Saturday, August 12, 2017

Lake Placid New York, 2 days family tale



As the summer is rendering into almost fall, I felt we have not been to anywhere lately. The daily grind is monotonous and needed an escape from the hustle and bustle. But, hubby has some important project going on and can't take more than a day off. Before sending back to school, we wanted to spend time with kids leisurely. Then on short notice, Lake Placid came to my mind. We had been to lake placid before but thought, with children, it would be amazing.



We planned in a way that we reach lake placid by evening. After having early lunch at home, we started. When you travel, you usually want no rain, but that day it was pouring. In spite of that, we enjoyed the four-hour drive in light rain as it makes New England more charmer and fresher. After 3 hours of drive, we took a little break at Lake George. It was lovely to visit Lake George as well and by that time rain had stopped too. From there, it took us another one and a half hour to reach our destination, Lake Placid.





By the time we arrived, it had turned into a beautiful evening. What a lovely drive from lake George to lake placid on the side of the river Ausable, as if a long green scarf was lying. After reaching, we immediately checked in our hotel. Even with the four and half hour drive, we did not feel exhausted. We decided to take a stroll around the mirror lake and have dinner. We parked the car on the main street, it is little difficult to get parking there as it is quite busy. If not you can always park in the public lot at the north end of Main Street. I love the way the town is settled beside the lake Mirror with all shops and restaurants, with almost every restaurants, and shops have the privilege of lake view. I love the spirit and ease of this town as you immediately feel being one of them. You don't feel like a stranger after entering into this city.





We took a little hike to the mirror lake, and it was magical and foggy with snow capped mountain peaks. We decided to have our dinner. The first day ended like that. We didn't want to exhaust kids after the four and half hour drive.

Next day, we started the morning by deciding to have breakfast followed by other activities. As we are there for only one more day, we did not have many options to do. Also with kids, we wanted to take it easy and enjoyable, without trying to cover every single attraction.


The town hosted the 1932 and 1980 Winter Olympic games and is also referred to as nation's first winter resort. After having breakfast, we visited The Olympic Sports Center, one and half hour is enough to visit it.  It also has the nations first Olympic museum built in 1994. It was great going through the history.




After that, we wanted to take a hike on the mirror lake. It was such a great hike with kids, two and a half mile filled with all the beautiful houses, restaurants and hotels beside the mirror lake.





After the hike, we were little hungry, and we had our lunch. After the meal, we took a short break and decided to go the 100 years old High Falls George. It was such a lovely experience especially for kids, introducing different plants, nature, and history. The George offers a quiz for kids; it was fun for them doing it and a good learning experience. The George has great views of many water falls along the Ausable river. Usually, it 's hard to walk in George path ways for kids, but this one is very easy and no problem with children at all. If you want to have coffee or snack, they have a coffee shop and bakery too and a souvenir store as well. As we were full, we didn't eat anything there.





After the great experience at the Geroge, one again we took a little hike in the mirror lake. It was one of our families favorite activities in the placid lake region. We had great dinner with a great view of mirror lake from mirror lake inn. As the little vacation was almost over, we felt little sad.

Next day, we wanted to take the Adirondack scenic rail road, but because of constructions, they were closed. We decided not to do anything more as we had to return home with a four hours drive ahead. After lunch and followed by a hike in the mirror lake our vacation was over. Our 2017's last summer vacation ended that way with a beautiful memory of the historic lake placid and it's beautiful nature. We saved a few of the activities for our next visit because we wanted to come again here for sure.

Saturday, August 5, 2017

The name, A cup of Assam tea



      I don't remember how the word tea entered into my life, perhaps even before my birth. When I was deciding a name for my blog, the moment "A cup of Assam tea" came to my mind, it stuck firmly. You probably know, I originally come from Assam, India, where I was born and brought up till my 20 and moved to the USA 15 years back. Assam is the highest tea producing state in the world. My mom has a tea connection. Both my maternal grand father and great grand father worked for Assam tea company, later my maternal uncle owned tea gardens. I grew up hearing those tea garden stories and tea tribe stories of struggle as a lullaby from my mother. Our ancestral house in Assam is in the midst of tea garden. Those memories of quaint lush green tea, I always carry within me, even after moving to the USA to stay with me forever. The smell of tea, the memory of those two leaves one bud tea, labors music during festival floating in the air and buzzing in the ear.

