Test driving the Tata Zest car in Green Goa

Filed under:Goa,Reviews,Travel — posted by dhempe on 27 July, 2014 @ 12:59 pm

Sunday started with a heavy breakfast and briefing about the 24km Tata Zest drive that we were going to take in Goa with 2 pit stops. We were a group of 3 bloggers who were going to drive 8kms each and then each interchange. My group consisted of Nivedith G and Christine who are famous bloggers from Bangalore and Delhi respectively. We started with a Diesel car and it was wonderful to drive through some of the most scenic locations in Goa.

We had a comfortable drive in it but we missed the touch screen dashboard which is present in the Diesel version. The Harman speaker system in the car was wonderful, we had a great time connecting the Bluetooth to the speaker and then talk to our friends on it while driving. The AC was perfect and provided great relief for us.

Next we tried the Petrol version which had touch screen dashboard and also 3 modes – Eco, Sport and City which can be used in multiple situations.

More to follow..

More to follow..

More to follow..

More to follow..

Wonderful experience in Tata Zest blogger meet in Goa by BlogAdda

Filed under:Reviews,Travel — posted by dhempe on @ 12:32 pm

It all started with a mail from Harish Krishnan of BlogAdda. He asked me to keep the weekend of 26th and 27th July free for an unforgettable experience. I was wondering what it will be as I know BlogAdda arranges some exciting events for its star bloggers like car drives, events, books, prizes, etc. Immediately I blocked my time as I was sure I was never going to miss it for anything! Slowly the details started trickling in that it was the beautiful state of Goa which is going to host us.

As a part Goan (I grew up there) and someone who loves the sunshine state, I was really excited to go there albeit for a weekend. And then the most exciting news came up – I was going to be a part of 50 top bloggers from across India who are going to be flown down to Goa to experience something which many Indians haven’t experienced yet – the smashing new Tata Zest sedan car! Though the car is going to be officially launched only in August, we got an amazing opportunity to experience it much beforehand!

We landed in Goa from different parts of the countries and met at the airport which was wonderful as we could put faces to names of bloggers we have following and interacting for a long time. We drove down to beautiful Zuri sands resort where luxury was at it’s best. We were welcomed by Harish, Anant and Ankita of BlogAdda who made us comfortable and ensured that we were fed well so that we could exercise our brain cells in a better way.

After initial discussions and high tea, we were welcomed by Miss Malini the most famous fashionista blogger of India. She welcomed the Tata Motors team who explained to us the concepts of DesignNext, DriveNext and ConnectNext. It was wonderful to see the videos of how the entire Tata Zest car was conceptualized and how the young team (mostly in their 20s) drove it to amazing conclusion.

Then we had most amazing surprise of the evening as we got to meet the Indian F1 racer Narain Karthikeyan who has been the brand ambassdaor of Revotron engines which are the next-gen petrol engines which power Tata Zest cars. It was amazing to see a childhood hero up close and interact with him. It was wonderful to see that Narain was involved quite a bit in the creation and testing of Tata Zest which is a wonderful thing to see. He spoke about the 3 different modes of Tata Zest Petrol car which is City, Eco and Sport which you can use in different situations. The evening ended with a nice cocktails and dinner session where we also interacted with the designers and engineers behind the creation of Tata Zest which promises to Zest up our lives!

Logitech X100 Wireless Speakers review

Filed under:Reviews,Technology — posted by dhempe on 17 July, 2014 @ 2:42 pm

Logitech X100 Wireless Speakers: The Logitech® X100 Mobile Speakers are ultra-portable, the best-in-class mono speakers which wirelessly connect to your device through Bluetooth® . You can easily stream music from up to 30 feet away. Its rechargeable battery lets you listen to music on the go and away from a power outlet for up to 5 hours. Plus, using your mobile phone, you can manage the speaker’s volume and use it for hands-free calls.


Key Features

  • Rocking Sound: Pump up the volume and enjoy crystal-clear sound from a compact speaker.
  • Portability: Take it on the road or relax and listen at home – your speaker goes anywhere.
  • Simple and Intuitive. Wirelessly connect and stream music from your Bluetooth-enabled device from up to 30 feet away. Easily manage phone calls and volume control from your mobile phone.
  • Compact Design: In 5 bold colors, your speaker’s small design is sure to turn some heads.
  • Long Battery Life: Enjoy up to 5 hours of continuous play without recharging. Its convenient micro-USB cable makes it easy to recharge the built-in lithium-ion battery and rock on.

Here is a video review done by me:

Logitech X100 Wireless Speakers- available in the market at Rs 2995/- (available on flipkart for much less..)

 

Wierd Al Yankovic’s Tacky

Filed under:Uncategorized — posted by dhempe on 15 July, 2014 @ 12:56 pm

Wierd Al Yankovic’s Tacky is a parody of Pharrell Williams’ “Happy”.. love this song :)

Teppan Bangalore

Filed under:Food,Restaurant Reviews,Reviews — posted by dhempe on 7 July, 2014 @ 7:07 am

Teppan on Ulsoor road in Bangalore has been on my hit list of restaurants since a long long time. So recently I was very excited to be invited to Teppan to check out their specialties. I’m a big fan of Sushi and I loved some of their Sushi like Tamago also known as Japanese omelette, Ebi also known as Prawn, Suzuki also known as sea bass and Shake Maki which is spiced fresh salmon rolled with sushi vinegared rice, nori and cucumber.

One of my other favorite Sushi items were Kani Kama Maki which is soft shell crab tempura, rolled with sushi vinegared rice, tempura crunch and sesame seeds. I was happy to try this special Sushi which was so yummy that it filled my senses with great joy!

Then the highlight of the evening started. Chef June from Vietnam introduced himself and said about how he learnt Japanese cooking from the masters themselves when they came down for knowledge transition. June explained that the wide spread of menu includes starters like Sakana Furai (Crumbed salmon, tuna and mushroom stuffed with sautéed vegetables skewered fried and served with homemade tongatsu mayo), Sake chizu Furai (Thinly sliced salmon layered with nori and rolled inside with blanched carrot, asparagus and cheese crumb fried and served with homemade tongatsu mayo and teriyaki sauce).

For main course, Chef June made Tamago Yakimeshi which is egg fried rice. I loved the way he dealt swiftly with his instruments specially the knives and other kitchen instruments. He did a lot of tricks like putting an egg in his chef cap without it falling down.

Chef June was very jovial and friendly and made us comfortable while trying out some rare Japanese Cuisine. He would tease the singles in our group about when they will meet their Significant Other. For the married folks he was making some harmless jokes too! Really enjoyed the experience.

Chef June talked about ‘Sake and Maguro Show’ at their restaurant which went on till the 6th of July, 2014. As the name suggests, the festival recreated the marine magic with a wide spread of Salmon, Tuna based exotic recipes, prepared in typical Japanese style to take you through an unforgettable, underwater culinary voyage.

Main course included delicacies like Salmon tuna Batera Maki (Delicately spiced tuna, salmon spring onions, Japanese mayo, layered with tanoki and topped with mango), Kani maguro maki (Crazily spiced crabsticks rolled inside with avocado, carrot, cucumber and topped with tuna and tempura crunch), Tuna batterayaki (Tuna fried with tempura batter and grilled with chef special plum teriyaki sauce), Teriyaki salmon (Steak of salmon marinated in ginger sauce, placed on bed of vegetables foiled, grilled and served with chef special plum teriyaki sauce).

At the end the desserts were really amazing and provided a perfect ending to a gastronomical adventure. Chef June kept us in high spirits throughout with amazing jokes and card tricks too. I would suggest that you should go to Teppan if you want to experience the warmth of a Japanese home.

Note – Oriental Cuisines Private Limited (OCPL) was originally founded by foodie, professor, restaurateur & entrepreneur M. Mahadevan in May 1994, under the name of Chaitanya Gourmet Splendour Private Limited. It was later renamed Oriental Cuisines Private Limited in March 1997. While the name might indicate a leaning towards all things Asian, their global cuisine brings the finest flavours of the world to connoisseurs. Oriental Cuisines’ brands include The French Loaf, Le Chocolatier, Tapas Bar, Benjarong, Teppan, Ente Keralam, Wangs Kitchen, China Town and Planet Yumm

Design Starbucks Frappuccino® in your own way!

Filed under:Food,Restaurant Reviews,Reviews,Uncategorized — posted by dhempe on 19 June, 2014 @ 4:22 pm

Recently I was invited to try out Starbucks Frappuccino® and also design it in my own way, just the way I like it. That means I could choose my own milk, whether it is regular, non-fat or Soy. Also I could adjust my coffee to be extra, decaf or half decaf. And finally I could add a lot of flavor like Vanilla, Caramel, Mocha, Chocolate Chips, etc.

I met the store manager Vibhor who was very friendly and explained to us the history of Starbucks Frappuccino® and how it’s been introduced in India recently. He mentioned that the Frappuccino® Blended Beverage was invented 17 years ago at a Starbucks in Santa Monica, California, by a store partner looking to provide an iced beverage for his customers. The new beverage option became so popular that it was offered at 10 more stores in California. In 1995 Starbucks created a proprietary blend of ingredients and the Frappuccino® blended beverage was launched across the country and spread across to the world slowly! He also talked to us about Starbucks passport where we could have 12 different drinks on the menu and get a tumbler free after trying them out and also this helps in trying out the menu.

We had a lot of samplings of Mocha Frappuccino®, Java Chip Frappuccino®, Caramel Frappuccino® but my personal favorite was the Green Tea Frappuccino® and the Vanilla Cream Frappuccino®. It was very yummy and then it was time to try out making our own Frappuccino® just the way we wanted it!

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Loft 38 – latest hip lounge in Bangalore

Filed under:Food,Restaurant Reviews,Reviews — posted by dhempe on 18 June, 2014 @ 9:17 pm

Since a long time I had been hearing about Loft 38 in Indiranagar which is the latest hip lounge to open in Bangalore. In a area where there are more than 200 restaurants, pubs and lounges, it was very surprising to see many people wanting to get into Loft 38 during the weekends. I was really intrigued to check out the place and try out the cuisine and drinks so made a trip there on a relatively quieter Wednesday evening.

As you can see Loft 38 is a huge lounge with more than 3 levels. The ground level is the bar level, second level is a more private level for dining or parties and the third level is the more lounge level. We settled ourselves in the third level. Only issue is that there is no elevator so be prepared to stay fit taking the staircase. Also the air conditioning on third level is too high. Hope that could be reduced. The ambiance and the lighting of Loft 38 is brilliant and really set the place as a world class venue to be at! The music being played by DJ was very uplifting and relaxing too.

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Nando’s Espetada Carnival – celebration of Portuguese cuisine!

Filed under:Food,Restaurant Reviews,Reviews — posted by dhempe on 15 June, 2014 @ 3:44 pm

Recently I had been invited to review the Espetada Carnival at Nando’s India. As you know, Nando’s is a South African Casual Dining Restaurant Group which specializes in Afro-Portuguese cuisine. It was a 45-day long ‘Discover Espetada carnival’ which celebrated the Espetada chicken which is flame grilled peri peri chicken thighs stuffed with garlic, parsley and feta. It’s one of the signature dishes of Portuguese cuisine and was an instant hit with the masses even when it was introduced in Nando’s India.

We started with a veg appetizer which was the Peri-Peri Hummus and Pita. This was Nando’s spin on the the classic dish. The hummus was made with legendary Peri-Peri sauce and had olives for company too. The warm pita bread was just right for the amazing hummus which we relished with enjoyment!

My favorite starter was the Chicken Liver which I really like at Nando’s as it has got amazing authentic taste to it and also spicy to my liking. I also tried out the Butterfly Chicken Breast which is succulent chicken breasts in crispy skin with nice Peri-Peri sauce. My favorite Peri-Peri sauce is Hot Peri-Peri. The other Peri-Peri sauces are Extra Hot Peri-Peri, Mild Peri-Peri and Lemon & Herb Peri-Peri. These are mentioned by me in the decreasing order of spiciness!

We tried some really nice designer drinks like Citra, Citrus Bliss, Madeira Red, Refresh Mint, Ponch Zurra and Rosa Fresca. My favorite designer drink was Citrus Bliss which is made with Mojito mint syrup, grapefruit juice and Sprite coupled with ice cubes and fresh mint leaves. It is also spruced up with slices of fresh citrus fruit. This was refreshing to go along with the spicy food.

I’m not a big fan of salads but upon insistence from my vegetarian friend, I tried out the Vegetarian Caesar Salad. This was made with cos lettuce, Parmesan cheese and Nando’s croutons. It was topped with unique Caesar dressing from Nando’s. This was a healthy start to the main course as we were going to indulge there!

My vegetarian friend tried the Veg Espetada which was tender marinated Paneer and fresh peppers, served on a skewer with 2 regular sides. My friend Nivedith loved the Paneer and said it was one of the most juiciest and succulent Paneer he had ever tasted in his life! He choose the Mild Peri-Peri sauce to go with it as he doesn’t like to eat too much spicy stuff.

And finally the grand entrance of the start of the Espetada Carnival was bought in – the Espetada carnival meal which is Flame grilled Peri-Peri chicken thighs stuffed with garlic, parsley and feta skewered with mixed peppers and served with a side of butternut squash and grilled corn, PERI chips and mango sangria. This was amazing and I loved the brilliant way in which it is presented. Also I could indulge without any guilt feeling as Nando’s chicken are always flame-grilled and never deep-fried which ensures that any fat that may have been left on the chicken is burnt away. It’s reasonably priced at around Rs.580 (exclusive of taxes) and it easily can be had by 2 hungry people! I would definitely recommend everyone to go to Nando’s and try out this amazing Espetada dish.

My rating – 4/5

You can find Nando’s India Restaurants here

Win Rs. 1 Crore with UC Browser’s World Cup Bonanza

Filed under:Reviews,Technology — posted by dhempe on 13 June, 2014 @ 10:04 am

To celebrate the excitement of the upcoming 2014 FIFA World Cup™, UCWeb is launching its mega Rs. 1 Crore World Cup Guessing Contest on UC Browser. Termed the ‘World Cup Bonanza’, it gives participants the chance to prove their football prowess by predicting the winners of each match. The more correct guesses made, the closer the participant is to winning the grand prize. Upon correctly guessing every winner of the 2014 FIFA World Cup™ group stage (total of 48 matches), the participant will walk away with a cool Rs.1 Crore grand prize. Overall top ranked participants will stand a chance to win an array of fantastic prizes including an Apple iPad mini, Apple iPhone 5s, and a Lenovo ThinkPad E431. Launching on June 11th, the World Cup Guessing Contest is open for free to all users of UC Browser.

To provide the most comprehensive FIFA content and services to football fans, UCWeb has released an exclusive “2014 FIFA World Cup™ version” of UC Browser for Android and UC Browser for Windows Phone. This will allow millions of enthusiastic fans across the country to quickly and conveniently access the most complete and up-to-date World Cup information including live scores, text broadcast, stats, photos, videos and group updates. This special “2014 FIFA World Cup™ version” of UC Browser goes live on June 11th.

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Tangerine, Sizzlers & more in Koramangala Bangalore

Filed under:Food,Restaurant Reviews,Reviews — posted by dhempe on 10 June, 2014 @ 8:52 pm

I first heard of Tangerine, Sizzlers & More when it used to be in Indiranagar around 4 years back. We had celebrated our friend’s birthday there around 3 years back and really enjoyed the food there specially the steaks and the sizzlers. So when I saw around 2 years back that the cafe was closed in Indiranagar, I was really disappointed. I felt as if one of the best food joints of Indiranagar and Bangalore will be missed by foodies and food connoisseurs! But I was very happy to know sometime back that it had reopened in Koramangala near the busy Sony World Junction. I was really hoping to visit it soon to taste all my favorite steaks and sizzlers in the same way as before!

Ambiance of Tangerine

The cafe has wonderful views of the traffic outside specially during the evening times as there are full length glass windows. It gives a good feel of enjoying a relaxed time while the world passes you by. The decor is very minimalistic yet well light which gives you a cheerful and relaxed feel. We made ourselves comfortable with some wonderful mock tails like Blue Hawaiian and Tangerine Fizz.

Crab Cakes

In the starters, I particularly liked the non-vegetarian starters like Crab Cakes which were served with a capers dip and Garlic Lemon Prawns which were Tangy batter fried prawns with peppers and garlic. The prawns were very juicy but I felt maybe that Crab Cakes could have been a bit more juicer rather than being dry like the way they were. Another favorite of mine was the Take Five starter which is Chicken grilled with lemon grass, oregano and garlic. In vegetarian starters, there were Corn Fritters and Potato Skin which were very well received by my vegetarian friends.

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image: detail of installation by Bronwyn Lace