Thursday, 13 August 2015

Pizza's starting from Rs. 245 at California Pizza Kitchen

I have been to California Pizza Kitchen (CPK, as it is fondly called) many times. Sometimes to celebrate International Pizza and Beer carnival, a regular at celebrating Mexifornia or simply when few new pizza's are introduced. I have never been disappointed at CPK, during every visit some dish touches my heart and becomes my favorite. The pizza's start from Rs. 245+, comparatively to the notion of CPK being expensive. Read on to know what I tried during this visit and what became my favorite.

For some mocktails, I had Mango mint ecstasy which had mango juice, mint, lemon topped with soda is my usual favorite. Mango tango which has Mango juice, orange juice, passion fruit syrup and lime juice was also enjoyed. I did not Aloha much which had apple juice, lime juice and strawberry juice. Make sure you have chilled mocktails eor else you may not enjoy them. These 3 mocktails are priced at Rs. 210

As it was raining, I wanted to try their Chicken wild rice chowder, it is their secret recipe of shredded chicken, roasted peppers, corn, wild grain rice in a cream base and other spices, its more than soup, its a chowder. Do not expect hot soup, here the soup is warm but tasty. This is priced at Rs. 155

For appetizers, I have usually had full portions of a particular dish, this time I made an exemption and tried the Non veg combo platter which had Spicy chicken supreme, Crispy fried sonora and Barbeque wonton rolls and Hummus with pizza pita bread. This could be enjoyed with one veggie friend who could eat the pita bread ;) Spicy chicken supreme is my usual favorite. The platter is priced at Rs. 645

I couldn't resist but have Lettuce wrap with chicken, it has wok seared shiitake mushrooms, water chestnuts, carrots and green onions tossed in soy ginger sauce along with chicken. It is served with spicy ginger sauce and iceberg lettuce cups. The lettuce cups are always fresh. This is priced at Rs. 525 and is my usual favorite.

Time to try the pizza's. As the pizza's are starting from Rs. 245, I had to try the Traditional Cheese pizza, traditional crust with home made pizza sauce, fresh basil and lots of cheese. Simple and yummy, especially the hint of basil.

Next was Roma Basilico, traditional crust topped with home made pizza sauce, fresh basil, red onions and sliced roma tomatoes, keeping it simple yet exquisite. This was my most favorite pizza of the evening.

Roasted Mushroom & Pepper, another new addition pizza which has a traditional crust topped with Spicy Baja sauce, mozzarella cheese, red onions, roasted mushroom & bell peppers, I chose this with chicken. But as I am not a mushroom fan, I did not enjoy this pizza. 

Florentine was served next, a thin crust pizza with a mushroom pesto spread with melting mozzarella cheese complementing the fine taste of fresh garden spinach, cherry tomatoes and garlic. Spoilt for thin crust, I like this pizza.

Garden Veg was the last pizza for the night. It had Garden greens, spinach, green peppers, Anaheim chillies & mozzarella cheese on a thin crust, as per my request with freshly made green chilli sauce. I felt like Popeye while having this, just greens.

I have always enjoyed the veg pizza's at CPK more than non veg. Time for desserts, Tiramisu, 3 hours preparation time which gets wiped out in 3 minutes. Sticky toffee pudding, my most favorite dessert was enjoyed again. 

American butter cake was a new dessert which I tried, rich american style butter cake combined with delicious Philadelphia cheese topping, served warm with vanilla ice cream and toffee sauce. I liked this dessert too. 

Red velvet cake was also had but I enjoyed the other desserts more. I never noticed their home made ice creams, so I gave Roasted hazelnut scoop a try which was good. The desserts at CPK have always been good and filling. They are priced between Rs. 225 - 405. I enjoyed my meal and the experience of dining was great.

Offering a whole new culinary trip, California Pizza Kitchen has created a teaser video: which can help you win an exciting surprise at the restaurant. Replicate the action denoting 2,4,5 as seen in the video on your visit to the nearest California Pizza Kitchen and you stand a chance to avail a surprise.

Tuesday, 11 August 2015

Biryani and kebab Festival at Howard Johnson, Bangalore

Who doesn't love BIRYANI? Me, as I am very particular about the taste and do not like every biryani which is served. So I was very apprehensive to attend the sneak peak of the Biryani and Kebab festival at Howard Johnson, Bangalore. Firstly, Howard Johnson is located in Hebbal and is a business hotel. The festival starts from 12th August and ends on 23rd August 2015.

