#BreakingBarriers by Women’s Web

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I attended the #BreakingBarriers event organized by Women’s Web today at Bangalore. #BreakingBarriers is an event which brings together a lot of like-minded ambitious women, inspires them through each other’s stories, and provides a great networking platform. This is the 5th edition of the event and is being held in Bangalore, Mumbai, and Gurugram (Gurugram, is that really the name?).

Today’s event at Bangalore saw panel discussions with eminent marketeers and inspiring women on topics like content marketing, personal branding, breaking the real barriers of life to move ahead, along with a good sprinkling of information on personal wellness, growth hacking, and creating brand ambassadors.

The panel discussions involved extremely strong and successful women like Monica Samuel (Content Knockout), Srividya Sen (Tech Mahindra), Jonali Saikia Khasnabish (Heeya Crafts), Anju Maudgal Kadam (WebTV), Shalini Singh (Galvanise PR), Lakshmi Dasaka (Dropkaffe).  Mangal Karnad (Fablesquare) talked about creating a personal brand. Kavita Jhunjhunwala (Click Asia & Avocado Tree Digital) perked up the post-lunch session with inspiring stories of breaking barriers from the audience. Ravi Sangtani (Director, Target Accelerator) also enlightened the audience about growth hacking in the entrepreneurial industry.  Aparna Singh (Founder & CEO, Women’s Web), and Anju Jayaram (CMO, Women’s Web) spearheaded the entire event with aplomb.

What came across as striking was that every woman I met, every woman I interacted with showed passion. Passion for what she wants to achieve, passion for what she believes in, and passion in breaking the barriers that comes across her way. We were left speechless when we found a cancer survivor among us who has relentlessly fought on with her life and resumed her passion of writing and dancing even after suffering from a broken leg too!

The stories from the event made me realize that we, as women, often face a lot more challenges and rejections in life than we expect to. However, it is the never-say-die attitude and a fiercely positive outlook that helps us dash through the doors, fall face down but get up and run again. It’s the spirit that matters.

The spirit of #BreakingBarriers.

(Do register for the subsequent Mumbai and the Gurgaon events here).

(Sorry, I don’t have a photo from the event, so I put up my photo of an ambitious eagle competing with a jet plane).

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Byblos – Indiranagar Restaurant Review

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We went to Byblos for our anniversary dinner. We shortlisted Japanese and Lebanese cuisines for dinner, and we settled for Lebanese, and Byblos made us feel very happy about our choice.

We were given a warm welcome by a Lebanese steward! He claimed that Byblos served genuinely, undoubtedly, and profoundly authentic Lebanese food. We did believe him and led him to help us choose our dishes, which he was extremely happy to help with. We also noticed that the chefs working in the open kitchen were Lebanese. In fact, the place is owned and managed by the Head Chef, Mr. Ammar, who is Lebanese. Even his business card smells of heavenly aromatic spices. Thereafter, we did not have an iota of disbelief about the authenticity of the place and the food.

While the kid asked for the Chicken Bouillon soup, we went for the Byblos Mixed Grill. The Chicken Bouillon soup was just the right taste for a 4 year old, non-spicy, a little creamy, and served with croutons. The Mix Grill that we ordered was a platter of Lamb Chops, Lamb Kofta, Lamb Tikka, Shish Taouk (chicken kabab), and Arayess. Arayess is pita stuffed with meat. The grill platter was served with a basket of fluffy pita breads.It is a slightly leavened bread that has a pocket that can be stuffed with various fillings and had. I must mention their Pita breads.  The Pita that Byblos served was warm, soft, and puffed up. They looked and tasted fresh. The kid absolutely loved them, not to mention that we finished the entire basket within a few minutes of it being placed on the table. Coming back to the grill, the meat was good, soft and well marinated. However, the entire platter was strewn with french fries, and we wondered why. The steward explained that people in Lebanon loved fries with their grills. It is almost an inevitable part of a grilled platter.

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We were hoping that there would be some hummus to go with the Pita and the grill, but since there was none, we ordered a bowl. It looked wonderful with a creamy yet firm consistency, and there was a well of olive oil in the center of the bowl. We licked it clean until the bowl remained just a white bowl.

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For those who don’t have Lebanese food often, tasting the Shawarma is inevitable when they try the cuisine. Therefore, we ordered a Shawarma, and it appeared soon with another basket of Pitas. We actually returned the Pita basket because we were almost getting full and wanted to eat only the Shawarma. The chicken Shawarma had just the right amount of spices and it was served with garlic mayonnaise. As expected, there were french fries on the side, and this time we were not surprised. Haha! The thin slices of the chicken were good to be stuffed in the pita but we had it just plain and they tasted just wonderful. Even the little one tried it and asked for more of it repeatedly.

