Indian Women Cooking Up a Storm (IWD2017 Special)

In what is still a highly patriarchal nation, there are some fantastic women who are cooking up a storm as restaurant owners and chefs. Today, on International Women’s Day 2017, we are spotlighting 27 of these amazing women right here. Have a look, and don’t forget to share.

Image Source: Anjali Pathak Twitter Handle

Anjali Pathak
Chef and Founder of Flavour Diaries

Karishma Dalal
Chef and Owner of Bombay Salad Co.

Sneha Singhi
Founder of Paris Cafe

Anahita Dhondy
Founder of SodaBottleOpenerWala

Kamini Jha
Chief Chef at The Oberoi

Ritu Dalmia
Chef and Co-Owner of Diva

Image Source: Rhea Bharucha Facebook Account

Rhea Bharucha
Owner and Pastry Chef at Baked by Ree

Sanjana Patel
Executive Pastry Chef at La Folie Patisserie

Pooja Arambram
Founder of Me So Happi

Priyadarshini Dey
Founder of The Palms

Veena Arora
Chef at Spice Route at The Imperial

Pooja Dhingra
Founder of Le15 Patisserie

Manisha Bhasin
Senior Executive Chef at ITC Maurya

Radhika Khandelwal
Founder of Ivy & Bean

Image Source: Jeneva Talwar Facebook Account

Jeneva Talwar
Founder of LA DI DA

Madhumita Mohanta
Executive Chef at Great Eastern Hotel

Nita Nagaraj
Corporate Chef at Jaypee Group in New Delhi

Madhu Krishnan

Executive Chef at ITC Hotels

Mithali Sahani
Founder of The Bombaykery

Mathangi Kumar
Parnter and Head Chef of That Madras Place

Mandakini Gupta
Founder of Smitten Bakery

Image Source: Neha Sethi

Neha Sethi
Founder of Sweetish House Mafia

Naina de Bois-Juzan
Founder of Le Bistro du Parc

Kshama Prabhu
Executive Chef at The Bar Stock Exchange

Shivali Prakash
Founder of Pop’z Kitchen

Suma Chereddi
Founder of Kaficko

Meghna Varkada
Founder of Barley & Grapes

Know of a female chef or restaurant owner whom we’ve left out? Comment below to let us know. And, don’t forget to check out our other IWD2017 special, a list of top Indian female food Instagrammers (right here).

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Feeling Hungry? Top Indian Female Food Instagrammers to Follow (IWD2017 Special)

In honor of Women’s Day 2017, we have decided to spotlight amazing Indian food Instagrammers who are women. These women have managed to take Instagram by storm with their drool-worthy food pics, which will make your stomach growl throughout the week. Have a look at these top female Indian food Instagrammers, and don’t forget to hit share! –

Food of Mumbai / Saloni Kukreja

Food Fashion Party / Asha Shiv

Cookinacurry / Maunika Gowardhan

Just a Girl From Mumbai / Bhavna Kalra

Monsoon Spice / Sia Krishna

Master Chef Mom / Uma Raghuraman

The Gutless Foodie / Natasha Diddee

Saffron Trail / Nandita Iyer

Mallika Basu

Sinfully Spicy / Tanvi Srivastava

Sugar N Spice By Radhika / Radhika Malhotra Arora

Fun Food and Frolic / Hina Gujral

Monika Manchanda

Shweta In the Kitchen / Shweta Arora

Know of an amazing female food Instagrammer we left out? Comment below. Now, you’ll have to excuse us while we go pig out on some delicious food!

The Wandering Veggie – Kerala Travel Diary

Kerala is an amazing holiday spot, with so many picture perfect locations. From the majestic hills of Munnar and the calming waters of Kovalam Beach to the dreamy backwaters of Alleppey, Kerala has everything to offer to those who are seeking some solace for their gypsy soul. I visited Kerala a few months back, and here are some do’s and don’ts, especially food-wise for all you wandering veggies out there! –

marine drive, kochi, kerala

marine drive, kochi, kerala

kochi, kerala

kochi, kerala

Day One – Hello, Cochin!

