26 April 2011

Awesome food @ Kamath Swaad

With power cuts and heavy rains last week, you really feel lazy to cook sometimes. Last Tuesday was one of such days. We headed towards Koramangala Sony World to have something for Dinner. It was drizzling though.

Always when I get back home, I see Kamath Swaad restaurant and feel like grabbing something from there. Somehow I never got a chance to get in. I had savored the delicacies at Kamath on the way to Mysore near Ramanagara. But the location being crowded always, I never got a good feel over there other than the awesome taste.

Here we got into Kamath Swaad at Koramangala. On the ground floor you find the self service area. On the first floor you'll get Multi-cuisine delicacies of Kamath. While we entered the lift to get into the first floor, we noticed there's a jowar roti meals service at the third floor. We wanted to try that out. We directly got into the third floor.

The place was not crowded as it was raining earlier. May be there were people in 2 or 3 tables. First thing what I noticed is the place was kept very neat. We sat in a table and in no time a waiter in North Karnataka attire came to assist us.

He said in this floor, we get Jowar roti meals and that's it. There are two options one would be normal meals and the other special meals. We were two and we opted for one special meal and another normal one. The service guys here are so well mannered, filled with patience and good humor. As soon as we opted for the meals, they kept two banana leaves on the tables. Ah! It was long since I had food on the banana leaf. It feels and tastes authentic, while having food on a banana leaf. They started serving salads(Spring onion, methi leaves, carrot), variety of dishes and then comes the Jowar roti. Trust me, I may not have had more than 1 and half jowar roti's so far. Here, as the server served the hot hot just made roti's, I went on eating until he served me 6 to 7 roti's. The server went on reminding the food is unlimited! I seriously did not have space on my tummy to fill-in the rice which was yet to come. But, the food was so tasty that I didn't want to leave anything. The butter milk they served was too tasty. The masala which they added in the butter milk was something different and it tasted so good.

Done with the food session, here comes the dessert. The dessert (Fruit salad with ice-cream) comes with the special meal. You wouldn't want to skip the dessert 'coz they would be definitely too good.

To end with they get you a Banana and the sweet pan. Ah! what a perfect meal on a rainy day! I would definitely go back to Kamath Swaad again.

25 April 2011

Coorg Home stay: Bel Home

How could I forget this trip with my family to Coorg for a home stay? Alas!! It took this long for me to write a recommendation/review.

I had done little research and had picked few destinations: Jaipur/Rajasthan, Srilanka, Coorg or Chickmaglur for my holidays. And then I remember my Dad's words few years back talking to my friend. He says in an innocent voice, "I love hill stations; I always love to go there." So I shortened the destinations to the nearest hill stations around Mangalore.

Coorg or Chickmaglur? These were the two options I gave my Dad when I was about to plan my holidays. He says, Coorg. Though I've visited Coorg lot of times, distance being just 4 hours from Mangalore, during School/College trips, this time I planned this trip for my family. I planned for a Home stay at Coorg!

I researched a lot over the Web, and I found one place which had no negative remarks. It’s the Bellari Mote Estate, Bel Home at Madapura. Also, two more home stay's Faith Cinchona Estate which Mr. Prabhu takes care and Polaycad Bungalow at Ammathi which Mr. and Mrs. Cariappa's host. We were lucky enough to get a cottage room booked at Bel Home. Above all, at the last minute, my sister and her kids plan to join us! Now what! I called Ms. Ramolla to find  if there's any option at their place. Yes they did have the Swiss tents. And I went ahead and booked the Swiss tents too.

Vijai and Romolla the hosts, they were in touch with me regarding our stay from then on. Even before I booked the place for stay they were worried about how would we commute from Mangalore? The Mangalore-Mercara roads would be closed for 3 months on road widening and it was of no use getting our own vehicle. Mr. Vijai then asked me to check with KSRTC if there would be any direct bus. And we find there would be shuttle services from Sampaje, Puttur.

The day we travelled Coorg, since we did not have a definite time when we would reach I had asked Ms. Ramolla that we will arrange vehicle on our own when we reach Mercara. When we reached Mercara, we couldn't get any taxi or they charged very high. When I called Ms. Ramolla at the 11th hour, she was to arrange for a vehicle.

It was an Ambassador car, after ages I got to travel in an Ambassador; Anthony rode us to the gates of heaven "Bel Home". Its 45 minutes to 1 hour from the Mercara bus stop. We had to pass through few other coffee estates before we reached Bel Home. Roads for around 1 or 2 Kms would be little tedious with mud roads for around 1 Kms. But then, you get to see the heaven on top. Two cottages with two lovely couple waiting to welcome you along with their two dogs Tiger and Patch, they are ready to play with you anytime.
BelHome 073
Bel Home is located amidst the coffee estate, with a river flowing nearby, completely serene and beautiful.
BelHome 053

The guest cottage consists two spacious double bed rooms, a common hall, a porch overlooking garden and coffee estate where you also have you breakfast, lunch and dinner. Couple of easy chair is placed in the porch to sit and relax while you read your favorite novel or sip a wine during the cold nights of winter. The rooms were kept so neat, flower vase on all tables even in the bath rooms, they get the hot water ready whenever you wish to. There's no television and that's when you enjoy the serenity and somehow for the network was available in the cottage room. It may not be the same for you, so you might be lucky.

