Never Go Hungry Again

The difference between and industry and random entrepreneurs with small businesses is connections. Being involved in the fashion world I have witnessed this evolution.  Say what you will about the numerous fashion weeks we have every year it has provided a platform for members of said industry (designers, journalists, store owners, makeup artists, photographers, stylists, models etc) to meet and collaborate, understand each other and grow. The ultimate winner in such an endeavor is the consumer who now has more choices than ever.

It is surprising that a nation obsessed with food and dining has a relatively underdeveloped food industry. The link between suppliers, restaurants, advertisers and customers is missing. On a recent trip to Cape Town a visit to the Good Food and Wine Show and a local farmers market clearly showed the potential of the food industry if those involved banded together.

A recent attempt to form such a network is Food Connection Pakistan. Ever since April when Food Connection Pakistan claimed to introduce the ultimate food guide, I have been itching for it to get started. Last week FC Pakistan finally launched.

While the site itself is promising, the build up and pre launch must be praised.

For 3 months fcpakistan has been teasing Facebook users with the assurance of a great website. To their credit they have made the wait enjoyable.

The Facebook page has over 7000 likes, and is very active with contests, give aways, surveys, general discussion. Keeping the excitement up for song long will encourage people to visit and contributing to the site, making it more dynamic and interesting.

As a directory of eateries it is comparable with KarachiSnob.  Each restaurant entry is comprehensive and helpful. Along with a brief description there is a media panel which consists of a slide show and links to the eatery’s website and/or facebook page and a map. A viewable menu card makes the experience complete, you can find out everything about a place before ever setting foot through the door. The best part is the special deals and coupons available for a variety of different restaurants.

Where it differs and surpasses other sites of this is kind is that it aims to be interactive.  User reviews and ratings are encouraged and easily accessible. The blog section provides an opportunity for people with similar interests to share their views. The photolicious contest is an avenue for aspiring food photographers. By partnering with many restaurants, food connection has made a variety of vouchers available and they generously distribute them to registered users.

If I have one criticism it would be that you can’t easily browse the list of eateries. They boast of having over 1000 eateries in their database, which is great, but if I haven’t heard of it how will I find it. The search feature works only when you know exactly what you were looking for.  While the content is extensive, it would be for user friendly and graspable if this content was organized by cuisine, area, cost, or other criteria.

“We were on the downtown 6 train. I was the guy staring at you from across the car, you were a gyro being shared by a teenage couple. I felt excluded.”  – Missed Food Connections

Hopefully Food Connection Pakistan will continue to expand and improve and may eventually become an essential navigational and rating accomplice for patrons as well as an advertising and pr platform for businesses.

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Gourmet Vacation Relived

Most people go on vacation to relax. I go to eat.

My two week trip to Cape Town, South Africa was amazing.

Its a beautiful place. Paradise for nature and animal lovers.

And especially for food lovers.

I didn’t want it to end. But all vacations must. So I’m back, with a slight case of PTD (post travel depression)

i found this cute website though, and  will take some of their advice http://www.bootsnall.com/articles/09-03/10-tips-beating-post-travel-blues.html

Tip3: Write about your trip

i kept a notebook there, so even though its been 2 weeks i should be able to remember most of it.

Tip6: Eat your favorite foods from your trip

i’ll try recreating some of the food too

Tip8: make a photo album or scrap book

photos are courtesy one of my hosts and travel guides Nafisa Khan :p

Combining these three things and reliving my wonderful trip sounds almost as exciting as the actual vacation. Almost.

Posted in Food, Friends, Live to Eat | Tagged , | 2 Comments

Sophie’s Choice with Stilettos

My heart is torn in two.

Now I know how those girls in tv shows and rom coms feel, the ones who have 2 great guys lusting after them.

Since nothing like that has ever happened to me (and probably never will) i felt justified in laughing at them. Boo hoo you can’t decide between two wonderful things either of which you can easily have and thus improve your life, you just want both. Greedy. Ungrateful. This is now me. I want both.

These velvet beauties, i saw yesterday at Charles and Keith. I love the fabric, the platform, the rounded toe, but most of all the heel!!! 6 inches and so slender.  The shoe is available in bright pink too but I like black.

You want to fall in love with a shoe, go ahead. A shoe can’t love you back, but, on the other hand, a shoe can’t hurt you too deeply either. And there are so many nice-looking shoes.
Allan Sherman

These i have been coveting for 6 months! I saw them at Lewre when i was picking out shoes for a friend, but thought they were too expensive at the time. Last week when i got a text message from Lewre saying they had a sale upto 50% off, they were the first thing i thought of. When i went there yesterday they only had one pair left and it was my size!! Today is the last day of the sale. What do i do?

“Give a girl the correct footwear and she can conquer the world”
Bette Midler

Posted in Pretty Clothes, SHOES!!! | Tagged | Leave a comment

Guest Post: My Mom’s Fruit Chat by Saneeya Moin

 

I have always been very passionate about fruits, especially citrus ones, pomegranate and oranges being my all time favourites. There is such a large variety of fruits in the market that one can never have enough. Fruits make my mouth water as would a chocolate fudge cake water the mouth of a chocolate lover.