It is so rare to find a city with such a picturesque backdrop. After walking down Marine Drive‘s promenade, I visited Kashi Art Gallery, which was absolutely delightful. The food portions and preparation was perfect, and so was the ambience – I loved the French toast, which came with a generous serving of fresh fruits. Afterward, I caught some fresh air at Willingdon Island and then caught a play at JTPAC, followed by dinner at Coq d’or (The International Hotel) – the Kerala paranthas, aloo gobi and boodni raita were to die for, and there was a vocalist covering many classic Hindi songs.

munnar, kerala

munnar, kerala

munnar, kerala

munnar, kerala

Day 2 – Munnar – Part 1

An early morning bus journey took me to the lovely hills of Munnar. The first thing I did after checking into the beautiful Issacs Residency (where the staff was extremely helpful and caring) was to catch a kalaripayattu show at Kalari Kshethra – the kathakali show was worth a miss, but the kalaripayattu acts were quite something!  Food-wise, I highly recommend visiting the relatively unknown cafe, Taste the Brews – it is a cozy and cheerful place and the teas, coffees and breakfast food will make you feel at home. In case you are looking at stocking up on some munchies, nuts and chocolate are really inexpensive and fresh here, and you have got to try the Ginger Coffee available at select stores.

dream catcher resort, munnar, kerala

dream catcher resort, munnar, kerala

Day 3 – Munnar – Hanging Out In a Tree

On the third day, I simply marveled at the serenity of being by myself in a treehouse at Dream Catcher Plantation Resort, with a view of nothing but greenery around me – so much soul-searching happened here. The restaurant adjacent the treehouse area served delicious filter coffee and amazing paneer dishes. And, the staff was extremely considerate to arrange a hearty take-away breakfast for me at 5:30am before I caught my bus to Alleppey. While staying at a treehouse is a bit on the expensive side, trust me, it is worth every penny for the experience.

alleppey backwaters, kerala

alleppey backwaters, kerala

kerala

kerala

Day 4 – Alleppey – Hello from the Backwaters!

Alleppey was just as I imagined it, in fact, better. The amount of bliss I felt soaking in the breath-taking views of the backwaters from a houseboat for 2-3 hours simply can’t be put into words. Afterward, I feasted on lemon tea and delicious vegetable cutlets at the famous Indian Coffee House – I don’t know what on earth they put into those tiny little cutlets, but they sure are addictive. The cafes I hopped in and out of here were rather average. In case you are looking to buy a Kerala sari, Alleppey’s market area is the place to take care of it!

light house beach, kovalam kerala

light house beach, kovalam kerala

light house beach, kovalam kerala

light house beach, kovalam kerala

Day 5 – Trivandrum & Kovalam/Light House Beach – Feeling the Waves

I took an early morning local bus from Alleppey’s bus stand to Trivandrum, and made a quick pit stop at Truffles Bistro, which was a huge disappointment, even though it was highly recommended by a friend of a friend. The sandwiches here were extremely average, perhaps even below-average, one could say. From Truffles, I booked an Uber to my final destination for the vacation, Kovalam. I was delighted with the hospitality, pools and view from Sagara Beach Resort and the fact it was just a 5 minute walk to the beach, where the Light House was visible. Compared to the public dustbin of a beach Juhu has turned into, Kovalam felt very clean and peaceful and safe. The fritters and mint tea at Malabar Cafe were tasty and the coffee at The German Bakery was decent – the view from both these places was pleasant and calming, and they had many veggie options listed for proper meals.

Kerala was always on my list of places to visit in India, and though I was a bit worried initially of going solo and traveling through local buses from one part to the other, not only was it actually super safe, it worked out very economically! And, food-wise, I sure am missing Kerala paranthas like crazy and those tasty ol’ cutlets.

