Thursday, March 10, 2005

Doing Pondicherry over the Weekend... (From Hyderabad)

vandana gombar a fellow ryzer, writes.....

I wasn't sure how about its doability until I actually did it...

For those who want the sun, the sand and some spiritualism in the air...head to Pondi for the weekend...a backpackers guide...

1600 hrs: I leave HYd in the Chennai Express...some reading...some food and sleep...

0600 Hrs: At Chennai Railway station
0700 Hrs: After taking a lift to the bus-stand, I hopped onto a 3-hour ride through the scenic ECR (East Coast Road) Pondi
1000 Hrs:At Pondi...

I managed to get a room at the Ashram Guest house...amazingly scenic (its right on the beach)...quiet..economical (RS 300/single) can rent bicycles at the guest get food...BUT drugs, alcohol, smoking strictly forbidden...For those who enjoy these indulgences...there are other options to stay...cottages...guest houses..

After some refreshments, I booked myslf into the Pondi Tourism Devt Corp. half day tour of the city...they took me to a museum (very boring...cannot get excited by looking at the primitive elements man used thousands of years do I care...)...and some temples...the most intersting thing was AUROVILLE...and the famous shrine where soil from 120 countries was mixed to emphasize the universal unity of will see people from many many countries there... can walk on the beach road till late at night...very amiable...lots of in the hair...and sleep with the lulling sound of waves loud in your ear...

0530 hrs :up to see the sunrise (it is the east coast remember...)
Leisurely breakfast at the guest house...few hours in the garden overlooking the sea...some buys of incense sticks...

1300 hrs: Bus to Chennai...
1800 hrs: Charminar Express starts for Hyd...

0830 hrs: In HYD
1000 at work.

If anyone wants to prebook...I could help with the phone numbers...Vandana

Visit Vandana's Ryze page

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Desserts @ Painted Platters

Painted Platters
85, 8 avenue
Road No. 3
Banjara Hills,
5568 6444, 5568 6555

Painted platters in the outdoor seating part of where "Galloping Gooseberry" used to be. ("Galloping Gooseberry" re-opened last week as "grandma's" - quite apt given the time taken for service.....)

Don't let the terrible service of Galloping Gooseberry/Grandma's deter you from visitng Painted Platters. The service outide is seperately managed and quite well run. Given the effort put into decorating each plate, you don’t mind the slight delay, esp given the surroundings.

The menu is innovative to say the least. When you sit down, you are handed a literary masterpiece. And before you wonder if you have reached a library by mistake, you realise that the menu is integrated into the book.

The number of items on the menu is around 20 but each one of them is worth tasting at least once. The first 2/3's of the menu is constant, but the Viennese section is changed every quarter.

The presentation of each dessert is amazing. (before I forget, thet only serve desserts) If you have ever looked longingly/hungrily at the pictures of food in imported cookbooks, then this is where you get to see these dreamy concoctions come alive.

A lot of the desserts, have fruit bases or components. But there are more than enough varieties for chocoholics, like me. The Missisipi mud Pie @ 130 is a all time favorite at Painted Platters. The Viennese Alhambra at 95/- was also good with its sponge cake layers et al. Finished it off with a Malakov torte (105/-) which was absolute sin, loaded with alcohol.

So, forget all your diets & calorie counting, if you truly want to freak out at Painted Platters. There's free home delivery, in a 5km radius, if you order for 3 or more desserts. You can even pick up parcels from the place itself.

Eating @ Eat Street

Eat Street
Necklace Road

Eat Street is a lovely place opened on the lake on Necklace Road. Theres a play area for children with lovely multi hued flowers growing abundantly. There's a permanent merry-go-round & baby cars & things like that. They also have boating on the lake originating from the premises.

The seating is partly open air and partly under a cover which is still open to the lake on the side. But if all you want is a place to sip a coffee & relax with your book or friends, then take your coffee & head upstairs, the feeling there is even more relaxed.

Eat Street is a Food court. So you have Pizza Hut, Minerva Coffee Shop, Baskin robbins & others. Rest assured there are enough choices whether you are looking for a coffe, ice-cream, snacks, chaat or a proper meal.

The Chinese served at "Wok of the Town" was quite good. The combos for 95/- include some noodles/rice, a main dish & a starter. Really worth it & quite filling. Their chicken pepper salt was also quite interesting for 65/-

The "Chat Room" serves an array of chaat items. Tried the Dahi Poori (25) & Pani Puri (20). Tasty & clean with the joy of eating it on the lake side. Definitley round up your chaat with the jelebis (20). They are absolutely amazing & a must try. If you are thirsty with all the chaat, have the Badam Milk (25). There are a lot of pakodas & other fried stuff too thats available. I'd rank this second on the chaat available in Hyderabad. Ohris Banjara being the best. And oh yeah, the Pani Puri @ Gangotris near 36, Jubilee hills is very good, though the rest of their chaat isnt.

At the Indian counter "Wah Hyderabad", you can get an assortment of Mughlai & Hyderabadi dishes. The combo at 95 includes rice, roti, dry & wet sabji in veg & non veg options. Very filling, so quite a VFM. If you want to add on something, try the chicken 65 for 60/- and complete your meal.

Then take a walk around the palce to digest all that you have just eaten & enjoy the view some more. Quite a romantic place too. If you want to take your date out to a place, which wont burn a hole in your wallet, then eat Street is the place to go.

Eating @ Rayalseema Ruchulu

Rayalseema Ruchulu
Rayalseema Ruchulu
5510 0033, 5510 0044

Havent eaten at the restaurant itself, but have ordered food home, once in a way.

RR offers typical Andhra dishes, with the signature spiciness inherent in Andhra food.

They have some interesting innovations in rotis such as sajja roti (18) & Jonna roti (11) I would be hard pressed to describe them or the uingredients that go into their making, but let me assure you that they are quite tasty.

The chicken pulao (59) is in the andhra (not hyderabadi) style. They have an excellent starter called the rayalseema special chicken (68) which are something like cutlets, but yet different. Very interesting & a really good snack with whatever drinks you may be serving. Slighlty on the spicier side but then that’s what makes it interesting.

They serve a pretty mean brain fry (62) and mamasam kheema (82) too. Only thing being that though the rates look lower compared to other hotels, the quantitites on these main dishes are a little on the smaller side too. So you may need to order 1.5 times the amount you order from other places.

TO sum it up, I would say, food from Rayalseema Ruchulu is tasty & interesting.