       In our house, a day starts with a cup of Assam tea. When someone visits, the first thing you offer is a cup of tea. I feel that in our home, back in Assam, our expression of happiness always begins with a cup of tea. When there is good news celebration starts with a cup of tea followed by snacks and desserts. Even when it is pouring outside, we need a cup of tea, and when you are tired, you need a cup of tea. Whenever my husband gets back home from work a little early, it is our own time sitting together while having a cup of tea. At present, I love enjoying my cup of tea with a beautiful blog. I feel tea has a huge influence on everything about me from my food choices, my fashion to my lifestyle. Nothing could define my blog more precisely than a cup of Assam tea! Nothing gives me greater boost than a cup of tea. A cup of Assam tea is not just a cup of tea it's my memory, love, inspiration and much more.

Here is the recipe for my favorite cup of Assam tea.

Ingredients for 2 cups of Assam tea:
1. Tea - 2 tablespoon
2. Milk - 1 cup
3. Water - 1 cup
4. Sugar - 2 teaspoon (depends on your health choices, you can use any other sweetener like honey or any other substitute you like)
5. Ginger - 1/2 inch crushed
6. Cardamom - 1 crushed

Process:
In a pot, boil milk and water. Once it starts boiling add tea then ginger and cardamom. Stir with a spoon. Now add sugar and stir again. Since we are using loose tea, we need a strainer to filter the tea. Filter and pour it into the cups. Now enjoy your Assam tea with a book or blog or with your family and friends.


Have a great weekend, enjoy your tea!

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Zohara Mediterranean cuisine, West Hartford CT Review



      Felt like long that we have not dinner outed for as a family. Recently, if we were eating out it's always been take outs. We love to go out for eating as a family, sitting in a comfy place with the comfort of food sharing and conversing with each other. Because regular days are so busy and we always in a little hurry. On Friday nights a new place new food gives boost for a good relaxing weekend ahead. That’s why we always look forward to Fridays and is our favorite for dinner outings.



      Zohara, the Mediterranean flare has been in my pending list for a little while now. Finally made it to Zohara, a comfort, complete, casual culinary tale. In the heart and hustle of blue back square, Zohar is casual, open modern kitchen and with a bunch of humble attentive staff and casual clean sitting. Just like its name, Zohara is a jewel in midst of blue back square. We started our day housemade lemonade with a mindful hint of mint flavor. As chickpeas are our family favorite, we were there to start with crunchy chickpeas and hummus that comes with pita bread. My kids loved hummus -pita and crispy crunchy chickpeas. Zohra does not have any specific kids menu but the main menu is good enough for ordering for kids. I am sure you will find something for kids to relish. Freshly baked from the hot oven palatable pita coupled well with velvety hummus with a tiny tint of sesame taste definitely a raving twist. 



      For our main, I opt for a roasted whole cauliflower with pine nuts pomegranate, tahini, and herbs. Spice up roasted cauliflower topped with green chutney and jeweled in pink pomegranate seeds, it definitely takes a level up Zohara’s culinary tale. It was not just the looks but enticing and appetizing taste carefully roasted cauliflower with green herb and pomegranate gives you a good shake on your taste bud. For hubby, we had lamb shank with green peas, pomegranate, and lentil. A melting in mouth meaty flavored lamb shank is a must try. Love the twist of chic green peas served with whipped hummus is definitely a chefs innovative take.


      For kids they wanted chicken, so we had Chicken harissa. We were little disappointed with the portion, only four chunks of chicken but was immediately made up with the taste of succulent, rightly roasted chicken and crispy harissa chili and onion. 


      At the end, we wanted to leave on a sweet note so, ended with rose pudding. As I don't go overboard on sugar, got my share of one spoon from my kid's plate. It was luscious whipped and luxurious red rose syrup on top with garnished green pistachio. A well spent Friday evening with zestful Zohara with her comfort culinary tale worth the price. Yet to explore a few more dishes and will relish them next time in my next visit. Have a wonderful weekend.

