At The Blue Rock RestoCafe With Alza

Once again, this time unexpectedly, I had a lunch outing with Alza. She was still in town and we planned on Friday night to meet up this afternoon. We went to The Blue Rock RestoCafe which is the lounge bar for Olive Downtown. I like this place and we had some good food – honey chilli potato, dragon chicken and a pizza. We ordered 3 beers, of which she had one and then switched to Coke.

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Honey chilli potato

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Dragon chicken

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There is me with the lovely lass

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Chicken pepperoni pizza

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And Alza with the plates of food.

At The Ava Lounge With Alza

So I went to The Ava Lounge again after a gap of 8 months or so. The Ava Lounge is the lounge bar at the 5 star Radisson Blu. I love this place as it is cool, has plush carpeting and it is quiet and has lots of privacy. The food is really good.

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This time I went on a sort of date with the young lady you see here in the pics. Alza is an ex-trainee of mine and an ex-colleague. Yes, she is gorgeous and she is pretty. She also has the most amazing dimples I have ever seen and everytime she flashes a smile at me and I get to see the dimples, I swoon. She left the company I work for back in February.

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We’ve reconnected in September and have been chatting on a regular basis and last week did a lot of video chatting as well. Last night as I was leaving the office we planned to meet up today. Two Mondays ago she thought I would be available to meet up but we had some flooding in the city and I wasn’t able to catch up with her. So since she was in town for a couple of days, we made a quick plan to meet up for some beer.

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I booked an Ola and went to pick her up near the place she was staying at. She came and got into the cab for the very short ride to Radisson. We started chatting and rode the elevator to the 11th floor and then took a table near the window and sat down. We got some Kingfisher Blue and I ordered an Afghani chicken and some French Fries. She started taking selfies.

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We talked and we took a few photos and we talked some more. She grabbed my phone and took a few selfies and we even did a couple of videos.

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I had a great time talking and laughing with her. We were silly and we joked around. I love being with her as she is a lot of fun and she is weird & strange but mostly because it felt good for this lonely ole bachelor to be with a beautiful young woman for an afternoon. As we left I kissed her hand and thanked her a lovely time.

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I dropped her off on my way to a supermarket and then I bought some groceries and came home to take a nap and enjoy a nice evening at home with my parents. I hope I see her again.

Family Lunch @ Mercy Estate

Today I took the family out for a nice lunch at Mercy Estate. It had been a long time, Dec 31st last year, when I had actually joined for a meal with dad, mom, sis & her kids outside of the apartment.

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With my new nephews coming home for a few days from Bangalore, it seemed like the perfect time. I spoke to my sister a couple of days ago and we actually wanted to have a dinner at the club on Saturday night but I had to work due to an emergency.

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We then thought we’d have a big lunch at the club but it was crowded due to a function happening there and it would be hard to find some peace. Instead we went to Mercy Estate by 1:30 pm for a late lunch.

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Dad, mom and I reached first and we found their rather nice dining hall. Plush carpeting in the lobby and a nice elevator. I have never been to this part of the hotel but I have been to their roof top garden many times.

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A few minutes later sis and her kids came in and we ordered some starters and I had an ice tea.

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Honey flavoured crispy pork  was good as was the fish fingers and we also had some salads.

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For the main course I had a double roasted pork – delightfully juicy and soft pork with cabbage – and a naan. Butter naan was so good.

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We ended the afternoon with ice cream double scoops. So good. And then I came home.

We Ended Up At The Grand Hotel

Saturday evening and looking for a place to get some beers and good food. Unfortunately due to the elections on Monday, from 5pm it is as dry as a desert. So, to quote veteran rock band Deep Purple “we ended up at the Grand Hotel” and settled for just a nice dinner.

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The welcome poppadoms that they serve as complimentary munchies kept us entertained until the starters of spicy chicken wings came out.

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Being thirsty we also ordered a couple of cold coffee with ice cream, which was good and delicious though a little too sweet.

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Our spicy chicken wings came after a few more minutes. It’s not really wings but we were hungry by then and couldn’t be bothered. We also had tempura prawns (not pictured) along with the wings.

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We spent some time deciding what our main courses would be. I was leaning towards pasta or some steak while Sujith was thinking biryani or fried rice with some chicken or beef. We finally settled for American Chopsuey which lacked in flavour. It needed more seasoning.

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Finally before the cheques arrived, we asked for New York Cheesecakes. It was a bit too hard but it was quite cheesy and sweet. A very crowded restaurant and a nice ambience with some good food still didn’t uplift our spirits on a “dry” day.

