6 Must-Try Dessert Treats at The Dubai Mall – KeepDining.com

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A paradise for shopaholics and foodies, The Dubai Mall is a place where one can spend hours, days and even weeks shopping, eating or just strolling about. With innumerable options to pick from, there’s something for everyone here.

During my recent trip to Dubai, I spent an entire week at the mall shopping and trying out different cuisines at some of its renowned cafes and eateries. While I do share a special fondness for food, I also truly love desserts and all things sweet – be it a chocolate, tart, pie, cheesecake or cookie – guilty as charged, I love it all. Since this place has so much to offer, I had to take regular pit stops to satisfy my sweet cravings. So here’s my list of six drool-worthy sweet treats that were oh-so-satisfying:

Carrot Cupcake at Magnolia Bakery

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The Bloomingdale’s store is home to an elegantly decorated counter of mouthwatering cupcakes and cakes from New York’s famed Magnolia Bakery. Each one looks so pretty that its hard to pick just one. However, after spending almost ten minutes admiring each one, I decided to try the carrot cupcake. One bite into it and I was floored. Moist cake packed with flavors of freshly grated carrots, coconut, pineapple, raisins and walnuts, melted in the mouth while the cream cheese icing left a tingling after-taste. Though their red velvet with cream cheese is a bestseller, I recommend giving this one a try. It’s worth the risk…and the calories!
Location: Inside Bloomingdale’s store, lower ground level

Macarons at Ladurée

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World-famous, luxury French bakery and sweets maker, Ladurée gives you a feel of Paris as you walk into the store. With plush café style seating and cutesy interiors, one can pick from a variety of desserts and colourful macarons. I tried various flavors of these smooth delicate shells, but the salted caramel and black truffle ones, were par excellence. Crispy and crunchy on the outside, they were tucked with flavorful filling on the inside. Since they are priced on the higher side, you might consider compromising on those shopping bags over another piece.
Location: P5, level 1

Red Velvet Frozen Custard at Shake Shack

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The combination of red velvet cake with cream cheese frosting and ice cream sounds like heaven in a cup, doesn’t it? So when I found out that Shake Shack, the famous American fast food chain known for its burgers and hot dogs serves this lip-smacking trio, I knew I had found my calling. The divine fusion of red velvet cake chunks and cream cheese served as frozen custard was so pleasing that I just couldn’t stop myself even after a few bites. Next on my list is their Shack Attack.
Location: Level 1, near waterfront

Hot Bun with Chocolate Sauce at Pappa Roti

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Pappa Roti, famous for their hot buns and cold shakes is a must-visit. Each bun is freshly baked from the oven and served hot. With a crispy layer on top, one can feel the crunch with every bite. I highly recommend their hot bun with honey and caramel. The crunchy layer of the bun along with these flavorsome toppings surely makes for a beautiful combination. All you need is a delectable cuppa chocolate milkshake on the side and you’re good to go.
Location: Level 2, near the waterfall

Tiramisu at Eataly

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Eataly, known for its Italian food and fresh ingredients, warmly welcomes guests with a luscious dessert spread located right at the entrance. It’s hard to walk past the store, as the aromas of fresh ingredients and chocolate are enough to make you stop by. After several minutes of strolling around the store, I finally called for their Tiramisu. All ingredients of this rich, fluffy, coffee flavored cheesecake are specially imported all the way from Italy and packed with generous amounts of liqeur, espresso, chocolate and mascarpone, thus making it a must-try dessert on their menu. Incase that’s not enough, you can devour some crepe con Nutella from the store’s exquisite Nutella bar. After all, nothing makes shopping more enjoyable than a piping hot crepe oozing with oodles of creamy hazelnut-chocolate filling. I say its worth the chocolate rush!
Location: Lower ground level, near marina exotic home interiors

Oreo Dream Extreme Cheesecake at The Cheesecake Factory

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Known for its ginormous portions of food, The Cheesecake Factory is a great place to enjoy some lip-smacking American fare. No matter what you eat; make sure to leave some room for dessert, as they have a variety of drool-worthy cheesecakes that cannot be missed. If you’re a fan of cheesecake, cookie and chocolate, the Oreo Dream Extreme is what you’re looking for. Imagine relishing layers of delectable fudge cake, rich cookie mousse, decadent cheesecake and Oreo crumbs – all in a bite. Drooling already? I don’t blame you.
Location: Ground level, near aquarium

