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Vintage Weekend

This weekend was more or less governed by a lot of activity. Also, I realized that it had been over 2 weeks since I put up a post & much was overdue. This weekend started off with an awesome motorbike ride, then general guitar playing in the morning, post which we (Ekta, Rachita & me) went to Oh! Calcutta & had some awesome seafood – there was fried fish, steamed fish, awesome naans and some superb daal, etc. which was eaten. The evening was spent visiting the super car show at Mahalakshmi racecourse followed by alcohol & home made burgers which were spectacular. Also, what deserves a mention & please to note there will be a more detailed post on the same is the start of our own little business called Out of the Trinket Box – http://outofthetrinketbox.wordpress.com/ serving awesome cakes, cupcakes & more. Our 1st order delivered is as below “Hulk Cupcakes!”

Hulk Cupcakes

Hulk Cupcakes

Archie's Jalopy

Archie’s Jalopy

Classic Mini Cooper

Classic Mini Cooper

Sunday morning started off with a bike ride towards Nariman Point, though on the way, parked right opposite the Trident (what used to be The Oberoi) were some awesome Vintage Cars! So I parked my bike next to them, and decided to have a look; post further probing, I realised that the same were gathering there as part of a Vintage Car Rally with over 100 cars taking part so I decided to hang there for a bit & take some pics & videos. After a while, there were a few Royal Enfields & Bajaj Avengers that came in which were also going to be a part of this rally.

Super Awesome

Super Awesome

Saw a few women riders beyond Ekta for the 1st time riding Royal Enfields. There were Cadillacs, Mercedes,  Mini Coopers, Triumphs, Dodges, Aston Martins, Buicks, cars which looked like Archie’s Jalopy, Rolls-Royce & many more. Also, the cool part here was that the accumulated crowd was allowed to go near the cars, see the interiors, click photographs & all without any issue from the owners; some of the owners were more then happy to talk about their cars to the fans inquiring. Later on, once the place was filled with cars & people, there was a roaring sound like thunder which turned everyone’s heads towards Air India building as the sound came from that direction. En route towards the starting point of the rally came in the Harley Riders, only about 3 of them, though they sounded like an army. Immediately, everyone’s attention switched to these awesome bikes. I also checked them out, contemplated in my head a lot about buying one, though then finally got onto my Bajaj Avenger & rode back home. I am going to try & put up images of the rally in a slide show below this post.

Sensational Cadillac

Sensational Cadillac

Got home all excited, showed Rachita & Mihir the pictures of the rally, spent time with Astro, watched Stargate Atlantis. Also watched a crazy movie called Upsidedown which has an amazing concept – 2 Worlds circulating a single sun with opposite gravitational forces connected to each other, so in effect people in world 1 see the people in world 2 inverted & people cannot travel to opposite worlds otherwise they wont survive for more than 30 minutes, pretty trippy I tell you. Post a full-on family lunch, I passed out for a bit, woke up & decided to go for a random joyride with Rachita towards worli seaface to see the Worli Festival, got home went for a bike ride again past peddar road & marine drive, felt super cool about the same :-), got home had some super JD (Jack Daniels i.e.), ordered-in pizzas & watched a super comedy called Here comes the Boom to end the day and a super weekend. Don’t forget to check the awesome photographs of some crazy vintage cars!!!

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Posted by on January 29, 2013 in Helmets & More

 

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Year End Roadtrip & More

So this year’s been pretty fun with roadtrips. If you have been following our blog, you’ll know we’ve been to Pune & Goa in the last 3 months, and most recently, that is last week, we decided to go to Baroda or Vadodra as people call it. Details of that trip are captured on this post. Do have a read, good people!!!

Brilliant Weather & Highway

Brilliant Weather & Highway

Danger Ha ha ha ha!!!

Danger Ha ha ha ha!!!

