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Goan Food Festival, Residency Towers!

Goan Food Festival, Residency Towers!

Born in a middle class family. Married to a rich man. Lived the 5 star lifestyle. Husband falls ill and is bed ridden. Family gets into a cash crunch. She learns to cook to survive and starts catering. Works 18 hours a day. 20 years later, she is now invited all over the country to give 'self help' talks, cooks for banquets in 5 star hotels, runs her catering company, wins the 'Most enterprising woman entrepreneur award' from an international organisation and is role model to many! Sounds like a fairy tale? That is the story of Chef Sarita, who has been flown down from Goa by Residency Towers to kick start their 10 day long Goan Food Festival. While I was never a big fan of the food here, my last visit to THE CROWN, which had a guest Punjabi chef was outstanding. And now, Chef Sarita has been flown down, so Residency Towers is talking the food festivals seriously. "Don't let the grilled fish and prawns fool you, that i

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Dessert Hop, Part 1. Tiramisu at Focaccia, Macarons at EST, Hilton.

Dessert Hop, Part 1. Tiramisu at Focaccia, Macarons at EST, Hilton.

I couldn't wait to write about the desserts at Pan Asian and that is why Part 2 of the dessert hop came before Part 1, but that should in no way undermine the dessert we had at Focaccia, Hyatt Regency. When Chef Roberto was brought into Focaccia, he was appalled that I thought of another Tiramisu as being the best in Chennai. While you can read the whole thing here , in a nutshell, he wanted to us try his Tiramisu and we were floored. And that is why, I had insisted that my friends must try the Tiramisu here. But after we went there, we were told that they have another excellent dessert and we thought, 'why not?' And that is how we discovered Chocolate Salami! It was a dessert with three thick slices of chocolate that had biscuits inside it and served with Creme Anglaise. It was super yum and since I loved chocolate with some crunch in them, this was a killer dessert for me! The Tiramisu! Oh wow. My other partners in dessert crime agreed that this was by far the b

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Midnight Craving!

Midnight Craving!

The craving for something savoury happened when we did the dessert hopping, but this can happen to anyone, anytime! While we were at it and the sweet did get to my brain, my friend and me decided to get into the savoury mood and that is when we had these! Since we were at EST, Hilton for the last stop of the dessert hop and since my cousin told me to try the Bagel with cream cheese and salmon, I decided to try it. I love bagels and I love cream cheese and I love Salmon, so this was a no brainer, despite the others not offering to share it! And it came! Well, it was poorly presented and for the price of Rs. 650, I certainly expected it to be presented much better, but the amount of salmon inside, more than made up for the poor presentation. The bagel was nice and chewy, the way it should be and the cream cheese was just about right, but the amount of salmon was winner. And then while we were driving back home, my friend had his sweets hit his brain and he demanded that we eat

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Eggless Dessert @ Donut House

Eggless Dessert @ Donut House

I guess this is the week of desserts! When the owner of Donut House invited me over for a cup of tea and 'eggless desserts,' I was stumped. Why are we having more dessert at Donut house? As the dishes were doled out, I thought he had a pretty good reason! While I am not sure if that is a great strategy for a donut chain that serves some very good donuts,  the eggless desserts were drool worthy. While we did 'sample' quite a few, ten to be exact, I am writing about only what caught my fancy! The apple crumble was by far the best that day! It had the perfect flavours and consistency with a slight crunch and the flavoured ice cream went great with it! The cheese cake, though having a soggy base, had great flavours and except for the base, I liked the cake as is! The strawberry mousse was another good one and by this time, I was having the dessert overload! The chocolate tart had this wonderful base and a good chocolate filling and went well with the ice

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Chef Vikram and Dessert Hopping, Part 2

