Our favorite hang-out place was “Brown”.  The coffee pubs and chains that have cropped up, like Cafe Coffee Day and the Barista, cannot hold a candle to what “Brown” was.  Yes, I said “was”.  The last time I went there was four years later and the place was run down and the coffee was appalling.  It had taken a beating from the more famous chains.  Surprisingly, the chains too suffered the same fate two years after they had established themselves.  That is, in Coimbatore.  That is what Coimbatore does to you.  It sucks the life out of you – if you want to live and let live, your best option is to RUN.  Yes, go… GO NOW!  Else, soon you will be one of them.

I do like to be dramatic.  But if you came from outside, you would see what I mean.  As for those on the inside, they are part of it.  If you are a visitor, then never mind.  You are safe!

My favorite in Brown was “Cold Coffee” and “Chilli Cheese Toast”.  That was my regular order.  When I came to the US, at first, I expected the Frappuccino in Starbucks to be like the one and only Cold Coffee I was used to.  What a disappointment that was!  Starbucks sells for the so-called culture, not the coffee.  But even there, I have a favorite – a crush, if you will – Peppermint Mocha!  And I am yet to get over it.

The chilli cheese toast is another that I am yet to taste since Brown.  Following is a very pathetic attempt at copying that.

Chilli Cheese Toast


  • 4 tablespoons Mozarella cheese
  • 4 green chillies (very thinly sliced)
  • Salt
  • 4 bread slices
  • Salted butter


Mix the first three ingredients together and sandwich generously between buttered bread slices.  Toast them in a sandwich maker.  That is it!

chilli cheese toast








I am going to keep experimenting, until I get close to the original – unless, somebody can get me the original recipe!

Phonetically speaking…

July 17, 2008

Atlast, I got to read Val McDermid’s “A Place of Execution”.  One of the aspects of her books that stand out, is the realistic depiction of the police enquiries, the investigation, the interrogation, the shock the victim’s kin experience when the bads news is conveyed to them; above all, it is the slow, drawn out, dragging, but relentless course of events that follow a major upheaval that is most realistic.  Thank God, it is only a book and there is an end to it; and with it, comes a conclusion.  Imagine reality… the actual agony… the stress, the wait, the unknown.  Thank God it is only a book.

Now you see why I should lay off books, especially murder mysteries.  I get too involved.  I usually prefer movies, because, at the most, it would run for 3 hours.  But a book, say, of about 500 pages, takes 2-3 days and it is impossible to move on until the last page, the last line, the last word is read.

Alright, enough about death and trauma. Speaking of which, an incident comes to my mind.  In my previous job, apart from building the tool, I was also responsible for installing and deploying the product at the client’s.  And after that, there would be occasions where I would have to troubleshoot and sometimes, instead of going over myself, I would have to walk-through somebody at the client’s to fix issues that come up. So once, on the phone, I had to tell an engineer there to reset a flag to “T”.  She couldn’t quite get what I was saying.  She asked me, “B?”.  I say, “No, ‘T'”.  She was still not sure, so I said, “It is ‘T’…”.  I racked my brain… and still straining hard, I told her, “I cannot think of a word that starts with ‘T’!”.  (I know, I know!)  She tried to help me, “Is it ‘P’ as in ‘Pig’?”  (LOL all you like, you will be ROTF soon!!)  And I said, “NO, it is ‘T’ as in ‘TRAUMA’!”  PHEW!!!!  There was complete silence at the other end. I bet, they put the call on MUTE and were rolling on the floor laughing!

I was laughing hard myself, but only in my head!  Because my job comes before my image (or the lack of it).  So I just got on with it!  The flag was dutifully reset, I did what I had to, and they did what they had to; and all was well and the status of all the transactions automatically changed to ‘S’.  Yes, ‘S’ as in “Success”!

The people at this client’s place were very kind.  I loved working with them.  My only regret is, for selfish (and cowardly) reasons, I could not even say bye or thank you to them when I left.  But I shall forever have fond memories of them, and always, wish them the best.  Through this medium, I say ‘T’ as in “THANKS” to them!

stuffed mushrooms

July 13, 2008

if you own a car, you would know how it looks everytime after a wash – as good as new.  that is how i feel after a get-together with my friend, mona.  she is an amazing personality… she exudes such positive energy that it flushes you out of whatever dump you might be in and sweeps you into a clear, optimistic, high spirit.  god bless her.  and anybody whose life she is part of – as a daughter, as a sister, as a wife, as a mother, as a friend, as an acquintace, as a co-worker, or as any connection however remote – is blessed!

so here is a recipe to celebrate friendship and people who make this world a better place to live in.  this is a combination of the best of various recipes i found at ralphs and online. 

stuffed mushroom


  • 1 pound mushrooms (white button-like variety – tasted better than brown)
  • 1/2 onion (finely chopped)
  • 4 garlic pods (finely chopped)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons chilli flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon black ground pepper
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons bread crumbs
  • 1/2 (8 oz.) package Philadelphia Neufchatel cheese, 1/3 less Fat than Cream Cheese, softened
  • 1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon coriander (finely chopped)

heat olive oil in a pan and saute onions, garlic and salt until onions become transluncet.  add the chilli flakes, cayenne pepper powder and black pepper powder and fry for a few minutes.  add the cheese and stir till it melts.  add the worcestershire sauce and the bread crumbs.  and stir for a couple of minutes.  the stuffing is ready!

wash the mushrooms and remove the stems.  on a baking tray lay out the mushrooms and heap in the stuffing (a little over a teaspoon in each).  sprinkle a little olive oil on top.  and bake in a pre-heated oven at 350 degree F for about 20-30 minutes until the mushrooms are cooked.  garnish with chopped coriander.

stuffed white mushrooms
stuffed brown mushrooms