Also on – http://keepdining.com/6-must-try-dessert-treats-dubai-mall/

5+ Gift Hampers That Are Sure To Delight Your Loved Ones – Polka Cafe

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Diwali is one of my favorite festivals. There’s merriment all around – streets are beautifully lit up, houses are decorated with colorful rangolis, people put on their best finery and most importantly, tons of gifts are exchanged. If you’re stressing over gift hunting, you don’t need to anymore as we’ve collated a mix of gifting ideas that will surely make life easier for you. And no, this does not include regular mithais and sweets that are usually distributed during the festive season. So whether you’re too laid back to think of a gift or just busy at work, we have you covered!

Home accessories from Blssng:

If you’re on the hunt for something that’s wrapped with love, this is undoubtedly the place for you. Think fancy digital printed trays, unique tea light holders or the ever-so-pretty bird cages with ferry lights and flowers … Blssng has something for everyone. Brainchild of Dhanika Popley, this Bandra based studio houses exquisite home accouterments and is well known for their attractive gift hampers. Her new festive collection offers a variety of ethnic products so there’s ample to choose from and if not, she can always customize basis your requirement.

For more details, check out: https://www.facebook.com/myblssng

Bar accessories from Beyond Ordinary:

What’s Diwali without card parties…and card parties without alcohol! Whether you’re attending several ones or hosting them yourself, Beyond Ordinary has a fantastic range of quirky bar accessories that will leave your loved ones on a different high this season. ‘LED shot glasses, funky beer mugs, wine decanters, liquor pumps, drinking helmet and lots more – you name it, we have it,’ says owner Sanjeet Ray. Their products are quirky, unique and affordable – need we say more?

For more details, check out: https://www.facebook.com/beyondordinaryindia

Tea hampers from Gardner Street:

When Rashi Sanghvi launched her premium tea label, Gardner Street; she decided to give people the greatest gift they had ever received – the gift of health! Their all-natural whole leaf teas are purchased from a variety of tea estates and blended with naturally occurring extracts and flavors that ensure every cup is brimming with taste and health. For the festive season, they have introduced five different types of hampers that are delicately packaged in leather and printed boxes and priced between INR 550 to 1500.

For more details, check out: https://gardnerstreet.in/gifting/

Ice cream from Bono:

Cordon Bleu graduate Alyssa Chesson is the mastermind behind India’s first boutique ice-cream brand – Bono. From savoury staples to unique pairings, she has handcrafted some of the most decadent masterpieces that quite literally melt in your mouth. With never-seen- before combinations like milk chocolate bacon, blue cheese honey, dark chocolate Italian truffle oil and more, she’s slowly but surely changing the face of ice cream in the city. Since most people tend to binge on sweets during this time, she has introduced a sugar free, dairy free raspberry coconut flavor that apart from being vegan is fresh, fruity, decadent and yet not so fattening. So stay away from the stereotypes and gift your loved ones a tub full of guilt-free indulgence.

For more details, check out: http://www.facebook.com/bonoboutiqueicecream

Chocolate diyas from Choc-O-Tale:

Say good-bye to traditional sweets and say hello to these delectable diyas instead. Mother-daughter duo Asha & Anushi Sanghvi, started this brand about 4 years ago and have been taking the city by a storm with their unique chocolate creations ever since. This year, they have introduced an edible diya made using semi-sweet chocolate, decorated with glitter. Priced at INR 135, these festive specials can be consumed within 20 days and can be enjoyed when stored in the refrigerator or at room temperature.

For more details, check out: www.facebook.com/ChocOtaleChocolates

Assorted spices from Crista:

Spices are an important part of every meal so understanding its intricacies is of prime importance. Crista by Krishne Tanna, offers a variety of pure and fresh spices that have passed the FSSAI specifications and guarantee the best possible quality. This Diwali, if you’re planning to gift your loved one something useful, there’s nothing better than a box of superior quality spices. Their festive special boxes are available in two sizes and are priced at INR 1250++ and INR 1650++ for 100 and 150 gms each of cardamom, cloves, black pepper and cinnamon sticks.

