Couchyn at The Grand is a restaurant on Grand Hotel, MG Road Ernakulam in Kochi. It is a preferred destination for several old timers in the city as it is attached to one of the oldest & famous family restaurants in Cochin. A perfect place for wining and dining, drop into enjoy your favorite beverages, cocktails & mocktails. Recommended food pairings are their Trivandrum style chicken, fish fingers, tandoori chicken and French fries.
Blue Rock Resto Bar at Olive Downtown – very cool and awesome location at Kadavanthara. They mix fine dining dishes with fast food and snacks. They have happy hours and offers as well. A tad more expensive than Couchyn. Best pro is that you can get burgers & pizza from the hotel’s cafe downstairs to pair with your beer while you sit in the bar. Recommended is the crispy fried prawns, pork chops & their pizzas.
The Ava Lounge & Bar is hotel Raddison Blu’s bar which is on the 6th floor. Comfy chairs and Couches, thoughtful and polite staff, variety of beer, wine and liquor with a great ambience & service. Decent prices for 5 star hotel however you must go during their happy hours from 11am-4pm. Afghani chicken, tempura prawns and French fries are the only food I have tried from there and I highly recommend them. It tends to get crowded during the evenings and on weekends.
The first week of June always brings about the start of the school year. From the ages of 11 to 15 I studied in a school called Hill Valley High School, grades 6th to 10th. It was a quick walk away from my home and so I didn’t used the school bus or the van that they used for picking up kids who lived more close by. But since I had a couple of friends who also lived near my house, we would meet up at one common point and then walk together to our school, go up the small hilly road and then walk down the mud and stone ridden path to the valley below where our school was built.
Now the problem with this is that the beginning of June also coincides with the start of the monsoon season in our state. Unlike this year where the 1st & the 2nd of June (yesterday & today) has seen sunshine and humidity, the rains are usually in full force in previous years. So usually you see kids huddling under umbrellas and just hoping to make it into the school bus before getting drenched with rain water. Umbrella sales also go up during time as do raincoats. And ofcourse, kids and people do catch colds during this time.
One of my biggest memories of the start of the monsoon season and June is probably when I was in the 8th grade. The first day of school, June 1st was a Tuesday and we were all geared up for going back to school, seeing our friends and the new grade. But the rains gods had other plans and it was pouring down rain from Sunday. And I mean, cats and dogs, someone call Noah, that kind of rain. Now since I walked to school, I took my umbrella and walked under it and braved the winds as I made my way to the school. On the way up, I saw a friend & classmate of mine walking with his younger brother who was in the 6th grade. We walked up and then down to the valley only to be told by the caretaker/security guy that the school would be closed for 2 days. The rains were so heavy that the school got flooded and that it would take a day or two to clean it up.
So the three of us walked back to the main road, having got wet for no reason. As the buses did not go and pick the rest of the kids, they got to know that the school was off for a couple of day. Remember this was back in 1989 and we had no Whatsapp or email to share this info. But yeah, summer vacay got extended for a couple of days for us.
Flooding rains have been lashing the state of Kerala for the past few days which light breaks in between. Some parts of the state have seen some disruption regarding these heavy rainfall activities that have been over the state for quite a while. During the last 48 hours from 8:30 AM on Tuesday, some parts of Kerala recorded three digit rain as well including the cities of Kozhikode where 115 mm of rains were seen and Kannur where 120 mm rainfall was recorded.
Other parts that saw significant rains include Wayanad 63 mm, Karipur 56 mm, Alappuzha 44 mm, and Thiruvananthapuram 31 mm. Cities of Kannur, Kozhikode, Thallasarry, Kasargode, Wayanad, even going down to Thrissur and Palakkad saw some flooding rainfall activities yesterday as well as today. The Cyclonic Cicrulation over the Southern region is still persisting and the offshore vortex has moved a little inside. Thereafter, some relief can be expected only around May 20. Before that, weather conditions will remain rainy and cause some disruption to the residents of North Kerala.
For us here in Kochi, it has rained so heavily throughout the day and especially at night. It is so cold that I am now sitting in my room starting work and drinking hot black coffee without the ceiling fan switched on. I usually cannot even think of switching the fan off while I am in the room, unless the ac is on full blast. But it is that cool.
