My internet connection has been down for three days! It went down early Friday morning – I reached home at 2am and wanted to stream a football match but the connection went down and so I called and complained. This is day THREE and I still don’t have a solution. Congratulations Asianet Broadband, this is a new low performance in customer care for you.
This is despite two technicians coming to my apartment and who told me that the problem was fixed. The internet then worked for 45 mins after they left and then went dead again. When I asked them what was the issue for me not getting internet since early Friday morning, they told me that after a fibre cut in the area they were upgrading the system here which is why I had no connectivity. So this is a known problem and yet no one in Asianet bothered to inform me about this!
Also wonderful fixing of the solution – they come here, it works for 45 mins and then it goes down again. Terrible service. 3 whole days and you STILL have no solution to the problem. I have called up one of the technicians and informed them that it is still down. You have no answer. I just spoke to someone at your call center and he told me that as it is a Sunday they have less technicians which is why there is a delay in solving my problem. When I reminded him that I raised the complaint on Friday and Friday and Saturday this should not have been a problem, he had no answer. “Sir tomorrow morning you issue with me solved – for certain”. He has no clue as to what is going on!
What are you planning to do about my problem? No internet service for 3 days other than a bit here and there (in total maybe 3 hours). THREE DAYS AND YOU CANNOT SOLVE THE PROBLEM!! Fibre Cut or System upgrade, I don’t know what is the real issue. I only hear excuses. Even before these three days I was having regular outages for over a month (PLEASE CHECK MY CALL HISTORY TO YOUR CUSTOMER CARE CENTER and the COMPLAINT HISTORY) – is this all a fibre cut and gross incompetence on your technicians part?
Last night after work, I wanted to go to Dominos in Ravipuram but they were already closed (it was just after 10pm) and I was starving. I happened to see that there was a new, barely one month old, Burger Hut on the opposite side of the road. Alright, I’ll go in for their cheap and simple burgers. While I placed my order I also asked them what the deal was with this whole Burger Hut vs Burger Hutz thing. The guy there said that they were one franchise originally and then later they split up though their menu, logo and overall look was quite similar. Those Hutz do not seem to have fried chicken and wings while Hut does not have momos. Weird!
Anyways, I had the double cheesy burger with a mango shake and medium french fries. The shake was a very generic almost vanilla shake with mango syrup squeezed in. Tasted very bland. It was just about ok. The fries were fresh and hot and I liked them. It comes with a little mayo. Burger was ok, decent and not something you’d tolerate in one of the bigger places like TBJ or Cocoa Tree but still satisfying in a way. I hate that they add lots of ketchup in their burgers – I don’t like ketchup with burgers! Odd since I normally add ketchup with anything and everything. Fried rice, noodles, sandwiches, heck once I even added ketchup to a biryani (I know, kill me).
Light on the wallet and a good choice when you stuck to get something to eat late at night. They have delivery too!
So, off the bat let me tell you that this is a comparison or atleast this post is only about the Indian versions of both these franchises. KFC is an American giant which has a global franchise and reach while Chicking is an Indian owned, Dubai based company that has outlets in India and the UAE but no where else that I know off. They also outgun KFC in the number of outlets in Kochi & Kerala overall. I think KFC has four franchisees in Kochi while ChicKing may have 5 to 6.
Now what matters is the taste. Head to head having had their flagship style batter fried chicken buckets in the last 2 weeks – Chicking two weekends ago and KFC last weekend – I must say that taste wise and even option wise, Chicking seems to be the outright winner. Along with the various options for buckets, they also give you buns, coleslaw, garlic sauce dips and buns. KFC will give you buns & French fries but neither of the other two. Both will give you packets of ketchup. I just feel like as a meal, KFC have to start getting you sauces and coleslaw to make it a real meal especially for family size buckets.
And taste wise Chicking seems to have the edge too. KFC has a bit of a metallic taste in their meat; not too pronounced but just there. Chicking’s chicken meat feels more juicy and fresher compared to KFC. I think they are clear winners!
What three snacks do you always get at the movie theater?
