best way to start a meal. I think this should be the norm.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Tallinn Magic

Step into the old town of Tallinn and it's like stepping into another century: narrow cobblestone streets, stone buildings that haven't been touched for centuries and the bustling air of a market town.

Tallinn

Everything from the old town square to the Russian Orthodox church reeks of medieval mystery and intrigue. Some of these buildings carry a decidedly sinister air and it is easy to believe that spirits of evil witches and macabre guillotine-ers still haunt these  narrow streets. If this is the sort of thing you dig, then there are tonnes of medieval torture theme tours which will send a chill down your spine. 


Walking around old Tallinn and taking in the sights is a fabulous experience. View the stunning Alexander Nevsky Cathedral, stroll across to the place that invented Marzipan (or so they claim), walk up Toompea Hill for some great views, take a lazy walk along the old walls, grab a coffee in the Raekoja Plats and finally climb up the Olaf Tower to get a breathtaking view of Tallinn. 

Alexander Nevsky Cathedral



Pretty clocks
The view from above


The Old Town Square
If you are bored of the charms of the Old Town (why?!), then hike across to the Kadriorg Gardens. See the presidential palace or if you are feeling more lazy, settle by the seaside to catch a fiery sun setting on the Baltic Sea. 

A Baltic sunset

If you are looking to shop here, then you can't but notice the profusion of amber shops. Amber is incredibly popular in the Baltic states and Tallinn's streets are overflowing with the stuff. Be careful though, a lot of them are selling fakes. 

Amber, Amber, everywhere


For all its charms, Tallinn sometimes overplays the medieval card. There were one too many costumed shopkeepers for my liking. If you are spending a few days in the city, the act can get a little tedious. Estonians are incredibly nice people and the most helpful I cam across on my trip. They went out of their way to help us out. 

I must also admit to you that Tallinn is a two faced city. By day it is populated by sedate, photo loving, old tourists on their walking tours. By night the place is brimming with drunk stag parties who flock to Tallinn for the cheap alcohol and the gorgeous Eastern European women. It can get really loud and tiresome. If this is not your scene, I highly recommend not visiting the city on a Friday/Saturday night. 

If you are looking to catch meal in Tallinn, head to Ole Hansa. It's slightly on the expensive side but worth every cent. Give their desserts the miss though. 



After indulging yourself there, you can head to the quirky Draakon (in the Old Town Square) for some quick eats and drinks. They have yummy puffs, refreshing soups and nothing here costs more than two euros. 

Add caption

Tallinn is a beautiful, captivating city. It may not be on your list of 'grand European cities to visit' but I think you should make the time to visit it. It's worth it.  

A huge shout out to Karan, Annesha and Krithika for making this trip happen. 

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Featured!

The blog features on The Italy Daily. Check it out at http://paper.li/GoodBlogPosts46/1318252792

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Things I Eat: Part III


Lupita, London
 The restaurant is loud, fun and just a little disorganized. I love places like this. Not only is it good food, but you are also guaranteed a great time.
 

Burrito @ Lupita: It was warm, cheesy and wonderful - exactly what Mexican food should be

Spaghetti Pomodoro, Nonna Gina's, Cesky Krumlov
Sometimes a simple spaghetti can be the most exquisite meal in the world

Trldo, Cesky Krumlov
Home-made vanilla bread sprinkled with sugar flakes. It was the wonderful fragrance of Trldo that drew me to the bakery first. You can see the bread being baked on an open spit and it comes to your plate straight from the oven. 

The baking spit where the Trldo is made. Allegedly, Trldo means crazy. A strange name for a  soft, doughy and very homey bread. 

Monday, June 4, 2012

Things I Eat: Part II


Strawberry Tart, Paul, Paris
Sinuous, lovely and oh, so bad for the weight

Pizza Due Forni, Berlin
The best pizza in Berlin (or so my sources tell me) 

Cornbread French Toast, Bacon, Rocket and Avocado, Caravan, London
Wonderful, slightly sweet cornbread paired with a cool flavourful avocado: I loved this dish. If you are in the area, I highly recommend you swing by this place. 

