40 Days and 40 Nights

(or something like that… okay, 57 days and 56 nights… but that wouldn’t make for half as interesting a title for a blog post, would it?)

I arrived at the Bangalore Cantonment Station on Saturday, January 12th. There’s a beautiful picture of the station (and even more beautiful piece of writing), just minutes before the train arrived on the platform on @purisubzi‘s blog.

The two suitcases that had been picked off conveyor belts at the La Guardia Airport on July 29th, 2008, then, packed with warm clothes and Indian spices were now hauled out of a train bogie and into Bangalore. This time, stuffed with a half dozen casual clothes and a bunch of books. I seem to want to start over ever couple of years or so. One part of me wants to call it escapism. The (barely there) optimist in me calls it adventure.

A little over a month into the city, I didn’t really have any major complaints. Since then, things have been good. They’ve been fantastic, in fact!

It’s close to two months now, and I’ve set up my home, for most part, barring a few shelves and some pretties, here and there. And work is picking up. Sure, I could give it a lot more, because that’s what I’m capable of. And I’m hoping I’ll get there soon. Very soon.

But this post is about all the food that these past two months have been about. Cooking, well, yes. And a bunch of failed baking experiments. But the food has been good nevertheless.

Humour me, you guys, because foodobaggins is also almost Dear Diary.

I’ve hunted for apartments in USA, while I was a student and even when I worked. But that was hardly hunting. The first one happened by a stroke of good luck, and then I kept moving within the apartment complex because it was convenient in terms of distance from school and work. And dirt cheap. Apartment hunting, here, was a bitch. I stayed with @purisubzi (d’uh) the first couple of weeks and came home to Ella Fitzgerald on some days, Sigur Rós on others, Portishead and Dire Straits, even. And simple home-cooked meals. Boys cooking for girls can be quite a turn on, but let’s not get there. Week days were more about getting used to the new work place, running off early to meet brokers and be shown around apartments. I saw everything from 10ft by 10ft coops to two bedroom apartments which I’d have to share with girls, when I didn’t want to share an apartment anyway.

One Sunday afternoon, HSR Layout offered me a decent apartment overlooking a park and about fifteen minutes of a walk from the closest bus stop. And while I pondered over whether I wanted to live in it or not and whether my parents would like visiting if I stayed in it, at Toit… the apartment got taken. Mildly tragic, that. Though Toit was great. That afternoon, I had their winter brew (I forget the name) – a nice spiced Ale… and the fig and lamb pizza. Complete win, that combination! It made me miss Mulled Wine evenings in another country, while sitting in PJs and staring at frost-laden trees. Sigh. At 5 pm. On a Sunday. In Bengaluru.

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A week before my birthday, Yash and I set out, apartment hunting, one evening. And the last of the places we saw, in Domlur, that evening, is the place I, now, call home. B (@purisubzi) was summoned to the venue to approve of it (Yes, I have come to rely on his judgement and advice for/about/on a world of things). Approval gotten, token amount paid to the broker, B and I dined at California Pizza Kitchen, that night. My first time having the Sula Chenin Blanc. Pretty amazing wine, if you ask me. And the Four Cheese and Cherry Tomato pizza. (Thursdays are vegetarian, and oh boy, with food like this, I don’t think anyone should have those vegetarian versus non-vegetarian arguments EVER!) I’m not lying when I say I could taste all four distinct cheeses(?) – there was Mozza and goat cheese and Gouda and Fontina and boy, oh boy, oh boy! Was it good or what!

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A couple of visits to Egg Factory, some involving avoiding people, some involving way too many people to handle – and having everything off their menu, from the Akoorie (eggs scrambled, Parsi style) and the Mota special (an almost similar, though more runny, preparation) to the Malabar Biryani (scrumptious masala, really!) and the (d’uh!) French Toast. I like Egg Factory. It’s not too heavy on the pocket. Or the tummy. And dude, like, c’mon! It’s eggs! You’ve gotta love eggs, man!

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Oh, weekends with B were mostly Khoday XXX or Erdinger Dunkel or sampling Indus Pride spiced beers or more Sula Chenin Blanc with a simple salad or mashed peas and garlic bread or something else, that we’d put together in fifteen minutes or so. Gosh! He should patent his mashed peas recipe, y’know! The eve of my birthday (and I’m trying real hard to not sound romantic here) was sitting under the stars sipping on Jacob’s Creek Chardonnay.

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Birthday evening, B took me to Cafe Max. I will admit, I got quite drunk on a couple of kinds of nice red wine – some La Reserve and a South African Cab Sauv, if I remember correctly. Dinner was a simple Greek Salad (I was so so pleased to be eating feta that evening, I was!) and some ultra-delicious prawns. They were done in olive oil, chilli flakes, parsley and garlic, quite like a lot of the tapas I had in Barcelona, minus the chilli, that is. We finished off (and stuffed ourselves) with some veal because, well, birthday means posh. And surprisingly, that dinner cost us about three and a half grand, which is not very much, given the amount we ate and drank. Cafe Max, I must mention, is this little restaurant at Max MUeller Bhavan on CMH Road. And while one might expect it to be only a cafeteria with baked goodies and coffee, for students and faculty at Max Mueller, it is a lot more than that. Everything from the dim lighting to the well spaced tables and the breeze on the top floor make for an absolutely fantastic date place. Really.

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There’s really so much more to write! Sigh. I think I should just make multiple posts of this saga (heh!), I should.

For now, this.

Parts 2 and 3… and n… and a couple of recipes coming right up!

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