So Ekta has been in Baroda for a while. We have a house there & she had been inviting us there for some general chilling. Fortunately, the house was going to be empty, parents were vacationing in Kolkata so this was enough reason to go there & party!!! So last Thursday, Rachita, Vishal & me decided to drive down to Baroda in our trusty ride, the Skoda Laura aka Motilal. Also accompanying us on the journey there was Rachita’s grandmom who needed to be dropped off in Baroda at Rachita’s aunts’ and her daughter’s house. We started the journey from South Bombay in early hours of the morning, at about 4:30 am, & basis the fantastic roads and awesome weather, reached Baroda by in about 6.5 hours which was pretty awesome…

Gooooooooooooo!!!

Gooooooooooooo!!!

Super Awesomeness!!!

Super Awesomeness!!!

Reaching the house, we were greeted by Ekta who we think was in quite a shock as it was taking her a while to digest that we had actually made it there! In the past, there have been instances where in she has invited us there & for some reason or the other we haven’t been able to make it. Anyways, there was some awesome dhokla & khaman awaiting us which we hogged. Also had a few beers to kick start the party, please note Gujarat is a dry state & thus Baroda also is encompassed within that law, though if you have a permit you can legally get Alcohol; the good news is that Ekta’s dad has a permit :-). Post a quick nap, we moved to having Bailey’s Irish Cream on the rocks which was our drink of the trip i.e. Ekta’s & mine. For dinner we went to Yoko’s sizzlers had some good chicken sizzlers & starters & called it a day… Oh! before I forget, on reaching Baroda, Ekta & me went for a bike ride on her Royal Enfield fondly known as Goo after the game World of Goo. People in Baroda do not follow traffic rules & drive pretty crazy is what I learnt on my 1st bike ride in Baroda.

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Heaven with a dash of Butter...

Heaven with a dash of Butter…

Pure Brilliance!!!

Pure Brilliance!!!

Day 2 kicked off in the morning early. The weather was absolutely brilliant so I decided to take Goo out for a ride. In about 10 minutes on the bike, I froze stiff the temperature was about 14 degrees, though on the bike, at about 60 kmph it felt like it had dropped to about 8 degrees & lower – was pretty crazy, but fun. Got back home & played some blues on my blue guitar (that was cheezy, the line, but wanted to use it so what the heck). Playing the guitar in the brilliant Baroda weather felt sensational. Post that, watched some NBA on TV the Clippers take on the Celtics; this game saw Clippers win their 16th game in a row which was totally awesome! Hands down currently the most exciting in the NBA is the Los Angeles Clippers.

Slept again for a bit, woke up to beers & general chilling with Vishal, Ekta & Rachita. For a brunch, we ate some puffs & biscuits from a local bakery called Goodies. For dinner, decided to go have Raju Omelet; this time around, we went to another location which apparently is being run by Rajubhai’s brother who was the original cook for Rajubhai at the original flagship store. Yes, Raju Omelet has now got multiple branches! We ate some awesome egg preparations drowning in butter as you can see in the pictures! This time tried a new dish on the menu the Bhurji Wrap which was unbelievably delicious, diced egg bhurji & shredded boiled egg wrapped in an omelet floating in butter!!! Doesn’t get better than that…

Goodies!!!

Goodies!!!

Day 3 was similar to 2. Started off playing the guitar, though in the chilly weather gave the bike ride a skip, watched TV & passed out while Ekta & Rachita went shopping; slept for a good 4 hours & woke up to the fact that Rachu & Eku had bought out the whole of Baroda! For lunch, Baingan ka Bharta was had (Eggplant Preparation); post that there was like a fashion parade where in the girls were trying out outfits – were generally super excited about the whole experience. I was watching TV, while Vishal had passed out for a bit. In the night, we were going to get a few buckets from KFC, though when we went to pick them up, we found out that the store was still closed and that they were planning on opening come new year. So, next to our residence is this quaint eatery called Midday Munchies, where we went and picked up wraps & pizzas. We went home, ate & passed out.

Yayyyyy More Beer!!!

Yayyyyy More Beer!!!

