Common Grounds, (Belfast, U.K.)

I visited Belfast on a blustery Saturday in May of 2012. Accompanied by my friend Eli, also at the time studying at Trinity in Dublin, we decided a day-trip would cover all that we wanted to see economically.

As our bus pulled into Belfast, just in time for “Imaginary Micky’s Walking Tour”, I was struck by the depressing energy of the city. Don’t get me wrong; I did go to Berkeley and I do have a certain hippie element to my existence but I’m not super into energy/reiki/crystals. I do however believe in a certain “feeling” you get from being somewhere/with someone but I’m not really into anything past the initial “feeling”.

For the next 2.5 hours, we were immersed in the heavy, horrible history of the Troubles, primarily in West Belfast. We saw the murals, visited graveyards, learned about neighborhoods that were torn apart by the violence and heard dozens of personal anecdotes of family and friends lost. We visited the Irish Republican History Museum and actually got to place the objects we were seeing into the history we had been narrated. It was an indescribably heavy and heartbreaking experience. While the tour was incredibly comprehensive, I couldn’t shake off the somber mood of the city, like at all. Zombie by The Cranberries served as my mental soundtrack as I walked past mural after mural. As our tour guide relayed very personal losses as a result of the Troubles, I kept remembering passages from Bernard Maclaverty’s Cal and viscerally feeling Cal’s pain and guilt.

Murals

Murals

Poignant reminders of the past

Poignant reminders of the past

Some Murals are still relevant

Some Murals are still relevant

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At the Irish Republican Museum

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Commentary on Palestine

I was most struck by a visit to a particular neighborhood of traditional brick homes. As we walked through little gardens and gates into what seemed like the heart of suburban Belfast, we found a little graveyard, nestled between the homes, with remembrances by members of both the Loyalist and Republican groups. The graveyard was a neighborhood project to remember and honor those who had died. To see the community effort to look at each other as humans who had hurt one another’s families so significantly and unite in an effort to remember was so moving. The voices that tell these stories still quiver from the emotional freshness of these wounds. To say that Troubles happened a long time ago and are no longer relevant would be discounting the very real pain of a city that I felt is still reeling.

Neighborhood Graveyard

Neighborhood Graveyard

We got chips and beer with our tour guide as part of the tour and had an opportunity to bring our emotional roller coaster a sense of closure. This tour does such a fantastic job of presenting the history in as balanced a way as possible. Belfast, from what I experienced, seems like a city of memories and memorials. Everywhere I went, there was a very concerted effort to remember the past; to never forget.

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Milltown Cemetery: Grave of our Tour Guide’s Best Friend

After the tour, we met up with a fellow TCD student who’s originally from Belfast and she tried to lighten the mood and show us around. As part of our tour, she took us to a lovely little cafe, aptly titled Common Grounds in the Queen’s Quarter area. It reminded me of Berkeley’s Cafe Gratitude with it’s warm brick interior, cozy fireplace and comfortable armchair.  I think it was the presentation of the  large, warm “Yumm” bowl that really cemented the comparison. The food was really well prepared and nourishing.

Yumm Bowl

Yumm Bowl

I finished my meal off with the Mocha Latte.

Mocha Latte

Mocha Latte

We ended our trip with a walk around City Center and a tour of the gorgeous Lyric Theater.While we weren’t able to catch a show, the architecture of the theater, the wood panelling and the overall “warmth” were a welcome treat from a city that has been through so much so recently.

View from the Lyric Theater

View from the Lyric Theater

Eli and I at the Botanical Gardens

Eli and I at the Botanical Gardens

Fun Fact: Belfast had a FC that was one of the most successful teams in Ireland until it withdrew from the Irish League in 1949 due to some internal issues.

Belfast FC

Belfast FC

 

Common Grounds Cafe
12-24 University Ave, Belfast, County Antrim
BT7 1GY, United Kingdom
+44 28 9032 6589

 

Moshi Moshi

So as some of you might know, I’m the market for a job up here in the Bay Area. This area is the epicurean capital of California. Don’t believe me? There was a buzzfeed article that said so. I’ll link it if I find it. (I think I read it in the bathroom a while ago, so bear with me.)

I’m also a huge fan of sushi. Which some people think is odd because I guess it’s weird because I don’t eat fish? That hasn’t stopped me. No siree. And you’d think wow, how hard is it to screw up sushi with vegetables in it? What. Did you not roll it right? Well believe me child, it has been done and I’ve been a victim.

