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Performance. Style. Grip. Zip. Introducing the All New Honda Jazz!

honda jazz #allnewjazz

Life is a stage and you get only one performance. Make it a good one!

The above statement is something that deeply resonates with me. The above is something that I strongly believe all of us should aspire for and strive towards. The above is also something that I think Honda took extremely seriously when it decided to build a car for someone who never settles for less. A car that’s BIG on comfort – on space – on mileage and on innovation. Yet small enough to maneuverer you swiftly around the city and across long terrains even, for a relaxed and comforting drive.

This is a food blog and normally I do not post auto related content. But this one, is special. This one, is worth it. This one, I have to share with the world. It all started about two weeks back when I heard from Honda. They wanted to fly me down to Delhi and then take me to the Buddh International Circuit – India’s only Formula1 Track to test drive their all new Honda Jazz. I jumped at the opportunity but ofcourse, not only because I wanted to experience the thrill and adrenaline that legends like Sebastian Vettel, Fernando Alonso and Lewis Hamilton experience on the circuit, but also because Honda is a brand that I resonate with. My Dad’s been driving a Honda City for half a decade now and I’ve had the pleasure of driving a Honda Amaze for more than a year.

The experience at The Buddh International Circuit was incredible if you will. Just the very feeling of seeing the shiny new Honda Jazz lined up on the circuit gave me the chills. I first inspected the car – was impressed by the exteriors – the shiny new coat of carnedigan red immediately caught my eye. In my very first glance, I was enthralled by the sleek yet suave front grille with premium black gloss and chrome finish right next to which are sporty head lamps that give the Jazz this instant sparkle!

If the exteriors are something that awe-struck you, wait till you get into the car. The Jazz has premium and spacious interiors with beige leather seats, an integrated 15.7 cm touch screen to make life a drool when on a ride, automatic air conditioning with a touch screen control panel to pamper you, a multi functional steering wheel with audio control, hands free telephone, an advanced multi information combimeter with eco assist ambient rings and believe it or not – paddle shifts to ensure you’re on the money while driving!

Another feature that I was supremely impressed by is that the Honda Jazz comes with four different seating combinations called Magic Seats.What this means is you can configure the Honda Jazz to different seating modes based on your needs. One of my favorite mode is the Witty mode which enables an Jazz to carry a bicycle inside the car – how cool is that!

Come to technology – Honda has been delivering on technology seamlessly and consistently for years now and is no different on the Jazz. The Petrol i-Vtech features a 1.2 Litre Engine with 90 PS powered by a light weight and compact cut with torque convertor available in five speed manual transmission. The i-Dtech on the other hand delivers best in segment fuel efficient diesel engine with a promise of 27 kmpl with a 1.5L Engine that roars with 100 PS powered by low friction technology.

While the drive across The Buddh International Circuit was dream, the Honda Jazz is nothing short of one. The feel when you get into the car and fire on the engine gives you an uber comforting feeling – the drive smooth as silk, the steering aligns to your hands and the tyres grip the surface giving you balance, stability and power when you need it. I was able to rip the Jazz on the 1.2 kilometer straight at the circuit to about 130 kmph and it didn’t wobble – was steady and gushing for more. If you’re eyeing a car in this particular segment, the Honda Jazz is a bet you’d want to make!

 
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Honeyed Chicken Wings – Your Zen Moment in Bangalore!

Honeyed Chicken Wings at Sunnys

While food is a basic necessity, it’s also something that comforts people. For the aficionados though, if cooked, described, presented and tastes exactly what it should be like – it hits the spot, it delights them. Put’s them into a zone like no other – for that one moment when you take the first bite, when it’s aroma hits your nose for the very first time, when your taste buds sense it’s very first morsel, you experience zen.

Zen is exactly what comfort food is all about. And for those of us who’re food evangelists, every now and then we crave for that comfort food. I experienced this craving lately when I craved for Honeyed Chicken Wings with a tinge of zesty lemon. Fired up my car, took along the better half and my three year old, programmed the GPS to Lavelle Road in Bangalore and hit Sunnys.

Sunnys is a piquant place nestled at Lavelle Road. It has a nice rustic ambiance in the form a gardened seating if you will on the outside and then also a timber like air conditioned seating inside. We opted for the former as my toddler wanted to run around and play. Got straight into the act and for my first appetizer ordered exactly what I’d come there for – honeyed lemon chicken wings. 

Boy oh boy, weren’t we delighted! The wings were cooked perfectly, the balance of lemon zest and the sweetness of the honey were precision perfect, the honey lemon glaze served alongside tickled our senses. My wife Saniya had this uber gorgeous smile on her face when she bit into it, my son Hammaad – a finicky eater, instantly said – “This is Awesome Dad! I want more!” – and yours truly, well, yours truly just experienced that Zen moment!

