Blogmas Day 5 | My 2020 Favorites! The year that was!

Ushering in the new year watching Mirzapur in bed (truly grateful <3). I had one more new year plan which didn’t quite materialize – put a besan (gram flour) face mask on with Rahul – this Rahul refuses because it’s cold. So, well, Mirzapur it is.

I don’t want to end this year without doing a roundup of my favorites, because it would be a nice recollection of the year that went by:

Favorite movie
Cannot say that I watched too many, but still from the limited ones, I don’t have a favorite. In fact, I would rather link this list of my favorite re-watches. I watched most of these in 2020 as well.

Favorite Show
I watched quite some shows online this year, especially with the lockdown. I know I am still far behind what with people consuming every new show on Netflix these days (something which you may have guessed because of my watching Mirzapur in end of Dec!) but by own standards, I watched quite some. Among these, Panchayat was my favorite, simply because it was a refreshing concept.

Favorite Food
Well, well, well. This is a tough one, because I love food too much to pick just one favorite. However, I am going to pick an unexpected one – Momos is one of my most favorite things on Earth and I didn’t expect to find them in Surat, but forget finding them, I got to sample some of the best ones I have ever had here in Surat. There is a ‘Darjeeling Momos’ stall right next to where I live and the people selling the momos seem to be from North East, some of the best ones I have ever had!

Favorite Outfit
I scored a pair of Zara formal pants at Brand Factory on great discount and it was everything I have ever wanted in a pant – well fitted but flared bottom and that steely Grey color! I love it and am itching to wear it to work, except that I don’t want to go to work, I am quite happy with wfh now!

Favorite Skin Care Product
None. I tried a lot of new stuff this year and I was so looking forward to chemical exfoliation changing the game for me but nothing really worked. As in, nothing bad happened, but nothing good happened either. On the other hand, this was an year of all the random make-up purchases working awesomely. The irony is that there were not much occasions to wear them to. 😀

Favorite Book
I am going to pick 3 here because I enjoyed all of them equally – 1) A Man called Ove – endearing & emotional, I have logged down my love for this one here at Instagram, 2) I’ve Got Your Number – nothing new here, it never happens that I read a Kinsella and don’t enjoy it to the core and 3) Shoe Dog – this was an unexpected one. Phil Knight’s autobiography on how he set up Nike was one of the best stories I read this year and a lot of people will relate to this feeling. So well written! As the testimonials on the book say, Phil is a great storyteller.

Favorite Event
One of my closest friends got married this year in November. This was a wedding which I was waiting for since the beginning of the year because it was the last wedding of my friend circle of post grad. We were really hoping that it doesn’t happen during Corona, but it did and while we were in extreme dilemma about attending, but since the beginning we knew it will be a huge regret if we skip this wedding. Hence, we went and it was truly one of the funnest times of my year. I just realized that even the other two of my friends from my post grad group got married to each other this year as well, in Jan, when Corona didn’t exist for us. Aside this, small joys like watching random things on tv with family when lockdown had just started counts big time too. I have always enjoyed watching Ramanand Sagar’s Ramayana and it started airing like a proper show on TV during the beginning of lockdown. We recently went to a beach resort here near to Surat and it was a lovely experience too. I also want to give a special mention to an amazing product that I bought this year in the middle of lockdown – it was my first non-essential purchase after March. The below lovely Parama blouse.

While typing out this post, the new year has just begun. I wish you a very happy, healthy and successful new year! Hope this new year brings tons of luck and happiness for all of us! I couldn’t be more thankful for 2020, even though it was the oddest year that we have been alive for but still there’s a lot to be grateful for – being near to your parents more often, a healthy life, food and roof, a fulfilling life. Truly grateful.

13 | What your Sunday looked like ?

Mine was more than decent. I spent the entire day taking things slow, at my own pace & not getting fed up of it even for a moment. I never skip my breakfasts on the weekends also, even though I don’t wake up that early. Today it was oats chilla (oats crepe of sorts) and scrambled eggs with cheddar cheese. Slightly more work than my usual fare (because I had to use the grinder to powder the oats for the batter), then watching ‘The Office’ along with breakfast, followed by another snooze. Showering, putting a hair pack for that extra indulgence :D. Then, lunch was lachcha paratha and chilke wali moong dal (if you are not an Indian reading this, please Google :)). Would you believe if I tell you that this was followed by another snooze? 😀 Then, I had tea and read for sometime.

