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Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Chp 541. Of Wine + Dine and Oneplus One

So after using my new phone, the Oneplus One for a week now, I wrote a quick review about it yesterday, mentioning about some of the issues I have faced so far - My new Oneplue One - about the disappointing low in-call volume and how it unfortunately wasn’t compatible with one of my favorite premium apps that I had purchased last year.

This time, I’ll just post some of the photos I have taken using this phone, though I’m still trying to figure out which is the best setting to use under which condition. As I mentioned in my previous post, the camera quality is not as good as my previous phone, the S4. And regarding some of the photos you’ll see below, remember, I’m just an amateur foodie, and not even an amateur photographer, but I do love taking photos of my experiences just for the memories.

Below are three recent events I’ve been to this past one week - the first is at “Smoke House Deli - Bandra” where the photos are taken under natural sunlight with auto setting, the second is taken at “JamJar Diner - Versova” taken under lowlight condition without flash, and the third is at home where we baked our own home-made pizzas and the photos are taken under HDR setting.

Hope they aren’t that bad.

So, here’s the first set (Click on all photos to enlarge to a new tab).

My flat-mate and I, along with a few close friends nearby have started this new social ritual of stepping out together for brunch or lunch on a Sunday. We usually spend our Sunday afternoons cooped up in our rooms watching sitcoms or just relaxing but we decided to change that. So last Sunday, the place we went to was “Smoke House Deli” at Bandra.

Earlier, the place used to be called Yellow Tree Café, and we’ve been to it a couple of times. I remember how their imported beers like Hoegaarden and Stella Artois were quite affordable compared to the other pubs around Bandra. As Smoke House Deli replaced the joint, there were a lot of changes not just in the menu and management but the interiors as well.

We started off with Sangria. Sangria Rosso to be precise, which is an apt drink for a lazy sunny afternoon. Builds up the appetite just right while leaving you with a pleasant tingly feeling.

The side-serves went well with the aperitif, especially when dipped in olive oil.

And now for the main course. The Grilled Salmon with broccoli and spinach was the most expensive item we ordered. Though my friend said it was worth the cost (950 plus taxes), well maybe because I am not a seafood enthusiast but I really think it wasn’t worth that much. The taste was divine though.

The other main course we ordered was the Lightly Smoked Lamb Shanks with tamarind dash and roast garlic hash. Good stuff.

I had the Honey Orange Glazed Pork Spare Ribs, with roasted beets and mash. Hmmm… I wouldn’t say it was the best spare ribs I had, but yeah it was soft and yummy. Look-wise, it was very similar to the mutton dish above, though the tastes were very distinct.

The vegetarian dish we ordered was the Cottage Cheese Steak + Ratatouille. I’ve always wanted to try out a Ratatouille ever since watching that animated movie of the same name. I wasn’t disappointed.

We also asked for Bacon on the side, which in my case meant going overdose on pork since I was already having the Pork spare ribs :D

It was a bit saltier than we expected, so in order to counter that, we ordered another pitcher of Sangria. Ok fine, that was just an excuse :P This time we went for the Peach Sangria.

And then of course since two is an unlucky number, we had to order our third pitcher of Sangria, this time going back to Sangria Rosso. We actually liked the red version better when compared to the peach Sangria, maybe because it used white wine as its base.

And just as all good things must come to an end, ours had a sweet ending. We ordered a Tiramisu, along with Warm Apple Crumble. If you like a fusion of hot and cold dessert, like hot gulab jamuns or jalebis topped with cold icecream, then you must definitely try the warm apple crumble. It was Heaven.

So yeah, that was a lunch well spent. What do you think of the camera quality of my Oneplus One? All the photos were taken in “auto” setting under broad daylight, at 13M pixels and quality set to 100% (the output came at 4308 x 3120 pixels! All of them had been resized for web view). Here’s a pic from the secondary front-facing camera.

So that was it. Smoke House Deli, Pali Hill, Bandra.

The next session I attended last week was at JamJar Diner at Versova. A very cozy and beautiful place with its own jukebox. And unlike Café Mondegar in Colaba, you don’t need to pay to play your music. Anybody can queue their music selection one after the other, and they have a very good collection of classic rock and 90’s music.

As I’ve already mentioned in my previous post, my Oneplus One isn’t as good as my previous S4 when it comes to flash. Below is an example -

But the “night mode” shot isn’t that bad. In fact it’s better than the S4 when taken without flash under low light condition. Here’s the same pic from above – Melted Queso and Crispy Bacon Fries, this time without flash.

