Naturals Ice-cream – in Delhi – from Kolkatta

icecreambox

“Chocolate, Butterscotch or Cassata Sir” the  guy asked as we stopped our car next to his ice-cream truck at India Gate. Those were some great times and we still manage to that once in a while. But I am so glad that there is much more to offer in the Ice-cream space.

I love that we have started experimenting with the flavors, and so the creators are also thinking out-of-the-box. Yesterday, we walked into an ice-cream parlor that served Masala Chai, Wasabi, Paan and fresh fruit like Tender Coconut and Orange Basil. We were pleasantly surprised both at the variety and quality.

F&N
Pabrai’s Naturelle has recently opened a shop in C.P next to the famous Kake-da-hotel. Originally from Calcutta, they have an impressive client list & are inventors of Pabrai’s Nalen Gur Ice-cream. We got chatting with the owner, who said people like the Paan, Chandan and fruit flavors. Cocolate Hazzelnut and Mango remains the top seller. Wasabi was liked more by the foreigners and was supplied to hotels mainly. I tried the Masala chai, which tasted exactly like a spicy chai. Didn’t really have a taste for the gur but really enjoyed the little bits in tender coconut & paan.

If you like the Natural Ice-cream from Pune & Mumbai , you are sure to like this one too. Go, give it a try!!

I’m so glad that other than the regular Amul, Cream-bell, Kwality Walls and so on – We now have Giani’s, Baskin Robbins & a couple of Gelato joints scattered across the city. Even Mother Dairy Cookie Crumb,  Tener Cocnut & Bluberry Bliss are top notch.

unusual

We may never really reach the Tomato and Tofu flavored ice cream popular in Tokyo, but a little bit of experimenting is always good. So the next time you are asked what ice-cream would you like – Dare to think beyond Hot Chocolate Fudge.
Do let us know what’s your favorite unusual ice cream flavor and where can we try it?

Shopping Destination : Dilli Haat, New Delhi, India

IF you had just two days to spend in Delhi and just a couple of hours to shop – Traditional, Indian, Artistic, Authentic and mostly Handmade, visit Dilli Haat. One stop shop for souvenir shopping from India.

 

Breezy summer evenings and sunny winter days were made for strolling around the beautiful things India has to offer. A joint collaboration between the New Delhi Municipal Corporation and the Delhi Tourism and Transportation Department, the basic idea of setting up this crafts bazaar was to promote the Indian handicrafts industry and Indian cuisine. There are now two Dilli Haat in Delhi.  the original one at INA, Aurbindo Marg  and the relatively new one at Pitam Pura near the TV tower.

Stamp Dilli-Haat-Gate

 

SHOPPING

Most handicraft bazaars are filled with Kashmiri and Gujrati handicrafts, but in between those Dilli haat offers a taste of Assama & Naga hand-loom, Bihar Silk, Odissa lamps, silver jewelery, ceramic pottery, Punjabi phulkari and I can go on and on.

Originally, you could see the artists in action on their current project, it was intended to promote artisans and give them an outlet to sell their handcrafted things. Now, I mostly see traders and some people are almost permanent there.

DH - block printing

My tip – Shop for the unusual & Bargain Bargain Bargain !!

Almost everyone loves to get a great bargain. The thrill of getting a great deal on a purchase is addictive. Here is how i do it. First, Think how much you would pay for something you like before asking the price. That’s your maximum. Now ask the price, quote 60% of it and see the reaction.  Most of the time you will get your best price, especially if you go on the last day of the festival which is generally 15 or 30th of the month. As the artisans don’t want to pay the cartage to take things back.
And then sometime, I just pay more than they ask – to appreciate the artist, support the art or motivate them to come again.

EATING
There is a selection of food from many about 20 different states. In fact, there was a time I visited Dilli Haat for eating and not shopping. Yes, there was a time when I wasn’t interested in shopping!! The food is not as good as it used to be.The most popular eats are momos, fruit beer and the state specific thallis. The prices have increase from college day but INR 500 still gets you a couple things. My current favorite stalls are Maharashra & Sikkim.

SELLING
Not only is this a great place to shop, its a great place to sell. If you have a collection you would like to showcase, get a stall here, its relatively inexpensive & 15 days gives you a good opportunity to connect with shoppers. more info here.

What I love about Dilli Haat is that it is clean, festive, strollers friendly and inspirational. And like someone said – it’s a one-stop-shop for one of the best representations of what’s out there as far as handicrafts goes!  Plus it has a  play area for kids at the back. Its walking distance from the INA metro station and it fits everyone’s budget. What more can one ask for !!

Here is the official info on How to get there? and Other stuff.

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Delhi Restaurants -Ambiance, Price & Food: getting the right mix?!?

Delhi now has a range of eating options – Fast Food, Casual Dining, Pub- Cafés, Fine Dining and the it’s many variations – Bakeries, Coffee houses, Dhabas, Buffets and thousands more. What differentiates them is primarily,  Food preparation style, Service (speed, quality and self/full), Ambiance and Pricing.

The top of the list is the Fine dining restaurant. They offer their diners the finest in food, service and atmosphere: hence the exorbitant prices.

My question is- Although, most average sized restaurants in Delhi call themselves Fine Dining, yet why can one never be sure of what one will finally experience?

In the last few months I have noticed that most restaurants in Delhi are a bit confused about their identity or they are just trying too hard to make a niche for themselves. Now, I agree, that it’s difficult to pinpoint what level of service and ambiance will justify the tag  of fine dining, BUT if the rating on 3 out of the 4 factors is not up to the mark then getting full marks on Pricing cannot be the ONLY factor to be a FINE DINING Restaurant.

What I basically want to say is, on an average, a meal for two excluding drinks and including taxes is about Rs. 1000, no matter what you eat – Thai, Chinese, Indian, Italian- whatever!

Actually, I don’t mind paying the thousand bucks also, as long as I am happy with what I have paid for. You can never be certain about – how good/authentic the meal will be? What quantity will be served to you? How  your overall experience will rate?

Try this simple test. Have a ‘Chicken Penne Arrabiata’ or a similar pasta at Big Chill (INR 375), Mrs Kaurs (INR 365) , Route 4(INR 325), The Kitchen (INR 300), Amici (INR 320), Café OZ (INR 350) and Urban Café (INR 350). Notice, they are all in Khan Market and within the same price range. Now compare the quantity, quality of the food and the overall experience in service, décor etc.

Or is it that the restaurants in Delhi have become so expensive that at 500 rs per head all you get is the bare minimum?

Another discussion I have had many a times is – The Food vs. Ambiance debate.

I have thought long and hard about this, for me, if the food is terrific, the place is good. Sounds oblivious enough!

But this is not true for everyone and they do have a good point. People go to restaurants – especially high end ones – for the whole experience. I have actually heard people say the place is so great but the food is ok!

To be blunt I could care less if a place is trendy. If the food isn’t good I don’t want to pay an arm and leg for it.

Take for instance the restaurant Gunpowder (22, Hauz Khas Village). It’s difficult to reach the restaurant on your own, especially the first time (including the four flight of stairs). The ambiance is average at best. The food however, is authentic and tasty.

But if you search for the review of the restaurant you shall find these as the top two reviews.  Anoothi Vishal at India food and Travel Guide starts her review by saying “It’s not a place that the average Dilliwallah”. And Chefatlarge gave it a rating of 2/5.

To each his own I guess!

All I really want is to find a restaurant with a perfect balance of Taste, Ambiance and Price and if it is close to where I live, that will be the cherry on top.