It’s not just about you enjoying the food – true happiness and zen are when you’re family and friends experience exactly the same amount of joy if not a little more than you do. Food is not something that you have three times a day to survive, food is something you experience every single day – that makes your life better and more worthwhile, one dish at a time! #Indulge! :)

 

 
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Desert Goodness at Monkey Bar

Lemon Cake at Monkey Bar, Bangalore

 

Some people have a sweet tooth. Me, I have sweet teeth. I happened to visit Monkey Bar at Indira Nagar in Bangalore with my office colleagues for some after office fun. While we savored the Crab Rangoon, Shaami Sliders, Tiger Beef, Butterfly Chicken and even gorged one some scintillating Berry Pulao, but what I loved the most about Monkey Bar was their desert.

We ordered for a humble Lemon Cake. When we were served the Lemon Cake, all the humility instantly evaporated if you will. The above picture will tell you why. It was this gorgeous sponge cake with a tinge of very subtle lemon flavor that was helped with a generous portion of lemon curd. The lemon curd added the zing required to turn that sponge cake into a winner.

But that’s not all, the fresh mangoes served along side, gave it the much needed balance that would have other wise been an absolute sinner. We weren’t complaining though. Didn’t stop at one. Had to repeat the order four more times till our cravings were satisfied. :)

 
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The Most Amazing Raan Biryani Ever!

Raan Biryani at Shalimar, Mohammed Ali Road, Mumbai

So yours truly was visiting Mumbai for just about 36 hours. Fly in – in the evening – do business meetings the next day and fly out immediately. While I was planning my trip, I had to plan a foodie evening in Mumbai. So I called up a close friend – Mahesh and asked him if we can plan something. The foodie that he is, Mahesh’s answer was – but of course! :)

Mahesh suggested we do Mohammed Ali Road and in particular Shalimar Restaurant near Kalbadevi. I jumped at the opportunity and so did other folks from our Mumbai Office in the form of Manish, Ketaki and Jyoti. No sooner did I land in the evening, I went straight to our office at BKC in Mumbai, picked them up and off we were to Shalimar.

If there was one thing that was super good at Shalimar, it was the Raan Biryani. The portion was generous, the red meat extremely tender, the rice cooked just about right, the fragrance from the spices – was an aroma that has lasted with me even today. To top it all, the fried onions served along side called Brista just made the Biryani even more delectable.

But then the Raan Biryani wasn’t just the only thing we had. Before indulging into the gastronomical delight, we also savored the galactic Nawaabi Chicken Gravy with Reshmi Paratha [Deep Fried Indian Bread], had Bheja Masala to go with it and washed it down with the yummy Shalimar Special Faalooda. An evening that all of us, will cherish for long!

 
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Troika – Comfort Asian Food

Crispy Fish Coconut Chilly at Troika, Bangalore

So this one evening last month the wife felt like dining at one of the roof top restaurants in Bangalore. You know fresh air, the view, ambiance, a little bit of music, the works. Yours truly was craving for some comfort Asian food. Looked up Zomato and the menu of Troika intrigued me. In half an hour, we were at Troika, at the roof top restaurant at 100 Ft Road Indira Nagar in Bangalore, all set for a great evening.

Since Asian food was the craving, we started off with Crispy Fish Coconut Chilly. Like the name suggests, this tongue tingling delicacy is crisp Basa slices tossed with coconut cream, garlic and chilly, seasoned with Thai herbs. The dish did thorough justice to the way the menu described it and brought out signature thai flavors – the palate was delighted :)

We further ventured into Rochaedo Chicken Dumplings with Sweet and Sour Tamarind Glaze. What I loved about this dish was the fusion of Goan and Asian flavors. Rochaedo is very much Goan but the sweet and sour tamarind glaze when infused with Rochaedo created a bag full of flavors that came across as comfort asian fusion food. But then the evening had just gotten started.

For mains we decided to indulge in Tai Chi Chicken which is chicken stir fried in oyster chilly pepper sauce served on a bed of sticky rice. Again, something uniquely comfort Asian that was very palatable. All in all, a happy belly! :)

 
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Grilled Fish with Buttered Carrot Puree & Peas

Grilled Salmon

So in 2012, I took off on this vacation to Bali – where my objective was three fold: 1) Make sure that yours truly and Her Majesty [Read My Better Half, My Wife] have a good time 2) Indulge in Amazing Sea Food 3) Go crazy over Water Sports.

We decided to stay at Ayodya Resort Bali which is located at Nusa Dua. Designed to resemble a Balinese water palace, Ayodya Resort is embellished with stone statues, fountains and lagoon pools that exude the exotic grandeur of the island. The rooms were nice and spacious – the food excellent and the resort by itself – huge and very pleasing.

