Wednesday, September 26, 2007

As promised I am writing about Mangal Ratan, Dwarka here. This is a closeby restaurant that is a defacto choice when we are late for dinner, not feeling like going out and not feeling like cooking either.

Mangal Ratan has really tasty food and service is pretty ok. Many times we get the food delivered but once in a while we also go to the restaurant. Here are my ratings:

Food: * * * *
Service: * * *
Ambience: * *

We went to a good restaurant called Garam Masala in Chanakyapuri for lunch. Initially we were supposed to meet at Defence Colony and this paragraph could have been about Gola's Sizzlers but we were destined to find Garam Masala. I liked the ambience. There was a wedding party decoration just outside the restaurant that made it look more beautiful. Comfortable seats, quick and polite staff and good food would make me go to this restaurant again when I am in that area.

My ratings:

Food: * * * *
Service: * * * 1/2
Ambience: * * * 1/2

Yesterday we decided to go to Raja/Rajouri garden for dinner and the chosen restaurant was Priviledge Punjab. Parking at this restaurant is tricky, we went at a convinient time and got a spot right in front of the restaurant but I think it can be a daunting task otherwise. The food was good, I didn't like the tomoto soup though Tull liked it. Awadhi Shahi Paneer was delicious and their laccha parantha was awesome. It was a average restaurant nothing impressive about it but nothing wrong about it either.

My ratings:

Food: * * * 1/2
Service: * * * 1/2
Ambience: * * * 1/2

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Sunday, September 23, 2007

Someone said there are two types of people, "Those who have seen Taj and those who haven't.". Till yesterday I fell in a third and unusual category, I had seen it from backside when I went there last time. I mended that yesterday by going for a day trip to Agra with Enemy Tull and two friends. Now I feel better that I did not get to see Taj last time from front side. :-)

Since we had already planned that we will be coming back the same day, we started at 6 from Enemy Tull's place, picked up friends and were off to Agra. We took the airport, NH8, Badarpur, Firozabad, NH2 route and reached our destination at 10:30 after taking a breakfast halt at a roadside dhaba.

I managed to spill curd on my t-shirt and jeans when trying to break the bubblegumish aaloo-pyaz parantha. It's a miracle that the pickles in the same plate did not make an attempt to dirty my clothes and a disaster was avoided.

Delhi-Agra highway (NH2) is a decent highway but it's very risky to go on prescribed 90 kmph speed. You have to dodge things like, speeding and honking and zig zagging cars, extra slow jugads, auto rickshaws, cycle rickshaws, slow but in first lane trucks, cow herds and buffalo carts (I saw them after a long time). Driving on Mumbai-Pune expressway and U.S. freeways have truly spoiled me. Some people might be happy with the smooth, pothole free highway but I want more from these highways.

We crossed Sikandara and Agra Fort on our way to Taj Mahal and were asked to park our car 700 meters away from Taj. I would have gladly parked it a kilometer away because there were free camel cart rides from parking to Taj entrance. On the way back we took paid cycle rickshaws.

It was an extra sunny and hot day, we stopped at The Taj Restaurant for some cold drinks etc. and got into a queue to get inside the monument of love. As we bought our tickets our cameras were already in action and we kept taking photographs and videos; at the end our camera had nearly 150 photographs and I think our friends had similar number of photos in theirs.

In an unusual event, ladies' queue was extremely slow thanks to food carrying auntyjis and a bad tempter constable. Usually ladies' queues are really fast and relatively empty.

First look at the Taj made us forget about the sun burning on our heads but the sun broke into the magic very quickly. A round of photo click frenzy followed, we crossed the Taj gardens quickly and were baffled to know that we have to remove our shoes. Now burning sun on head was still better than walking on heated marble barefeet. There was a work around of wearing a cover over our shoes and we did just that.

Taj is really huge, it didn't look that large from across Yamuna river, but it really is a wonder. We spent a lot of time clicking photographs and rested in shadow for some time. I have seen Taj and would want to go there again in better weather.

We drove back to Agra Fort and spent an hour there doing nothing. We chose not to hire a guide and just went here and there and didn't really explore the place all that much.

It was time for us to head back. I plan to go there again for a longer and more relaxed trip.

I also plan to revive my photoblog by posting photos taken on this trip.

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We went to Raja Garden on Friday and decided that we would go to this side more often now. Every time we want to watch a movie, we either drive to Gurgaon or towards south delhi Raja Garden has some good malls and a few popular restaurants too.

We went to Pind Baluchi for dinner. Its impressive facade made me think this would be a costly afair, but we wanted to celebrate :-) The ambience was good, a model well in the middle of the restaurant, a tree, broken brick walls and dim light with wall painting.

The waiters were wearing traditional punjabi kurta and dhoti and food was awesome. The cooking was super fast and service impressive. On top of this Pind Baluchi is one of the cheapest restaurants I have mentioned in this blog so far. They have brances all over NCR and we plan to visit more of their branches soon.

Overall ratings:

Food: * * * *
Ambience: * * * *
Service: * * * *Music: * * * (Punjabi folk songs, but the volume was too low)

Coming up ghar ki murgi daal barabar reivew for Mangal Ratan Restaurant and Taj Mahal and Agra trip.

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Wednesday, September 19, 2007

One of my photographs got selected for Schmap Yosemite Guide. Bridalveil Falls Day Hike was taken by me when I went there with friends on a 2 day trip.

Some people told us that they had been to Yosemite a lot of times but had never seen so much water in the waterfalls. Bridalveil fall is really beautiful and I must have photographed it from all possible angles :p

I miss my Canon S1.

