Chef – A Review

“Chef” dices, minces, simmers, greases, and serves it to you on a warm plate.

Jon Favreau’s Chef has the recipe to satisfy your craving for a nice movie. A really really nice movie. I started watching it with a friend yesterday morning, but his girlfriend came to pick him up and he had to leave. We were about fifteen minutes into the movie. I stopped it, and went for a haircut.

I watched the rest of it today. Now while you are watching, you can predict some things and they come out right that way. But all the shows and movies and stories have become so exceedingly fake that we want to predict things, and find out the brilliant ingenuity behind the plots. Well, you cannot go far with that kind of guessing in this movie, because there is nothing to guess. There are no hidden surprises, no bolts, no awakenings or revelations. It’s a simple movie, with great actors, and a sweet story. They have also thrown in some quick recipes that you can watch and make yourself. No kidding.

chef

It’s about passion, frustration, irritation, relationships, social media, food, places, etc. It’s cute how Carl says “twitter” instead of “tweet”. It’s so exact with respect to how critics care more about their words than what they are critiquing. Emjay Anthony is a natural actor. Just brilliant as Percy. You just want him to grow up and keep acting in some amazing movies. Well, I do. I am glad Scarlett Johansson does what she does in all the movies – not act much but just be around like an eye candy. Her role is required, when you think about it. Sofia Vergara plays her role perfectly as Inez. I also like this John Leguizamo guy a lot, playing Martin. Robert Downey Jr. and Russell Peters come and go breezily, giving us some moments of laughter.

The part where Percy records one second video everyday reminded me to record one without fail. I have this pact with some friends where we have to record a second long video every day, until whenever.

I don’t want to say anything more about the movie. Just go ahead and watch it. It will leave an aftertaste that’s pleasant, and a smile on your face. Let me throw in a song for you though

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f1zB5gMBwUE

PS: image picked from http://netflixlife.com/

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Divine Chocolates

I used to love chocolates. My love for them dwindled with time. Especially after coming to the US; American candies are too sweet for my taste. If you like cocoa chocolates, the best option is to go for the artisanal ones. Also, my love for hot chocolate went downhill after repeatedly drinking them from stupid coffee shops and drink-dispensing machines in the office. It all changed last evening, when my colleague took me to this chocolate haven (you may call it heaven too), L.A. Burdick.

In Boston, it’s a small chocolate shop selling a wide variety of freshly-made chocolates. They look good, and they are packaged beautifully. They are highly priced too. But trust me, those chocolates need to be treated just the way these guys treat them. We picked hazelnut, caramel, and praline croquant from the assortment of tiny chocolates. All you have to do to know what “heaven in mouth” feels like is pop them in. I looked up, closed my eyes, and went “mmmm…”

Next, their hot chocolate. I called for milk drinking chocolate. My colleague called for dark drinking chocolate. We were given our waiting number written on cocoa shell! I have been feeling under the weather, and it was gone for the next two hours, after drinking this delightful potion. I am not exaggerating.

They have chocolates for various seasons and festivals. They have something called as chocolate mice and chocolate penguins too. Really cute stuff, and I would never have the heart to eat them. Here is a picture, which I have picked from their website :

mice_box

I strongly urge all the chocolate lovers, ex-chocolate lovers, and chocolate haters to give Burdick’s a sincere try!

Their Boston address is 52 Brattle St, Cambridge MA 02138.

Snack Time

Many months ago, I was spending time on the internet aimlessly. At that point, I was extremely hungry too. I don’t know if it was sheer genius of some algorithm or plain coincidence, but I somehow reached the website of NatureBox. I drooled a lot and then signed up for a box of snacks to be delivered at the doorstep of my house. Of course, it was not going to cure my hunger that evening, and I settled with it being mere coincidence. I knew how to control my mind! Pfft! I reached home, prepared my dinner, and ate it. That’s when I thought that what I had met earlier that evening was an algorithm, and not a coincidence. I did not bother much, because the first box was going to be free of cost anyway. Wow!

