Home food is the new exotic food and we all agree with it! Ghar Ka khana was an initiative that was specially curated by “Soul On A Plate” to bring on the table 8 varities of Indian regional food to the guest at Hyatt Regency Chennai.
For the first time 8 homechefs under one roof over a month, quite a task right, but all the ladies were put to ease with the excellent planning and execution by team Hyatt Regency under the able leadership of the GM Ruban Das. And this could happen only and only because he believed that there sure is so much to offer by homechefs who make home style regional food.
The excitement of the event started with menu curation and photo shoots. Our Homechefs were on the roll, each one encouraging, supporting and motivating each other and that I thought was the happiest part of the event personally for me.
From Malabar to palaghat from Coorg to Bengali from Bihari to gujrati from rajastani to marwari it was India in a plate for people of Chennai. #gharkakhana has definitely made history in Chennai!
This was possible because of many people who worked behind the scenes special mentions to the staff of Hyatt regency.
This vacation has been in the planning for the longest time and finally after 3yrs of short drives, vacations and staycations we had to make this trip to the ever charming Leh Ladakh!
We landed on 30th June afternoon with bad weather in Delhi ( transit) risking the terrain of leh airport, It is not an easy terrain to fly. With lots of gratitude to all our pilots who landed us safe.
Our itinerary was made in such a away that we had enough time for acclimatization since this height could give altitude sickness. Soon after we landed the sickness hit me and I was wondering why ever did I choose this location for a vacation. I have seen beautiful pictures and videos of Leh Ladakh but not heard anyone warn about the altitude sickness. I had mild irritating head ache nausea and just too lethargic. I was advised to take rest and drink lot of warm water. When I Still was not feeling good I popped a paracetamol and slept for a while now that made me feel better towards evening.
Our first day pretty much was all about taking care of ourselves. Next day 1st July we had decided again to go slow with minimal activity. So we had breakfast and just strolling around when a good soul suggested we visit the Hall of fame leh. It was a few metres of walk from our place and do we agreed without knowing much what the place had in store for us. And I cannot be more thankful to the person who suggested this place, since this one gave me goose bumps and made me love my country and my jawans even more. This is a war memorial with so many stories.
In the evening we set out to enjoy the city of leh. We did the Shanti stupa, the Leh palace and my most favourite leh market. Loved the colours in the market, the old met the new be is fruits, vegetables, grocery, restaurant, clothes of accessories you could find everything in this market traditional and modern. I picked up some fresh apricots since it is the season for apricots.
The next day was the beautiful Sangam were the indus met zanskar river. Sometimes you wonder how nature is so beautiful by itself the mixing of the 2 colors of the river was serene and peaceful! Did you know that during summer people do rafting here and during winter when the water turns to ice, they ice trek on this same river. So what would you like to do? Our next destination for the day was the cool magnetic hill, so our car was totally switched off and no we were not on a slop, but yet we moved, kinda exciting. The gurudwara pathar sahib is another monument to just find peace. Don’t miss the tea and prashad there it’s yummy!
The most significant day of our trip was doing the worlds highest motorable road the one and only Khardungla pass. We had our own altitude sickness challenges to handle but boy when we reached the peak it was like magic. It was such a proud moment for us to know that our country has the highest motorable road in the damn whole world yay!
After the movie 3 idiots the pangong Lake gained more popularity and why not it is so surreal. Surrounded by mountains it’s hard to say we could find a huge mass of water with shades of color that changes from blue, green, grey, brown to red, it is one of the highest altitude lake in the world with salty water that freezes during winter. Mind blowing right!!!
On our way back from pangong Lake we had to stop by the changa la pass another one of the highest! We stopped by for lunch and had a hot bowl of authentic ladakhi thukpa! We also stopped by a few more random places for some good photo shoots.
Whenever we visit a new place or country the first thing that I look for is Local home cooked food. Before we left to leh I started my search for good home cooked leh traditional food. Since we are non vegetarians I was surprised to know that traditionally people of leh Ladakh eat according to the weather and season. So in winter it’s meat and non vegetarian and in summer it’s mostly vegetarian, from June to September they get to grow vegetables and fruits and get to eat it too. Other time of the year it is cold and snow. So after doing some search on google found gyapthago heritage home. Got speaking to Jimmy and visited his House for a soulful all vegeterian dinner cooked by his mother. We were greeted by butter tea that is made using Fresh cows milk butter from their own farm. This place is more of a farm to table concept since everything that was cooked for dinner came from their farm including wheat and barley. The barley soup with fresh vegetables and leh local peas was warm and had a creamy consistency. The veg momos were made using wheat flour and we had the steamed and fried momos that was served with cold salad. The khamir the local wheat bread with Home made curd sure was a delicacy. The local pasta is made fresh, pasta is made with fresh grounded wheat and turnip sauce. We finished this most amazing meal with the local sweet of apricot soaked in water. Must say that ended my search for Local Leh Ladakh food.
