Truffles

Over the years, we’ve gone to a lot of restaurants in Bangalore. There are some we visit often too. Of those few, our favorite restaurant is Truffles, in St Mark’s Road, Bangalore. 

On our recent visit, we ordered two drinks, an appetizer and a main.

Going away from our regular choice of mojito, we took an orange and lime fizzo, and a mango margarita. Both were delicious, though the mango flavor was not as prominent as expected. Of the two, would rate the fizzo slightly higher.

The cheese rissoles we had for appetizer was yummy. Served hot, the cheese still was stringy between the rissole and the mouth. I love it when that happens, and it was a fun dish as well.

For main, we took the classic stuffed chicken steak, with chicken salami and chicken sausages, served on herbed mash and with fries. Not a piece of the chicken was wasted, it was perfectly cooked and the mash was the right accompaniment for it as well. 

Though we went on a Saturday, there wasn’t much rush, so we could enjoy our meal and eat it slowly. The staff was courteous, the food arrived quite promptly and was served with a smile. Though they enquired about our experience, they didn’t keep intruding either. 

We love this restaurant because it has yet to disappoint us with the food, the ambience or the hospitality of the staff. It’s that consistency which makes us want to go back. This time was no different. It is value for money, and we’ll be sure to visit again as well. 

Signing off,
The BFFs Leo and DDS!

Death on the Nile by Agatha Christie

What’s the book about?

Death on the Nile is a typical Agatha Christie Mystery in the sense that her best works are the ones where the cast and characters are kind of stranded or confined in a limited space. ‘And Then There Were None’ and ‘Murder on the Orient Express’ were two of her other such works that has been widely appreciated. In this case, the murder happens on a cruise boat on the river Nile and the victim is Linnet Ridgeway, a girl who had it all – money, style and a handsome new husband. So, why was she shot in the head while on her honeymoon? Well luckily, Hercule Poirot happened to be on the cruise too and who better to look into the matter?


DDS says:

I recently re-read this Agatha Christie book for a reading challenge. I had last read it while I was still in college. The mystery wasn’t a big deal in this book. I am sure that many mystery aficionados will be able to guess the murderer correctly before the grand reveal. As is usually the case with Hercule Poirot mysteries, the fun and entertainment lies in watching Poirot put his ‘grey cells’ to work. Trying to think like the detective while reading the book is half the fun and the other half lies in tallying up at the end of the book. Each dialogue and interaction is important and it is impossible not to pay attention to it all completely.

With ‘Death on the Nile’, Ms. Christie once again proved her insights into the human nature. There is a wide range of characters on the boat and while at first it seems like only one of them had a direct motive for the murder, but as Hercule Poirot delves into the case, we find that nothing is at it seems. People who are apparent strangers may have a connection to Linnet and Jacqueline isn’t the only suspect. Through Hercule Poirot, her master creation, Ms. Christie peals back layers and layers to reveal different aspects of human nature.

This book has a comparatively slower start as Ms.Christie takes her time in setting up the plot. But a total worth it book that I am sure to re-read again in the future.


Leo says:

It’s very recently that I came to know of a sub-genre of crime fiction called locked-room mysteries. In a way, this is a locked room mystery. The murder happens in the middle of the Nile, on a boat, with the suspects restricted to those on the boat. There’s an obvious suspect, but very rarely does the Queen of Crime make the obvious suspect as the murderer. Even assuming that the obvious suspect is the murderere, any mystery lover would still persist reading to know the “why” and the “how” of the mystery. As DDS says, nothing is at seems, that’s for sure!

Yes, the book starts out slow. But the mystery did keep me engaged from first to last page. Poirot is one of my favorite literary detectives, and I feel this is yet another novel in which he’s at his very best! The characters are diverse and it needs a character like Poirot to delve into their psyche and understand “how” the crime happened. And the “how” is quite amazing. It also gives a peek into the planning of the murder and the mind of the murderer! Definitely worth re-reading.


Signing off,
The BFFs Leo and DDS!
Dated: 20th December 2018.

