Ole! - More Mexican Food in Delhi! Plus - Off To Cabo

I'm working my last day before a week long trip to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. Sally & I will be spending a week relaxing (hopefuly) on the beach & recharging for what is sure to be a long - hot - Delhi summer.

This week, we ventured out to a new restaurant to get in the mood. You may recall, I formerly raved about Sancho's in South Ex, Delhi. At the time, it was a promising new entrant into the Delhi scene, but since my review - it has gone through a change in the kitchen - and now serves mexican food that would pass as Mexican food only at TGI Fridays.

So, it was with some excitement that we gave Amigo a try. This restaurant just opened in GKII near Smokehouse Grill (best, and almost only, steak in Delhi). The entire menu wasn't a hit - their Chicken Tortilla Soup tasted decidedly Indian - but on the whole our evening was fun - and tasty.

Sally and I split the Chicken Quesidilla, I had a soup that tasted like the filling of a chilli cheese burrito at Taco Bell (in the best way possible), and we stole a taste of Michelle's Enchillada. All were spiced authentically, had a nice soft cheese, and were served with traditional sides. The Tortilla chips were made on site, and were light, crisp and tasty.

Amigo New Delhi
3 Local Shopping Centre, Masjid Moth,
Greater Kailash II, New Delhi- 110048
Phone: 91-11-29216220, 91-11-29216221

Jai Ho! Slumdog Millionaire Takes Over My Facebook?

Just this week, I realized just how big of a crush the US has on India right now. If India were a teen starlet, she surely has gone from the Disney Channel to starring in the Twilight Movies in the last 3 months.

While in the States over Christmas, I saw Slumdog Millionaire. Infused with excitement I left the theater and proclaimed my love for the film on my facebook account within minutes. I eagerly told anyone who would listen that they should run out to see this movie. Not surprisingly, it fell on deaf ears. It seemed that everyone I talked the film up to responded with a nod that seemed to say, "We get it... you live in India."

Dejected, I boarded a plane to head back to India without convincing a single person to see the film. I guess the US just wasn't ready to embrace this film, or India...

A month later, I started noticing signs that people at home were beginning to take notice of this film. The first to comment was my cousin Tricia, who after watching the Golden Globes acknowledged my comments about the film. My parents chimed in asking me if I had seen this new movie... "Yes" I remarked. "Remember the Indian film I raved about (if I were still a teen a major eye roll would have been inserted at this point)?". Soon, support and commentary on the film seemed to gain speed like an avalanche.

With last week's Oscar win, it seems the whole country has stood up and taken notice. The blogosphere was full of Oscar Party menu planning tips and psuedo Indian Dancing was brought to the Jay Leno Show (What? They couldn't find 10 actual Indians?). An informal survey of our American friends here in Delhi yielded a pattern - many of our parents have even begun learning to cook Indian cuisine at home!

Today, \ even facebook status updates are in love with Slumdog Millionaire.

Congratulations America, I'm proud of you. Welcome to the India Fan Club.

Delivery Sushi In Delhi

Today I gave www.sushiking.in another try.

On my first order, I tread extremely carefully into the world of Indian delivery sushi. After a few days of normal digestion, I decided it was indeed safe to eat. To be honest, my anxiety over potential stomach revolt completely overwhelmed my ability to decipher if the sushi was even good on the first round. It was for this reason, I skipped out on blogging.

Today I placed my order for a Spicy Tuna roll & a California Roll and eagerly awaited the delivery boy. The menu has much more variety than this order of course, but let's be honest. I was going for safety on my order. After about 20 minutes, my $14.00 USD Sushi & Miso Soup arrived.

The verdict?
Tasty - ok, not like Nobu or anything... but Tasty. Lets put it this way, if you've been in India for a long time, miss sushi as much as I miss sushi, and desperately need to introduce variety into your diet... Then call them.

My only complaint?
The price is just to high for me to justify this as a regular part of my routine. I guess when you can get 3 dollar chinese delivered to the office, 14 for 2 rolls is just highway robbery.

For delivery dial 4005000 from Gurgaon.
Or visit: www.sushiking.in

Happy Valentines Day?

For the last week, I've been reading articles in HT regarding valentines protests here in India with some trepidation. It seems, Shiv Sena & Shri Ram Sene feel Valentines Day promotes Western views of love, dating & is generally against traditional Indian moral code. As the week progressed, their cries for banning of Valentines Day grew stronger & increasingly deranged.

What are Shiv Sena & Shri Ram Sene? As a rough generalization, both are far right political organizations - both now follow Hindutva doctrine - rejecting western culture in favor of Hindu ideals. For more information on Shiv Sena, check this, this or read this. Shri Ram Sene can be researched here.
The news of Valentines Day protesting came on the heels of last month's attack of women in a Mangalore pub by Shri Ram Sene. In both events, the relevant parties have issued statements about their desire to protect traditional Indian values - by rejecting the westernization of Indian youth. The irony of both claims is of course that the tactics used by protesters are anything but representative of good traditional values.

In the last week, Shiv Sena has announced they will shut down businesses (by force) participating in Valentines festivities, confront canoodling couples, and generally cause a scene across India. So, it was with great interest that I opened the paper this morning to see just what craziness would be documented in the news.