My rating is 4 out of 5.

Address: 991 Farmington Ave, West Hartford, CT 06107

Hours:
Saturday 11AM–2AM
Sunday 11AM–12AM
Monday 11:30AM–1AM
Tuesday 11:30AM–1AM
Wednesday 11:30AM–1AM
Thursday 11:30AM–1AM
Friday 11:30AM–2AM

Phone: (860) 955-0300

Menu: zoharact.com

Saturday, July 22, 2017

A little bit of Sky (Thoda sa Aasman) - #OOTD

   
      I don't recall when exactly, but that time in the early 90s, there was one Indian TV drama series called sa Aasman"(A little bit of Sky). The series emphasized on women inner world, and her sensitivities. And the serial also portraited several different women from the various walks of life. Even when I was very young, the serial stayed with me, not sure because of the stories or because of the name of the series. I feel that life is always all about a little bit of earth and a little bit of sky. The earth keeps you grounded and real. On the other hand, sky adds color to your dreams and imagination.
"Thoda
       It's about six months now since I started my blog and three months now since I posted it public. It's an incredible feeling how you all responding to my blog. It feels amazing reading all your comments,  how you took time reading it and writing back to me, it means a lot.


       This week one of my friends left the USA, after all the good feelings, it again felt sad. Saying someone bye is not easy for me. When I left India and made the USA home, those friends became my family. Probably that is the reason saying goodbye to them was very hard; I felt sad the whole week.
However, life goes on. When I started my blog, I thought, I would post only ethnic or traditional Indian outfits. But, now I strongly feel that it will deny the western outfits that I wear on a regular basis. Last Sunday, I took these pictures of my outfit. I am posting a lovely pink dress from Zara. Pink or blush pink is trending everywhere this season. I like this soft shade of pink which has a very gentle and feminine appeal to it with dramatic sleeves. Ideal outfit for a summer day. I kept rest of the look very simple, a pom-pom earring and a jeweled sandal. Hope you like it. Happy weekend guys!

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Bilahir Tok(Assamese style Tomato Chutney),birthday memories




      I grew up in the mid-80s and early 90s Assam, India where we celebrated our birthday parties with home made food even the cake was made by our moms. There was no elaborate decorations or video games or pizzas. However, our happiness or celebration was not any less than today's birthday. As every childhood has its own charming tale. Those were the days indeed.

      In those times, the menus were fixed almost for every household. Crisp Luchi (fried dough) was a must have for a birthday or any other celebrations accompanied with green gram thick velvety gravy and succulent tomato chutney (bilahir tok). The other day my daughter completed five years. It was on a weekday, and we celebrated it at home, and on Saturday she is going have her actual birthday party with friends. I thought why not celebrate it in our old back home way, how we used to. Just like my mom, I made luchi and quintessential bilahir tok. They say, you re-live your childhood through your children. Ah, how true. I remember how my mom used to get up in the morning and prepare. How the fragrance waft into our taste buds. How heavenly it felt with those flavors and fragrances. Today, I thought why not with this post share my favorite bilahir tok. Hope you all will like it.


Ingredients

1. 4 tomatoes on the vine
2. A cup of grapes
3. A cup of cut pineapples
4. 1 to 2 tablespoon oil
5. Pinch of turmeric
6. Salt as per your taste
7. Pinch of chili powder
8. A cup of jaggery or molasses
9. Spices - pinch of nigella, pinch of cumin seeds, pinch of mustards seeds, pinch of fenugreek seeds and pinch of anise seeds and 1 dry red chili



      First, cut the tomatoes into bite size pieces. Put a pan on the stove on low to medium heat and add oil of your choice. I use either mustard oil or olive oil. Then put the whole spices in the oil and once it starts to crack put the turmeric and chili powder. Adding chili powder gives a nice color to the chutney, of course, it's optional. While putting the chili powder your heat should be low otherwise it will burn. Then add the tomato pieces. Stir it until it gets mussy and cover it for 5 to 7 minutes on low heat. After that add jaggery or molasses and stir it for 2 to 3 minutes. Once all ingredients get mixed, add grapes and after 2 to 3 minutes add pineapple pieces. Stir it gently, cover it and cook for 5 minutes on low to medium heat. Done.