The resort has seven different restaurants that cater to a variety of taste buds from Balinese to Asian to English to Japanese. The one that I liked the most was a restaurant that was located at the main lobby overlooking the lagoon and the ocean called Java Hut.

The sea food at this place was exquisite – the above picture in this post I’m certain does justice to what I’m saying. So what was the dish all about again? Grilled Fish with buttered carrot puree and peas. Whenever I look at his picture, it almost immediately makes me want to go back to Bali again – to experience the food again, to scuba dive again, to explore the island, to celebrate life! :)

 
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Scealta di Risotto

Tuscana Pizzeria Chennai

A city I started frequenting lately for business is Chennai and on my last trip there, one of my senior colleagues at work was kind enough to take me out to lunch at this place called Tuscana Pizzeria. This is a nice Italian joint located at Wallace Garden Road, Nungambakkam.

I love Italian cuisine. Whether it is the range of pastas or pizzas, gnocchis or breads, I love them all. What I enjoy most in the Italian cuisine is a well cooked Risotto. And when that well cooked risotto comes in the form of Grilled Madras Prawns tossed in Parsley Garlic Butter, you know you have a winner. At Tuscana Pizzeria, they call this dish Scealta di Risotto. After wiping it clean, I got the expression *Happy Belly*!

This is one place that I’d definitely go back to, to satisfy my risotto craving whenever I’m in Chennai. Bon Appetite! :)

 
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Naan Serai at Caravan Serai!

Naan Serai at Caravan Serai

In my last blog post on Chocolateria San Churro, I shared how me and my colleagues indulged in Churros for dessert. What I also mentioned was that we had dinner a little earlier at this place called Caravan Serai. Caravan Serai is a nice place in Bandra West, Mumbai that serves Indian / Afghan / Mughlai Cuisine.

What we really enjoyed at Caravan Serai was something called Jhinga Nisha. These are king / jumbo prawns marinated in creamy yogurt flavored with cheese and Indian spices. We also tried the Mutton Galouti Kebabs – but that is something I didn’t quite enjoy. For mains, we had Bhuna Gosht which hit our palette really well.

What was the highlight of our meal though was something called Naan Serai. This is one gigantic naan that one will really enjoy. Look at the picture above – it is huge! We were six of us who dined at this place. All six combined couldn’t finish this one naan. Was it nice though? Yes. Crispy? Yes. Will I order it again? Yes. Will I be able to finish it? Lets order and find out! :)

 
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Churros at Chocolateria San Churro

churros

 

A trip to Mumbai is never complete without indulging in food. I have a thing for deserts. [Actually, I have a thing for all things food ;)] This particular day after having a wonderful meal at Caravan Serai at Bandra West, Mumbai with my colleagues, we decided to cross the road and walk over to one of my favorite desert joints Chocolateria San Churro.

The one thing you *have* to have at San Chrurro Chocolateria is Churros. Churros are normally referred to as Spanish Doughnuts. Essentially there are a fried dough pastry ala choux served with your choice of chocolate dips. The one I’m talking about is called Churros Medio. Churros Medio serves six pieces of churros along with two melted chocolate pots – milk chocolate and white chocolate.

How good is it? When I say you have to have it, you have to have it! It is beyond amazing. We also tried the Red Velvet Cupcake and Opera Cake which are seen in the background but they turned out to be damp squibs. The Churros though – the stuff we went to have – muah! Delicious! :)

 
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Salmon & Cream Cheese Bagel

Salmon & Cream Cheese Bagel

 

Au Bon Pain India invited a bunch of food enthusiasts and food bloggers to their biggest cafe in India which recently opened up at Indira Nagar in Bangalore for a Foodathon. Yours truly was also invited as part of this Foodathon. Au Bon Pain wanted us to try their fresh menu and give them feedback on the entire Au Bon Pain experience.

So I went there with a good friend of mine Rakesh Nagaraj. We were welcomed by the courteous Au Bon Pain staff and were introduced to foodies who were already present there for the foodathon. Was fun bumping into Hrish Thota – caught up with him after a really long time.

As part of the foodathon, we tried a lot of stuff from Smoked Salmon Wasabi Sandwiches to Blackbean Burgers, Tuna Salad Multigrain to Sundried Tomato & Cheese Sandwich, Litchi Iced Tea, Frozen Hot Chocolate, Frozen Mocha and the likes. But what stole the show for me personally was the super yummy Bagel with Cream Cheese & Salmon. The bagel had a generous serving of salmon and just the right amount of cream cheese. The Chicken & Cream Cheese Soup is another must have at Au Bon Pain.

If you ever get the Cream Cheese / Salmon craving, you know now, where to go! :)