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 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 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 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 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 iron bridge lending 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.

Movie In Lulu Mall & Taco Bell Lunch

After 10 months I finally went to Lulu Mall again. I just haven’t wanted to go there in a long while and the main reason is the crowds. I hate crowds, I hate too many people walking around for no reason and blocking your way as they walk in a horizontal row and you can’t pass by. I hate the endless posing around for selfies and stupid, silly smiles and pouts (ugh, get a life). I hate the kids running around unsupervised and making a ruckus. But, I wanted to watch Captain Marvel and since my preferred theater is Lulu Gold PVR (since Cinepolis had to close down due to violating the local fire & safety laws) which is in the mall.

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I woke up by 7 am and got ready by 9 am and waited to catch an Uber which would take me to Edapally. I got there and started getting a bad coughing fit because of some phlegm that was caught in my chest. I cleared my throat and coughed a few times and then looked for a cafe. They have Cafe Coffee Day, Costa Coffee and McDonalds and as Costa Coffee was kinda crowded I went into McDonalds. I had only a little cornflakes for breakfast and a coffee but I was hungry and definitely needed a coffee after all that coughing. So I ordered a Sausage (chicken as there are no beef or pork products in Indian McDonalds) and Egg McMuffin and a medium cappuccino. Ok, McDonald’s now I get the hype. I really liked both.

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After that I went to the washroom and then walked around a bit before it was just 10:20 am and I went to the PVR section, showed them my e-ticket and went to wait for a few minutes. I then got an ice tea (at the counter I was in there had some problem with the soft drinks fountain and only the Lipton ice tea was available. Now, I actually like ice tea and so I got that and a bottle of water and went to sit in my seat. As usual I had the next seat empty (even though it was booked) and there were were a few seats empty. I watched the movie and it finished at 1:15 pm, perfect time for lunch.

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I had wanted to go to Taco Bell ever since I heard about the inauguration of the very first TB outlet in Kerala. I finally got my chance. I went through the menu, not knowing what to get so I finally selected a chicken fajita burrito with Mexican fries and a Pepsi. The burrito and fries were really good and now I have another fast food done. I can’t wait for more from them. I walked a bit in the mall and left by 2:30 pm and was home by 3pm!

Back At Home

All good things must come to an end. Unfortunately, that old saying rings true. My little holiday of 3 days in a nice hotel with absolutely nothing to do and enjoying it came to and end. I woke up by 5 am for some reason and went back to sleep till almost 7 am. I got outta bed and brushed my teeth and washed my face. I then went down by 7:50 am for my final breakfast at the hotel buffet. Today’s breakfast was really good.

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I had small pieces of pineapple & banana, my usual two slices of toast with butter & jam, 2 mini vadas and 1 mini muffin and an omelette (which was better than the other two mornings) with onions, tomatoes and chilies and washed it down with a cold strawberry flavoured milk. I then went back to my room and relaxed for a bit before I had to visit the loo and then take a shower. By 9 am I was ready and called down to the reception for them to get my bill ready. I checked out by 9:30 am, payed the bill (which was mostly the food, coffee, bottles of water and beverages I had) and booked an Uber to come back home.

At home it’s as usual a Sunday as it can be. I listened to music videos for a long time, had lunch, watched the two episodes from the weekend that I had missed – one from The Orville & Star Trek Discovery each – and then watched a movie. I then took a nap for an hour as I was feeling sleepy and the afternoon was hot & humid. This evening is more relaxing until later in the night when I plan to watch another movie. Tomorrow it’s back to work.

Day 3 : Hotel Abaam Stay

This is my third and final full day at the hotel and I am gonna miss this little holiday. Today I woke up after a long 7.5 hours of sleep and feeling like I could sleep for another 3 or 4 if I just shut my eyes. However, I got up and brushed my teeth. I went down to the buffet to have breakfast and had tiny french toast, toast with butter & jam, an omelette and a grape juice to wash that down. Back in my room I had a coffee before I took a shower and shaved.

