Posted in bakery, dehradun, himalayan resort, himalayan river, himalayas, india, indian, indian cuisine, indian food, landour, mountain, mountains, mussoorie, north indian, poha, Sunset, the lesser himalayas, travel, travel diaries, travel writing, traveller, travelogue, trek, trekking, Uncategorized, uttarakhand, writer, writing

Corn Village and Landour Exploration curated by Transforming Travels

Call it co-incidence, but I have been travelling more frequently to Uttarakhand this year than I ever did before. And although I am not really fond of the pebble laden trails here, the distinct Pahadi culture never fails to baffle me.

And the fact that the magnificent views here are still hidden from my prying eyes, I yearn to return here more often.

This unique experience was curated by the Transforming Travels and the organizers Chandni Aggarwal and Mihir Panda were their usual informative and cheery best.

Day 0

We, a group of six travellers, boarded an Innova from Mandi House Metro station at 11pm in the night.  After getting acquainted with each other, we retired for the day in our car seats.

Day 1

This day started early at 6:30 a.m. as we reached our hotel Grand Galaxy, a few kilometres from Mussoorie. Since road journeys tend to leave you exhausted, I preferred to sleep till 8:30 although that comforting sleep felt like eternity.

The breakfast ritual was performed in the blazing sun at the hotel courtyard from where you could get a magnificent view of the Mussoorie-Dehardun landscape. The usual poha, poori and aloo sabzi tend to become tastier in the mountains, I feel.

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Corn Village was the first place in our itinerary and before visiting the village, our first stoppage was at an elderly couple’s place. The husband Mr. Kunwar is the head of the village and his lady is a Canadian who decided to adopt the Pahadi culture. The lovely couple greeted us with a freshly prepared lemongrass tea and to sip it in the lap of the mountains while listening to the twittering of mountain birds was priceless! The couple have opened an English medium school for the children of Corn Village and are working tirelessly for literacy here.

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The vibrant yellow hues of the sweet corn cobs welcome you as you traverse through the village. The smiling villagers while going around their daily chores make you forget the tiredness from the road journey. The smiling children will pester you to play with them while the elderly ladies will oblige when you ask for a photograph to capture their earthy beauty.

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Lunch was a delicious affaire with make ki roti (corn chappatis), spiced wheat pancakes, sautéed pumpkins, mixed lentils, rice and sautéed greens. Each and every item was lip smacking to say the least.

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After Corn Village, Landour was not far behind. It is at a greater height than Mussoorie (some 2000m) and delicate cold winds will hit you abruptly. The colonial touches are more prominent here – stony pathways, wooden cottages, British conifers, deserted lanes and of course the bakeries.

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And I forgot to mention the very sophisticated boarding school kids scouting the Landour bakehouse. The bakery is pretty old – the puny roofs, the wooden interiors and the bone china cutlery will remind you of the bygone days. There is an extensive dessert menu with fresh bakes though I preferred to take chicken croissant sandwich which was ohh-so-warm. Not to forget the fresh ginger lemon tea with organic honey.

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Sunsets are not to be missed when you are in the mountains and the view from Lal Tibba is unforgettable.

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The day ended with a late dinner in the courtyard at the hotel and a sleep full of snores.

Day 2

The trek towards the origins of Kempty Falls had to begin early though we started late at 9a.m. A half an hour journey from our hotel to Cloud’s End where George Everest’s home stands tall. The building is in a dilapidated state with some hideous caricatures of undying love drawn on the walls. Nevertheless, the views are a thing of beauty at the canyon. The short hike to the top was a warm up for our trek and we successfully passed it.

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The trek towards the Kempty Falls origins is a descending one so expect sore calf muscles. You have to trudge very carefully as the well defined trail does get slippery in between. But the dense forests and the meadows encountered leave you breathless, quite literary. The trail foes through the Mussoorie Wildlife Sanctuary and we were told by some officials that bears and leopards are regular visitors there. Not to mention my chance encounter with a tiny snake that preferred to ran away instead of biting me.

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When you finally reach the gushing crystal clear blue-green waters of the many streams which ultimately form Kempty Falls, you can not help basking in the enchanting music. The long journey of 11km lays forgotten in the quiet of these streams.

After snacking on sweet corn and chai, we geared ourselves for Dehardun where we decided to have a grand dinner at Kalsang Ama café. I somehow never understood how these mountain cafes are able to dish out better pizzas, pastas and sandwiches than our high grade Delhi restaurants. The café scored excellent on quality as well as quantity.

And as usual, we decided to retire for the day in our car seats and reached Delhi in the morning hours.

Such rural explorations with unchartered trails are a speciality of Transforming Travels. Not to forget the comfort factor involved during road journey as well as hotel/resort stay.

