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Posts Tagged ‘coffee’

Bullet point feelings on Starbucks coming in India

Posted by Sowmya on October 22, 2012

Yes! Starbucks is in India finally and in Mumbai particularly. Aren’t we all excited? Mr. Schultz was on all the news channels all weekend with Mr.Tata and expressed hope and joy for this new chapter in our brew history.

  • On one side, I am excited. I have always enjoyed the Starbucks experience, the few times I had a chance to.
  • Though my head tells me that it is just a cafe, there is something very cozy and comfortable about a Starbucks that I have not found in other mass scale cafes.
  • I hate few things more than instant coffee ( and that is saying a lot). Most coffee experiences outside home have been an endurance test of the worst kind.
  • But Starbucks gave me a wonderful ‘Chai Tea Latte’ which reminds you of the masala tea back home. That’s another reason I like Starbucks
  • Had I been in Mumbai, I would surely not have been one of those to rush to it on opening day. The crowd defeats the entire purpose of going to a cafe.
  • But I am surprised at the extreme emotions it seems to have generated.
  • One one hand, are the people who actually stood close to an hour for a cup of coffee.
  • And on the other, are those who are decrying these people because they are blindly following all things American.
  • I am finding it hard to be on either side.
  • I would rather go to a relatively quiet cafe (preferably the single brand, stand alone, hole in wall ones) but I can surely understand those who went to Horniman Circle last weekend.
  • It is an exciting event especially when SB respects the Indian palette to introduce ‘Elaichi mava cake’.
  • And lets face it, the snacks at CCD suck! Totally!
  • I would go to SB for the cakes even if not for the coffee

Come soon to Bangalore!!!

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Hot Kapi with me :)

Posted by Sowmya on January 19, 2011

Very late in life I discovered the magic of coffee especially South Indian filter coffee. I have raved about it all my life primarily because I did not want to be viewed as ignorant and outcast by the rest of my clan. But lately I find myself yearning for the perfect cuppa coffee…early in the morning…middle of the day…when I am frustrated with my clients…..when I pick a good book….after dinner…you get the drift.

This also means that I have been asking for filter coffee wherever I go and here are some of the places where I found amazing coffees –

Hot Chips -If you like it strong, this is the place to have the filter coffee. One small cup can keep you up for hours. I tried it at Ampa Skywalk but I guess all of their outlets should have similar connotation.

Kalmanee Coffee -This is again in Ampa Skywalk. It has a nice variety of coffees and tea in various flavours. Must try!

Anise -Yeah, I know you think I am nuts to be going to Taj Coramendal for a cuppa coffee but let me assure you that I don’t regret it one bit and the fact that I did not pay for it is irrelevant to this post. I was frankly skeptical because the coffee at Taj Mumbai had left a bad taste in my mouth. Every time I had a coffee there I was sure it was just hot water. But Anise serves one of the best South Indian filter coffees I have ever tasted. Simply marvelous. It is the perfect taste -not too strong not too mild just perfect with an awesome aroma. I would insist you go there just to have the coffee. It is heavenly 🙂

Vasantha Bhavan – at Anna Nagar has a good coffee but I could never enjoy it because I never liked the ambiance there. It did not let me lose myself in the coffee and forget the world outside. If you have no such requirements you should try the coffee there.

As for the teas –

Parfait 3  keeps a wonderful array of organic teas and other coffees like cappucino, etc. I love their ginger tea. Do have a look.

Amethyst – Just loved the masala chai there though I do wish they served it as chai instead of milk and tea separately but nevertheless it is a perfect foil for a late breakfast or good with a snack too.

And I have to mention here that my favorite coffee still remains the one my mom has ready the minute I enter. Yeah, it is cliche and all that but that does not make it untrue. My mom is always the best 🙂

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Tag along

Posted by Sowmya on June 30, 2009

Hi…found an interesting tag after a long time….courtesy this awesome blog.

So here goes –

A – Available?

Mom, Dad & bro… always.

B – Best friend

Hubby dearest…….such a cliche relationship we have…but its the best thing to have happened to me 🙂

C – Cake or Pie?

Hmmmm…tough one….Cake…No pie…..No Cake…….you get it

D – Drink of choice

In the morning -dikashan coffee without sugar, post lunch a boiling hot tea and a vodka sprite in the evening

E – Essential thing used everyday


F – Favourite color

Blue & Red

G – Gummi bears or worms

Neither………some more options please

H – Hometown

Mumbai….the one and only

I – Indulgence

Hand bags / purses, clothes, stationery (trust me it is an indulgence when you see my collection)

J – January or February

February……its my birthday! Also the climate is the best that time

K – Kids and names

Not yet……..but I know its going to be a looooooooong typical Iyengar name

L – Life

is strange……..when you yearn for something soooo much and then actually get it, it does not seem so important anymore.