For more details, check out: www.facebook.com/cristaspices

Chocolate Soil From Fat is Flavour:

Have you ever eaten soil straight from a pot? Well, with Fat is Flavour you can devour edible soil made with chocolate and other lip-smacking flavors like toasted s’mores, chocolate fudge, sea salt, pecan pie and lots more. Treat your guests, this season, with their brand new rocher praline chocolate soil, packaged beautifully in vintage trunks, priced at INR 1750 for 2 pots and INR 2100 for 4 pots. ‘Swirls of double chocolate coat a gooey center filled with wafer crunchy praline and roasted hazelnut encased in a crisp flaky shell, hand rolled in a pool of Nutella and melted chocolate,’ says owner Pratik Kuckreja about his newest addition. Sigh! We’re already drooling.

For more details, check out: www.facebook.com/fatisflavour

Festive Hamper From Godrej Nature’s Basket:

If you’re having a hard time collating various gifts, head to the closest Nature’s Basket and pick one of their many readymade gift hampers. Choose from a variety of baskets like the coffee collector, wine, exotic dry fruit and chocolate among others. Their recently launched line of healthy treats called ‘Healthy Alternatives’ is the newest addition this season. The hamper includes baked makhanas, roasted nuts, black rice, roasted flax and chia seeds, fruit crisps, greek yogurt, natural & gluten free fusilli and lots more. What’s better? You can also customize the hamper basis your budget and requirement.

For more details, check out: www.facebook.com/NaturesBasket

You can also read it on http://www.polkacafe.com/diwali-gifting-hamper-3210.html

8 Protein-Packed Foods That Are Bare Necessities To Build A Better Physique – MensXP

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Working out definitely plays a vital role in cutting off that extra flab but a good, nutrient-infused, protein-rich diet is just as important. Why proteins? Because they are the building blocks of your muscles. A complete protein source is the one that has all nine essential amino acids that the body cannot produce on its own – phenylalanine, threonine, histidine, leucine, isoleucine, lysine, valine, methionine and tryptophan. Without proteins, the human body cannot function normally. Proteins also take more time to digest than carbohydrates, and hence, make you feel fuller and binge a whole lot lesser. The following 8 protein-packed foods not only help in weight loss but also keep you active. Keeping in mind the requirements of your body, pick from our list below.

1) Milk

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Milk contains all the essential amino acids, which means it is a complete protein and can be used by the body for growth and repair. In reality, it includes two types of protein: casein and whey, both are known to be high-quality, muscle-building proteins. Casein accounts for 80 per cent of the total protein content, while whey makes up the remaining 20 per cent.

2) Cheese

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According to specialists, cheese is the chief dairy source of proteins. Made from pressed milk curds, there are over 300 different varieties available in the world. And guess what? Each cheese contains different amounts of proteins and nutrients. A cheese with low moisture content usually tends to contain more proteins than others. It also contains a host of nutrients like calcium, zinc, Vitamin A and B12. Research says Parmesan, low-fat mozzarella and cottage cheese have the highest protein content of all cheeses.

3) Chicken

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When it comes to high-quality protein, chicken is often recommended by nutritionists and counsellors. It is a complete source of protein and contains a relatively low amount of fat (compared to red meat). What’s better? If you’re good at kitchen experiments, you can actually make a scrumptious post-workout meal, a cosy dinner for the family or a date-night dish with chicken.

4)  Fish

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A kind of food with exceptional nutritional value, just like meat, fish is also a complete protein. Apart from that, it provides a variety of vitamins and minerals like Vitamin A and D, phosphorus, magnesium and iron, and is a great source of calcium too. It is soft, easily digestible and low in fat.

5) Beans

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Part of the legume family, beans are great sources of fibre and proteins that provide minerals like iron, folic acid, potassium, magnesium and Vitamin B-6. They lower the risks of cholesterol, cardio vascular diseases and blood sugar. Though there are various kinds of beans available in the market, soybean offers the highest amount of proteins as it is the only bean that contains all the essential AAs required by the body.

6) Peas

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Packed with plant-based proteins, fibre and micronutrients, peas possess anti-inflammatory properties that prevent Alzheimer’s, osteoporosis, arthritis and bronchitis. Small in size, they mix well with nearly anything and are important for the immune system.

7)  Eggs

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Another perfect example of a complete protein, eggs are the cheapest, easiest and most convenient source possessing all the amino acids needed by the body. Though most of the protein is found in the white, the yolk is rich in calcium and Vitamin B12, involved in processes like fat breakdown, muscle reduction and healthy digestion.

