Tag Archive | London

French genes for sale?


Being the food lover that I am I have these food addiction phases. One of the recent ones was a french croissant addiction. Every bakery, supermarket, cafe I went to I would unhesitatingly buy them;  a lot of my googling around was for their recipe – in short I spent a great deal of time and effort towards eating/learning about them.
 

One fine weekend I thought I am willing to take on the challenge of investing almost half my weekend (takes 12hours at least) towards baking croissants. Took up the challenge but was to no avail – what came out were bread-ey buns! Ah well, they weren’t bad so downed them as breakfast everyday of the week thinking to myself that the next time I will get this right!

Dying to cleanse myself from the guilt of baking bread-ey buns I set out the next weekend to salvage my soul. Another 12hour long mission this time I backed myself with even more reading, watching videos. After I baked them, I knew I got a little closer but it was a disaster nevertheless! How do you get fluffy, light croissants? Mine were heavy, not crispy on the outside and fluffy on the side. I wonder how they do it. I have come to conclude that French genes are a must to the process – know any place where I can have some french genes injected?

Just in case you are in London and wondering where you would find the best croissants, let me help you and tell you to head straighht to Paul’s.

PS: Not giving up on this French mission. Shall nail it someday and then put up pics of my croissants.

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London 2012 and Opportunity


Yesterday I visited the official Olympics shopping mall – Westfield Stratford city for my Apple store appointment to find a mindbogglingly motley crowd.  A week before the Olympics the crows has started flowing in and what you see is an exhibition of convergence of cultures, races, origins. Seeing this (and while sipping my favorite hot chocolate) my mind wandered away into the world of possibilities.

These visitors may think of this just as another trip to enjoy the games but it could be so much more. With so many people with such varied backgrounds coming together offers a multitude of opportunities for business, friendship, love, life. Some people will have their lives altered and intertwined in ways unimaginable! Some people may find an investor while others may find potential clients, yet others may find life partners. Though I believe the luckiest would be those who find out about what they really want to do – those who have their eureka moment amidst of all the activity and opportunity. There is a sea of opportunities out there all we can do is hope for the best and be positive! I wonder when my eureka moment would be and wait impatiently for it!

Wahaca


Founder of the Mexican food chain is chef Thomasina Miers who is the winner of the Masterchef show. I visited this restaurant on the recommendation of a friend and was I glad he recommended it to me or what!?!

This restaurant is the place to visit for the Mexican street food and its cocktails though I need to confess that I fell head over heels in love with another dish altogether! For those of you who haven’t visited Wahaca, the way the ordering works around there is either you go for 2-3 small street food dishes or for one main. I think the sustainable element to it is very in-fashion as well – helps connect with the socially aware green folks. One of the negatives though for me is their site, it is just overly messy. Not sure if people find it cool but it is too crass for me.

The first time I visited Wahaca I tried a couple of their small eats – tacos, quesadillas and cocktails because that is what they are supposed to be known for. I found it quite okay but wasn’t blown away. Though the starters din’t knock my socks off, the sour cream was amazingly fresh and definitely deserves a mention!

The next time I decided to try the stuff I hadn’t up until now like their non alcoholic drinks, their main course, sides, deserts – what a decision that turned out to be. I ordered a non-alcoholic hibiscus drink, the freshness of that was just surprising, you could be sitting in London but one sip of that takes you right to a tropical destination right away. If someone said I was in Hawaii, I would very well believe it after that drink!

It was in this trip that I discovered the yummy succulent grilled chicken and instantly fell in love with it! It is perfectly seasoned, marinated for a good number of hours, cooked to perfection! Everything about that dish is just heavenly. It is served with coriander rice, hot pickled onions and some salad. I had asked for some extra pickled onions thats why there is a mountain of it in the pic below – I love the heat in them! Along with this I also ordered a fiery sweet potato side, gobbled it the instant it came so you can’t really see a picture of it here.

After all three of these, I was stuffed but decided to give dessert a shot and ordered a Mango sorbet. I don’t know if it was just me (don’t have much of a sweet tooth) or if I was too full to enjoy the desert, I thought the sorbet was a let down.

Overall Rating: 4/5
Price per person: £15 -£40

Meeting SRK – Ra.One Premiere at London


Yayy! I met SHAHRUKH KHAN!!! Spoke to him!!!

Okay starting like sane people would, I attended my first world premiere for a film and that too a SHAHRUKH KHAN film! To be honest, I don’t think I would have taken the effort I did if it wasn’t a SRK film. I met the man spoke to him – a childhood dream come true.

