Wednesday, December 22, 2010

World Cup 2011 Travel: The Chennai Vegetarian Food Guide

So being a Chennaiite, this is the obligatory post to pay homage to all the "Madharasi"ness that makes us who we are. In no particular order, these are the places where a lower middle class vegetarian with a moderately acceptable spicyness index and who generously eats spoonfuls of Equal sweetener(and Lactogen) would love to dine at. Any treats to be given to me when I am back in Chennai can gladly be organized at the following locations.(For which I will not pay a single rupee, obviously)

-Murugan Idly Shop, T Nagar/BNB.
-The Dhaba, RK Salai. (A little costly!)
-Saravana Bhavan, Vadapalani.
-Kaiyendhi Bhavan, Brilliant Tutorials, T Nagar.
-Mathsya, Egmore.
-Palmgrove, Nungambakkam.
-Sangeetha, 1st Main Rd., Adyar.
-The Eden, Besant Nagar.
-Hot Chips, Pondy Bazar.
-Bajji Kadai next to Adyar Bakery, Adyar.
-Rathna Cafe, Pondy Bazar.
-Woodlands, RK Salai.
-Gangotree, Cathedral Road.
-Sri Bombay Halwa House, Anna Salai.

Any more?

Suggestions I've got:

-Cozee, Besant Nagar..
-The Eden, The Harrisons, Nungambakkam.. Courtesy: NJ Karthik
-Mathura, Tarapore Towers (How the heck did I miss this?? forgot its name!).. Courtesy: NJ Karthik
-Barbeque Nation, T Nagar, Don Pepe's Mexican food.. Courtesy: Rahul Rangarajan(Don Pepe reviews are BAD!)
-Bakyas - Jaishankar St./Station Rd., West Mambalam.. Courtesy: Balaji Kothandaraman
-Cream Centre, Nungambakkam.. Courtesy: Divya Murali
-The Grand Sweets, Gandhinagar.. Courtesy: Mom
-Sanjeevanam, Mogappair/Nungambakkam/Adyar.. Courtesy: Santhosh Rathnam (Apparently a health oriented restaurant)
-Cream Centre, RA Puram is apparently one of the best restaurants Nithin Bharadwaj has gone to. He tweets here.
-Vasanta Bhavan, Indian Chat Corner(Besant Nagar) Courtesy: Vidya (I like the VB-Namma Veedu restaurant)
-iD @Sathyam Cinemas, Annalakshmi(damn missed this), Flower Drum(exclusive Veg. Chinese), Bay Leaf (Veg. Bengali), Ashoka, National Lodge, Shree Mithai.. Courtesy: Harish Anand. He tweets here.
Mukundh Bala reckons the Jalebi shop opposite the bike exit of Devi Theatres is damn good for light snacks.
-Rajdhaani, Express Avenue.. Courtesy: Aishwarya, Pavithra
-Rangoli, Pondy Bazaar.. Courtesy: Aishwarya, Pavithra
-Crimson Chakra, Karpagambal Mess(Mylapore).. Courtesy: Aishwarya (see comments below)
-Harish Anand says the Nalas Aappakadai (OMR, Annanagar, Velachery) people take orders via wi-fi on an iPod app! Technology I say. The food's good, importantly, for the MC Veggie. (also has an NV section though)
-Divya Murali recommends Mansukh's at T Nagar for authentic "light on the purse" North Indian food, and Vaishnavi Chat Shop in Kilpauk!
-Pasta Bar Veneto at Burkit Road is a favourite Italian food jaunt for school treats, says Ashwin Kumar.
-Preeti recommends Copper Chimney's (Cathedral Road) Veggie menu.(old favorite) Might be on the higher side, though.
-Sriram recommends one of Vadapalani's local favourites - Town Bus by Kodambakkam Powerhouse on Arcot Road. Have they painted the bus back as yet?
-Sreevatsan recommends Karthik Tiffin Center @ Anna Nagar and OSB-The Chaat Shop at West Mambalam for economy dining... And Kwality Rivera, Adyar for great food!
-Rahul Rangarajan is back with his trademark reco's - a roadside Pani Puri stall at the intersection of 15th and 16th main in Annanagar.
-Mukundhan Rangarajan(or MB) asks with outrage why Madras Bhel Puri in Pondy Bazar near Gopalakrishna Rd. was left out of this list. He rightfully also asks us to mention his home on this list. Yes, MB- some of the most tasty food I have had is at your place. :)
-Srividya recommends the Margazhi Music festival canteens at all Sabhas.. (best being Gnanambika at Narada Gana Sabha-agreed upon by Sunanda Narayan and Harish Anand!). She also recommends Novelty Tea Shop on Mint Street.(oft overlooked area for eateries, some of the best are here!)
-Santhosh Rathnam is back with a new reco.. Little Italy!
-Pavithra is back too.. Mothers Kitchen at Nanganallur she says!

Update: The Kaiyendhi Bhavan seems to be no more as Santhosh Rathnam puts it. Sad.
Also, BBQ Nation's veggie options aren't that impressive. But worth a shot?
Aishwarya is coming up with a review of Tandoori Tadkka soon. You can find it at the Slurp Spots blog.

Unsurprisingly, most of the City's best Sambars(acc. to Harish Anand) seem to come from among these restaurants. Check them out here. .
(The chap reviews restaurants bigtime, btw!)
My friend's recommendations and reviews on vegetarian eateries in Chennai.  If you need to analyse more before you choose ;)

P.S. I forgot to include the best place of them all, Home!

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28 degrees Celsius on Winter Solstice is not really what you look for in a typical lead up to winter. In keeping with the hot weather, if you wish to follow what nonsense I think of on an everyday basis, follow me on Twitter at

Yes.. for once I did not include natural phenomena, unlimited underscores, or sms language on the ID.

See you there.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

A song I've been hooked to, today

Noor-un-ala from Meenaxi it is! Wonderful Sufi composition from A.R.R. Let me not hold you longer- go ahead and listen/watch it.

Noor un ala - Meenaxi - A.R.R

Friday, November 12, 2010

Skymall - half the world's pat(i)ented stuff is here

UPDATE: Check out these links for other(better actually) funny Skymall experiences:
7 useless Skymall pool gadgets
7 most useless Skymall Products

If you have flown the domestic routes in the US, you would know what I am talking about. Otherwise, here's a quick look, . Make sure you come back and read what I have to say. A beaten-to-death, pointless, if-you-have-nothing-else-to-read reduce-your-savings-to-minuses magazine which sits on the back of the seat in front - that's Skymall for you. Ever looked through the products it advertises? For people who've not had the chance to see this wonderful, eclectic display of the best of the best of the most useless patents in the world, here's a small sample.

Automatic sleep sound generator (phew,so does this snore?)
Stainless steel purse (pain in the arse, literally)
Pet residence bed wid bone pillow (okay...)
Double sided toothbrush which reduces brush time by 66pc. (Industrial Engineer stuff??;))
Low voltage electric blanket (Seems Vijaykanth uses the high voltage variety)
Video recording sunglasses (no nasty ideas, people)
Mens towel with a pocket (I desperately need my purse when I leave the shower... immediately!)
The million germ sanitizing travel toothbrush sanitizer (So other brands sanitize only 423967 of them?)
The precise portion pet feeder (my pet's going to die if it eats 0.01g more)
The warming cat bed (what am I warming the house for then?)
The digital swim camera mask (what is your target market,btw?)
Remote controlled tarantula (why would I get one for a 100 bucks when I can buy a real one for less?)
The headache relieving wrap (retro-Home Shopping Network)
The 40inch foldable foto studio (ingenious,buddy)
The voice activated r2d2 .. (this was a beauty)
The water squirting remote controlled car (again, target market?)
Shrub guards (these actually cover all the shrubs, and looks like a shrub itself.. who'd buy this is a question)
Pet crib which acts like a teapoy (wouldn't want my tea spilt if the pet shakes it)
An instant bedroom fire escape ladder (also useful for the occasional cheating on the wife/husband)
Cat potty trainer (seriously guys?)
Some more...
Movable restroom for pets..
Feng shui handheld suggestion compass..
Foldable slippers (Hilarious to look at! If ever you get a chance, check this out)
Feel free to add on to this list. Lets celebrate the freedom of useless patenting.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Rockarolla into the Windee City!

