Thursday, March 19, 2015

My Best 5 Restaurants in Washington DC List for Shel Holtz

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Graduating from Coffee University at Vigilante Coffee in Hyattsville

Vigilante Coffee Company is on Route 1 in Hyattsville's Art District very close to the Palette Apartments and the surrounding new retail with BusBoys & Poets, Tara Thai, Curry 6 and others.

Vigilante Coffee company hosted a Yelp Elite event and explained the intricacies of Espresso coffee making, brewing coffee and the drying and roasting of coffee beans. Vigilante Coffee has arrangements with coffee growers to ship beans from different coutries in the world. At this event I saw beans from Nicaragua, Rwanda, Columbia. 

Can't make it to Hyattsville you can order the coffee beans online on the Vigilante Coffee website

While brewing coffee, I learnt that you should pre-soak the paper filter. That would help me at home definitely. Measuring the water and pouring while on a brewing scale. At least that is what I think it is called makes the coffee making an art along with being a carefully measured practice.

The coffee at Vigilante Coffee Company is dried, roasted and ground every three days and is distributed to a few stores around the DC area.  It was great to meet friends and fellow Yelp Elites at the event and learn about coffee brewing.

Monday, March 02, 2015

It Takes Team Work to Make Dreams Work - The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel - Opens Fri March 6th

The sequel The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel to the original Best Exotic Marigold Hotel is a great watch. Bollywood meets Hollywood in a way that you have not seen before. Weddings, music, romance are the key themes here. There is a message in the movie that rings true that after you retire , your money may not go as far as it would if you chose your own version of the Marigold hotel.

 Dev Patel is marvelous and extremely entertaininga. Judi Dench and Maggie Smith excel in their humor.  Richard Gere makes his appearence as charming as usual. Tina Desai as Sunaina is the voice of reason here. With so many romances going on simultaneously you have to be on your toes not miss any of them.

The movie 122 minutes of non-stop light entertaiment and you tend to laugh at all the self-deprecating humor as well. I think there is an opportunity to continue the plot to a 3rd movie.

Wondered where the movie was filmed. Check out the  Ravla Kehmpur Hotel

Tuesday, February 03, 2015

&Pizza Comes to Gaitherburg Downtown Crown

The &Pizza Team 

This is a guest post from my daughter Mitali Bellamkonda @Bellmit

I had never been to &pizza until today, but I had tagged along with my dad for their grand opening at the Crown in Gaithersburg. 

When we got there, the place was somewhat crowded, but not as loud as I was expecting. We could still talk at almost normal levels, albeit a little louder. 

The space itself is very narrow, something I'm not too fond of as it was a little difficult to get up and get drink refills and/or takeout boxes. The white walls made it feel more open and non-claustrophobic. If you don't like tight spaces, I recommend getting the pizza to go, as there's not much sitting room. 

Now, the pizzas are excellent! 

They're made in the assembly line counter next to the cash register and they are personal pizzas that you can either design yourself or pick from a few specialty ones. I got the Moonstruck pizza and dad made his own, something with a lot of leaf, shrimp and aged pepperoni. I had a bite; it was good, but I liked my Moonstruck better. 

Now, the Moonstruck was a tangy, but mostly sweet mushroom pizza. There wasn't much crust, which is good, because I don't like crust and it was flat, thin and when I picked up a slice, almost no grease appeared on my fingers, so it must have been healthy. 

It wasn't as hot as some of the pizza in other pizza places, but that just meant that I could take a bite and not burn my tongue on hot cheese. I'm too impatient to wait for things to cool, so if it's not too hot in the first place, it's perfect for me. 

Now, I'm not entirely sure why it was called Moonstruck and my best guess is that it was because of the white sauce on the bottom, but it impressed me so much that I forgot the name for about half a second. 

Now, unfortunately, the whole thing was too large for me to finish in one sitting, so there are about 3 slices leftover. I know what lunch is going to be tomorrow. 

I think &pizza is going to be very crowded very soon and I would recommend going as soon as possible (maybe lunchtime) before everyone gets word of it and starts lining up around the block. 

Sunday, February 01, 2015

You Caught My Eye - Disapora Feb 2015

Image Credit:

Ragamala Dance: Song of the Jasmine

8 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 7
Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center at Maryland
University of Maryland, University Boulevard and Stadium Drive, College Park, MD

Zakir Hussain: Celtic Connections
Tabla master Zakir Hussain has long explored other cultures, and his newest project, Celtic Connections, makes its U.S. tour debut, pairing the beautiful and flowing melodies of Celtic instruments including bodhran, violin, pipes, flutes and whistles with tabla, bamboo flute, and Carnatic (south Indian) violin, providing a musical experience that explores common threads with sounds rarely heard together. “Musicians are the same the world over
Lisner Auditorium
8 p.m March 17th 2015

The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel
Opens March 6th 2015 


'Monsoon' is my love letter to India. I've been romanced by the idea of monsoon since I can remember. I've travelled often and extensively throughout India, am married into a big Indian family and have long dreamed of experiencing the monsoon, so when (producer) Ina Fichman offered me the opportunity to make a film about it I jumped. I guess it's kind of personal on many levels. For one thing, I love weather, and I especially love big weather. Something about it brings me a feeling of mystery and awe that's as close to god as this non-believer will likely ever get. I've lived in India and made a film there (Such A Long Journey) and experienced how challenging and, on the face of it, impossible, everything can be there. Even a trip across town can be a whole-day affair. And despite this, in every photograph I've seen of myself in India, I have a big smile on my face. It's just something about the place, and especially the people, that makes me feel that, in spite of all the obstacles, things are possible. That sense of the possibility, of faith, is what drew me to this project. I saw in the monsoon an awful, beautiful, unfathomable phenomenon and wanted to both experience and meditate on it.
Sturla Gunnarsson Director of Monsoon

Monsoon is part of the 23rd annual Environmental Film Festival in the Nation’s Capital, March 17-29, with more than 150 films from 31 countries at over 60 venues. Details at 

Thursday, December 25, 2014

The Rusk is now main stream in India

A visit to India is exciting with all the different food that you can taste.

Growing up in India it was a habit to drink tea with "Rusk". Rusk is like Biscotti and from what I remember available only from local bakeries or in Tea shops. (Coffee was very much a Tamil Nadu habit)

This morning at my brother's house I am now eating this Maska Rusk made by Brittania, a brand I grew up with eating their biscuits.

I love the fact that the comfort for from the streets is now a mainstream product. I plan to look for these in the Indian grocery stores back in the US.

What foods do you remember from your childhood?

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Nirvana Via the Stomach

My friend and chef of Washington DC's Al Tiramisu always says that food is a ritual that should be savored. In this post Anil K Rajvanshi says "
Great food not only gives us energy; the taste and aroma are balm for the soul."

Words to remember when you are eating in a hurry in a fast food drive through lane.

Read the post here