Eating Out, Food, Random Things of Interest, restaurant review

Discovering: Haute Couture Toast

The current scene in the Bay Area region is very much hipster (as known by all residents of the world). Gone were the days when toast just referred to that brown piece of cardboard popping out of the toaster. Artisanal bread, topped with what may seem like “mundane” toppings – cheese, jam, nuts and fruits is all the rage. And oh no, not just regular jam, but jam made with organic farmed fruits, farm fresh cheese and nuts. I wanted to experience this trend as much as I could before people realized that they were just getting excited about bread, and jumped on a newer, more basic bandwagon.

[Listen to this piece by This American Life. Read this article in The New Yorker.]

I had read about a couple of popular places that embody this trend . The Husband who struggles to be up to date with the hipster world stumbled upon a cafe late last year and described (failingly) the amazing breakfast he had that featured fruits on toast. After surfing Yelp I decided that I needed to experience this new trend. Hence I was led to farm:table (reads farm to table not farm *cricket sound* table as pronounce by a noob (not me)).

Farm:table is a tiny, Harry Potter’s-bedroom-under-the-stairs sized cafe? restaurant? breakfast area. While there is a little more variety in the menu by way of croissants, eggs and pastries the star of this establishment is toasted bread (varies daily) generously slathered with butter, topped with mascaporne cheese and assorted fruits, with a sprinkle of nuts. Sounds pretty basic, I know. Even the husband mused, “Who would think to put fruit on bread!”, and then paused to realize that jam was essentially canned fruit.

But believe me when I say that this variety of toast was like nothing I’ve ever tasted before and was definitely not basic. Each bite was at once creamy, crunchy and fruity. It is probably one of the best breakfasts I’ve had, a great departure from my usual breakfast of bread and fried egg. I would return to farm:table in a heart beat if I didn’t live an hour away. But make no mistake, I will be making the trek the next chance I get!

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Book Mark, books, Random Things of Interest, Travel

Shakespeare & Company, Paris

Shakespeare & Company was one of the places in my bucket list that I’d been wanting to visit. While planning our itinerary for Paris I immediately charted out a decent block of time for this book store. On our second day after a visit to Notre Dame, which by the way is stunning, we walked across the bridge to Shakespeare & Co.

The bookstore was originally established in 1919 by Sylvia Beach and is now housed in a gorgeous 17th century building. The ground floor is packed with books from the floor to the ceiling. The musty smell of old books and the warmth makes the place feel like home. The upstairs area is basically a huge library with old, worn out chairs and beds where the hopeful writers and artists are welcome to live. This book store was at one point of time home to the greats – Hemingway and Fitzgerald. There are smatterings of writings on the walls and pictures of Orhan Pamuk, Truman Capote, etc pinned on to doors.

I cannot describe the bohemian nature, but I can show you in pictures :

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IMG_8444I wanted to purchase a book here as a souvenir. And what better book to choose than Madame Bovary, one of my all time favorites, written by Gustave Flaubert. A Parisian book in Paris, it was apt.

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life lessons, random, Random Things of Interest

Things I’ve been doing and feeling

The white screen with a blinking cursor is very daunting. This was one of the reasons why I was away from this space for a long time. I felt like I didn’t have anything to say and my little pot of “inspiration” was shrinking, smaller and smaller until it stopped existing. Although the empty screen did call out to me, coming back to it was like an elastic pull – forced but meant to be.

The past few weeks I have been in denial that I don’t have a procrastination problem. I’ve also been fasting for long hours. While it was hard for the first couple of days I have now got in to the groove of it. Eating bajjis and pakodas might cancel out the process of fasting, but this year I told myself I will not waste food. So we’ve been having leftovers every alternate day. And its been good so far.

I have also written so many amazing blog posts IN MY HEAD. My creative juices only start to flow when I reach the stage before REM. So right after I nod off to sleep I come up with these amazing ideas and story lines and tell myself to “remember this Zarine, you’re going to type it out in the morning”, and then I fall asleep. I wake up and all that amazingness is gone. Its a terrible, terrible thing.

Last week I sprained my neck sleeping on a flat pillow. Not just one, but both sides. I couldn’t turn left or right. Straight was the only direction. Not only were my movements hindered, it was also painful. I slathered myself with Tiger Balm (tiger not included) and wrapped my neck in a heat pack. Last night I was desperate for some relief so I Googled ‘neck pain cure’ and found an  interesting acupuncture remedy. You guys, trust me when I say that it WORKED LIKE A CHARM. All you need to do is press the area between your forefinger and middle finger at the back of your hand. Press hard and make small circles while you turn your head from side to side. Do it on the hand that is in the opposite side of the sprain. I know it sounds like some voodoo, mumbo jumbo but it honestly works. The pain begins to subside and you get a greater range of motion. I woke up this morning with the pain reduced by 50 %. The next time I sprain my neck (it happens quite often) I know that I have a handy cure.

 You ask, in order to entirely eliminate this neck sprain situation, Zarine, why don’t you get a harder pillow? Believe me, I’ve tried. This is my third pillow. Ikea has a terrible collection of pillows when it comes to the firmness. They have various pillows for side and back sleepers. I’ve tried both. They suck equally. In Madras I used a decent, solid pillow that didn’t sink to the floor when I placed my head on it.

I am venting over a pillow and a sprained neck for half this post. Either I’m really angry or my inspiration comes from bedroom textiles.

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America, Food, Random Things of Interest

I’m in The Hindu!

So not many of you know but I’ve been trying my hand at Instagram cooking videos for the past couple of months. I’m no fabulous cook but I get a kick out of trying. My wonderful friend who works for The Hindu decided to feature me and a few other Instagram cooks as her first story for the MetroPlus. I am such a huge fan of The Hindu and it has always been my dream to be in it. So check me out in todays MetroPlus and here’s the link to the online version. You can also follow me on Instagram @zarinem.

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