 

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Posted in baguette, baguette sandwich, bakery, cake, carrot cake, cheddar, cheese, cheese platter, coffee caramel cake, croissant, croissant sandwich, delhi, dessert, food, food blogger, gluttonyguilts, healthy food, lemon meringue tart, meringue, panini sandwich, sandwich, smoked cheese, things to do in delhi, Uncategorized, vegetable sandwich

Dolce Tonino, M.G. Road, New Delhi

Not many bakeries can boast of producing gluten free desserts and home made cheese. But Dolce Tonino, situated at the Tonino café does. And it does that with Italian elan.

Carrot cake: The mellowness of this spongy cake is unparalleled! The sweet flavour of the grated carrots along with the subtlety of grated coconut transforms you into heaven! Add to this the light icing – HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

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Coffee caramel cake: Never knew that the combination of bitter coffee and smoky caramel could blend in so seamlessly! And let us not forget the sponginess of the gluten free beauty! HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

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Cheese platter: You know you are in for a roll when a variety of in house made cheese is being served to you. The pungent cheddar, the milky provolone, the smoked gouda cheese and cheddar fermented to a higher degree.

Grilled vegetables and cheese Panini: The Panini breads are freshly baked, crunchy and airy and I bet that you would not find such lovely texture in the ones from the usual delivery outlets. And the filling of grilled juicy vegetables – aubergine, bell peppers, mushrooms and zuchhini in a rich layer of fine textured cheese is scintillating. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

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Grilled mushroom and cheese baguette sandwich: The sole presence of mushroom with cheese is not very impressive. The baguette breads are slighty chewy.

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Grilled vegetable croissant sandwich: Vegetables and cheese are in a good shape but the croissant could have been more flaky and light instead of clightly chewy. RECOMMENDED.

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Lemon Meringue Tart: Whenever and wherever I have this dessert in Delhi, I am utterly disappointed. But Dolce Tonino surprised me with this light sweet ensemble. The meringue is subtle, airy and lemony on a brittle tart bed which is easier to dig into. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

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Dolce Tonino Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Posted in bakery, Biscuit, Biscuits, cake, cookie, Fruit cake, gluttonyguilts, india, indian, indian cuisine, indian food, Lucknow, Namkeen, north indian, Uncategorized

Wadhwa Bakers, Alambagh, Lucknow

What would an Indian household’s evening be if there is no item to accompany our freshly brewed tea? Or people like me can imagine a day without having a glass of milk without our favourite cookies to binge upon?
Wadhwa Bakers, the very famous family run bakery house in Lucknow continue to maintain their supremacy in the bakery/savoury circles of the city. Their products are synonymous with quality and freshness and my happiness was out of bounds when I recently received a package of non perishables from their side.
Kashmiri mix Namkeen: The heavenly medley of moong dal namkeen, sev namkeen with crispies and roasted cashewnuts is a perfect accompaniment with your ritualistic cup of tea. The crunchy texture is to die for! HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

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Oats cookies: A crumbly texture awaits you as you bite into these slightly chewy goodies. The only drawback with these are that they disintegrate with the slightest disturbance. RECOMMENDED.

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Sugar free kajoo biscuits: Diabetics and sugar haters, you can enjoy these cashew laden cookies with a soft crumbly texture that melts in your mouth. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.
Badaam lachha biscuits: Moderate sweetness with comparable texture to kajoo biscuits. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

Badaam lachha biscuits: Moderate sweetness with comparable texture to kajoo biscuits. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

Fruit cake: As if the waft of freshly baked cake was not enough, the smooth outer texture with mellow crumbly insides with embedded bits of tooti-frooti will warm your insides. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

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Wadhwa Bakers Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Posted in bakery, binge bakery, blueberry cupcake, cupcake, delhi, lasagna, lemon tart, Salad, tart, Uncategorized, veg lasagna

Binge, Qutab Plaza, DLF phase 1, Gurgaon

A cute looking bakery situated in the bustling Qutab Plaza market, Binge surely has the traits to become your next go to bakery. Enter it at your own risk, because you will be flabbergasted by the grand display of extremely creative looking cakes, a slew of breads – white, brown and multi grain and eye pleasing desserts. The wooden interiors with some classy paraphernalia adorning the walls will definitely take your breathe away.

On my recent throng to this place, here are a few dishes that I tasted:

Veggie salad: Such freshness with the goodness of the lime vinaigrette dressing is absolutely out of the world. Slightly blanched and crunchy vegetables – cauliflower, sweet corn, broccoli, bell peppers, French beans and black olives on a bed of lettuce leaves with the tanginess of dressing – healthy and yummy. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

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Vegetable Lasagna: Having been brought up on heavily cheesy lasagne, this one was a refresher. Thick cheese layer on top which was slightly burnt and chewy with three light layers below sandwiching a good quantity of vegetables drenched in white sauce – can we ask for more? HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

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Blueberry cupcake: A pretty looking dessert with pink frosting on top but not so inviting in taste. The muffin was extremely dry and difficult to bite into and the cream. The only saving grace was the presence of real blueberries inside the cake.

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Lemon tart: Not good at all. The tart tasted stale and was not uniform and the lemon pulp was way too tangy.

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Binge Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato