Saturday, May 28, 2011

Firsts! A Review and Awards...

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This has been an extremely busy week for me, but in a wonderful way. I had an excellent week of work, blogging, cooking, baking & eating, lots of time spent with my little girl & family, and I got my first set of foodie awards from not one, but three of my blogger friends! :)

This week, I also got to meet with a great group of food enthusiasts in my city. It was really nice to share a meal with people who shared my love of good food. The Chennai Food Guide group was invited to review a new Italian restaurant in the city - Tuscana on Chamiers by Chef Willi.

The building that houses the restaurant is a charming old bungalow, and the interiors were pleasant and inviting. I especially loved the 2-10 seater private dining rooms scattered all around the two level bungalow. We had the pleasure of dining with the owner, Vipin Sachdev, whose passion and love for quality and for food was very evident. Chef Willi made an appearance too, and regaled us with some stories from his youth.

Now, on to the main part. The food. On the whole, the food was very good. We started with a very simple, but extremely flavorful classic rosemary & rock salt focaccia. It was exactly the way a focaccia should be. Crispy, golden crust, and soft fluffy interior. It was delicious, especially dunked in extra-virgin olive oil. There was another focaccia too. But I don't remember it. This was followed by soup & pizzas. The soup was a chunky vegetable minestrone, which was a lot more flavorful than I expected it to be. The pizzas, which are baked in a real wood-fired oven, were good too. There were both vegetarian and chicken pizzas to go around.


By the time we got to the mains, I was already a little full from eating too much focaccia (lesson learned!). The first main that came around was the Veal Scaloppini. Ah! They were perfectly cooked, well-seasoned medallions of veal, with great sides of mushroom, tomatoes & capers and pasta. I could have eaten just those sides for lunch and left very satisfied. They were excellent.

Then came the chicken breast escalopes. I somehow wished it hadn't. The chicken breasts were overcooked, dry and under seasoned. Very disappointing. Maybe if they trim the breast down so it is evenly thick, it would help with uniform cooking, because eating the thinner, narrow end of the breast was really not a pleasant experience.

But I got over it very quickly, when I saw the Lamb Shanks Ossobuco. Those lamb shanks were so juicy and tender & falling off the bone. Yes, they were slightly under seasoned, but after I added some salt, they were just perfect. I wish I had tried some of the Char grilled Swordfish they brought next, but I had no more room. The skin looked crispy and the flesh moist, and I am sure it would have been delicious.


There were some nice vegetarian options too, which I did not try. The one that looked most appealing to me was the Gorgonzola & Cream Cheese Tart. It was pretty, but the crust did look a little dried out. I didn't try it, so I won't say more.
Dessert is always the highlight of the meal for me. Tiramisu and Panna cotta with a berry compote were brought around. The panna cotta was very pretty with the tiny specks of vanilla, but a tad too sweet for me. Especially the compote. Then, I tasted the Tiramisu, and forgot everything else for a few minutes. It was really, really good. What I liked best about it, apart from the texture, was that it was only mildly sweet. It was the perfect end to an excellent meal.



The service was very good too, but then again, we had the owner of the restaurant at our table, and I am sure that makes a difference! Thanks again to Vipin Sachdev & Chef Willi of Tuscana on Chamiers, and my new friends at Chennai Food Guide for a great lunch & wonderful company! Overall, I really enjoyed most of the food, and I would go back for more.

Now, on to my first awards! Yay, how exciting! :) You can go to my new 'Awards' page to see them.

First, I received awards from Xinmei of Pudding Pie lane. She is an extremely talented (and very young!) cook and photographer. Her posts are so funny, and always have me in stitches. And her recipes are really great too! You really should visit her site.

Then, Manu from Manu's Menu also dropped in to tell me she had left me an award. She is such a great cook and I absolutely love Manu's recipes, which range from Italian to Indian. Each of her dishes look and sound absolutely delicious and I wish I lived closer so I could sample them - especially her picture perfect macarons!

