RoadTrip, Indiranagar – Bangalore

RoadTrip is a restaurant in Indiranagar which serves continental/Italian cuisine. To reach the place, if you’re coming from the (Old) Airport flyover, take the first left and then the first right.

Their website describes them as

“Road Trip is a 50+ seater restaurant located in Bangalore’s upmarket Indiranagar area. Road Trip is a first of its kind concept restaurant that features motorcycles as a theme.”

The place opened in 2003 and has seen a lot of changes in the past 5 years. I believe it was also closed for some time during this period. The current incarnation is not as cool as the pics on the website will lead you to believe, but I’ve been assured that the food is still the same. They still have those motorcycle headlamp fixtures and two motorcycles standing in the dining area but the rest of the stuff is gone.

Unlike most places serving Italian/Continental cuisine in Bangalore, the food here actually tastes of the real thing and the Chef is willing to listen and make changes to the dish according to the guest’s preferences.

The menu is pretty basic. Its a simple one page menu with a couple of starters (veg and non-veg), couple of main course dishes and some drinks (Iced tea – Rs 40 , cold drinks – Rs 40, fresh lime – Rs. 40 etc.).  They also serve Alcohol but all I’ve had at this place is beer (The price of which I don’t remember :-) ) so I won’t comment on anything else.

The last time I was there with some friends, we ordered a plate of Lamb chops (Rs. 240), a Pizza (Rs. 190), and a Penne Based pasta.

The Lamb chops, frankly, were nothing to write home about and the dish was quite bland. The meat was still nice and succulent, but it could have done with a little more spice. The chops came with some vegetables and Mashed Potatoes.

The pizza was definitely the best I’ve had in some time. They beat Little Italy (100 ft road) hands down. The toppings were ham, chicken and sun dried tomatoes. This is a thin crust pizza and, of course, highly recommended.

The pastas that we ordered were Penne based and we asked the chef to put in some extra cheese and sun dried tomatoes in it. Excellent :-)

I’m definitely going back to this place … again.

Update 1: Was recently at Roadtrip again and tried the “Grilled fillet of fish with Lemon and Mustard sauce” and it was absolutely awesome. Rs 240 well spent. The dish is not on the menu and you can find it on the specials menu.

Reminder to Self: Check out the specials menu at Roadtrip before ordering anything :-)

Kareem’s, East Street – Pune

After successfully running 7 outlets in Mumbai – The well known Kareem’s is now in Pune. Sadly it has replaced another one of our favorite joints – Olympia Kathi Rolls.

Not to fret, though, there is some good news. Kareem’s has retained the Olympia Kathi Roll on its menu and have the same guy cooking them. 

Olympia Kathi Rolls was almost an institution, next to Portrait Studios on East Street. One can not miss the long queue outside the restaurant in the evenings. 

Olympia serves perhaps the best Chicken Kathi Rolls outside of Kolkata. Priced at a about fifty bucks it is value for money. The piping hot paratha enriched with a generous and well cooked soft covering of beaten eggs and filled with substantial pieces of succulent spicy chicken – it tastes heavenly as you dip it in the accompanying pudina chutney and freshly sliced onion rings.

One word of caution for the delhiites: This is not the Kareem’s from Old Delhi but Mumbai so don’t go expecting something you won’t get.  

Like I mentioned, the rolls have been incorporated in the menu, but apart from the rolls the menu has a lot of other stuff too. Recommended are the Kebabs, one can choose from a dozen or so in the menu. We had Murg Kurkuri Potli’ (Rs 119) but a good idea would be to take the non- veg platter (Rs449) to sample the assortment. Also, try the unusual Indian bread on offer like the Taftan (a soft rice flour bread) or Khamiri or kulcha or lachedar Parantha (Rs29/39).