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Top Food Places in Mussoorie – The Vegetarian’s Guide

So you love the hills, eh? If find yourself in the very peaceful and picturesque realm of Mussoorie, and you also happen to be vegetarian, you might be wondering where to head out to for meals and some coffee-time unwinding. This guide is just for you!

Recommended Places:

cafe de tavern

cafe de tavern

cafe de tavern

cafe de tavern

Cafe De Tavern

Out of most of the places in Mussoorie, Cafe De Tavern has the best options of non-desi dishes, ranging from pizzas and pastas to soups and starters. The ambience is lovely and they have a good music playlist, in comparison to other places in the Picture Palace/Mall Road vicinity. Simply spending time here reading and writing over a pot of piping hot tea is highly recommended, as well.

chaar dukaan, landour

chaar dukaan, landour

Chaar Dukaan, Laal Tiba

Venture out to Landour for a relaxing walk around Laal Tiba, and park yourself at Chaar Dukaan for a light and delightful breakfast consisting of Maggi noodles, bun maska, eggs and tea. Don’t forget to give pancakes a try here, too – though the batter is a bit thicker than what constitutes a pancake, it is yummy and fresh!

Ritz Theatre

If you suddenly feel a craving for nachos and a place that is actually warm, you’d be surprised with the amount of comfort food you’ll find at the tiny little Ritz Theatre – the staff is kind enough to let you sit and eat inside, even if you are not watching a film.

Cafe By The Way

Cafe By The Way

Cafe By The Way

Cafe By The Way

Cafe By The Way

While the folks at Cafe By The Way don’t know the difference between a cheese toast and cheese garlic bread, the vibe at this cafe is really neat, and they have a nice selection of books to keep you occupied. Skip the food, just order a cup of coffee (or tea) and take care of any reading, writing and work you need to here.

Places to Avoid:

Kalsang

No, do not go here if you are vegetarian – you are going to be supremely disappointed. The potato cheese momos and spinach cheese momos were undercooked and abnormally slaty. And, even my fiend who is non-vegetarian was disappointed with her thukpa. Most importantly, no matter what happens, do not even dare to order the butter tea, although it would be a fun prank to recommend it to someone you detest!

Bakeries

You might see a lot of hype surrounding bakeries on Mall Road, but the quality of desserts is highly average.

Honey Hut

From the outside, Honey Hut looked inviting and cozy – but the minute we stepped in we were surprised to see flies on many of the products kept in the glass case. That was our cue to head right out to another eatery.

Back-up Options:

Chic Chocolate

Chic Chocolate

Chic Chocolate

If you’re craving sandwiches, waffles, ice cream and milkshakes, Chic Chocolate might just be the place to grab a quick bite. Nothing extraordinary, though.

The Usual Suspects:

IF all fails, don’t worry – Domino’s, Nirula’s and CCD will keep you going!

Side-note: Do NOT forget to take time out to visit Cambridge Book Depot – the prolific Ruskin Bond swings by for book signings nearly every week, usually on Saturdays.

Food List: Top Date Spots To Eat At In Mumbai

Whether you’ve been going steady for a while or are about to meet someone you’re interested in for the first time “formally,” it’s pretty handy to have a list of ideal food joints to frequent for dates in Mumbai, especially places with an abundance of yummy veggie options combined with either a romantic or a cutesy, positive vibe. Today we bring to you a list of date-worthy places to try out all across Mumbai – there you go, now you have no excuse for monotony!

CLASSY:

sassy

Pali Village Cafe (Bandra): This place is definitely THE perfect romantic date spot, with candles and all that jazz. Make sure you get a table in the more intimate upstairs area. The food is also divine – try their cheese plate (with some wine!), pastas, pizzas, risottos and dessert offerings ranging from pies to cheesecakes to flan. This is one of the few places we could find sweet potato fries at, too. Pali Village Cafe is one of the pricier venues on our list, but totally worth it if you want to make your someone special feel even more special!