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I must mention that we tried a drink Ayran which is almost close to the Indian Buttermilk except that the yogurt is more sour and has garlic.

We didn’t order any desserts but Mr.Ammar sent over some Baklava and also asked us to taste a new dessert called Halawa Alkeshta that they were introducing. The pastry chef came over to describe how he made the Baklava. He mentioned how he uses chopped pistachios in between layers of filo (dough for making baklava) and holds it firm with sugar syrup. The Baklava was medium sweet and the chopped pistachios in the center gave it a soft crunch. The other new item on their dessert menu was soft sweetened cheese rolled within a sweet coating and garnished with chopped nuts and seeds. There are some desserts that almost put you into a sweet coma, and this was one of those. It melted in the mouth and the sweet Arabic aromas lingered on for long. We loved it, and we told the Head Chef how much we loved it!

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The Baklava:

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Overall, we had a great dinner at Byblos. They are warm to their guests, and actually, they have a very loyal following. By the time we left, we saw a lot of guests coming in who were familiar faces to the staff there, and that included Indians as well as Arabs and other expats. There was another elderly couple sitting at the table adjacent to us who mentioned how much they loved Byblos and why they loved it!

One last nugget: ‘Byblos’ is an old and famous coastal town in Lebanon, and it is on the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The restaurant is named after the place.

You must head to the restaurant if you are craving for authentic Middle Eastern food, or if you are keen to experiment with a new cuisine.

Byblos

100 ft Road, Indiranagar

Bangalore

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Bangalore Food Truck + Music Festival

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(*In the photo above, I’m merely posing inside a food truck. I’ve not switched professions.*)

We went to the Bangalore Food Truck + Music Festival Edition 4 at Pebble, The Jungle Lounge at the Palace Grounds held on April 3, 2015. I had never been to a Food Truck event, and I’ve always romanticized a food truck fest. When it was so close to home, I couldn’t resist the urge to go to the event.

Food trucks. Huge trucks, some monochromatic, some mottled, and some kaleidoscopic in colors that serve a variety of foods at affordable prices. For this rally, the trucks that participated were Square Ruth, Truckafe, Swat, Le Casse Croute, Waffle Truck, Khan Saheb, Smoke Signal BBQ, As on Fire, and more brands that I missed taking note of. I must say we had quite a variety of cuisines to choose from: Indian, Oriental, Indo-Chinese, French, Mexican and more. There was actually one truck that had a wood fire inside and they cooked amazing pizzas. My bad I didnt take note of the name.

Here are a few pics of the bright trucks.

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We went in pretty early, at around 12:00 pm when some trucks were still setting up. Le Casse Croute seemed to have already tugged at the hearts of people right from the beginning. We were a group of four adults and each one of us got items from a lot of the trucks, and therefore, we tasted a medley of foods. Golden fried crispy honey potatoes, loaded (and I mean really loaded) nachos, wonderful dimsums, amazing wood-fired pizzas, Buffalo wings, Lemon Chicken Thai rice washed down with a sparkling Green Apple drink made us too full to try anything else. We were in the mood for waffles from the Waffle Truck, but we were already satiated beyond capacity.

Of all the trucks that I tried and that looked great, I loved Truckafe. Beautifully painted in red, yellow, orange, blue, and green, the truck was a treat for my eyes. I loved the interior too and the friendly host let me in the truck. I had a long cherished desire to be on the other side of a food truck and cook, and today I did fulfill my wish. I was in the truck, and I tossed and turned some chicken that was being cooked and had my share of fun! It was fascinating to see an entire kitchen in there. The buffalo wings were lip-smacking and the Thai rice was yummy. Here I am inside Truckafe tossing up some Thai chicken.

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Though we had gorged on a lot of delish, we wanted icecreams. And what better than the IceCream Buggy. Our kids relished on the icecreams and so did we.

There were two areas of concern though. First, the entry fee was not mentioned on the Facebook page for the event, and there were no replies when someone asked about the fee. Second, in the entire field of the rally, there was very little/almost no option to get something to drink. Only one truck had beverages and there were not many options. However, we could get water or drinks in Pebble, the lounge inside that was also the host of the event.

Overall, we had a lovely time. We will definitely go for more food truck events to be held. Actually, I spotted some more trucks on the roadside at MG road. I will sure visit that place soon!

I’m also going to put up some videos of the rally. Watch out!