The Swiss tents are adventurous and not a bad idea at all. We were tentative about the idea of sleeping in the tent. When our host Vijai accompanied us towards the tents itself, he assured us not to worry about the safety. We were rest assured, though Mom and Dad didn’t let myself and sis to sleep in the tents instead they did. However their pets Tiger and Patch will be wide awake at night. The Swiss tent had a foundation with the tent on top. A spacious room, bathroom and a porch with an Armchair. The tent is put-up in the Vanilla garden few meters away from the main cottage. You hardly get a feeling it's a tent.

They are a lovely couple. My parents liked them a loved for their respecting nature, their simplicity, hospitality, their extremely friendly nature, they give you privacy at the same time they are approachable anytime you need. My Dad liked speaking to Vijai and Dad about the coffee estates, about Coorg or on any topic. Vijai also arranged for a Taxi of a Mangalorean fellow so that my parents feel comfortable while we are out on sightseeing. Ms.Ramolla was curious to know who slept at the night and she gives me a "You made your parents sleep in the tent" look when I said who slept on the tent. And then she reminds me my words, she didn’t want her parents to sleep in the tent when she initially booked the cottage. :P In other words, the Deviah's are so caring couple.

Awesome Coorg cuisine. My mouth is still watering when I think about those cuisines. Both Veg and Non-Veg are delicious and they would keep your mouth savoring with the taste for months.
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It's great if you have your own vehicle. Else, Mr. and Mrs.Deviah's would arrange for one.

You don't have to worry about the security when you are around Bel Home. I used to sit out on the porch late till midnight, several times at night either Tiger or Patch would come around the cottage for their rounds.

Care takers:
They are one among the people who contribute in keeping the standards of Bel Home. They help in preparing awesome food, keeping the place tidy, etc. On our first day at Bel Home, after dinner my Mom went to wash her hands. They keep a bucket full of water to wash hands. The water was cold. There was a care taker called Sathish, he noticed that Mom didn’t want cold water. Immediately he got a bucket full of warm water. At Bel Home, you don't have to ask for anything. They'll sense your requirements.

Only thing what I regret, I couldn't spend more time at Bel Home and enjoy the natures calmness. Anyone who plans for a Home stay, please do not plan to visit anywhere towards city. Just be there, relax and enjoy the serenity. The hosts also arrange trekking activities to nearby peaks.

The two days we stayed at this heaven and we felt were at home. We did not feel like getting back home.

Rooms Bed & Breakfast – Rs.3000/per couple (During season)
Extra Bed - Rs.1000
Non-veg – Rs.225 per meal
Veg – Rs.175 per meal

To book your stay, please visit: http://www.belhome.co.in. You can call Mr. and Mrs.Deviah on the numbers mentioned below or email to bellhome_homestay@hotmail.com.

Vijai Deviah - +91 94488 - 73543
Ramolla Deviah - 08276 - 204477
+91 98809-08135
+91 93410 - 80586

To find other best home stay’s, visit: http://www.getoffurass.com/  or http://besthomestaysindia.com/

I would really visit Bel Home next time. I also want to explore South Coorg and want to stay at Faith Cinchona Estate which Mr.Prabhu and Mrs.Maya look after.

Make sure to read all the reviews and check with friends/blogs to find a best place to stay. In my opinion Bel Home is worth the price. To view more pictures of Bel Home, please visit: https://picasaweb.google.com/SeemaKotian/BelHome#

20 April 2011

Sunfeast World 10K is now TCS World 10K

I've been blogging about Sunfeast World 10K run and have been participating in the 10K run for the past 3 years. Procam International have been organizing the 10K run with the sponsorship of Sunfeast for the last 3 years in Bangalore and they've got great response from the very first year they began. More than just running for fitness or health, people participate in this run for a cause, supporting for a cause. Yes, the amount raised by this event will proceed to the charity's. Number of charity's are registered with Bangalore Care's and raise funds through this event.
When I participated in the first edition of Sunfeast World 10K run 2008, I was just excited to run. I asked my friends if they would participate, when I did not receive anticipation from them, I went forward and registered myself. I ran the run, my first 10K run in the roads of Bangalore with cool breeze in the morning hours. I had no idea what it means by supporting a cause, I completed the 10K run with content, throughout the run you feel that you are running for a cause.
I was eagerly waiting for the second edition of Sunfeast World 10K 2009. In the second edition of Sunfeast 10K, I opted to raise funds for charity. I chose Child Rights and You(CRY) as a supporting charity and raised funds for this charity. I did not get a great response but still I did a bit from my end. I was happy running the 2nd edition of world 10K run at Bangalore and this time I had a company to run.
And then comes 3rd edition of Sunfeast World 10K run. Super excited for this run. Preparations went on from March, April and May. I planned to run the Marathon with the NGO-Child Rights and You(CRY) unit. They’ve been doing a great job working for the rights of underprivileged children in India. We bought t-shirts designed by Child Rights and You(CRY) with a theme Run to School. On the race day, we got the placards with the slogans which gave meaning to our cause, showing it over the pedestrians and influencing them to support. I was content again and I promised myself, as long as I’m in Bangalore, I'll run the World 10K for a cause. So this time it isn’t Sunfeast World 10K, it’s TCS World 10K. Just a name change, with the same vision and aim.
For registrations visit: Registration

Event Date: 5th June 2011
Place: Sree Kanteerava Stadium, Bengaluru, India
Race Categories: Click here

Online Registration Begins: 21st March 2011
Physical Mode registration: 21st April 2011
Registration Last date: 14th May 2011 or when the running places get filled.
Collecting Bib No and timing chip: 1st to 4th June 2011
Let’s run the run! Run maadi Bengaluru. Run for a cause.