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Friday, September 29, 2017

Chp 677. The Adventures of Tubby - season 2

The exciting adventure and souscapade of Tubby continues! For those of you who came in late, Tubby is my new girlfriend, made of 100% food grade stainless steel. She is my personal plate here at office :) This series of post consists of the lunch I order at office and eat using this plate.

Now why would I be having my own personal plate at a reputed Business and Corporate center in the heart of Pune, you may ask? Well you can read all about her origin here at Part 1 of the Adventures of Tubby.

In case you didn't notice, yesterday, we saw a lot of popular TV shows airing their new season's episodes - The Blacklist, Chicago PD, Designated Survivor, Criminal Minds, The Brave, Seal Team, Modern Family,  and Law & Order SVU just to name a few. What an awesome night it was to binge-watch them all.

Likewise, I think it's time to release season 2 of The Adventures of Tubby today. So here are 10 mouthwatering episodes to feast your eyes (and stomachs) on…

Season 2: Episode 1

First up for the season 2 episode opener is one of my favorite restaurants here in Koregaon Park - Porotbello. They specialize in pork dishes and their price is mid-range (most of the restaurants in KP that serves pork are expensive). In this episode, you can see Tubby holding a magnificent plate of Spaghetti Alla Carbonara with Bacon (₹300). I mean it's a bit redundant to include the "with bacon" part because a Carbonara by default should contain bacon, but I guess they put it like that in the menu to warn people who may not know about it that it contains pork. I also ordered their Piri Piri Prawns with Mayo (₹200) as sides, and it was tasty as hell!

Season 2: Episode 2

The name of this restaurant is 5 Loaves 2 Fish. Yes don't you just love the subtle Biblical reference? :D When I looked at their menu, I wasn't surprised at all that it was a Malayali restaurant. They had everything from puttus to appams. But then when I saw this particular dish on their menu, I jumped up in joy! Egg Kothu Parotta (₹120). Having being brought up in one of those hill station residential boarding schools in Tamil Nadu, this used to be my favorite roadside snack. It consists of minced Malabar parottas mixed with shredded eggs, onions, tomatoes and other condiments. Since it was just a snack, I ordered their Surmai Tawa Fry (₹320) to complement it, and they went so well together. Definitely 5/5 rating.

Season 2: Episode 3

The above assortment is from Café Hormuz, the best Parsi restaurant in town. As I have explained in season 1 where I featured one of their dishes, what I really love about this place is not just the delicious and authentic Parsi food, but the fact that their quantity is small (along with low cost) hence making it convenient for me to order a variety of different dishes without spending much. Above you can see their soft and super fine Iranian Egg Pulao (₹105), along with Kheema Ghotala half (₹75) and Irani Herbal Masala Egg Omelette (₹80). Kheema Ghotala is a popular Parsi dish made from minced chicken, scrambled eggs, onions and capsicum.

Season 2: Episode 4

One of my regular blog visitors Daniel commented on the previous Season 1 post, saying he's disappointed that I won't be able to order Mizo dishes at work. I know, that's sad (you will find Mizo dishes in my other non-Tubby related blog posts). Tubby will never get to know what real Mizo love feels like, but this is the closest I got - Spicy Naga Pork.

Yeah so the other day, I found this new place on zomato called Pema's Kitchen. Their menu was proper Tibetan, and I was so excited when I saw Spicy Naga Pork on their menu. I ordered immediately but the owner, whom I assumed was Pema, called me up to say it was available only for dinner. And then around a month later, I called her up again and told her I would be ordering this dish for lunch the next day and so she prepared it for me in advance that night. I had been regularly ordering their Thukpas and Momos at home so the trust factor was there. And so the next day for lunch, Tubby finally got to meet Spicy Naga Pork (₹320). It came with a good portion of white rice, and what I really love about Pema is that she always throws in a free sample of Raja Mirchi pickle only for me after I told her I'm from Mizoram :)

Season 2: Episode 5

I'll try to include at least one burger meal every season. For this season, I give you "Yo Mama's Threesome Burger" from Ringer Burgers. I kid you not, that is the actual name of the monstrous burger above. It costs a cool ₹300 bucks and consists of two Mutton BBQ patty, three layers of Chicken salami, five strips of Bacon, two fried eggs, and cheesy fries oozing with their secret MMS cheese sauce. Tubby really loved it, so did my tummy :)

Season 2: Episode 6

I love a "make your own" meal joint, where we can customize our meal just the way we want by selecting our preferred ingredients. However, such places are not very common. Slice of Soul (S.O.S.) is one of those few restaurants having this feature. Above you can see my Make Your Own Non Veg Pasta (₹260) consisting of Pork Pepperoni, Chicken Sausages, Garlic, Onion, Sun Dried Tomato, Green Chilly, Grilled Paneer in Red Sauce, Parmesan as Garnish and Macaroni as Pasta.

