Saturday, May 27, 2017

Veggie Fun, Providence, RI review

      Wherever I visit a college town whether its Burlington in VT, Newhaven in CT, Cambridge in MA, North campus in Delhi or Providence in RI, it alway gives me such ample energy and enthusiasms that none other can offer. A college town always has that organic and raw energy that slips into you. Today's college kid and youth always fascinate me the way they take their food seriously. We in our 20s or college days did not take it that seriously what goes into our body and what is on our plates. Probably that consciousness in youth food intake is why you always find a great restaurant in any college town today.

      Light, wholesome, savory "Veggie Fun" is a new age Asian vegetarian fusion cuisine. Casual open space with a huge bar, beautiful dim lighting and overlooking the streets creates a nice ambiance. 

      We started our day with Veg Dumpling. Coming from the eastern part of India inclination for momo(dumplings) is evident, but it was one of a kind. Light and succulent, filling with luscious veggies gives you dulcet culinary experience, it came with a mild sauce. 

      Then came the crispy tofu, dip in batter melting into mouth scrumptious with the addition of tasty sauce. We opted for hot veg soup too. Flavorsome with veggie enriched hot soup is definitely worth trying. A one absolute loved.

      For mains, we got veg lettuce wrap. As the name says, we expected something innovative, but when the veg sauteed came it was not near to the fun, just sauteed veg. But that gap was filled when we tasted teriyaki tofu sizzler with vegetable goodness, fierce and fantastic teriyaki sauce. A must try, it did come with a bowl of brown rice.

      Veggie Fun menu is very well crafted, something for everyone with good service and good portion sizes. They offer a few herbal teas and desserts too. It felt a little pricey as it is in a college town. 

      My rating is 3.5 out of 5.

Address: 123 Dorrance St, Providence, RI 02903
Saturday 12–11PM
Sunday 12–10PM
(Memorial Day) 11:30AM–10PM
Hours might differ
Tuesday 11:30AM–10PM
Wednesday 11:30AM–10PM
Thursday 11:30AM–10PM
Friday 11:30AM–11PM

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Phone: (401) 270-4700

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Basic classic Indian wardrobe essentials

An Assam silk sari with zardozi work clutch

      When you build a classic wardrobe, you need to pay more attention to quality than quantity. A piece that you invest in, you should be able to assemble on it, mix and match and repeat on successfully many times.

      I will list the item right below...

1.       A silk Sari-Sari is the soul of any Indian wardrobe. There are plenty of saris and fashion trends also changes quite often. If you don’t want to worry about the fast-changing fashion trends, it is the perfect reason for one to go for traditional saris. In this case, it is the silk sari. There are options like Assam silk, Kanchipuram, Paithani, and Panchapally to Ikkat and many more.

A Chikankari sari

2.      Since you own a silk sari, you can either go for a Chiffon printed sari or Chikankari sari, Kantha work sari, Kashmiri embroidered, or one with Gujrati mirrored work is great too.

3.      You should own a silk/cotton salwar suit; probably it should be a solid color. You can choose between a neutral or very vibrant color. Then you can always mix n match and wear it in many different ways, dress down or dress up depending on the occasion.

A solid salwar with Banarasi dupatta

4.      You should own a couple of dupattas so you can always mix and match with your solid salwar. Bandhani, Phulkari or Banarasi dupattas are great options.

5.      Indian wardrobe will be incomplete without a pair of juttis. They go well with your salwar, churidar or even sari. They come in either solid or pattern.

6.      A pair of shoes makes or breaks an outfit. When it comes to shoes, you should own a Kolhapuri sandal; you can either go with silver or gold. It definitely adds up to your outfit.

A jutti, bangles, jhumkas and a silk sari

7.      You should own stack of silver bangles. If you want to be budget friendly, then black metal is a great choice. Silver bracelets are always good. And glass bangle plays a great role too.

8.      A pair of jhumka is great, either silver or gold. If you want to perk up your look instantly, then sure go for it.

9.      A bindi small or big is essential, perhaps an identity of any Indian outfit.

10.     Without a bag, any look will be incomplete. Potlis and Indian work clutches like zardozi or phulkari. A femininity and an aura that you need for your whole Indian look.

A Kohlapuri sandal, potli, jhumkas and silver bangles

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Red Chutney, New Jersey review

When two cultures assimilate, the result is always brilliant, and when it comes to the assimilation of cuisine from two cultures, the effect is even more brilliant. Whether its Chinese-American, Latin-American or Mexican-Italian, but when Chinese meets Indian cuisine the food and flavor take it to another level. Yes, Indo-Chinese a very popular cuisine in India, seasonings, and flavors from both countries come under one roof. Born in Calcutta, Indo-Chinese seasons in Chinese way merged in Indian cooking techniques. If you ever taste it, you won’t forget it.