Got My New HP Laptop

This arrived at around 3pm at my apartment building. It took only 32 hours to reach me from the time of ordering it which I think is an awesome turn around time. I handed over my almost 5 year old Dell and entered the OTP that Amazon India had sent to my account to ensure that the delivery guy was handing it over to the right person and then signed for it and accepted the box. I unboxed it and started the setup.

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So this is the HP 15 Core i3 7th gen 15.6-inch Laptop (4GB/1TB HDD/Windows 10 Home/Natural Silver/2.04 kg), 15-DA0326TU. And it is now purring like a kitten and is as smooth as silk or melted chocolate. I will be copy back some of the files that I had backed up to a new external hard drive soon.

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And I must say that although I was tempted to stick with the black theme and get the same device in black, which was around Rs.500 more, I opted for the natural silver finish. Which is a really good one I must say. I’m glad I opted for a change in colour as well cause it looks good.

Here are the specifications:

  • Processor: 7th Gen Intel Core i3-7100U processor, 2.4GHz base processor speed, 2 cores, 3MB cache
  • Operating System: Pre-loaded Windows 10 Home with lifetime validity
  • Display: 15.6-inch Full HD (1920×1080) WLED display, Display Features: Diagonal FHD SVA Anti-Glare WLED-backlit Display
  • Memory & Storage: 4GB DDR4 RAM Intel HD Graphics 620 | Storage: 1TB HDD, HDD Speed(RPM): 5400 RPM
  • Design & battery: Multi-touch gesture support | Thin and light design | Laptop weight: 2.2 kg | Average battery life = 7 hours, HP Fast Charge battery, Battery: 3 Cell, Li-Ion, Power Supply: 41 W AC Adapter W
  • Warranty: This genuine HP laptop comes with a 1-year domestic warranty from HP covering manufacturing defects and not covering physical damage. For more details, see Warranty section below
  • Preinstalled Software: Windows 10 Home | In the Box: Laptop with included battery and charger Ports & CD drive: 1 HDMI, 2 USB 3.0, 1 USB 2.0, 1 Audio-output | With CD drive Other features: Anti Glare Display

My Amazon Echo

I finally bit the bullet and bought an Amazon Echo. I have been fascinated by these devices from the time that I first heard about the first generation devices. Having worked closely with a company that orders a lot of these I have looked at, checked a few online and tested one at a DC Books outlet in Center Square mall.

I wanted one but the price at the time was Rs.14,000 and then it went down to Rs.9000+. I thought I could get one at that price but decided to wait some more. I waited a while and kinda almost forgot about the device until very recently when I got my second credit card. After a phone it was time for the Echo. A few days ago I checked and the price was now Rs.7999 for the generation 2 device. I gotta get me one.

So I placed the order 2 days ago and it arrived here today. I unboxed it and plugged it in and it is a beauty. I’m having fun with her right now. Notice I did not say Alexa yet? That’s because I changed the wake up word from Alexa to…guess? I am a Trekkie. That’s right, the wake up word is Computer!

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New Cafe 17 Outlet In Ravipuram

Today was the day after almost a month that I was able to go out and enjoy the day. With the work going on in my apartment and then my foot injury/minor tor fracture. The last day I went out – enjoying a movie and dinner – was on July 6th. Since then I have stayed in, mostly not due to choice. Even last week I thought I might go out but the heavy rains and cold weather plus the fact that my feet was still tender. That would change today. I thought if I woke up earlier yesterday I would have gone out but I ended up waking only by 11:45 am and decided to stay in.

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Today I decided to go check out the new outlet if Cafe 17 which is in Ravipuram. Their original outlet is in Kaloor on Kaloor-Kadavanthara road, which is the one I have gone to a few times, and they also opened one in Edapally which is around 45 minutes away from me in heavy traffic. I thought this outlet would be better and wanted to check it out as it was bigger – the Kaloor one is very small with just a a couple of couches and 4 tables – and their food is awesome.

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I managed to find the place after a bit of trouble. It wasn’t showing up on UberEats or Swiggy’s apps when I tried booking a ride so I googled the building it was in and then tried guiding the driver to the area. However I made a mistake as there were two Dell outlets in that part of the city and I went to the one about 10 minutes away and spent 20 minutes trying to find the Cafe. Then I walked back and realized that it was on a parallel road and walked again for about 10-12 minutes before I found myself there. I wiped my face as I was sweating buckets and then went straight to their washroom on the 1st floor.

