So I guess I had a good and busy vacation back home :) Recapping some of the posts I have put up here recently, there was that awesome "Local Beer" launch event at Siby Farm by my childhood friend Zomawii, and then having a great family get-together feast at my maternal grand-parents' place at Chanmari, to spending both Christmas and New Years' Eves with my wonderful family at home rather than partying with friends.
I got to meet my dear friend Jacqueline along with a few blogger friends at her homemade Pizza dinner party, and I also met Amoii, my neighbor and another childhood friend where I showcased some of her talented artworks. Then there was this mouthwatering post about the various vacation home-cooked food I had consumed, to this utterly delicious community feasts post on how our locality celebrated Christmas and New Year, with my most recent update being about the tranquil family picnic at DG Park, Falkland.
And then there was my awesome experience at Aijal Club, where I met old friends and school seniors. Yeah, I guess you can say I had a pretty fruitful vacation. Though most of the nights I was out at Aijal Club, courtesy the warm invitation of Joseph Mualchin and Esther Chhangte, there were times when we changed locations now and then.
Like for instance, Joe and Esther took me to "Tales and Spirits", the attached bar at Hotel Ritz, one sultry "let's not do Aijal Club this time" night. By the way, Aijal Club and Tales are the only two places in Mizoram that have a liquor license and can legally serve alcohol, as of today (so, yeah, all those other restaurants that serve you beer on special request, that is actually illegal!)
My sisters, brother-in-law and I waited at the reception of Ritz as Joe came down to sign us in. Non-members had to be signed in by members as guests, that was one of the Club rules. We walked upstairs and entered the tiny bar. The place was small but cozy with a warm aura of merrymaking and joie de vivre. The bar shelf was neatly filled with different spirits.
I really love the low red-light setting. We got a table by the side and quickly placed our order.
The cost of alcohol was a little bit more expensive than Aijal Club, but then again, like I had mentioned in the other post, as a person living in Maharashtra, the Indian state with the highest tax on alcohol, it was peanuts compared to the cost here in Pune.
Looking back, I think only around 15 people could fit inside the small bar at one time. That night, there were only three groups - one was our group, the other was Joseph and Esther's group, and the third group was, so freaking hilarious, my close friend Babie and her new boyfriend.
Small world indeed! Babie and I go way back together since my Advertising days. She is a nurse working in Mumbai, and I'm a game designer working in Pune, and yet, out of the blue, we met at a dingy lit bar in Aizawl :D
There was live music playing as well, performed by this talented duo. They played all the songs the customers requested.
Soon it was my turn on the mic.
Just kidding, I posed for the above photo after the musicians had left :P
Overall, we had a great time at Tales and Spirits, and I will definitely visit again…
Cheerios to the place for now.
Another time, my sisters and I were invited for dinner at U-baby's place. She is not just our second cousin but also my sister's bridesmaid. She's the HOD of Psychology dept at MZU and is well renowned for her delicious cooking. I was really looking forward to the food that night…
We arrived at her house around 8 PM and I headed straight for the makeshift bar :P
Some "sehhmeh" to go with the booze :P Scrumptious dried and salted fermented river fish, yum!
The guest turn-out was terrific. It had been ages since I last met Nu Rinpuii and Nu Hmingpuii. I didn't know they were going to be there and they didn't know I was going to be there either, so it was a pleasant surprise for all of us. U Lucy meanwhile dazzled us with great jokes and conversations.
Pu Philip couldn't stop telling me how much I resembled my dad over and over again :) and he shared all the fond memories he had of daddy as we clinked our glasses for the umpteenth time. Soon, dinner was served.
The amazinggggggg food! OMG, the vawk lu bawl was to die for. I parceled a large portion of it later for home consumption :D
Getting ready to eat…
Just like the rest of us, U Lucy and her daughter too couldn't decide which all side dishes to take because there were just too many of them, lolz.
My dear cousin, U Pari of USA :)
She promised me that she would find me a wife before the end of this year, so I am taking her word for it :) :P
Nu Rinpuii enjoying dinner :D
We talked about those Bangalore days, especially when Nu Mathani used to visit. We had so much fun singing till early in the morning or having a late night drive.
Ahhh, my plate! Check out the yummy yummy oh so yummy stuff, especially the vawk lu bawl.
To my non-Mizo readers, "Vawk lu bawl" is the BEST pork dish in the world. I will write a blog post dedicated to it soon, on how it is made and why it is so unique to our Mizo culture.