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By 11:30 am my cousin Sujith dropped by as we planned to have a few drinks in the afternoon. We sat and talked for almost 90 minutes and then went down to the bar and had a couple of vodkas and a beer each. We munched on deep fried beef, French Fries, egg burgi and fish fingers as we sipped our drinks. The bar was a bit of a let down in that it was very basic and bland.

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After that we went back to my room to relax and chill. We talked some more and I suggested that he too remove his shoes and relax on the large bed. We chatted until both of us were falling asleep so Sujith left as he wanted to go home. I said goodbye and took a nap. By 6 pm I woke up and plugged the laptop back in to watch the draw between Tottenham and Arsenal. Very disappointing in the end as we could have sealed a win had the penalty not been saved. 

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Well there end my little sojourn away from work and home. I still have all of Sunday to rest and enjoy at home and I will be working on a 6:30 pm to 3:30 am shift for the next week. I will be online for the rest of the evening and then go to bed. I don’t think I will want any dinner but I would love some more ice cream as dessert. Ordering room service has been fun. I also slept a lot during these three days, with my cousin implicating that it must be a combination of sleep deprivation and tiredness rather than just a nice, comfy bed that is making me sleep a lot more. I have been averaging 8 hours plus 1 or 2 hours of naps during my stay here. Maybe that is what I needed and I will try and do this more often. Cheers!

Day 2 : Hotel Abaam Stay

Well, I am still in the hotel and trying to enjoy my stay. The only drawback of my stay is the tv. In that they have cable but only the shitty channels. None of the ones that I want to watch. It’s a nice enough Samsung tv and 32 inches which is lovely. But they have all the stupid Hindi channels, some Tamil and some Malayalam and a bunch of dumb religious channels, the odd English channel like Discovery and stuff and a few sports channels. But when I checked yesterday and today, only one seems to have football and the others are all showing the same stupid cricket match live! And some of them are all part of the same network!!

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And so I haven’t been able to binge watch on movies like I wanted to. I could watch some movies on my laptop but I just checked and all the movies that I have lined up, I would prefer to watch them on my own 32 smart tv and that can wait until Sunday afternoon and I am back home. Last night I ordered two beers and watched some Youtube as I ate my dinner (sorry no pic of the dinner but I will have a video up later) and then watched a few episodes of Friends (season 8 ). Before I went to bed I had a banana split and then went to sleep by midnight.

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This morning I was awake up 7 am but couldn’t get outta bed until 8 am for some reason. I was a little hung over from the 3 beers I had yesterday (1 in the afternoon) I guess. I waited till 9 and got some coffee and then went down to their buffet for breakfast. I had two slices of toast with butter & jam, some potato stuff, an omelette (which was almost tasteless with hardly any salt or alliance and leicester loan pepper) & cold milk. Then I went back to my room and got a little depressed. For some reason I couldn’t do anything and I left my laptop and went back to bed till noon. I forced myself to get back to watching Youtube and listening to some songs.

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Post lunch, which was the crumb fried chicken breasts you see in this post, with boiled veggies and French Fries, I took a long nap, interrupted by housekeeping asking if I wanted the room cleaned. I was pretty neat so I said, no thank you, but asked them if they had a comb in their complementary toiletries and one of them ran to get me one. I went back to napping and then woke up sweating as I had forgotten to increase the temperature of the ac. It was 4:45 pm by then and I walked into the bathroom and took a dump and then a long shower, which made me feel so great. I love that huge rain shower head. I had coffee and feel so much better now and by 7 pm I want to go to check out their bar.

Day 1 : Hotel Abaam Stay

So, as mentioned before, I am now on Day 1 of my 3 day and 3 night stay in a hotel. The hotel that I choose is a 4 star boutique hotel. It’s not very big but then that’s how I like it. Anyways, I needed a break; a break away from work and from home. So I have 5 days off including my weekend but I have booked myself a room in Abaam for 3 days and 3 nights. I could use the time to just relax and chill in a hotel and enjoy myself.