After moving from India to the USA, I always look for Indo-Chinese cuisine. Some restaurant's menu does include a few entrees but not a whole lot of items. Recently, I was lucky enough to visit Red Chutney in New Jersey and fortunate enough to find the same flavor in the restaurant. Eclectic, oriental interior with urban feels, sophisticated modern lighting, Red Chutney naturally create a great ambiance. It was an incredible feeling entering with a warm welcome, in spite of the weekend dinner rush.

The opening menu itself gives you immense hope of ordering so many items, what you always look for in an Indo-Chinese cuisine. Regardless, they also offer a vast array of pure Indian entrees too. For the starter, we opted for Chili Paneer, and since Indo-Chinese is always known for spicy, we chose Chicken Tikka for the kids. Dipped in Sichuan sauce, Chilly Paneer was an epic, flavorful, entirely coated with sauce and came with a bed of salad. I am still enchanting the enticing paneer till today. Chicken Tikka was perfectly baked, but Chilly Paneer undoubtedly was the show stopper.

Then for our mains, we had Hakka noodles for the kids and Veg Manchurian and Chicken Biryani for us. Buttery soft Hakka noodles loaded with veggies, savory Soya seasoning was definitely ideal for picky kid eaters like mine without any complaints.

The Veg Manchuria golden veg balls diving in succulent garlic sauce tickles your taste buds. The Chicken Biryani with rightly cooked rice and wonderfully well-stuffed chicken was delectably delicious, and everything was great for the price. Attentive service was a raving part of  Red Chutney.

We ended the day with Kulfi (Indian style ice cream). It was velvety and creamy, but sprinkled with some colorful sparkles took away the natural look. Nevertheless, It is worth a visit, if you savor yourself some Indo-Chinese affair. Unlike its name, Red Chutney is fierce, flavorsome, tangy and sweet. If you want to tantalize and tickle your taste buds, this is the right place to visit.

My rating is 4 out of 5.

Address: 1538 Oak Tree Ave, Iselin, NJ 08830

Saturday 12–10:45PM
Sunday 12–10:15PM
Monday 12–3PM, 5:30–10:15PM
Tuesday Closed
Wednesday 12–3PM, 5:30–10:15PM
Thursday 12–3PM, 5:30–10:15PM
Friday 12–3PM, 5:30–10:45PM

Phone: (732) 549-7788

Saturday, May 6, 2017

A cup of Assam Tea with Kunal Kaushik

    A dream that bloomed in bespoke of Brahmaputra. A dream that affiants to his root and heritage of the alluring waves of Assam to bring it to the forefront of the world stage. A dream that he wears in his sleeves showing the world magnificent handcrafted handlooms of Assam silk. That is the translation and reviving of renowned Designer Kunal Kaushik's muse. Luxe luxurious, glorious, yet little unknown to rest of the world Assam silk. Kunal Kaushik showcased his collection "Looms of Assam" in the prestigious Tiffany's fashion week Paris. He not only showcased it but is back with a bang by owning the best designer in Tiffany's Fashion Week Paris with all the rave reviews.

    Kunal Kaushik's work is Rhapsody of colors of Assam which translates into modern and chic muse with charismatic cuts, fantastic frills, tassels, alluring fit and ornate in the intricate sustainable Assamese weaves - Eri, Muga and Pat silk. His latest collection for Tiffany's fashion week in Paris "Looms of Assam", at first glimpse is very global, but his Indian-Assamese soul to it has detailings like Riha (a scarf worn inside Assamese Sador especially during auspicious occasion), Pator Sador (Assamese silk scarf), motifs and colors as well with his own rhythm and rendition. In addition, his logo for Tiffiny's fashion week, also written in Assamese accentuates every bit of Indian-Assamese root.