As you've probably figured out, I am back from my incredible European adventure. It was soo much fun but I am super broke now (and jobless). Want me to review restaurants and post about them? Click on the ads, help me generate some revenue, make me RICH!! 

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Things I Eat: Part I

I must admit to you that I may not be the best traveller in the world. Oh, I'd set off in the morning with intentions of viewing breathtaking castles and wonderful museums. Within an hour or two, I find myself, inexplicably,sitting in front of something that looks like this, spending time and money that I can ill afford.

Cafe Antre, Cesky Krumlov

Writing about every meal might be too tedious and a bit alarming. So I have decided to put up photos instead to document some of the things I eat. I hope you enjoy it!

Käsespäzle, Schwarzwaldstuben, Berlin
Fried Cheese flavoured with fried onions - What's not to love?


Pladikook, Cafe Chocolaterie, Tallinn
Mouth-watering Estonian Curd Cheese Cake. A must try if you find yourself in the region.
Yumm, Yumm!  

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Helsinki

Helisnki is stylish, understated chic. The city doesn't try to awe you with a profusion of overpowering cathedrals and mansions,  like London and Paris. Instead, the city manages to be sleek and elegant without too much of a fuss. Walk around its broad streets, spot an impressive neo-Gothic structure and quietly let the city work its charm on you. 






The city has the feel of a slightly large port town, the kind where everyone knows everyone else. Helsinki's jewel is its harbour. Sparkling crystal blue waters, cradled by a lush, green and incredibly well maintained gardens. On a misty day, the fog on the nearby islands creates a magical, Middle-world feel. It was surreal. 





Finalnd is shockingly expensive. Cheap eats don't seem to exist and a tiny train ride can cost you upto 34 euros! My carefully planned budget took a beating. No wonder people in Helsinki seemed soo happy. They must be ridiculously rich to be able to live here. 

I loved Helsinki. It had a beguiling, unpretentious charm about it. I wish I had had more time to explore. If only I had known how charming the city  would be, I would have planned to spend more time there. On second thought, I probably would not have been able to afford it. 

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Berlin Love: Part I

To tell you the truth, I didn't have very high expectations from Berlin. After all, I was coming here after visiting London, Paris and Switzerland. Sure, Berlin's nightlife was legendary but that's not really my scene. So, I came to Berlin ready to be underwhelmed.

I am happy to report that I was monumentally wrong. In fact, Berlin may even edge out London and Paris. My first night here I went to the East End Galleries to view paintings on the remnants of the Berlin Wall. In many ways, this experience summed up Berlin for me: it is historical, beautiful, terrible, open, seedy, artistic and downright bizarre. Berlin has the one thing that is becoming increasingly rare in a McDonalds dominated world: atmosphere. And lots of it. 








There is graffiti everywhere in Berlin. This in large contributes to its artsy, dingy feel, I think. Sometimes its obvious that the person who has sprayed it is a drunk fool, sometimes its so moving you wonder if the Dalai Lama was wandering the streets of Berlin. Berlin also has bars everywhere: in tumbling old buildings, subway stations, museums, you name a flat surface and they have a bar there. I love it!





If you want to see more fabulous Berlin street art, visit http://berlinstreetart.blog.de/

I did walking tours, visited the Holocaust Memorial and various museums (which I shall talk about it in a different post). The one thing that struck me about Germans was how wonderfully honest they were. There was no covering up or dilution of the country's terrible past. They didn't pin the blame for past state crimes on someone else or blame it on media propaganda (which believe you me would have been the case in India). They were honest, contrite, apologetic, cautious and in my books that is the only way to move forward. 

Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe

Museums

Berlin also has some incredible street food. Here's a list of my top 3 places:

a) Mustafa : I adore this place. Their Gemuse kababs are tasty, filling and easy on the wallet. Meatlovers must try their donor kebabs. 




It tastes fabulous

Brave the long queues at Mustafa

b) Burgerweister: I have never been a huge fan of burgers but theirs made me a convert : Huge, juicy and with an explosion of flavours. Vegetarians need not despair. They have a pretty good veggie burger with an interesting mango sauce. 


c) Curry 36: Famed for its Berliner Currywurster, this place is perenially plagued with long queues. There was too much ketchup in it for me to really enjoy the dish but it is something you must try when you are here.