Just when it could have possibly felt like too much time spent alone, a plan was made with friends. A lovely way to end the day! We went to this place called Urban Tamasha on 100 ft road, Indiranagar. Pretty good! And just before meeting them, I also happened to shop.

It feels like Sunday spoilt me a bit, but I do feel good. So, all’s good. 🙂

Would love to know how was yours. 🙂

11 | 7 places where I ate in Pondy: Friday’s List

Hola amigos!

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I am going to have a separate post for my Pondicherry trip but today is Friday’s List night & what better than to talk about food. Especially because, Pondy is a place which has so many cute cafes to take life slowly in and with such awesome French decor, and when you crave for something more spicy, you go to the South Indian joints!

So, I am going to talk about 7 places that I ate at. I wanted my trip to be a mix of places that people touted about and the ones I discovered myself. Considering I had only 2 days there, I managed to try out quite a fair lot! Here it goes:

  1. Hari Tea Stall or H2K: If you start from the clock tower on MG Road and keep going straight in the Rock beach direction, you will spot this super tiny South Indian breakfast type shop on the right side. I read about someone loving their mini samosas, so I had to go because I have had my fair share of mallu style mini samosas in Dubai & I love them to bits! I also ended up having other things like dosa on their menu & these guys are super good. Do try them out for sure.IMG_20181230_112250.jpg
  2. Cafe Des Arts: Unarguably the most spoken about place in Pondy because they have the most Instagram worthy wall in Pondy! I saw a lot of blogs mentioning that this place is quite a put off after you are done clicking the wall. However, my experience has been fairly good. First of all, their interiors are also very beautiful and, second, if not outstanding, their food is pretty decent at least. I had a ratatouille crepe with mozarella & saw others having pancakes which looked good. 😛 Coffee was a downer though (which is anyway my complaint with a lot of places in Pondy).

3. Artika Cafe: Okay, I did read up this name on some blogs but didn’t pay much attention as there were other places which took centerstage in those blogs. This actually was one of my favourites in Pondy! And what a chance discovery! So, as soon as I got done with Cafe Des Arts, I was craving good coffee and while roaming in the French Quarters, I came across this place and just entered (mostly because they had a washroom & I really had to pee). Then, I ordered a coffee and just settled in. I loved how this place was not rushed, there was never too much crowd but never fully empty and the place is surrounded by greenery and lush sounds to give you company. This place is surreal really! And the best part, they have an art gallery, I bought 2 vintage postcards from there. I ended up going to this place twice, the food is average cafe food but overall lovely experience!

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4. Kasha ki Asha: I saw multiple people mentioning to try out their European thali. I cannot even begin to tell how bad it was. Honestly, I feel bad saying so because this place is run by a women group and the earnings from this place are very helpful for a lot of needy people. But I really hope they improve the food. Even at home, a good salad is not a very tough job, so I felt a bit bad as a customer. Again, the ambience is extremely good what with greenery and leafy sounds all around.

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5. Cafe Xtasi: Okay, a lot of people recommend this place for wood-fired pizzas and I had a hunch that it will just be a normal one, this place is famous as its old, but I wanted to try the pizza anyhow. But something weird ensued. I crossed this cafe multiple times on my walks and every time it gave a shady feeling, as in not super shady but for a girl on a solo trip, definitely! I didn’t want to miss it so, at one point, I went in and asked one of the staffs if there is any other branch, because the board mentioned Xtasi gastro pub while everywhere on the internet its Cafe Xtasi. The guy hesitated for a minute and then said, “No, no, this is the only one”. Even more shady now! I immediately decided to go to another pizza place. There was waiting there, so I thought shady or not shady, I am going back to Xtasi now (not very wise guys! If it feels shady, skip it!). So, I put Cafe Xtasi in Google Maps and reached a totally different Cafe Xtasi. It is then that I realized this is the original and earlier I was always crossing the rip-off one. 🙂 I had a very good meal here but nothing out of the world.

6. Baker’s Street: Another place which gets a lot of love on the internet because French bakery, hello! But the sad part is I always crossed this place when I wasn’t that hungry. Eventually I decided I’ll get something packed from here to take back, like a quiche or croissant, but when I went there to do that, it was closed. I did try their coconut ice cream, which was good but then, its coconut icecream!

