Posted in chicken sandwich, chocolate brownie, dehradun, dessert, desserts, dhanaulti, grilled chicken sandwich, india, indian, indian cuisine, indian food, mountain, mountains, mussoorie, north indian, pancakes, penne, penne pasta, sandwich, travel, travel diaries, travel writing, traveller, travelogue, Uncategorized, white sauce pasta

Winter special – Dehradun and Mussoorie diaries

I could never understand the fondness associated with Mussoorie amongst the hearts of the north Indians. In the 29 years of my not-so-boring life, I had never been in Mussoorie for than an hour and that too whilst visiting some village while crossing it.

And the title of “Queen of the Hills”? Maybe the Britishers gave that title. But I had to find out, enough years had already passed.

A friend’s reception at Dehradun brought the perfect opportunity Dehradun, Mussoorie and Dhanaulti. A mutual friend and travel buddy had some exigency, so I was left solo to wander these lands.

2018 winters bloomed early and below 10 degrees temperature was expected to hover on. After bidding goodbye to Nanda Devi Express, the biting cold welcomed me at 5:45 a.m. at Dehradun. I took the local taxi from the railway station to J.P. Manor, Barlowgunj which comes 4km before Mussoorie.

The taxi driver was a local Pahadi and kept on assuring me that I will be able to withstand the chill as I was shivering like hell despite the fact that only my eyes were visible. I was alone so slightly scared of catching the commonest of all colds.

It took me just an hour and a half to reach J.P. Manor and the journey from the taxi to the hotel reception was a battle between my body and the morning chill. Ask my knees, they will tell you better.

The staff at J.P. Manor was extremely helpful and courteous. Since the rooms were not available as the check out time is 2pm, they offered me the spa facilities for refreshing myself. They also upgraded my booking with least charges when one of the rooms got an early check out at the Valley View Tower.

And trust me, the room was fabulous with French windows, shared lawn and a view to die for. The only caveat was or were the monkeys who were monkeying around the lawn premises. I could only open the curtains and not windows. Sigh!

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And these naughty apes got more excited as my heavenly English breakfast came. The sight of omelette, bacon and sausages must have excited them and they kept on knocking on the window.

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An hour’s sleep and I was ready to visit Dhanaulti. The local taxi stand at Mussoorie has a good amount of experienced drivers who know the ways in and around. I was advised to visit the Eco park at Dhanaulti and the Mall road considering the shortage of time.

The road connecting Mussoorie and Dhanaulti is a winding one and offers spectacular views of the Greater Himalayas. I constantly bothered the taxi driver to stop at such locations and he told me eagerly about the various peaks visible. Kedarnath and Badrinath being some of them.

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I expected the Eco park to be just another playful park for kids, but the sight surprised me. The area is pretty close to a virgin forest where the vegetation is left in its most natural state. The greenery reminded me of the Maphland Sacred Grove at Shillong. The towering Deodars and Pine trees were in full bloom and the air was cold but fresh. The silence of the park was broken down by our footsteps and the monkeying around of the monkeys.

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I wished to go deeper into the woods but was scared of the monkeys. I have already gone through the Rabipure series against a cat bite. Hell no I am going for that again!

There were many gazebos and swings on which you could relax and revel in the serenity.

After the tryst here, I requested the driver to take me to those step farms where cauliflowers are planted. I expected a vibrant scene but got a very dry terrain. The locals told us that monsoon is the time of fully bloomed cauliflowers. Better luck next time.

The journey from Dhanaulti to the Mall road was slightly dreadful as my altitude sickness came back and the heaviness in my head increased fourfold. I was dropped at the Picture Palace from wherein I started exploring the bylanes of Mussoorie. The road is dotted with a plethora of cafes, bakeries, woollen apparels shops and of course the Maggie & the momos vendors. My first destination was the ropeway to the Gun Point hill so had to keep an empty stomach.

While the ropeway vault was full of newly-wed couples stealing a selfie or an embrace (which I tried to overlook), the underlying view was refreshing.

Gun Point hill was slightly disappointing because of the clichéd outlets there. Or rather I played those games in my childhood that they no more the charm anymore. But if you have a book to read, an empty belly to hog on to the piping hot Maggie and ample time to bask in the blazing sun, then please take a table for some time.

The Maggie definitely warmed my insides and the sunlight the exterior of course. My altitude sickness also got relieved. I could not see the Camel back road from there although I was advised that it will be visible from there.

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My target was to reach the hotel by 5pm because I had no intention of facing the zero degree temperature after an eventful day. I got free earlier though, at 4pm, after having a freshly brewed cuppa of Earl Grey tea at a café.

Since I had not slept in the train because of small berths and cool temperatures, I went into a short lived slumber before heading to Café Manor – the hotel’s Italian dining restaurant.

I ordered my favourites – chicken ravioli in white sauce and vegetables loaded pizza. The ravioli was freshly prepared and had the right quantity of cheese and cream. The veggie pizza when brought for the first time was slightly burnt but after a request by the manager, a second version was provided which was perfection. The quantity and quality both are excellent here.

The second day was reserved for the journey to Dehradun and trust me it was not an easy one. The winding roads wreaked their havoc  again and deep breaths were my only respite. Though when the cab driver took the car through the greenery loaded area of Garhi Cantt, I was in for a peaceful drive.

I checked into Saffron Leaf (where my friend’s reception party was due) and ordered a chicken sandwich. I was extremely surprised by the quantity of the breakfast – the potato wedges and the coleslaw were the icing on the cake! After a brief period of reading and resting, I was ready for the Buddhist Monastery in Clement town.

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After a drive of about 4km, prayer flags greet you as are en route to the monastery. It is a huge complex having a slew of stupas, temples, rotating drums and gardens. The setting sun casted a beautiful shadow around the huge Buddha statue and it becomes worthwhile to take a snap before it gets dark as well as late.

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The evening was spent at the Singh Sour Bar where the myriad variety of momos will baffle you. Vegetarian, paneer, chicken, mutton and cheese – you name it, they have it. We explored the vegetarian, vegetarian cheese, chicken and mutton momos and they were all food gasmic. The cheese ones tasted as if a small portion of Domino’s pizza had been enclosed in the momos sheet.

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And the evening would have incomplete without grabbing a sweet bite at Ellora’s Melting Moments. We tried Cinnamon Danish and Christmas Brownie and somehow I felt that the place is over rated. The Danish is supposed to be flaky & airy and instead it was doughy & chewy. The brownie was good but could have been better.

The second day began with a visit to Sahastradhara. It is situated on the outskirts of Dehradun and is usually thronged by Hindu believers. There are sulphur springs situated here and the waters are believed to heal one of diseases. But somehow I felt that this place would have been picturesque a few years back but is now marred by garbage and people bathing in it. The streams have a lesser amount of water which sometimes stagnates because of the underlying garbage. Nevertheless, the place is tranquil and the numerous tiny cascades with the music of flowing water provide a serene atmosphere.

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It is advisable to be wary of the transportation issues while visiting this place. Ola/Uber does not work here and a solitary auto came to our aide when we wanted to go back to city.

Dehradun is known for many cozy cafes serving comfort food and who am I to turn down the delicious affairs of these outlets? We wanted to explore The Orchard while enjoying the view of the mountains but unfortunately it open at 1pm. We decided to visit Café Marigold instead and the visit reminded us of our college days.

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The menu is not very extensive but the quality is to die for. The penne alfredo was beyond perfection and the maple syrup pancakes were charismatic save for a few raw bites. The honey lemon ginger tea actually tastes like the ingredients used for preparing it and Marigold special Coffee is their unique offering, which I did not taste because of my aversion to caffeine.

Overall the visit to Dehradun was refreshing and I fell in love with the ubiquitous greenery. The bougainvilleas in myriad colours, the sunflowers and the enormous roses are charming and beckon you to come here again and again.

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Posted in chicken, chicken sandwich, delhi, food, food blogger, gluttonyguilts, grilled chicken, grilled chicken sandwich, Pasta, penne pasta, pesto, pesto sauce pasta, pita, pita bread, sandwich, things to do in delhi, Uncategorized

Twigly, Munirka, New Delhi

Finally, I got an opportunity to taste the jaw drawing delicacies from Twigly which has captured the palates of many NCR dwellers. And after a long time, I was pleasantly surprised to give a 5/5 rating to every dish that I tasted from a delivery joint.

Beirut Chicken Sandwich: Firm loaves of multi grain breads enclosing shredded chicken, chopped onions, tomatoes and beetroot drenched in a creamy white sauce with the prominent flavour of black pepper. The chicken pieces are lusciously mellow and the freshness of the ensemble can give you a major food coma. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

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Twigly Signature grilled Cajun Chicken: I expected the grilled chicken pieces to be tangy and spicy but nonetheless, their juiciness took my heart away. Moreover, the Cajun herbs had penetrated to the insides of the chicken pieces.  These succulent babies, served with a creamy caper based sauce having a runny texture and freshly baked pita bread is a wholesome meal in itself. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

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Veg chlorophyll pesto fista: It is tricky to prepare pesto sauce because the characteristic bitterness of the pesto sauce can mar the dish. But the sauce in this dish was perfectly balanced with the pasta cooked al-dante and fresh crunchy vegetables serving as the icing on the cake. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

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

Posted in barbeque chicken, chicken pizza, chicken sandwich, delhi, gluttonyguilts, grilled chicken, grilled chicken sandwich, Healthy, pesto, Pizza, sandwich, things to do in delhi, Uncategorized, veg pizza, whole wheat pizza base

Healthy Eats, Malviya Nagar, New Delhi

Delivery: On time

Packaging: Perfect

Grilled chicken in pesto sandwich: The chicken mince was fine but the characteristic flavour of pesto sauce was missing here.

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Chicken sausage and mushroom bowl: The sausages, the mushrooms and the vegetables were fresh and juicy but the same can not be said about the brown rice which was dry.

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Garden fresh veggie pizza: The vegetables are freshly sourced and taste crunchy but the base had a burnt flavour and texture and was way too crisp. If the amount of sauce is increased, then the extra crispiness of the base can be avoided.

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Barbeque chicken pizza: Again, the topping was first class but only if the pizza base could have been better.

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The excessive use of chilli flakes can be avoided because it mars the overall flavour of the item.

We appreciate the efforts of restaurant in exploring the cooking techniques for healthy dishes but at the same time quality and taste are a bit difficult to maintain. All the best to them and hope that they will succeed.

Overall rating: 3/5

Healthy Eats Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Posted in chicken, chicken salad, chicken sandwich, chicken tikka, cous cous, gurgaon, Salad, Uncategorized

Go Gourmet, Sector 21, Gurgaon

A delivery outlet providing fresh gourmet food at your doorstep – do we really need to step out of the comfort of our homes to experience fine cuisine now?
With the rise in health consciousness amongst the city dwellers, Go Gourmet has been a step ahead, delivering gluten free, vegan and super foods as well. Here are two of them that I recently tasted:
Lemon Chicken Sandwich: Firm and thick multi grain breads enclosing chewy yet mellow chicken chunks drenched in light lemony tangy sauce with hints of basil leaves – healthy and delectable.

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Chicken Tikka Cous Cous Salad: The decadence of our staple chicken tikka combined with the goodness of cous cous topped with pickled carrot and bell pepper slices – we do have a winner here. The chicken slices were done well in the tikka masala but not overdone and retained their juiciness even after 2.5 hours.

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

Posted in blueberry cheesecake, blueberry shake, brioche, cake, cheese cake, chicken, chicken sandwich, chocolate, chocolate shake, ciabatta, dark chocolate brownie, gurgaon, ham, orange cake, panini, shake, Uncategorized

Bueno Café, MGF Metropolis, Gurgaon

This was not the first time I explored the varied dishes from the Bueno Café. Being an employee resident of Gurgaon, I have ordered quite a few times from this wonder of an outlet and have never been disappointed. So when the opportunity came to visit their outlet in MGF Metropolis, I could not keep my gluttony cravings in control!

Puneet Jain, Corporate chef of Bueno and the co-founder has curated the menu here and I am pretty impressed by them. All the breads, compote, shakes and even pita chips are made in house with no added flavouring agents and preservatives. The chef believes in keeping his dishes subtle and wants the customers to savour every ingredient in the item – hence you are assured that you taste the best of the lot.

Peri peri chicken sandwich: Fresh multi grain soft Panini breads sandwiching chewy and mellow chicken along with the firm cheddar and topped with peri peri spices and some gherkins for tanginess – explosion of flavours! HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

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Chicken Ham and cheese sandwich: Lovely Brioche breads enclosing firm cheddar and chewy chicken ham with the addition of fresh mustard sauce – what more can you ask for? The Brioche breads are heavenly soft because of the presence of butter. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

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Belgian Chocolate Shakes: Ahhhh, such denseness and the bitterness of real Belgian chocolates! Add to it, the freshly prepared compte and you are in for a creamy and slurpy goodness. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

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Blueberry shake: I really admire those chefs who use the natural sweetness of fruits to prepare shakes and desserts. This shake was fresh, as expected with no extra sugar and made with in house compote. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

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Baked blueberry cheesecake: Prepared wkith natural blueberry compote (blueberry pulp used), diet conscious dessert lovers will adore this. It has three layers – top blueberry pulp resembling jelly, middle layer of soft and subtle cheesecake and the base layer of pulverised biscuits. The combined effect of all the three layers in indescribable. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

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Smoked veggies Italian Ciabatta: Ciabatta is actually a French bread which has a crispy exterior. The sandwich was one of a kind enclosing smoked vegetables – zucchinis and bell peppers, cheddar and a thin pesto layer. The high point of this sandwich was the maintenance of the juiciness of the vegetables in addition to the pesto layer which was not too overpowering. Though the sandwich was a bit dry and hence difficult to eat from the edges.

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Gooey chocolate brownie: The heart melting warmth and remarkable fluffiness of this soft and gooey brownie will leave you asking for more. The best port is that only unsalted butter is used here with no signs of grease. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

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Orange and cranberry cake: I thought that Chaayos was one outlet preparing their cakes with fresh fruits and retaining their natural flavours. But Bueno proves me wrong. The characteristic sweet tangy flavours of orange and cranberries is well defined here. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

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

Posted in bhel puri, chicken sandwich, custard, delhi, dessert, Healthy, italian cuisine, lettuce, mushroom, Pasta, porridge, Salad, shake, sweet, Uncategorized, white sauce pasta

Caterspoint, DLF phase 3, Gurgaon

Move over Fresh Menu, because Caterspoint is here! Why am I comparing this place to Fresh Mneu, which has already carved a niche of its own in Delhi/NCR? Because the diversity of dishes offered here can give a tough competition to Fresh Menu.

Just one look at the site, and you are baffled. Because these guys offer all day breakfast, fresh juices and smoothies, salads, pasta, calorie counted meals, desserts and heavenly shakes. And the prices are pretty optimal considering the quantity.

But I am pretty disappointed with the packaging. They sent me heavy smoothie and dessert jars in a light paper bag which was not sturdy enough to handle the load. Anyway, moving on to the food, let me share my food gasmic journey :

Khatti meethi bhel puri : A perfect evening time snack for the tea lovers! With the right blend of puffed rice, spiced peanuts and dal moth, this bhel puri is as good as the rustic road side one. RECOMMENDED.

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Smoky Chicken Jalapeno Sandwich : A healthy alternative to our comfort food, this one is made from multi grain bread which is not too thick. The filling is made up of fresh and thin lettuce, finely sliced jalapenos, juliennes of red bell peppers and cucumber and dollops of smoked juicy chicken pieces in the melted cheese and mustard sauce. RECOMMENDED.

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Vietnamese grilled chicken salad : A colourful salad with an equal dearth of flavours, this is a must try. The freshness of lettuce, the juiciness and tanginess of cherry tomatoes, black olives and jalapenos, the necessary crunchiness of lightly blanched broccoli and the spiciness of the juicy chicken will surely make your day. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

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Creamy cheesy chicken penne : Delhi is blossoming with outlets serving pasta. So why would I recommend Caterspoint? Because the creamy penne cooked by them is a class apart dish. With the prominence of fresh cream instead of cheese, the subtle sourness is pretty prominent here. The well boiled pasta is drenched in this food gasmic creamy sauce along with fresh black olives, bell peppers, tomatoes, cherry tomatoes and parsley. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED

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Exotic fruit custard : This was good and passable. The creamy custard was moderately sweetened and had fresh pomegranate, plum and apple slices.

