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Kabab Station

26 Nov

It’s officially my last day in Bangalore. Crazy! For lunch today Gopi took us to Kabab Station with his entire family. We started out with chicken, paneer and fruit kabobs. I thought that was the main course but was surprised to find out that that was just the appetizer. It was followed by a buffet…

and some pani puri…

and a dessert of ladduh, kir and fruit tart.

Good thing my stomach was already stretched out from Thanksgiving, or else I wouldn’t have been able to fit in all this delicious food. YUM!


Crashing an Indian Wedding

17 Nov

Ever since I watched Monsoon Wedding, I’ve wanted to go to an Indian wedding. I find all the traditions, rituals and elaborate decorations so fascinating! Plus I really wanted to dress up in a traditional Indian sari. It was just our luck that Gopi’s sister is a wedding planner and was throwing a wedding at the Bangalore Palace tonight. Here we are walking up to the entrance flanked by the wedding party’s flower strewn cars.

Indian weddings are huge. I think this one had over 1,000 guests. I don’t even know that many people.

Lovely fruit and vegetable sculptures. I love the crocodile constructed out of bitter melon and the penguin made out of eggplant. Genius!

Food and sweets were abundant.

I had a bit of sari envy. Even though I loved the navy blue sequined one that Gopi’s friend let me borrow, some of the ladies there had the most gorgeous silk saris, topped off with the most stunning gold jewelry.

Unfortunately, we had to leave early to take a conference call from the U.S., but before we left, they gave us a coconut for good luck.

Dinner at The Royal Afghan

12 Nov

Vegetarians must love traveling to India. Since much of the population is vegetarian, there are always options at every restaurant. I’ve been adhering to a vegetarian diet while in India, but have dabbled in a few carnivorous cravings (when appropriate). For example, when we went to eat dinner at The Royal Afghan, known for their meats cooked in a Tandoor, I couldn’t pass up a chance to try the specialties of North/West India. We started our meal with papdums topped with chopped tomatoes and onions… think Indian nachos, where the chips are fried lentil crackers.

Next we had dal Bukhara (stewed black lentils), raita with cucumber, onions and tomatoes, murgh makhani (butter chicken), tandoori lamb and a basket of parathas, rotis and chapatis.

Thankfully we had ordered the raita, because everything was super SPICY, even the lentils. The chicken was rich and the lamb was oh so tender. North Indian food is flavorful yet heavy, so we were quite stuffed by the end of the meal. And as full as we were, we felt like it was our duty as tourists to sample a few of the regional desserts. Just doing our job. 🙂 We tried the rasmalai (paneer in clotted cream) and the shir berinj (rice pudding). I liked the cardamom spice of the rasmalai, but really loved the creamy shir berinj. I am a sucker for rice pudding though.

Traveling for work means never paying for a meal. Hello per diem! Just like being taken out on a date for every meal every day of the week. A girl sure could get use to this.

The Royal Afghan – ITC Windsor
25 Golf Course Road
Bangalore, Karnataka 560052
(91)(80) 22269898

Animal Print is the New Black!

28 Oct

I knew animal print was in, but apparently the Bangalore police did too. These are their cheetah print motorcycles. How fashion forward of them. Purr!

Brunch at Leela Palace

13 Oct

I know most most of you expect me to be posting pictures of idlis, dosas and chai tea (and I will), but I’m going to throw in this post about my brunch at Leela Palace, which was continental, so it sort of counts as Indian food, right? Okay, I know that’s a stretch, but I did scarf some biryani and lentils for what it’s worth. Claire and I have been getting most of our restaurant recommendations from our co-worker Gopi and I’m starting to notice a little trend. He’s been sending us to super fancy shmancy places. Remember when I mentioned being in places that didn’t feel like India? Well Leela Palace is one of those places. I immediately felt like I was transported to a resort in the South of France. Right when you pull up there are basins filled with gorgeous, floating flower petals.

And this is the view walking up towards the hotel.

So you see what I’m talking about? Not the slums of Bangalore by far. Equally impressive was the brunch buffet. I polished off a whole plate of food before I thought to take pictures. Sorry. I was hungry from our Nandi Hills trek.

Clockwise from the top: Stuffed cabbage and sauerkraut, okra, Mediteranean vegetable medley, marinated beets, salmon w/mint sauce and braised leeks.

Since I’ve been in India, I’ve developed the craziest sweet tooth. In the states I keep my dessert consumptions to nibbles from dark chocolate bars or Isabella’s Peanut Butter Bombs. Here, I have dessert after every meal. Or in the case of Leela Palace, several desserts after each meal. Two a day work outs for me once I get home! Clockwise from the top: chocolate fondue with pineapples, melon and papaya, triple chocolate mousse, fruit tart and chocolate burfi.

Yes, this is gluttonous decadence to the extreme. Now we know where to go when we want an escape. We also know that we better start getting restaurant recommendations from somebody besides Gopi if we want our money to last us the entire trip.

Cubbon Park: A Stroll Through the Park

4 Oct

Now that I’m starting to navigate Bangalore by foot, I’m learning my way around my tiny 1 mile radius of a bubble. Not having access to the GPS on my iPhone encourages this. Lucky for me, there’s actually quite a bit to do and see within these confines. We’re near Mahatma Ghandi Road, UB city and Lavelle Road area which is considered the city center. Just to the West (or is it North?) of us is Cubbon Park, a 300+ acre park built in 1864. I had read about it in a few travel books and heard that it was a great place to go for a run from a co-worker. My crickety knees have long retired from running, but I could go for a stroll in the park anyday. You never know what you’ll stumble upon.

The library (shown above) was closed, but we did see somebody showering outside of it.  A great consolation prize if you ask me.

I was excited to see this signage for birds and was hoping to spot a few, but the most wildlife we saw were the stray dogs (aka the rats of India). I wish I could adopt them all.

The park had the liviest atmospere due to the music, crowds and all the street vendors peddaling their chaat, fruit and drinks.

In my next life I hope I come back as a botanist so I’d be able to identify the countless number of plant species in the park. So fascinating. I loved all the plants and trees. My favorite were the bamboo plants. They were MASSIVE!

There’s much more exploring to be done. Who knows maybe I’ll even step ouside my little bubble once I get brave enough and crossing the streets doesn’t feel like impending doom. 🙂 Happy Monday to you all.

Sights and Sounds from India

3 Oct

Claire and I went on part deux of our Bangalore walking tour today. After getting our daily Americanos, we strolled down to Cubbon Park. Shot this short video sharing some sights and sounds from India. The building in the background is the Vidhana Soudha, one of Karnataka’s legislative state buildings. Hope you enjoy. Honk Honk! Pictures from the park coming soon.