Therpup Cafe

I came to know about this cafe through a friend couple of years back. I had visited once about 3 years back, when I wasn’t a fur parent yet, and quite enjoyed the experience. But the experience has been even better since we started taking our young Lab, Snoopy, for his day outings.

Meet residents – Cisco & Charlie (in the background)

Located at Whitefield, the cafe is a total gem for dog lovers. The name of the cafe is a play on the words ‘therapy’ and ‘puppy’ and they do deliver at all times. They have  quite a few resident dogs of their own… Mojo, Charlie, Cisco, Goldie and Charlie are always there to cheer you up.

If you are a fur parent, this is where you should head out to over the weekend. You can let your furry friend off the leash as they are free to run, play and socialize. The staff are knowledgeable and friendly who can guide you when you go for the first time. The biggest plus of being there is that the cafe is mostly frequented by dog lovers and they happily engage with your pal and let you take a break with your partner/friend.

Therpup cafe has two menus for you to choose from. One with food for the ‘hoomans’ which includes the staple food for cafes, like burgers, sandwiches and pizzas. I must admit that if it was only food I was looking for, this isn’t a place that I would choose. They do not serve anything that is outstanding, but the food is just average. The pizzas are good but they lack consistency with the subs and sandwiches. 

They also have a very special menu for your furry pals in case you want to treat them with a snack (how does a pup-sicle sound?) or a full meal.

If you haven’t seen enough reasons to visit, they also have a trampoline and a portable swimming pool as added attraction. They also run a small shop where you can buy doggy stuff and nice T-shirts for yourself.

There are certain Do’s and Dont’s that you can follow to keep this place unique and a have a friendly experience:

  • Do not visit this particular cafe if you do not like dogs. There are thousands of other cafes you can choose to fit your preferences and only one Therpup Cafe where our pets can roam and play freely. We have come across couple of people in our numerous visits who seemed to be afraid of dogs. It was certainly not a pleasant experience for them and even more uncomfortable for us.
  • Do not feed the pets. The resident pets are well fed and taken care of and, most pet parents have specific diets for their dogs. French Fries do NOT make for a good diet of a dog.
  • If at all you cannot avoid the puppy eyes they make at your food, please ask the owners before feeding. You can even sponsor a meal or two for the resident doggos.

Snoopy certainly has a good time every time we take him there. As a high-energy dog, he mostly runs around the secured area and he sure does love the food from the Pup-Menu. He has also experienced the trampoline with a few kids and taken a dip in the pool. It is a place where he experiences something new every time.

Take a look at http://www.therpup.com/ for more details on the Puppies, Menu and services available.

Bangalore Book Festival 2018

“You cannot buy happiness, but you can buy books, and that’s kind of the same thing.”

Both bibliobuddies quite agree with the quote. While our first stop for any bookish purchases is quite well known to those who know us, this week presented a chance to visit the Bangalore Book Festival.

The book festival is an exhibition of books. It last happened in 2015, and is being held currently at the Palace Grounds between 15th and 21st October 2018. This exhibition brought over a hundred stalls by publishers from across the country. We had a small idea of what to expect at the venue, with one of us having visited the festival the last time it happened.

First stop…

Our first stop was the Hachette stall, being run by The Bookworm (as we later found out). The stall, as expected, was quite full, with people browsing all genres from non-fiction to fiction, with books of authors like Jeffery Deaver and Enid Blyton available. We browsed a bit, found a book of poems that caught my eye, bought that and made our way out.

bookfestival 1


bookfestival 2

There were a few stalls full of regional books too. It was wonderful to see Kannada books being promoted and purchased by many. There were discounts at each stall, and some stalls run by second-hand book stores even offered “Pick any book at Rs. 100”. This was helpful to draw crowds. I found a book to add to my Matthew Reilly collection, and DD found a few books as well.


The book fair offered opportunity for some authors with small publishers to try and find some readers. We visited one where we were welcomed warmly by the person in-charge. Some of the authors were at the stall too, happy to see readers and hoping they’d give their works a chance. Unfortunately, their books weren’t the genre we were looking for. We still found a couple of books at that stall too.


