Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Oh no.

Why why why?

You Are French Food

Snobby yet ubiquitous.
People act like they understand you more than they actually do.

Monday, January 30, 2006

Some stuff.

No more weekend update posts. I mean they all seem to merge into this one giant orgy of food, movies and driving in my head, I wonder how they make the readers feel. That is of course assuming I have any.
Food, jazz concert, driving, visiting, Millions, being visited, coffee, more driving. That seems to cover this last one pretty much.

Recent conversation between unnamed person 1 (UP1) and unnamed person 2 (UP2):
UP1 - "Are you a screamer?"
UP2 - "Er no, I mean sometimes." [with red eartips and burning cheeks and faraway look]
UP1 - "I mean do you throw your hands up and scream?"
UP2 - "Not really." [mumbling faintly and trying to keep a straight face]
UP1 - "We ARE talking about roller coasters still, right?"
UP2 - "Right, of course!"

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Not-So-Short update on the weekend

Friday evening: Dinner at L's place. L is old friend from college / B-School. Her hubby Ro was also with us at Joka. They recently had a baby girl who was one of the prettiest newborns I have ever seen (I like babies but seriously don't you think that usually babies get cuter only as they grow a face after about a month or so - first couple of weeks, not so much - na?). Food - yum, the company even better...

Saturday: After a really nice lunch at home, Ma and I headed for SF for some shopping. I decided not to drive and that was a great idea. After some showers in the morning, it became a beautiful, sunny, white fluffy clouds in a blue sky kind of a day. We took the free Emeryville city bus to the BART station and then the train to Powell. Unfortunately for my wallet the San Francisco mall had quite a few stores with great sales. Collected my birthday month gift from The Body Shop, bought cashmere sweaters for a steal at Ann Taylor (yes, more than one and no I am not ashamed) and various other stuff. No, Ma refused to buy anything or let me buy anything for her. Since she also practically physically restrained me from going near any shoe stores, we ended up eating a Godiva truffle each, having some coffee and heading home.
On the way back the bus driver decided to wax eloquent in admiring mother and daughter. A co-passenger asked if Ma was indeed my mother (duh) and said something along the lines of "Obviously, true beauty does not fall far from the tree". LOL, I think it was just Ma's sari that overwhelmed him. We got home to eat dinner and watch Amadeus on DVD, which I have had sitting on the TV since November courtesy of Netflix. I must be one of Netflix' most profitable customers, gah.
Post dinner, I hung out at the Albatross Pub in Berkeley with RW (yet another friend with the initial R) and some of his friends and played darts, which I suck at. Phew - long day!

Sunday: Beautiful day - warm, sunny and all around perfect. So what can a Californian do but barbeque in January. Not me but my friend A, who grilled the yummiest pomfrets stuffed with shrimps / olives/ ginger and who knows what else. It was a smashing success though he confesses proudly that the recipe was not replicable as he was not quite sure exactly what else had gone into it! Wine on the deck in the greenery of the Los Altos Hills. Hmmm, nice. We watched the entire 2nd season of the hilarious BBC series Coupling as it got dark and then I had to get home.

Monday: Dinner with the ex at a super-expensive Italian restaurant. Hmmm. And the answer to your question is that the food is to die for. And yes it is possible to be friends with an ex, especially when they treat you to such dinners.

[Edited to add on special instructions, the pomfret was way cooler than the Oliveto dinner. Ok - you can stop choking me now, arghh.]

Monday, January 23, 2006

These are a few of my favorite things..

Aeons ago, Thalassa_Mikra had tagged me with the 10 favorite foods tag. I have been my usual indolent self and procrastinated. Truly though, it is a horrendously difficult task to list ten 'items of food', or is it ten 'kinds of food' that are my favorites. I'm wary of leaving out so much of what I love to eat. Instead I will be very very specific and list only things I do eat regularly - either because I can cook them or I have a favorite source (Mom, friend, store, restaurant and so on) that I can whine at or pay to feed me :) I apologise to those who do not understand Bengali in advance as I will not attempt to translate bengali phrases below.

1. Alu-posto and korai-er daal - as made by Ma. I can make a reasonable facsimile but for the real thing it has to be thin slivers of potato with dollops of posto cooked almost dry with watery korai-er dal which has mouri floating on the surface as made by Ma. To make it my idea of a feast from heaven, add papor (bhaja - not roasted!), (real) parshe machher jhal with lots of shorshe bata and kancha lonka. To Swati and Priya - I add - I know exactly how you feel about posto :)

2. Chingri Machher malaikari - again as made by Ma but there are various not-inferior versions made by a lot of the kakimas and mashimas I know!! Well balanced sweet and spice, with raisins and coconut milk. Big golda chingris with the heads on and bright orange roe!

3. Basil Chicken (Pad Ka Prow) - Spicy stir-fried ground chicken with (preferably Thai Holy Basil) basil and Thai chillis and garlic and shallots and dark soy sauce and fish sauce, finished up with a sprinkle of white pepper! Thank you Siam Square (long-departed), thank you Gayle and thank you Kasma! I can now make my own, what bliss!

4. Pantha'r mangsho (goat meat curry) - Homemade with big potato chunks and caramelized oniony meaty gravy. I could eat just the potatoes, so good! Usual source - Ma and various assorted Aunties, alternately - Kolkata'r biyebari! Preferably with ghee-bhaat or polao.