Significance of Vishu
Vishu is one of the most significant festivals celebrated in Kerala which marks the astrological new year of the Malayalis. On the day of Vishu, the farmers in Kerala begin the ploughing of land and other agricultural activities.
Traditional outfits are a must on Vishu
People usually wear their best outfits on the day of Vishu and women love to adorn themselves with gold ornaments. Men wear the traditional ‘mundu’ along with khadi shirts. The handwoven off-white Kerala saree with golden border is the most preferred outfit for women on Vishu. The saree can be paired with a similar off white and golden border blouse or with any other colored blouse.
Shop for Vishu festival
All the shops in Kerala keep a wide collection of traditional clothes for the occasion of Vishu festival. The online shopping platforms also offer a variety of products ranging from kids clothing, men’s clothing, women’s clothing, home décor, and food items for Vishu festival.
Women spend an entire day before the festival on decoration and preparation of auspicious food items. This is the first thing that devotes see on Vishu. Vishukkani setting includes various items like rice, cucumber, jack fruit, coconut, etc. The most important ingredient is the Konna flower which blooms during the Vishu season. This is followed by one interesting tradition where one member of the family, usually the elderly lights the lamp at dawn, blindfolds other members of the family, and brings them to see the setting of Vishu.
Named after two Latin American fine cocoa farmers, Paul And Mike would love to show you how great fine flavour chocolate can be. They believe that the purest chocolate doesn’t have to be bitter. And that everyone deserves great chocolate. Headquartered in Kochi, Kerala (my hometown) they grow and ferment cocoa on their own farms in Kochi and Coimbatore. Also, they source wet cocoa beans from progressive farmers in Kerala and Andhra and take care of the entire post-harvest operations. The chocolate making unit is based in Kochi, just a km away from their cocoa farm. I’ve been seeing a lot of their brand on websites, Instagram and Facebook and I just had to try them out.
Simba is a craft beer company in India started in 2016 and selling their wares in Goa, Delhi, Bangalore, Assam & Kolkatta. Simba’s Stout is a dark and creamy beer with notes of rich espresso and cacao which we have blended with dark caramel and wrapped in Paul & Mike’s signature Farm to Bar dark chocolate. Simba Stout is actually India’s first bottled craft stout. Paul & Mike in collaboration with Simba Beers bring you a specially crafted chocolate for the beer lover in you. Combining dark beer, dark caramel and dark chocolate- genius! Shaped like beer bottles, the chocolate exterior hides the mouthful of stout inside it’s hollowed middle and oh my gods, you are not ready for that burst of stout that hits the insides of your mouth and tongue when you first bite into it. Really awesome!
I must rate this chocolate an 8.5 outta 10!
I want to give this local company a shout out especially since they make such fine products featuring chocolates. Named after two Latin American fine cocoa farmers, Paul And Mike would love to show you how great fine flavour chocolate can be. They believe that the purest chocolate doesn’t have to be bitter. And that everyone deserves great chocolate. Headquartered in Kochi, Kerala (my hometown) they grow and ferment cocoa on their own farms in Kochi and Coimbatore. Also, they source wet cocoa beans from progressive farmers in Kerala and Andhra and take care of the entire post-harvest operations. The chocolate making unit is based in Kochi, just a km away from their cocoa farm. I’ve been seeing a lot of their brand on websites, Instagram and Facebook and I just had to try them out.
First bar of theirs that I tried, ordered directly off their website was their 64% Dark peppermint Gelato Chocolate! I love the combination of cool mint with crunchy chocolate. The classic chocolate-mint combination, but with a modern twist! They use peppermint leaves and premium-grade peppermint oil to make a high quality artisanal gelato. This intense peppermint gelato is then freeze-dried and sprinkled in the 64% chocolate bar to create this unique chocolate which will leave a lingering aftertaste of real peppermint in your mouth. And it is a great treat for the taste buds and leaves you wanting more & more. I absolutely loved it.
I must rate this chocolate an 8.5 outta 10!