What do you usually get? I always go for the classics – especially since last year (remember, I stopped going to movie theatres from 2005-2016). That’s popcorn and Coke/Pepsi. The popcorn options in Cinepolis and Lulu;s PVR are the same – classic salted, cheese and caramel. I love the flavoured kind so I usually go for either cheese or caramel.
Cinepolis (though they are closed at the moment due to building violations in the mall that they are located in) has a deal with Coke, so when I go there I get Coke. Lulu PVR has Pepsi so I usually get a Pepsi there. There are other soft drinks, cold frappes and coffees too but this what I usually get to drink there and I usually go with the medium size and once in a while I take large.
The third one is obviously candy. Chocolate balls or bars of any kind, though it has been ages since I have bought one in. I would also say that nachos are another option. They offer nachos with dips like salsa and others at these two multiplexes. There are sandwiches and other stuff as well.
Prompt from 31 DAYS OF WRITING PROMPTS FOR MARCH at The SitsGirls
So these are my current favourite non-large chain food joints that I like visiting on a regular basis. I’m sure this list will change over time especially since I haven’t been to a few places like The Grill Lab which I am dying to visit. Anyways, for now this is where I love to chow!
- 360 Degree Pizzeria
- The Burger Junction
- Cocoa Tree
- Lil America
- French Toast
- Cafe 17
- Chai Kofi
- Kashi Art Cafe
- Mash 24
What Is Your Favorite Street?
My favourite street in my hometown is Panampilly Nagar Avenue, the main street of Panampily Nagar which is one of the most happening places in Kochi. This long stretch of road has amazing stuff from the beginning to the end stretch. First of all the road is wide so we have plenty of cars that can pass by, the road is decent in it self and we have plenty of walking space.
We have lots of stores and shops and banks and mobile showrooms, computers and laptop showrooms and plenty of eateries and hotels. The side roads too have these amazing food joints that will tickle your taste buds and keep you wanting more. This place has so many banks, it’s crazy but it’s a prime location as most of the really rich people of Kochi have homes there, including several actors.
This avenue has my favourite hot dog place (Lil America), my favourite burger joint (The Burger Junction), my fav doner place (Doner Kebab), my fav pizza place (360 Degree Pizzeria), my favourite French toast place (French Toast) and ofcourse there is Subway, Ming’s Wok, Zataar and the always good cafe and eatery Cocoa Tree. There’s more but I haven’t been to any of them yet. What more could you want in a street?
Prompt from The Learning Network at The New York Times
It had been several years – more than 18 I think – since I had visited Fort Kochi beach. I haven’t been to Fort Kochi since 2003 when I worked near the beach at a company called Aspin Wall. Having been a frequent visitor for most of my childhood and teenage years, a gap so large just cannot do. I decided to go to Fort Kochi with a cousin and we spent sometime at the beach and went for a little walk. Here are the second set of five pics!
It had been several years – more than 18 I think – since I had visited Fort Kochi beach. I haven’t been to Fort Kochi since 2003 when I worked near the beach at a company called Aspin Wall. Having been a frequent visitor for most of my childhood and teenage years, a gap so large just cannot do. I decided to go to Fort Kochi with a cousin and we spent sometime at the beach and went for a little walk. Here are the first five pics!
I am a bit concerned about the current generation of young boys and girls. I was at a small internet cafe that is located about less than a minute’s walk away from my building. The cafe owner also has digital scanning, photo copying and DTP in the shop plus he also has a few new connections for mobile companies like Airtel and Reliance as well as recharge options for their prepaid customers. As I had a requirement for getting some documents scanned I walked over this morning at around 10 am.
While I was there I waited in line for the scanning as there was a young lady in front of me as well as an older gentleman who had handed over some files to be photocopied and left for a while. After the girl left it was my turn and just then 4 lads of about 17-18 walked in. They must be 17-18 in my opinion though they looked kinda immature for that age as well but one of them had a full scruffy beard so I am guessing they were around 18. And they were loud and obnoxious and talked way too much for anyone’s liking. From their loud talk I got the idea that they were in town to right some exams (perhaps an entrance exam or something) and they wanted to check something online.
