NEW LAUNCH-THE ALL NEW BMW 3 SERIES

The all-new BMW 3 Series, the power-packed seventh generation of the world’s most iconic sports sedan, was unveiled today at the ‘Thrill City’ in Gurugram. Locally produced at BMW Group Plant Chennai, the all-new BMW 3 Series is now available in diesel and petrol variants at all BMW dealerships across India.

849034B8-F116-4DD9-8981-CDCEC0EBCE2F.jpegMr. Rudratej Singh, President and Chief Executive Officer, BMW Group India said, “The 3 is the heart and soul of BMW. As the ultimate sports sedan, for over four decades, it has been the flag bearer of ‘Sheer Driving Pleasure’. In its new avatar, the 3 has outdone itself once again! Built for thrill and driven by technology, the all-new BMW 3 Series is an automobile that creates an impeccable harmony between the driver, the machine and the road. Enthusiasts waiting for the perfect luxury sports sedan will be undoubtedly drawn to its new design, generous space, luxurious interiors and host of innovative technologies. Our current patrons, who swear by the unmatched driving character of the 3, will be equally thrilled with its enhanced best-in-class handling and agility.”

029B5106-7E76-445B-9870-930E06837979‘Thrill City’, a unique pop-up space, reflects the pulse of modern city life, full of buzzing entertainment, high skylines, city squares and even has its own nightclub. Created exclusively for the launch, it showcases the highly-urban, dynamic and spirited personality of the all-new BMW 3 Series.

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The all-new BMW 3 Series makes an incredible impression with segment-first technologies for an even better driving experience. Making its debut in the all-new BMW 3 Series is the BMW Virtual Assistant, a digital personality of the vehicle that responds to voice commands. It sets a new benchmark for voice recognition. Drivers can operate a number of car functions simply by speaking to their BMW Virtual Assistant. It can be addressed by saying “Hey BMW” or a customer-defined wake word, thereby adding an individual touch to the car. Hands do the talking with BMW Gesture Control, which is part of a rigorously thought-out operating concept that recognizes six pre-defined hand movements for control of a number of functions. The spread of driver assistancesystems is more extensive than ever. The Reversing Assistant provides unmatched support in reversing out of a parking spot or through narrow driveways. It keeps a record of the last 50 metres driven and assists by taking over the steering.

Overwhelming driving comfort of the all-new BMW 3 Series is a result of the debut of lift-related damper control that reduces body movement perceptibly caused by bumpy road surfaces and dynamic cornering, which paves the way for sporty, authoritative handling.

The all-new BMW 3 Series adapts perfectly not only to a dynamic lifestyle but also to personal taste. It is available in three design schemes – Sport, Luxury Line and M Sport. Sport celebrates the gust of adrenaline with sporty style and self-confidence. Luxury Line indulges movement in style and endows elegance. M Sport package bestows masculine character distinguishing itself as an elite sports model.

The all-new BMW 3 Series is available in two diesel variants (BMW 320d Sport and BMW 320d Luxury Line) and in one petrol variant (BMW 330i M Sport) which are locally produced. The ex-showroom prices are as follows :

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BMW 320d Sport – INR 41,40,000

BMW 320d Luxury Line –   INR 46,90,000

BMW 330i M Sport –   INR 47,90,000

RockMe Burgers in Chiang Mai

It all started by reading a blog on food joints in Chiang Mai, prior to our departure for this beautiful city in Northern Thailand. Apart from the super local food, I chanced upon this particular writeup featuring the best burgers in town. Just by seeing the pics, I was all set to dive into a meaty & cheesy concoction, made famous by all travelers to this small but happening restaurant.

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Located on Loi Kroh Road, the nightlife paradise of Chiang Mai, this Restobar is located below the Raming Lodge Hotel. We chose to stay there as well as the hotel’s breakfast was being catered to by Rock Me Burgers (how convenient). Having spent the first two days roaming around sampling local fare and walking a lot to build up a massive hunger (and to lose some weight as well), we decided to hit the joint on a Friday afternoon. The interiors of the joint made us even hungrier as all we read and saw were food related information and pictures. The menu card is expansive and has options of meat and vegetarian burgers so, all my veggie friends.. fear not.. enjoy !