Cafe By the Beach (Chowpatty): While the food here is dreadful – they don’t even have many veggie options on their teeny-tiny menu – you have got to go here on a date for this place’s spectacular beach ambiance. And, hold your breath, you can even go on a romantic 10-15 minute boat ride before 11pm, included with your Rs. 100 entry. We suggest having dinner somewhere else before heading to Cafe By the Beach, and then grabbing drinks + dessert here. You’ll want to stick around here for quite some time in the late evening once you see how beautiful this outdoor cafe looks at night.

Novotel (Juhu): The best thing about Novotel’s 24/7 coffee shop is the outdoor poolside. Head over here in the middle of the night for some coffee and desserts, long, meaningful conversations and calming effect of being near a pool. Once the monsoon starts, chilling here feels even more magical.

The Sassy Spoon (Bandra): We absolutely love the vibrant and spacious feel of The Sassy Spoon. It has an absolutely upbeat vibe, and the food is delicious – we recommend The Sassy Spoon for a romantic brunch or tea-time. We loved their cinnamon French toast (the whipped coconut cream is heavenly), French onion and cheese melt and scones.

Villa 69 (Juhu): Okay, minus all the jokes we can crack about 69, we really did like the classy and regal ambiance of Villa 69’s outdoor area at night, and the moment we first stepped in we knew this place was date-spot worthy. Try the Villa 69 Triangles, wood-fried pizzas and veggie penne arrabbiata.

Silver Beach Cafe (Juhu, Fort): Silver Beach Cafe is a romantic little cafe near Silver Beach, perfect for evening tea and desserts or dinner with your special someone. They’ve got plenty of veggie options ranging from thin crust pizzas, pastas (3-cheese rotellini!!) and risottos to healthy salads and sandwiches and thai curry. This place makes for a really memorable date spot during the rainy season.

Cafe Basilico (Bandra, Colaba)If you want a classy venue and drool-worthy food, head over to Cafe Basilico. They’ve got bagels, paninis, chlli chese toast, pizza, pasta, mac and cheese (yay!) and an entire range of teas.

Bayview Cafe (Colaba): Rooftop View. Check. Reasonable Prices. Check. Decent Veggie Options. Check. Located at the rooftop of Hotel Harbour View, Bayview Cafe is a place not too many people know about. Head over here for a romantic evening with a rooftop view with your sweetheart. We loved their veggie momos!

Salt Water Cafe (Bandra): Salt Water Cafe has a very premium feel to it, and it is spacious! Whether you’re a vegetarian craving breakfast food like waffles and bagels, or a delicious French mozzarella grilled panini, flavorful gnocchi and ravioli or a nice assortment of desserts and breads, you should totally check out this place with your date!

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Global Fusion (Bandra): Not only does Global Fusion have an overwhelming amount of veggie options from different cuisines spanning the globe, the interiors are beautifully done up. Hands down this is one of the best buffet places in Mumbai. And, if you can grab a spot for two in the beautiful section photographed below, you’ve got yourself a very memorable and romantic date night ahead!

Le Cafe (Chembur, Ghatkopar): The only thing we like about Chembur is this delicious place called Le Cafe, which also has a branch in Ghatkopar, too! Try out their margherita pizza, arabiata penne pasta and outstanding potato wedges. Their grilled vegetable panini is also excellent. They have a nice counter of desserts worth sampling, too!

Smokehouse Deli (Bandra, BKC, Lower Parel): We love the European feel interiors at this cosy date place. It’s both cutesy and classy, and perfect for a romantic breakfast since it opens at 7am! For breakfast, try out their butter milk pacakes and bagels. And, if you’re coming for a lunch or dinner date, try their deli cheese tasting plate, smokes tomato + brie sandwich, pasta aglio olio peperoncino, and raspberry + oreao cheesecake. They’ve got a good assortment of teas and coffees if you simply want to chill here for dessert, as well.

