Monday, September 24, 2007

Sinful indulgences in the city that never sleeps

To say that New York city is one of the best culinary destinations in the world is an understatement. It is a voyage into the realms of gastronomical delights. Be it the glitzy neon-lit avenues or the dark narrow passageways; they are all teeming with endless eating joints, dishing out food ranging from a fast street-cooked finger food to a lifestyle 9-course gourmet meal in a five-star setting. A modest 3-day Gotham trip fit about a dozen culinary escapades, most notably;

Hampton Chutney - Quaint little SOHO shop with an international twist to traditional South Indian crispy sourdough rice flour crepes (Dosa). All Dosas have a filling of varied kind and served with a choice of chutney. Sealed towelettes in a corner, ensure clean hand before indulging into the exotic chutney flavors.

Rice To Riches - Rich and creamy rice puddings are served in a trendy, hip and ultra-modern shop. Some bold flavor combinations complement greatly with the stylish decor.

Pinkberry - When the sweet and sour tastes of the Yogurt are swirled in a precise proportion and presented in a perfect consistency, you'd get Pinkberry. Choice of about 18 toppings on the perfect white or green Yogurt canvas completes the work of art. The shop's decor is fully functional with the frozen creations.

Max Brenner Chocolate - This is the latest addition to the growing list of imported chocolate shops operating in the city. This Australian-based chocolatier takes delight in offering an extensive chocolate-based menu ranging from Chocolate fondues to Chocolate Pizzas.

Artisanal Fromagerie, Bistro and Wine Bar - Cheese lovers, especially flock to this sophisticated restaurant on Park Avenue. An in-house cheese shop and a great-tasting daily fondue selection is just a start to a number of exciting French specialties. About 160 wine selections pair up with the 250+ varieties of cheese. The Artisanal cheesecake makes a perfect ending to that important appointment.

Vatan - An Indian Vegetarian eatery that gets its marks more for the decor and the concept than for the food. Patrons are transported to an ancient Indian village where they get to savor some rich, spicy North Indian prix fixe fare served in a rustic traditional way. The only rule here is to land at Vatan with a hungry stomach for the eat-as-much-as-you-can offerings.

Pommes Frites - A 2nd avenue fried food paradise serving authentic double-layered Belgian fries made from premium fresh potatoes and numerous sauce dips. This charming shop with wooden paper cone holders is often voted to have the best fries in New York city.

John's Pizzeria - Established in 1929 and on Bleecker Street, the coal-fired and the brick oven Pizzas are some of the best found in this part of the world. John's thin-crust pizzas have the perfect mix of cheese and sauce and they literally melt in the mouth.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Race in the sky

After leaving its footprint in about half a dozen international destinations like Abu Dhabi (UAE), Rio De Janeiro (Brazil), Monument Valley (USA), Istanbul (Turkey), Interlaken (Switzerland), London (UK), Budapest (Hungary) and Porto (Portugal), 'Red Bulls Air Race 2007' descended on America's finest city, San Diego. This thrilling air race with some of the best pilots in the world competing against each other in a display of speed, precision and skill was conceived by Red Bull sports in 2001. After planning for alamost 2 years, the first race of it kind was held at Airpower in Zeltweg, Austria in 2003. Since then, it has travelled around the world leaving its audience with a sense of awe.

The Red Bull air race debuts in San Diego for the first time. The San Diego leg had 2 rounds of racing; qualifying round on September 21, 2007 to shortlist the 12 fastest pilots for the actual race day on September 22, 3007 at the picturesque San Diego bay near the downtown. The race was attended by thousands of spectators at the 2 ticketed locations in Embarcadero and multiple other locations spread around the bay like Coronado.

These locations offered vantage view points to feel the planes swish by at 400 kmph close to the ground in pre-set race paths. The high-fly excitement with incredible maneuvers, naval display and parachute drops, all lasted about 6 hours. After a scintillating display in San Diego, this competition races to Perth (Australia) next.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Digital cities

Presenting some urban captures transformed to digital works of art ...

California... Save water !!

Often, the amount of importance that one places on lifestyle and entertainment is not shown on environmental and social awareness. Environmental preservation is one of the most important tasks in this century and going forward as well. Nature has gifted our world with a replenishing mechanism to recharge lost resources. As with lot of other things, there is a particular pace in which this happens. If these precious resources are drained faster than they are replenished, we will lose them faster than we would like to.

Long story put short; there have been recent announcements which suggest that California's main water resources have been severely impacted and that most of the water currently in use is from the reserves. It is a bit of a concern and so would like to spread the word as much as possible about the importance of water conservation before it is too late.

Metropolitan water district and the family of Southern California water agencies maintain a great website "Bewaterwise" with various tips and suggestions to save water. The first step is to take the easy 20-gallon challenge. Each person who follows the simple steps can conserve as much as 20 gallons of water per day. In addition, numerous rebates are offered to encourage residents of Southern California for purchasing water-saving appliances like the rotating sprinklers, high-efficiency clothes washers and water-saving toilets. Industries, Institutions and builders can also save on approved water-saving installations. Finally, a conscious and a collective effort from everyone will go a long way in preventing such crisis in the future.

Monday, September 3, 2007

Valley of wines and hot-air balloons - Temecula

A short getaway from San Diego brings us to place of rolling hills, golf courses, hot-air balloons and vineyards. Temecula (popularly interpreted as 'Where the sun breaks through the mist') is the wine capital of Southwest California. The scenic wine country in the Temecula valley boasts of over 20 wineries like the Thornton, Falkner, Ponte, Mount Palomar, Miramonte, Hart, Churon, and Bally to name a few. Visitors get a taste of the wine country with the various wine tasting tours and wine-inspired fine-dining options. These wineries also play host to several music concerts and other special events throughout the year. The annual Temecula Valley Balloon and Wine festival also draws visitors in thousands to the wine country.

The historic old town in Temecula (Temecula was established in 1859) with its numerous art galleries, antique dealers, artisan food stores, museums and other shops provides a old world charm and a rich historic experience. Olive oil tasting and cheese tasting are an integral part of strolling old town's quaint streets. Temecula Olive Oil Company grows its own olives in California and they produce olive oils of the highest quality. This cozy little shop also carries pure sea salt from different parts of the world. Sample of salts are available for tasting. Freshly baked breads with a choice of olive oil for dipping makes a perfect end to the visit here. Temecula Valley Cheese Company with a large selection of artisan cheeses take pride in calling themselves the purveyors of the world's finest cheeses.

Temecula's old town is not just about antiques, museums, and collectibles. The certified farmer's market provides an opportunity for the local farmers to display and sell their fresh organic produce that they grow in their own farms. This popular market comes to the old town every Saturday and on Wednesday's at the Promenade mall. The visitors to the market can also browse different craft and jewel selections while savoring the tastes of Kettle corn and freshly squeezed lemonade.