Renowned Malayalam film and stage actor KPAC Lalitha died at the age of 74 on Tuesday at a hospital in Kerala’s Kochi. In a career spanning five decades, she starred in over 550 films in Malayalam and Tamil. She won two National Film Awards for Best Supporting Actress along with four Kerala State Film Awards. She got the national award for the character in ‘Amaram’ in 1999 and for ‘Shantham’ in 2000. She also held the position of the Chairperson of Kerala Sangeetha Nataka Academy for five years.
Born as Maheshwari Amma in Kayamkulam on 25 February 1948, as the eldest among five children. She was honoured with the Filmfare Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2009 Filmfare Awards South. She was married to the late Malayalam filmmaker Bharathan. Her first movie was the film adaptation of Koottukudumbam directed by K. S. Sethumadhavan. In 1978 she married Bharathan, a noted Malayalam film director. She took a break from film acting for sometime, doing only a few films. The second era of her career started with Kattathe Kilikkoodu (1983) directed by her husband. Her pairing with Innocent (actor) was hugely popular with the audience between 1986 and 2006 with successful films like Gajakesariyogam, Apporvam Chillar, Makkal Mahatmiyam, Shubha Yatra, My Dear Muthachan, Kannanum Polisum, Arjunan Pillaiyum Anju Makkalum, Injankaddai Mathan and Sons, Pavam Pavam Rajakumaram.
During this time, she did many critically acclaimed roles In 1998, when her husband Bharathan died, she took a break for a few months, only to come back with an acclaimed performance in Sathyan Anthikkad directed Veendum Chila Veetukaryangal (1999). Lalitha has a daughter Sreekutty and a son Sidharth who debuted as an actor in the movie Nammal, which was directed by Kamal. After a short career in acting, he chose a career in film direction. In 2012, he made his directorial debut with Nidra, which is the remake of 1984 film with the same title written and directed by his father Bharathan. She published an autobiography, titled Katha Thudarum, which won the Cherukad Award in 2013.
Heavy rains hammer Kerala, IMD issues red alert for three districts. The rains led to water level in various dams in the state rising to the red alert mark, prompting the authorities to open one of the shutters of Cheruthoni dam of Idukki reservoir. The India Meteorological Department (IMD) on Sunday issued a red alert in Kerala’s central districts of Ernakulam, Idukki and Thrissur for the day even as heavy rains continue to hammer parts of Kerala since Saturday night.
Heavy rains led to water level in various dams in the state rising to the red alert mark, prompting the authorities to open one of the shutters of Cheruthoni dam of Idukki reservoir in the afternoon. In its latest updates issued this afternoon, the IMD said that light to moderate rainfall with isolated extremely heavy falls are very likely over south Kerala and Tamilnadu on Sunday (14th November) and isolated very heavy rainfall over Kerala on Monday 15th (November).
The heavy rains inundated roads in several parts of southern Kerala, which also saw landslides in some parts. It has been a hot meals and lots of hot black coffee day for me. I watched a movie in the afternoon and might watch another on a little later. Nothing special or major for our meals but just hot and quick.
The green chromide is a species of cichlid fish that is native to fresh and brackish water habitats in some parts in India such as Kerala, Goa, Chilika Lake in Odisha and Sri Lanka. It is also called pearlspot and in Kerala’s native language of Malayalam it is called karimeen. I think it is safe to call it Kerala’s most favourite fish to eat as it is a popular food fish and it is considered a delicacy. In 2010 this species was named the official state fish of Kerala. The following year was declared “The Year of the Karimeen”. Karimeen pollichatthu, a fried dish, is a delicacy served in restaurants.
At the toddy shops in the state, it is shallow fried in coconut oil. This recipe comes from one such toddy shop.
- 4 Karimeen or pearl spot fish, cleaned and with head intact
- 2 tbsp ginger-garlic paste
- 2 tbsp red chilli powder
- 1 tsp pepper powder
- 1 tsp lemon juice
- 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
- Salt to taste
- Coconut oil for frying
- In a bowl, mix the ginger-garlic paste, turmeric, red chilli, pepper, salt and lemon juice.
- Smear the masala on the Karimeen and leave for 30 minutes.
- Deep fry in coconut oil. Serve hot.