    Growing up as an artist after graduating in Fine Arts from Baroda MS University, Kunal Kaushik quickly moved over to his niche FASHION, inspired by his home state quintessential Assamese weaves, started his fashion house "Ethnicity Design House." In fact, his latest collection "Looms of Assam" is also a great tribute to weavers of Assam. Kunal Kaushik is not just barely a designer but a trendsetter for many young dreamers/artists, for perseverance, passion and handwork can achieve what you aspire. Working on 17 years with Assamese weavers and trying to set a solution for Assamese weaves, his dream is to revive and present Assam silk in front of the world with modern and urban suited silhouette that is globally relevant. Working with Salukachi weavers of the only silk village of Assam where generations do weaving for the living, Kunal is empowering them through his "Looms of Assam" which work towards promoting and preserving the art of Silk Weaving. Let's hear from his heart…

1. Kunal Congratulations on your huge success in Paris and your immaculate work. It is unquestionably a sentimental win for the whole north-east India. How do you feel about it?
Kunal Kaushik: Thank you so much. Indeed it's unquestionably a great feeling at being the Winner First Place at Tiffany's Fashion Week Paris Autumn Winter 2017 at Paris. Words seem to desert me as I try to express my feelings at my achievement.  And that to an international recognition. Ever since I started, my journey has never been easy. Every bit of my journey until this moment has been one with constant hardship and struggle. Having put one step forward, I have to put two steps backward. But I went on moving ahead since last 17 years persistently and never looked back and without even for a slightest of the moment, expecting a reward or appreciation. But God has been kind. So it means a lot as my belief is now more determined and strong and to further pursues my vision and goal of establishing Looms of Assam in the world market.

2. Tell us how do you get inspiration to create such great work? How your childhood or life imprints your design?
Kunal Kaushik: My greatest inspiration has always been the ardent sense and desire of creating something new innovative and creative. My Dreams are my basic source of inspirations. In fact, the creative urge has always been the basic source of motivation and inspiration leading to an emotional creative outburst in the form of my designs.
Creativity is something inborn in me. It's a God gift. A divine blessing. My mother is a very good artist and designer. She used to make beautiful paintings and design and stitch beautiful garments. So it an inborn gift in me from my mother. I owe it to My Mother.
However, my belief and sense of pride in myself, my roots and my family, my culture and traditions, the true colors of my home state Assam and the North East Region are always major factors of inspirations.

3. How do you define fashion?
Kunal Kaushik: Fashion for me is nothing but an extension of art. An extension from my canvas and easel to fabrics and garments. Being a designer, and one with social responsibilities,  fashion for me is a great challenge for me in making every person look beautiful, confident, sensible and comfortable, justifying their age, personality, profession, and culture. It's designing a personal fashion statement and style for every individual rather than imposing a particular style and trend. It's about making every individual human being special and extraordinary.

4. Where do you see Assam in terms of fashion in next ten year?    
Kunal Kaushik: I'm a very positive person with an open and broad perspective in life. But as far as Fashion is concerned in Assam, the next ten years will be a too short period for its growth and to establish it's potential and identity in the greater world of fashion in spite of all its untapped potential and resources, as
 Fashion is still in the nascent stage. Grass looks greener on the other sides. Same holds true for us Assamese. We are eyeing the green pastures on the other sides. We are more inclined and influenced by western culture and other trends. While doing this we are paying a very heavy price for the cost of our culture and identity as well as heritage. Our efforts should be to showcase the world what we have and it’s potential. For instance, silk weaving came to Assam along with the Ahoms. It has been so many centuries yet the world is not aware of our mesmerizing silks. I took it as a personal and missionary zeal to show it to the world and dedicatedly work towards it. Nobody believed in me and my vision and my quest. But I did it and Almighty was kind. God opened its doors. And an Assamese came as a winner in  Paris. It means a lot. Especially being from Assam.

5. Can you please tell us about your future projects?
Kunal Kaushik: My Future Projects revolves around the missionary zeal with which I started my career 17 years back, to showcase promote and popularize the handwoven traditional fabrics of Assam and those of the various tribal and ethnic groups of Assam and the North East Region of India. And to create a global market for it.
After winning the prestigious award in Paris, I'm next invited to showcase my creations at the glittering Tiffany's red carpet show during the very Prestigious 70th  Cannes Film Festival on 23rd  May.  And then in Paris and Monaco in July. New York in September and Paris again in October.

6. Any advice for upcoming designers who choose fashion as a career?
Kunal Kaushik: My advice to upcoming fashion designers is to be more sensible and to believe in their potentials and creativity. And to be a trendsetter rather than being a trend follower. Fashion is all about new innovations and creativity. One should be original to sustain in the long run. Being honest and sincere and hardworking and dedicated and of course, focus on perseverance and to understand the literal essence of being a designer in the true sense of the term. A designer designs and creates. A designer does not copy. So, believe in yourself and hard work. Success will be yours.

You can always follow him on Instagram @

P.S - All photo credit goes to Kunal Kaushik. 

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