Along with that, I also ordered a Make Your Own Non Veg Salad (₹175.25) consisting of Pork Chorizo, Bacon, Tequila Prawns, Mac and Cheese, Button Mushroom, Sun Dried Tomato, Jalapeno, Green Chilly and Grilled Paneer, with Caeser as preferred dressing. Both were super yummm.

Season 2: Episode 7

I'll try to include at least one Pizza order every season as well. This time, Tubby met the awesome Pork Overload Pizza (₹260) from Bubsterr's. For those of you unfamiliar with Bubsterr's pizzas, they don't make round pizzas, and instead, one serving consists of one huge slice. The Pork Overload Pizza is their signature pizza and it consists of Smoked Ham, Peperoni, Bacon and Sausage! I also ordered their Classic Chicken Dog (₹140) as sides and it was awesome.

And since I am a "Zomato Treats Partner", my order came with a complimentary Chocolate Pizza slice, which is pizza made with Hot Chocolate sauce, Cinnamon'd Banana, Crushed Oreos, Melted Chocolate and Salted Caramel. For those of you who had never seen a chocolate pizza before, this is it. And it was really goooood!!

Season 2: Episode 8

On Fridays, my Muslim colleagues would go for their Namaz at a local Mosque nearby in the afternoon, where they apparently serve awesome Beef dishes (buffalo meat, since cow meat is banned in Maharashtra). And so I would ask them to buy for me some of the stuff when they come back to office. Above is an awesome platter of juicy Beef Sheekh kebab (₹200) along with roti, dal and sabji, and it definitely reminded me of my Bangalore days when we used to go all the way from Bannerghatta to Fanoos just to have their awesome Jumbo, Mumbo, Rambo and Sambo Beef Sheekhs wrapped in Romali rotis! Mannn…

Season 2: Episode 9

There were times when I just didn't feel like having a full-fledged meal or even junk food like burgers and pizzas for lunch. And so I would go for light snacks like Chicken Puffs, Mutton Puffs, Egg Puffs etc. Above was one such occasion when I gorged by mouth with puffs and made my cheeks all puffy. Tubby was surprised to see such an odd assortment of food for lunch, but then I told her about my past history many years ago -

Back when I was doing my Engineering course at Coimbatore, I used to be so broke that while my classmates had their lunch at the campus cafeteria or the restaurants outside, I used to eat alone quietly at the local bakery and have 2-3 egg puffs for lunch, which was all I could afford back then. Having those puffs everyday gave me more determination and will power to succeed in life, and that was the reason why I worked hard every day till now so I could eat anything I want for lunch today. Tubby cried after I told her that story. It's all thanks to the puffs that I got where I am today.

Season 2: Episode 10

Tubby was also delighted to have her first pork ribs in office, ordered from Murphies, renowned for their USP dishes called "Murphs" (meat, mashed potatoes and cheese wrapped in jacket potatoes). This place is Heaven for meat-lovers. The Murphies Pork Ribs came in sweet and spicy BBQ sauce and costs a cool ₹350 bucks. It was dillu!

I also ordered their German Suppe Soup (₹200) so that my ribs meal wasn't too dry. It was a thick broth with loads of bacon and mashed potatoes. A spoonful was enough to have a very calming effect on my inner belly lining. :D And of course just a drop of two of my spicy Naga Chilly pickle completed changed the taste as well, making it super awesome!

And so with that exciting pork ribs and soup, Season 2 of the Adventures of Tubby came to an end. Do watch this space for more when Season 3 starts. Do give me your feedback on how you think this season went, and I'm ready to listen to any recommendation or suggestion that you would like to see for season 3.

Until then, bon appétit everyone!

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Chp 676. Wedding in Goa - Part 2

For those of you who have missed Part 1, read it here.

And so, the next day, most of us woke up with a hangover.

(any story that begins with that line is bound to be interesting :D )

Cousin Mash knocked on my hotel room's verandah door from the garden side to wake me up, and I quickly got ready to have breakfast with them.

It was hard deciding what to eat. They had everything, from European to Middle-Eastern to Oriental to North Indian and South Indian.

There was even a chef designated to eggs. We just had to write down our order, table number and the way we wanted our customized eggs to be, and he made it right there itself.