Finally, Mary from Inside a British Mum's Kitchen, left me a couple of awards! I have been visiting her site for a few weeks now, and she makes some amazing & healthy food for her family! I wish she would adopt me just so I could eat some of the stuff she makes.

These bloggers are all fantastic & I am so grateful that each of them thought my blog was good enough for one of these awards! I hope you all visit their sites and don't forget to tell them all I said 'hi'! :)

Okay, now I am supposed to share seven things about myself. Here goes-
1. My faith is very important to me. I love God and the relationship I have with Him.
2. I love colors. My favorite color has changed several times in my life. And now I finally realize I can never choose one color. They're all so beautiful. However, there are some shades of blue and green that I cannot bear.
3. I LOVE nutmeg and lime. These are two flavors that rock my world.
4. I am a huge LOTR fan. (Does that make me sound geeky?)
5. One of my ambitions in life is to learn cheese-making. Right now, I can make my own cottage cheese and marscarpone. I really would love to learn more.
6. I used to be a cat person, but then this crazy, ugly dog came into my life and changed me.
7. I am very, very gifted at drawing apples & eyes. I don't know how that will help me in life, but it might. You never know.

Now, to pass on these awards. I would like to pass these awards on to three of my blogger friends.

1. Sharizat of 1000+1
2. Jackie of Galexi Cupcakes
3. Rachel of Eaternal Bliss

I love these three blogs & the bloggers are such fabulous people. I'm so glad I've met them! You should visit their sites & get to know these fantastic people! Sharizat, Jackie & Rachel, please stop by my awards page & pick up your awards... I am so happy to pass them on to you!

Disclaimer: The review of Tuscana on Chamiers was not a paid review.

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48 comments:

spcookiequeen said...

Nice job reviewing the restaurant.  I always try and save a little room for dessert myself.  Congrats on all your awards, much deserved.  Hope you have a wonderful rest of the weekend.
-Gina-

theharriedcook said...

Thank you, Gina! I was just reading your pretzel post and was going to comment when this comment popped up :) I hope you have a wonderful weekend too!

Manu said...

Yummmm... From those pictures I can already tell you that I would have loved both the focaccia and tiramisu'!  Very nice review!  Congrats on all the awards: all 100% deserved!  And thank you so much for your sweet words about me and my blog! <3  It was great to read more about you!  That's the part I like the most about awards! :-)

Lizzy Do said...

Congratulations on your awards!!!  I'm looking forward to checking out those bloggers you've awarded :)  My son had to fill me in on what LOTR meant...but I DID enjoy learning more about you :)

Ky Foley said...

First of all Tuscana sounds and looks like the right place to go, I couldn't stop drooling over the food. You did a great review too! Congratulations on your award! You certainly deserve it, keep up the wonderful job! As always I enjoy your site and posts. Keep 'em coming! lol =] 

-FreeSpiritEater

In Katrina's Kitchen said...

Awesome! Congrats on your awrds! The meal looks so yummy! Nice review!

Maris Callahan said...

Everything looks so delicious! These pictures are wonderful

Sandras Easy Cooking said...

Yummy yum! I could have this meal everyday!:))) Looks amazingly delicious, and what a lovely review! Congrats on the award!

theharriedcook said...

The focaccia and tiramisu were really awesome :) Thanks, Manu! :) And you're welcome - I'm so glad to have 'met' you! :) I look forward to getting to know you more! Thanks for stopping by!

theharriedcook said...

Thank you, Lizzy! They are wonderful people with beautiful blogs :) LOL @ LOTR :D Thanks for stopping by!

theharriedcook said...

Thanks, Ky! :) It was awesome to be invited to review such a good restaurant! Thank you so much for your kind words :) Thanks for stopping by!

theharriedcook said...

Thanks, Katrina :) I enjoyed reviewing this restaurant! Thanks for stopping by!

theharriedcook said...