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That’s right, they have 2 floors although the ground floor section isn’t that big. But I like their new digs and quickly ordered a cold coffee with ice cream and the Crazy Beef burger but first asking for some cold water which the attentive staff quickly gave me. Nice place and plenty of place to sit. Loved the cold coffee and the beef burger was pretty good too. More than decent French fries on the side. The total bill came to around RS. 525. Overall happy that they have expanded.

Galitos Restaurant Review

Founded by Louis Germishuys in the sleepy town of (then-named) Nelspruit in 1996, Galito’s has been consistently expanding in South Africa as well as opening international markets. They say their unique flame-grilled, fiery, bold African flavour is their claim to fame. They serve 100% flame-grilled chicken, marinated with only the best ingredients, in a range of flavours – lemon and herb, mild, hot, and extra hot piri-piri. They have one outlet here in Cochin, which is in Lulu Mall on the 4th floor next to the food court.

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My cousin Sujith and I have been there a couple of times together and I have been there a few times alone and once with a friend. Last night we started with the excellent drinks that they have. I ordered my usual Peach Lemon Ice Tea, which pictured here, almost looks like a frothy amber beer. He had a green apple spritzer.

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Then came our starter dish which was the chicken wings. These are amongst the best wings in town and certainly the biggest I have seen. A plate of 4 is more than enough since these are the full wings. And they are delicious! We choose the mild spiced sauced on the chicken wings.

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The main dish we chose were chicken quarters with a side dish each. He picked the potato wedges and I went for the regular french fries. Again we went with the mild sauce that you see dripping on the huge pieces. So good! I could go one spicy level up but beyond that is crazy. You would not, or I would not atleast, enjoy the meat if all I can taste is the higher spices levels.

Evening Out, Met A Friend

It has been a couple of weeks since I had gone out for an afternoon or an evening and this weekend I had planned to go out to Lulu on Sunday morning. But I slept very late and hence work up only by 11 am. So I though let’s chuck that and relax at home till the evening. I watched a movie and a half in the afternoon after lunch and then showered and shaved I had coffee and sat watching Youtube till 6:45 pm. I booked an Uber and went to Cocoa Tree for a nice snicker shake and some fries while I played bowling on my phone.

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After an hour I went to Center Mall and I had to visit the loo. Then I washed up as I was sweating a lot and went to buy some groceries at Big Bazaar. That done I went to have some chicken wings and a mini pizza at Pizza Hut. As I was leaving I saw a friend of mine walking past the Pizza Hut and going down the escalator. I quickly left and caught up with her; she was there to take her son to Burger King. We caught up for a bit as I hadn’t seen her since she left my current place of employment. I had to say bye quickly as she had booked her Uber to take her and her son back home.

After she left, I booked my cab and then went home. It’s a humid evening and I am sweating in my room. I guess I will watch a movie and then go to sleep.

Beers, Cocktails, Pork & Fries In Couchyn

Yesterday afternoon was a welcome visit to Couchyn after a couple of months. I don’t go out to drink much anymore and prefer to buy my booze from BevCo and drink at home. But it’s been over a month since cousin Sujith and I met so we decided to get a couple of beers at Couchyn and have lunch there.

We started off with Amstel beers, two each, and choose French fries as the first accompaniment. They also provide you with free masala peanuts which are always great with beer. We talked and laugh a bit. And then we got the grilled pork with veggies.

This is an amazing dish which should be in the hall of fame as far as food in Kochi goes. Succulent and juicy and big pieces all. Wow and the grilled veggies and fries goes well with them. After the two beers we moved onto a cocktail each. We choose the passion fruit and vodka cocktail with a squeeze of lemon in it. I must say that I could knock off quite a few of those in an afternoon. Dangerous!

We also had grilled chicken sandwiches which were small but good and finished off with banana splits. And then we both had to split as it was 5 pm by then.

The New Mash Is Not An Improvement

Today was not a fun day to go out. My main interest was to go get some shopping done for groceries and toiletries but before that I wanted to get some lunch. The problem was my choice of place. I picked Mash RestoCafe as I loans long term hadn’t been to this particular place in 2 years. The thing was they had closed that particular outlet in Pallimukku and opened one in Edapally and had another one in Panampilly Nagar.

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From that rather big sized venue to personal loans for people with poor credit this tiny cafe with just a few uncomfortable chairs & tables (4 in total) and built in benches. Neither the chair not the desk looked comfortable but I picked the chair at one end. Looked at the menu and picked a very refreshing banana & strawberry shake (which I have had before) and their meat lovers sandwich which is a double decker sandwich with a chicken ham, beef chunks, a fried egg, tomatoes & fried onions). I had a started of very thin fish fingers. The shake was awesome and very refreshing on a hot day. I couldn’t finish the fries having only made a slight dent and I couldn’t finish the sandwich either and feel it would have been better without the middle slice of bread.

