Friday, 30 March 2012

Azzuri Bay, Gandhi Nagar, Adyar

12:29:00



















Had a very ordinary Wednesday, until I got a call asking me if I was interested in attending the CFG review of Azzuri Bay. I thought for a second and said Azzuri Bay, lets do this. Mr.Chennai Foodie and I landed a little later than the actual reporting time at the Azzuri Bay event, thanks to the traffic. Anyway's we were seated at the third floor, open air dining. The weather was fine when we sat down, but once the food started coming in, I really started to feel the heat. I am not sure if the others felt it, but I started to sweat like a pig. It was difficult to bear the heat. A point noted from this event,  if I was to head over there again, with a special someone I would sit in the Air Conditioned area during the summer. I do not want to be stinking at the end of the meal.

We had a very different welcome drink arranged for us, pineapple juice in long thin sachets. It reminded me of my childhood days when I used to buy this from a vendor outside school and sip it. Since we were late others at the table had their drinks. So I decided to go in for a Virgin Pinacaloda. This drink had all the other blogger to get their cameras out to click it, "A star studded drink". The drink was refreshing on the tongue, though I wished it had a bit more sweetness to it.

Being an invited review, the owner Mr. Jai was there to ask our preferences and allergies to any kind of food. I tried restricting myself to the Non-Veg section and leaving the vegetarians to have there dishes in peace. The first starter which I was served with was Garlic Pepper Fish. The fish was soft and flavorsome. Some people did not like it as they felt the pepper was a bit course in size, to me it was just right. Then we were served with a helping of Grilled Shrimps. My God!  these shrimps were really yummy. It had the shell removed on one side and left intact on the other side. The shrimp was wholesome with the head as well. Simply loved the way the shrimps were prepared, the dip which was given along with it was tasty as well. If you love shrimps please do try this out. After tasting the shrimp I was served with Double Cooked Chicken Pepper Strips. This dish was delightful, with a nice deep flavor to it.

After three different starters I was wondering if this day can get any better. I thought I will have a little gap before the next dish, a fellow blogger Karan told me to try out the Mutton Sukka. I just could not resist the temptation so I had some of it. The mutton sukka was terrific. It was a proper chettinad dish. After that I was served with Prawn Momos and Hummus with Pita Bread. The prawn momos were a kind of okay, but the hummus was lovely along with the pita bread. The next starter to be served to me was crispy chilli beef. To me the beef was just right, crispy, yes, chilli yes and yes it was beef. Fellow blogger the harried cook felt it was not so crispy or unevenly crispy. Maybe I just got the proper crispy ones. Just for the heck of trying, I had a Corn Wonton. I clearly do not remember the name, it looked like a wonton or a basket to me. The outer was nice crispy and the inner corn was fresh and juicy. I had it along with the peanut sauce. The sauce was amazing as well.

Pooh! I was really stuffed after a heavy load of starters. I was contemplating if I wanted to have the main course. After a quick assessment I decided I will have the main course and I  settled on  Beef Steak. I was thinking of picking the T-Bone steak, but then Karan told me that he was going to pick that one. I thought for a while and decided on  Beef Escalopes with lemon. Escalopes are supposed to be pieces of boneless meat which has been thinned out by mallet, so you get a meat which cooks faster and more tender. I had asked for mash potatoes with it. We had all asked for well done steaks. On receiving my steak I took a bite of it. The steak was juicy and sauce was brilliant as well,but the consistency was a bit too tender. The steak began to crumble into pieces when you cut. Not that I would complain about it, but it made things difficult when you tried to pass a piece to others. While I was enjoying my steak there was a battle going on right next me with Karan trying to cut through his steak. Since we had all asked for well done steak I expected Karan to be having an easy time with the steak but it happened his steak was a bit raw. Point to note, there were two T-bone steaks on his plate, thats a bit of a large portion to consume. On the other end Nishanth was running his steak knife through his Grilled beef fillet steak, he too had a tough time. I tasted a piece of his beef steak that was cooked well but not really tender to the consistency we would have liked it, also the steak felt a bit bland. That is the story of the three beef steaks. The vegetarians fared better than us and they complimented every thing they ate.