After about two months, I unsubscribed from NatureBox.

Two days ago, I was aimlessly going from point A to point M on the internet, and was hungry while doing so. I came across Graze. Either I am almost always hungry or these guys have some great ideas about how and when to advertise their products.

With NatureBox, one can customize their box (even the first one that is for free), which gets delivered once every month. There is a five-snack box to munch on with three different payment options – $19.95 being the cheapest (the price changes with the number of months that you subscribe for). I found out that though the snacks are healthy, I did not really ever finish them (I finished the tastiest ones though), and also that I could not afford it.

Graze helps you with customization too, but not so much. Their box rates are more flexible though, with the cheapest being priced at $6.99 (the price changes with the size of the box). Also, they have delivery frequencies of either once/week or once/two weeks. I stopped my subscription to Graze too, because I found them to be more controlling with the snacks that I can choose for myself. Also, though $6.99 sounds like it is cheap, that one box was finished by me within two days, and if I order once/week, it will turn out to be more expensive than NatureBox.

I have to agree though, that these are great subscriptions to have, especially if you like to munch on healthy snacks every once in a while, and need to have a variety without it going to waste. These are nicely-packaged small boxes (both NatureBox and Graze), and you don’t waste much if you don’t like something, especially if you have picked your own snacks. You also get to rate these snacks.

I was especially impressed with the un-subscription process of Graze. It’s not a one-step process, but very interactive, and has a great personalized touch to it. I don’t think they could have done anything better to make people think twice before unsubscribing. Here’s are some screenshots:

graze

First Step of Unsubscription

graze 2

What Happens When You Hover over the Green Button

graze 3

They Aren’t So Keen on Letting You Go

graze 4

This Is How They Finally Say Their Goodbye

Cricket Fever

It was the night of Valentine’s Day. Another snowstorm was predicted for Boston, and it looked pretty much on its way. It was all calm, lovey-dovey. But not with Indians and Pakistanis. Especially the ones in Boston. Most of them had to cancel their plans of watching the match together with friends, thanks to the impending snowstorm.

People like me were not ready to give up so easily. I had heard of this place called Hit Wicket. We called them up, and they told us that they were going to air the match, and there was no per head fee as advertised on their website. They told us that the restaurant would be open until 2:00 am, but they close early if neighbours complain. That’s it. My friends and I dressed up in blue, and left for the place. I and my other friend missed the national anthems of India and Pakistan because we were looking for a parking spot. When we got in, it was like heaven. Nothing looked like Valentine’s Day or snow day. The colours we could see were mostly green and blue. There was no table left for us. But the waiters knew how much it meant to us, and they let us pull a table out of somewhere and place it somewhere else from where we could watch the match.

I had never watched a match before with the rival country in the same place as I. It was exhilarating with the jeering and clapping and screaming and banging tables. You did not miss out on the happenings if you went to the loo; there is commentary in there too! The menu looked lip-smacking and thematically arranged for cricket lovers. Sadly, they could not get our drinks and food (not all of it), forget about getting it on time. We made some noise about it, but could not get angry at them. The waiters at Hit Wicket are extremely cheerful and genuinely so. They love cricket and they love cricket fans.

By the end of the first innings they wanted us to leave (the entire restaurant). We were making too much noise. They had started cancelling the orders placed. The bar was shut long ago. We begged and promised to not make any noise. The waitress let us stay. When we told her that she was sweet, she said that she did not have an option really. They treated us like kids. It was extreme fun.

After the first innings, we came back home, and I continued watching the match until it got over at 6:00 am. It was a great treat after a hiatus of years. I went to sleep peacefully.