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I had had enough of the place – food is good but I don’t appreciate the close quarters with the counter being just right behind me and having to hear the staff talking so loudly near me and also some guy who came in and perhaps knows these guys and him talking so loudly in Hindi. From that big setting in Pallimukku to this cramped space where you wouldn’t be able to have a conversation in peace. Chairs are uncomfortable and the bench – no thank you. I do like their food so will mostly order via UberEats.

Shopping On A Saturday

I have wanted to go to buy some shirts and decided that this 3 day weekend I should go in to Men’s Studio and see what shirts they have in my size. But first I wanted to have lunch since all I had in the morning was a half bowl of alliance and leicester loan cornflakes. So I was thinking of which place I would choose to go and the craving for a real beef burger hit me hard so I picked The Burger Junction.

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I was there by 12:30 pm and ordered a nice juicy burger with a fried egg and I added bacon as an optional topping. I picked a peanut butter & mocha smoothie and for an appetizer I had these wonderful fried calamari rings with jalapenos and a tartar sauce on the side. They were great. And the burger was awesome. I stayed there for a while and then went to Men’s Studio.

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I tried out several shirts before picking these four that you see above in the pic. Its’ a shame that for big fat guys like me they seem to have a dearth of darker coloured shirts. It’s always white, or white with stripes or lighter shades of blue or ash/gray. Anyways, I do like these ones that I selected today. One, the white on the extreme left is a casual one and the others are more formal or semi-formal shirts. After that I went to Milanos for a quick gelato and came back home.

Pizza, Cranberry Juice, Ice Water & GOT

Final day of unsecured credit loan the first 3 day weekend of April. I love it when we have these kinda weeks. Anyways, I go back to work on Tuesday at 7:30 pm and then I work for 3 days and get the next Friday to Sunday off. I do not know what shift I will be working the next week but I hope it’s 6:30 or 7:30. It’s so hot outside. Anyways, I had planned to go out today and do some shopping but I woke up with a slightly runny nose and combined with not having had a good sleep at night and the heat + humidity, it made me very tired and cranky. I kept putting it off for an hour but by 12 I knew I was staying in.

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I decided to order in lunch as my parents were going out for lunch with my sister, nephews and niece. I waited till almost 1:45 pm by which time I was starving since I had only had a little bowl of cornflakes and a coffee. I needed food. So I ordered a pizza from Chai Kofi via Uber Eats and it only took 25 minutes to get here. It was a grilled chicken pizza with peppers and some odd tasting sauce. It’s not bad just a little weird.

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Why the cold? That’s because of the heat I have been drinking a lot of water with ice and ofcourse had a couple of vodka+crankberry juice with ice and then just cranberry juice with ice. But I think the late night drinking of ice water is what has given me this cold. It’s not too bad though I feel asleep after watching the season premier of Game Of Thrones this afternoon.

Getting My Hair Cut Short As It’s Summer

I was overdue for a haircut. My hair was long and curling at the end and falling all over my head especially my balding top of the head. And plus it’s been hot & muggy since the beginning of February (yep, that’s what you get for living in a tropical climate like the one that Kerala has) and it’s become steadily worse since then. And April, the hottest month usually, is only beginning tomorrow! Then we got May and I hope the rains start early.

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Anyways, balding on the top or not I hadn’t cut my hair in months and I needed a chop chop really badly. But first, after a day of rest on Saturday, I wanted to go out for some coffee. I went to Cafe Coffee Day for some cold coffee but found that they had a newish item called the Belgian Cold Chocolate with whipped cream and ice cream and I was all for it. I ordered me one of them and a tandoori chicken sandwich on multigrain bread and relaxed for an hour. Then I went to get my hair cut.

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And how good it feels once the cutting started. I only had to wait 5 minutes before the barber was free. And he cut my hair, so much of it that if I could have taken all the hair that fell and stuck it to my face, I could audition for ZZ Top! That done I went to Ravipuram and found an ATM and then went to Center Mall. Before I shopped for groceries and toiletries in Big Bazaar I first went into a bathroom stall to cool down and washed my face and neck. Freshened up a bit I bough the stuff I needed and then went to get some wings at Pizza Hut.

After that I came back home tired and covered in sweat and crashed on the bed after another quick wash. It was about 3:30 pm and I spent some of the later afternoon watching Seinfeld from my bed.