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Apple Blueberry porridge : I wish I could have this porridge everyday. It was topped with fine apple slices, almonds, blueberry and had strawberry jam at the bottom. When you mix the layers, you get a very fine dessert with myriad flavours. The typical sweetness of strawberries, the creaminess of thick milk and the freshness of the fruits make this a masterpiece. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED

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Wild Blueberry Shake : Another shake to give you the healthy sugar rush. The shake is thick and well blended with bananas and blueberries. The moderate sweetness of the fruits and the pink colour is pretty attractive. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED

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Cold brew coffee : I am not a coffee lover but I liked this one. The flavour of coffee was subtle here and the low fat sweetened milk had a good consistency.

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I could have given them a 4.5, but because of packaging issue, I lowered the rating to 4. I really hope they improve.

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

Posted in barbeque chicken, chicken salad, chicken sandwich, greek salad, italian cuisine, mexican cuisine, mocktail, mushroom, nachos, Pasta, pink sauce pasta, Pizza, Salad, Satyaniketan, toast, Uncategorized, white sauce pasta

Carpe Diem, Satyaniketan, New Delhi

Satyaniketan continues to squeeze in more restaurants and cafes and boy, are we really complaining? The spread of so many congested and cramped up cafes has surely amped up the competition here and one can imagine where the next Hauz Khas Village will be. The trend of tandoori momos and butter chicken pasta and pizza started from here and we are waiting for more trademark dishes to come from this place.

Carpe Diem can be said to be a class apart caffe, not because it is situated in the insides of the Chowringhee Lane, but because it spacious enough to seat more than ten people and let the customers have a breathe of air without being jostled up. The space is beautifully done – roof adorned with flowers and walls displaying some nerdy portraits. Hard to believe?

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Here are a few dishes I tried :

Nachos with fresh fruit salsa : Nachos with tomato salsa is so passé these days. Please welcome the addition of pineapples to your nachos and experience the burst of flavours! The nachos are as usual zingy and the fruit salsa makes it tangy, spicy, juicy and sweet.

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Barbeque chicken wings : The barbeque sauce is quite flattering here. It is very different from the “usual” chicken wings we have and the sauce here is more bitter – as it should be with sweet undertones. The chicken is chewy, soft and juicy and exudes a burnt smoky flavour which is good to taste. RECOMMENDED.

Shanghai chicken : If this is an authentic Shanghai dish, then you are in for a roll! The chicken pieces are so soft, slurpy and juicy. The presence of onions, garlic and bell peppers adds sweetness as well as pungency to the dish. RECOMMENDED.

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Chicken Salad : If you are a salad fan, then you have to try this. The lettuce is fresh and super crunchy, the dressing is subtle and sweet and the shredded chicken is soft and mushy. Shall I call it heavenly? Yes! RECOMMENDED.

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Non veg club sandwich : Well, a heavily loaded chicken sandwich, which is crunchy on the outside should definitely be eaten slowly. The breads are not soggy because of the presence of so many sauces and soft chicken pieces.

Mushroom Burger : Served with potato wedges and coleslaw, this was a downer. The wedges were crispy but extra salty, the burger patty was hard, salty and devoid of moisture and the buns were disintegrating and dry.

Chicken white sauce pasta : A bit sticky and thick sauce can mar a perfectly cooked pasta and chicken and this is what happened here. The sauce had more quanity of cheese and lesser amount of cream. But nonetheless, the pasta and chicken were good.

Pink Sauce pasta : A masterpiece of a dish! The consistency of the sauce is darn good here – not too thick and not too runny with the flavour of tomatoes pretty prominent here, the penne is perfectly cooked and the subtle use of herbs. RECOMMENDED.

Carpe Diem Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato