Thursday, July 09, 2009

The Good Life

Nike and I went to the Balkan Food Festival at the Chancery Pavilion for dinner yesterday, and it was THE BEST dinner buffet spread I remember having ever! We both wanted to go some place nice for dinner, and I was keen on a dinner buffet, since I had had nothing but soup for lunch. I remembered that the Chancery Pavilion was having a Balkan Food Festival, but we demurred at the cost of the buffet – it was Rs.850 for just the dinner buffet, and Rs.1100 for dinner buffet with unlimited drinks (beer, house wine, rum (Bacardi), whiskey (Blenders Pride)) – turned out to be completely worth it.

The buffet was at ‘Ithaca’ in the Chancery Pavilion. The restaurant is right next to the pool, with glass walls on one side so you can look out into the pool. We got a cosy table for two right next to the wall, so we had a rather pleasant view. I opted for just the dinner buffet on account of a sore throat, while Nike took the drinks package also. He had the red wine, and says it was quite good.

The Balkan Food Festival had on offer Bulgarian, Macedonian, Slavic and Turkish dishes – the dishes were typically accompanied by a little flag to indicate which region they were from. They also had a fair spread of Indian dishes for those who weren’t keen on experimenting. The spread was HUGE.

I was especially delighted with the range of breads on offer, and headed their first. They had soft cheese rolls, pesto rolls, country bread, French loaves, Ciabatta and Focaccia, along with herbed butter, paprika butter and garlic butter. I absolutely loved the soft cheese rolls as well as the Ciabatta, while Nike fell for the pesto rolls. For soup, they had Ribena Chorba, a fish based soup and Spanachena Chorba, a spinach based soup. Of course, we didn’t try either of the soups – that would mean we couldn’t make the most of the buffet.

For starters they had chicken, fish, lamb and vegetarian, which could be cooked in the Bulgarian (kebap) style or the Tandoori style. We chose the Bulgarian style. The vegetable starters were uninteresting - a skewer of grilled vegetables, vegetable patties, and stuffed potato. Nike didn’t enjoy the lamb starter either. The fish was served in cubes on a skewer, along with paneer cubes – we couldn’t figure out what was fish and what was paneer till we tasted it, since it looked the same! But the fish was sublime – soft and very well done. The highlight of the starters though was undoubtedly the chicken. It was some sort of a chicken patty made with chicken crumbs and lots of herbs. It was absolutely melt in the mouth yummy.

Their salad counter was absolutely mind-blowing. I think they had over 30 types of salads. Nike was of course thrilled with this. I am not a salad person at all but the salads here looked so different that I simply had to try a little of most of them. I especially enjoyed the Moroccan Olives, the Curried Egg Salad (egg with mustard sauce), Oeuf Marci (egg again), Zeleva Salata (which I think was beetroot with sweet corn), Macaronena Salata (macaroni based), Hummus and Havoc with pita bread and pita crisp and the Olive Salata (black olives). They also had Romania Salata, Kadambri, Titti Shrimp with Disco Papaya, Tuna Salad, Marinated Aubergines, Ruga Salata, Lamb and Summer Vegetable Salad and a couple of others. Phew! Apart from a ‘make you own chat’ counter!!

I bet that makes you hungry. I’m going to do a follow up post where I will write about the main course and the dessert. I think this is enough fodder (pun unintended) for one post.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

The Men That Don't Fit In

The Men That Don't Fit In
Robert Service
There's a race of men that don't fit in,
A race that can't stay still;
So they break the hearts of kith and kin,
And they roam the world at will.
They range the field and they rove the flood,
And they climb the mountain's crest;
Theirs is the curse of the gypsy blood,
And they don't know how to rest.

If they just went straight they might go far;
They are strong and brave and true;
But they're always tired of the things that are,
And they want the strange and new.
They say: "Could I find my proper groove,
What a deep mark I would make!"
So they chop and change, and each fresh move
Is only a fresh mistake.

And each forgets, as he strips and runs
With a brilliant, fitful pace,
It's the steady, quiet, plodding ones
Who win in the lifelong race.
And each forgets that his youth has fled,
Forgets that his prime is past,
Till he stands one day, with a hope that's dead,
In the glare of the truth at last.

He has failed, he has failed; he has missed his chance;
He has just done things by half.
Life's been a jolly good joke on him,
And now is the time to laugh.
Ha, ha! He is one of the Legion Lost;
He was never meant to win;
He's a rolling stone, and it's bred in the bone;
He's a man who won't fit in.