 

 

Interesting observation: Almost every price mentioned on the menu ends with a 9, Rs 99, 119, 129 and so on as if the menu belongs to a Bata shoes shop :-) Don’t know why … I don’t judge, I only make observations ;)

5 free and exciting iPhone Games

Steve Jobs, while launching the iTunes app store remarked that the iPhone (and iPod touch) is the best gaming device ever made.

And looking at the kind of games available for the iPhone, I completely agree with ‘ol Steve.

The App store has thousands of games available already, both paid and free. And each one of those games has been approved by Apple, so you can be atleast sure that whatever is available on the app store right now, is high quality stuff.

In this post, we’ll look at some interesting iPhone games that are available right now and, of course, are free to download and use.

Matches

Matches is the iPhone version of the old game known as Memory or, well, Matches.

Each card on the screen has a matching that the player has to find and there is a time limit for uncovering all the matches. There are many levels and the time available to find all matches keeps shrin

king and so the game becomes increasingly more challenging as the levels progress. Exactly, the kind of thing you want to be engrossed in on a Sunday afternoon :-)

iBowl

iBowl is from the makers of iGolf, another exciting and addictive free iPhone game. As is obvious from the name, iBowl is a bowling game – With a twist.

The difference between iBowl and the other bowling games that most of us have grown up playing on other consoles is that iBowl uses the accelerometer built into the iPhone for the bowling part. What that means is that the player presses a button and pretends to bowl as if he’s playing a real bowling game, with the iPhone in hand instead of the, well, ball.

You can even challenge a friend to a game of Bowling, althought this doesn’t exactly do this using multi player gaming. Instead, iBowl sends an email to your friend asking them to load up iBowl and then probably uses the developer’s website to keep track of scores. I’m saying probably because I haven’t personally tried this option till now. I’m happy playing and winning against … myself :-)

WordWrap

WordWrap is the iPhone implementation of the classic jumbled words dictionary based game – You get a set of letters, jumbled up, and you’re required to form as many words as you can out of those letters. If you use all the letters to form a single word, bonus points. Each progressive level gets more difficult, or not, depending on how well you’ve studied the dictionary. ‘Nuff said … this game has to be played to really be able to appreciate it.

Vegas Pool Sharks Lite

This is another of my favorite iPhone Games. I can spend hours playing this one, or atleast as long as the battery on my iPhone lets me.

Vegas Pool sharks is like playing Pool with a twist. The Lite version is the good ‘ol Pool game which you play against an opponent controlled by the computer iPhone. The paid version promises to make the game even more fun by letting you play against stakes. Now, this is one thing every gamer knows. Put some money on the table and watch a boring game transform into the most fearsome encounter ever.

Tic Tac Toe

I’m sure this one will bring back fond memories of all those classes spent sitting in the last row playing Tic Tac Toe with your best bud, while the teacher continues with the most boring lecture ever.

It sure evokes those feelings in me. I’ve literally spent ages playing this game and the last page of all my school notebooks will testify to that. I’m just glad the game is back in its most eco friendly avatar ever. I love it.

Those were some of our favorite iPhone games and I’m sure I’ve missed tonnes more. Go ahead … type in those comments and share with us your favorite iPhone games. We’d love to hear about any tips you’ve got too … for getting past the difficult levels, you know ;)

You are here – by Meenakshi Reddy Madhavan

You are here… or… so you think !

What do a couple of college friends do when they are reunited after a long time ? Think about the good old days ? Especially if you are one of the lucky few who have had an entertaining & adventurous Teenage to Twenties. That was the feeling I got while reading ‘you are here’.

It looks like Ms. Compulsive Confessor has had some good times, some not so good, some difficult (which every 20 year old has) decisions to make and has met some interesting people. Except … that is all it is.

Half way through the book I stopped to think “hmm… Where is the story going ?” and then it dawned upon me… there is no story, no plot, no event, no climax, no nothing. Just a peak into the life of Arshi.

