Dining at Alfresco

On 16 October 2014, I came to Kolkata with my parents for my mom’s health check up at Quadra Diagnostics, Hazra Road. My dad booked at Great Eastern Hotel in Dalhousie for our stay tonight. It’s the oldest five-star hotels in all over Asia and its establishment dates back to 1840s during the East India Company rule in Kolkata. The hotel has been in top charts since then. The location of the hotel is very good as it’s in the heart of the main business district of Kolkata. All the big and reputed companies have their establishment around.

The hotel is quite huge with three separate restaurants. One of them is on the lobby named Alfresco, which is a multi-cuisine restaurant accompanied with a café. We walked in there for our dinner. Well it is a very beautiful restaurant. As the name literally suggests ‘outdoor’, all the arrangement is to suit like sitting in the outdoor porche or tent with circular glass cane table and cane chairs complimented with sweet chirpings of birds making you feel sitting at a garden in the open. The ambiance made us feel good. My mom was tired of the journey started feeling refreshed there.

We had a hard time discussing the menu since there were a lot new dishes on the menu card. Finally we settled for ‘mushroom cappuccino’ soup for my dad and me and my mom had ordered for hot n sour soup as she doesn’t like mushrooms. As the name mushroom cappuccino soup it was served in a coffee cup, yah truly in a coffee cup with cookie shaped baked breads! The soup was made up of like a paste of mushroom and served exactly like cappuccino. The froth and color was very much similar to the coffee we generally have at the café. The presentation was awesome. Along with that they served some breads and green salad. Also we ordered for chicken Caesar salad which was equally delicious. But for us the star meal of the diner was the ‘posto murgi’ which we ordered in the main course. The concept of posto (poppy seeds) murgi (chicken} was awesome. We had before posto with vegetables but posto with some non veg item was really novel. The taste was even more delicious than I had expected. The innovation was really appreciable. Along with that we had preserved breast chicken which was chef’s special. It was a chicken steak along with steamed omelets.

Lastly we had fresh lime soda (sweetened) before leaving the restaurant. The food was so great that I would say that this place should be visited once again and enjoy the foods here. I’m loving it!!!

Nalen gurer ice cream

Well, I find it quite justified to dedicate this post on an innovative delicacy – ‘Nalen gurer ice cream’, which we enjoyed today at Oh! Calcutta, Silver Arcade, EM Bypass, Kolkata – a Bengali cuisine restaurant. We went to this restaurant for Bengali cuisine. We started with ‘Aam-pora sharbat’ followed by ‘Mochar Chop’, and ‘Bhaape Ilish’ etc.

Towards the end of our lunch when the waiter asked for our choice of dessert, we found that they have ice cream made of ‘Nalen Gur’ on the menu. We could not but say ‘YES’ to it. I devoured the first spoon, mmm.. it was awesome! It’s not like the usual ice cream. It was light brownish in colour.

Nalen gur (or date molasses) is a specialty of Bengal – both West Bengal and Bangladesh – and is used extensively to prepare delicacies of winter. Nalen gur is a preparation from the sap of date trees that are collected and heated to obtain the final product that leaves one wonderstruck – the taste is heavenly. It is said that the heating is an art. The date palm sap is made into three types of gur: liquid, grainy and the solid chunks of patali gur. The sap is heated in huge woks over wood or coal stoves and it is only an expert who can gauge the different degrees of cooking to achieve the right textures.

It is really delicious and I am sure all sweet lovers would love it.

My birthday 2014

I am on vacation during my birthday after a long time. I am with my family but  we three of us can’t be together on my birthday March 21, 2014 as Babai is in his institute in Gangtok. Jaya & I are undergoing medical checkups and consultations at Apollo Gleneagles Hospital in Kolkata.

GANGTOK

We visited our son Babai in Gangtok for couple of days and to be together during the auspicious occasion of Holi. We reached Gangtok from Ranchi on March 15, 2014.

To our surprise, Babai arranged a small, nice cake as we reached our hotel to celebrate my birthday. He arranged this as he would not be with me to celebrate my birthday. It was so nice of him.

Thanks Babai. God bless you!