7. The Gelato Factory: This one deserves a special mention because it was a chance discovery again & exactly what I needed then. So, again, I crossed this place multiple times & its done in a cutesy manner so it definitely drew attention. It seemed to be new. It was never on top of my list of places to go eat at, but I had kept it at the back of my mind in case opportunity comes. 😛 I make it sound like a really important decision, but, well, food is. On my last night dinner in Pondy, I somehow saw myself near to this place & what I was craving was this – something light like a soup but also not like cafe food which is creamy or mild, but something very spicy like Indian food. Yeah, pretty complicated! However, I had zero expectations of getting exactly this requirement fulfilled 😀 so, I just thought of finding a nice soup place. I asked these guys if they have soups. They said yes and I quickly entered. One look at their menu and I realized they are kind of doing Indian versions of many things (y’all grown up in Indian know those kinds of menus). I ordered a tomato soup & cutlets. I loved both the things!!! It was just how I wanted, light, warm, comforting but also Indian style! 🙂


That’s it for my Friday’s List. Do let me know if you have been to Pondy. 🙂

Disclaimer: I didn’t try any food places in Auroville even though I did go there. All the places mentioned above are from the French Quarters or White Town area.

30 places to eat in India right now!

Today I am writing an unplanned post after a really long time. I am more than just excited for this, you will soon know why. Read on.

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I am writing this post for this week’s Discover Challenge: The Poetry of List-Making. Discover Challenge is a weekly challenge hosted by WordPress with different themes every week & the reason you are reading this post is because this week’s theme fit like a glove to a life situation right now. When I moved from India to Berlin & then to Ljubljana, like most Indians, what I missed most was the food. I LOVE INDIAN & INDIAN-ISED FOOD. I love writing lists too, especially physical lists – with pen & notebook. So, I started making a list of places in my notebook where I want to eat at once I am back to India, random food places that popped in my head at any time. This list was meant purely for fun & now I am sharing the joy with you.

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The original list

If you are in India right now and you are a food lover, you can try some of these because, well, you only live once.

Disclaimer 1: This is not a ‘must-eat’ list because it isn’t even my favourite places, heck, I haven’t even eaten at most of these. They are just food places that came to my head while I was missing my home country & its food. So, I just noted the places for future. Also, most places are in Delhi, because that’s where I live & that’s where I will be eating immediately after going back. Haha! So, its natural.

Disclaimer 2: I personally believe that the heart of eating in India resides in its street food, more than the fancy restaurants. However, this list may not represent that because I am more inclined to note down fancy restaurants lest I forget them, but street food & important street food joints are so ingrained in my being that I know even if I forget noting them down, I’ll remember them when I am around. 🙂

Now that we have the important bits covered, let’s move to the 30 places in India (mostly Delhi) where you can eat right now. I have also tried to reason why a particular place came to my head. 🙂