On the other end of the table Mr.Chennai Foodie had ordered for a chicken steak with red wine marinate and grilled prawns. I had a bit of his steak and I loved it. The meat was very tender and well cooked but the marinate was a little over powering. There was Chicken pizza on the table as well. But somehow I did not like it that much. I guess we had got the topping wrong. But the killer steak was the one which the harried cook had, Lamb Shin Sofrito. Lamb was so very tender and wonderful in taste and aroma. An absolute must try Steak.

We were offered desserts after the heavy main course. We decided that we would share the desserts. Mississippi Mud Pie, Double Chocolate Gelato, Apple Pie, Gentle Aphrodisiac and Chocolate and cointreau mousse. To me the winner in the desserts round was the Mississippi Mud Pie. It was divine, it had heavy dose of coffee to it. I had a bit of all the desserts. I personally do not prefer Apple Pie cause they contain cinnamon in it. Cinnamon is something which I do not like. But the apple pie was nice as well. Another must try dessert is the Double chocolate gelato, it was quite simply fabulous.We thanked Mr.Jai for having us there. After such a heavy stuffing session, we were all almost rolling when we went out.

Auzzri Bay is a fine dining restaurant and it was crowded for a wednesday night dinner.  So the food over here has got to be good maybe we just did not pick the right steaks. To me it was,  all in all, a good experience .

Food - 8/10
Ambiance - 9/10 ( Roof Top is awesome, provided the weather is good as well )
Price - 8/10

Azzuri Bay is located in Gandhi Nagar Adyar, next to the Gandhi Nagar Club.

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Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Donut House, Ethiraj Salai

10:34:00










Hey Guys, I have decided to keep my write up about the Donut Fest and the CFG meet separate. CFG meet followed the Donut fest, where Donut House threw in some samples of their own creations for our appraisal. Firstly I must thank Donut House for conducting such an event and also to have CFG to be a part of it.

After the Donut Fest winner was announced, some of the CFG member decided to retire and head home, leaving behind a few CFG members to sample the donuts which the house had made for the donut fest. We started off with the sweet donuts with ink filler kind of attachment balancing on top of them.The ink fillers had white and dark chocolate filled inside them, depending on the donut. Definitely a very great creative use of those fillers. Makes them look great and also you get extra chocolate which you can squeeze over the donut or if you are crazy enough, pour it into your mouth. I am a big fan of dark chocolate but in this instance I loved the ones with the white chocolate. Also had a bit of the strawberry cream filled donut. They tasted good as well.

The sweet donuts are something which we would expect from every donut shop. The highlight among the donuts were the savory ones. Definitely a different take on the them. Very, very creative. My personal favorite was the SOUTH INDIAN Donut. Do try it and you will love it. Very spicy and very different from what you expect from it. Be sure to have glass of water or something sweet next to you. You are going to need it. Some CFG members thought that throwing away the chilli will save their tongues but no!, it is hot right through the donut. Also, I liked the Italian Donut and the one with the herbs on it. Since these have been created for the donut fest. I was informed they did not carry an official name yet.

Last but not the least we sampled the Burger Donut. This is a very simple donut with a neat vegetarian patty inside it and having a sugar icing on top of the donut bun. A very different take to your regular donut. A must try, if you are in the mood for something different. I also had a Peach Mojito to wash them down.

This was my first visit at donut house. So I decided to carry home a few of them. I had picked an assortment of donuts for Rs 230/- . My favorite of the lot was the white chocolate donut with chocolate chips on top of it. Finally I would like to say that none of these donuts could taste this great, unless they have a really good donut bun. Kudos to the donut chefs, for making simply superb donut buns.

Food - 8/10
Ambiance - 7/10
Price - 9/10

Donut House is located in Ethiraj Salai opposite to Ethiraj College. They also have a branch in Express Avenue.