Day 4 started off watching UFC 155….. Junior Dos Santos being walloped by Cane Valesquez; lots of beers were drunk. Lunch was a severely gujju style Bajra ni Khichdi with Lasan Chutney & Buttermilk. After this, we decided to watch some crazy south Indian movies dubbed in hindi on Tata Sky; we watched 2 movies back to back 1 of them was brilliant called Return of Chandramookhi starring Maamooty, also note in the middle of the movie, we kinda got hungry so decided to go grab some food & record the movie. We went to this place called 22nd Parallel which serves awesome South Indian food. We didn’t realise it was a Sunday evening when we left! The eatery was packed & we had to wait for about 20 minutes to get a table. Though, it was totally worth the wait as we ate some awesome Dosas, Wadas, Idlis, Rasam, Rice, etc. etc. Post getting home, we watched the recorded movie which was totally spectacular & went to sleep as Rachita & me had to head back to Bombay the next morning. Woke up again early & left by 4:30 am, I drove after eons for about half the journey & Rachita drove the other half; the roads & weather were super! Also add to that it was the 31st, so there was minimal traffic & we reached home by 11:00 am.

Shopping!!!

Shopping!!!

Woke up again early & left by 4:30 am, I drove after eons for about half the journey & Rachita drove the other half; the roads & weather were super! Also add to that it was the 31st, so there was minimal traffic & we reached home by 11:00 am. Overall, the Baroda trip was super awesome! For any of you planning a trip from Bombay to Baroda, I strongly suggest that you drive down; also the weather will be sensational till mid February so plan something soon. 2 places which are a must visit in case you are in Baroda – Raju Omlet & 22nd Parallel. Trust me, you wont be disappointed. Also here’s wishing all our readers a very happy new year, have a lucky 13!!!

 
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Posted by on January 2, 2013 in Trips & Rides

 

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The Winter Bike Rides & More

The weather in Bombay at most times is at an average of 28 to 32 degrees celcius, Come December into January & February is the only time the weather cools down a bit going to an average of about 24 to as low as 18 to 16 degrees Celsius. All times are good for a bike ride but these 3 months are the best 🙂

Early Winter View of the Moon

Early Winter View of the Moon

This is my first winter (if you can call Bombay climate & temperature winter) with my Bike, so the last few days of November where the temperature dipped have been absolutely brilliant for Bike rides. More often than not, I leave for a bike ride early in the morning between 5:30 am & 6:00 am – yup! a lot of you may think this is crazy but trust me, this is the best time to ride on the streets of Bombay which go crazy with traffic post 8:00 am. The weather around daybreak is absolutely amazing, add to that the roads have absolutely no traffic & its just you & your bike cruising, the wind has a brilliant chill & you can hear some awesome birds & sounds other than cars honking away & people abusing. Also, it’s not yet sunny considering Sunrise is at its peak post 6:45 am.

Daybreak to Happen soon!

Daybreak to Happen soon!

Interesting View to Start the Day!

Interesting View to Start the Day!

Awesomeness!!!

Awesomeness!!!

Most of the time, the route I take is from my house towards Nariman Point past Marine Drive. This, according to me, is one of the most scenic & open view places left in Bombay; cruising past Chowpatty & the different Gymkhana’s (Club Houses) towards Pizza by the Bay is absolutely brilliant. Nariman Point itself offers a great view with people jogging, walking, exercising right next to the sea. Also from NP you can see the complete Queen’s Necklace which is what the stretch from Nariman Point to end of Chowpatty looks like when seen from a vantage point :-). Heading back from Nariman Point, you are riding next to the sea & the breeze literally moves the bike…. this is a super feeling! From there, I take the route towards Walkeshwar & past Hanging gardens down Malabar Hill, this is by far & I kid you not, the best part of my bike ride in the morning. The descent from Hanging Gardens & Malabar Hill towards Peddar Road is like you get transported into another zone, there is a clear drop in temperature by about 5 degrees, lush greenery around & the peace & quiet. You have to ride this stretch, it is an absolute must for all whether you are on a bike, car or taking walk do visit this area in the morning it is an experience you will love…

The Queen's Necklace

The Queen’s Necklace

The Best Place for a Bike Ride...

