Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Train Ride in India

I was browsing through my cell phone photos yesterday when I stumbled across the ones I took on our train ride in India. Travelling by train in India is something that you need to experience; I just love it! Earlier I used to travel by the overnight train between Kolkata and Malda (my hometown); but this time we decided to take the superfast day train instead as we didn't want to miss the scenic beauty along the way.

Howrah Station

Kolkata to Malda is approximately a 6-8 hour journey and the route runs along villages, suburbs, small towns, farms, local markets, ponds, across the Ganges, bridges, highways. So its a perfect opportunity to experience and live India on one single ride. Once the train leaves behind the busy life of the cities and gets into the suburbs you will love the feel of it running along with the lush green trees, ponds filled with lotus & lilies, absorb the laid back life of the villagers, see farmers ploughing their land, fishermen busy tugging their nets in the pond, school girls riding cycles, women cleaning dishes in their backyards, playful kids running along the train track waving their hands bidding good bye to you, see the golden sun setting over the horizon. I realized how much I missed this train ride!!! Also, I love people watching, so you can imagine how much fun I had on this trip!

Being a food critic I cannot resist but share my take on the food served on-board Shatabdi Express. The train served lunch as well as snacks and the food was really good, catered by Meals on Wheels. They serve you so much food that you will not be able to eat them all. They had both vegetarian and non-vegetarian options. The food quality (and portion size) is great, specially the yogurt they serve in earthen cup is absolutely delicious!

Here are few photos of the food that were served on the Shatabdi Express from Howrah to Malda.

These are photos taken on our travel by Shatabdi Express back from Malda to Howrah.

Lunch - Veg & Nonveg

It was after a long hiatus that we traveled by train in India and we thoroughly enjoyed our ride. Penned this post to mostly digitize our memory and share with you until our next visit to India.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Restaurant Review - Istanbul'lu (Somerville, MA)

We went to a Turkish restaurant, Istanbul'lu, in Somerville for lunch today. It's a small place right at the corner of busy Teele square, easy to miss while driving by. The restaurant has very good reviews, so we were expecting a big crowd and that we might have to stand in a queue for tables, but luckily we got our table within a few minutes.

They welcomed us with freshly baked bread and a red pepper dip. Their menu has a wide range of options from sandwiches, veggie dishes, egg dishes, hot & cold dishes to kebabs. Even though every item had a small description, there were lot of unfamiliar ingredients listed; our hostess patiently answered all of our questions.

For appetizer we ordered a plate of Turkish mornings (beyaz peynir, kasar peynir, Turkish olives, sucuk, pastirma, boiled eggs, imported honey, recel, fresh tomatoes and cucumbers) for the table; peynir is a kind of Turkish cheese. Specially wanted to mention that I really loved the honey, it was very fresh and tasty.

For main course we ordered - Menemen, Izmir Kofte, Adana Kebab and Lamb Kebab

Menemen (Turkish style omelet with tomatoes, onions,
red bell peppers, green peppers, cooked with beyaz peynir and spices)

Izmir Kofte (Kofte baked in the oven with peppers, onions, mushrooms,
eggplant, potatoes and carrots in tomato sauce and served with rice and yogurt)

Adana Kebab (Ground lamb mixed with onions, red bell pepper,
garlic and Turkish spices and served over rice with Coban salad)

Lamb Kebab (Cubed lean lamb meat marinated in our special regional sauce,
grilled and served with rice and grilled peppers and tomatoes)

We really liked the food. Everything was fresh and delicious. The kebabs & kofte had the perfect balance of flavors. Also liked the rice and salad that came with the dishes.

We wanted to have kunefe for dessert, but they were out of it. So instead we ordered the baklava and Turkish rice pudding. Though I did not like the rice pudding that much, but the Baklava was too good (just melted in my mouth)!

To finish off, we had Turkish tea and Turkish coffee; the tea was not that special but the coffee was good. We will definitely go back to Istanbul'lu.