Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Creamy indulgence in La Jolla - Gelateria Frizzante

You cannot miss 2 things when visiting the charming village of La Jolla in San Diego. One is the Ocean and other is Gelatos. Gelato in Italian literally translates to 'Frozen' and can be thought of as an Italian equivalent of modern day ice creams. In fact, the traditional milk-based Gelato has its origins from the Northern Italian regions while the water-based Sorbettos owes its existence to Southern Italy. With its rich flavor and a creamy texture, Gelatos have been the way of Italian life for many years now. 'Gelateria Frizzante' brings that piece of Italy right into the heart of San Diego.

Gelataria Frizzante is the brain child of the husband-wife duo Eric and Christine who is passionate about serving fresh and authentic Gelatos to San Diegans. Eric, her husband, is a lively personality who is always keen on talking about Gelatos. He loves to share information about it and a conversation with Eric on a lovely Sunday morning revealed lots of interesting facts.

The shop
Gelateria Frizzante opened its first shop in La Jolla in October of 2005. This shop is managed by Eric. His wife, Christine runs the newest location in the Gaslamp Quarter. The La Jolla shop with its colorful array of Gelatos and a casual ambiance truly adds to the vibe and feel of the locality. The guests are often seen sampling the new flavors and browsing the various pictures of Italy and a number of interesting Gelato facts that decorate the wall.

Gelatos in Gelateria Frizzante
Gelatos here, is made from a base material that consists of fresh whole milk, sugar, dextrose, non-fat dried milk powder and a 'bag of magic' from Italy as Eric puts it. This bag of magic contains the natural emulsifiers and stabilizers, necessary to give Gelato that unique texture and flavor. Unlike ice creams that contain a lot of butter cream, the only cream present in Gelato is the cream found in whole milk, serving as a much healthier choice. Also when compared to ice creams, very little air is beaten and blown into the Gelato which is also served much warmer. However, Gelato is more dense and creamy in texture than the ice creams.

Gelatos from Gelateria Frizzante is made right at the shop here and most of them are consumed within 24 hours. No Gelato sits in the freezer for more than 96 hours. Care is taken to maintain the same consistency and smoothness, as in the original Gelatos made in Italy. Many Italian expatriates visit Gelateria Frizzante and give their thumb of approval for authenticity. In fact, a lady professor teaching Italian studies in UCSD (University of California, San Diego) feels right at home sampling the Gelatos.

Now to the favorite part; Flavors
Gelateria Frizzante prides itself in its ability to create 125 different flavor mixtures. The shop in La Jolla has room for about 40 offerings at a time. About 80% of the flavor choices are made on a regular basis and the rest are influenced by seasonal, staple foods and customer requests. Most of the flavoring ingredients are procured from Italy including certain nuts and chocolates. Christine has worked with executive chefs from Italy who visit the West Coast occasionally. Eric and Christine have also been a part of a few international gelato conferences. Many ideas are invented and brainstormed in the conference and Gelateria Frizzante tries to bring in such flavors as well; the most recent addition 'Lychee' being one among them.

Talking of flavors; Children love the Vanilla, Chocolate, Lemon and Strawberry gelatos. Other popular picks are Pistachio, Mocha nut, Bananas Foster, Chocolate Carmel and Yoghurt forest berries. There are certain flavors like Rice that take up a lot of work and are not made often. It is also interesting to find that there is a marked difference in the preference and tastes of La Jolla visitors versus the Gaslamp visitors.

All this must have set your taste buds racing. Without wasting another moment, rush to a Gelateria Frizzante nearest to you.

La Jolla shop
1025 Prospect Street #130

San Dieg
o, CA 92037
(858) 454-5798

(Open - noon, till late evening)

Gaslamp Quarter shop

435 Island Ave

San Diego, CA 92101

(619) 876-4203
(Open - noon, till late evening)

Help yourself with some Gelateria coupons !!

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Marshlands under threat

A recent study published in THE HINDU suggests the effects of damage to the marshlands in Pallikaranai, Chennai due to garbage dumping and rapid real estate activity that violate Government building norms. The environmental effects range from devastating floods in the future to production of poisonous gases like methane.

To give a bit of background, Pallikaranai marsh is one of India's largest fresh water wetlands that helps in charging the aquifers of the region. It is also home to a large number of bird, fish, reptile and insect species. It is indeed very disturbing to see the sad plight of such great natural treasures in and around Chennai. Though blessed with such amazing environmental gems unlike any other city, these have always been under continuous stress due to rapid urbanization and industrialization.

There has to be some kind of a revolution in environmental awareness, to prevent the further damage of such pristine natural systems. Schools can be the best place to begin such a movement. They can involve the children to participate in environmental group activities that focus on protecting and preserving them.

