City View Bar – Cochin

Every time I’m in Kerala I get to meet my brother and have a nice long chat over some good food and Kingfisher beer and in the process explore more new places. Read about my previous visit to the Harbor View Bar [here]. This time around we weren’t near MG Road but on the way to Kaloor we came across Presidency Hotel.

It was almost 3 o’clock when we got there and most of the restaurants were closing their lunch orders. We asked the front desk if the bar was still open and he guided us to the top floor. Once there, we had to go through a Japanese restaurant and finally walked into the bar. It looked like the bar was closed too but the friendly waiter on seeing that there was just two of us asked us to have a seat and brought the menus.

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A touch of Kerala in the Middle East – Palazhi Bar

I just realized that I didn’t post about my booze outings like I did last time I was in Dubai. During my last trip a close friend of mine and I hit so many places in couple of days that it was insane! This time around unfortunately being on an office trip didn’t grant much freedom for an all night bender.

On the night I landed a friend, V.N suggested we hit the town and check out some of the night scenes but I was tired from Burj Dubai trip and walking around so I asked him to take me to the dullest, most quietest place so that we could just sit down and enjoy our drinks without having to endure eardrum splitting music and semi-naked dancing girls. He said that he had just the right place in mind as we hopped into a taxi to Deira Town Hotel.

You’re greeted at entrance of the hotel with a long list of the various ‘entertainment’ options available. I took one look at the list and couldn’t stop laughing at the names; “Chanchal” and “Dhamaka”. We went into Palazhi, which wasn’t crowded and ordered our drinks.

As soon as I sat down I realized how much I missed Kerala, this place reminded me of the watering holes in my hometown in Trivandrum..well except for the waitresses dressed in saris. I wonder we don’t have that back in Kerala. Palazhi can be described as a ‘Naadan, thara bar’ which loosely translates to rustic, seedy bar but I didn’t have any complaints.

There’s not much they have to offer in terms of entertainment, just a random mix of Tamil and Malayalam movie soundtracks in the background and a couple of LCD Tvs on the wall.

We ordered a pitcher of Stella Lager and a Kerala Beef Fry and omelet. What the joint lacked in style and class was completely made up by the food. The beef fry was soft, succulent and spicy while the omelets were exactly like the ones we get back home.

Next time I’m in Dubai I’m gonna find out more of these places and see if there’s a place to get some decent ‘Kappa and Meen curry’ with my beer.

Switching drinks – Prostar Whey Protein

I finally managed to finish my stock of Nestle’s Optifast that my dietician had prescribed for me last year and now I’m free to buy a more hardcore protein drink so I opted for Ultimate Nutrition’s Prostar Whey Protein. Since I’m losing weight and cutting down on my heavy workouts I’ve started replacing my dinner with an energy drink. This serves as both my Post-workout drink and dinner.  Here’s two recipes; one from my friend Cajie and the other formulated by yours truly.

Nestle’s Optifast is a low calorie protein drink that I bought from India. Each serving comes in a packet – cost 110 Rs per packet.

Prostar: It comes in a variety of sizes, I bought the medium one with 80 servings. One jar is 19 KD. You can buy it from the nutrition shop opposite Geant in 360 Mall.

Cajie’s formula
1. One Cup Whey Protein (Double Chocolate Flavor)
2. 1 spoon of Peanut Butter
3. A dab of instant coffee
4. 1 Oreo Cookie
5. Ice Cubes
6. A cup of low-fat milk
7. Optional: A dash of flax seed powder

Mathai’s formula
1. One scoop whey protein powder
2. One table spoon flax seed powder
3. One pinch instant coffee
4. One semi-frozen KDD chocolate milk box
5. One digestive biscuit – broken into small bits
6. One ripe chiquita banana (optional, I add the banana sometimes to compensate for less carbs and potassium in my diet)

More info:
Chocolate milk diet [link]
Chiquita bananas [link]

Beat the Heat – Sharjah Shake

Drinks in Kerala fall into two categories, Alcoholic and Non-Alcoholic. The Sharjah shake is probably one of the most popular beverages in the latter category. I got my first taste of this rich thick shake sometime in 1996 when it started to appear on the menus at various juice shops in Trivandrum. Now the origins of this drink remain shrouded in mystery but as with most urban legends there are a few theories which circulate among the population.

Legend # 1
This was a drink created by a juice stand operator in Sharjah and he brought the recipe to Kerala when he setup a shop there.

Legend # 2
The Sheikh of Sharjah loved this drink and the name comes from Sharjah Shiekh’s Shake (try saying that 5 times quickly 😀 )

No matter what the origins may be, heres the recipe as explained to me by one such juice shop operator.

. 1/2 liter milk, frozen till its semi-solid (one frozen pack of Milma is the preferred choice)
. 1 ripe Robusta Banana
. 2 spoons of Boost
. 2 spoons sugar
. A handful of peanuts
. A small cup of ice cream, although this is optional

Blend all the ingredients till its thick and frothy and serve in a frosted Beer Mug coz thats the only way to properly enjoy a Sharjah Shake.

Classic Sharjah

Bar accessories from Home Center

My wife and I were buying a few household items at Home Center in Shuwaikh and we came across a great collection of glasses and bar essentials on sale. Its funny that in a country where alcohol is illegal you’d find such an extensive collection; Whiskey glasses, Brandy goblets, wine glasses, Champagne flutes, shot glasses, Martini glasses etc and accessories like peg measures, lemon slicers for Tequila shots, cocktail stirrers, ice buckets, corkscrews and lots of other odds and ends.

I bought myself a set of shot glasses and a peg measure coz you never know when they might come in handy 🙂

Beat the Heat! Watermelon and Orange cooler

Half a watermelon, cut into chunks and seeds removed.

Three or four Valencia Oranges

Extract the juice from the oranges, pulse the watermelon chunks in a blender and then combine both juices. Chill the juice for an hour or so and its ready to serve! I’ve not added sugar or anything else as this stuff tastes great just like it is. 🙂

Chukku Kaapi – ചുക്ക് കാപി

I’ve been down for the past couple of days with an irritating cough, a sore throat and a fucking headache. To make matters worse I’ve got a growing list of office work and personal work that’s on a tight schedule and this spiced coffee is whats keeping my throat from closing up completely and making me sound like a castrated choir boy.

I didn’t know till recently that ചുക്ക് കാപി  was available in Kuwait and apparently there are many brands in the market. To those of you not familiar with this drink, it can only be described as a coffee brewed in the depths of Hell and its capable of opening any blocked nasal cavity, throat and maybe even blocked drains!

I found some recipes for this coffee that you can try or you can just buy a pack from your local ‘bakala’ or Indian store. 😉

Chukku Kaapi [Mishmash Blog]

Chukku Kaapi [Hub pages]

The Harbor View Bar @ The Taj

After walking around in Cochin city the whole morning my brother and I had worked up a fierce appetite and thirst and since we don’t often get a chance to catch up over drinks we decided to make this special and headed off to the Taj which is just a few meters from Marine Drive.

*Warning* Graphic pictures of Alcohol and Food after the break  😀

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Meal in a glass

Heres my recipe for a quick smoothie thats also a meal replacement.

Drinking Chocolate

Ripe Bananas

Instant Oats


Blend all the ingredients on high for about a minute and pour into your flask or glass. I’m not sure how many calories its got but the oats and bananas provide adequate energy for a long work out session or walk.