You can also try the karimeen pollichathu version – marinating the fish with lime juice, turmeric, black pepper, Kashmiri red chilli powder and salt, coconut oil, ginger, garlic, onion, tomato, curry leaves and green chillies in it and then wrapping it up in a banana leaf and cooking it. Or you can also try a karimeen curry, simmered with spices and coconut milk and is flavorful and delicious or make it a spicy one.
Either way that you make it, it is a very tasty fish. My favourite way is the fried version but pollichathu is also pretty good. Goes well with beer or any liquor as well as rice and veggies.
Versatile Malayalam film actor Nedumudi Venu passed away earlier today. He died on 11 October 2021, at a private hospital in Thiruvananthapuram due to post-COVID-19 complications. He was also battling stomach-related ailments for the past few months. He was aged 73.
Kesavan Venugopal (22 May 1948 – 11 October 2021), known popularly by his stage name Nedumudi Venu, was an Indian film actor from Kerala, who predominantly worked in the Malayalam Cinema. He acted in more than 500 films, primarily in Malayalam and also in Tamil. He wrote screenplays and directed one film. He won three National Film Awards and six Kerala State Film Awards for his various performances.
Venu started his career in theater and went on to act in films. He was a member of Kavalam Narayana Panicker’s dramas. He debuted in the film Thambu (1978), by director G Aravindan. His acting skills were showcased in the Bharathan film Aaravam. Padmarajan’s Oridathoru Phayalwan and Kallan Pavithran set a milestone for him. It marked his start in Karanavar (head of the family) roles, which included most of his memorable performances.
Venu wrote scripts for movies. He wrote the stories for the films Kattathe Kilikkoodu, Theertham, Sruthi, Ambada Njaane!, Oru Katha Oru Nunnakkatha, Savidham and Angane Oru Avadhikkalathu. He also tried his hand in direction with Pooram. He acted in a few Tamil films with director Shankar, such as Kamal Hasan’s Indian and Vikram’s Anniyan.
So it’s the weekend and you have your family & you feeling hungry. You wanna watch a football match on tv or a movie with the family and you don’t want to waste time in cooking. What do you do? You order in food from Chicking. What is Chicking?
Chicking is a fast food restuarant chain very similar to KFC and that was launched in the year 2000 in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. since then, the brand has grown to become extremely popular in 23+ countries with more than 180+ outlets. In India First outlet opened in MG Road and now spread more than 56 outlets including Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Mumbai & Delhi, serving families and alternate to KFC and other Southern Fried Chicken outlets.
While their main flagship item is the southern fried or batter fried chicken buckets and the sandwiches or chicken burgers, they do have a lot of other options on their menu. They also have chicken wraps and subs and recently introduced tacos. The Mexita is a good sub sandwich. They have chicken nuggets & popcorn chicken as well as chicken strips. They have a decent veggie section which are mostly based on their chicken counterparts.
Along with their batter fried chicken they also have flame grilled chicken though it isn’t as good as it used to be. They have rice bowls with chicken in them and they also have some decent pizzas. I think I will do a separate post on their pizzas as I am planning a pizza series for various options in Cochin. But they they do have a few. And they mostly have Coke & 7Up as well as a couple of virgin mojitos. Overall, something for the whole family.
The Kerala government is mulling to execute a new COVID protocol to regulate crowding and avoid complete lockdown in the state. A health expert committ..committee will prepare recommendations for the new COVID protocol as directed by the Chief Minister. With this, the government will quash the weekend lockdown and restrictions on alternate days. A final decision in this regard will be taken in the review meeting on Tuesday.
The government has been facing harsh criticism over the unscientific restrictions which increase chances of crowding. Observing this, the government has decided to revise the protocol. The expert committee has opined that there is no need to impose restrictions across the state based on COVID Test Positivity Rate and the number of patients. Instead of this, restrictions will be imposed by identifying micro-containment zones based on TPR. The committee also recommended to cancel the weekend lockdown as observing that it increases the rush on Friday and Monday.
Shops that are allowed to function three days a week will be allowed to open every day. Restriction on working hours of shops will be cancelled. Meanwhile, strict restrictions will be in place for weddings, death and other public gatherings. The government will take strict action to avoid crowding after revising the protocol.Along with intensifying police surveillance, efforts will be taken to increase COVID tests. Though the state has been reporting a surge in COVID cases, the number of people under treatment in hospitals were not increased.
It is hinted that the vaccination helped the patients to avoid complications after contracting the virus infection. Hence, the government is planning to vaccinate more people in the coming days. A high-level committee headed by the Chief Secretary will discuss the recommendations of the health expert committee. Following this, the government will enforce the new COVID protocol. As Onam rounds the corner, the government will be more scrupulous in taking the final decision.
Kerala is learnt to have decided against lifting the weekend lockdown and other restrictions, even as relaxations allowed in view of Bakrid end today (Tuesday). Adverse remarks from the Supreme Court in the morning weighed on the government while arriving at this decision a few hours later.
The Supreme Court had termed the relaxations as ‘wholly uncalled for’ even in areas having a high Covid-19 positivity rate and warned that it will take action if the easing of curbs leads to further spread of the virus. It went on to pull up the government for giving in to pressure from traders and said it represented a ‘sorry state of affairs.’
The three-day relaxations did not apply where the Covid test positivity rate was above 15 per cent and where a triple lockdown was in effect. In local self-government jurisdictions where the TPR is lower across A, B and C categories, shops selling essential goods can open for business today.
The government was under pressure from the trading community, represented by the Kerala Vyapara Vyavasayi Ekopana Samithi (KVVES), which had dared to take it on by openly flouting the lockdown that had caused huge economic loss to them. The KVVES has been arguing with ‘some logic and even more empathy’ that the ‘unscientific’ implementation of the weekend lockdowns had led to avoidable crowding during the rest of the weekdays. It had hardly had any salutary effect on the TPR.
Liquor bars in Kerala have resumed operations from Monday though only beer and wine will be sold for now. They were closed nearly a week ago, soon after the latest Covid unlock had commenced, in protest over the hike in warehouse charges by the Beverages Corporation or Bevco which is the wholesale seller of liquor in the State. Bar owners on Monday said no liquor will be sold at bars till their demands are met. The exception has been made for beer as it cannot be sold after the expiry date.
The president of the Federation of Kerala Hotels Associations, V Sunil Kumar, said private bars could resume parcel service only if the government took a decision favourable to them. More than 800 bars and 40 liquor outlets of the Consumerfed across Kerala had shut operations this month citing financial loss. The outlets turned sick as the Bevco increased its warehouse rate and slashed the profit margin of retailers. Bevco had raised the warehouse charge for bars from 8% to 25% and for Consumerfed from 8% to 20%.
Bevco justified the move saying that the increase was needed to recoup the loss it faced during the COVID lockdowns. Following the move, the bars and Consumerfed liquor outlets decided to cease operations from June 21, three days after the sale of liquor had resumed in the state. The profit margin of retail outlets fell to three per cent from 20% after Bevco increased its warehouse rate. Private bar owners said they would incur a loss of Rs 9,000 while selling liquor worth Rs 1 lakh under the revised Bevco rate.
All bars in Kerala will remain indefinitely shut starting from Monday, in protest against a decision by the Kerala State Beverages Corporation Limiter or Bevco to increase their wholesale profit margin on the sale of liquor provided to consumerfed and bar hotels from its warehouses. The profit margin has been increased from 8% to 20% and 25% on the sale of liquor from Bevco’s warehouses to bars and the consumerfed. However, the bars have not been allowed to increase retail prices on sale of liquor, despite this increase in profit margin. This has led the bar owners to protest, as the move will eat into their profits.
According to reports, the government had allowed bars to sell liquor as take away since June 17. However the purchase rate of alcohol for bars was higher than its MRP, forcing bars to sell their liquor at a loss. For the lowest priced rum, the purchase rate for the bar is Rs 611 per bottle while it’s MRP is fixed at Rs 600. Pointing out that it is the buyer who eventually pays the high tab, an office bearer said that Bevco buys the liquor at a much lower rate and sells it to bars at a wholesale price including taxes and profits.
Speaking to the media, office bearers of the Federation of Kerala Hotels Association said that Bevco’s decision will negatively affect hotel bars as it will lead to a significant drop in their profit margins. They also said that it would be tough to run the bars with these profit margins in a scenario where the bars are already hit hard by the pandemic. The federation has approached the state government, which has assured that it will look into the concerns of bar owners. Until the government takes action on the issue, the federation has decided to stop the sale of liquor from bars in Kerala.
Ah it’s some good news! Kerala will get to see more relaxations starting today as the state government decided to ease lockdown restrictions that were placed to check the spread of Covid-19. Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said there would be relaxation on curbs in the state, based on the average weekly Test Positivity Rate in Local Self Government bodies. He also said that strict restrictions will continue in the state during the weekend.
- Shops selling essential goods to open every day from 7 AM to 7 PM
- State-run beverages outlets will reopen in a restricted manner.
- Activities in the industrial and agricultural sectors will be allowed in all local bodies. Transportation will be provided to workers in these areas.
- Akshaya Kendras will be open from Monday to Friday.
- Central and state government offices, Public Sector Undertakings, government companies, Commissions, corporations and autonomous institutions will be allowed to operate with 25 per cent staff on a rotation basis
- Private companies will be allowed to operate with 50 per cent of employees.
- The Secretariat would function with up to 50 per cent of the staff on a rotation basis.
- Public transport would be allowed on a limited basis
- Banks would continue to operate only on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.
- The number of those participating in weddings and funeral services will continue to be limited to 20.
- No social gatherings or public events will be allowed.
- Restaurants will be allowed to offer only home deliveries and takeaways.
- Tourism, recreation and indoor activities in crowded areas, including malls, would not be allowed.
- BEVCO outlets and bars can open from 9 AM to 7 PM and slots should be booked through the app.
The lockdown in Kerala, which was to have ended on June 9, has been extended by a week till June 16. There will be a complete lockdown with no movement allowed on June 12 and 13, an order by the Kerala Chief Minister’s Office said. Stores selling essential commodities, raw materials for industries (including packaging), construction materials and banks will continue to function as they are doing now, it added.
The Covid death toll in the state crossed the 10,000 mark on Monday. In a statement issued here, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said that 9,313 people turned positive after 70,569 samples were sent for testing in the past 24 hours, taking the total active cases to 1,47,830. The day saw 221 Covid deaths, taking the total death toll to 10,157. Vijayan had, last month, warned that the death rate has every chance to go up as the number of daily cases last month had crossed 40,000. The lockdown extension came though last week indicating that the stringent restrictions would be withdrawn if the test positivity rate for three successive days comes below 15 per cent and the total number of active case drops below two lakh.
But despite the two parameters being accomplished and Monday’s TPR at 13.20 per cent, the high-level official meeting here decided to extend the lockdown till June 16. The day, however, saw 21,921 people turn negative, taking the total cured to 24,83,992. Across the state there were 6,32,868 people under observation which included 39,061 people in hospitals, while the state had 889 hotspots.
We been having continuous rain, heavy rain for the most part, non-stop since yesterday evening. It’s been 24 hours now since the rain started. We are experiencing this following cyclonic storm prediction by the India Meteorological Department (IMD). The storm is expected to hit Kerala in the next 18-22 hours. For Kerala, the department has predicted heavy to very heavy rainfall at a few places with extremely heavy falls at isolated places on May 14-15 and heavy to very heavy falls at isolated places on May 16 and 17.
Sea conditions will be rough to very rough over Comorin area and along and off Kerala coast on 14th and 15th, very rough to High over east central Arabian Sea along and off Karnataka coast on 15th May and Maharashtra – Goa coasts on 15th & 16th May. It is very likely to be very rough to High over northeast Arabian Sea along & off south Gujarat coast from 17th May morning. The IMD has also issued a red alert in five other districts for Saturday– Malappuram, Kozhikode, Wayanad, Kannur and Kasaragod. Located near Lakshadweep, the low pressure will move in a north-westerly direction gaining enough speed by Sunday.
Many areas in south Kerala have been witnessing heavy rainfall and strong winds since morning and high tide has been reported in several coastal areas. The Kerala Disaster Management Authority has also advised people to remain indoors and take enough safeguard against lightning, thunder, strong winds and heavy downpour. Many low-lying areas in Thiruvananthapuram have been submerged due to incessant rain, revenue authorities said.