Monday, 9 November 2015

Travel Diaries - Breakfast @ Hot Breads, Pondicherry

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Back in the days as a kid, I'd visit my grandma who lives in Coimbatore. In the heart of R.S Puram; there was this lovely bakery dishing out some delicious breads, savoury eats and pastries. Not sure if it even exists now, the memories this place lingered in the back of my mind. On my first visit to Pondicherry, I was sure that my very first meal there had to be a french meal that'd involve crossaints, pastries and coffee to wish for the least.

Passing through canal road, Hot Breads was a random find that brought back old memories to the forefront. Since this visit,  it's been a regular joint that I visit on arriving at Pondicherry. This might be an understatement because in reality; the first place of visit on arriving in Pondicherry for this hungry soul is always Hot Breads.

It's an a-la-carte cafe cum bakery. They serve up some delicious eggs made to order, gourmet breads to accompany, croissants - both classic and with a twist, danish, coffees, desserts and a lot more. One can choose to dine in here or take food to go. The place is nothing fancy without any thrills from frills. The food here too is soul satisfying.

While there might be better places in Pondicherry for breakfast; in its segment it's hard to not fall in love with Hot Breads. It's got good food freshly baked as replenished, nice service, centrally located and is pocket friendly and worth every penny. Over numerous visits, I've eaten a lot and still love going back there for more. Here's what been relished over the course of various visits to this place:

Any day Breakfast - Omelette, Toast & Orange Juice
Chocolate Danish
Spanish Omelette
Cuppa to kick start the day
Hint of added sweetness
The Pastry Counter

Thursday, 5 November 2015

Wish-Dish: Gundappa Donne Biryani

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I wonder why sometimes the neighbourhood joints take miss for elongated periods of time. Grabbing a meal here has always been a delight especially when what's offered is fresh and really hot; hot enough to burn you fingers should you dive into it in haste.

I'd like to visit this place more often that I do and was exactly the point I was making to a friend as we dined here late in the night. By late in the night on a weekday means 11 PM in Bangalore. I hope now nothing more needs to told about late nights.

Anyways, bringing focus back to the food, Gundappa Donne Biryani is a hole in the wall place located literally next door to where I live. Their starters are fantastic and their pulav as may be called chicken / mutton is spicy and delicious. Clearly not the very best I've had but trust me - 'Really high on the satisfaction quotient'.

On this evening, I was delighted to see a platter displayed which comprised of pulav surrounded by possibly a tasting portion of every starter this hole in the wall offered on its menu. No more time was needed to make a choice; Mutton combo it was. What came as a part of it was an enviable site - super hot pulav, chili chicken, kaima ball in a wonderful curry, guntur chicken, pepper chicken, chicken kabab, mutton keema vada, a gravy, hard boiled egg and a perfect accompaniment - raw sliced onion.

I will not say more except for, "The complete meal was polished off in no time." Here's leaving you with a picture which speaks and conveys possibly more that my words will.

Price: Rs. 180

Tuesday, 3 November 2015

Travel Diaries: Things to do in Lugano, Switzerland

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Lugano situated to the south of Switzerland is the 9th largest city of Switzerland and is located on the northern edge of lake Lugano - A beautiful setting indeed surrounded by mountains. Wonderful climatic conditions coupled with an even interesting geographical layout, Lugano has over the years there has been a lot of tourism and visits from prominent celebrities.

For those looking to head to Milan; Lugano is a stone's throw away (well, not literally). This post is not about where to go from Lugano but about what you can do while you are in Lugano:

1. Mounte San Salvatore:
You've got to be up there in person to sense and experience the panoramic views and the greatness of being on Top of Europe. The summit is accessible by a funicular railway which operates every half an hour. The journey to the top or to the base is about 10 minutes.

Alternatively, for those who love hiking can also opt for this more to reach the summit. At the summit there is a museum, a restaurant and spots to get a 360° panoramic view of the Ticino region.

Open around the year, it is best to buy a return fare ticket of the funicular railway (unless of course you have other plans) as the deal works really better. For a year round timetable, please visit here.

2. Swiss Miniature, Melide:
Get a glimpse of all the goodness Switzerland has to offer at one place and in a miniature form. Swiss Miniature is a special attraction covering 14000 sq mtrs of land and houses replicas of the best of Switzerland like famous buildings, mountains, castles and cathedrals, and has over 3500 mts of rail network, funiculars and cable cars in motion.

Miniature is at a distance of 7 minutes by train from Lugano to Melide. However, holding a Swiss Travel Pass for a week, we decided to ride the waves. Boat was our mode of transport to the Swiss miniature.

3. Promenade:
Lugano has a beautiful and a long winding promenade. Walk along the path and soak in the views and elegance of the city. With the temperatures being great through out the year, this experience can be enhanced by walking the promenade with a Gelato in hand.

4. Shopping:
Lugano offers the very best in shopping. Via Nassa is the historical street with sophisticated stores and brands offering the best they have. The street is about 270 meters long and houses jewellery, clothes, antiques, perfumes, liquor, pastry shop and a lot more.

5. The Alprose Chocolate Museum:
Got a sweet tooth? Love chocolates? Then a visit to Alprose Chocolate museum is worth it all. Sample as many varieties of chocolates as you like, learn the history of Swiss chocolate and witness the making of the chocolate end to end. Not enough? Buy chocolates for dear ones at home and may be also some to go with a nice Single Malt or Scotch whisky! Cheers!

Here's more information on the visiting hours, fees and hot to get there.

For the adventurous ones and those who love outdoors, Lugano is a paradise for hiking and cycling trails. What are your options? Will be up in a later post.
Additional Information:
Temperatures - Yearly average low of ~9°C to a high of ~17°C