August 15, 2012

Coffee made from cat poop, anyone?

I was watching this program on Fox Traveler where the anchor went on a night trail to catch a sighting of civets in Coorg. While they did not sight the elusive civet, what they found were its droppings. And what's more, the droppings comprised of a bunch of coffee beans. 

The jungle civet apparently picks the choicest of the coffee cherries and feeds on them during the night. But the animal can only digest the pulp. What remains behind is your coffee bean. The bean travels through its digestive system, gets mixed with all the enzymes and juices and is pooped in clusters. And these people who could not spot the civet, spotted the coffee bean cluster, picked it up (yuick!) and were amazed by it! 
The coffee bean clumps are then cleaned, dried and roasted and processed, as if nothing happened! 
I frantically googled this after watching the program and was shocked to see that coffee thus produced, is the most expensive coffee in the world. It is widely produced in Indonesia and sold on Amazon, at a price that is astounding- $44 for 100 gms! So much for cat poop! And why would someone pay so much for coffee? Because it is custom roasted in most places, is produced in very small quantities and is less bitter due to the magic juices secreted from the palm civet. I have one more thing to add to the list of its qualities that it is made from an animal's poop. Ew! 
Bizarre people with tonnes of money to spend would not mind the indulgence. But i hope they do tell their guests what's in the coffee before it is served :) And me, I am happy with my cuppa chai :) 

August 12, 2012

The Village, Mall of Mysore

Sunday lunch was at this new place in Mall of Mysore called Village. Located in the fourth floor of the mall, Village (Not to be confused with its namesake in Innovative Multiplex Complex and other places) has a nice artificially created rustic setting. You pay soon as you enter, at 1045 for 4 people, it seemed very reasonable. Soon as you pay, there is a guy playing the dhol and a lady with an aarti plate who welcomes you with a tika on the forehead.

Soon as the ceremonial welcome is done, they just let you be on your own. There is nobody really attending to you, it is as if you have strolled into a village mela.

There is a central area with a so-called Banyan tree with buntings tied all around it. On the particular day, the restaurant staff had organised musical chairs, passing the parcel and some other fun team game in the area. There is an open auto and a stage alongside from where you can enjoy the proceedings. Anybody is free to participate in their games. As you are playing, you can walk by for a chaat and have some more since everything on the floor is unlimited. I thought that two hands weren't really enough for the chaatwala to serve all the people at the "tabela" as they called it.
After the chaat, you can walk by to the dosa making man and pick your choice of dosa- masala, tomato-onion and i forget the third variety. Dosas are served with Chutney and Sambar. There is another guy by the side dishing out fresh salad. I picked a channa salad that they had nicely named  "Chaniya Waniya" :)

Main course comprises freshly made tandoor rotis and bajra roti  with baingan bharta, paneer pasanda, a kurma and channa masala. You can then go on to rice, hakka noodles and manchurian ( in a village setting? I decided to skip for good :) ) or take your pick from Samosa, dal-baati churma,dhokla and piping hot pakodas. All this can be washed down with unlimited chaas/ lassi served in bottles.                                                                  
Lassi bottle
The food in all is just about average. Nothing to write home about or nothing that would make you want to visit the place many times over. But must give it to them for recreating the village setting, for being really warm. A lady in the staff distributed dandiya sticks to every person in the restaurant and goaded each of us to get on the floor and dance. When there is an enthusiastic crowd, live dholak, foot tapping music, one really can't help but shake a leg and try a hand with dandiya. Go there if you have a big gang to have fun with, loads of time to while away, an appetite to eat a lot and the enthusiasm to dance away all that you have eaten!

P.S. Village is also located in Jayanagar Central in Bangalore