And who is Arshi ? She’s twenty five, works in a PR agency in Delh, comes from a broken family, lives with her room-mate who can’t decide if she is Ms-goody-two-shoes or anything-for-love types… who’s boss is a slave driver… has a boyfriend who for bizarre reasons blows hot or cold… Sounds like Bridget Jones (oh! Come on… at least a lil bit) However, the humor is used pretty well, and several passages will have you smiling at the images created, metaphors used, almost like Carrie from SITC.

If you have read/like her blog “The Compulsive Confessor” you may enjoy the book, otherwise it will be a bit of a drab. So pick up the book if you have nothing better to do.

A bit about the Autor: Meenakshi Reddy Madhavan studied English Literature at Lady Shri Ram College at the Delhi University and has been a journalist for many years. She writes the popular blog The Compulsive Confessor where she talks about her experiences as a young, single woman in urban India. You are Here published by Penguin, is her first novel.

2 Gmail Labs features that make Gmail rock even more

I love Gmail … There … I said it. And I love the Gmail Labs feature even more. I’ve written an article on some of my favourite extensions earlier on MakeUseOf.com, And this post will talk about two more awesome extensions that I have been using for some time now.

The team at Google has slowly but surely been picking up steam with their plans of world domination as is evident from the two new Labs gadgets they’ve released, Google Calender and Google Docs.

Google Calender has long been the online Calender of choice for a lot of us, including yours truly and I, for one, love it as much for its simplicity as for the features offered at the price point, i.e. Free ! Now, who can argue with Free ! No seriously, I use Google Calender all the time and features such as SMS notification of events absolutely rock my world.

It is disappointing that Google Calender hasn’t been integrated even more with Gmail. Well, guess what ! Google has been listening and Google Calender is now available as a Labs gadget and can be integrated into the Gmail user interface. It isn’t perfect but, hey, its a start.

Now, that’s one tab less in your browser. The calender entries are displayed in a nice and compact interface which feels just right and integrates well with the Gmail UI. This extension definitely brings Gmail one step closer to competing with desktop email clients like Outlook/Thunderbird.

Another great Google product is Google Docs. I use it for colaborating with my collegues, for planning my next himalayan trip and for almost everything that, well, an office suite can be used for.

The latest addition to Gmail is the Google Docs gadget. With this gadget enabled, you can see a list of the documents that you have created in Google Docs and work on them from inside Gmail.

Well, not really but it is close. Clicking on any document name will open a new browser window and take you to the Google Docs homepage with the said document ready to be edited/viewed.

The Google docs gadget is functional, useful and is a nice way to keep your most used documents in sight.

Google regularly updates Gmail with new Labs gadgets and if you use or know of any other useful gadgets, let me know in the comments.

Copper Chimney, Bangalore

Copper Chimney at the Central Mall (MG Road) is an upmarket restaurant which serves Mughlai and North Indian cuisine.

My wife and I were at Central today and decided to check out the place … once more. I’ve been there a couple of times earlier and unlike most North Indian restaurants in Bangalore, I actually like the food at this one.

The ambiance is quite nice … classy, uncluttered and soothing. The only problem I had with the decor were the television sets. No, they’re not loud, but they just intrude in the place and stand out. A place like copper chimney would do well with nice, soft music in the background which actually facilitates conversation unlike the television sets which are only distracting, to say the least.

On to the food – The have a kabab festival going on right now. Rs 500 will get you unlimited kababs (they have a variety of 5 vegetarian and non-vegetarian kababs), veg or non-veg gravy, nans or rotis and dessert. All unlimited. Which for a place like Copper chimney is quite good value for money and I’d recommend going for the buffet if you’re in a group (and you’re really hungry :-) )

We, unfortunately, weren’t in the mood for the buffet and ordered ‘La carte. Our order was a plate of Chicken Chelo Kababs (Rs. 290) (Chicken kababs served with buttered rice), a plate of Rarra Chicken (Rs. 250) (Chicken cooked with a spicy tomato based gravy) and nans (Rs. 40 each).