IMG-20180819-WA0029I ordered a massive beef burger and to my expectations.. it was MASSIVE.. my friends ordered other varieties including one in seafood which came in a coconut shell. The quality of the burgers is superb and portions enough for 2 to a plate.

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Ice tea and a few beers later, most of us were struggling to walk as half a ton of burger inside each one of us did make us sleepy as hell. Over the next few days, we did visit the joint again, and enjoyed every bit of the bite.

Next time in Chiang Mai.. its RockMe all the way

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Location & Other Detail credits: Chiang Mai Food Critic

At a Glance

Lots of seating. Fun counter bar outside. Air conditioned inside. Excellent burgers. Sandwiches include french fries. Reasonable prices. Credit cards accepted.

Prices

Drinks: Water: 30 baht/Heineken, San Miguel: 80 baht/Singha, Leo: 70 baht/Chang: 60 baht

Food:

Original Burger: 160 baht/Classic Hotdog: 130 baht

Food Taste: If you’re looking for a delicious burger in Chiang Mai, this is the place to go! They also offer hotdogs, fries, onion rings, milkshakes, and more. Everything is excellent!

Atmosphere: There is indoor/outdoor seating. Indoor is air-conditioned. Outdoor has a long bar along Loi Kroh Road with a fun atmosphere, and you can watch the cooks grill the burgers. 80’s rock plays throughout the restaurant.

Cleanliness: The restaurant is part of Raming Lodge, so it is pretty clean.

Service: Great! The staff speaks American English and serves with a smile.

 

Address:

17-19 Loi Kroh Road, Chiang Mai 50100, ThailandPhone: 089-852-8801 / Facebook:Rock Me Burgers & Bar on Facebook

Hours: 11:30 – 24:00 Everyday

“Midst of the Mist” – Absorbing Doi Suthep, Chiang Mai

IMG_20180815_165227.jpgThe massive Doi Suthep temple complex in Chiang Mai, Thailand. Located high above in the hills, this temple is extremely auspicious to the locals and tourists alike. Though a decently long drive (around 45 min) from the city, it allows for beautiful vistas and if one is lucky, amazing misty conditions making for a very romantic drive .. (we were the lucky ones that day)

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OutVentures took a Fortuner 2.8 right unto the summit of the national park and braved few very narrow dirt roads to complete a 3 hour circuit leading back to the temple. A funicular takes one up to the temple from the base point where foreigners pay for the entry and Thais don’t.. but both have to shell out around THB 20 for the lift to the top.

Outside the temple there are many curio shops and also few for those curiously inclined … fried insects as snacks !!

Try the raw mango with garlic salt and have a hillside coffee while at it, before driving back to the city.

Out-Ventures Dope

The temple is often referred to as “Doi Suthep” although this is actually the name of the mountain where it’s located. It is a sacred site to many Thai people. The temple is 15 kilometres (9.3 mi) from the city of Chiang Mai. From the temple, impressive views of downtown Chiang Mai can be seen.

The original founding of the temple remains a legend and there are a few varied versions. The temple is said to have been founded in 1383 when the first stupa was built. Over time, the temple has expanded, and been made to look more extravagant with many more holy shrines added. A road to the temple was first built in 1935.

White elephant legend

According to legend, a monk named Sumanathera from the Sukhothai Kingdom had a dream. In this vision he was told to go to Pang Cha and look for a relic. Sumanathera ventured to Pang Cha and found a bone. Many claim it was Gautama Buddha‘s shoulder bone. The relic displayed magical powers: it glowed, it was able to vanish, it could move and replicate itself. Sumanathera took the relic to King Dhammaraja, who ruled Sukhothai. The eager Dhammaraja made offerings and hosted a ceremony when Sumanathera arrived. However, the relic displayed no abnormal characteristics, and the king, doubtful of the relic’s authenticity, told Sumanathera to keep it.

King Nu Naone of Lan Na heard of the relic and bade the monk to bring it to him. In 1368, with Dharmmaraja’s permission, Sumanathera took the relic to what is now Lamphun, in northern Thailand. Once there, the relic broke into two pieces. The smaller piece was enshrined at a temple in Suandok. The other piece was placed by the king on the back of a white elephant which was released into the jungle. The elephant is said to have climbed up Doi Suthep, at that time called Doi Aoy Chang (Sugar Elephant Mountain), stopped, trumpeted three times, then dropped dead. This was interpreted as an omen. King Nu Naone immediately ordered the construction of a temple at the site.

Source: Wikipedia

Florence’s “cucina povera” is deliciously rich

“Oh, my poor darlings,” cries the proprietor at Da Nerbone, a butchers’ stand in the heart of the San Lorenzo Market in Florence. “You’ve been waiting for such a very long time.”

Tara Isabella Burton

Blog by Tara Isabella Burton- Travel Writer

He shoots me a wink. Da Narbone is one of the most famous purveyors of Florence’s famed lampredotto: tender, broth-infused tripe made from the fourth stomach of a cow.

On this spring afternoon, the lines – an equal number of suitcase-toting tourists en route to the nearby train station and agitated locals – snake out the market door for this classic example of cucina povera(“kitchen of the poor”): traditional Florentine peasant cuisine now reimagined as the paragon of local Florentine fare.

Despite the hordes of tourists, Da Nerbone has never raised its prices; for around 5 euro, I get a crusty rose-shaped bun moistened with broth, several forkfuls of sizzling lampredotto, and a piquant chilli sauce. I eat it walking out of the marketplace, elbowing past so many other tourists, workers, stall-sellers of Florentine leather and Chinese toys.

My lips burn from the peperoncino – but boy, it’s worth it.

Above article reposted from TRVL.com 

OUT-Ventures Dope : 

What is Cucina Povera?

“Cucina Povera”, which essentially means “peasant food” (literally “poor cooking” or “poor kitchen”) are mostly always made using super simple recipes, containing a minimal of ingredients. Usually, the products and seasonal and locally grown. As you would probably guess, those ingredients must be the best quality. There’s nothing to hide the lack of flavor otherwise.

Cucina povera recipes are the antitheses of American “Italian” chain restaurant’s dishes. If you enjoy this type of  menu, that’s totally fine, just know that there is essentially nothing on it that is truly Italian.

dishes of food at Il Contadino cucina povera recipes

Traditional Italian food is not smothered in sauces, tons of cheese and/or “lots of herbs and spices”. Those are American concoctions. Authentic Italian dishes are mostly light, include lots of vegetables, very little cheese (even on pizza) and are very healthy/nutritious.

If you wish to know more on Cucina Povera recipes, please visit :
https://www.christinascucina.com

Can you stay silent for ten days?

Ten days of silence, bar optional evening question sessions with the teacher. “I didn’t speak at all,” Shona tells me. “Day two, I thought I’d have to leave, but it suddenly got easier.”

Meera Dattani

Meera Dattani – Travel Writer Reposted from her blog on trvl.com

I’ve just met Shona in a café in the former Thai capital and Unesco city of Ayutthaya, about fifty miles from Bangkok. We’re near Wat Mahatat, a temple complex most famous for the stone Buddha head in the roots of a bodhi tree. But this temple also has Thailand’s oldest higher education institute for monks, Mahachulalongkorn Buddhist University, and the Vipassana Meditation Center.

Vipassana is, according to its teachings, about seeing things as they really are. And it requires serious meditation. No talking, writing, reading, physical contact of any kind. Not even any praying or yoga, and no food after midday. For ten days.

“I can’t quite explain it,” says Shona, “but I feel serene. Like I’m in control of my emotions.”

