21.4.15

iPhoneography | Photojo Dreamscope Filter Kit for Smartphones Demo + REVIEW

Photojojo is definitely one of my favorite photography webstores. In 2010 I blew up my first every paycheck to buy a box of photography goodies from them, so it's pretty safe to say that we go way back.
I aquired the Photojojo Dreamscope IRL Filter Kit ($30) late last year so I put it to the test so I could do a detailed video review.



One of the best things about this kit is that it's very well made & compatible with most smartphones. I usually dislike shelling out too much on iPhone accessories as they will inevitable become obsolete when I upgrade two years later, so I was pleased that this won't be the case with the dreamscope! If you're into mobile photography at all, you might like this!
If you have any questions leave them in the comments below & I will get to them stat!



17.4.15

Travel | Things to do in Margao #KonaKonaKotak

I've been visiting my little village in Goa ever since I was a wee one. It's an idyllic place with one cornershop a walking distance away, but if we need to do any serious shopping we have to go to Margao (a 20 minute bus ride away). Margao has a lot going for it- a major train station & buses to take you almost anywhere else in Goa, it's a major transportation hub. My mother has being visiting Margao since her youth, so she knows it like the back of her hand & I'm quite lucky to have learnt about the place from her! Today I thought I'd share some of my favorite things to do in the city-



Architecture | Beautiful Buildings
Margao has less heritage buildings & homes than say, Panjim but it really does have some stunning buildings as well as some really understated but lovely examples of Portuguese Architecture. The post office is nice, it used to be sort of ramshackle but they've started maintaining it quite well recently & it looks quite cheery. Margao Town Hall is also one of the more famous / iconic buildings in the heart of the city. Holy Spirit Church is slightly removed from the main city center but is one of the most beautiful churches, but if you'd like to tuck in for a quick mass Grace Church is centrally located & blends well with the shops (but it isn't much to look at, in comparison).



Food | My Favorite Restaurants
Margao has a lot of tiny restaurants & it's hard to go wrong with any of them. Longuinhos is a restauarant that was founded in 1950. It's like a sort of time capsule, like many Irani restaurants in Mumbai the look, decor, service, everything has remained exactly the same for decades! It's a great place to chill for while & grab a cold beer & chilly fry as you watch the chaotic city outside. There are also some great patisseries (except they're not called that!) that serve great burgers, cutlets & pattice, so you can easily buy some delicious stuff from there & walk over to the park & eat in leisure.



Shopping
Margao has quite a few markets that are always bustling with locals buying fish, meat, vegetables etc. & it all gets so much more crowded close to festivals. But even as a tourist, there are a lot of nice things you can buy. There are a lot of liquor stores but I like going to Vaz Enterprises (near the Colva taxi stand) because the guys there are fluent in English & quite friendly. Of course, they have a huge selection & they can guide you as to good brands within your price range & whatnot. Cashew nuts are popular in Goa because cashew trees are so abundant. Almost every shop sells them, but I prefer Zantye's. They have two branches in Margao & though they might be a bit pricier than some brands they have the best quality!




I love that Margao is such a historic city, but I've also seen it change a lot throughout my life, mostly for the better! ING Vyasa Bank is now Kotak Bank so now Kotak calls Margao & many other cities & towns home. Another modern thing to make life much easier, the next time I'm visiting Margao.





26.3.15

Food | Mumbai, the land of chaat!

Mumbai is famous for it's wide variety of street food that is both ubiquitous & affordable; & chaat is arguably the most famous among those. Come evening, you'll hardly find a street corner in the city without a paani puri walla or a cart serving hot ragda pattice. Whether you're visiting the beach, street shopping or coming home from work chaats are one of the best snacks in Mumbai & you will never be hungry for long on the streets of Mumbai.
Today I'm going to talk about some of the most commonly available chaat in Mumbai with tips on how to enjoy it safely.



Paani Puri - In Delhi it's called gol gappa, in Kolkata it's called phuchka, in Orissa it’s called gupchup. In Mumbai it’s called paani puri. The dish itself is a simple combination of a crisp, hollowed-out bite-sized puri filled with white peas (& occasionally boondi, a light preparation made of chickpea flour) and potatoes and dipped into tamarind water mixed with chilies and chaat masala. It's most delicious when the ragda is piping hot & the paani is ice cold. It's a delicious explosion of flavor that can make your eyes water, but it's definitely my favorite Mumbai chaat & the thing I miss the most when I'm travelling out of Mumbai.

Sev Puri (pictured above) - Sev puri is essential Mumbai chaat made of puri (compared to the thin, almost sperical hollow pur used for paani puri, this one is thick & flat) which is loaded with diced potatoes, onions, three types of chutneys: tamarind, chili and garlic and topped with sev. It is seasoned with raw mango, when raw mango is in season or with a hint of lemon and chaat masala.

Dahi Bata Puri (pictured below) - Dahi Batata Puri is just a variation on Sev Puri, but instead it used the same hollowed out puris used for paani puri & includes dahi (plain yoghurt)

Bhel Puri - Bhelpuri is made from puffed rice (kurmura) and Sev (a fried snack shaped like thin noodles made from besan flour) mixed with potatoes, onions, Chat masala and chutney and mixture (a mix of different types of fried snacks), as the base of the snack. Bhelpuri has a typically Gujarati balance of sweet, salty, tart and spicy flavors, with different textures as well, including crispy and crunchy from the puffed rice and fried sev. Other commonly used ingredients include tomatoes, and chilis added to the base; In northern India recipes also made by adding boiled potatoes cut into small pieces. Different chutneys impart a sweet,tangy or spicy flavour. There are two popular chutneys used: a dark brown sweet one made mainly from dates and tamarind (saunth chutney) and a green spicy chutney made from coriander (cilantro) leaves and green chillies.


photo credits: veg recipes of India

While Mumbai chaat is very delicious (trust me, just writing this post had me craving some paani puri!) street vendors sometimes use unclean water in the preparations, leading to food poisoning & a host of water bourne diseases such as typhoid. For this reason, it's best to stick to the larger shops that serve chaat, though they are slightly more expensive they use mineral water in all their preparations so you'll be better off, health & cleanliness wise. Here's a list of the Best Chaat shops in Mumbai, go out & enjoy some delicious chaat!





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