      Now it is ready to serve with puffed luchi. It goes well with steamed rice or pilaf too. We had it with luchi. We went through a little guilt trip, but it's worth to have when it brings you the joy of your childhood memories. Sorry, my one more excuse for eating fried food. 


      This recipe is very popular in both Assam and West Bengal, India. However, my preparation is not exactly the traditional way. I added fruits like grapes and pineapple for a more fruity flavor. The best part of this recipe is that it is prepared with jaggery or molasses, which is known for digestion and many other health benefits compared to regular white sugar.

      My mom used to make kheer (Indian rice pudding) for our birthdays. I skipped it this time. Our birthday girl wanted to have a homemade chocolate cupcake. I made it for her. Our little one enjoyed her birthday very well as we used to enjoy as a kid. But she refuses to have a homemade cake for her actual birthday as mommy is not good at decoration. Happy weekend guys!

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Saturday, July 8, 2017

Meghali Das

"Fashion Changes, But Style Endures"
COCO CHANEL

Introduction:
     Avon Diamond Executive President, India, Meghali Das is from Assam, India. No need for any elaborate introduction, she is the Secretary of North East Fashion Council (FNDC), India and is known for her great aesthetics for hand loom and handicraft. Her subtle yet elegant style is impactful and inspiring. Presenting her and her style...



1. What is your style?
     Meghali Das: I do not follow fashion. My comfort is my style and I always go for what suits me than following a trend.


2. Your top three favorite looks?
     Meghali Das: 

  • Totally ethnic, be it mekhela chador or saree with matching Avon jewellery. I love my hand bags and a very good collection. 
  • Love to wear skirts with knee high boots in winter depends on where I am going, weather, climate and occasion.
  • Blue denim and white shirt.

3. Eye makeup or Lipstick or both?
     Mehali Das: Depending on occasion both at times, but surely eyes at all times. Like to keep it subtle during the day.


4. Your favorite weaves or embroidery techniques you like?
     Meghali Das: Traditional wear from northeast, from all the eight states. Love to wear from Gale, Puwans and Jansems and all indigenous tribes of all states. I love hand loom.


5. Your ideal day wear and ideal night wear?
     Meghali Das: Depends...for work I prefer formal or else casual. Night is soft n comfy. 


6. What do you like to wear for a wedding?
     Meghali Das: The complete look with make up, jewellery, hair, bag n shoes, including flowers in my hair. 


7. Three accessories always in your collection….
     Meghali Das:

  • Watch - If I wear a stylish watch then I do not wear a bracelet.
  • Scarf - Scarves are nice to add color especially in a plain top.
  • Jewlery - If the neck peice is big then I wear tiny tops. If I wear danglers then no necklace. If I wear a cocktail ring then no other rings or bracelets.

8. Any gIndigenous Diva Tip?
     Meghali Das: Do not just follow any trend. Make a trend and let people follow it.


Indigenous diva


Indigenous diva is someone who has a style of her own. She explores awesome Assam silk, the magic of mairang phee, delights in dabu prints, bespoke banarasi or baluchari, packs herself in patola or paithani, keen for Kanchipuram or Kalamkari,  finds lyrics in Lucknow chikan, lives up in leheriya with charm in chanderi. Let’s celebrate all those weaves and hand work embroidery around the globe.. And her....She emerges from yesterday's heritage and blends into today's modern and contemporary ways. It's all about women and her signature style. Let’s hear from those divas and connoisseur. #indigenousdica

Introduction

  1. What is your style?
  2. Your top three favorite looks?
  3. Eye makeup or Lipstick or both?
  4. Your favorite weaves or embroidery techniques you like?
  5. Your ideal day wear and ideal night wear?
  6. What do you like to wear for a wedding?
  7. Three accessories always in your collection….
  8. Any Indigenous Diva Tip?

Indigenous Diva Guests




P.S. Through this post we feature all the hand loom lovers in the world along with their unique swag. We would love to feature your love for hand loom. Please write to us at: Acupofassamtea.


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