Had a great flight from Cleveland to Chicago enroute to good ol' Cal! The flight attendant, Linda kept us in splits all the time though the duration hardly kissed an hour. The most entertaining crew member i've come across, hands down!
Some quips :
-If the plane lands in water, please pull out your lifejacket underneath your seats, if that doesn't work, pull the cushion and hold onto it. If that doesn't work, thanks for flying southwest airlines.
-Ladies and gentlemen we've landed in Chicago. I now tell you what my parents told me when I turned 18. Take your beep beep bags and get out.
-I hope you enjoyed flying southwest. We loved taking you for a ride too.
-Every year southwest nominates the best of the 1800 odd bla bla bla crew which flies between Cleveland and Chicago for the blehehehe award. We have successfully managed to avoid getting that for decades now. So if you need something go ask the pilot... we wouldn't care anyways.
-Please don't hesitate to get up and use the restroom for the interim 2 mins between takeoff and landing. Also I request you do us a favor and clean the lavatories if you ever use them aboard this flight.
-Southwest appreciates your business of making us richer by how much you're poorer flying us ;)

I was sitting at the very end of the aircraft but the flight attendant had us in splits all along. One of the best flights I've flown on- also one of the shortest. Short is sweet, I say.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Birth and death of Social Networks, w.r.t. Poor.Indian.Grad.Stud

Much has been made about Orkut's waning star and Facebook's meteoric rise. How would it look like in the perspective of a desi-phoren-studying Grad's life? Circa Fall 2008(US Version). May apply to certain previous/after batches or other countries too.*

*Does not include twitter

%^& Maybe some references/styles borrowed from krishashok's blog. The idea of a graph..well that has been done too. I don't claim any originality for this except for the drawing and concept part ;)

Friday, May 14, 2010


I know I will think how amateurish this post will look while scrolling back down my old posts say, a few years from now. It is as momentary as Boria Majumdar's repartees on Indian cricket's failures., as childish as that beaten-to-death parrot Laxman Sivaramakrishnan., as stupid as Warney's "Oh Yusuf is the next Bradman" quips.

But this is what's inspired me today- Michael Hussey and that blinder he played to take Australia into the World T20 Final against England. It reeked of sheer power, grit and determination. Borrowing from Cricinfo's quote on "Being Australian" or "Australianism"., here goes:

""Australianism," wrote Arlott, "means single-minded determination to win - to win within the laws but, if necessary, to the last limit within them. It means where the 'impossible' is within the realm of what the human body can do, there are Australians who believe that they can do it - and who have succeeded often enough to make us wonder if anything is impossible to them. It means they have never lost a match - particularly a Test match - until the last run is scored or their last wicket down."

Absolutely true on the cricketing field., and true even more, off it. Stand up and be counted, people- "impossible" may have just been chucked outta the dictionary.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Managed to get onto Cricinfo!

Between taking breaks to study for a final exam, I managed to get a comment onto Cricinfo's public commentary section. Might be too small a thing to brag about, but its a success for a person who is hooked onto the site about 75% of the time he is even accessing the net.;view=commentary

Look for the Sri Lankan innings commentary - roundabout the 18th over :) Atleast something to feel nice about during death week.

Friday, April 30, 2010


As the Chevy Malibu whizzed past blurry scenes of pastures, meadows and water-bodies, time appeared to stop a bit- and rewind upon itself. The sky went a dull blue from the melange of colors that it was., the pines turned into teak and eucalyptus, the road from flawless tar to a random mass of fine gravel. The Chevy turned into a bus and my uncle and aunt into its driver and conductor. The only constant appeared to me, although hardly half the size of what I was barely a few seconds back.

Passing scents of ripe jackfruit and mountain flowers overcame the diesel smoke. The air was getting thinner and we were climbing uphill, which meant every corner in the road only made life tougher for, what now- were perennially blocked ears. Nevertheless the joy of visiting a hill station knows no bounds for an Indian kid from a hot city.

Hillstations represent most of what all Indian kids would want to embellish their summer vacations with- except for say theme parks. For the average urbaner who's just seen billowing smoke from vehicles and a stack of matchboxes for houses, the higher altitudes bring in the much needed romantic respite. The laidback lifestyle and wonderful climate soothes the mind and sets it thinking differently about the things in life you thought were pretty straightforward.

It was no different for me, on this trip. Nurseries, milk farms, cashewnut and coffee plantations, a blanket of mist, the roadside tea shop, the "monkey"cap-clad people, houses with dangerously sloping roofs, a fresh vegetable market.. absolutely everything about the things surrounding me felt beautiful. The bus was now a warm cozy bed compared to the dingy storeroom it looked like before. All around me appeared very simple, down to earth, lovable, one-dimensioned. People grew trees, crops, hens,etc. sold them to get food, or had a small shop of their own products, or were just random nomads quizzically staring at sophisticated people touring their place.

I was sucked back into the warp., and my eyes read a beautiful Californian countryside from the confines of the Malibu. The car sped by a farmer weeding a vegetable field. Chickens ran around the field and the mistress sat outside the farmhouse sewing a sweater.. Not very different from what my eyes saw ten years ago.

Somewhere in the quest for a better life,I guess man won...but mankind lost.