Ten days is difficult to contemplate. I visit the center and discover they run three-hour meditation classes in English. It’s a start. There’s no clock but the first 20 minutes, at least it feels like 20, are relaxing. After perhaps an hour, a mind-body struggle ensues, the brain determined to continue, the body desperate to walk, move, anything. But when three hours come to an end, I feel unexpectedly calm. But ten days? Hats off.

A Thai woman prays at a temple in Chinatown on the first day of the Chinese New Year. There are about 8million Chinese in Thailand, making up 12 percent of the total population – although up to 40 percent now have mixed Chinese ancestry. It is the second largest Chinese community after Indonesia’s outside China and many have roots going back five generations. – Getty Images (Paula Bronstein)

GOA – Photo Tips by Peter Adams

Use distractions to your advantage

For a travel photographer, it is the expanse of the coastal strip that is one of the key shots to capture in Goa but also often one of the most difficult.

Peter Adams

Peter Adams Travel Photographer

Mention Goa and people think of holidays, relaxation and time spent on long sandy beaches. To capture one of these idyllic locations on film can be harder than you think. Beaches are rarely perfect and, being flat and open, they need scale and depth combined with good light

Fortunately in Goa there are plenty of colorful people wandering the beach selling everything from textiles and jewelry to cold drinks and of course there are the fishermen, who are particularly busy around dawn and dusk.

However, what really fascinates me about this smallest of Indian states is what lies behind the beautiful beaches: the villages surrounded by rice paddies and the small towns with their immaculate, gleaming white churches.

Exploring inland, I came across this elephant handler preparing for a local festival – a wonderful sight (and photographic opportunity) that reinforced my love of India with its surprises around every corner. I asked if he could step back slightly into the dappled light of a nearby tree, which he did.

While making sure he made direct eye contact to connect with the viewer, I was happy that he was distracted by an onlooker – enabling me to capture a more natural editorial shot.

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Although Goa has seven wildlife sanctuaries, none have elephants and animals such as this at a temple are most commonly used to entice money from tourists for photos. The state’s reserves cover a range of habitats from tropical forest to mangroves, with Mhadei Wildlife Sanctuary having a population of Bengal tigers. Photo by Peter Adams

Wet.. Set.. Go..

One of the most important festivals in the country, Songkran is a celebration of the traditional Thai New Year. During the day, locals visit temples, offer delicious home cooked meals to Buddhist monks and pour water on small Buddha statues, a symbolic gesture representing the cleansing and absolution of one’s sins. Known for its water festival, this holiday is especially cherished by young people as they splash water on each other with buckets, water filled balloons and water guns. Most major streets in Thailand are closed to traffic to allow numerous young people to use them safely as arenas for water fights. The festival also involves lavish traditional parades with intricately decorated floats, dancers in colourful clothing and a spectacular fireworks display, which the locals believe fends off misfortune.

First-hand account of Thailand’s wildest festival – Songkhran

One of the most important festivals in the country, Songkran is a celebration of the traditional Thai New Year. During the day, locals visit temples, offer delicious home cooked meals to Buddhist monks and pour water on small Buddha statues, a symbolic gesture representing the cleansing and absolution of one’s sins. Known for its water festival, this holiday is especially cherished by young people as they splash water on each other with buckets, water filled balloons and water guns. Most major streets in Thailand are closed to traffic to allow numerous young people to use them safely as arenas for water fights. The festival also involves lavish traditional parades with intricately decorated floats, dancers in colourful clothing and a spectacular fireworks display, which the locals believe fends off misfortune.

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Myself and a group of friends had the opportunity to witness this amazing show of tradition, fun and music this April when we had visited Phuket on a work trip involving some real estate investments. However, on being insisted upon by my partners there, we chose to extend our tickets and we were not disappointed one bit. Thankfully, we had extended our hotel stay in time, as just a day before Songkhran, we had hordes of incoming tourists mostly from Australia, Russia and China thronging reception counters at every hotel asking for rooms.