Thank you so much for your thoughtful comment and for stopping by, Maris! :) I appreciate it!

theharriedcook said...

Thank you so much, Sandra! It was a yummy meal :) Thanks for stopping by!

Bakerbynature said...

All of those photos made my stomach very hungry! Loved you list of 7; always nice to hear what's important in other peoples lives. 

sharizat shakmanova said...

1) oh, you made me want to move closer to these restaurants! beautifully compoesed review! i enjoyed reading it! however, you lost me at rosemary&rock salt focaccia :)
2) congratulations on your awards, well deserved!3) thank you very much for passing down these awards onto me, i am truly humbled!
{now, if you be so kind and tell me how to 'accept' this award. i'm a novice at blogging and once, one nice blogger nominated me for an award and i did not do anything in return b/c i couldn't figure out what to do…put it on a back burner, and forgot about it :( this time, i would really like to participate! please email me 1000plusone at gmail dot com and thank you!!}

Nami said...

Hi Marsha!  What a great restaurant review!  I felt like I was eating with you.  Haha.  And congratulations on all these awards.  We're all enjoying reading your blog. :-)  It was nice reading 7 things about you.  Oh yeah, it would be so cool if we can make our own cheese.... I wish I can learn it too but then I'd end up eating too much because I have no control over cheese and sweets!  Hope you had  a great weekend!

theharriedcook said...

Thank you, Sharizat! :) I am glad to pass these on to you! Will email you the details! :)

theharriedcook said...

Thank you for your very thoughtful comment, Nami!  I really appreciate everyone who reads my blog and leaves behind a kind word :) Oh yes, I would have that same problem if I made my own cheese :) It's a weakness too! But just imagine the feeling of power & accomplishment at making your own cheese! :) I can dream :D I was a little sick this weekend, but I am better now. Hope everyone in your family is feeling better too! Thanks for stopping by! :)

Mary@One Perfect Bite said...

Congratulations on your well-deserved awards. There will be many more in your future. The restaurant review was terrific and your photos of the dishes were appreciated. I hope you have a great day. Blessings...Mary

Jill Colonna said...

Bravo on the awards, Marsha - and for a super review.  Sounded like a super line-up of dishes.  I would have done the same if the focaccia was as good!  Love the things about yourself: who would have known: apples and eyes?

DarjeelingDreams said...

It sounds like an interesting, very modern restaurant. Everything is so nicely presented too :)

Frugal Antics said...

Such a nice, honest review.  The food looked great.  Too bad it wasn't completely wonderful.  Thanks for sharing a little about yourself.  It's always fun to get to know the people behind the blog!

theharriedcook said...

Thank you, Mary! I always appreciate your thoughtful comments :) I hope you have a great day too! Thanks for stopping by :)

theharriedcook said...

LOL :D Yes, Apples and eyes. Who knows when that might come in handy :) The lunch was very nice, but the focaccia was excellent! Thanks for stopping by, Jill :)

theharriedcook said...

It is a very nice restaurant! The food looked great (even the dishes that didn't taste that great!) :) Thanks for stopping by!

theharriedcook said...

Thank you, Kristen! Yeah, too bad some of the dishes were disappointing, but the ones that were good, were really really good! :) I am so glad I could share... Thanks for stopping by!

theharriedcook said...

Thanks :) I love getting to know about other people too! I am so glad you liked the post... Thank you for stopping by! :)

Kamakshi Diamond said...

Nice review.Nice space.

theharriedcook said...

Thank you for your comment :) And thanks for stopping by!

Inside a British Mum's Kitchen said...

After reading your lovely post I am now incredibly hungry.  What a great time!
Mary oxo

Galexi Cupcakes said...

Thank you for the wonderful award. I feel honored by your words and the award!! Jackie

Galexi Cupcakes said...

Thank you for the wonderful award. I feel honored by your words and the award!! Jackie 

theharriedcook said...