Another chef dedicated to the pancakes section… He looked a bit less enthusiastic though :D

Pancakes section must be the internship designation in the culinary world :D

Likewise, there was a chef at every other section who made anything you wanted right there…

Moi plate :)

With cousin Mash and sister Dimps. Oh yeah, we really needed those fresh juices in front of us.

I think I went to refill mine at least 5 times to battle the dehydration inside my head.

The wandering live band too kept going from table to table, playing any songs people requested. Once again, it was time to, "When the night… has come… and the land is dark… and the moon… is the only… light we'll see…" that early in the morning :D

I also had South Indian filter coffee and it brought back a lot of memories of my good 'ol school and college days in Tamil Nadu…

Cousin BTi, Nunui and Rajat sat next to our table. The two women claimed to have just woken up and came straight to the breakfast buffet, but just look at their faces. One of those no-makeup-but-makeup faces :)

Cousin Mash and I just chilling by the pool after a very filling breakfast…


Haha… In Mizo this would be, "Sâp pa mawng nen thlâ an la bik bik!" :D :P

BTi and Nunui too were busy trying to capture that Insta-worthy pic to upload…

Matching clothes :D

Wandered around the beach a bit before heading back to my room to change for the afternoon's Mehendi party session.

The dress-code for the Mehendi party was either "ethnic wear" or "casual pool-side wear". I chose the latter because it was quite hot outside. And so, all I had to do was change my top and tha-daaa I was ready (we guys have it so easy! :D )

With the lovely bride Nancy.

Nancy's mum, u-Muanpuii getting her Mehendi groove on :)

And of course Nancy's sister Ruati, the hero who made that grand entrance the previous night, had to top that so she got two mehndis at the same time :D

The bride's turn for the mehndi…

Meanwhile I roamed around the place while gulping down Bira after Bira. It was truly awesome to meet my friends Esther and Becky!

Yeah I was surprised to suddenly meet them as well. Becky's house is just a stone's throw away from mine back at Chaltlang and we go way back - one of those locality childhood friends who knows your childhood crushes and exes and annoyingly teases you with their names :D

And Esther and I had been friends for many years because of my blog posts. She's one of Mizoram's most reputed Law professors, and she got right into action, questioning the legality of everything around her. "Why is Bira spelt with a reverse B?" she asked the bartender. "That is in violation of IPC grammar law of 1957," she told the terrified man. One old friend of mine, a dude, shook my hand. Esther immediately shouted, "Section 377! Section 377!" :D All jokes aside, she was definitely the life of the party that night.

Both Becky and Esther along with their husbands Joe and Dr. Lalrina were close friends of Utsav so the four of them actually came to the wedding for the groom's side.

That's what I really love about this particular wedding. It might have been an interracial marriage, but the number of Mizos invited by the groom and bride respectively were almost the same.

Here's another dear friend from Bangalore who became a stranger as the years rolled by - Hmaii.

She too came for the groom's side, as she and her hubby were neighbors with the groom. We reminisced about the good 'ol days, that golden era of Bangalore night life, especially that memorable incident when we went to Air Supply concert in 2006 and I forgot to switch-off the dimmer of my car and after the concert, the car's battery was completed drained! And so we waited for everybody to leave the parking area, acting like we were busy discussing about something, and once the parking lot was empty, I drove the car while Hmaii, Jenny and Emily (in their complete party dress and high heels!) along with Amos pushed it from behind, attempting to "running start" the vehicle!! :D :D :D

That was an unforgettable sight indeed! :D

Hmaii's hubby was cool AF, and he was operating this drone the whole time and I'm sure they took a lot of good videos and pics as well.

Mytea was another important figure who played a big role in the wedding event. He is Nancy's best friend.

My cousins and I couldn't get over the fact that he looked exactly like Nancy's brother Ngaihawma (who unfortunately couldn't make it to Goa due to work related schedule).

Picture frames :)

While the Mehendi party was going on, Dr. Lalrina reminded me about Aizawl FC's semi-final match, and so he, Joe, Becky, Esther and I sneaked out slyly from the party. We found a secluded bar upstairs, and since 90% of the hotel's guests were the wedding party, the place was empty. We asked the hotel staff to tune into Ten Sports Channel.

We cheered so much when Aizawl FC scored against Mohun Bagan in the 83rd minute thanks to Zohmingliana. What made it really frustrating for us was the thick mist that overtook the stadium, it was almost impossible to see the players on TV towards the last 10-15 minutes…

We headed back to our respective rooms after the match. My friend Bee, the Goa Mizo Welfare President, too had reached our hotel by then, and we all decided to explore the place before the night's event started.

Even though that day had been really memorable for me because I met a lot of my old friends out of the blue, the cherry on the top was meeting another dear old friend Mapuii.