M – Marriage date

November 22

N – Number of siblings

One and only bro……..a fantastic character. Never let him know though

O – Oranges or apples


P – Phobias

None really though I am the cause of many phobias for people around me…hehehe

Q – Quote

Unquote (Am I missing the point here?)

R – Reason to smile

When hubby wakes me up in the morning ….such a rarity nowadays (I have been waking up before him for all of 2 days including today)

S – Season

All of it……..life is fun all year round

T – Tag three people

I tag all the unsuspecting victims who read my blog…(insert evil grin)

U – Unknown fact about me

I blog

V – Vegetable you do not like


W – Worst habit

Never remember social niceties (Is it that bad??? 😦

X – x-rays you have had

None that I can remember

Y – Your favorite food

Anything I dont have to cook…..specially if hubby cooks for me…..Coming to think of it I love his fried maggi & aloo parathas

Z – Zodiac:


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La di di

Posted by Sowmya on August 22, 2008

heya world..am happy happy today…why? Cos I had a wonderful yesterday…. I met up with this friend after ages…….what fun 🙂

Ok, first lemme introduce u to S, my friend through and since college…..S and me were in the same class during junior college after which we went on to become buddies…..He is my Kishore Kumar, Mohamad Rafi and whoever else u can think of..all rolled into one. There was a point in time when the only angrezi songs I knew were the ones by S and we all thought he was much better than the original. Most of my college memories revolve around S singing and playing the guitar and all having an awesome time. Those days……….

Well, now he is a hot-shot globe trotting i-banker who always goes out of his way to convince the rest of us that he is on a hand to mouth existence… Gahhhhhh We still believe u S. Thankfully one of his innumerable clients operate from Chennai and he makes this occassional trip down here. Its so much fun to meet friends, especially in a new place. I always thought this whole i-am-so-happy-seeing-an-Indian-in USA act which lot of my relatives and acquaintances regularly put up was just that. An act! But now I realise they probably meant it……I am so Mumbai sick, to be read home sick, that anyone with a connection to Mumbai falls in the descended-from-heaven-just-for-me category. And if it is a good friend of over a decade (Gosh! is it that long? Am I so old?), then what more can I ask for 😀

S called me on Tues pretending to be some guy from a placement agency with this American twang. I answered all his questions with this half suspicious half serious tone…….I was so right. It was S, damn him. We fixed up dinner plans on Wed. Yipeee!!  Went to the Taj Coramandel. You know this crazy thing which always happens to me. My office is just behind this Taj but by some crazy twist of fate I always land up at vague meetings and client locations exactly on those days when my post-work meet happens in the Nungambakkam area. Just like this other time when Sri and me were scheduled to check out this play on Harrington Road. The whole week i was twiddling thumbs at my N office and teasing Sri about the enormous distance he would have to travel and how I would be there in exactly a hop-skip-jump routine. But come Friday, that very sultry Friday, i just had to go to this client place at godforsaken Guindy. Picked up smirking Sri on my way to the play. Wierd!

Anyway, I bargained my auto-way to Taj, as usual. Seems like I have become an expert bargainer of sorts. Heard some guy giving 30% more than me for the same location. Was so heartened that I was being screwed far lesser by the divine beings (read auto guys) as compared to my fellow city-mates. Reaching there I found S had yet to arrive. Thats something never changed about him, always late. But all of us are so used to it that I am sure we would fall off our chairs in case he chose to turn up on time. But this time, it was barely 10 mins, so forgave him heartily….the fact that he was taking me out to dinner also helped 😉

During my brief waiting period, I checked out this really cool autograph collection of a Mr.Lakshman (I think ?!) who was the grandson of Raja Annamalai Chettiar (You would know if u hv any kind of Chennai connection. else Google-it or keep watching this space, I’ll let you know the minute I do. Oh wait! I can call the ever-reliable encyclopediac Sri…gimme a minute. Grrrr he is busy!) Anyway, he was this big shot of the yester-years. The autograph collection had the who’s who of that time like Gandhiji, Pandit Nehru, Sardar Patel (imagine!!!!), Lord Mountbatten and all the crickets of that time you can think of, like, Vijay Hazare, Duleepsingji, everyone…..awesome collection. Each had given their signatures accompanied by a personal motto or a one-liner. Damn good ones.

S arrived when I was in this signature-sea and we decided to have dinner after dumping his new DVD collection in his room. (Yup! For S, Mr.Bachchan rulz. Even today!) Being a 6 ft something himself, S did have his moments thinking of himself as Big B…..in those Kabhi Kabhi / Silsila kinda moods….not your Amar Akbar Anthony thingy. I still remember S going through the entire Mai aur meri tanhai stuff on our way back from a Jagjit Singh concert when he was incidently wearing typical AB type clothes with pockets high up on your coat / jacket (or whatever its called). And even that one time when, at this Natural ice-cream parlour, we could only hear the dialogues of AB movies and S and me were guessing which line belonged to which movie without seeing the visuals. He was bang-on everytime! That day was crazier since we had our dinner upside down starting with 3 scoops of ice-cream, ginger-lemon, then curd rice and finally a soup/starter. What were we thinking???