Today is another match between India and South Africa. Cricket adverts are crazy, and here’s the spirit for this game:

India has never beat SA in World Cup. Star Sports came up with this advert – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gk5tX4oWxvA

And here’s some typical Indian cricket fan response to it – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OSP7o4lzIoQ

SA has never won the World Cup 😉

Cricket fever is waiting for tonight again at Hit Wicket! It is and awesome place, and if I get to eat anything there today, I will review their food in my next blogpost! Happy Cricket!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SxBL-qImwQU

Address: 1172 Cambridge St, Cambridge, MA 02139

Fashion vs Funtion

Today, while waiting for my bus I saw a man with his man bag. I am not the one who makes fun of metrosexual men, but the straps of his man bag fell off his shoulder twice within a minute. Handbags are extremely uncomfortable, especially if the straps are short, hard, and the bag is heavy. They can cause extreme discomfort, however you choose to hold them. Sporting/using uncomfortable stuff to strut and be in-line with fashion is majorly a woman’s forté, though.

red_stills

The higher they are, the longer your legs look. The pointier they are, the saucier the get-up. She is a real woman if she can sport the highest stilletos. Do you think that she really is comfortable in those shoes? High heels cause all sorts of feet problems ranging from nerve damage, arthritis, stress, in-grown nails, to embarrassing falls. The whole fact that a woman has to train to walk in them says that it is unnatural. But women continue to wear them. If that’s the Prada you wear, you got to be a devil. Proof:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wCsOe99XM4I

Nails

(Fake) long nails make women incapable of going on about daily activities normally, let alone strum a guitar like a rock star

Corset_2

Probably takes his breath away, but literally takes away hers

thongs

Thongs can still leave a lot for imagination if you think about the discomfort

A little less extreme, before I sign off:

EOS

Balm is round in shape, and as one can guess, it flattens out as you keep applying it. Not a good design, if you ask me. Pretty? Sure.

Jewelry_Hanger

They are extremely cute, but I think they will damage my jewelry, if I do not manage to maneuver my way through

joey_man_bag

PS: The images have been taken off various websites, and none are clicked by me, except for the last .gif one

My Tryst With A Skin Expert

There are some people trained to make you feel bad about yourself. These people are there to make you feel that you are a worthless piece of sh*t, and then they introduce to you their product, which is supposed to turn you into an awesome piece of sh*t. As if their product is the only thing missing from your life.

So I was walking in a mall. I was simply killing time, because I had to meet a friend, and there was snow outside. I was dressed rather shabbily, and I looked poor. Anyway, a guy popped out of nowhere and offered me a sachet of some moisturizer. I accepted it with a wide smile. He looked at my face intently, like only a lover would. He asked me, “What do you use for your face?” Suddenly I could feel him see my big pores, ugly acne and acne marks, thick black hair, a combination of dry and oily patches, on my skin. So much for looking at me like only a lover would. Very uncomfortably, I said,” Random stuff?” He was angry with my reply. Very very angry. I had all the time in the world to cater to his anger.

His next question was, “What is your age?” I never lie about that. ”28”, I said. I looked right into his eyes, and saw a hint of disbelief, but he composed himself quickly. I had a smug smile on my face. He was supposed to make me feel ugly about myself, and not flatter me. He said, “You are 28 and you use random stuff for you skin? Why would you do that to your skin?” I just said, “Well”. He asked, “Are you married?” I said no. He asked me if I had a boyfriend. I said no. Of course, he was trying to find out if I had some motivation to spend lots of money to look good. Or if there was someone who could spend for me. The direction of questions had to be changed. He said, “You don’t have a boyfriend? Then you HAVE to take care of your skin!” By then I was inside his shop, and he was applying some cleanser on my slightly hairy and very thin wrist. I was killing time being amused, while he thought that he was playing his game well.

The cleanser seemed to form some residue, and I whistled. I tried to show him that I was a dumb girl who thought that the residue was my skin. Of course it was the cleanser itself. He asked me if I had had a bath. I said of course. He then started taking out some other stuff, a moisturizer. I asked not to take it out. He said, “Come on, don’t be so hard!” I said, “Come on, you know that I am being rather easy.” He smiled stealthily, without looking at me. He asked me what my profession was and I told him that I was a student. I hoped that would make him give up on the game. He anyway took out the moisturizer and applied it on the same area, and asked me to compare it with my other wrist. There was not much noticeable difference(colour and texture), but I showed that I was impressed.

