Friday, November 25, 2011

Gandhi Bazaar Bangalore

After spending so much time in the IT high rises on the outer ring road of Bangalore, it was a wonderful treat to see the Bull Temple and other older sections of the city. As far as I could figure out, Bangalore does not have a central market on a large scale (e.g. like Victoria Market in Melbourne), but is does have Gandhi Bazaar. The Bazaar is in an older neighborhood and includes street vendors and permanent shops. From flowers to betel leaves to tamarind and coconut, the colors were vibrant and evoked the wonderful food I had later in the day at MTR.

Via iPad

Bangalore Night Lights

These are from a short walk near my hotel these weekend. The white car (last photo) is the best shot.

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Saturday, November 19, 2011

Bangalore Lunch - Mavalli Tiffin Rooms

My friend Hardika took me to Mavalli Tiffin Rooms (MTR) for lunch today, and the food rocked. This is one of those place like Union Oyster House in Boston that is just built into the fabric of its city. (This review is dated but pretty accurate, and better on the food names and context than my memory

What was memorable for me was the system for service, and the quality of the food. You show up and pay. Then you go to the waiting room. When a table is available - and this happens in shifts - you are seated. When you are seated there is already a metal plate, and waiters begin filling it, they come around and dish food out of large jugs. (Did I mention a menu? No. You get what they serve.). When you are done eating you leave. No waiting for a check or offers of coffee. Very simple and efficient. In what I understand is just part of Indian cuisine, there is no concept of starters vs mains or dessert. Different styles are served together, so you can have sweet Cardamon rice porridge with your blistering hot curry. It works well. The food was really good. If a restaurant in DC served it on china plates with a glass of wine they would get four stars from Washingtonian. Hardika paid, but I think we were in the single digit zone in dollar terms. In the unlikely event I decided to become a vegetarian, this is the food I would want to eat. It was delicious, diverse and after numerous helpings I was totally full. As you can see in the first photo, there is construction underway in front of MTR. There is construction everywhere in Bangalore. I would like to be a cement merchant here.

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Visit to Bull Temple, Bangalore

I am in Bangalore for the weekend and I asked various people for suggestions on places in the city to visit. One of them was the Bull Temple, a very old Hindu temple honoring one of the many Hindu deities. Seeing the stone bull itself was very spiritual. After making a small donation I was invited to run my hand over a ceremonial flame, then had my forehead marked with something I think was ground rose petals. Other visitors rubbed their hands over the bull, then ran their hands over their forehead. There was also a pitcher of water beside the bull you could drink from or sprinkle on your head, but I skipped that. The bull is at the center of a big complex, with a smaller temple, some smaller places of worship and a nice forest grove. Today was the beginning of a festival honoring the bull god, so there were a lot of people. One interesting sight was was the real live bull and it's keeper wondering around seeking contributions. If you look at the photo, the bull has a birth defect giving it a partial fifth leg. I suspect this is a valuable animal.

Via iPad

Friday, November 11, 2011

A Great Wine (and food) Evening : Williams-Selyem Zin and Elderton Shiraz #wine

Sunday evening we visited our friends Eric and Leigh. The food was great, but in my view the star of the dinner was the wine. 2005 Williams-Selyem Feeney Zinfandel was delicious, a little age tempering the fruit into more spice. I would give it 4/5 on my scale. The 2000 Elderton Command Shiraz was in another league. There was still a solid platform of delicious Shiraz fruit, with fantastic layers of perfume and a little oak riding on top. Definitely a benchmark wine. 5/5 on my scale, really a drinking experience.

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Tuesday, November 08, 2011

IAD Train Tunnel

My first train tunnel photo with the 4S. I like it.


Sent from Bill Phelps' iPhone

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Halloween Chez Phelps

It was a mad scramble to get organized and out for trick or treat so somehow we did not get a proper photo of everyone.  After much mind-changing, Lyra finally decided she wanted to be a scary witch and she IS! Will did her make up for her.  Tehan and I were Queen Elizabeth and Queen Bee.  Eva was Katniss from the Hunger Games and actually was recognized out on the street by girls in her general age group.  Will was a Shrunken Head Seller/Witch Doctor.  He was indignant that a couple of people told him he was too old to be out trick-or-treating.  There were girls as old as or older than he out there and no one was complaining, but I think if you're a boy that it just plain scary for someone to see you at the door.  Poor Will!

We went to Lee Street as usual.  People ran out of candy very quickly.  One family I know had 25 pounds of candy and it was all gone by 8:15.  There was much discussion and planning on the neighborhood listservs and I think there were more people out earlier than in previous years.  Can't say I am complaining though....I hate when the kids come back with a ton of candy; Eva and Lyra can't have half of it anyway.  They all had a very manageable load and it will be gone soon. In fact, Lyra pretty much ate all of her last night.

Posted via email from Cathleen Phelps