The Best Place for a Bike Ride…

Worli Seaface

Worli Seaface

From the Malabar Hill descent I move past Peddar Road, stop below my in-laws building (in my mind at that point I am stalking them 😉 ). Moving on from how my devious mind works, to the bike ride past Mahalakshmi temple towards Haji Ali & Worli Seaface, the Haji Ali Stretch past the racecource towards Worli is again highly recommended, not for any other reason except the wind which literally smacks you in the face & the trafficless 5 lane road. Worli seaface, again like Marine Drive, is an experiance as you ride next to to the sea. Also, the view overlooks the Sea Link Bridge which is totally spectacular. This is where my ride ends & I head home passing the Atria Mall where the BMW & Ducati bikes’ showroom forces me to stop & stare aimlessly at some stupendous bikes. From there, riding past the race cource always is special considering I learnt how to ride at this place i.e. in the parking lot of the race course which is massive & totally empty in the early hours of the morning. For people who want to learn how to ride a bike in Bombay, I strongly suggest you come here to learn & practice.

The Sea Link

The Sea Link

All in all, I ride for about an hour in the morning which is also kind of therapeutic. Over a period of time, I have realized I have 3 really good shrinks 1) My wife 2) My bike 3) Alcohol  ha ha ha ha ha seriously twisted I am :-). Having said that & before I end this article, let me just reiterate to all reading this blog & are planning to visit Bombay or are living in Bombay, you have to take your ride out past the mentioned route whether the same be a car, bike, shoes or flip flops in the early winter morning, Trust me, you wont be disappointed with the awesomeness you experience!!!

That be my Awesome Bike!!!

That be my Awesome Bike!!!

 
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Posted by on December 4, 2012 in Trips & Rides

 

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The Crazy Car and Tech Expo

I am not that into cars, don’t get excited seeing many of them (Jaguar is an exception) or drool when people talk about speed, etc. This year however, I went to the Autocar Expo which showcases some of the most awesome cars and bikes across India. Of course, I had a hidden agenda here, the Stuff Gadget show was also in the same premise, the very lovely Mrs works for the magazine and hence would not miss it for the world.

We started off early to avoid the mad crowds, got to the venue by about 10:30. As soon as I walked in, the first thing that caught my eye were custom bikes – a company called Verdanci – I had seen their work before online, but was very impressed with the quality of bikes they were making. As a promotion activity, they had decided to build a bike at the expo and launch it on the last day. I spoke to one of the promoters there and he told me the bikes cost anywhere between 5-10 lakhs basis customer requirement – a bit expensive if you ask me, but then again, the bikes look kick ass! Further on, there were more bikes – BMWs to start with – they look like cheetahs ready to pounce, I quickly took a few shots and then moved towards the cars…. the first few Porsches, Audis, Mercedes – while I was shooting the Porsche, a gentleman approached me and asked me for my email, he apparently forgot his batteries on his Nikon and wanted pictures of the event; this was a first for me also so I happily obliged (just sent him all the pics last week). Moving on, I stopped at the Jaguar booth for about 10 minutes and just stared at the car, that is one car that I would love to own in my life :-). Post the foreign cars, there were the standard India brands on display; what impressed me was how they had setup their booths and were rallying people around with contests, pictures, etc., something international brands definitely need to learn.

Moving further, reached the Ducati booth, 4 monsters parked there, that’s about it no flash lights, no booth babes, nothing – just 4 bikes and it was spectacular – these are monsters, not ordinary bikes. Post these, I did catch a glimpse of a Harley, but the crew there was rather unfriendly, they had issues if people came close to their bikes, so I said thanks but no thanks and moved on. By now, I was getting impatient as I had not yet reached the Stuff enclosure, I quickly asked someone and he directed me towards it. On my way there, caught a glimpse of some awesome car systems – they looked like they are straight out of The Fast & Furious… beautiful. Just before the Stuff enclosure, I ran into the Bat Mobile, well not really the Bat mobile but the Lamborghini Aventadore – hands down the greatest car that I will ever see in my life time – pity the Lamborghini booth was very small and restricted movement for Photography.