Anyhow, Moshi Moshi. I was headed to an interview and I was nervous and hungry before the interview and seeing as I arrived a full hour early and some Forbes article told me that you’re only supposed to be 10 minutes early at the max, I decided to kill time by ducking into this unassuming place called moshi moshi. I didn’t know what to expect but it was instantly super charming. Somehow, my first impression was wow, everything looks really small. Then I realized that things look small when big people sit next to or on them. So that was that.

I was nervous so I ordered the Spicy Ginger Limeade which has house-made ginger syrup, lime juice, soda and a dash of cayenne. That was HELLA good. I sipped it slowly to prevent burping and off I went.

For various reasons, I decided that the job wasn’t for me.

So I came out of the interview and indulged ($15.75) in the Shojin Combo. Can I say delicious, like repeatedly? I mean it was SO good. And so carefully prepared, evidenced by the delicately slivered avocado on top and the overall presentation. I was pretty wowed mostly because I was thinking that the food would just be decent but I ended up having takeaway for later that was just really fresh, good quality, well-prepared sushi.

I’m definitely going to be back.

 

Moshi Moshi
2092 3rd St.
San Francisco, CA
94107

 

Corso Trattoria

Sorry I’ve been lagging. I recently moved and while that is no excuse especially once one has established the necessity of perseverance, I will try to make it up anyway.

I’ve walked by this place a million times since moving back to Berkeley and promptly put it on my “will be back when I’m loaded” list. Today, I had an epiphany where I figured what if I became really rich/came into money/worked super hard for it and my love affair with food was over because I was too busy, didn’t care or my taste buds stopped working? I think of how extraordinary it was to get ice cream on birthdays when I was younger and how the magic is lost when I’m sitting in bed with a 1/2 gallon tub of Breyer’s Chocolate watching Orange is the New Black. So I said YOLO in my best Drizzy impression (where is that guy nowadays btw?) and walked right in.

Remarkably, there was no wait at around 7:30 on a Saturday night for a table for 2. My friend and I sat down, had some Pellegrino and nommed on some bread while our antipasti came out. 10 mins later we were nomming on “Sformatino” which is a roasted cauliflower & Parmigiano custard with extra virgin olive oil and topped with breadcrumbs. This was alright. I’m not a huge fan mostly because it was the consistency of delicately thought out baby food and that’s just not my thing. My buddy had a brainwave to spread it on our waning supply of bread so we did. But still, really weird concept but still somehow likeable. There was this recurring zing of lemon zest that really brought the cauliflower to life but still, that’s not happening again.

My friend ordered the veal/pork dish and liked it so that’s that. I saw they had a gnocchi in the veggie options but just asked the kitchen to whip something veggie up for me and received a puttanesca. I thought it was really good. Still coming to terms with how portion sizes reduce when you pay more money but I think that’s a learning lesson in the art of the bourgeoise.

This is the point where I’d like to just ask the world why people, particularly wealthy people, ok particularly wealthy caucasian elderly Berkeley people don’t dress well when they go to dinner. It’s something I’ve noticed since living dangerously close to Chez Panisse; elderly Berkeley white folk are really into wearing clothes I’d relegate to strictly bed time. On a sad, cold day. Like this prevalence of burnt-orange, ill-fitting mumu dresses, Patagonia (no offense) worn-out Bohemian fleece, oversized green tops made of the most hideous material, weird printed brown tops with flowy pants: if you’re going to spend like $150 eating food, why not make an effort to look like the million bucks you are? This concept is mind-boggling to me. Like I know I’m young and like every normal person value comfort SO much that I’ve never worn a bandaid skirt or whatever it was that girls my age were into in college. Also, I’m just not into that whole bandage/bondage scene because God made me with lovely lady lumps and a bottomless pit of a stomach and all so it just doesn’t work for me. But like seriously people. Side note on jewelry, all y’all need to check out the Indian street jewelry scene because those baubles you’re spending inordinate amounts of money on pale in comparison. I mean is this a matter of perspective? I’m open to a discussion but come on people, put a little effort into dinner. Even if it is just putting on a decently fitting top.

Rant over.

The puttanesca was quite good. There were slices of green olives and chunks of black olives and some delicious asiago/parmesan shavings on top. The pasta was light and airy, the tomatoes were perfectly al dente (like not mushy at all which is remarkable). Overall, a really nice eating experience. The servers were super courteous and overall the ambience could be interpreted as very romantic with candlelight and recessed lighting and all (ok, it was the evening and the light rain outside too).

Overall, definitely a good experience. I honestly don’t know if it merits the cost but seeing as we were celebrating my friend’s acceptance to grad school and my realization of YOLO and coming to terms with being bourgeoisie, it was worth it.

Haldiram’s or The Hunt for Boba in Sarojini Nagar

BOBA.

The first time I met the lovely black balls was sometime around 2007. That was the start of an instant and torrid love affair. After sampling most of the menu in the juice shop that magically carried boba, I was under the completely misguided idea that this was a niche fad exotic thing native to the middle of nowhere Moreno Valley, CA.

2009. I come to Berkeley. Instantly, I am aware of my tunnel vision. There are more boba places in Berkeley than ice cream establishments. I don’t know what to do with myself. For my 3 years in college, my #firstworldproblems consist of whether or not to try the avocado slushy with boba in it or stick with the large jasmine green tea, no ice, milk, pearl. Do I feel like the honey-y vibes of Sweetheart Cafe or the stable brown-sugary vibes Moccacino? And then in late 2012, whether to walk all the way to University and remain an Asha Tea House loyalist or to cheat with the far inferior Sheng Kee (size can matter).

Long story short, I’m really into this boba thing. Like really big.

It was almost the 3.25 of my 3.5 month stint in India this past January when I decided that it was ridiculous that I hadn’t had any boba in so long. So I googled and found that in all of Delhi, mind you ALL OF DELHI, there was one lone boba place that was recently reviewed (potentially open) and seemed halfway worth the effort. Finally, one morning as they say in Hindi, muhurt nikla and I decided to take the plunge, i.e., an 80 rupee auto ride all the way to Sarojini Nagar at like 10 in the morning.

I literally have no idea where Sarojini Nagar is so 45 minutes into the auto ride I’m praying that I’m going in  right direction. The auto guy lets me off in front of some gali and tells me if I walk straight I’ll be in the main market. So not sketch dude, thanks.

I make it to the market and I’m kind of impressed by how it looks like a better organized Lajpat Nagar but with largely western clothes. Mind you, I’m here to look for boba but nope, I end up eyeing this dress and the of course the shop keeper notices and he starts heckling and when he gets to 300 rupees I’m all ears. And then of course 300 rupees quickly turns into more money as I’m kind of into this shirt I see. The guy tells me it’s from gay-puh. The label says Gap. We chat for a second and I’m like dude I don’t know what gay-puh is, is that a brand, I’ve never seen it in India. He’s like no madam it’s big in Amrika. I’m like how do I know you’re not full of shit, I’ve never heard of gay-puh. Then he pulls out this Anne Klein dress off his rack and he’s like you’ll have to trust me but these are all big brands. 20 minutes of bartering later, all three clothes, definitely genuine Gay-puh, H&M and Anne Klein, are with me for 800 rupees. I’m definitely into this Sarojini Nagar deal.

I walk further on and discover this enormous pile of coats going at 50 rupees a coat. That’s like 90 cents a coat.  My inner bargain hunter has been channeled. I’m convinced there are strings attached. (Are they going to rob me of my coat later?) Also, I do not need a coat. But there are so many people buying coats that I follow the herd and go against my better judgment and start hunting through the piles. I find this super cool, man coat that fits too big, pay my 50 rupees and that, ladies and gents, is how I walk out of the market. I’m pretty sure most of the vendors think I’m out of my mind but whatever, they don’t know me. Plus it’s wool and if I get it altered, I’ve saved myself a fortune.

Indianizing Alcohol

I finally remember the boba and get to it. I make it to the DLF center and go up and down, most of the place is under construction. Nothing. I ask a couple of youngish, boba-aged couples if they’ve ever seen a boba place. Nothing. Finally, I head into Haldiram’s and ask the guy at the counter. What ensues is a hilarious conversation. Explaining the concept of black balls in Hindi, comparing them to small, white tapioca balls, describing how they’re drunk in tea and finally explaining that no, I’m not confusing it with vodka. Eventually some manager guy hears me and says that people weren’t into the tea so it closed down. So much for that. But at least this illustrates how far I’m willing to go for love.

I’m so hungry at this point. I’ve resisted the idea of Haldiram’s for the longest time. I don’t exactly know why. Perhaps because the name is eponymous with the namkeen I’m so familiar with or because I just couldn’t imagine what Haldiram’s would be like. But after surveying this establishment, I gave it a try. And it was more than satisfactory. I had the Pav Bhaji which was freshly prepared and not too oily or salty. I had a fresh lime soda which was also quite nice and I topped it off with some chocolate cake and ice cream which was also, surprisingly to me, yum.