Let me start from the beginning and give you the feel of exactly what happened. Two of my other SRK crazy friends and me decided to go to the red carpet event of Ra.One in London just to get a glimpse of SRK. We had no clue how these things worked or how crowded it is or anything of the sort. We just wanted to see SRK, get an autograph and if we got very very lucky a picture with the Raj and Rahul of our dreams. No one really can pull off the Kkkiran or the romantic scenes and gestures that he does. I bet if anyone else does it they would look like a jackass but when King Khan does it, its romantic its WOW and you just end up dreaming about a Raj or Rahul yet again.

On October the 25th, we friends snuck out of work early just to the venue before it gets too crowded. That morning I wanted to know exactly what SRK was tweeting to have a clue about when would be the best time to leave and where would it be most likely to get that little extra time for an autograph or a photograph. I had forgotten my twitter account details but just to feel connected to SRK reactivated them the same morning. Usually the process of going to work isn’t exactly exciting but that morning I was in the best possible state of mind humming only and only SRK songs (mainly chammak challo and dildara). Happily went to office waiting for end of day (or close to end of day) to leave and go to SRK! 🙂 Man! even saying it now after a couple of weeks feels amazing!

One of my friends (lets call her A) managed to leave work extremely early so my other friend (lets call her D) and me left a little later and decided to catch up with A at North Greenwich (the place where the premiere was). Throughout our journey we kept refreshing our twitter feeds just to see if SRK had tweeted dropping any hits about his whereabouts but no luck. Halfway through the journey D and me realized we did not have a paper or a pen to get the autograph we had been dreaming about! We started fishing for paper and pens hoping on the way back we would have SRKs autograph on it. 🙂 Yes, we plan for the best :))))

On reaching North Greenwich, D and me were hopping and jumping through the platforms and escalators to put in our best efforts to reach before SRK enters. Anyway, after all the hopping and jumping we called up A for a status update on the Red Carpet glitterati but it turned out to be the most depressing call of the day. We were told there is no point even going to the venue (which we had already arrived at) because there was too much security and only people with tickets were being permitted.

D and me decided to go ahead try our luck. At the venue, three of us spoke to the security tried every way of getting to the red carpet but all we came across was security, security and more security. After this ‘A’ decided it was a lost cause and headed home. A little later we discovered that the tickets were by invite only. We started wondering how non-filmy software engineers would ever get invites to premieres. We started thinking, if not this Don2 we mussst somehow get tickets. Disheartened and disappointed all of us tweeted to SRK telling him we were out and asking him how people got invites 😀 . Either ways, we decided to wait out in the cold JUST in case SRK had checked his twitter and decided to surprise us by coming out to the barricade and waving out to us.

We were almost 2hours in and had no luck whatsoever. We looked at the people with tickets who were entering and started taking wild guesses on how they would have got invites and tried calculating in our heads if we could do any of that just if it got us the passes. Soon we just gave up on coming up with absolutely flawed theories. Our hopes of meeting SRK were starting to seem slim.I put my hand in the pocket just to find the paper and pen I had kept in the most accessible place to not miss that splinter of an opportunity for an autograph. By the looks of it, I wasn’t going to need those after all. Sigh! That feeling of being sooo close yet so far just made matters worse for us. D and me kept wondering if leaving work sooner somehow would have helped us to get beyond the barricade.

We were those two disappointed girls at the barricade who were jealously eyeing anyone who came with a ticket and were discussing SRK movies to feel better at that moment. Just then a gentleman in a black satin suit walks up to us asking us if we wanted a ticket to the premiere. We were like ‘Duh! Yes’ who would have thought he was serious, at least we dint. And the next moment he takes and envelope out of his coat pocket. Seeing the envelope my happiness knew no bounds. <Background score: Dekha jo tujhe yaar dil mein baji guitar!!!>But we later saw that he only had ONE spare ticket. Aadmi do aur ticket ek?? Bahut nainsaafi hai <Gabbar style>

In an even more muddling situation we decided to ask the security if both of us could take turns to go inside so that only either of us is inside at once. But as expected they said NO! We dint want to waste the ticket but we couldn’t do this either. We both knew we both wanted it badly so whoever went in wouldn’t come out guilt-free. By now D was starting to lose it and started walking up and down hoping for the heavens to give us another pass or something. Meanwhile, I noticed a not-so-motivated white man standing with a bundle of tickets. I randomly walked up to him and asked, “Would you by any chance have a spare ticket?”. Now I had NEVER seen this coming, but the response was – “As a matter of chance I do”!!!!!!!!! YAYYYYYYYY. To be honest, I only walked upto the man so that I couldn’t look back at the whole thing and later say, what if I had asked someone. And that bit changed the whole thing for me.