8) Almonds

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As an excellent source of proteins, fibre and heart-healthy fats, almonds should be a part of your regular diet. Unlike other complete proteins, almonds do not contain all essential amino acids and should be consumed with other high-protein foods in order to meet your protein needs.

FYI, a handful of 10-12 almonds a day is all you need.

You can also read it on http://www.mensxp.com/health/healthy-habits/30943-8-protein-packed-foods-that-are-bare-necessities-to-build-a-better-physique.html

Experience A New High at Indigo Deli with Chef Amit Bajaj – Polka Cafe

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Move over molecular gastronomy as Indigo Deli is all set to roll out yet another innovative concept curated by Executive Chef Amit Bajaj and his brilliant team. Think Rum infused soup, Triple sec pumpkin pecan pie, Sangria braised short ribs, Sambuca grilled squid and lots more! Yes, you’re in for an intoxicating night as they are launching a brand new menu – the theme of which is alcohol-infusions. Boozy dishes made using local ingredients and different spirits, promise a new high in food with this 2-in-1 Chef’s Table.

We had a quick chat with the master chef himself on the city’s food scene, food trends and ofcourse, his new menu. Find out what he has to say.

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1) Alcohol – infused menu: now that’s an innovative concept! What is the inspiration behind it?
My team. The thought was sown by them – I just infused it with some alcohol and more.

2) The menu is quite extensive and I’m sure it must have been quite challenging to bring it all together? How did you go about with the pairing (e.g. which spirit to use with which dish?) How long did it take you to finalize the menu?
The pairing was quite a challenge for us. We wanted it to be appealing to all our diners and so we compiled it over a few trails and tastings. After almost 3 weeks of experimentation, we arrived at the final menu.

3) What were the challenges you faced and how did you overcome them?
The challenges were more in terms of acceptance of the combinations. To overcome this, we did a few trials and made sure that the flavors compliment each other and not confuse anyone.

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Triple sec pumpkin pecan pie, blue cheese foam

4) Indigo Deli has made its way into people’s hearts with its lip-smacking desserts and food. But this new menu is something completely different from the regular one. How do you think people will react to this new concept?
I am quite certain these desserts will be lip smacking as well. I agree, they are different, but then again I’m sure they will get acceptance from our guests. I’ve just gone back to old school basics.

5) Do you think alcohol – infused foods will soon be trending in the city?
It is an interesting concept and even though we do use alcohol in our regular menu, this menu composition has taken it to a whole new level. Trends are set by trendsetters and Indigo Delicatessen has always strived to be a game-changer, so you never know, this could be trending soon!

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Sangria braised short ribs, smoked cauliflower puree

6) What’s your take on the current food scene in Mumbai? 
The current food scene in Mumbai – is the best the country has to offer. Earlier there was a debate between New Delhi and Mumbai for the prime position, however, with the number of fantastic spaces opening in Mumbai over the last year – It wins hand’s down.

7) What, according to you, are the hottest food trends as of today? Which one would you like to see in the city? Any existing trend that you think is here to stay?
The hottest food trend as of today is food cooked with regional influences, organic produce, local ingredients etc. The local flavors and techniques are the big ‘in thing’ these days.

I would like the city to inculcate a value for local ingredients, seasonal vegetables and fruits. It has all become very commercial now. Genetically modified food is available all over and needs to be replaced with fresher, homegrown produce.

Yes according to me regional cuisine centric cooking will be around for a long time. It is here to stay, as people relate very closely to it and accept it for its true value.

8) What should one keep in mind while experimenting with a new concept? Any tips?
I guess experimentation has no boundaries. One needs to be open to everything and just delve into the very depth of it and do it with conviction.

So brace yourself to get tipsy with mains like Red wine mushroom ragout, Charosa Reserve Tempranillo lamb shanks among others and by chance if you’re still sober…. there’s dessert – Irish Whiskey Mascarpone parfait, frozen Chantilly espuma, Baba Au Rhum. Need we say more?

Details:
Venue – Indigo Deli, Palladium
Date – 3rd August 2016
Time – 8:00 PM (Dinner)
Pricing – INR 2000 without wine pairing and INR 3000 with wine pairing

Also on Polka Cafe – http://www.polkacafe.com/interview-with-amit-bajaj-3040.html