  1. Big Chill: This is one of my favourite Italian joints & I have explained here why I miss it.
  2. Kake Da Hotel, Chandni Chowk: I liked the food of number 3 in the list & since they have the same names, I got reminded that a friend highly recommends this.
  3. Kake Da Hotel, CP: I like the spicy, rugged North Indian food here.
  4. Cafe Hawkers, CP: I visited this with few friends & realized that thankfully it does not do just average food with amazing ambience, like most ‘cafes’ these days. I really liked the food & they have huge portions. Yes, I am going again.
  5. Hunger Strike: This is a small momos joint in Lajpat Nagar & I have been wanting to go here since my B.Tech days, so the craving is at least 4 years old. They are supposed to have one of the tastiest momos in Delhi & momos is my drug of choice, haha!
  6. Majnu ka Tila: Not a food joint, it is a Tibetan refugee area in Delhi & I have this feeling that I would love to try the food that most restaurants & cafes sell here.
  7. Andhra Bhawan: A very simple, no-fuss Andhra food canteen that everyone seems to rave about. I have to try.
  8. Diggin: A super pretty, really dreamy cafe. I always thought its famous due to its ambience, but I have heard the food’s very good.
  9. Wow Momos: I have been around this joint so many times & always acted stingy because why spend even slightly more on momos when you can have them for so cheap. You can judge me.IMG_20150422_184840
  10. Woodbox Cafe: They have pretty food photos on their social media & many people I know like them, although they don’t seem to be exceptionally wow or something.
  11. Blue Door Cafe: I don’t know, long ago I read a blogger’s review of this place & it stayed with me, although doesn’t seem to be very out of the box.
  12. Big Yellow Door: Lot of people recommend & food seems to be delicious!
  13. QDs: Because, oh, just go here
  14. Uber Cafe, GK: We celebrated a friend’s bachelorette here & quite unexpectedly, I loved the food here, almost all the things I tried were fabulous.
  15. Cafe Lota:Recommended by friends
  16. Sakley’s – The Mountain Cafe: Recommended by friends & read about it somewhere
  17. Ivy & Bean: Many bloggers I follow seem to love it
  18. Moet’s Sizzlers: Everyone who has lived in Delhi as a child seems to love it, they have old memories with their families here, I think I should give it a go!
  19. Sitaram’s Chole Bhature:The iconic Chole Bhature joint in Old Delhi, I have tasted here & the food is heavenly!
  20. Rajma Chawal at Shanker Market: I am not a rajma chawal person but this joint is super popular & the way rajma chawal is served here – chaotically arranged on a plate with extras – makes me miss my chaotic & flavorful India so much! ❤IMG_0441_Fotor
  21. Epicuria: Curiosity! Is it a fancy food court? Is it just something overhyped? I want to know. This new place in Nehru Place that every one of my generation seems to visit is on my list, just for the heck of it.
  22. Cafe Di Ghent, Meharchand Market: Anyone who has been here loves it so bad, I feel criminal to not go & check it out.
  23. Theos, Noida:I am not a dessert person, but this comes so highly recommended, I have to see for myself what’s the big deal.
  24. Dolma Aunty’s Momos: I am a momos lover & if there was an award for the thing that I missed most in Europe, then please hand the award to momos! (They are available in Asian stores, but only non-veg ones, and Berlin being the cosmopolitan baby that it is, has some momos’ joints but they don’t manage to match up, sadly).
  25. Elma’s Bakery, HKV: Same as point 3.
  26. Various street vendors selling Gol Gappe: Because obviously.DSC_0225
  27. Various street vendors selling Momos: Because obviously.
  28. Kota Kachori, Jaipur: Kachori is an Indian snack, a fried puff filled with spicy lentil or onion mixture, it is super yummy & the ‘Kota Kachori’, a specialized version from a place called Kota, is my favourite version so far. IMG_20160101_161420_Fotor
  29. 5 pani wale gol gappe, Jaipur: These are super popular in Jaipur, although not exceptionally delicious, still eating gol gappe with 5 differently flavored waters along with my cousins who live in Jaipur is one of my most fun experiences!
  30. Visiting new cities in India & eating there: Truly, when you go somewhere, you start appreciating home more. In my case, though, I am feeling bad that I am almost 25 years old & there are so many unchartered food in India yet unexplored. Can’t wait to change that.

Hope you enjoyed reading this as much as I enjoyed compiling it! Please let me know in comments if you happen to check out any of these places. Also, you can read these if you want more foodie recommendations.

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Sights & Sounds of Chandni Chowk, Old Delhi

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I convinced my classmates to make a morning trip to Chandni Chowk for a food walk of sorts.

Now, who wakes up in hostels at 8 in the morning on a weekend? So, the trip obviously got delayed and we were rushing through things because everyone had other commitments too.

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Yes, that’s an excuse why I couldn’t click enough but a valid one at that. Here’s whatever I could manage.

Can I please begin by saying that I lovvvvvvvvvveeee (yes, I had to write it like this) Chandni Chowk for the old world charm that it exudes?

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The famous Chaat shop ‘Natraj’

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Parathas getting made. This is a phone photo.

I am totally in awe of the tiny old style shops where the owner (or manager) still sits on a gaddi (cushioned seater) and the shops are stocked with all sorts of bling, as this market is known for wedding-related things.

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The beautiful doors

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The area I visited for the famous parathas (Indian flat bread, Google for details :)) is famously known as Kinari Bazaar or the market of borders. Borders, the bling-y, glitter-y and all other kinds that women buy to design their clothes and put these across their saris, dupattas, suits and so on. This market is thronged by women from all across Delhi (and beyond) going crazy for the beautiful, beautiful borders. How I wish I could click some of them! Also the even more beautiful shops they were housed in! Apart from the reason mentioned in the post’s beginning, I could also not click because shopkeepers at such rugged places generally get offended when you click. However, I am definitely going to take chances next time.

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