5. Hing-er Kochuri and chholar daal - The kochuris are tiny and the dal is sweet enough to substitute for payesh except its studded with deadly kancha lonkas. Oh my! Makes me want to emulate Meg Ryan in 'When Harry met Sally'. Source - Hindusthan Sweets in New Alipore, Putiram in College Square and various other typical mishti'r dokan.

6. Chicken Afghani from Sangu Valley / Fish Cutlet from Bijoli Grille and Chicken Cutlet from cafe - Thanks to Tumpa & Rajib for living in Bhowanipore and introducing me to these perfect specimens of er foodiness!! They HAVE to be accompanied by shredded cucumber, onion, carrots and beets and kashundi. At a pinch they can be substituted with homemade fish chop, and thanks to Ma I can make those myself.

7. Dim Sum - calorie and MSG laden bits of fried and steamed goodness. I mourn for my passing acquaintance with Monterey Park and Atlantic Boulevard in San Gabriel Valley - that is the true tragedy of having moved out of LA. The Bay area supposedly has great dim sum but I am yet to find that transcendental experience. The search goes on.

8. Tapas - Spanish bar food has taken over the urban bits of North America, with the small plates concept catching on like flu in a kindergarten. Whats not to like, Tortilla de patatas (Spanish Omelette), Patatas Bravas (potatoes in a spicy red sauce), manchego cheese with quince paste, spanish ham or Jamon, little Croquettes (so similar to the desi chop) and of course pitchers of Sangria. La Paella in L.A. is decent and so is Cafe Iberico in Chicago. Yet another option is that of Japanese Izakaya places which are similar in concept and type of food, slightly oily, greasy food in small portions to keep the bar-hoppers happy.

9. Dark chocolate - I have recently waxed eloquent on dark, semi-sweet chocolate. I do not have much more to add except to say, at least 60% cocoa, folks!

10. Mishti - Notun gurer sondesh, kheer kodombo, lyangcha and ledikeni. Chomchom and 'blush'ogolla (the pink ones made with gur), mishti doi and angti mishti (my name for gujiyas). Sigh - that is why I will keep going back to Calcutta and always call it home.

P.S. From the previous post: Cafe Colucci - check! Good stuff and ma loved it too, yay!
P.P.S Can't believe I forgot to mention phuchka, churmur and chicken roll, ufff.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Sneaking back, shoes in hand...

That's kind of how I feel, really. You know, when all the lights go on and a grumpy sleepy parent stares you down for getting home late. Or at least thats how the movies pretend it is.

Apropos of my life right now, I have a parent unit on hand. My mother and I are close but not that close, so the thought of my spending four months in a smallish 1BR apartment with her sends my brother into paroxysms of glee. Dada is also convinced that I will treat Ma as if she were a timid Nirupa Roy type and I were the 'modern bahu', you know how that story goes.

Except Ma and I are quite enjoying ourselves, much to our own surprise I think. Yes, I snap at her and yes, she nags me but we have not had any of those all-out fights yet! [Pats self on the back]

As a result, I have had a very tame Christmas and New Year. One was spent family style with a new friend K and her family. Much gumbo was consumed as K's mom is from Louisiana originally and its traditional for them. I then drove to SFO in the pouring rain to meet Ma who was flying in that evening. Her flight had landed a full fifty minutes ahead of time and she had come out of customs five minutes before I arrived.

As for NYE, we watched the SF fireworks, only on TV instead of just walking out to the nearby marina to watch it, silly us. I had a lovely New Years Day walking around Clement St in SF, having a Dim Sum lunch and then driving around the Presidio and the Golden Gate park. It was raining but so beautiful.

My mum and I also drove to the San Francisco Ferry Building Marketplace last Saturday for a very concentrated dose of good food, a great farmer's market, amazing food stores including Scharffen Berger (although the factory is a 3 minute drive from where I live), Acme bread and Cowgirl Creamery. (That reminds me of "Ami jodi French hotam, cheese, ruti ar wine khetam, bangali korechhe bhogoban re." Heh-indeedy!!)

We had lovely (and huge) crab cake sandwiches for lunch along with some gelato and a chocolate tartlette (that is how they spelled it at the little organic Patisserie we bought it from). We managed to buy lots of veggies and fruits from the farmers' market. That was followed by a drive to Golden Gate Park (Er the previous drive on New Year's Day had been sans-maman, capisce?). The same afternoon we proceeded to go to Naz8 in fremont and watch Bluffmaster. I likey. No reviews except that Abhishek Bachchan has way too much fun making the movie and it shows. Oh then we bought fish (grass carp which is pretty Rohu-like) and nice big prawns from India (with blue legs - Ma approved).

We had fish and chips at a very Brit pub last night. Don't look at me - it was Ma who had those cravings, HUH! She also loved the Thai dinner couple of nights back. All in all I am realising that any sense of adventure I have in my eating habits owes as much to Ma as to Baba unlike what I've always believed! Next up - hopefully Moroccan food at Aziza, some Dim Sum at Legendary Palace (Chicken Feet anyone?) and Ethiopian at Cafe Colucci or Addis.

Not been upto much else otherwise. Which is to say that I have not been upto anything else that I'd want to blog about :) Expect a post on my food favorites - though how one is supposed to have an exhaustive list is beyond my comprehension :( Till then, cheers.