jump to navigation

Ponchiz – Sizzling Pune December 24, 2009

Posted by Chatore Diaries in dessert, nagar, ponchiz, Pune, sizzler, viman.
2 comments

Every once in a while there comes a movie that leaves you awestruck, say like the Titanic, Black and now Avatar. What is even rarer is a good sizzler joint.
Nestled in a cozy corner of Pune’s upcoming locality, Viman Nagar, is the latest Sizzler Joint – Ponchiz. Yes, the name is a derivative of the quintessential Paunch of the well fed. A visit to Ponchiz left me wanting more.

The Food

Ponchiz, is essentially your own sizzler shop. With an enviable variety of Sizzler bases, sauces, and accompaniments, it literally leaves you bedazzled with the sheer variety on offer. So what this basically means is that you could pick up a Chicken, a fish, a beef or a lamb base; add a sauce of your choice from Chilly Garlic, Mushroom, Red Wine, Barbeque, or a combination thereof; choose your potatoes –mashed, fries, sautéed; add accompaniments – Sautéed veggies or boiled, and your choice of noodles or herb rice. And voila! You have your own very Sizzler!
Apart from Sizzlers, they do also have soups, salads, vegetarian and non vegetarian starters, and Dessert that takes you straight to heaven!

The price? We’ll come to that later.

My Order

I went with my wife and some friends on a Sunday evening. As things typically are on a Sunday evening, I had a case of the next day work blues already settling in. So I needed good food!

We started with the Chicken noodles soup. The first taste filled me with happy warmth all over. The soup was very well balanced with just the right consistency – not too thick and not too watery either. Just the way it is supposed to be. At Rs 50a pop, I think it was worth every paisa!

Next, we went with the Chicken wings for starters. The last time had chicken wings was from a popular pizza joint, and boy did I hate them. I’d thought I had lost my taste for them, and boy was I wrong or what! These wings were different. Each piece was succulent, very well cooked and marinated in just the best chicken wing sauce I have ever had! For 75 bucks a plate for 6 pieces, this has a lot of promise!
Now came the most important part – The Main Course. I order like a King, and eat like one too! I ordered for a Chicken Shashlik base, with Red Wine and Mushroom sauce, mashed potatoes, sautéed green pepper and onions, grilled pineapple and herb rice. Honestly speaking, I was expecting a lot of cabbage cushioning like most sizzler joints do and tad too hot sizzler plate which inevitably burns my veggies! But this was different. The plate was sizzling for sure, but the way it should. The aromas from the sauce, chicken, potatoes, rice and pineapple were intermingling in perfect harmony and the wafting smell pushed my hunger to newer levels. So far so good.

My first bite was enough to tell me that I would be coming back. The chicken was well cooked, the sauce well thought of, and the veggies not burnt, the pineapple grilled to perfection. The highlight of my sizzler was the mashed potatoes. Mashed with cheese, and served hot, they beat any French fries hands down.
My friends had ordered Grilled Chicken with Chilly Garlic sauce, Roast chicken with barbeque sauce, and a grilled chicken with barbeque sauce. Of all, I loved the barbeque sauce the most. That is going to be my next order.

Destination dessert next. You’d think that after eating what we did, we’d be insane to go for dessert, and you’d probably be right. Ponchiz doesn’t outsource its desserts. Everything is baked in house by the dessert chef. We decided to go with Ponchiz Choco surprise and Frozen Delight. Ponchiz Choco Surprise is a three layered dessert, with one layer oodles of chocolate, walnut and choco chips! The frozen delight is a layered ice cream cake the like of which you shall not find anywhere in Pune, except at Ponchiz. If they served such desserts at Copenhagen, there would be no problem of global warming anywhere in the world!

The Bill

I will let you hazard a guess before I spill the best part. Go on, take a shot!
Okay, the grand total for all the food, repeat all- Soups, starters, four heavy duty sizzlers and desserts was Rs 865/- only. I did not know prices like that were still in fashion. That’s less money than what you’d spend on a pathetic Bollywood movie including the popcorn and excluding the parking. And not to forget the quality time with friends.

Go figure.

Verdict

Highly recommended for anyone, any occasion.

Passport Issued! February 16, 2009

Posted by Chatore Diaries in Pune, Society.
Tags: , ,
5 comments

Phew. Relief.

That is all that I feel right now. After a year and a half of running around, enquiring with the PROs, my wife has finally received her passport.

The tall claims of the government that a passport is delivered with 45 days is pure and unadulterated bull shit. That much i am damn sure of. I had blogged about that pain earlier here.