Discovered Namza that serves authentic/ traditional leh Ladakh food and what excited me even more is the farm to table concept. The place has beautiful ambience, outdoor seating will be lovely in the evening. We started our lunch with mutton Za-thuk this is a soup that is made using nettle leaves, dried cheese and local herbs, available in veg, chicken and mutton option, we loved the flavour of nettle leaves and dried cheese with little chunks of mutton. I personally love the flavour of mountain mutton. The chicken momo also known as mok mok was average nothing to write home about. The yarkhadi pulao is a chefs special and I am glad we tried it. The meal come with pulao made of paneer, green peas, Carrots and fried onions loaded with ghee. We were warned it would be heavy, it was but we just loved the flavour, this meal comes with a clear soup and 3 momos or mok mok. Available in veg, chicken and mutton. We opted for the veg option. The most famous home grown fruit of Leh Ladakh is apricot and the season has just started. We enjoyed a tall glass of homemade apricot juice. Like us if you are keen on trying local food, this place is a must visit.
Had a very happy lunch after we descended down the khardungla pass at Dontang. This place has beautiful seating and the most comfort food. The ladhaki thukpa was my favourite. We had fresh lime soda, potato in honey chilli, chicken clear soup and chicken momos / mok mok. The service was polite and every thing we had was made fresh to order. Few vegetables are used from their garden. Definately a try when in leh.
We had hired a private chauffeur driven ertiga for 5days that cost us 25k which I thought was pretty reasonable and we could go around according to our own convenience.
Leh Ladakh is a very beautiful Indian union territory that is a must visit, but with all precautions and understanding the terrain. It could get very warm and dry in summer on few days that’s what we experienced and it is not easy to handle that weather. If you are a person who likes to see greenery around you please don’t expect anything like that around. Winters could be very harsh so please check before you go. You can fly or drive.
I would call this stay at Taj Yeshwantpur home away from home!
After 15 days of being away from home we decided to take a short break to visit family in Bangalore. Since this was an impromptu decision we had to book our stay one hour before we reached Bangalore. The best ever decision we made for a last minute booking at Taj Yeshwantpur!
We cannot stop talking about the impeccable hospitality that we received from each and every person at Taj from Rajeev Khanna to Ajay Sawe to Anshu Ukey, Dinesh Verma to Sundar to chef Jose, Aditya and Amrik. You have created that space in our hearts forever.
Our room was beautiful with the most precious view of Bangalore City! The service was such that even before we think of what we wanted it was at our door. This 327 rooms hotel is definitely a pride to the city and Taj hotels!
Bangalore if you are thinking of any place to celebrate your New Year just check in here and have the time of your life with friends, family and loved ones!
The Manchester of South India is weaving a new Coimbatore. My first visit to this little city was in 1998 when I married a young man from here. Our reception was held at the most iconic Annapoorna, I was told this was one place where many of the coimbatorians get hitched!
Our visits to this city continued over years and stories about how my husband and his friends use to hang around Annapoorna was something I got used to hearing often and at times the stories kept on repeating as friends who are all around the world kept coming to Coimbatore for their vacation. By now it had become a household name for me who came from Mumbai. The morning coffee and breakfast was a ritual everytime we came to Coimbatore from Chennai. We hosted and attended many weddings over the years!
Few years back when we saw the place closed for renovation, we were a little disheartened but at the same time excited and waiting for it to open. Little did we know that the wait was totally worth it. My heart swelled with Pride and happiness to what I witnessed today!
Coimbatore you have arrived should I say more! The structure, the food, the ambience, the service and the warmth was class apart!
Would I have ever thought of me seated in a vegetarian restaurant and enjoying the most amazing cocktail along with my family few years ago in Coimbatore???and today I was right here in this place enjoying Nannari Negroni & Jalapeno Mojito, really what – a – what -a !!!
And wait, vegetarian did I say? Let me correct myself progressive vegetarian restaurant, because most of the dishes that we experienced today are specially curated for kove and kove alone by Gourmet Sage Hospitality Solutions who also are the principal consultant for this project.
We started our meal with Tortellini soup and Singhada makkai shorba. From Italy to North India the soups were spot on with the right flavour, taste and presentation.
The brocolli Thai cold salad sure was a pleasant twist to the salad experience. The Asian fusion to the south indian curry leaves the cream cheese Rangoon to the karuvepillai baby corn the journey kept the flavours intact.
The yam urandai kuzhambu ( yam balls) in South Indian gravy served with ghee rice was as good as the Nasi Goreng that was our main course.
The mocktail shoots definitely intersting not only for the eyes but the palate too!
The finale for this meal sure had to be exceptional. The nanari Sorbet was a refreshing palate cleaners and the best friend to someone who is vegan! The lucky Irishman was my favourite since I love Bailey’s!
Kove at ikon, Annapoorna is definitely a place to visit for the sheer experience of something very very special, it is an experience not to be missed along with family and friends! A place to make memories thinking of the old, cherishing and embracing the new! And raising a toast with cheers to new beginning!