Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Restaurant report -1

I have been there couple of times now. I find the food here average. Considering the high price, average is no good. This time, of the two dishes we tried Baingan Bartha was good but that could just be the cream in it doing the trick. Mirchi's taste in Mirchi ka Salan was submerged by all the masalas I dont like(KusKus is it?). Though, dessert seems to have won a thumbs up. It was sweetened more as restaurant decided to give us 3 desserts for the price of two. I don't fancy vanilla much and whatever we ordered had vanilla in it, so I skipped the dessert.
Ambience of the place is great and service is good. But if I have to pick a High end Indian restaurant in Bay area, I would take Shiva in Mountain view anyday.

Siam Royal
We ordered. SW got her Mint roll and Papaya salad within few minutes. Both tasted quite good. Rest of us waited, waited and then waited some more. Finally, SH enquired with waitress who said,"Oh, I thought that was it", pointing to SW's plates. And that should speak about the service.

Food, on the other hand, was good. But I don't think it was worth the travel from my Zilla to Palo Alto. Krung thai(stevens creek) and Amarin thai(castro) remains the best thai food, I have had in bay area. May be Siam, Krung and Amarin might have something to do with Thai regions and these restaurants are trying to stick to their authentic version which would make my comparison invalid. Ha.. who am I kidding, with names like yellow, red and green curry - these restaurants probably are miles away from Authenticity. S, who went to Bangkok, saw snakes being sold roadside just like how vegetables are sold in India. Not that I have ever looked into the non-vegetarian side of the menu, but do these American Thai restaurants ever sell snake delicacies? That should talk about their authenticity, I suppose

I have gone to Zeni couple of years ago. And I had the same veggie platter then too. So now, I am forced to list out a minimum of six differences ala Ananda vikatan/Kumudam style.
1. Two years ago: Only two tables incl. ours were occupied @ 7.30 on Saturday night.
Now: We had to wait close to half an hour to get a table.
2. Two years ago: Service was slow
Now: Service is slooow with broken glasses.
3. Then, I got seated in a regular western style dining table.
Now, an ethiopian set-up(?) just like in the movie "Along came Polly". That my readers, whole two of you, has been a dream from the time I watched the movie.
Ok, I give up with 3 diff. for now.

The food was great then and still is great. One thing I notice about the place ethiopian food is, atleast some items like the bread are served cold and none of the food is @ scorching hot temp. Considering we come from a similar climate, why do we, south indians, insist on serving the food hot?

Regarding the restaurant, they really ought to re-arrange the ethiopian style room to give enough space for the waitress to walk around else one of the days the waitress shall fall right onto the table, not exactly a feast I look forward to.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Ten stories - one movie

Dus Kahaniyan

Have you read those Kumudam and Ananda Vikatan half page stories with a twist? After reading few of them, you can easily guess what the twist would be. Several stories of Dus Kahaniyan fall under this genre. It would seem interesting for the people who are encountering short stories( even in the visual medium, a short story is a short story, no?) for the first time.

Of the ten stories, Poorna Manshi and Rice Plate had received the maximum good reviews. Rice Place stands out due to Shabana Azmi and Naseerudin Shah. I have never seen Naseer in a similar role. With a Child like Smirk, he endears you. In general, I don't like Shabana Azmi and always felt if Smitha Patel had been alive, Shabana wouldn't have had the chance to rule the Parallel cinema world like she did. Inspite of the grudge, they stole the show in this Hindu Muslim Behen-Bhai story.

Poorna Manshi never gave me enough time to get into the Characters. This was one of the stories that made me realize why this 10-15 minutes stories in a movie format would not work. I feel(umhm..) it is very important to establish an emotional connect with the characters. That takes time. Before I could empathize with Ma, Beti the story was over.

I did not watch one of the stories. 'Matrimony', a well executed story with Mandira Bedi and Sohail Khan would fall under the typical half-page short story with a twist. So do three more stories, 'Strangers in the night'(conversation between two stone faced people), 'Gubbare'(lovely acting by Nana) and 'Lovedale'(pathetic in all ways).

The Gangster one with Sanjay dutt and Sunil shetty(Sunil/Suniel - they can add all the alphabets they want, but I am going to use only the required alphabets in a name!) was going for something good, yet hadn't crystalised well.

With regard to actors, the already known good ones like Manoj Bajpai, Nana Patekar, Naseeruddin, Shabana stand out. To my surprise, Amrita was good too. Others don't surprise you either. Neha gave me an unintentional laugh. Sanjay dutt and Sunil shetty together kill the last story.

Compared to Scriptless bollywood movies, this is definitely a DVD watch.