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The only thing I don’t like about the place is the actual bed. It’s not the kind that I like. It seems to dip in the wrong places and the edges are much harder. As I hadn’t slept all night I took a nap after a lunch of chicken biryani and a beer.

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Everything else seems to be good. Food is good. Beer is priced heavily which is something that I don’t like but that is the case for all mid to high end bars & hotels. So far I have only ordered in room service. Tomorrow I want to check out their bar and coffee shop and maybe on Saturday I will visit their main restaurant.

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Enjoy the pics as I enjoy my beer and my dinner, which is chicken noodles and garlic chicken.

Ava Lounge @ Radisson Blu

One of my wishes for this month was to try out one or two bars in 5 star hotels. It’s been a long time since I’ve been to Radisson Blu. It was back in 2015 when it was still called Dreamz Hotel before the Radisson group took over, that I was in the place for attending an office function and lunch.

So I finally I joined my cousin Sujith, who has been here a couple of times before, to visit the Ava lounge bar. We had Amstel beers, a Long Island Ice Tea each then a 340 ml Budweiser while munching on a couple of plates of delicious Afghani chicken tikka, chicken seekh kabab and tempura prawns.

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When we went in at 12:34 pm the place was empty and we enjoyed the corner table and comfy cushiony seats we had. About an hour later some folks from a wedding party downstairs came in for some wine and beers and other stuff and were making a ruckus. But we still enjoyed the afternoon and I want to come in for more. Enjoy the pics!

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Pics From Dad’s 80th!

Not posting pics of the folks at the function as I decided to protect their privacy and I won’t post them here without the people saying ok (unlike on Facebook, anyone can view the pics here) so here loans long term are a couple of pics at the venue.

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This was the outside of the hall that my sister & I paid for at the BTH Sarovaram in Maradu. It wasn’t expensive and it was airconditioned. A small hall that could fit 40 people easily with chairs and probably even 50.

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LOL, can’t show you pics of the people at the event but I can show you this. This was the stones they placed around the roots of this tree in the grounds. I kinda like these stones and would love to have this if I had a house and a tree in the property.

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Lunch is served and was the traditional Kerala vegetarian meals. And it was really good.

Holiday Meals

So with the Christmas eve and now Christmas day behind us (almost as it’s 9:30 pm on the 25th as I type this), I though I’d share some of what I and my family ate & did during this holiday period. On Monday the 24th, I woke up early and had coffee by 7pm and later at 9am I had my breakfast of 4 dosas with sambar and more coffee. Lunch was light and simple, just some rice with veggies and a bit of fish curry.

I watched The Minions movie and then watched Star Trek First Contact on my tv – which was awesome by the way – and took a light nap. In the evening after coffee and light snacks, my sister came over with her three kids. So we ordered some food – I ordered a shawarma for my niece and two piece alfahm chicken for me with kuboos and mayo. My sister ordered butter chicken & chilli chicken with appams for my dad, mom, my two nephews and herself.

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I also had two beers with my meal, which was delicious by the way. I had two kuboos with the alfam chicken and drank a Sterran beer plus a Kingfisher. The alfaham was great though once it isn’t that hot you do need more mayo as it dries up while trying to eat it with kuboos. After the dinner, I was back in my bedroom on my computer. At night I watched Home Alone, a Christmas movie and one of my 3 ultimate Xmas movies (the other two being Gremlins and Die Hard) and then 2 episodes each of Z Nation and Angel and fell asleep by 4 am.

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This morning I woke up by 11 am and just had coffee. By 1pm my sister and her kids came over for lunch and my sister had made a simple egg fried rice while dad and mom made chicken curry. We ate our fried rice and chicken curry and at the end we had some mango & chocolate chip ice cream which my sister had bought from a store on their way here. Nicely filled I went back to lie down and watched Star Trek Insurrection. I even managed a short nap after the movie. More coffee and chips and then more internet until dinner time which was chappathi and the left over chicken curry.