Known book houses like The Bookworm, Delhi Book Store, Select Book House and Higginbothams had set up stalls there as well. Of the publishers, we saw Westland, Hachette, Rupa and Fingerprint among others. This wasn’t just about books though. Artwork, food, handicrafts and fancy items also were being sold at the event. I didn’t notice the last three much, but the artwork did catch my eye.


For a book lover, we think the book festival would be a wonderful experience. We spent just a couple of hours there at most, but still bought maybe eight or ten books. We had fun in those couple of hours, and had our wallets not protested vociferously (metaphorically speaking), we might have stayed longer. Spend a few more hours, especially at the right stall, and we feel that any bibliophile might come out with at least a couple of bags of books.

Entrance fee of Rs. 20 is quite agreeable. It might even be a steal deal for the experience alone! And yes, bags are available at the entrance itself, for Rs. 10 apiece. If you’re reading this on 20th October or 21st October 2018, are in Bangalore and want to visit the fair, please do. It’s an enjoyable experience for any book lover!


What we bought at the Book Festival…



Signing off,
The BFFs Leo and DDS!
Dated: 13th October 2018.

The Tournament by Matthew Reilly

The Tournament by Matthew Reilly

What’s the book about?

A murder is set to interrupt a chess tournament of repute. The Sultan doesn’t wish that and hearing of the Englishman Roger Ascham’s experience in investigation, demands he finds the killer. In his charge, Elizabeth Tudor, Princess of England. As the tournament unfolds in the background, the duo unravel the knots of the mystery, knowing danger lurks in the streets of Constantinople.


Leo Muses…

A feather in the cap of a very talented thriller writer. Reilly takes characters from history and weaves a tale of mystery and intrigue, and many murders.

The book was interesting for quite a few reasons. Firstly, the setting. During a time of war, and in the 16th century. The time period itself meant the crime would have to be solved in a different way. And it proved to be just that. A crime solved by observation, intelligent deductions and prompt action. I say prompt action, because for reasons the plot would explain, the crime needed solving in a short duration.

Many would think this book is historical fiction. It is not. It is a crime fiction based on historical characters. This is the author’s imagination concocting a crime, it’s solution quite stunning and the repercussion of Ascham and Elizabeth’s trip perhaps profound. I loved Ascham’s character, and felt such a mentor would be wonderful. One who doesn’t pamper his student, lets her experience things which will build her character, while keeping her royal personage in mind, taking care not to put her in trouble because of his mentoring either. Another character I thought interesting was Elsie. I didn’t quite understand why her character was needed, not till the end. And while I thought the ending chosen for her character was very disheartening, looking at her actions, perhaps that end was what she brought on herself.

I know I can depend on Reilly for thrillers but never expected such a crime fiction from his pen. Gripping, exciting, page turner. Details were well used. I couldn’t guess the killer though. There’s a lot of sex, details shared with much description. Not sure if that level of detail was necessary but it paints characters in a certain color.

This book is well worth a try. Knowing that DDS loved the genre, I felt this was something she would enjoy reading. Hence I gifted this to her.


DDS Muses…

When Leo gifted me this book on one of our regular excursions to Blossoms Book House, I knew I had to dive into it immediately. Leo’s recommendations are usually spot on.

As expected, I enjoyed this book thoroughly as it was very different from all the books that I have recently read. For instance, the book is set in the 16th century, long before forensic science was even thought of. So, the protagonist had to rely more on his own skills than forensic evidence. Then there’s the fact that most of the characters are inspired by real life characters which called for a medley of facts and fiction. I did look up a few characters mentioned in the book, particularly Roger Ascham.

The character of Roger Ascham is probably one of the main reasons I liked the book so much. He is the mentor of young Elizabeth and through the course of the story we learn exactly how their relationship is. While Ascham believed in Elizabeth experiencing things for herself and helped guide her thought process, he was also very protective of her. He allowed Elizabeth to experience things that the people of the time would have thought scandalous for a woman to experience, yet maintained a level of security for her at all times. He encouraged independent thinking… Aside from his relationship with his ward, the way he investigates using common sense and attention to detail was also very admirable. I particularly liked him in a scene where he stands up and confronts a very influential man. It showed his confidence and courage.