KOLKATA

On March 21, Jaya’s friend Rina invited us at their house. After our consultations with the doctor at Apollo Gleaneagles Hospital, we went to their house. On the way, Jaya bought a nice cake from Flury’s at Park Street, Kolkata. Also, Rina’s husband Subhro brought another cake! I cut both the cakes.

CAM00473

This time, it’s a lot of celebration of my birthday! The cutting of cake was followed by lovely dinner prepared by Rina. Thanks Rina and Subhro for celebrating my birthday.

Going to see my dad

I am going to Allahabad to see my father and will return after a week with him. I am feeling very sad this time as the thought of my mother not waiting at the gate to welcome me is haunting me. It’s really a very bad feeling and I am somehow trying to stop my tears.

I am bringing my father with me to Ranchi so that he would feel better as he misses my mother very much there. Everything there reminds him of her.

Now I am in Kolkata at the house of my friend Rina. I will stay with them tonight. I wanted to be with my close friend to share my thoughts and feelings, to get some comfort talking to her. My train for Allahabad is at 3.15pm tomorrow. It’s Rajdhani Express. It’s scheduled to reach Allahabad at 2.43am.

I am trying to avoid thinking the sight of the door of the house. May the God give me strength to avoid my tears in presence of my father! I know that he will feel very bad seeing me in tears.

First FDI in Durga Puja!

France will sponsor a Durga Puja in Kolkata this year – the first foreign country to do so – creating a milestone of sorts. I just read this in Hindustan Times.

The puja that has been selected for the honour is Pallimangal community puja that is in its 54th year. It is located on Anwar Shah Road, a mere two blocks away from South City shopping mall.

Besides giving funds, France will also send two artists to work with local ones to create a theme around 100 years of Indian cinema, one of the most prominent vehicles of cultural exchange between the two countries. There are also plans to bring a member of the French World Cup soccer team to inaugurate the puja.

Alliance Francaise, which is funded by the French government, is bearing the expenditure of this puja. Though the budget is relatively small at Rs. 4 million (USD 68,000), the organisers are expecting it to open up the pujas to a growing western audience, which in turn, throws up a vast tourism potential.

The French sponsorship of Pallimangal community puja is the culmination of a 20-minute documentary shot about the puja by a French journalist for France TV II, a national channel in France. The programme evinced interest in France and a team of visitors came to Kolkata in October 2012 to see the pujas.

Babai left for Gangtok

We had our initial plans for visiting Barrackpur, Basirhat & Kolkata together with Babai and we would go to our destinations from Kolkata airport. But later, Babai told us that he had to attend his classes from 29th and so he could not stay with us in Barrackpur, Basirhat and Kolkata.

As scheduled before, we reached Kolkata/Barrackpur yesterday. My dada, cousin at Basirhat, his wife (Boudi) and his daughter (Tota) came to Barrackpur to pay Shubho Bijoya pronaam to our Kakima along with his sister-in-law and her daughter. They were waiting for us to reach Barrackpur from airport so as to see us before they leave.

We reached Kolkata airport and then had some coffee with Soumya, who had come to see is at the airport at the Café Coffee Day at the airport. He arranged for a car for us for 4 days of our travel in and around Kolkata.

Then we went to Baguiati for buying some sweets for Babai to carry with him to Gangtok and also for Kakima’s house at Barrackpur.

After that we went straight to Barrackpur. It was nice to see everybody there waiting for us. We had some photographs and then Dada and his family left for their house at Basirhat. Jaya and I will be going to Basirhat day after tomorrow after the Lakshmi Puja.

Ladies of three generations!

Three brothers – with dada and Laltu

Teen Choudhurani – Joyita, Boudi and Jaya

Bhai-bone: Babai & Tota

We had some chats. Jaya gave the gifts that we brought for kakima, maasi, Laltu and Joyita. She also took gifts for Charu and Sandhya.

In the morning after breakfast, Jaya, Babai & I left for airport to see Babai off. We asked Laltu several times to come with us with his family. But he did not come as he said that he was not feeling well and wanted to sleep.