Mapuii (not to be confused with the other Mapuii from my previous post) was a dear friend of mine back during my Bangalore days, we used to call her "Pitari" back then, I'm not sure if people still do that today or not. She apparently is one of Nancy's closest friends now! Small world indeed. She wasn't around the previous night (Day 1 post) because she had slept the entire day in her hotel room as she was tired due to her long trip from Bangalore (living up to her "Pitari" nickname indeed :D )

Man, the trip was turning out to be much better than I expected.

Mapuii and I talked a lot about the good 'ol Bangalore days, of how she would sneak out from Grace Home to party with her friends, to how she is now actually a caretaker for Grace Home making sure people don't sneak out :D As the saying goes, it takes a thief to catch one :D

We also spoke a lot about our dear friend Blessy Sailo who had passed away recently. RIP Blessy. In fact it was at her house that Mapuii and I first met for the first time more than 10 years ago… Sad indeed…

Bee and I explored the pool-side once more, but were disappointed that the free bar counter had closed :D

How do you like this pic I took of the pool-side with my Oneplus 3 phone? No filters applied. Super amazing phone, naw? :)

We explored the far side of the hotel's beach side…

Suddenly, we all decided to go on a little boat ride!

At first I was like, nooo we'll be late for the night's program, but it was the mother of the bride herself who wanted to go the most, and so, we all hopped on the boat. None of us were carrying money except u-Muanpuii, so she paid for all of us.

We left once the boat was full…

So many selfies in this one pic :D

Mash and Dimps trying their best to find the best boat-fie angle…

Felt a bit sorry for this family who ended up being sandwiched in the middle of our group. They had to endure all the shouting and jokes among our group in a language they did not understand…

…but then again, that's literally how our life is everyday this side of the country :D

The view from inside the boat was great and everybody was having a good time…

And to make it even better? Bring out the beer yo! :D

(which reminds me, I borrowed money from u-Muanpuii for the beer which I didn't pay back as they left for the airport early the next morning. This blog will serve as a reminder for me to pay back by debt. This is my Lannister.)

I took a few other pics from the boat…

Sunset in the horizon…

The itinerary of the boat ride was from Miramar beach towards the sea. We passed Dona Paula viewpoint on our left and finally Vasco Harbour. From there we turned around and headed back towards Candolim beach, passing Fort Aguada on our left. We also stopped the boat and waited for dolphins to appear. We cheered every time we saw one! It was a joyous moment for all of us.

It was dark by the time we returned to Miramar beach. We quickly headed back to Marriott's private beach and entered our hotel premises. We were getting late for the party but Hlutea decided to take a quick dip in the pool, because you know, he's Hlutea :D

After that, we all went back to our respective rooms to change for the night's event. Cocktail dinner party.

The dress code for the night was formals, and blue was the preferred color theme though it was not mandatory. Bee took a shower and changed in my room as well.

Ready to rock the partaaay… ahems… :)

Red carpet photo-shoot indeed :)

Mytea and BTi…

The program hadn't officially started yet so we were just taking a few pics here and there…

Soon the night's event officially started. Rajat, Utsav's bro was the MC and he did a great job warming up the crowd. He spoke about the two of them and cracked a few jokes on stage.

Me on the mike, how bow dah? :D

I was called on stage to introduce our family to the crowd.

I introduced everyone one by one, while talking a bit more about our Mizo culture and expressing my gratitude for such a grand and momentous wedding arrangement to the groom's side on behalf of our family.

Mr. SN Agarwal, Chairman of The Bhoruka Group and head of the Agarwal family addressed the guests after that.

He gave a damn fine speech about the value of love and marriage, about how his family had always been liberal and open to love marriages, and mentioned many examples of inter-caste and inter-religious marriages within his own family. Even Nancy's sister-in-law, Rajat's wife Tanushree Hazarika was an Assamese. He even joked that his family members were taking India's "Look East Policy" too literally :D A truly awesome person indeed.

After that wonderful speech, we had a Nancy and Utsav family group photo, and our family was so outnumbered by the Agarwals :D

Once that was all over, it was partaaay time!

Unlimited free booze and cocktails at the bar counter, with the DJ playing awesome 90's pop culture music.

Hahaaaa :D

Nancy and Utsav posing for their pic…

Nancy's Bangalore friends… Great pic indeed.