Most people's heaven

My Heaven

 

My best recollection of tea parties at my parent’s home are from the kitchen, looking at my mother cut various fruits to make the most scrumptious fruit chaat. To date nobody has ever been able to beat my mother’s fruit chaat which remains most popular amongst all family members and friends and remains an important part of the tea parties at home. Cutting fruits in an orderly fashion is an art. I remember how long and tedious the task seemed to me, yet my mother took delight in the activity with an expression of pleasure and satisfaction on her radiant face like a performer at ease on stage.

Even though I have always been a big foodie myself having strong interest in cooking and baking, I never attempted to make fruit chaat on my own and even though I have always appreciated the finest cuisines of the world, especially Thai and Pakistani cuisines, nothing can be compared to a big bowl of fruit chaat. Yes! The term fruit chaat specifically defines the way my mother mixes fruits with dashes of certain secret ingredients and not just any fruits cut in a bowl.  

not my mother's fruit chat

Having been married recently and moving out of my parents’ home, I learnt that not only did my mother’s fruit chaat help me increase my love for fruits but it also inspired me to live a healthy lifestyle.

I learnt anyone can manage any tedious activity as long as there is willingness to learn and access to resources.

The art of cutting fruits in an orderly fashion and making fruit chaat was on the top of my list. So I started my shopping for fruits on my way to make the perfect fruit chaat as my mothers.

 At the same time, I also learnt how to avoid food marketing deceptions and make healthy choices.  

First attempt at fruit chaat was unimaginable and pathetic! Not even near to my mother’s way of making fruit chaat. I was most disappointed. I felt as if I had failed in carrying forward my mother’s tradition.

I calmed myself down and took a deep breath. I immediately recalled the secret ingredients and made a second attempt. And there it was, almost like magic! I had learnt my mother’s way of making the perfect fruit chaat- I was happier than a tornado in a trailer park. Needless to say, fruit chaat is an integral part of my new life and what could be better since my husband enjoys it too.

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food hunting made easy

Television without pity is my touchstone for tv news and recaps. IMDB for movies. And Tv tropes for to explain it all.

Style.com fulfills my fashion needs

I get all my news from express tribune.

Karachi snob helps me shop.

But its sad that a foodie like me does not have a go to food site. Iget some recipes from epicurious, food porn daily has pretty pictures, karachi snob has an adequate list of restaurants. But mostly i have to google.

Untill now!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I recently came across Food Connection Pakistan and fell in love.

It hasn’t launched yet but the prelaunch certainly whets my appetite.

All the little subsections look intriguing but the things i’m most excited about are:

I follow a lot of food blogs. But none are from Pakistan. It would be nice to read about people who shop from the same places and have access to the same ingredients.

 While none of my own food pictures are contest worthy, yet, even drooling over other peoples photos will be fun.

I write reviews!

The site is supposed to launch sometime in May. I can’t wait!!!!!

Posted in Live to Eat | 1 Comment

Nipple Cookies

 

Thesea are actually called peanut butter blossoms. But Anisa thought they looked like nipples and this is what everyone calls them now

Got the idea from my sister’s brand name cookbook. Which is the first cookbook i ever loved. Not for the recipes (which were basicly from the back of various product boxes) but for the pictures which were gorgeous.

Of course that recipe used a betty crocker mix, and i prefer peanut butter cookies from scratch

Peanut Blossom Cookies:
1/2 cup (113 grams) butter
3/4 cup (185 grams) peanut butter (i use chunky)
1/3 cup (70 grams) brown sugar
1/3 cup (65 grams) granulated sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons milk
1 1/2 cups (195 grams)  flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup (65 grams) granulated sugar
about 48 hersheys kisses
 
Beat the butter. Add the peanut butter and sugars and beat until light and fluffy (about 2 – 3 minutes). Add the egg and vanilla extract and beat to combine. Beat in the milk. In a separate bowl whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt. Add to the peanut butter mixture and beat until incorporated. Cover and chill the batter for about an hour, or until firm enough to roll into balls.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C) . 
Roll the batter into 1 inch round balls. Place the granulated white sugar in a shallow bowl and roll each ball in the sugar. Place on the prepared baking sheet, spacing about 2 inches apart.
Bake the cookies for about 8 – 10 minutes, or until the cookies are lightly browned. Immediately upon removing the cookies from the oven, place a chocolate Kiss in the center of each cookie, pressing down until the cookie just starts to crack.  
Makes about 4 dozen cookies.

Fresh from the oven

 

fun with nipple cookies

 
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Fly, but not too high

Pixar has spoiled me. Because this studio continually raises its own bar I have come to associate digitally animated films with well written characters, poignant and heartfelt dialogue and layered and nuanced story telling. I should not. Rio does not measure up to Up or Toy Story 3. It is not a family movie that appeals to children and adults on different levels. It is a movie for children and as such it’s not bad.