Our passport saga goes something like this…

We had applied for her passport in Sep 07, and till Dec 07 we heard nothing. So we went to the passport office at Senapati Bapat Road, Pune every other day to find out what the status was. And every time we were told that the passport was stuck in Mumbai. For what reason, no one was able to tell us. Prior to coming to Pune, we were based in Mumbai, and as honest citizens we had mentioned that in the application form the first time around since we had not completed 1 year in Pune at that time. So i guess, the Mumbai cops were pissed that we had not ‘met’ them. Probably. Probably not.

So finally after months of wait and agonizing aniticipation, we met the PRO, who as luck would have it, seemed totally insensitive to our problems. He was very rude, to the point of being ill mannered. Needless to say, i lost my cool, and gave it back to him. After all he was not doing me a favor, he was just not doing his job properly. We closed the file, and decided to re-apply.

We submitted a new form, with fees (again a 1000 bucks) in Aug 08, and said our prayers. This time though, we had completed a year in Pune, and did not have to mention Mumbai any where on the damn form. The police verification happened after 45 days, which by the way was too damn later than promised. Anyways, once that was done, we again went on the hope train. We did not hear anything from them for the next 4 months. The passport website gave the status of our application as ‘under processing’ so that keptour hopes high. At one fine day the status changed to ‘Due to unavoidable circumstances, the despatch of the passport has been delayed, and will be delivered in a weeks time’. No dates, nothing. Just a week. This status message was there for over 2 months. our ‘week’ just did not arrive.

So finally eternally frustrated we went to meet the PRO in Jan 09. This time there was another woman, but equally if not less, rude. She made us feel as if they were doing us a great favor by issuing a passport to us. We asked her where what the problem was, and she told us that apparently after receiving the police report, nothing was done. NOTHING?? Why the heck not?? Just. We got the file out, and yes, the application had been received in Nov 08 or something, but not moved. Why the FUCK not?

So anyways, after much arguments, to and fro, she told us that the passport would come. When? In the next 15 days. 2 days later, the status on the website changed to ‘Passport has been granted and is expected to be despatched by 24-02-2009. Subject to all documents being in order’. And we were on the hope train again. Surprisingly, the passport came two days later, on Valentine’s day, when we were least expecting it. We are still too surprised to have finally received the passport after so long. But we are glad.

Oh, and by the way, the status on the website still says ‘Passport has been granted and is expected to be despatched by 24-02-2009. Subject to all documents being in order’.

Passport Issued! February 16, 2009

Posted by Chatore Diaries in Ministry of External Affairs, Passport, Passport Grievance, Pune.
add a comment

Phew. Relief.

That is all that I feel right now. After a year and a half of running around, enquiring with the PROs, my wife has finally received her passport.

The tall claims of the government that a passport is delivered with 45 days is pure and unadulterated bull shit. That much i am damn sure of. I had blogged about that pain earlier here.

Our passport saga goes something like this…

We had applied for her passport in Sep 07, and till Dec 07 we heard nothing. So we went to the passport office at Senapati Bapat Road, Pune every other day to find out what the status was. And every time we were told that the passport was stuck in Mumbai. For what reason, no one was able to tell us. Prior to coming to Pune, we were based in Mumbai, and as an honest citizen we had mentioned that in the application form the first time around since we had not completed 1 year in Pune at that time. So i guess, the Mumbai cops were pissed that we had not ‘met’ them. Probably. Probably not.

So finally after months of wait and agonizing aniticipation, we met the PRO, who as luck would have it, seemed totally insensitive to our problems. He was very rude, to the point of being ill mannered. Needless to say, i lost my cool, and gave it back to him. After all he was not doing me a favor, he was just not doing his job properly. We closed the file, and decided to re-apply.

We submitted a new form, with fees (again a 1000 bucks) in Aug 08, and said our prayers. This time though, we had completed a year in Pune, and did not have to mention Mumbai any where on the damn form. The police verification happened after 45 days, which by the way was too damn later than promised. Anyways, once that was done, we again went on the hope train. We did not hear anything from them for the next 4 months. The passport website gave the status of our application as ‘under processing’ so that keptour hopes high. At one fine day the status changed to ‘Due to unavoidable circumstances, the despatch of the passport has been delayed, and will be delivered in a weeks time’. No dates, nothing. Just a week. This status message was there for over 2 months. our ‘week’ just did not arrive.

So finally eternally frustrated we went to meet the PRO in Jan 09. This time there was another woman, but equally if not less, rude. She made us feel as if they were doing us a great favor by issuing a passport to us. We asked her where what the problem was, and she told us that apparently after receiving the police report, nothing was done. NOTHING?? Why the heck not?? Just. We got the file out, and yes, the application had been received in Nov 08 or something, but not moved. Why the FUCK not?