To start with, maybe schools can offer a field trip every month to various places with a fragile eco-system and get them to submit project reports on that. Several teams can work on different locations and each team can concentrate on preservation effects of their assigned area. That way, children can learn the importance of conservation and also get exposure to dealing with real life issues. Such topics of social awareness can be included as a part of mainstream curriculum.

As an ending note, what if a fence was built around the marsh with a cobble-stoned walkway amidst lot of greenery and fountains... say wishful thinking !! This would be among the biggest natural parks in any city and would probably give New York City's Central Park a run for money.

Dreaming about jobs

Three years back, a sudden thought struck that how, many people around the world struggle from unemployment. Every person dreams of a perfect job only to wake up in a jolt, to find that he still doesn't have a job. Human Beings however can repair themselves with self-motivation and hope of something working out to their benefit. Such thoughts in the mind translated to a poem, which later got submitted and published in

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

The advent of quality cinema

It was refreshing to watch a truly mesmerizing movie over the weekend in San Diego at the Edwards Cinemas. While 'Swades' touched us all with a soulful story and 'Rang De Basanti' lifted our spirits with a powerful theme, 'Chak De India' has chartered an all together new territory by breaking all conventional rules of Indian movie making.

In a land of colorful movies laded with family sentiments and romance, it is a bold attempt by the film maker to showcase a theme that does not provide scope for such formula. The film makers also have to lauded for venturing into women's hockey when newspapers, magazines and TV channels in India are all dominated with cricketing action. But the end result is the production of one of the finest movies in recent times.

Chak De India is not a movie just for entertainment, but offers lot of essential lessons for everyday life. The importance of team work, camaraderie, confidence, motivation, self-belief and spirits are all bundled in a intriguing package that does have its own comic moments. The performances are first rate and Shahrukh Khan excels in probably the best role of his career. The music is strictly situational and gels well with the proceedings. This is a definite add to any quality movie collection and is a must-watch at the big screen.

'Chak De India' songs at iTunes ----> Marianne D'Cruz, Salim Merchant & Sukhvinder Singh - Chak De! India - Chak de India

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Sweets with an international flavor

A trip to New York city in 2004 and a recent trip to Hollywood had a commonality between them. Both trips ended with a sweet encounter of delicious cream puffs from Beard Papa's sweet store. Popular baker Yuji Hirota, lovingly called as Beard Papa because of his characteristic white beard started his first store in Osaka (Japan). Since then, Beard Papa has spread its roots to other countries like Hong Kong, China, Korea, Taiwan, Australia and US.

Each Beard Papa cream puff creation is a pure work of art. Comprised of a two-layered patented shell (Outer pie crust and an inner choux pastry shell) and a whipped cream custard filling, cream puffs are baked fresh everyday. Cream puffs are stuffed with a custard made in a number of delicious flavors like vanilla, chocolate, green tea, strawberry and pumpkin. The cream puffs do not contain any preservatives and so they are meant for immediate consumption.

Beard Papa's also serve other sweets like Mochi Ice Cream, Cheesecake, Fondant Au Chocolate, Mango Ice shower and Boba drinks. So next time you are in New York, New Jersey, Hawaii, Connecticut or in California, make sure you have a pit stop at one of the Beard Papa's sweet shops.

Monday, August 6, 2007

A village by the bay

San Diego with its 365 days of sunshine, an ocean to die for and a resort-type ambiance provides the perfect setting for a waterfront paradise. One such spot is Seaport Village conveniently located in downtown San Diego, by the bay. Flanked by San Diego Convention center and a number of resort-type hotels, Seaport Village offers 14 acres of themed waterfront shopping, dining, galleries and entertainment.

Opening its doors to the general public in 1980, Seaport Village has been one of the premier tourist destinations in San Diego ever since. Sun, fun and water can be found in abundance here. Over 50 shops dotting the lush landscape attract the curious visitors with its various trinkets, unique gifts, collectibles, souvenirs, clothes and beach-themed items. Kites, wind Chimes, hats and figurines feature among the most sought-after list. Waterfront fine-dining restaurants and a number of fast-food styled eateries ensure that you'd never leave the place hungry. Finger foods like chilly cheese fries, nachos and cheese, popcorn, ice cream and cotton candy seem to be the largely popular picks.

Visitors craving for entertainment have plenty to look forward to, in Seaport Village. Kids have their field time in the large carousel that was hand-carved in 1895 and featuring 54 animals. A number of children-friendly activities like brush-art, face-painting, caricatures and balloon art keep them busy. Parents and children alike are thrilled by the live music and magic performances. Couples in love are often spotted in a horse-drawn carriage. With all this and more, a visit to San Diego doesn't go complete without a visit to Seaport Village.

Baby animals

Babies are always cute and cuddly; whether animals or humans. I had a chance to capture some shots of baby animals; a group of kittens cuddling and basking in the afternoon sun in Chennai, India and some ducklings in the grass of SeaPort Village in San Diego, California.