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There has always been this question of Buffet Vs À la carte popped a little too many times to us when asking for recommendations to eating out. We as Indians love a good spread. After all who doesn’t want to have that extra Gulab Jamun or an extra helping of that delicious chicken curry? Thus the major conundrum in taking the decision of sticking to a buffet or À la carte.

Sea Food Platter At Olive Bistro

When thinking as a group, Buffet does make for a better option. The safest bet to take when you don’t know everyone’s palettes or tastes. It’s each man for himself, stretch, stand and shove onto plates, the food items you love. But every time after a buffet I end up with a full stomach and not so satisfied meal, I know I should have stuck to the À la carte.

Buffet 1

When going for À la carte and ordering for myself at the table I know exactly what I want and which dishes I’d want to try and moreover how to want it. Sometimes it’s a good feeling knowing that the chef in the kitchen is going to pay that extra bit of attention to making and plating my order than the food in a buffet spread, left to dry and die. I don’t have to be getting up a number of times, to pick food for my plate. Just relax back and wait for the hot piping food from the kitchen to arrive directly onto my table and be served by the waiters.

Carte 2

Economically viewing, buffets stand out quite ahead. Enjoying an unlimited array of food, laid out as you can refill anything and everything any number of times does make for a practical choice. But how many times have we at the end of the buffet realized that we never could try most of the dishes on offer? That almost everything to anything was passable at best.

Buffet 2

À la carte on the other hand, you might end up with a gratifying meal, but the bill at the end of the gastronomic journey is going to cost you. For people who dislike buffets and still have to go with a group, the next best thing is the Set Menu. You get to choose the dishes that you want to be served to the group from the menu for a set pricing and needn’t worry anymore as to having your food cold from the spread table. The waiters serve your orders at your table directly too. But this too can’t be as satisfying as an À la carte order considering that the chefs in the kitchen will have to be cooking for a gathering than a particular table.

Carte 4

In all conclusion, it is a never ending decision to be made every time a party, a get together or a dining out has to be planned. Buffets are the way to go when eating out with a large gathering. But when sticking to small company or individual, the À la carte is the pragmatic choice. It all really depends on the dining experience, the food you want to eat and what you want to tuck into that small pocket you call a stomach.

Carte 3

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Tata Starbucks, a joint venture between Tata Global Beverages and Starbucks Coffee Company has opened it’s first store in Hyderabad. After the launch in Chennai, the land of the filter Coffee, Tata Starbucks goes operational in it’s sixth city and 58th outlet in the land of the Irani and Dum ka Chai. The hype, the frenzy leading up till the launch has been crazy.

Starbucks + India

The location was kept under wraps until the invites were sent out to a few selected people and bloggers. The online food forums were all abuzz, the comments featured that one word “Starbucks” in most of the conversations before the sign boards started to pop up over the city.

Coffee Shot Frappucinos

The store is done up artistically beautiful neo-urban décor using the simplest of conceptual design. The store blends coffee with art in it’s elegant hand-polished woodwork. Being India’s first all natural-light store, it feels spacious with it’s two floor seating design.

Caffeine High

Going by it’s culture of amalgamating local heritage in their designs, Starbucks Hyderabad has wooden pearl hangings decorating the corners exhibiting that deft touch of the regionally inspired culture and furniture. The spacious and comfortable seating inside gives a break from the clamor of the traffic outside and the patio seating, creating a relaxed atmosphere for setting up the perfect conversations over coffee.

Coversations Over Coffee

The customary ribbon cutting done, people were ushered in with greetings of “Welcome to Starbucks Hyderabad”. The guests were given shots of the most popular coffees on the menu, while you could go over to the counter to order your choice or drinks and eats. A coffee tasting and brewing station was set up on the balcony upstairs for the invitees to understand the nuances of freshly brewed coffee.

Coffee Tastings

Ordering at Starbucks, you can choose between your Short/Tall/Grande/Venti coffee mug sizes. You are also given a choice between regular, nonfat and soy milk to get the perfect drink blended as per your preference.