So anyways, after much arguments, to and fro, she told us that the passport would come. When? In the next 15 days. 2 days later, the status on the website changed to ‘Passport has been granted and is expected to be despatched by 24-02-2009. Subject to all documents being in order’. And we were on the hope train again. Surprisingly, the passport came two days later, on Valentine’s day, when we were least expecting it. We are still too surprised to have finally received the passport after so long. But we are glad.

Oh, and by the way, the status on the website still says ‘Passport has been granted and is expected to be despatched by 24-02-2009. Subject to all documents being in order’.

<

P(r)ay and Park February 11, 2009

Posted by Chatore Diaries in India, Maharashtra, Pune, Society.
Tags: , , ,
4 comments

How many times have you ventured out on an evening with the family, taking off time from a bloody tight schedule, just to unwind yourself, and ended having a god awful time simply because of a parking problem? Either you did not find a good parking spot, or you did not find a spot at all. Or even worse you decided to use the pay and park facility, only to find your car scratched or dented on your return?

Although not new, the pay and park facilities have become more of a menace than anything else. The other day, my wife and I decided to catch a late night show at E-Square, one of Pune premier multiplexes. Due to lack of choice, I had to park within the premises, in the ‘parking lot’. I had to shell out 40 bucks at the entry, before I even parked. I was told that there was ample space in the parking lot. When I did reach the parking space, I could see an endless queue of cars waiting to be parked, by a ‘valet’. There were at least 10 cars that had to be parked before mine. And to top it off, there wasn’t a single parking slot available in the so called parking lot. I decided against giving my car for ‘valet’ parking, as it is fundamentally against my principles to simple hand out my keys to any valet. He could be Michael Schumacher for all I care. Luckily I found a parking spot waiting to be taken on the exit ramp.

What infuriates me about such pay and park services, is that :

1. Parking at owner’s risk: – Then what the fuck am I paying you for?

2. Management will not be responsible for any losses – Like hell they won’t be! The parking attendants are your employees, and my car is not for your employees to fuck around or dent. If there is a dent, or so much so as a single scratch, I will take personal care to fuck your happiness.

 3. Please carry all your Valuables; – Does that include the engine as well? Fucking moron, isn’t it your responsibility to see that my car is secure and safe till my return? What the fuck are you charging me for?

4. Pay in advance – What for you dip shit? What if my car has a scratch when I return? Or worse, what if it is not there in the when I return? Who do I go running after then?

The truth is, that most of these ‘pay and park’ scams are run my local corporate and / or goons. Since the returns are huge, without any substantial investments, barring the usual under the table hand greasing, a lot of ‘people’ want contracts for pay and park schemes. Someone once told me, that multiplexes are not supposed to charge for parking, since it is a civic mandate, I wonder which one, that all commercial establishments must provide for parking space. Since the land on which the establishment is constructed is either bought or leased, money cannot be made on parking charges. I still need to verify the facts though.

Not that I mind paying for parking, after all it is supposed to keep my car safe. What I have a problem with is the ‘fuck-you-and-fuck-your-car-but-pay-me for parking’ attitude. Aren’t there any rules and regulations against such activities? I am too pissed right now to think.

Pune and The Art of Auto Rickshaw Fleecing August 2, 2007

Posted by Chatore Diaries in Auto, menace, Pune.
2 comments

I have travelled. And I have travelled far and wide.

From the mountains to the oceans and from the deserts to the plains. O yes I have travelled.

And I use the local autorickshaws for getting around everywhere. They are plentyful, convinient, parking is not my headache, and hell, i dont even have to pay the parking charges. Most of the times the rickshaw fellows are nice people. Out to make money, just like the rest of us. They smile, drive alright, and are ready for negotiations.

But Pune!!!! My god the story is totally different here.

A typicall scenario, while hailing an auto:

ME: Boss, Shivaji Housing?
Auto Fellow: No!
ME: S B Road?
Auto Fellow: No!
ME (Now getting irritated) : Then where?
Auto Fellow: hmmmmph
Me: Arre, you want to go anywhere or not?
Auto Fellow: Yes, Dubai!
End of Discussion.

This more often than not is the typical story with almost every auto fellow here. They are just not ready to go where you want to. Its they, who are going to take you where they want to.

Simple.

Not to mention, the gross overcharging, figure round ups, and occassional brawls, that I have to face every bloddy day of living here.

Unfortunately, there is no body, govermental or otherwise where we can go and lodge a complaint.

Nothing. Zilch. Zero.

So what are we to do? Just take the shit home and brood?

It is high time the traffic heads for the city came up with a plan. Most of the poeple in Pune are outsiders, students, IT professionals etc..and no one top listen to us.

Please help us all.

Mr Traffic Commisioner, Are you listening?