Generally speaking, it seems that Valentines day came and went with less disruption than years past. There were however a few incidents worth noting. In Agra, 6 protesters ran through a park & cut the hair of overtly romantic couples. In Madhya Pradesh a mob beat up a brother and sister they mistook for lovers.... (great move for your cause's PR there...) Elsewhere, one teen was married to a Donkey after protesters found him walking with a girl, and several couples had their faces blackened by protesters.

Now, yes - I do realize how ridiculous this sounds - especially to those of you reading from the States. But again, as is the case everywhere the actions of the few are not representative of all billion Indian citizens.

I was extremely pleased to find that those Indian's who are not exactly "down" with Shiv Sena had their own protests planned. Now of course they had planned your typical parties, pub nights, petitions & protests. However, none of these protests come anywhere near the impact of the Pink Chaddis (Pink Underwear) campaign.

In this campaign, scores of women from across India sent pink underwear, often with handwritten notes, to the desk of Shri Ram Sene's leader. Truly a case of guerilla protesting - and highly inventive. Mobilized on facebook, orkut, and blogspot - the campaign took off & received extensive press coverage. Below is the group's logo from their facebook page:

Not to be outdone, Shri Ram Sene has begun collecting pink Saree's to send back to those who sent in their knickers. Hey, I'll have to give them credit for creativity!

Ladies, If you would like to send a pair of your knickers, here is the information from the Pink Chaddi Campaign:

To: Pramod Muthalik,
Sri Rama Sene Office
No. 11, Behind New Bus Stand,
Gokhul road,
Lakshmi park,
PIN 580030

Sahelion ki Bari - Udaipur

DSC_0185, originally uploaded by shelmes.

Karim's Old Delhi

So, not to start a firestorm here, but I've eaten at Karim's several times lately (Tourist Season - so loads of visitors). For those of you uninitiated, Karim's is "The Place" to eat in Delhi. Co-workers, Neighbors, Strangers, Flight Attendants - they will all ask if you have dined there.

I haven't had a meal there I thought was bad, but I'm definitely starting to think it might be overrated.... Does this make me a bad person - Or, is this the secret truth every Dilli Wala knows - but won't admit?

What are your thoughts?

Local Celebrity

DSC_0077, originally uploaded by shelmes.

While in Udaipur, I came across this man. He was quietly sitting on a corner, and for some reason piqued my interest. I politely asked to take his photo and he obliged.

Afterwards, he invited me to sit down. He motioned that he had something to show me in his knapsack. Unsure what to expect, I reluctantly agreed and what he pulled out shocked me.

In his bag he kept hundreds of letters, postcards & photos from tourists all over the world. Each was addressed specifically to him and usually a letter accompanied the picture. This man had spent years as an Auto Rickshaw Driver, and had been collecting these items to document his journey.

Impressed, I wrote down his address & soon he will have this photo to add to his collection.

Cute Monkey?

Perhaps even more than the Taj Mahal, India's most popular tourist attractions are Monkeys. Americans, Brits, Japanese - they all have an obsession with the local monkeys. Outside Delhi, every tourist attraction has a resident monkey gang that is all to eager to pose for photographs with the visitors.

This weekend, we took a trip to Udaipur and visited the Monsoon Palace around sunset. As we arrived, I saw a crowd hovering near a tree & looked to find the Monkey I supose I already knew was there. After taking photos, and feeding the guy, the crowd dispersed and the little guy was left alone.

Soon, the Monkey started approaching a group enjoying a picnic on the lawn. He cleverly and quietly snuck up to the crowd before making a bold attempt to steal food from the crowd. Unable to resist, I steadied my camera and captured the ensuing madness.

In the end, the Monkey stole food from three seperate parties, including a bag of Lay's Potato chips. Soon, the crowd dispersed & as the next bus load of tourists arrived, the camera's returned & the monkey posed dutifuly for the camera once again.

Our Visit To Pardada Pardadi Educational Society

This past weekend, Sally and I paid a visit to Pardada-Pardadi Girls Vocational School in Anupshahr, Uttar Pradesh. Located near the Ganges River, the area is largely agricultural in nature.

The Pardada Pardadi Education Society (PPES) was established to provide education to girls who would not normally be afforded an opportunity to attend schools. Enrollment has exploded through a variety of novel programs including, guranteed job post graduation, 10 rupee placed in saving account for each day of school attended, and vocational training (in addition to academics).

Here are some shots of the school & Children.

To learn more about the school, visit http://www.education4change.org/.

The River Ganga (Ganges)

DSC_0275, originally uploaded by shelmes.

Just returned from a weekend in a village on the banks of the Ganges River. We were touring a wonderful girls vocational school for children in the area. The foundation is Pardada-Pardadi & can be visited here: http://www.education4change.org/

It was a wonderful trip with much discussion about wealth creation amongst India's poorest rural citizens. I will try to post some thoughts on the experience soon - in the meantime, enjoy this shot from a boat on the Ganga - India's national river - significant for Hindu Religious purposes, and for creating the fertile agricultural plains.

Step Wells Near Ahmedabad

DSC_0040, originally uploaded by shelmes.