Once we were all done eating, we relaxed with our traditional kuhva hring as we digested the awesome food…
A few selfies before leaving…
One last cousin pics together before we said goodbye to the awesome hostess U-baby.
I grabbed my vawk lu bawl tiffin tightly on our way home in case I ended up losing it, lolz. That night was definitely the night I had the best home-cooked meal during that vacation period.
Another night event I managed to attend during my recent short vacation was when DJ Zaeden came and performed LIVE in Aizawl. Now frankly speaking, I had no freaking idea who DJ Zaeden was before that day, I didn't even know how to pronounce his name correctly, but apparently all the party crowd of Aizawl wanted to go, so when Joe and Esther asked me if I was interested, I quickly said yes :D
Joe bought our VIP tickets in advance as they might not be available later. Thank you so much for this ticket Joe.
Since only beer was served at the concert venue, we decided to have a few quick drinks before the concert started. We met up at Hotel Ritz and waited for Ruth and her hubby to join us, and once they arrived, through Ruth's influence, we booked the entire empty conference hall at Ritz just for the five of us. :D
After all, when you're partying with Ruth, you've got nothing to worry about. Everything's taken care of, whether it is at her Heritage Lounge or any other party location. She's the night queen :)
Silly us toyed around a bit here and there :P
Once my friends at the venue told us it was almost time for DJ Zaeden to perform, we left Ritz and went to AR Grounds, the venue. Amoyie was there at the VIP section as well, and it was nice catching up with her.
Yeahhh DJ Zaeden in the houseeeee!
Everybody had a great time… :D
Again, I didn't know a single song that he was playing, lolz, but I knew when to "whooooooo" :P
A view from the toilet section :P
The organizers of the concert were mostly former Mumbai Mizo members, so I met a lot of old friends that night.
The party continued until around 12 I think, I don’t exactly remember now…
But yeah, I do remember meeting a few friends like my friend Tony and Becky after the concert…
And then there were pics like this that I have no recollection of, lolz…
Overall, it was a great concert and I'm really glad I went for it.
For my last blog entry of this post, I think I will add just one more experience. Now, not everything I do is always sugar and sweet and all things nice. There were times when we had a bad experience as well. This was one of them.
So we went to "Chopstyx" for dinner one night and I was really excited about it because I heard so much about the place from my friends. In fact, since it wasn't far from my house, I thought I would be hanging out there most of the time since I am a foodie.
Man, what I experienced at Chopstyx that night was… bad. Scratch that, it was horrible. I think it was the worst experience I've ever had in any restaurants in Aizawl.
First of all, our order took more than an hour to arrive. Even the coke we ordered came after an hour! And when the soup finally came, it was lukewarm!
Taste-wise, it wasn't that bad, but seriously, if the soup was going to take that long, only reason could be because it was still being prepared, which meant it should be hot when served.
The potato and chicken dishes we ordered were sizzling hot though, and true to my friends' words, they were very tasty.
But here's the funny thing - when they served us the potato, chicken and prawn dishes along with the rice we ordered, the rice was dead cold! Yup, you read that right.
And so I had to force myself to eat cold rice with the three different hot gravies, which all kinda tasted a bit similar to each other in terms of preparation and condiments.
Nick was lucky though. He ordered a single course meal (chopseuy or chowmein I forgot) and that was hot and delicious.
He enjoyed his meal thoroughly. The rest of us didn't.
And here's another joke. When we were almost done with our disappointing dinner, our tacos starters arrived! Lolz, seriously? Things were starting to get so ridiculous that we just laughed.
And if you think all that is bad, you haven't heard the highlight of the night. As we all grudgingly and reluctantly finished our dinner, we asked for the bill, and then our pork main course arrived!
You cannot make this shit up :D Man, that was such a bad experience indeed.
Anyway, we asked them to pack up the pork dish along with the other leftovers and we left the place. One positive thing about the night though, were the two people serving us, the guy with the specs and the girl, they were both extremely apologetic and were also very polite and courteous too, something that we don't see often in our Mizo restaurant service industry. I really liked them a lot.
And to be fair, it was the festive season, I guess they weren't prepared enough to handle the large influx of customers. Maybe next time I review Chopstyx, it will be during an off-season.
So those were some of the places we went to in the night apart from the ones I haven't blogged about earlier. Overall, I had a fantabulous time and here's me saying cheers to all you peeps out there. Take care, y'all!