At this point there were so many things along the same lines which were coming to me. Two of those were from Rhonda Byrne’s The Secret and Paulo Coehlo’s The Alchemist. I would like to quote The Alchemist here – “When you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.”. It started to make so much more sense. I was starting to think about how many things I have wanted soooo badly. Couldn’t think of too many to be honest. What a pity! One thing I learnt that moment is start wanting things realll bad and do everything possible for it. It feels bloooody awesome when you get something after wanting it so badly. Anyway, getting back to the other thing that came to my mind. Being the filmy soul that I am I thought of the OSO dialogue:
Itni shiddat se maine tumhe paane ki koshish ki hai ki har zarre ne mujhe tumse milane ki koshish ki hai,
  Kehte hai agar kisi cheez ko dil se chaaho toh poori kaynath tumhein usse milane ki koshish mein lag jaati hai.”
Just to let you know, I am as filmy as they come 🙂

After getting past the barricades, D and me we soo exhilarated that walking just dint seem enough. We actually RAN to the red carpet but on the way our very dear friends the security people stopped us there also and asked us to slow down! 😀 We thought we would be directed to the theatres or something but we did not realize until then that we would be walking on the same red carpet that king khan would be gracing shortly afterwards… Our excitement knew no bounds!!! Just then we both looked at each other and at the other people on the red carpet to realize we were the most under dressed souls around! We were in formal office wear (black pants and full sleeves white shirt) while people around us were in lovely gowns and all decked up.

After this yet again, we tried speaking to the security to somehow get permission to be around the red carpet we did not really want to watch the movie then and there. We could always do that later during the weekend but getting a glimpse of SRK wouldn’t be possible later. By now it would be no surprise to you that the security said a big NO yet again! 😛 And we were shooed away to the theatres. We were told that the team would be visiting each theatre where the movie was being premiered but I thought they were just plain exaggerating just to get us out of their hair. 😛

In a hurry to leave office and get to SRK, we had not bought any snacks (which was an essential part of the initial plan). Starving I decided to buy the standard Nachos that you get in Cineworld. Just reached the lobby area to find a glass wall overlooking the red carpet. That instant, yet again in the day my hunger just disappeared! Tried to get a glimpse of SRK from there. 🙂 Unfortunately for me, I am short sighted and had forgotten my glasses (which is nothing out of the ordinary). But the whole excitement of watching the gliterrati of the red carpet just roll by while I eat Nachos sounded too pathetic. So I stood there among the other excited fans who unlike me had proper vision and so they would do the spotting and identification of stars and I would TRY to see them with my lovely short-sighted vision 😛

In this whole process, I realized Kareena Kapoor was the easiest to spot as she was wearing the shiniest silver sequin dress known to humankind. With all the lights and the flashes, it was wayyy to easy to spot her. But honestly I dint really care for anyone but SRK! 😛 From Kareena’s costume, it seemed to me that she had taken the whole video game theme wayyyy too seriously. 😀 I would have to mention that Arjun Rampal looked very dashing as well. I am not a Arjun Rampal fan but I think the whole tattooed Ra.One look was pretty awesome on him.

Anyway, after that yet again the Ra.One of this store the Security came again to shoo us into the theatre halls. We were promised that the team would be visiting. I had never seen  or met SRK before so the whole thought of him being so close was amaziiinnng! And luckily for me I was in the 3rd row. I shouted out to him asking him to come back for Don2 and he even responded. Dont ask me what… I was too blanked out to understand <Background Score – Tujhe dekha toh yeh jaana > . Either ways, on his way out I asked him for an autograph and he said “A little later darling, in a hurry now”  <Background Score – Aankhon mein teri ajab si ajab si>. I was already on cloud no.9 then I was addressed 1 on 1, so it dint feel too bad that I dint get an autograph. To be fair he said “little later” it would be interesting to see when that “little later” is but I am not worried because Picture abhi baaki hai mere dost.

PS: Sorry for the bad picture quality of the premiere pics. Those were taken from my phone and clicked by a hyper ventilating me.
Other pics of SRK that you see here are my all time favourites (which I got by taking the screenshots of the videos at JUST the right moment 😛 ) hope you like them too.

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