I decided to carry further the charade, “So tell me. How much do I have to pay for good skin?” He said, “It’s not much. How much do you spend on clothes, and bags, and shoes?” I was going to say “not much”, but I picked up the product instead and turned it upside down to check the price. $150 for the cleanser and $150 for the moisturizer. I looked at him with saucer eyes, and said, “Are you kidding me?” He smiled and asked me how much I was willing to pay for “the good of your skin”. I told him that the price was so high that I saw no scope of coming down to my level. He almost knew that it was a lost cause. I told him that when I would start earning I would travel all the way from my state to his shop, and buy the stuff from his shop. I said it extremely sweetly. It gave me some sinister kick. He said, “You don’t have to buy it from me.” I said that I would love to, and left, strutting away in style. It sure did give me some kick. After an hour or so, even the slightly noticeable difference between the wrists was gone.

The Language of Aliens is Bhojpuri

I am not sure if I have got your attention, but I tried. There are other ways to get attention – like standing nude with a perfect body, by just covering your vital organs with a quirky radio. After you have got the attention, you can give your message. Or a horde of messages.

I am not sure if you still got my attention, but I really tried. PK gets your attention very well with this.

PK

Any Aamir Khan fan, or a die-hard ex-fan (like me), got the attention, in either good ways, or bad ways. The movie loses no time in what it wants to talk about – it wants to talk about everything that’s going wrong. Everything. There’s no particular message, but it’s a medley of degraded human behaviours, especially the humans of India. Bribery. Wearing helmet when riding a bike. Ticket for black. Peeing in public. Showing the warmth of prostitutes. Bogus news. Stealing. No value for Gandhi if it’s not on currency note. India vs Pakistan. Religion. Et cetera. All the issues are picked up together and tied very loosely. Even if you decide to keep aside your brain, and watch it, you cannot really do that. Because the movie wants to force you to think. When I was forced to think, I thought about these things:

  1. It’s almost like an overwhelming projection of Satyamev Jayate
  2. Aamir, and Vidhu Vinod Chopra want to use art for a cause, and I respect that. They use the right techniques, for the right audience. But you could have tried not to mix all the things, and also introduce a love triangle.
  3. Why Rajasthan, and so many colours? You seem to be very ambitious with your audience, and you definitely want to try to get nominated for the Oscars.
  4. Why the bombing scene? Really, why?
  5. I was expecting a really good debate between Tapasvi Maharaj and PK. I was all pumped up for the scene. It was a true anticlimax, with what they showed. It beat logic in every way possible, and killed a great platform for what could have been a great debate.
  6. Why alien, I thought. I got a range of ideas – they did not want to be left behind with all the sci-fi movies getting all the attention, they wanted to extend their target audience to aliens, etc. But then I realized, that it was indeed a smart move. Talking about religion, and challenging sticky old beliefs needs guts. Lots of it. With smartness. You cannot challenge blind believers by calling them stupid, and their beliefs dumb. PK, an alien, is a blank slate. He has no clue what religion is. He is innocent and cannot see until the end that Tapasvi is a cheat. Like the fellow believers. He challenges everything innocently, without knowing what he is doing. Very very smart approach.

All in all, I am not impressed with the movie. Boman Irani is wasted as an actor, by reducing his presence to mere suit with PJs and chappals, and a Trishul mark on his left bum. Saurabh Shukla’s potential is not fully utilized either. Sanjay Dutt seems fine. Anushka Sharma’s acting would have got noticed, had she not injected her lips that covered most part of the screen. Almost everything screamed for attention in the movie. When someone tries hard to be quirky, it shows. In not such a good way. Also, I don’t think the movie did a good job challenging people’s beliefs, if that was the core objective of the movie. The only thing I appreciate is the guts. Vidhu Vinod Chopra seems to have given away the reigns in Aamir’s hands, succumbing. Aamir? He continues to disappoint. It seems like a point of no return to me.