Watching this movie in the theatre was fairly enjoyable. The bright colors, good 3D effects, caramel popcorn and people passing out Rio cookies (what a clever advertising campaign that just fell into their laps) all combined to ensure a pleasant movie going experience.

But are “pleasant” and “not bad” really the adjectives to which movie makers should aspire? For a movie ostensibly about learning to fly, Rio stays surprisingly close to the ground. Everything about it is familiar, predictable and recycled and therefore forgettable. While this might be a selling point for a lot of moviegoers, I find safe and cute somewhat offensive. Bad movies are forgivable when they try to achieve something and fail. What can be said about a mediocre movie that aims to be mediocre? The people at Blue Sky Studios (who gave us the equally amusing and unoriginal Ice Age series) were not trying to tell a story or add something new into the world. All they wanted to make was a movie kids would go to once. There is about 1 movie made for children every other month and so bright and bouncy and fun are the only criteria needed to succeed at the box office. Parents have to take their children to Rio because there are no alternatives, but why should they pay for a movie they will not enjoy. It’s this lazy attitude which rubs me the wrong way, almost as if they are saying

“We have the formula; we know it’ll get people in the seats, why should we make an effort to do better?”

Seen it before (and usually done better)

Plot Related

 
  1. Last of their species so they better procreate
Ice Age: The MeltdownAlpha and Omega
  1. Overprotective parent searching for their lost child(here pet) in the process learning to be less cautious
Finding Nemo
  1. Domesticated animal trying to make it in the wild
Madagascar
  1. Nerd love- Linda and Tulio
Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs
  1. Hate each other at first but bickering actually means they’re totally in love. Blu and Jewel
Every rom-com ever.
  1. Talking animals in exotic locations, making friends from far away lands
Up

Characters

 
  1. Two silly fast talking sidekicks- Nico and Pedro
Timon and Pumba from The Lion KingLumiere and Cogsworth from Beauty and the Beast
  1. Evil pet bird- Nigel
Iago from Aladdin
  1. Spunky girl, who when she first meets the romantic hero doesn’t like him because she’s better than him in most ways (she later settles)- Jewel
Megara- HerculesEsmeralda- Hunchback of Notre Dame

Eve-  Wall-E

Astrid- How to Train a Dragon

10. Evil Poachers Clayton from TarzanCharles Muntz from Up
11. Lost Pet finally seeing the world on his own BoltRango
12. Socially inept Protagonist- Blu How to Train Your DragonCloudy with a Chance of Meatballs

Beauty and the Beast

Wall-E

Linguini- Ratatouille

Actual Scenes

 
  1. 13.  Sidekicks playing matchmaker create mood music (happens twice)
Kiss the Girl- The Little Mermaid
  1. 14.  Little girl finds displaced animal, vows to take care of it, scene jumps forward however many years
Bolt
15. Chained together Defiant OnesWho Framed Roger Rabbit

The Bounty Hunter

16. Villain sings about what he does and how he enjoys being a villain. Nigel-Pretty bird All Disney MoviesMost notably-

Ursula- Little Mermaid

Mother Knows Best- Tangled

Scar- Lion King

Although it bored me, Rio cannot be classified as boring because a lot is going on. Nothing meaningful, but a lot nonetheless. Blue McCaw Blu is torn from his tropical home and finds a new one with sweet bookish Linda. Until eccentric ornithologist Tulio informs them that Blu is the last male of his species and convinces them to come to Rio de Janeiro to mate with the last female of his species- Jewel. Jewel on the other hand is more interested in flying free than mating. Then both birds are kidnapped and must make it through greedy smugglers, a cannibalistic cockatoo, a troop of thieving monkeys, Carnival, and host of slapstick and wisecracking sidekicks. Predictability is a stable: Linda is mousy at the beginning so of course she breaks out of her shell, Blu cannot fly so of course he can by the end, Blu and Jewel don’t get along so of course they fall in love. If any of these characters journeys were honestly and organically explored then the movie would have been worthwhile, but Rio was just a series of subplots chained together (like the leads).

Another money-making technique employed by Blue Sky was casting a number of celebrity voice talents. Jesse Eisinberg plays Blu as a standard adorkable misfit, which is a role he has perfected and personifies. This is disappointing now that we know he is capable of going beyond this as seen in his brilliant performance in The Social Network which was subtle, shaded and powerful. Anne Hathaway as Jewel tries too hard and one is reminded of the Oscars where she did the same. Leslie Mann is cute but her character Linda is disposable. The singing sidekicks Nico and Pedro are voiced somewhat annoyingly by Jamie Fox and Will I Am. Wanda Sykes and Jane Lynch have small cameos as geese. George Lopez is henpecked toucan Rafael and Tracy Morgan voices drooling dog Luiz.

There is nothing to actively dislike in Rio, but there is nothing to love either.

On the up side it really made me want to visit Rio de Jeneiro.

Posted in Movies make me Happy | 1 Comment