Pav Bhaji at Haldiram’s

All in all, sans boba, my day has gone pretty well.

I reach our hotel and show off my new finds. Of course, the fresh set of eyes that are my mums immediately point to all the flaws in my finds including but not limited to a tear in the dress, a weathered tag on one of the coats, a tear in the lining of my amazing man coat and tiny whole in the pocket. My dad comes out of the bathroom and upon hearing how cheap the coats were, pronounces it stolen material.

So I don’t get boba and I’ve bought some stolen clothes. The silver lining? Haldiram’s.

Naturally, I go back. The South Indian food is lackluster. The Chinese food, while extremely garlicky, is good for a day when you’re down for extremely garlicky. Fortunately for me, this is everyday so I throughly enjoy my meal. Also, they have dope rasgullas, like Kolkata status delicious.

***In case you’re wondering, my tailor assured me that my clothes or any clothes in Sarojini Nagar are not stolen. Apparently you find that stuff in Lal Quila. And let the record show that for a perfectly altered, wool, dry-cleaned and relatively awesome man-coat, I paid about fifteen dollas. Also, in the event that the coat was stolen, I hereby indemnify myself of any thievery as I definitely did not steal the coat and my involvement in the process is like if your mom decided to punish you and put your favorite sweater for sale at the thrift shop and I bought it; in both scenarios, I have no idea what’s going on so it’s definitely not my fault.

Haldiram’s
DLF South Square, Sarojini Nagar, New Delhi
Google your nearest location because it is all over Delhi and pretty much all over India.

Naivedyam, A South Indian Eating Panorama

Tucked away in a little gali of Hauz Khas Village, right in the heart of South Delhi, lies arguably the best South Indian restaurant in all of Delhi. Naivedyam is quite and unassuming from the outside, apart from the beautiful lit dipa-stambha (oil-lamp pillar) and carefully hand painted Nandi, flanked by banana trunks and adorned with freshly picked flowers. Once you enter the large, wooden, stained-glass paneled doors, a waft of everything delicious overpowers your senses. A waiter quickly and courteously sits you down and you are left for all of five minutes to survey the beautiful teak furniture and enormous Tanjore paintings lining the walls before you are served hot rasam and delicious, crunchy papads. Two minutes later, water arrives, in beautiful copper cups and before you know it, your mouth is definitely watering. You look down at your menu and you’re kind of shocked at how affordable this place is; despite it’s posh location and high level of service, the pricing is about the same as Sarvana Bhavan.

Forgetting about the food for one second, I’m really drawn to the word naivedyam. It refers to the offering of food to the Lord before a worship ceremony. Naivedyam can also refer to any offering (physical, mental or spiritual) traditionally in context of a particular deity. After the naivedyam offering has been honored by the Lord, one is given the prashad or sanctified food. To take the idea even further and go beyond just a ritualistic offering to a deity, one can view the body as a temple of the Lord, residing within, who is to be nourished with an offering of food. Keeping that in mind, I think it’s a beautiful concept to name a restaurant after and perhaps, even unconsciously, I can see that thought affect the service. When you think of food as an offering, as something more than just a means to fill some stomachs, something so sacred that it is honored in gratitude to the Giver and Maintainer of the universe, I genuinely think standards improve and that subliminally affects the whole act of enjoying your meal.

But, back to the food. My order always included a fresh coconut water, which was brought to me in a cool little basket. But some Naivedyam specialities I kind of cannot live without are their Erulli Tomato Utthapam, beautifully presented on a banana leaf, a Mysore Masala Dosai or the fantastic Korma and Appam. The idlis are also quite good. The chutneys are versatile (like I’ve eaten the chutneys plain, they’re that good); they have this phenomenal cilantro-coconut chutney and their tomato chutney, hello! Too good. My dad always ordered a Executive Thali which is infinitely filling and so worth one hundred and fifty five rupees. And while they offer a wide selection of Rava Dosai, and those are definitely not my thing, I will refrain from commenting but will encourage the connoisseur with the news that they are extremely popular. Cap off your meal with a piece of mysore pak and a steaming cup of filter coffee. If you’re feeling particularly desi, I’m really into dipping the mysore pak in my drink so the flavors of the ghee and coffee mix. Sorry if that’s not your thing but it has floated my boat quite effectively in the past. 

