Cold Stone Ice-cream in India – Yes it is here!

Stone ice-cream or Cold Stone ice-cream seems to be new phenomenon or trend catching up in Delhi and other Indian cities. On the first look it might not look like much, but then thinking about it its a great way to eat and treat your ice-cream.
To simplify things It can also be referred to as Teppanyaki style Ice-cream, the griddle in this case is cold instead of hot. So now there is a cold stone or slab or a mixing board, which remains at -17 ‘C. The ice-cream is put on it, and then mixed with various assortments to make a unique combo. The combo and flavors would depend from vendor to vendor. The quality of ice-cream, quality of things that go into it and quality of recipe is what makes one brand or vendor stand out from the other. 
So the things that go into the ice-cream can be anything from Mars chocolate bar to Kit-Kat or Snickers, Nuts of various kinds, fresh fruits, Oreo cookies, various sauces and the list is endless. So just imagine a Sundae in which instead of toppings  flavors are mixed inside the ice-cream. And the Cold Stone ensures that the end product you get it still frozen. Also while mixing the ice-cream the usual ‘air’ in it also reduces, making the ice-cream less fluffy and more chewy. It is usually served on a cup made like a waffle, something similar to waffle cones. 
A fruit based Cold Stone concept @ Goosebumps
I have had them at 2-3 place in Delhi till now, first being Hokey-Pokey in Punjabi Bagh, then Giani Ice-cream in Punjabi Bagh itself, and to be honest I was not too bullish about it. Novelty value yes, not real excitement for me.
However yesterday someone recommended Goosebumps on our Facebook page a newly opened ice-cream parlor in Karkardooma market, a buzzing hub East side of Delhi. 
We managed to get there just about when they were about to down there shutters at 11 pm  however the owner obliged us and switched back lights and equipment on to serve us. It turned out it was not a normal ice-cream parlor and you cannot get ice-cream by the scoop here. They only sell cold stone mixes and they have multiple concoctions of the same. At that hour I was in no mood to look at details and asked him to surprise me. After a bit of greed filled discussion we decided on having one chocolate based, one fruits based and one mix based on nuts. However as the first one came out, looking at the portion size we realized that we had made a mistake and decided to stick to Chocolate and Fruits one only. Saving the nuts for some other time…:P
Choco Lava concept @ Goosebumps
Normally ice-creams have 12-13% fat content, however the ones used here have around 19% which we clearly felt in the first bite. We were told that this was required for ice-cream to do well in the mixing process on the stone. 
Technical jargon aside, I am yet to try many stone based ice-creams to actually comment on them, however thought of sharing some knowledge that I have about them with fellow food lovers. Also there is a popular misconception amongst the people that we do not have this concept in India yet, which is incorrect. It is catching up in other cities of India too, plus there are several outlets in Delhi NCR who are using Cold Stones for their mixes. 
Working on those mixes. Doesn’t it look like Teppanyaki?
That said, the ice-creams that I tasted at Goosebumps were really incredible and would readily beat some of the international brands in taste and awesomeness  I was told that they are only 1 month old as of now, all I can do right now is wish them luck. 
Average cost for a mix or concept at Goosebumps (as they call it) would be Rs.130-160 (we paid Rs. 315) for two. 

UPDATE :

All excited about the cold stone one of my friends was talking to me about it and she asked me where is the nearest place she can get it (from her residence) in Delhi. And incidentally we were riding around Malviya Nagar at that time and I remembered that Giani Icecream’s outlet in the area did have a Cold Stone.

We visited them and as usual I asked them to give me something they recommend, made on the stone. They recommended Punjabi Delight which was one of the 2 non-chocolate flavors on the list.

Punjabi Delight Mix on Cold Stone @ Giani Ice-cream, Malviya Nagar

And at Rs.180 what came to me really broke my heart. It was a fruit & jelly based mix and the things used in making it really looked synthetic and artificial, a doubt confirmed the moment I took the first bite. Plus the taste and presentation did not match up with the expectations and standards set by Goosebumps last night.

So bottom-line is that concept is novel and fancy however there can be HUGE variation in taste and quality from brand to brand and from outlet to outlet. 

Giving a ‘Marwadi Tadka’ to Delhi

I was at Netaji Subhash Place this noon to meet a friend and was looking around at food joints and what all options were there for food lovers. Lot of joints selling Pasta, Pav Bhaji, Chinese, Rolls etc, besides the usual suspects in such large commercial hubs : Pizza Hut, Domino’s, Haldiram’s, Subway, so on and so forth. Nothing seemed to fancy my attention and excite the hunger in me. 
We were walking towards Haldiram when we noticed a banner announcing a food outlet whose name was enough to excite the daylights out of me, specially in Delhi. Something called ‘Marwari Tadka’. Unusual.. right ?? 😛
The sign-board that excited us.

We ventured in the ‘shop’ (that is how small it is), basically a quick service, pure vegetarian restaurant, with only 8 seats divided equally on two tables. The owner himself welcomed us and started talking about his food, the first thing he did was made me taste his Aloo-pyaz ki subzi. But honestly speaking more than the taste of the subzi, it was the zeal of the guy that made me sit and order a Thali (Combo) with came with Aloo-pyaz ki Subzi, Tikkad and Lahsun ki Chutney. Also ordered a Chhaach and later a Pyaz Kachori.