Budweisers & Food At Golden Dragon

After a long while, my cousin Sujith and I went to Golden Dragon on Saturday afternoon. Our meets have been lesser & lesser this year and with me preferring to stay in and relax at home over the weekend with the folks and order in it was inevitable that our outings will be sparse. We also planned a couple of meetings which fizzled out due to either he or me not feeling well or other things coming up.

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This time we just had to meet and despite the fact that I only woke up at 11 am and met him by 1pm. I also have to work at 3:30 am – because of some fuck up at work – but I still was gonna go to eat some good food and drink a couple of beers with my cousin. We met at Golden Dragon and ordered Budweisers and started with shredded pork and chicken lollipops, both of which were excellent.

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We then had some pepper lamb and more beef in oyster sauce, which was the only dish that wasn’t excellent because it was a bit too salty. One more beer each as we discussed a bit about work, music, movies and Star Trek. After that it was a short walk to Milanos to have banana splits which we didn’t know they had on personal loans for people with poor credit their menu.

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And the banana splits were amazingly rich and sinfully delicious and full. Excellent sundaes!

My New DVD/Book Shelf

IMG_20181125_123124I am surprised that I didn’t post about this sooner. But I did get my new dvd shelf. I guess you can call it a dvd shelf, though most people would call it a bookshelf. There are a couple of things that the carpenter go wrong though. This was custom made but…the shelves are taller than I had asked for. The gap in between was supposed to be shorter so I don’t have waste of space.

Secondly, I had asked for a dark rosewood finish, like some of the shelves that he had shown me at the shop. But two days before they were scheduled to deliver it to me, he called me and said that they ran out of rosewood finish (which I had really liked and thought would look more awesome) but they had black and would that do.

Now, black is the usual default colour for dvd shelves and when I first thought about getting a shelf I had black in mind. But having gone to the furniture store and seen the finished products of the rosewood finish, I was really looking forward to that. But if I had said no and waited for them to get the rosewood finish then it would have been a long wait.

As it was they were late by a couple of days. Initially he had said that week Tuesday (13 Nov) and I said even Wednesday morning would be fine but that was when he called me and said that they didn’t have any rosewood finish remaining. So we settled for Thursday evening but then the carpenter’s mom was taken to the hospital so we decided it would be Friday evening.

Friday the 16th was that major storm we had in Cochin and the rest of the state and he called me to say that they were trying to get it delivered but the storm was so bad. I told him to wait till 5:30 pm and see if the storm eases and if not to abandon it. Saturday was a sudden harthal called so I ended up getting the shelf delivered to me on Monday the 19th of November.

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Here is my small but growing collection of dvd movies that I have started collecting. My main options to buy dvds from are Amazon India and Flipart. I hope to get a nice collection going.

Food, Glorious Food

There was a plan to have a dinner outing from the office this evening. So we had a bigwig coming to India from the Philippines and he wanted to take our team out for dinner. That’s nice but I and two other from my team had 8:30 am shifts and so should we stay back till 11pm when the dinner was supposed to end?

Anyhow, since it’s your boss, your superboss and another bigwig you have to attend. They had picked Zaatar Arabian Restaurant for tonight’s dinner. Well, one of their three outlets. This is a nice place with lots of seating.

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The food was amazing and plentiful and it just kept coming one after the other. What you see in these two pics is just a small portion of the stuff. There was soup, juice, tea and plenty of starters. Mushroom, seasfood, mutton, beef and chicken starters. And then huge kuzhi mandhi and sizzlers and two large platters of chicken.

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We ended up having to parcel a bunch of the food and even cancelled two dishes. The chicken was amazing, the beef was amazing, the seafood was awesome and the mutton in the madhi was succulent beyond belief! Hmmm everything was so good.

This has become a must go to restaurant.