Finally made it to the Stuff enclosure – the walkway towards the expo was lit up and paintings of movies with gadgets lined the walls, my favourite the Godfather and the Guitar on display; from there the first store I caught was the LG TV booth. People! the booth babes in there looked like aunties, but the products on display pretty much killed it. The Stuff gallery had Bruce Lee guarding it and had some really fancy Lomo cameras, speakers, television and video game rigs on display; talking about rigs, the car simulator was suspended 4 feet off the ground and moved basis the steering wheel, please note even the screen moved giving the user a visual like none other. There were people riding Segues, trikes around the area and the sound system on display were to die for, they cost a crore+ so yes to die for. The mandotory smartphone displays drew in crazy crowds. I did hear a rumour that the Iphone 5 was going to be made available for display, but did not end up confirming the same. Another interesting toy/gadget was qaudrocopter or A.R Drone. It was in this huge enclosure and was being flown around by some very talented kids, it moved in all directions and could hover seamlessly in one place. After all the gadget porn, I went to meet the Mrs and all her collegues at the show. As usual, they were all working tirelessly for days but greeted me with a smile and offered to take me for a whole lot of demos, etc. I politely refused, have one policy in life if I can’t buy it, I don’t try it. After exchanging pleasantries, I decided it was time to leave, I had had a late night due to a kickass office party.

Going out, I noticed car companies had created drag, dirt and mountain tracks for people to try. There were also ATVs available to ride, honestly I was very impressed with the setup. All in all, it was a great experience. I definitely look forward to the Stuff show next year, Autocar may be but only for Photography. DO check our slide show for all the pictures from both the expos and don’t forget to favourite the blog 🙂

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Posted by on November 24, 2012 in Bikes & Builders

 

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Drinks, Diwali & Pune

Bombay Pune Expressway

So the Diwali celebrations for us started on the 11th of November 2012; Rachita, my parents and I left for Pune as we were celebrating the festive season with the in-laws at their Pune house. We over packed, as always, stuffed the luggage all over the Ritz added 4 people to the same & started the journey. The weather was awesome & there was no traffic so we made some good time, reaching our destination in about 3 hours. Reaching there, we realized the house was in chaos – too many people and too little space, so quickly freshened up & then decided  to head out with Aashay, Ekta & Rachita. This is when the fun began…

Awesome Decor at Hidden Place

The Tower of Power

Day 1- Also, please note, going forward we will refer to Aashay as Alpana because he in Pune is the equivalent of the house help whose name is Kalpana; in effect, he is the male Kalpana – Alpana!!! So Alpana decided to take me to this pub he has been raving about called Hidden Place. Reaching the destination i.e. HP we realized it doesn’t open till 12:30 & we’d reached by about 11:45 am so we requested the manager to allow us inside a bit early considering I had travelled all the way from Bombay. The guys were kind and let us in by noon :-). The place, overall, had a superb feel to it; nice retro decor with posters on the wall & bottles used as lights, also good music playing. We went in and ordered the King Fisher Tower which is about 3 litres of Beer; side by side, we ordered some chicken wings also which Alpana had highly recommended. By the time we went through the Tower of Power, the girls had also joined us and by now food & alco was flowing seamlessly :-).  We decided to have a pint of Stella & moved to another Japanese brand, the name of which I cannot remember. Ekta was having some cocktails while Rachita & Analushka were ordering food & more food. The afternoon was well spent being drunk & catching up on all the happenings in Ekta, Alpana & Analushka’s life!!! The evening was then spent with family at home eating Dosas & generally chilling.

Tower of Power & Mojito Pitcher

Day 2 – Post getting up the next day, decided to chill on the terrace for a bit considering the weather was a lot cooler than Bombay, played the blues, felt pretty awesome about it then made waffles for breakfast for all & then decided to go a new place at Koregaon Park called Kebab Studio; this was where Turtulia was originally. Reached the place & ordered another King Fisher Tower; also there was a super happy hours scheme wherein Pitcher of Mojito was availaible for Rs. 499/- so like, defo dude, ordered the same as well.

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Kebab Studio

To accompany the crazy amounts of alcohol, we also ordered some Crispy Roomali Roti with Kheema & a Choora Paratha which were like totally out of this world…the kheema just melted, actually disappeared in your mouth & it was like marinated in super masala. An absolute must try if you are visiting this place. Post a crazy drinking session (considering we ordered another pitcher of Mojito), we headed home totally drunk, chilled at home for a bit. Then Disha decided to learn how to ride the Bike; Ekta’s Royal Enfield aka Goo was there so taught her the basics of the same. For dinner there was barbecue, though by the time things were ready, I had passed out as post coming home from KS, I was OD’ing on Millers…

Tower of Power for Day 3

Day 3 – The last day in Pune, went over to the Taj Vivanta to meet the parents & check how the Hotel has been treating them; post which, intiially we decided to go to Machester United Cafe though, after a few discussions & miscomunications with Ekta who went of in the direction of Man U Cafe, we decided to go to this place called The Ship; as the name suggests, the decor of this place is like a Ship. Here also & for the 3rd consecutive day, Alpana & me ordered a Tower, Ekta, who had gone in another direction came back and ordered a few cocktails. For food, we ordered some Nachos & Onion rings which were pretty decent, also this was Diwali day, so there was lots of crackers being burst on the roads etc. Got home, crashed for a bit. In the evening, there was a full on celebration happening with Bhajiyas, some awesome Grilled Non-Veg & Icecream on the menu…..obviously unlimited alcohol & crazy bollywood music was also part of the POA. The Non veg included masala sausages, salami, bacon, chorizo & seekh kebab which were absolutely amazing. There was also masala khichya & fried papad with the alcohol. All in all, the evening was a lot of fun; a few crackers were also burst to celebrate the occasion…

The Ship

All in all, the Diwali Pune trip went off well. Next morning, left for Bombay early & got home. The places in Pune to eat & drink were sensational, also considering it was Diwali time the water holes were empty and we had the places all to ourselves. It was great catching up with Aashay & going drinking with him, Ekta & Rachita. I also strongly recommend Hidden Place & Kebab Studio for anyone visiting Pune & looking for good places to chill at. Closing the article with a slide show of our experience of the 3 days & the awesome 3 places we visited in Pune & the festive Celebrations!!!

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Posted by on November 20, 2012 in Trips & Rides

 

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The Super Chinese Brunch & More

About a week ago, Ritika & I were planning to meet up on a Sunday; during a random discussion we were having, we decided to go have duck & that’s when we zeroed in on Vong Wong, one of my most favorite Chinese restaurants in South Bombay. Before I forget, on Saturday, the day before we went to Vong Wong, Rachita, Ekta & me visited Smooth, a lounge at Shalimar Hotel at Kemps Corner. This was the 1st time Rachita & me went to this place. Details of both these places & our awesome experience there follows…

Smooth!!!

Caipirojka & Watermelon Martini

Saturday morning started off with a bike ride past Marine Drive & Nariman Point. The morning was then spent strumming the guitar & playing NBA2K13 on the Xbox360. Ekta & me decided to go get drunk in the afternoon & were trying to figure where we should go for the same. Also, we were looking at trying out a new place, so post a bit of thinking, I decided on this place which I had heard about during my work days at Hungama called “Smooth”, located at Hotel Shalimar at Kemps Corner. We decided to head there at about 1 p.m. On entering the place, I was pleasantly surprised as the the look & feel of the same was pretty damn snazzy.

This be Smooth!!!

The decor was sofas & chairs in silver with white coloured walls which looked very cool. For a Saturday afternoon, the place was surprisingly empty & when i say empty there was 3 of us and the staff …. which worked well for us :-). The menu also had a great mix of food & lot of choice around alco… For food we ordered some starters which were pretty damn good & for the drinks we ordered some fruit flavored Martini’s & Caipirojka’s. Post having a couple of those, Ekta decide she wanted to have Rum, Thumbs Up & I decided to have a Bloody Marry followed by some Johnny Walker Red Label… Yup! By now we were pretty damn high / shit faced, came home & crashed. If you guys are looking at a place to hang through the afternoon which is not very noisy then Smooth is ideal; also evening is when this place gets decently crowded. Pretty well priced also for the drinks as well as food…

Best Brunch Spread Ever!!!

Yummmmy!!!

Moving onto Sunday & the brunch at Vong Wong with Ritika, Mihir, Yooti, Ekta & yours truly. Ekta & me decided to ride to Nariman point where the restaurant is located, Rachita & Ritika were out shopping at Crawford market & were joining us directly, while Mihir & Yooti took a cab. Considering it was afternoon, the weather wasn’t ideal for a bike ride but what the heck, we were totally kicked about it as we were dressed like we were in Goa & were living the same experience on the bike!!! Reaching Vong Wong, we realized they had a buffet brunch going on which was priced at about Rs 2000/- a pop with unlimited cocktails. After doing some mental math, we decided to go for the same & make the most of the food as well as the cocktails & mocktails…

Awesomeness!!!

Before I get into the awesomeness of the cocktails & super duper food, let me tell you about the ambiance of this place. The same is pretty classy, the furniture has an authentic feel; there are these giant Chinese vases, also the restaurant is very spacious and if you are a big group of people then you can book the round tables which have curtains to enclose the space & give you privacy; there are 3 tables of this sort. Also, the bar is amazing & most importantly, the view is absolutely stunning as it looks into the sea, past Nariman Point & what used to be the Oberoi Hotel which now is the Trident Hotel.

Sensational!!!

It Doesn’t Get Any Better…

Now for the food & drinks! We immediately ordered some caipirojka & some martini’s to start off with…….. the agenda, clearly, was to try all the cocktails on offer and get shitfaced, atleast Ekta & me had decided the same. Starters were served on the table – there was chilli chicken, momo’s / dim sum (5 different kinds – pork, vegetable, chicken, pakchoy and mushroom), crispy vegetables in a spicy wasabi, etc.  There were some awesome salads like Som Tam, Kimchi, tofu & french bean salad, absolutely sensational stuff!There were 3 live counters serving, make to order eggs i.e. omelets, poached eggs & eggs benedict; there was also a khao suey counter which was the hands down the best we have eaten & a counter serving duck rolls with plum sauce which was super yummy!!! There was this guy who was strumming the guitar & singing songs on request which added to the overall experience. This guy’s singing had an amazing voice at least Ekta & Ritika thought so… Another cool thing they had on offer during brunch was shots & to take that experience to the next level they had this waiter & waitress come to your table get you to open your mouth stuff it with Watermelon, Magic pops and then pour in loads of Grey Goose vodka which was the highlight :-). Post going through all of this & a crazy amount of dessert, we moved to some exotic fruit cocktails – those also were delicious & exceedingly potent but by now we didn’t care & were loving the whole experience!!!

Must Visit Vong Wong!!!

We were there for a good 3 hours and loved every moment of it! After that I rode back with Ekta which was an absolutely amazing experience  we also switched between who was riding across Marine Drive as that feeling was totally surreal. Also before I sign off, let me very highly & strongly recommend Vong Wong to all; if you like super yummy food & cocktails with a dash of an awesome experience then you must must visit this place. Finally do check out the slide show below, it has some awesome visuals which to us are like a full-on spiritual trip!!!

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Posted by on November 5, 2012 in Trips & Rides

 

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HDR for Beginners

High Dynamic Range Photography – this has been the debate basis the ever growing photographer community for the past few years now. HDR, as it is popularly known, is definitely gaining momentum; pictures taken using this method are regularly displayed in museums (Trey Ratcliff’s famous fireworks picture at the Smithsonian) and considered works of art. Then there are the DSLR snobs, people who believe that manual mode is the only way to go; if you use a photo editing software you are a scar on their perfect portrait, they noise police pictures and so on. My take on this is fairly straightforward I love HDR, I also use a lot of editing tools and 99% of the time I don’t shoot in manual mode. I am what you may term as the rogue community; please note this community is much larger than the DSLR snob community. I thought it would be a good idea to share my experience with HDR on this post; also have added a few tips in there so you can get started with HDR if you are already not an addict.

I happened to stumble on HDR by chance, a couple of years back when I bought my first camera. I was looking at tutorial videos online and just happened to catch a video showcasing HDR images, I was hooked from that point on. Unfortunately, I used a bridge camera then and hence could not really work on the technique. About a year ago, I bought my first DSLR – and that’s Tip 1 also, when buying a new camera, get one with a bracketing option it’s a must for HDR. Moving on, it’s been a year now and I do believe I have the basics down and am moving in the right direction basis the technique. Below are a few standard questions and answers which will get you started on this awesome technique:

1) What is HDR photography?

Putting it simply, HDR is a photography technique where images can represent more accurately the range of intensity levels found in real scenes, from direct sunlight to faint starlight. In normal English, it shows you what the eye see but with enhanced colours and lights.

2) Do I need a special camera for shooting HDR?

Not really, any camera will do, but it helps if your camera has a bracketing option.

3) What is Bracketing?

Bracketing is basically when you take pictures at multiple exposures. Most entry level cameras allow you to take 3 such pictures – normal, over and under exposed.

4) Do I need a special software for this?

Unfortunately yes, there are tons of them available in the market; I would recommend Photoshop and Photomatix for the same.

5) How do I get started with HDR?

The following is a simple guide to start using HDR in your regular photography. I have tried to keep it simple and easy to understand, but if you do have questions, please add them to the comments below. Start with setting your camera to multiple shots, then go to the bracketing option it will be listed as exposure bracketing in most cameras. Set the value to 2. This will take 3 shots at different exposures once you press the shutter down. If you are like me and your hand is not very steady, use a tripod. Another tip here: shoot in Raw mode, the flexibility raw images give you while editing is amazing. So now that you have your first images, what do you do next? Download the images on your PC and import them into Photoshop or Photomatix, you will have to use the bridge option in Photoshop and then select merge to HDR; in Photomatix, load Bracketed pictures will do the same for you. Now this will open Pandora ’s Box for you, I will briefly touch on Photomatix options here to give you an idea of what each does and how it will shape your pictures; in Photoshop the same happens but for some reason it is not subtle and images tend to look un-natural. This holds true for CS5… I have not yet used CS6. Note: this part of the tutorial only covers the first few options, I will be covering others in a more detailed post. The first options you will see once Photomatix merge options, you can align pictures here, remove ghosts and reduce noise. Once done the following options will show up:

Strength

Controls the strength of the contrast enhancements; a value of 100 gives the maximum increase in both local and global contrast enhancements.  I prefer this to be at around 80 as 100 makes certain colours bleed.

Color Saturation

Controls black and white to colour settings; the greater the saturation, the more intense the colour. A value of 0 produces a gray scale image and 100 pushes colour all the way up.

Luminosity

This controls how light or dark your highlights are in the image. Moving the slider to the right boosts shadow details and brightens the image. Moving it to the left has the opposite effect, and gives a more “natural” look to the resulting image.

Detail and Contrast

This is self explanatory; this will increase detailing and contrast giving your picture a smooth or a hard feel.

Lighting Adjustment

When you’re just starting, I would suggest you click the check box in this option and use the preset tools – natural for a natural look, surreal for a look which is more HDR like with Halos and medium for a combination of both.

Once you are done playing with these settings and happy with the image you have, select process and you will have your first HDR image. I hope to put up a more detailed article on HDR in the future, but the post above will get you started in a short period of time. I have put some HDR images on this post. These were shot during our recent Monsoon Roadtrip. One point of advice: first try HDR in the day time, night has its sets of challenges and you will need a lot more equipment to get it right. Like with everything, the more you practise HDR, the better you get at it. Do share your pictures with us via comments or on twitter. Enjoy shooting! Incase you’re wondering which camera I use?  Nikon D5100.

 
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Posted by on September 14, 2012 in Helmets & More

 

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