Babai & Mama

We reached airport around an hour before the flight. Baikunth Nath, a friend of Soumya is now working with Spicejet with which Babai is going to Bagdogra. He was there at the airport and arranged his check-in. Babai then came to us and then went for security checking. We decided to wait for the departure of his flight. So, I took Jaya to Top Deck restaurant on the first floor of the airport. We sat there and ordered for a glass of fresh lime soda for each of us.

After Babai boarded his fight and his flight took off, we left for meeting our relatives at Kolkata. We went to the house of Mama. From there we went to see my Baro Maasi and then to see my Chhoto Maasi. They three are the only surviving siblings of my mother. They’re very happy to see us. We then returned to Barrackpur feeing the absence of Babai. We’re missing him very much!

Routine Medical check-up

During my last visit, the doctor advised me to go for complete check up for diabetes. Therefore, while we were returning from Gangtok, we decided to go for complete check up at Apollo Gleaneagles Hospital, Kolkata. Their complete check-up package consists of blood tests (before and after foods), urine tests, stool test, ECG, USG, X-ray, eye test. It took almost whole day yesterday to complete the tests.

Today went to the hospital as per the appointed time with the doctor at 11.30am. Also, we are to fly to Ranchi in the evening at 5.45pm. But, reports were not ready so we had to wait until 2.00pm. Thank God that the reports are OK and there is no visible adverse effect of diabetes & hypertension.

Laltu & Jaya with their ice-creams.

The doctor checked and continued with the existing medicines. After check up and consultations, we went to Mani Square as we could manage half an hour time. My cousin Laltu has come from his office to see us. So, we went to Mani Square for having ice cream with him and to buy some gifts for Dido, his son. After enjoying the ice cream and purchasing the gifts for Dido, we rushed to the airport.

We checked in on time, but there was a huge rush for security checking at the airport as this is the busy period at the airport. As we cleared the security check, the boarding for the flight was announced and we straightaway went to board the flight for Ranchi.

We reached home after almost 11 days of tour!

Evening coffee at Peerless Inn

On the advice of the doctor, Jaya & I went to Apollo Gleneagles Hospital, Kolkata for complete Diabetic check up. After a daylong tests at the Hospital, when we came out we were a bit tired. We were to go to the house of my cousin sister – Babuldi. We will be staying there tonight with them. Her daughter – my niece – has delivered a baby a couple of months back. So, we will be meeting our grandson too, there.

We called Soumya that we were leaving the hospital. He has actually arranged a vehicle for us. It will stay with us until we reach the airport tomorrow. He requested us to see him before we go to the Babuldi’s house for a cup of coffee. We were feeling to have some good coffee and also we have to pay him cash for settlement of the rent of the car.

Balduldi stays near Kona Expressway after Vidyasagar Setu. Peerless Inn will be a minor deviation from the route. So we agreed to go there for coffee. On seeing us Soumya immediately ordered for coffee. Also, we bought some chocolates and pastries for Babuldi’s house from the coffee shop at Peerless Inn.

The coffee was hot and nice. After the coffee, we took his leave and went to Babuldi’s house.

Kolkata Esplanade in night

During this holidays in India for two weeks, we planned for a quick medical check-up and consultations at Apollo Gleneagles Hospital, Kolkata followed by a visit to Basirhat.

We reached Kolkata last evening. We checked in at Peerless Inn, Kolkata. It’s location is excellent, at the heart of the city on the Esplanade.

Chowringhee in evening

We were invited by Jaya’s friend Rina for dinner. We went to their house after Jaya did some shopping at Esplanade and New Market.

We had lovely dinner cooked by Rina. As I like fish, so she cooked fish in the dinner. We had good chat with Shubhro – husband of Rina, Rina and her son Soumya. Soumya works as Duty Manager at Peerless Inn, Kolkata.

Dharmatala in night – a busy thoroughfare in day and a calm sleeping in night

We returned after midnight to our hotel – Peerless Inn. I peeped out of our room window. Kolkata looks very awesome in the night.

Chowringhee after midnight – glowing golden but alone!

Nishir aandhare ruposi kolkata – Beautiful Calcutta in the darkness of night

We went for our check ups and medical consultations in the morning of March 3, 2012. It continued until afternoon.