I’m a big fan of Chelo kababs btw, but the ones that we got here were unlike the chelos I’ve eaten anywhere else. This definitely wasn’t the kababs I’m used to. What we got was basically a rice risotto like dish with chicken kababs mixed with the rice. The rice was basically cooked in butter and was gooey and sticky. The kababs were excellent though and that was the only nice thing about the dish.

The Rarra chicken was decent enough although it could have been a little spicier (and could do with a little less tomato ).

They serve alcohol and have a decent range of cocktails and wines also. I had a pint of budweiser (Rs. 145), btw.

I’d recommend this place and would definitely be visiting again myself.

The theory of Multiple Intelligence

Multiple Intelligences

My kid doesn’t get good grades … All she is interested in is music and games… Why don’t you get a REAL Job ?  He’s such an idiot ! Flunked math again !

Here is some food for thought … Can intelligence be measured by just an IQ test, which is common for all? Is there only one kind of intelligence?

The other day, while channel surfing, I chanced upon a program on T.V. discussing Frames of Mind – The theory of multiple intelligences by Howard Earl Gardner (Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Theory_of_multiple_intelligences)

Gardner has different view point on the kinds of intelligence that exist. KINDS – yup ! He has a theory of multiple Intelligences. According to him – intelligence is ‘the capacity to solve problems or to fashion products that are valued in one or more cultural setting‘.

The list of 8 intelligences that he speaks about include some that we commonly think of as logical and educational and some that deal with art and literature. See for your self:

Intel 1

  1. Linguistic intelligence: Understanding spoken and written language, the ability to learn languages, and the capacity to use language to accomplish certain goals. Someone with strong Linguistic Intelligence will be able to remember great deal of info & have the ability to effectively use language to express themselves. Like – Russell Peters, Writers, lawyers, and speakers.MA shoe
  2. Logical-mathematical intelligence: Having the capacity to analyze problems logically, carry out mathematical operations, and investigate issues scientifically. Essentially, detect patterns, reason deductively and think logically. Like– Vishwanathan Anand, Software programmers, Analysts.
  3. Musical intelligence: Having performance, composition, and appreciation of musical patterns. It encompasses the capacity to recognize and compose musical pitches, tones, and rhythms. Like- AR Rehman, DJ’s, Singers etc.
  4. Bodily-kinesthetic intelligence: Utilizing one’s whole body or parts of the body to solve problems. Having remarkable Mind–Body co-ordination. Like- Dancers, Gymnasts, Drummers, Sports person, even the kids who are good on PS2.
  5. Spatial intelligence: Having an ability to discern similarities across diverse domains. Visual-thinkers. Like- Manish Arora, Painters, Architect, Engineers, Designers, Bartenders
  6. Interpersonal intelligence: Having the capacity to understand the intentions, motivations and desires of other people. Potential to work effectively with others. Like- Mother Teresa, Salespeople, religious and political leaders.intel 2
  7. Intrapersonal intelligence: entails the capacity to un derstand oneself, to appreciate one’s feelings, fears and motivations. Self-Understanding. Like- Osho, Spiritual Teachers.
  8. Naturalistic Intelligence: Having ability to understand and work effectively in the natural world. Like- Steve Irwin, Biologists and Zoologists.

Obviously, all the 8 are present in everyone and they rarely operate independently. It’s just that some people have Special Abilities or Intelligence (skewed towards one of the 8) which is what makes them brilliant.

Well ! After all this I have only one thing to declare – my genius ;)

Review of Fashion … and … when will it finish

So … I just finished seeing the movie Fashion and I have only one thing to say to Madhur Bhandarkar … that was one loooonnnggg movie dude ! Oh and I also think it was a very boring movie.

I mean I get the idea of realistic cinema and and all that and I’d probably have been fine if this movie had gotten over in about 1-1/2 hours instead of the 2-1/2 hours it took, but the whole look and concept of Fashion just didn’t work for me.