Anyways, back to the present now………I declared I could not stand another South Indian dinner. yeah, yeah, I am a southie and love my roots, pulses, rice everything. But there is only so much idli and dosa a Mumbaite can have without diving for an occassional chaat or pav bhaji or some such high calorie stuff. And I was already full to my neck with the S Bhavan, AA Bhavan, V Bhavan routine of Chennai. Since, unfortunately Taj did not serve either chaat or pav bhaji we settled for an Italian dinner. Pizza, Hurrah! ‘Sorry Sir, we do not serve pizza. Its a fine dining Italian restuarant’, said the manager guy. Oh well, unpronouncable food, here we come. We successfully figured our way through the menu and maybe learned some Italian in the bargian. I would’nt really know. Do you know someone Italian? Maybe I can try it then. So S and me ordered a starter and the main course both of which, we were 80% sure, were vegetarian. They, thankfully, were.

Alongwith the dishes came another mother-of-god inventions -the salt and pepper shaker. Whats the big deal you would ask. Hey, just drop by that place today and let me know if you figure, in less than half hour without a manual that is, how to get the salt out. Eventually we discovered it was a hold-your-breath, battery operated shaker. Of all things!!!!!!!! It had some kind of button, which when pressed, would give some light at the end of the tunnel (it was torch shaped) and a whrrrrrr grinding sound as the salt/ pepper flowed freely. It was so much fun that S and I almost ended up oversalting our dishes for the pure purpose of using the salt shaker. hehe! what fun 😀

Thus dinner was 3 types of mozarella cheese (yum yum), incomprehensible dish 1, incomprehensible dish 2 then my favorite part -incomprehensible dessert…..also some Irish coffee to boot (S recomends! Like that ‘Sriram recommends’ stuff at Crossword) The sugar was not in its usually cube cube avtar but had chosen to mount a toothpickand ready to be stirred. The 2 of us were just marvelling at the people who actually rack their brains and come up with such stuff.

Anyways, silly me to be going on and on about the food when I had a such a wonderful time with S. We caught up on each other’s lives….not that we r not in touch or anything but it was ages since we just sat and talked. Felt so light at the end of that heavy dinner cos I rattled on and on about anything and everything and nothing in particular. We updated ourselves on other close friends’ lives, marriages, visas, kids, the like…….Awesome fun. Just like old times. Never told you this yesterday but S, thank you for an extraordinary evening. Do come home next time for a full fledged south indian fare with Sri and me. (Now I have to get him to read this blog. Hmph!!!)

Is anyone else from Mumbai listening??? Visit me visit me

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My dream mornin cuppa

Posted by Sowmya on May 8, 2008

Dunno why but reading the newspaper with a blissful cup of coffee has always been an unattained dream. have an amazing picture in my head ……sitting in the balcony of my apartment on anywhere between the 15-25th floor. with a huge cup of steaming hot coffee…a gentle breeze…the crisp news of the morning paper….some musical notes in the background…me sitting against the wall…in comfy cottons….the breeze gently playin with my hair (in the opposit direction of my face, of course!)…no care in the world…no regard for the ppt which just has to be mailed to the client today….no calls from pesky colleagues and inquisitive friends (I love u all but not more than my dream mornin cuppa:)…no doorbells from maidservants, dhobhis and kachdawalas. just half hour of the day….atleast on weekends…ok, maximum of once a week? alas, that is never to be so!
Unbelievable but true…mom has an auto sensor-cum-alarm which goes off the minute i touch the newspaper. ‘Come and help me clean the veggies’ or ‘check who is at the door. if it is Mr.A then…Mr. B then… Mr.C ……’ AAAAAAAAAAAAAARgh! Not fair…..cant i relish my brew in peace?
Thought i would have better luck when I got married. Ha! who was i kidding? The first month was good….hubby dearest made some damn good masala chai everyday mornin…i was out of my job….made the mega modification in my dream and changed the preferred brew from coffee to tea. But i had to drink it in 10 mins, make lunch and breakfast before he left for work. Hmmm
Worse i was up north (of India, of course) during its peak winter. So if went anywhere near the balcony the wind would play with my teeth and not my hair. Plan B was to try and drink my potion after packing off the husband to work. So it would be just me, my chai and the newspaper (not as crisp, due to the winter me thinks!) but then how could i forget? Momma dearest calls -‘what are u doing? have u finished cooking? what did u cook?’ and so on….Her sensors r powered to disregard the 1400 odd kms between Delhi and Mumbai……Maa tujhe Salaam!
Then i moved to Chennai……..and my dreams came down with a crash from my 15th floor. Oh come on! Skyscraper in Chennai??? Still searching for one………any info is most welcome:D

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