On the D-Day (this year it was 12th April), we woke up to music & drumbeats, to which we made our way to the main road. There were beautifully decorated floats with traditional dancers, floral décor etc., and moving alongside were small children singing some traditional songs. This beautiful parade went on till almost early noon, and then we saw few small pick-up vans having people spraying passerby’s with water. The first water hit was the final wake up call for us since we were still a bit sleepy partying from the earlier nights. If anything was to describe the impact of the water spray, I would put it in two words.. ICE COLD !! The trucks had loaded barrels of water with ice and people were spraying ice cold water on people in other vehicles, pedestrians and mere onlookers. We then realized that it was going to be a wet, wild and cold day for us. Hurriedly, we managed some plastic covers for our mobile phones and we headed out to the famed Soi Bangla for what turned out to be one of the best experiences of our lives.


Walking into Soi Bangla was like walking into a huge open air discotheque. Massive speakers installed along the pavements, blaring techno hits being played by bare-chested DJs.. foam machines spewing out thick white froth onto the crowds.. it was total mayhem. Beer bars had brought their best offers out and at THB 50 to a Chang or Tiger.. it was a no-questions-asked deal. Most bars had also converted their fronts into small raised stages, where bikinis clad dancers from all over the world were adding to the street bacchanalia as well. The entire road that usually takes 10 minutes to complete by walking, took over half an hour due to the huge crowds that had built up by then. The party spilled over to the beach at Patong, where a massive stage had local bands playing live music, sometimes known rock songs and mostly local hits. We met our hotel staff there who playfully smeared talcum powder on our faces making us look like white faced ghosts. Now this brings to me to an interesting point.. that, back home we have Holi where we use colours to celebrate it.. but here in Thailand, it plain talcum powder !! Sweet !!! The only preventive measure here would be to safeguard your eyes from the powder as it can lead to severe irritation after sometime. But thanks to hosepipes being used to douse the crowd with water, one can easily stand in front of the spray for some time and wash off any powder from the eyes. We partied for few hours on the beach before walking back through Soi Bangla which by now had become a madhouse. The entire scene reminded me my adolescent days of watching late night MTV Grind, minus the swimming pool.

There was enough police and private security all over the place, but it was great to see them enjoying alongside the crowd while managing them as well. One cop was breakdancing and controlling the traffic signal which was good fun to watch. On the way back to our hotel in the evening, we were told by some local friends that the party will continue non-stop for 3 days till the festival ends with locals offering prayers to the Lord Buddha. We were really tired and had a flight back the next day so we forced ourselves to head back to the hotel and after cleaning up, stepped out for dinner.. only to get drenched by the ice cold spray guns again.. and at that time, we made a promise to ourselves that if it was just one opportunity in a year to visit Thailand, it must be during this magical period of Songkhran.

 

 

 

 

 

Romancing the Hilsa

When the scorching heat of the Indian summer finally bids adieu, the curtain is lifted to usher in the most prominent and long lasting season of our country – the monsoon. The quality of life in every season is shaped by a variety of factors – food, being a very important one.

I consider myself to be extremely fortunate to hail from that part of the country which can boast of a rich cultural and social heritage – Bengal or Bangla, if we go by the most recent nomenclature. Food is the undisputed hero of every Bengali’s life, and I am no exception. An undiluted Bengali (Khaanti Bangali) mind would wake up thinking about what to have for breakfast, gradually proceed to the lunch menu, followed by the snacks to be relished with a cup of steaming, hot tea and finally, the food that would be served for dinner and wrapping up the entire thought process by dreaming about food in sleep as well. While this may be quite difficult to digest under normal circumstances, this is nothing new for a Bengali – in fact, it is quite normal and mundane for a Bengali psyche. We eat, drink and breathe food – of all kinds and types.