These guys have no sense of personal space or any decency or manners! Fucking hell parents in Kerala, what the fuck are you teaching your kids these days? I was never the “perfect gentleman” and neither were my friends but at that age and younger or even older, we knew how to behave in public. I would never be so rude enough to stand at the table and bend over to check what the owner of the cafe was typing. The rudeness is shocking! They can’t stand at a respectful distance from someone else. They won’t know how! They can’t wait their turn and start loudly asking for what they want even if there are people in front of them. And no one else wants to hear your conversation so speak at a lower level you assholes!
Ever since the construction of Kochi Metro began in June 7, 2013 the Kochi residents had a tough time commuting through the city. The Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) barricaded roads and diverted traffic which resulted in traffic blocks and congestions. People had to travel long hours to reach their destinations. The dirt and dust from the construction sites made them sick. Often water and power supply were disrupted when underground pipelines and cables were damaged. There were people who lost their livelihood and businesses due to metro works. Some lost land as the government carried out land acquisition.
It was not easy living in a city which massive construction works took place. However, Kochi Metro Rail Limited is the country’s first government agency to hire transgender people. The PM commended the Kochi Metro’s ‘Make in India’ vision. He also spoke about the importance of a “people-centric approach” to infrastructure development. Nearly 1000 women and 23 transgenders are being selected to work in Kochi Metro rail system. It took 45 months to complete phase 1 – 13kms, 11 stations and the total time it takes from Aluva to Palarivattom is reduced from 45 minutes (in usual traffic) on road to 23.
The full plan for the Metro is to cover 25kms. Each station of the Kochi Metro will showcase a theme, such as maritime history, western ghats as well as the local history of the city, among others. Each station will also have solar panels, which will focus on producing 35 per cent of the total power usage. The construction of the Kochi Metro began in 2013 and was tasked to the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation. The DMRC which was once headed by Mr E Sreedharan, who also acted as an advisor in the new project. According to the Kochi Metro website, the project cost an estimated Rs. 5,180 crore. The fare will vary from a minimum of Rs. 15 to a maximum of Rs. 30.
Apart from the regular tickets, it has also adopted a single card, single timetable and a singular command and control. This debit card along with the Kochi One Mobile App will allow passengers to access all modes of public transportation as well as be utilized for mercantile and internet transactions and will introduce the ‘click and collect’ feature in the near future where goods ordered online can be collected in the metro stations. In November 2016, KMRL began the land acquisition process for an extension of the metro up to Infopark. KMRL will widen the Kakkanad-Infopark corridor to a 22-metre-wide stretch, and construct metro pillars in the centre of the stretch. Palarivattom Junction, Palarivattom Bypass Junction and Collectorate Junction will also be widened. The 11.2 km extension will link Jawaharlal Nehru International Stadium to Infopark via Kakkanad, and is estimated to cost ?2,024 crore (US$310 million).
One of the places that I really wanted to try was Slice of Spice near Saritha theatre. I had seen so many reviews of people praising their food that my taste buds were intrigued. Plus I live quite near them and not having been until today is something that I cannot find an excuse for. Today I wanted to go there for lunch before my usual weekend movie. I skipped breakfast and survived on only coffee and by 12:15 I was so hungry that my pangs made go to SoS and I ordered and sat waiting in anticipation. Things did not go as I planned.
After going through the menu I asked for al shrouf chicken and kubbos. After discussing with one of the servers, as he said that it would take some time, I asked him about what dishes can be brought quickly, and on his suggestion I ordered two pieces of al-fahm and I asked for kubbos. Another server asked me what I wanted to drink and I ordered a lemon iced tea off the menu. Something went wrong in the translation.
They brought me a hot lemon tea which I said I didn’t want. He went back and 10 minutes later said that they didn’t have iced tea. So I ordered cold coffee. Then he brought me two chicken al-fam pieces and….naan. By now, I was too tired to disagree and being famished I started to dig in and my fingers expected juicy flesh of chicken …..and got a nice lathering of oily masala. The chicken was so coated in that masala that I could only taste the chicken in a few sections. Especially on the second piece, the masala was slapped on like — makeup on a clown or the makeup on a kathakali artist! I found it hard to swallow at one point.