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Monday, September 17, 2007

It was another good weekend in Delhi. Went to Gurgaon on Friday and bought some household goods from Big Bazaar in Sahara Mall. Though we have not seen even a single movie in Sahara Mall, we have probably gone there more times than we have gone to any malls in Gurgaon. MGF comes a close second where we watch a lot of movies :-)

When we had dinner in Salsa at sahara mall last time, we were tempted to go to another restaurant called Punjabi Tadka on the floor above. Well, we went there this time. Good ambience, quick and good service and delicious food made the day for me. Punjabi Tadka has a huge hall and I think they can seat nearly 70 people in the restaurant. Of course they had to do away with restrooms (one of the negative points there) to get this much space. They were playing really unpopular and random songs via worldspace satelite radio. I expected them to play punjabi but they chose to stick to music that drives customers away.

Interestingly, the restaurant was not that costly and still it didn't attact a lot of crowd. Being in the vicinity of crave and odessey deck might be one reason. They had a curtained place for 6-7 people that can be used for private celebrations, I really liked the idea. Here are the ratings:

Food: * * * *
Ambience: * * * *
Service: * * * *
Music: *
Value for Money: * * * * 1/2

On Saturday we chose to go to Janakpuri District Center to watch Dhamaal. I really liked the movie, total timepass movie with no storyline and a stream of PJs. I think they pulled off a winner without any actress in the movie. Javed Jafari kept overdoing stuff, but I guess he was supposed to. I was happy when they had shown Area 51 club from Pune, the place really rocks :-)

We also went to Deilhi Haat (or is it Dilli Haat) and spent an evening browsing through stuff. Bought a little softtoy for my car. I think it's a really good place to find stuff to decorate one's home.

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Thursday, September 13, 2007

I am slowly adjusting to Delhi. Now I accept the fact that Delhi can't offer the huge, plush and well maintained fitness clubs that Pune had. Both Endurance and Abs were really good.

Both of them had really friendly instructors, world class machines and enjoyble atmosphere. The fitness club/gym was a cool place to go to everyday with friends. And we did just that.

I have been looking for a similar club in Delhi but my search has only delivered over-priced, cramped 'gyms' that claim to be fully A/C but they run fans all the time and there is a small A/C fitted in one of the windows.

One of the fitness clubs should take and initiative and open some good ones in Delhi.

Going over to another topic, met a couple of friends yesterday at Not Just Paranthas, GK 2. It's a long drive with lots of traffic and we got late by 5 minutes.

It's always fun to get together with old friends. We talked about this and that and time passed very quickly.

Not Just Paranthas was a decent restaurant. I don't know the rates since I didn't look at the rates on their newspaper like menu and I didn't pay the bill either.

Thanks for the treat dood.. and our best wishes for the two of you. :-)

Not Just Paranthas has a good Chandni Chowk theme and waiters are dressed like postmen. Ambience was good. Food was okay. Another place where they were playing old hindi movie songs. I think it has become a fad now. The songs in NJP were not that great though. My ratings below:

Ambience : * * * *
Food : * * *
Service : * * * 1/2 (Don't try the Rangeela's AC joke with these guys, they will switch off the AC)

GK 2 M-block market is another destination added to our list of places to explore.

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Sunday, September 09, 2007

Drove to Jaipur and did shaadi ki shopping last weekend. This time I crossed Gurgaon to Gaziabad distance in 2 hours and while going to Jaipur, travelled from Gaziabad to Gurgaon in around 1.5 hours only. Traffic contributed to the 2 extra hours I look last time.

Going to Jaipur on two continuous weekends had taken a toll on my movie going agenda. There are many movie pending to be seen. Even movies like buddha mar gaya can't stop me from going for movies again.

We tried to fill the backlog by watching Heyy Babyy in Mega Mall, Gurgaon. Surprisingly this mall had parking available on Friday evening. I liked the mall (it was less crowded), the movie and the cinema hall.

Now comes Saturday and we decided to make the most of it. First we went to Rajdhani Thali Restaurant in MGF Metro Mall, Gurgaon. I was impressed when one of the waiters came with a jug filled with water so that we can wash our hands on the table. The food was not that great. Service was good but I have seen better service in thali restaurants. Overall ratings:

Ambience : * * * *
Service : * * * *
Food : * * * 1/2

We saw Ratatouille after lunch. Another Disney-Pixar gem. I love all their movies :-)

We had another movie to see in the same screen and same cinema hall. I had an option of choosing the same seats but took the opposite end of the row. We went out from the Audi after Ratatouille, waited till they cleaned up the audi and went in again for Victoria No. 203.

Two friends had accompanied us for lunch at Rajdhani and Ratatouille but they had refused to watch Victoria. There were total 4 people (including 2 or us) watching the movie, after 15 minutes or so another couple joined and I think both the couples left the cinema hall after interval/intermission.

If you are one of those people who likes to dream about buying all the cinema hall tickets so that you can take your girlfriend / wife to cinema hall to watch a movie where just the two of you are watching it, you have your chance right now. Snatch up tickets for this movie and with luck there would be only two of you in the cinema hall.

Well, I think the movie was 'ok' ;-)

For dinner we went to another restaurant. Chor Bizarre. Here's the ratings:

Ambience: * * * * *
Music: * * * * * (Old songs, they were better than old songs at Baujee Ka Dhaba)
Service: * * * * * (Best service I have seen in recent past)
Food: * * * 1/2 (They could definitely try and improve here)

The restaurant was cheaper than Baujee Ka Dhaba and Punjabi by nature. We plan to go their again for Chat and once for buffet. The ambience and service was really superb. It's almost like a museum with different type of lamp shades, tables and chairs. Very amusing :-) If you are in Gurgaon, you should visit this one :-)

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