Thanks, Mary! :) It was a fabulous meal... Thanks for stopping by!

theharriedcook said...

You're welcome, Jackie! I am glad that I have a new friend in you :) Thanks for stopping by!

Kate said...

Wonderful review!  I have trouble NOT filling up on bread too...I love bread.  Wonderful well deserved awards!  Lovely post! Congratulations! Great job!

Christina said...

Nice job on the award! Great review. You captured the essence of the dishes and left me hungry! I always fill up on bread, too. I cant help it!

theharriedcook said...

Thank you, Kate :) I guess we've learned that good bread is hard to resist... :) Thanks for stopping by...

theharriedcook said...

Thank you, Christina! :) Neither can I! The food was really good, but that focaccia stole my heart :) Thanks for stopping by!

Shruti Viswanathan said...

Hey,

Just came across your blog and it's delicious. It's managed to convince my super lazy self to try my hand at some of those desserts. Yumm!

I'm a member of the Chennai Food Guide too but couldn't make it for lunch that day  :( 

I review Chennai restaurants too: http://couchpotatoesonthemove.blogspot.com/  . Check it out! 

theharriedcook said...

Hi Shruti! Thank you for your thoughtful comment :) I am so glad you like what you see! I will check out your blog for sure... Too bad you couldn't make it to lunch the other day, but maybe I will see you at the next CFG thingie? Thanks again for stopping by!

Kate@Diethood.com said...

That is some great food!! Now I'm starving! :)

Rachel {eaternal bliss} said...

Hi Marsha!  I've been on vacation (it was good to unwind and unplug) and now am catching up on all the lovely blogs I follow.  And how pleasant to see this post and award!  Thank you!  I love your 7 facts...no. 1 is my favorite,  and 6 and 7 made me chuckle.  I'll have to see a pic of your dog, and I'm sure apple & eye drawing will come in handy somehow, somewhere, some time.  :)  God gives us every good and perfect gift for a reason. :)  Thank you, again.  Coming back to the real world and the daily grind isn't easy, but lovely surprises like this make my day.  Have a blessed day!

theharriedcook said...

:) The food really was yummy. Not good to look at food blogs when you're hungry. I've learned that lesson well! :)

theharriedcook said...

Hey Rachel! Wow - Vacation! What's that? Just kidding :) It's been such a long time since our last vacation & I'm hoping we get to take one soon :) Thanks for accepting the awards... I'm so glad you enjoyed reading my 7 things... point no.1 is my favorite too.. I think my dog snuck into one of the pictures on the blog - I think it was the zucchini cake post :) It can't be easy getting back to the grind, and I am glad I could brighten your day even a little! Thanks for stopping by!

Eel Diamond said...

Pls take a look at the review of Tuscana Pizzeria and leave me your thoughts.Thank you.

Vipin Sachdev said...

Thanks for your review. The passion for good food is common for both of
us and I am glad you had a hearty meal at Tuscana on Chamiers. Focaccia as
you mentioned may be a simple starter but when it hits the right taste
nods you cannot stop devouring them. Sorry for not serving you the best chicken
beast escalopes. This is a learning for me and today Chef Willi & I are going to the restaurant for lunch & ordering for this same dish to understand what all can go wrong in this that some corrective action can be taken. I am glad you loved the other main
courses and desserts. It was my pleasure serving you a warm Italian meal
and I look forward to your visits to my sister restaurants too - Kryptos
Vegetarian on Khader Nawaz Khan road which serves global vegetarian fare and
Burgundy's in MRC Nagar which is a all-day dining restaurant. Looking forward
to meeting you again in the near future and wishing you a wonderful day.

Chandran said...

It is a nice review. I am a fan of Tuscana and I love the food and deserts. It is really very good. Are you connected with the restaurant people there? Your website is very nice and you are talented. Thank you for the review. I will see some more also.

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