Other starters - Pan Tossed Chicken Sausages and Pan Tossed Pork Sausages. Similar in looks and preparation, but completely different in taste, both awesome.

Some veggie stuff :P I think it was the Popcorn Mushroom.

I love the way the drinks were served. Kinda retro. I initially had a pitcher of Mojito since it was rum-based.

Rum + Coke were also served in the same glass. I must say that gave me a very different experience, and I liked it.

Here are a few photos of the other main course we ordered - the Chimichurri Grilled Chicken, made from marinated grilled chicken breast and served with 4 herb chimichurri sauce, potato mash and grilled veggies. It was awesome.

We also went for their ultimate monster pizza - the Meat Overload, consisting of grilled chicken, pork sausage, crispy bacon and ham! Slurrrrrrrrrpppppppp. Probably the first pizza with abundant pork toppings that I had since Joey’s Pizza (Nobody can beat Joey’s).

We also ordered three of their specialty burgers - the BBQ Chicken, which is made from chicken piccata, gouda, crispy onions and chipotle mayo, the BBQ Pulled Pork and the JamJar Juicy Lucy.

Here, take a closer look at the Juicy Lucy! Oh mannnn it was soooo good. Made from molten cheese stuff beef patty, rocket gherkins and mustard mayo, such burgers with that patty size are rare to find.

Overall, I had a wonderful time at JamJar. As mentioned before, the place is really cozy and had a very unique and wonderful ambience of its own. Here are a few more photos of the settings around, all taken under night mode.

Not to forget, the loo. Hehehe…

We ended the night with dessert. We went for the house special again - this time it was the Flower Pot Surprise. The spoons were laid in front of us…

And then came the Flower Pot! It was… pretty much a flower pot :D

The entire pot was enough to serve more than 6 people, and it consisted of mixture of gooey brownie, marshmallow, ice cream and oreo soil. Ohhh it was super delicious.

And so that was my experience at JamJar a few days ago. I do recommend this place. And I think my Oneplus One handled low lighting shots pretty well! Here’s our table once we were all done.

I’ll definitely visit this place again and go straight for the Juicy Lucy!

And here is my and third and final update for this post. This time, I tried using the HDR settings on my Oneplus One. As I’ve already mentioned, I know nothing about photography but love taking pictures of stuff around me. Last week, we decided to bake our own pizzas at home, and these are some of the photos I took. As you can see, the color is much richer when taken in HDR.

(wiki - High-dynamic-range imaging (HDRI or HDR) is a set of techniques used in imaging and photography to reproduce a greater dynamic range of luminosity than possible using standard digital imaging or photographic techniques.)

The way we made the pizzas was very simple and basic. First we took the base and applied pizza sauce over it.

Next we added the main ingredients. We made four flavors that day - bacon fried, mutton kheema, chicken salami and chorizo sausage. The bacon was first fried separately since we didn’t have a pizza oven.

After that we spread the cheese and herbs all around the topping and then placed it on a frying pan.

Next, we covered the frying pan and kept the flame at low for a couple of minutes. This will slowly cook the ingredients and melt the cheese without burning the bread crust. Here is how it looked like once it was ready. Yummm.

Since we already had a lot of variety, I decided to make only half a pizza for the chorizo. The base was prepared just as before.

Next it was time to prepare the chorizo. Juicy yummy pork sausage marinated in spicy Spanish paprika. After carefully removing the casing (this is mandatory though) I sliced it into smaller bits and then slowly fried them using just a teaspoon of oil. Again, one must use very little oil because the chorizo will provide its own oil once heated.

I do recommend you grill your chorizo instead of frying it. I just did it that way because we didn’t have a grill at home. After that, I placed the awesome smelling chorizo on the pizza dough and that went to the frying pan again  -

We also made mini-pizzas, using the same cheese and herbs as ingredients, along with a slice of chicken salami. This was also prepared the same way as the pizzas.

To counter the rich cholesterol and oily fattiness, we made some plain and simple poached eggs as side dish :)

And so here’s the lunch we made at home - our very own pizza feast.

My plate, in HDR :)

Next time, I’m gonna experiment and make my own pizza version using ingredients such as Bekang (fermented beans), Nghapih (shrimp paste), Bhut Jolokia (raja mirchi), Bamboo Shoots and fried Smoked Pork! It’s gonna be soooooooooooooooooo AWESOME! :D

Cheers :)

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