Choice Of Coffee Mug Sizes

The Java Chip was our favorite Frappuccino of the day. The bittersweet Mocha Sauce with the delicate layer of chocolate chips and the coffee was the perfect brew of the evening. The green tea lovers can enjoy the much loved Green tea latte that is TATA TAZO tea special offered to the Indian Market.

Chai Lattes

FoodDrifter Recommendations:
The best of the lot in the non-vegetarian food section was the Double Meat Club Sandwich, a humongous roasted lamb, chicken and sausages in parmesan tomato bread sandwich. It was cheesy and exquisitely filling with every bite.

Double Meat Club Sandwich

Vegetarians fret not, there is a lot options here at the Starbucks food counter. The Hummus and Pita Bread platter is the outstanding among all things vegetarian and is also completely vegan.

Hummus And Pita Bread Platter

As the evening progressed, people relaxed with a cuppa chatting up with friends soaking in the perfect Starbucks setup. The top 20 winners from the warmuptostarbucks.in campaign were gifted with reward membership cards. The swanky Starbucks store, the first of many, as it sets it’s expansion plans in the city of the Nizams is sure going to be the new rage in town.

Frappucinos

 

Starbucks Cups

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Cravings for a Pizza and we look at each other and go CPK in unison. The routine fare is usually the cheesy crust, the regular toppings and the same order at the nearest outlet. So you can imagine why California Pizza Kitchen has become a favorite in recent times. A new definition to word Gourmet, these pizzas are as fresh as it can be defined in a food dictionary.

So what is it about California Pizza Kitchen that has us going gaga during our recent outings? It hits all the right taste buds from the first bite. Packing in a lot of freshness, the taste of every ingredient and all the flavors topped on a beautiful thin-crust pizza and most importantly walking out completely light and happy and satisfied.

Chicken Carnitas Pizza

More of an upmarket American Diner with high chairs and conversations over Pizza making up for the most of it. Not to be of course steered away from the Akon and David Guetta tracks playing in the background but you know right from the look at the menu that this is where cheese must have finally attained peace, on the crust of pizza being dished out from the ovens in California Pizza Kitchen.

The Chipotle Grilled Chicken

Best known for serving innovative and traditional pizzas but don’t be veered away from its delicious appetizers.

The Chipotle Grilled Chicken – It’s a master dish cooked in the kitchen. Chicken Strips perfectly griddled packed with a fabulous smoky flavor from the chipotle peppers served with sides of herb ranch dressing and in-house salad is a definite must-try.

Chipotle Grilled Chicken

Spicy Chicken Supreme – Not to be steered away from is yet another appetizer that is our favorite. A typical panko coated chicken breast pieces fried and tossed in tangy barbeque sauces you could actually feel the crispiness with every bite. It might sound all regular in the description but the flavors feel so fresh when had with the tortilla salad and ranch sauce.

Spicy Chicken Supreme

Chicken Carnitas Pizza – Our usual order has been the same ever since we laid our hands on it the first time. Completely hand tossed crust pizzas topped with crisp marinated chicken strips, gouda and mozzarella cheese with the perfect layer of cilantro pesto, it is a marvelous pizza that can’t be missed.

Chicken Carnitas Pizza (1)

Watermelon Ice Tea – Accompanies our perfect meal every time. The fresh hand-crafted refreshing Watermelon Ice Tea just completes the meal. Seldom have we come across an ice tea so refreshing that has us smiling at each other with content with every sip.

Watermelon Ice Tea

Desserts…now that’s an area which is hard to not have in spite of already having one of the most satisfying meals.

Sticky Toffee Pudding – The Sticky Toffee Pudding is one of the best here at California Pizza Kitchen. Hot toffee pudding with pecan nuts completely doused in rich and buttery caramel sauce is a melt in the mouth and yes it might just be a bite of heaven.

Sticky Toffee Pudding

Masterchef Australia crazy? They also have a MasterChef Special Italian Menu till 18th Nov 2014 in their outlets and we sure are going to be back to try some of those already interesting sounding flavors from the enticing menu.

Damn all this writing is already making us crave for just that “one more” slice form the kitchens of California Pizza Kitchen.

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