CUTESY:

rays

Ray’s Cafe & Pizzeria (Bandra)The rose vines adorning the interiors at Ray’s Cafe & Pizzeria made us go awww instantly. Their super-crispy pizzas and salads are decent, but it’s mainly the cutesy vibe, not the food, which makes Ray’s stand out.

Kala Ghoda Cafe (Fort)
: If you can grab a spot in the upstairs area (which only fits one group *wink wink*), then good for you! While this cafe is super tiny, it has a very calm vibe and their tea cakes are heavenly!

Bistro 1 (Lokhandwala): Board games, pretty interiors, cozy feel, dim lighting and pretty darn good food all make Bistro 1 a nice date spot. Try out their their buttermilk pancakes, herb & olive focaccia, ultimate grilled cheese sandwich and watermelon-basil lemonade! If you like cute, informal eateries, also worth a very special mention is Cafe Grain & Bagel (Juhu) – their bagels, bagel bites, bagel sandwiches, waffles and maggie are excellent.

villavandre

Villa Vandre (Bandra): Villa Vandre has cute written all over it. Oozing of positive energy and delicious food, head on over to this petite venue for a romantic dinner date and try out their innovative kasundi risotto and quesadillas. Stay away from the dessert though!

Francesco’s Pizzeria: After Pizza Express, if there is one pizza place that makes us go nuts, it has to be Francesco’s. Not only is the venue gorgeous, the ingredients used in their dishes are brilliant. Definitely try their bianca (white) pizza, desserts and sandwiches! Their waiters are also extremely polite! 

Haagen-Dazs (Lower Parel, Powai, Bandra): Looking to grab something sweet with your sweetheart? Well Haagen-Dazs has the best quality ice cream as well as yummy fondue platters and cheesecakes worth devouring while snuggling up to your loved one.

tearoom

The XVII Tea Room (Bandra): The upstairs seating area of The XVII Tea Room with its purple seating and colorful wall painting make it an interesting spot you can chit-chat at for hours. They have a lovely selection of teas, coffees and munchies. We especially love their Lychee Vanilla Tea, Orange Cinnamon Coffee, Citrus Hot Chocolate, and our favorite is their Raspberry Cold Chocolate. Thir smoked chili cheese toast and mediterranean sandwich is out of this world, but the one thing we can’t stop raving about is their classic sugar and butter dutch pancakes – without a doubt the best pancakes we’ve had in all of Mumbai! Also worth a special mention is Di Bella Coffee (7 Bungalows, althought they do have 6 more Mumbai locations), if you are looking for another romantic and spacious coffee place. We love their ice shakes, smoothies and teas!

Prithvi Cafe (Juhu): While even their NEW menu has nothing too great, Prithvi Cafe has is one of our favorite date spots, because it really is difficult to not be in a good mood amidst such a colorful place radiating creative energy. If you’re looking for a fun spot to munch on snacks and guzzle down some teas and coffees, while engaging in meaningful conversations with your loved one, look no further. Oh, and if your date doesn’t go too well, that’s okay – you can simply catch a play inside the theatre ;)

Sugar Rush (Khar): While we weren’t crazy about the quality of their desserts (L.S.D. is right next doors, hello!), this is the cutest dessert place we’ve seen in Mumbai in a long time. This place is adorable, right from the pink paint to cupcake themed cutlery holders and clocks. Stick to their cheesecake jars and offering of beverages, and you’ll be happy in this cute-as-a-button spot.

Also worth special mentions are Woodside All Day Bar & Eatery (Oshiwara) – their pancakes, waffles, and arrabiata pasta are great! – Theobroma (the Colaba and Powai locations are the best in terms of ambiance) for dessert time, as well as Coffee Diaries (Oshiwara) (avoid their pasta under all costs, but definitely pig out on their pancakes) and Chai-Coffi (Versova) for being a perfect spot for gup-shup over light snacks (absolutely avoid their nachos though!).