Chef Vikram and Dessert Hopping, Part 2

The plan: To dessert hop, wolfing down four of what we thought were the best desserts in Chennai's hotels. We narrowed it down to the Tiramisu @ Focaccia, Hyatt Regency, Chocolate cake @ Taj Mount Road, Miss Mini @ Pan Asian, ITC Grand Chola and finally Macarons @ EST, Hilton. We were well aware of the possible sweet overload, but decided to try it anyway. Disclaimer: Try it at your own risk. The Night: 2 of the 5 planned partners in crime pulled out, so we decided to drop Taj Clubhouse and 3 of us went  around the other three places. Why is Part 2 coming ahead of Part 1? Chef Vikram. Thats the reason. Nothing more, nothing less. Now, what happened that night? The night was going well with a great start at Focaccia at Hyatt and that will come in Part 1. We then drove down to ITC, walked into Pan Asian and met Chef Vikram and told them that we are doing the dessert hopping and that we wanted to try his Miss Mini, the completely edible chocolate dessert

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Brunch at Verandah, Vivanta by Taj Connemara

Brunch at Verandah, Vivanta by Taj Connemara

The new found joy of stepping out on Sunday has happened and though it is not happening every week, I must say that I am enjoying this not-sleeping-late on Sundays. Yes, I said it. But then, this happens once a month and I don't know if I will walk around like a zombie if I step out EVERY SUNDAY. After Leela's brunch which was followed by two breakfast Sundays, this time the decision was easy. It was easy because I didn't have to make the decision as Taj invited me to try out their Sunday Brunch at the Verandah, Vivanta by Taj Connemara. The invite itself was inviting! Soak in the pool, eat a lazy brunch, enjoy some magic and go back refreshed, it said! With brunches now becoming the norm on Sundays, hotels are trying various things to woo the guests, but I like this 'Dip in the pool' type of wooing! The pool opens at 1130 am and given the weather the last few days when the Sun decided to go on a hibernation, it was just about perfect! Yo

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Karaoke at Rhapsody, Marriott

Karaoke at Rhapsody, Marriott

From the time I have know Rhapsody, it had a identity crisis. Serving some fantastic Italian food, it had always dabbed with event nights, the best being the Jazz nights that they used to host with Alliance Franca-is for which, at that time, I was a regular patron. With an excellent ambiance, I have always felt that Rhapsody is not doing justice to its setting and now, finally, Rhapsody is trying its hand again at partying! So every Friday, Saturday and even Sunday (I think), they have these pub nights with a live band and karaoke and that Saturday night when I was there, the crowd, though small, was in a total party mood and they lifted the night! Having just started off, the crowds are yet to throng this place and for me that was a good thing! Yes, I made a fool of myself behind the mic, trying to sing a song, but that was the whole idea!!! The food was good in parts! That night they had a buffet that was quite far away from Italy with Chilly ch

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Food Pairing at EEST, Westin!

Food Pairing at EEST, Westin!

Food pairings have become surprisingly common in Chennai these days. After the wonderful Perfume pairing at Taj, the outstanding Masters of Food and Wine at Park Hyatt and the Chinese - Japanese battle with Johnny Walker at ITC Grand Chola, this time I was invited to Westin, a part of the Starwood that owns multiple hotel brands, came up with a night of Food Pairing with Sandeep Arora, who is considered India's first and only Whiskey Connoisseur. Like my friend, also a tee-totaler said, "the way Sandeep talks about the 12,15 and 18 year old whiskeys, I feel like drinking one myself," the night was fantastic and I was able to enjoy it without having to enhance my liver! EEST, the Asian restaurant at Westin hosted the dinner. The restaurant has a nice ambiance with dark interiors and a nice centre dining space! After the wonderful initial talk by Sandeep, we sat down for dinner which opened, surprisingly, with a seared scallop amuse-bouche! While amu

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A Cheese Course

A Cheese Course

A cheese course? Everybody loves cheese, I guess, but a dish with only cheese? I was laughing when I saw the option in a set meal in Switzerland, but the second time I saw, I was too intrigued to miss it. And then I was hooked for life. Four cheeses, served with thin wafers, walnuts and olives with a description of the cheese, the flavour, the milk used etc, was the second course of the meal. It was preceded by a starter course and followed by a main course, but for a first timer, the cheese course stuck more than anything else. Really, this is not an acquired taste, but a find-out taste. You only need to know that this exists or there is really a different way to eat cheese than spreading it on bread and chances are you will be hooked. So last week, when there was no dinner at home and I realised that I had four different cheeses in my fridge, I decided to recreate the cheese course. While the cheese course in Switzerland was lots of swiss cheese, none of the cheese I had was

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