The movie is about a small town girl who comes to the big city to become a model. Her struggling days, her success, the arrogance and her downfall have all been depicted convincingly. Priyanka’s role is pretty good and her acting commendable, and that is just about the only thing that I liked about the movie.

I just feel that the movie took a long time in getting the message across and that made it slow and almost tortuous. I don’t remember seeing a movie, in the recent past, which I wish would have ended sooner.

Another thing which doesn’t work for me is that Madhur’s movies for some reason look like they’ve all been made on second hand reels which he found while lurking in the back alleys of the entertainment industry.

And no by second hand reels, I don’t mean that the concept is old. Kudos to Madhur for daring to make a film which actually shows the reality of the industry like it is. But, he could have atleast used better lighting ! Or a better camera-man !

Well, I agree that I don’t understand the movie biz very well and how expensive it is to make movies … but I really wish I hadn’t paid so much money to see this movie.

Oh, btw, Madhur … taking a dig at real life and packaging it in a movie is not realistic cinema. Show us something we haven’t seen. I mean we’ve all seen the gay fashion designers and their socialite trophy wives and the drug addict models … ‘Nuff said !

Dostana Review … and … Apple product placement

I saw Dostana last Saturday and kinda liked the movie. I mean I have no idea that John Abraham had so many fans in Bangalore. I mean fans of the male kind ! The kind who would whistle looking at John coming out of the Miami Ocean in his Undies … a ‘La Ursula Andress. Well, not really, but you get the drift !

Anyway, the movie was fun and mostly harmless clean comedy. I know some people were disappointed with the movie because … you know … they actually thought that Abhishek Bachhan and John Abraham would be playing a couple in the movie !

So, anyway the movie is about two random guys who are looking for a place to stay in Miami and end up being interested in the same apartment. The hitch is that the apartment is only for girls and so the duo decide to act as a couple and the rest, as they say, is history :-) Well, not really, but you know how these things go … I’m not supposed to spoil the fun and all that jazz.

All in all, I’d say its a nice and fun movie … Oh wait .. I already said that. Well, go watch the movie then.

The other thing that I wanted to talk about is product placement in movies. Specifically, Apple product placement. And when does it really start to get irritating.

I mean, I’m all for the producers making an extra buck by making the actors pose with nice and sexy gadgets, but there definitely has to be a limit to this. Or if there isn’t … a limit should be set soon … like now !

The makers of Dostana must have really got a nice bundle from Apple for promoting Macbooks, iPods, and iPhones in the movie. The movie features all those gadgets in multiple scenes and in places where they were absoltely avoidable. In fact, Karan Johar went a step ahead and started with promoting Apple products outside the movie too by gifting John a (new shiny white) Macbook on a chat show he was hosting for, of course, promoting the movie.

Microsoft SkyDrive now at 25GB

windowsliveskydrive

It seems like Microsoft is quite serious about making their Live SkyDrive a serious contender in the online storage business. They launched the service about an year back with 500MB of space, hardly enough for … well anything … increasing it to 5GB in February and surprised everyone last week by announcing that SkyDrive will now come with 25GBs of free online space. Wow !

Microsoft’s competitors in the Online storage space are Box.net, Wuala, Xdrive, Mozy (an EMC subsidiary) , Adrive and countless others. Granted that this space is already crowded, Microsoft’s decision might come in as a surprise to some. I, on the other hand, feel that this is just another attempt by Microsoft to establish a presence in the online space. Wonder how long before Google joins the party.

Adrive offers 50GB of free space, and in terms of free space, looks to be the only real competitor in the space. The rest of them all offer anywhere from 1-5GBs free and while that is enough to get a reviewer started with the service, a real long term user would definitely be looking for more than that. I know I do.

I’m sure with this latest update (and Microsoft’s massive Marketing machinery) Skydrive will definitely gain a lot of new users. How long can they maintain the momemtum and all the good press that Live (and Windows 7) has been getting is anyone’s guess.