Soon the party was starting to wane down and people were leaving. The dinner buffet was outside…

Haha… this is how people party at social events these days :P

The Goa Mizo Welfare President was also happy no Mizos were involved in any untoward activities…

Haha ok fine, I took the above pic just to tease him among our circle of friends, I'm sure he won't even remember who I made him pose for a pic with above :D He made sure none of the Mizos were misbehaving or crossing the limit and he did a fine job on that. Sometimes I feel guilty for forcing him in such situations and then teasing him about it later :D but hey, that's what friends do to each other :D

After dropping Bee to his car, he left for home and I returned back to the hall, only to see this line of shots ordered by Tanushree. It was mandatory for everyone. That was the last thing I remembered that night :D

The next morning was followed by another hangover :D

The hotel check-out time was 12, so I rushed down to have their awesome breakfast once more. Met Esther, Becky, Joe and Lalrina on the way, who looked as hungover as me :D After I had my fill, I went back to my room and found Maps wandering around thoughtlessly at the garden side :D

Asked her if she could pose for my phone cam and she obliged :)

10+ years later we met again, and she was still as sporty as ever :)

When I returned to my room, this was lying on my table.

Yup, the Agarwals had everything covered! This was definitely an A+ in event management :)

We also received chocolates as personal gifts and I quickly packed up after that…

While most of the guests left Goa that day itself, my sister and cousins decided to extend our trip by one more day. We booked two rooms through OYO app near Baga beach, and after bidding an emotional farewell to Nancy and the Agarwals and the rest of our family, both old and new, we headed out towards Baga beach (by the way, I couldn't believe there were no Olas or Ubers in Goa! We had to book a local cab).

At our accommodation, BTi was still busy posing for a couple of pics…

Soon, the ever-reliable Bee arrived again and he took us to Baga beach…

Baga beach…

Wave-fie time…

We had dinner at the beachside shacks…

I shifted to Bloody Mary because I needed to detox myself from the three days/nights of binge drinking…

One of the many things I love about Goa was that we could select fresh seafood right there itself…

Soon our food was served. It was awesome!

Once we were done eating, two cops suddenly appeared on the beach blowing their whistles. All the stall owners and vendors slowly started packing up their things! Yup, in Goa, all beach shacks apparently close by 10 PM now. I really miss those days when we (our advertising agency) used to go on a weekend trip to Goa (Palolem beach) and party till sunrise by the beach shacks.

But Bee assured us the night wasn't over yet. He told us that the one sure place to go if you're at Baga beach was Tito's.

And being the Goa Mizo Welfare President, he had all the contact numbers of different nightclub managers all across Goa (you know, in case any Mizo party revelers misbehaved and he needed to be called upon). He took out his phone, swiped his screen to the right, then made a circle gesture on the screen, and after that his phone buzzed and voila, our Tito's VIP passes were ready!

Must be such a swell job being the Welfare President :D

Inside Tito's…

Tito's had a prepaid card system, where in you must refill your personal Tito's card at the counter using your credit card (or apply for a new card if you don't have one). You can buy drinks only with that card.

The dancefloor was quite empty though, and Bee told us the Sunday crowd was usually like that…

And then I asked him how come he goes clubbing on a Sunday, doesn't he have a Goa Mizo Church service to attend or something, and then he told me that as the Goa Mizo Welfare President, it was his responsibility to make sure Goa Mizos don't party on Sundays, so he would just stand near various nightclubs across Goa and tell any Mizos he sees to go back home. Such sacrifice, such dedication! I have nothing but tremendous respect for him. Mayline is such a lucky girl :)

Tito's very own branded rum!

It was only after ordering food that we realized we just had our dinner at the beach shacks outside a few minutes ago :D

The food was… ok-ok. Nothing great.

But one thing I really didn't like that night was that, the Tito's prepaid card I refilled wasn't applicable on food!! It wasn't applicable on the hookah above as well. We could use it only on drinks, and like a fool I refilled it with 5K which was non-refundable. And so we ended up ordering only their premium segment drinks in order to use it up.

I should have read the damn fine print. I found this shrewd marketing tactic to be extremely malicious and it definitely left a bad taste in my mouth.

We left around 1 in the morning, and Bee dropped us all back to our OYO rooms.

The next day, we booked a cab to the airport. We were really going to miss the place.

I spied somebody buying something because it was cheap in Goa :D

And of course, they excessed as expected :D

One last pic with my sister and cuz before they boarded their flight to Kolkata…

My flight to Pune was an hour later, so I roamed around the terminal on my own. Came across this hilarious shirt, probably meant for somebody who couldn't make up his mind on which team to support :D

Soon I was in the air. Goodbye Goaaaaaa!

Thank you, Nancy and Utsav for so much fun and delight. A big thanks to the entire Agarwal family.

Will update my blog later with one more lavish wedding reception, this time at Mysore. So watch this space for more. But next update is going to be about food. You're gonna love it :)

Cheers then…