This place is perfect for catching up for lunch, take-out, dinner or even a late dinner. I first ate there by myself, then with my dad, then with my mom, then my entire family and with some friends. I mean, practically speaking, this place is perfect anytime of the day. Shout out to Eeshit for first telling me about its existence and to my parents for sustaining the habit.

Naivedyam
1 Hauz Khas Village
New Delhi
 (literally walk into the gate and it’s the first gali on the right, past Imperfecto and the cool antique furniture shop)

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NandiImage

Butler’s Chocolate Cafe

In early 2011,  a really good graduate student friend of mine gave me some advice. I was planning to study abroad and I was terrified and super excited about what to expect. Weighing my options between a semester in England and a semester in Ireland, I asked her why she decided to study in Ireland for two years. “Obviously because of Joyce!” she exclaimed, over a cup of coffee. “But I mean, life-wise. I don’t think Joyce is all that’s going to get me through 6 months away from my family, really amazing produce, food, etc. What made you do it?” I grilled. “Smithwicks.” she grinned. “And oh yah,” she continued, “don’t count on finding any good coffee or food in Dublin. It just doesn’t exist. My diet comprised of a shank of lamb and a pint of Smithwicks almost every day.” Lovely.

For a host of other reasons, I finally settled on Dublin. But not without my friend’s advice looming in the back of my mind. I learned that there was a Hare Krishna center so I made the inference that the devotees were probably not going hungry. I figured that at the very worst, I’d just eat chips everyday or else pay a premium at some expensive grocery store. Plus, after I saw Trinity’s library, realized that I’d be at one of the best Unis in the country and just a flight away to pretty much the rest of Europe, it all kind of made sense to just go.

So when I actually made it over to Ireland, imagine my surprise when I saw people clutching these white paper cups of what looked like coffee. Especially when these really tall, scantily clad, high-heeled Irish girls were basically walking advertisements for whatever they were sipping on. Then I saw a Starbucks and I knew I could survive. But still I wondered what was in said white paper cups. So one day I just asked. And the girl pointed to the little gold-wallpapered shop behind us and said “It’s a Butler’s Mocha love.” I pointedly asked her if she thought her drink was good and she laughed and said it was delicious.

That was a day that changed my life in Ireland, I mean that and the day I started going to the Govindas restaurant. It became a daily habit of sorts, so much so that when I gave up coffee for Lent, I still went in for a hot chocolate. I filled out many loyalty cards and drank enough Mochas, Iced Mochas, Peppermint Hot Chocolates, Caramel Macchiatos and White Hot Mochas to keep the memory of my glory days of drinking Butler’s alive for about two years now. Basically they have these slow cooker looking things of  bubbly, carefully churned, molten chocolate that they dollop into your drink. Somehow and I guess it’s their job, they make it so the chocolate isn’t too sweet and just the perfect consistency. Then they ask if you want whipped cream and for the love of God, you should say yes. Resist the urge to drink it all down too quickly. Your tongue will thank you later. They also can make your drink soy on request but you won’t be able to partake of the chocolate which has dairy in it.

Also the chocolates there are amazing. If I ever did anything good, like finish my reading on time or submit an essay or get up earlier than daybreak, I’d reward myself with a single piece of a dark chocolate salt caramel. Or a hazelnut truffle, or a dark chocolate bailey’s creme or a dark chocolate espresso.

I just read that they’ve opened several locations in Pakistan…WHY NOT INDIA?! OR AMERICA?! Imagine how much business I’d singlehandedly give them…

Anyway, if you find yourself in Pakistan, Ireland, New Zealand, The Westfield in London or the UAE, go change your life and coffee-habits.

Butler’s Chocolate Cafe
24 Wicklow St, Dublin 2, Ireland
56 Grafton Street, Dublin 2, Ireland
31 Henry Street, Dublin 1, Ireland
Jervis Shopping Centre, Jervis Street, Dublin 1, Ireland

Mall Culture: A Look at Select Citywalk/DLF/MGF malls, Saket

In recent times, whenever people, particularly NRIs like myself, or ISKCON devotees (who might just be more NRI than the actual NRIs) go to India, the first thing that inevitably comes up in the follow up post trip is OMG THE CULTURE HAS BECOME SO MATERIALISTIC. “People are so into malls! It’s like a culture or something. They have money to SPEND in these malls! These malls are so insanely expensive! You can get anything in India at the mall.” And all of these statements would be true.