The Thali, with Tikkad, Aloo-pyaz ki subzi and Lahsun ki Chutney.

Now most of it is strange food for us. Tikkad is a thick roti, made from mixing floors of 5 grains (and don’t expect to remember all five now :P). I have heard my friends who have family living in villages talking about it, however never got a chance to taste it. As mentioned earlier, it was served with Aloo Pyaz ki subzi and Lahsun (Garlic) ki Chutney.  The combo costed us Rs.100.

Closer look at Tikkad
Aloo-Pyaz ki Subzi
Lahsun ki Chutney

The food is prepared in Desi Ghee and honestly speaking was on the greasy side. On asked the reasons behind so much ghee, he said that he gets request to make his food with less ghee, however then the authenticity would be lost the masalas in the dish would just not taste the same. To maintain the authenticity of the taste, the water they use actually comes all the way from Jaipur or so I was told by the owner. 

Pyaz Kachori
The chhaach was quite refreshing and had a tadka of its own, do try it, there are some interesting herbs and spices in it. The aloo-pyaz ki kachori was pretty decent as well. 
Now I am looking forward to my next visit to this place as I am quite excited to try there Dal Kachori, which they serve with kadi, just the way they do it in Rajasthan. We also tasted some kadi and my decision to visit them again was based my appreciation of its taste itself. Complete with methi dana and other spices. 
All in all, the place is just 2 months old here, the owner says that they have 2 more outlets, one in Chennai and another one near Ajmer. Its a must visit for food lovers, some might love it, some might not. But its something that ought to be tried once, just because is absolutely different from what we usually eat in Delhi. 

PS : I was told that they serve Dal Baat Churma and Gatte ki Subzi on Saturdays. Otherwise the have a very limited menu however they make specific Rajasthani delicacies on order as well. They only have 2-3 items – Aloo Pyaz ki subzi, Lahsun ki Chutney and Shahi Paneer – All of them are sold on weight basis rather than plate or portion. 

Marwadi Tadka 
Shop No. G-7, Pearl Best Heights 2, 
Opp. Max Hospital, 
Netaji Subhash Place, Wazirpur Depot, Delhi

Indian Coffee House – A Thriving Relic

When I used to read or hear about Indian Coffee House, it always came across as a place that was dead and some old timers (read retired men) used to hang out there as the coffee was cheap, location perfect and no one gave a damn. With that kind of impression, I never dared to enter inside, fearing that I might face another government relic and then you do not really go out get frustrated and have bad service and food. 
However off-late the name started to pop up again, quite often, in my conversations with some of the younger friends. And then I was told that they have an Indian Coffee House on second floor of Mohan Singh Place in CP area which has a huge terrace, an open air area . The idea of terrace was good enough to ring several bells in me however still took me some time and two failed attempts to finally set my first foot in this institution. 
Broken dirty looking tables and chairs which seemed as if they would crumble under my weight (or any heavy set human for that matter), an eclectic mix of human faces, two waiters (among others) with cool tattoos on their neck dressed in prim uniforms and several monkeys bouncing here and there were the first things that I noticed.  
Yours Truly enjoying the view from ICH
Coffee, conversations and sun-set. Deadly ??
Finding a table and settling down, you realize that you do not mind any of the things that you would consider sacrilege in some other cafe. The rates are dirt cheap and you anyhow do not go there for food. For me, it was all about the terrace and couple of balmy march evenings that I have spent there have been quite phenomenal. 
However over my couple of visits I could not help but try several of their ‘delicacies’ and being a food blog that FED is, lemme tell you about those as well.
Veg. Sandwich – Dry bread, no butter, no jam (we could not find any), couple of slices of cucumber and tomato. Are you ready for your sandwich ?? 😛
Omelete – You really have to work really hard to make a bad omelete  and I guess I will give the crown of worse ever I had to this place.
Paneer Pakode – Ok.. I have had worse. But then I was told that they can be better. Atleast sometimes. 
Masala Dosa with Butter – Was quite impressed with it, it was edible and not bad at all. Cannot say much about chutney and sambar though.

Mutton Dosa – Now this one you won’t get at many places, and though the mutton’s quantity was sporadic to say the least, it was still one of the things that can be eaten there.

Mutton Cutlet – Another item that comes recommended, you might find it juicy, but that juice is the oil it is fried in. May sound bad, but I did not mind eating it at all, atleast till a monkey came and scared us away from our table looking to conquer our food.

Paneer Pakode
Masala Dosa with Butter
Mutton Dosa
Mutton Cutlet
Oh well, the tomato ketchup they serve as a weird red color, but then… 😀
Compared to food, their drinks manage to perform better and here you can find Roohafza Sharbat, Lemon squash  Orange Squash etc, things which you will not get at normal cafes.  Coffee was average, Cold Coffee with or without the ice-cream was not bad at all. 
Cold Coffee with Ice-cream and Roohafza Sharbat
Its a place which was never known for its food. The service can be atrocious and food bordering on un-edible. However its the super old school charm of the place and super low prices that keeps in customers happy and there certainly are few items of the menu which can make you sit back after a bite and admit – Not so Bad .. 😛
PS – Reading on wikipedia about it,  I realize that it is run by a series of worker’s co-operative societies and has over 400 outlets spread across India. Located at most of the prime locations, makes it one of the biggest chains in country.