On a sunny Saturday, I made my way to the hotel to try the kebab's and Biryani's. I started with the veg kebab's. Subz Shikhampuri, assorted vegetable patties stuffed with hung curd and cheese which is grilled to perfection. Bahori Kebab, kebab made from spinach, yum pounded with aromatic Indian spices. Aloo Nazakat, potatoes stuffed with dry fruits, mashed potatoes and green peas cooked in tandoor. Paneer Gul Mohar Kebab, cottage cheese stuffed with Kohya, Dry fuits marinated in Indian spices and cooked in tandoor. I was impressed with the veg kebab's. They were cooked well and tasted very good. The veg kebab's are priced at Rs.275

Next were non veg kebab's. Starting with Galauti Kebab, kebabs from Awadhi kitchen made from fine mined lamb marinated and smoked with aromatic spices and grilled. This was perfect. Next was, Labe-e- Mahi Muskan, succulent pieces of fish marinated in curd and spices cooked in tandoor. By far, one of the most tastiest fish I have ever had. Murgh Gillafi seek, chicken sheekh kebab marinated with cheese, Cashewnut and coated with bell papers cooked in Tandoor was very tasty too. Maas Ke Shole, scrumptious pieces of baby lamb marinated with Indian herbs and spices, cooked to perfection. The non veg kebab's were a lot better, I am being biased as I enjoy non veg more ;) The non veg kebab's are priced between Rs.275-300 plus taxes. Apologies for not clicking pics for the kebab's as they were very tasty and I was busy relishing the taste.

I really enjoyed the kebab's a lot so my expectations from the biryani were much higher. 4 veg and 4 non veg biryani were served, out of the 5 biryani's each available for the festival. I only tried the non veg biryani as I am not fond of veg biryani at all. The non-veg biryani ranges from Rs.325-350 plus taxes.

Lamhen Biryani, delectable lamb dumplings and basmati rice combination cooked with aromatic Indian spices was served. Minced lamb was perfect for my taste.

Thallesary Fish Biryani, fresh water fish cooked on slow fire with basmati rice along with delicate spices. I did not like this biryani, may be served a little hot and with some salan, it should be better.

Awadhi Murgh Biryani, chicken biryani cooked on 'dum' with long grain basmati rice and hand picked spices. This was my favorite out of all the biryani's I had.

Kolkotta Biryani, perfect combination of juicy lamb, potato and rice with Bengali masala. This gave me a homely feel as I like potato in my biryani.

Andhra Murgh Biryani, a spicy biryani made with chicken and khada masala. This wasn't served during the sneak peak.

The veg biryani which are available for festival are Subz Noor Mahal Biryani, Ambur Biryani, Hydrabadi Subz Biryani, Dolma Biryani and Chaman Biryani. The veg biryani ranges from Rs.310-325 plus taxes. Each biryani would be served with soup, salad and dessert of the day.

A watermelon mocktail and Virgin Sangria was enjoyed during the meal. Virgin Sangria was a perfect blend of juices. One of the best places to enjoy this mocktail in Bangalore. And for dessert, I enjoyed every bite of Rasmalai as it is my favorite and was made very well.

The chef and the team were very open to suggestions and reviews for improvement so that they could make the food delectable when the festival starts. I am sure, the suggestions were taken and incorporated. Hope you enjoy the festival :)

Sunday, 9 August 2015

Latin American Food Fiesta at Hard Rock Cafe

Is party on your mind and rains playing spoilsport? There’s only one way to get over the monsoon blues. Step into Hard Rock Cafe and let the month-long Latin Fiesta from August 7 till September 6, lift your spirits with foot-tapping music, crafted tequila cocktails and delicious Latin American food.
Latin America is home to a wide variety of culinary delights. Each using a distinctive combination of spices and fresh ingredients, and each known for popular regional condiments such as guacamole, pico de gallo, and pebre, every Latin American country has its own unique dishes and specialities to sample. I was excited to try these in Bangalore.

The cocktails served during the festival is highly recommended, Nita was with me during my dinner and she couldn't stop praising the cocktails. I started my evening with mocktail. Santosh, the bartender attended us who has been with Hard Rock cafe for over 10 years and crafted many drinks, he knows his job well. He made a watermelon and basil mocktail for me, which was really nice. The blend of watermelon and basil was just perfect. My love spicy mocktail is very evident. Every restaurant I visit, I make sure that either they serve me a spicy mocktail from the menu or else make one for me. I requested Santosh to make one for me which he politely obliged. By far, this was THE BEST spicy mocktail I have ever had, some mango and orange juice with a twist of jalapeno. Both the drinks were repeated and the spicy mocktail deserves a special mention. I requested Santosh and Vibhu, the manager at Hard Rock Cafe to add it to the menu.