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Monday, 26 March 2012

Donut Feast 2012, Donut House, Ethiraj Salai

18:24:00
Blueberry Donut

Contestant - Kamalika

Contestant - Priya
Contestant - Vasumathi

Cheering the Contestants

Judges looking on!!!

One Donut Ready

Donuts in the making

Ingredients to a Healthy Donut

Contestant Kamalika with her masterpieces!!!

Kamalika's presentation!!!!


Corn Flakes Donut

Strawberry Donuts
The WINNER!!! Zesty Lemon Donuts

Healthy Donut

Contestants explaining their creations to the judges

Judges ready to announce!!!

THE WINNER HARINI with Bhuvanesh
I was present along with the other members of Chennai Food Guide ( CFG ) at the recently concluded Donut Feast at the Donut House. This was a nice event organized by the Donut House to get the people motivated into making donuts and also tickle their creative cells.

More on the event. The contestants where asked to send in an innovative donut recipe, and if the people of Donut House liked it, they got to make it in the kitchen of Donut House on the final day of Donut Feast. Also, It would be named by them. I would have loved to come up with a recipe , but having to make it in the kitchen, along with other people, thats a definite no, no!!. I am very clumsy with stuff and bound to drop things and make a mess of the kitchen. You guys need to ask my mom, as to how the kitchen ends up once I am done using it.

The event was judged by an elite panel of judges with Parvin ( Food Critic ), Nanditha Sasidaran ( Sugar Hut ) and Mohammed Ali ( Chennai Food Guide ). The judges scored the donuts based on :

1. Creativity
2. Presentation &
3.Taste

The contestants were narrowed down to 4 from the various recipes which was sent to the Donut House mail. Each contestant had to make two donuts which had to be unique and creative. The contestants were :

1. Vasumathi
2. Harini
3. Priya &
4. Kamalika

The contestants had a choice of Donut buns which they could work with
1.Regular Center Hole Donuts
2.Shell Donuts - which are hollow on the inside

Contestant Vasumathi was the only contestant who felt and said "why should Donuts be a fatty stuff? "
She had worked up a healthy recipe with a Prunes, Almonds, Figs and also Sesame seeds. Just the healthy stuff which I do not like. All these ingredients were made into a paste like consistency. The paste was applied on the bun and decorated. I took a bite of the donut, and somehow I liked it. This is definitely one donut which stood out in terms of creativity.

Contestant Harini was the youngest of the lot. She gave a very humble request to all the fellow bloggers , not to click a photo of her. Maybe she was superstitious or just camera shy, thats a question which needs to be answered. She had gone in with two different versions. One was made of cream and strawberry and the other was made of cream and lemon zest. When I took a bite of her Lemon Zest Donut, I knew it was a winner because, by the time I had put it in my mouth and turned to grab another piece, it was all over. The strawberry one was also good. But it just could not beat the Zesty Lemon Donut.

Contestant Priya had gone in for kid friendly donuts. She had chosen the shell donut buns over the regular buns. She made a crunchy donut out of cornflakes and also a soft smoothie one based on  banana and custard fill ( Hope I am getting the filling right ). By the time I could get a bite of the cornflakes donut, it was all gone. Guess some people just love cornflakes. I took a bite of Banana topped one. It was nice and soft with a smooth filling inside it. What I had not realized was, I had spilt a little of the filling on the floor ( Sorry Donut House ) and some on my shirt. Her donuts had definitely made me a kid.

Contestant Kamalika had also gone in with the shell donut buns. She made two different variations. One being a Raspberry topping donut and the other having cream and pineapple on top of it. Two of my favorite items, definitely ticks the boxes for me. I had a bit of both and I personally preferred the cream and pineapple variation.

After the Judges and the CFG members had a bit of the donuts, they went into a bit of brain storming and calculation run. This took them quite some time as food in there belly just made them a little slow in doing some math calculations. After tallying the points, the judges announced the results.

The Contestant who did  not want to be photographed, won. Lucky she agreed to pose for the camera after she had won. Congrats to Harini. She was handed over a gift voucher by Mr.Bhuvanesh ( Donut Man ). This was a great initiative by Donut House, Kudos to them.