Growing up in Kolkata in a typically Bengali household exposed me to different facets of Bengali life and culture and hardly a day went by when fish (sometimes more than one kind) was not served in my house. Occasional trips to the fish market with my grandfather during my childhood helped me get acquainted with the finer nuances of understanding this staple food of almost every Bengali household and it stands me in good stead now when I go to the market to buy fish.

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Pic Courtesy: Scratching Canvas

When I sat down to write, I thought of sharing my thoughts with you about a very special food without which the Bengali life is incomplete – the Hilsa or the Ilish as we fondly call it. The hallmark of monsoon in Bengal is the abundant presence of this amazing fish in almost every corner of the fish market.  The glistening, silvery outer coat seems to draw one like a magnet towards it and every time even now I end up making a big hole in my pocket and becoming the proud owner of a good quality Ilish Maachh.

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Pic Courtesy: Brahmaputra Tumblr

The day there is Hilsa in the kitchen, I feel specially inspired to use my culinary skills to the best of their abilities. Time tested recipes inherited from Ma are always there to guide me the right way. We Bengalis have innumerable preparations of Ilish – fried Hilsa (Ilish maach bhaja), steamed Hilsa (Bhapa Ilish), Doi Ilish (Hilsa cooked in curd gravy), Ilish maachher Paturi being my personal favourites. Needless to say, mustard oil acts as the perfect cooking medium. The very mention of Ilish Maachher Paturi makes me nostalgic – it conjures up in my mind an image of a succulent piece of Ilish, brushed with mustard oil, turmeric and smeared with a combination of mustard and green chillies paste, enveloped in a clean banana leaf and steamed to perfection – a heady concoction indeed. When this perfect piece of culinary delight is gradually unveiled on the dinner plate, the heavenly aroma that greets us is indeed an unforgettable experience – a must try for every fish lover. As far as I remember, Paturi was reserved for special occasions, usually for formal lunches and dinners. It was mostly the regular Ilish Maachher jhol (the typical Bengali fish curry) and Ilish maachh bhaja ( Hilsa deep fried in mustard oil) along with Khichudi ( khichdi as we know it) especially on rainy days.

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Pic Courtesy : peekbook.com

It is a well-known fact that fish holds a very special place in the life of a Bengali in more ways than one. Bengali marriage rituals are incomplete without fish. A typical Bengali monsoon wedding usually has Hilsa as the main ingredient of Tattwa (gift) which is sent from the groom’s house to that of the bride.

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I remember during my childhood, some of my friends’ families observed the ritual of having Joda Ilish (a pair of Hilsa) on the occasion of Saraswati Puja held on Basant Panchami as it was considered very auspicious.

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Pic Courtesy: Sutapa’s Kitchen Cuisine, Kolkata

Apart from Bengal, Hilsa is also available in other parts of India and its neighbouring areas but I feel the deep connection that the Bengalis (of both Bengal and Bangladesh) have with the fish, is the stuff romantic tales are made of.

For those who are particularly conscious about their health, I would like to say that the Hilsa is a very oily fish rich in Omega 3 fatty acids and requires very less oil for cooking. It is truly a very dynamic fish – one of its kind. Every noble path is beset with difficulties and learning to overcome those hurdles makes the journey memorable. My experience with the ‘Queen of all fishes’ have also been something like that. This extremely delicious fish is accompanied by very fine and sharp bones, making it quite cumbersome for some to deal with it. Luckily for me, I have been well initiated in that process right from my childhood.

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Pic Courtesy : peekbook.com

 

I feel that the deep bond that we Bengalis share with Hilsa transcends generations. I see my daughter enjoying the fish with the same degree of enthusiasm and happiness which makes all my efforts, love and care in preparing it truly worthwhile. The availability of fresh Hilsa is confined to the rainy season here and being considerably heavier on the pocket has made this fish a luxury item – saving it for special occasions mostly. Our culinary tastes have evolved with time but our love for this royal fish continues unabated, transcending age, tastes and preferences. Hilsa or Ilish, as we call it, will always hold a special place in our hearts. It truly defines a pucca Bengali like me and so many of my fellow Bengalis.