Samosette of Spicy corn and cheddar cheese, crispy phyllo triangles stuffed with corn, mixed spices and cheddar cheese served with tangy pesto mayo. These were repeated on the table.

Red Rod Fries which had crispy fries topped with dry spice and a cheddar cheese sauce, jalapeno, spring onions, sweet chili drizzle served with tangy salsa. Its not very cheesy, but a little spicy so you can enjoy these over some drinks or beer.

Next was Spanish-influenced Fire Cracker - Crunchy Chicken Tenders, smoked chicken strips, with burst of spices and Spanish paprika served with sun-dried tomato and chipotle dip. The chicken strips were bland and can be enjoyed only with the dip.

Next dish was to fire up my taste buds, Char Grilled Tex-Mex Chicken Skewers which had char grilled chicken tenders marinated with Tex-Mex spice rub & tangy marinate, served with honey mustard dip. This was tasty especially during a rainy night to add spice to my tastebuds. The dip mellows down the spice.

Bahama Mama - Chicken Burrito was next, flour tortilla laced with roasted chitpotle chili ranch, smoky ragout of sweet corn, fresh dill and smoky baked beans, seasoned crunchy temders, shredded lettuce, mixed cheese and jalapeno served with spiced fries and tangy salsa. The burrito was fresh and very filling, get ready to share it if this is your order. The veg version was liked by Nita, as well.

I skipped Tijuana Chicken Sub Roll, a tantalizing blend of Mexican spices & tangy smoky salsa. It was on a hot dog bun served with fries and how much it tempted me to eat, but I couldn't as my tummy was full.

If you are into sea food, then the Orange Tequila Prawns, pan seared king prawns in corn taco shell, glazed with reduced spicy, tangy cilantro, orange sauce and flambeed with tequila. I did not taste this as it had tequila.

For vegetarians, the Brazilian Barbeque Veg Grill Skewers, sizzling skillet of BBQ glazed and spice-rubbed with Brazilian spice barbeque, cottage cheese skewers  served over chimichurri-spiced fajita onions and bell peppers is a must try. Nita, who enjoyed this dish was praising it.

To end a meal, dessert is a much. Walnut Brownie topped with chocolate fudge and vanilla ice-cream was on the table. This was much better than the last time I had it. The walnut brownie was soft and melted in the mouth. I would have preferred Tres Leches, a latin american dessert which taste much better but it wasn't on the menu

Chef Niranjan, Kitchen Manager Madhu and AGM Vibhu along with Santosh made sure my evening was awesome with good food and drinks.

The meal and the taste on the whole was very good but it had more of Mexican touch as I had some of these dishes during the Mexican festival held in September 2014, after all Mexico is the second most populated country in Latin America. The dishes are priced between Rs.375 - Rs.530. Enjoy the food fiesta like a Latino from 7th August to 6th September 2015.

Saturday, 8 August 2015

Phoenix Market City, Bangalore - an ultimate fashion destination

Phoenix Market City, located in Mahadevpura is a place I rarely visit. I love visiting Phoenix Market City (PMC) usually for some shopping and eating. PMC is a huge mall which houses some of the best brands and restaurants along with PVR Cinemas. It is a one stop destination for everything one needs.

I love some of the brands here like Aldo, Zara, Marks and Spencers, Steve Madden, Mango, Pantaloons, and I can go on and on. I love to spoil myself and Mom with the new collection available. Phoenix Market City made a brilliant attempt to entertain its customers and design looks for them. They came up with 101 looks from all the brands at the mall and brought them together for your display. 101 mannequins are displayed at the atrium with some brilliant styling. One just cant miss it. These are at display between the 6th and 9th of August. This initiative has really helped many to style themselves differently. Oh I just wished the black clothes weren't styled on black mannequins.

With this initiative, Phoenix Market City has become an ultimate fashion destination in Bangalore. Just one place and all your shopping and styling woes are solved. I liked many styles which were displayed there, From casual look to party look, everything was displayed. To choose one favorite was difficult for me.
Sophisticated and stylish, most favorite look

Did you check out the #101LooksAtPhoenix?