I am sharing a pic take of the chicken and my plate at the end of the meal. If you took all that grease and liquefied it, you could lubricate the engines of a couple of cars. Saving grace was the cold coffee which was really good and the mayo that comes with the alfam.
Even though I am so disappointed so many of you have raved about this place, I will go there other day and try something else. Who knows, maybe the chef was having an off day, broke up with his girlfriend and was listening to emo music in anguish as he cooked my meal. But I am not looking forward to tomorrow morning after coffee!
Till next time Slice of Spice.
I have posted about this before, in fact just over a year ago, and I still don’t get it. When did this sudden craze for burgers engulf my city? Ffor decades we had restaurants that served you a small cutlet type patty and called it a burger. Yes they would add some lettuce and onions and tomatoes but that was it. Now – it’s like you are spoiled for choices.
In the last few years many burger joints have popped up in the city and it’s crazy that we have so many choices for really good burgers. And more are coming up all the time. Ok, so let’s go with the fast food chains and the ones that don’t serve any beef products first. We have 3 McDonald’s, 2 Burger Kings (they have mutton instead of beef), 4 KFCs (yes they do serve burgers), 2 MarryBrown (a Malaysia based KFC style food chain that also serves burgers) & 7 Chickings (a Dubai based KFC styled fast food restaurant that also serves burgers). A few cafes like the now defunct Coffee Beanz, Coffee Cube & Fort Cafe serve decent beef & chicken burgers. But now – we have a plethora of burger joints and cafes that serve burgers.
2 x Burger Junction, Mash 24, The Grill Lab, Burger Lab, Burgeria, 3 x Burger Spot and 5 – yes make that 5 – Burger Huts. Really good cafes like Cafe Papaya, 2 x Cocoa Tree, Tonico Cafe etc. have excellent burgers in their menu. Even Cafe Coffee Day, the largest coffee shop chain / giant, who have fallen from grace since their heady days of being the biggest names in town, have resorted to tiny burgers (only chicken or paneer) in their menu but are far from good. So we do not have a lack of options when it comes to burgers beef, chicken or otherwise. But how and why did this phenomenon happen. And why couldn’t it have happened in the 90s?
I went to a Burger Hut for the first time yesterday afternoon. I had heard of this little chain of burger joints for a few months now. Apparently they have 4 outlets in Cochin if I am not mistaken. Kaloor stadium, Ayyappankavu, Padivattom & Kakkanad. That’s 4 outlets that have sprung up in quick time. How have they managed to open 4 outlets, granted that these are small places with minimal seating – the one I went to have 4 tables inside and a couple more outside in their patio.
I chose to go and check them out for a late lunch yesterday on my way to work. The prices are very good, down right cheap if you compare them to almost every place that serves burgers. I ordered the Jumbo cheesy beef, a medium fries and a Pepsi. The burger and fries came to less than Rs.200! Seriously? Ok, but the proof as they say is in the pudding. How will the burgers look and taste? The takeaway menu looks great but when have burgers looked like they way that they are shown in the ads and in paper menus?
15 minutes after I ordered a server brought my red tray with a Pepsi can, a styrofoam bowl filled with fries that came with a small cup of mayo. French fries and mayo? Why not and it was ok, fries were decent but nothing great and the mayo tasted a bit like butter. 2 minutes later came the burger which looked nothing like the menu one. I did not like the bun which was hard on the outside and the burger patties weren’t anything great. They looked a bit too overdone as well though there was plenty of cheese. Overall I’d say it was a 7 maybe a 7.5 outta 10. But wait! For that price? Jumbo cheesy beef is just Rs. 120 and a medium fries comes to Rs.55. Less than 200??? For that rate I will give it a 9. They have a variety of burgers and a few subs. And they deliver. I will frequent them and I hope they do well and their burgers improve in quality. Ignore the menu pics as you know….photoshopped and all that!