Elizabeth herself turned out to be an interesting character. At thirteen, she is very logical and level headed. Encouraged by her mentor, she is also very curious about the world. The one thing that bothered me in the book, was the fact that since this was sort of coming of age novel for Elizabeth; the author brought in the sex element through her friend Elsie rather than through Elizabeth’s personal experience. The narrative got a bit dry and felt forced whether it was Elsie narrating her experience or whether it was Elizabeth witnessing her friend in the act. The book also handles the topic of Child Sexual Abuse in a very matter of fact way, which I admit was slightly jarring for me. I am not sure if I am comfortable with where the book leaves it off at.

The plot itself was simple enough for me to figure out the ‘mystery’ ahead of time. But that did not take away from the reading experience at all. There was a little action towards the end to spice things up.


Signing off,
The BFFs Leo and DDS!
Dated: 13th October 2018.

Pasta Street

The two of us have a few places in Bangalore that we love to visit! Since it’s our love for food that brought this blog, we felt it was only fitting that the first food related post on this blog stem from a visit to one of those wonderful places. A craving for ravioli led us back for a third visit to Pasta Street, which has branches in Indiranagar and Cunningham Road. We have a soft spot for the latter, and that’s where we take you today via this post!

We’re not food bloggers. Just bloggers who love food. So we don’t have an assortment of dishes to take you through. We ordered 2 drinks, a starter, a main and a dessert. Having been there before, we knew the dishes would be good.


ginger mint mojito

Drinks – Ginger and Mint Mojito

It was the first time we tried that particular mojito and it was tasty. Diced ginger didn’t make the drink very strong, and it felt the right drink as we had the food.


barbecue wings

Starter – Barbecue Chicken Wings

Delightful succulent deep fried chicken wings glazed with a barbecue sauce that was spicy, sweet and tangy all at once. It was heavenly and both of us enjoyed every bit of it. It was that sauce that made the dish as good as it was, really! At one point, I wondered if I should order another plate immediately, but that decision was shelved for later, and when “later” came, our tummies declined the idea firmly. It’s something that has become a favorite, and to-be-ordered again the next time we return to Pasta Street.


ravioli

Main Course – Ravioli

Pasta Street has over 15 ravioli dishes on their menu. We’ve tried ravioli with red sauce on earlier visits and found we’re partial to the white sauce one! Today we ordered ravioli with chicken sausage and mushrooms, sauteed in garlic, onion, green chilli, parsley, butter and mixed with cream sauce. Cooked to perfection, this made us close our eyes and just enjoy each bite. There was bread along with the dish, but we didn’t really need it until the end (to wipe our plates clean)! Was it perfection on a plate? We felt so.


tiramisu

Dessert – Tiramisu

We don’t usually order dessert, but we did today. It turned out to be the right decision! It was soft, yet not soggy. The taste of coffee was there, but not overpowering. The grated chocolate added a nice texture to the dessert and it was presented very elegantly as well, so we could eat with our eyes first!


We sat near the entrance today, so there was natural light for our photos and it felt nice. The dessert display was near our table and made us quite hungry too. The music in the background wasn’t jarring and made for an elegant dining experience! The staff welcomed us when we sat down, and attended to our order quite promptly. Our server Bijen was polite and asked us about the food and our experience, and even regaled us with a small tale about one of the dishes in the dessert display!

The overall experience today left us quite happy, and we’ll definitely go back for more. The dishes were value for money too. If you are a pasta lover and want to try an Italian restaurant, we would definitely recommend this place!

Signing off,
The BFFs Leo and DDS!
Dated: 6th October 2018.

The Journey Begins

Don’t really know what to write for the first post, but this blog has been a while in the works. It felt right to finally put it to fruition. Two book lovers who found they had a passion for exploring cuisines some together in this blog where it might not be “reviews” but just our explorations of books we love, the food scene in our city and well, the adventure of friendship we didn’t expect when we first met! Hope you enjoy, because we certainly intend to!

Leo & DDS.