Donut House is located in Ethiraj Salai, opposite to Ethiraj College. They do have another branch in the Food Court of Express Avenue


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Sunday, 25 March 2012

Introduction to Baking 101

21:42:00

Bakers listening to Nikhil's Introduction

Harried Cook aka Marsha Thompson 
Bakers listening!!!

Some more of them listening!!!

All draped and ready

Bakers with the weapons!!!!!
M.Ali with SUPERMAN
Cupcakes Loaded!!!!
Chocoooooooooooooolate!!!!!!
Heart Attack Stuff (Butter)
Sugaaaar!!!!
Cupcakes before they hit the oven 
Crimson Foods Boxes for all
The only GUY baker (Praveen)
Sneak Peak on Cupcakes!!!!
Harried Cook throwing in some tips
Bakers hard at work
Cupcakes!!!!! Yummmm!!!!
Chocolate Moosseeeeeee!!!!!
Oatmeal Cookies!!!!
Bakers loading Cupcakes
High Tea!!!
Cookies ready for Baking
Cupcakes ready for ICING
Harried Cook showing an example
Cupcakes ready...Yummmm!!!! 
Oatmeal Cookies Ready!!!
Men behind the event
Lovely Jammuns
Cutlet!!!!!
1st Batch of Bakers

Its nice to see experts in their fields trying to give back something to society. I was at one such event. "The Introduction to Baking 101" was a great initiative brought about by The Harried Cook ( Marsha Thompson ), CFG King ( Mohammed Ali ) and The SUPERMAN ( Nikhil Moturi of Crimson Chakra who allowed them to hold the event in his premises ). This was one of the 1st such events done on a large scale, comprising of 22 Bakers, which was conducted by the Harried Cook and CFG. For an event which was solely promoted on Facebook it was really quick to see how the slots got filled up within a matter of minutes.

It was nice closely packed 3hrs baking session which gave the bakers the hands on training in making :
1. Cupcakes
2. Chocolate Mousse
3. Oatmeal Cookies
4. Icing for the Cupcakes

To me, just to stand around such rich food made me really hungry.  It was nice to see the team spirit when participants got knocked down to two members per team. It was awesome to see the way the cupcakes, the cookies and the mousses were made. It gives you an idea of how much work is put into it, before we consume it. Average time to gobble down a cupcake 30seconds even if you are the slowest of the eaters. Average time to make a cupcake 1hour after having the ingredients pre-weighed.

It was also nice to see how the harried cook gave a few tips and shortcuts for the recipes and ingredients. Since this is the 1st of such initiatives there where a few teething problems. Definitely these problems looked like they could be sorted out easily and the 2nd Batch of Bakers will have a trouble free baking time. I was told that the next batch will be held in a couple of weeks time. I wish the Harried Cook, the best in the coming times.

The hospitality was taken care by Nikhil Moturi of Crimson Chakra. He served us with awesome Cutlets and Jammuns!!!!! .The Jammuns where the most softest I have ever had from a restaurant. He also supported the initiative in a great way with his team constantly helping the event with all the work which needed to be done. Kudos to him!!

Also at the end of the session, the bakers got to carry home 6 Cupcakes and a couple of Cookies and Chocolate mousse. They seemed a happy lot as they posed for the keepsake photograph.And with Marsha aka Harried Cook, giving them all full fledged permission to contact her with any queries and doubts, what more would a novice baker want, except maybe a second advanced level baking class.

A verdict on the Cupcakes..... I just loved it... Super soft and super awesome!!!!! I have not had the Chocolate Mousse yet, its still safe in the refrigerator. The cookies? Thats been gobbled down.  It's rocking in my belly even as I type this one.

You can follow THE HARRIED COOK at her blog
http://www.theharriedcook.com/
or you can reach her in Facebook as well

This was a great initiative brought about by Chennai Food Guide. Kudos to them as well.
You can look up for Chennai Food Guide on Facebook

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