While I initially resisted the mall mostly because it took away from my own orientalist tropes of what MY India should look like, I’ve come to value mall culture immensely.  {Side Note: There are actual sales at these malls. On quality clothing. So that Salwar Kurta you bought for 1300 at Lajpat Nagar has fallen apart, well guess what? The branded Biba one from Pantaloons that I paid 1100 for? I can get the stitching reinforced and the size altered, free of charge.) It’s mildly therapeutic and somewhat comforting to roam an air conditioned building that was created to mimic similar structures at home. It’s also a constant reminder of how consumerism is spreading beyond Western countries. In either case, I’m not so sure I’d want to jump to a conclusion about what’s “good” for Indians and what’s not. And while I COMPLETELY acknowledge the growing gap of inequality  and the lack of access to a lot of people who can’t “live the high life” and who are aspiring to just be able to buy “branded maal at the mall”, I don’t disagree with malls popping up all over India. I think at some point, perhaps in a utopian future, perhaps in reality, malls will be instrumental in narrowing the divide of accessibility. Between all the bhais who come in and pose outside of Big Chill and all the girls who are getting better wages working inside the mall, malls are opening up doors of opportunity. I just hope that what I’ve noticed is reflective of reality. And I pray someone can quickly educate “high-class Indians” that treating people, especially service workers without empathy, gratitude and respect just because they’re not on your level, is on so many levels, disgusting.

RANT OVER.

These three malls come together to form one giant complex and while the food options seem immense and oftentimes expensive, these are my go-tos:

1. Donuts (there are two companies, Krispy Kreme and Mad Over Donuts, I’ll cover these in detail in a separate post but right now, my money is on a Krispy Kreme NY Cheesecake Donut).

2. Upstairs, at the FoodTalk food court, lies your most inexpensive, tasty option if you’re hungry. Try the Onion Tomato Chili Utthapam or the Pav Bhaji at Not Just Dosa by Annaswamy. Either of those, or both, if you’re extremely hungry are extremely clean, meatless options that are worth your money and time. Other options up here are just too oily/too masalay. There’s some sort of Chinese restaurant but it failed the manchurian test and the paneer chilli test, so it’s useless to me.

Highlights: Onion Tomato Chili Utthapam (VEGAN, if made with oil), Pav Bhaji.

3. Sattvik. If you’re a strict vegetarian, like my parents and you’re on a budget, like me, this is the place for you to CELEBRATE. Never have I spent 3 grand on dal, rice, two subjis and some tandoor rotis. Nothing was coated in gold. Never did I imagine myself do something like that but…it happened. The only thing I’ll argue is worth the money is the incredible kulfi. Exquisitely arranged rose ice cream wrapped in Kesar Pista. Yah, that’s happening again.
Highlights: The Kulfi.

4. Big Chill. If you’ve been to Delhi but somehow NOT been to Big Chill and have meanwhile endlessly ranted to your friends about how there’s no good Italian food…you need to get on this Big Chill thing. With locations in GK-1, Khan Market, Vasant Kunj and Saket, I’ve never had anything I didn’t like. Including a baked potato. You know how easy it is to screw up a baked potato in India? Not at Big Chill. The salads are small but worth it. The pizzas are small too and it depends on you if they’re worth it. I’d say the prices are comparable to how much you’d spend on a meal like that in America. Some pasta has eggs but servers are willing to accommodate, just tell them ahead of time.
Highlights: Chocolate Truffle Cake (eggless and beyond amazing), Pesto Pasta thing, Spicy Pasta thing, Four Seasons Pizza, Greek Salad, Iced Tea (freaking amazing)

5. Mamagoto. So here’s the thing about Indo-Chinese food/Chinese food in India. There are VERY few places that are completely vegetarian and you can never really know for sure whether veg is mixed in with the nonveg unless you’re like best friends with the chef or something. But it’s so damn good. Like addictive status good. Mamagoto makes AMAZING meatless hakka noodles and chili paneer and red curry. When I came back with my mom, before we ordered, she asked if they cooked things separately and the refreshingly honest server told us that it was near impossible for any Chinese restaurant to cook things separately because there was typically one wok and so many orders and people love to lie because who doesn’t want business. Jan. 28, 2013, the day my dreams were crushed. I recommend this place for folks who are ok with potential mixture of their ingredient and blind faith in the potentially conniving server who will assure you that your dish is completely vegetarian.
Highlights: Hakka Noodles, the Singapore Noodle thing, Chilli Paneer, Manchurian, Thai Curries

Those are my revelations thus far.