Trying food at La Mexicana

I am not a foodie, but when I step out of the house and have planned to eat somewhere the food better be good. As a mother who is the cook of the house I take my meals outside very seriously. It is my opportunity to eat something I haven’t sweat myself into cooking, which is also why I try new cuisines whenever possible or at-least something different.

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With baby Abbas’ demanding schedules it has been rather difficult to get anything done, let alone going out for lunch or dinner. I got a good reason to break that jinx when La Mexicana invited me to taste some of their food. Going all the way to KPHB from old city was 100% worth it, the food, ambience, staff everything is just wow at the place. Here are some of the dishes I tried:
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bean Fritters- They were crispy and filled with beans and cheese, just yummy.

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Nachos Rancheros with chicken- in every bite the black beans just gave a burst of flavour I have never tasted before. The crispy tortilla chips and the cheese with the pica de gallo topped with the chefs custom made sour cream is just wow. It is a must try appetizer. I must say, for an appetizer it was pretty filling even though me and the husband shared it.

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La Burrito-half of the burrito was taken home for two reasons, one; we couldn’t just manage to eat it all, and two; we had to have people at home taste it. It is my sincere advice to order a take away for family while you’re there. The burrito is basically a large flour tortilla wrap which contains the black beans, salsa, rice, Mexican cheese and chipotle ranch dressing. Ours was with chicken, there’s vegetarian option for all their dishes.

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Quesadillas- This has to be my favourite dish served at La Mexicana (Although I haven’t tasted the whole menu). The flour tortilla is grilled and gives a slight crispiness and the  grilled peppers give it a rustic flavour even though they retain their juiciness.

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The next two were tried with a purpose, I could not have left without exploring their salad. It looked super appetizing in the pics on their facebook page. hence the Southwest Chipotle Salad was dug into. It is difficult to find salads that don’t make you feel like you’re missing out on flavour and good ingredients, this was obviously with chicken. And I loved every bite of it, till the end I could taste every ingredient, all of them were in balance. It was a good filling portion as well. The crispy Tortilla chips took the salad to another level!

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Enchiladas I was told the chilli in these were imported from Mexico, how could I deny not tasting then? I am not a chilli person but this dish wasn’t going to kill you. I have eaten some really dangerous food in Hyderabad when it comes to red chilli involvement. It was served with a generous portion rice and black beans.

And for dessert the Sopapilla, I loved it because it was the ideal dessert after eating all that food. It was light and sweet but not too sweet, the cinnamon powder and icing sugar gave it a melting texture in the mouth. This dessert should definitely be eaten fresh at the restaurant.

They have an open kitchen and the ambience is creative, there’s plenty Mexican inspired decoration on the walls, even some humor. It kind of transfers you into another place. This is the only quick service Mexican restaurant in Hyderabad and they’re good at what they do. The only problem is that it’s super far. I have been told that they are going to open up more branches in the city, hoping for one in Banjara Hills area (Fingers crossed).

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Totally recommend it, they have a kids menu as well, so if you’re a mom like me, take your kids to La Mexicana and have them experience a different cuisine as well. The good thing is even though it’s fast food, it’s healthy. They make their dishes from fresh ingredients and everything is made to order. Everything I have eaten was just bang on, I am looking forward to tasting their guacamole, they make it only when the avocados are in season, I respect that about La Mexicana, they definitely are focused on providing fresh ingredients to their customers, otherwise frozen avocados could very well be used like other restaurants.

Let me know in the comments below if you’ve tried anything at La Mexicana, and what have your favourites been…

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The OBGYN search stress in Hyderabad pt.2/2

Welcome back to the last few pointers for tips and tricks on finding a good OBGYN. You can check out part one here if you haven’t already/ to refresh your memory. So let’s get cracking…

5. Doctors who don’t give you time aren’t worth it- Trust me. I have been to Fernanadez, and I really do not understand what I paid for in the consultation. I do not doubt the doctors credentials or experience, because I hardly spoke to her for 5 minutes. She was too busy running around, patient hopping. Practo gave me good information about her, but what’s the point in paying 500 for a consultation, all to end up meeting a student doctor? I was appalled also because I have a high risk pregnancy and was recommended by my OBGYN to continue treatment there as they are more “equipped”. I had only one appointment and that was enough trauma to ever go back or even recommend it to anyone. A lesson I learned while at Fernandez is that doctors have now mastered the art of drama. Money making depends on how many patients can be admitted in “emergency”, and for procedures that are truly not required, taking advantage of the patients vulnerable condition. I am not anti-making money, doctors work hard to educate themselves and climb up the career ladder, but making money through means of manipulation in any field is not tolerable to me. Apart from the fact that your own hard earned money is used in such unnecessary procedures, it’s the anxiety that you didn’t ask for that takes a toll on you.

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6. Go with the baby daddy- A mans view on things makes a lot of difference when you’re already hormonal. The beauty of being pregnant is in the irrationality of it all. We women can’t deny it, no matter how independent you are. The morning sickness, cravings, mood swings all make it difficult to even pay attention sometimes. Get the baby daddy involved. Make the decisions together upon discussion later, but let him be present, ask the questions on his mind, it’s his baby too, and he has to take care of you. Here I would also recommend to go to hospitals that allow you to have your partner with you. Be it in scans or consultations. Sometimes there will be too many patients going in and out and they may want to restrict entry of males for privacy reasons, but request the doctor that you want him to be present when discussing your condition, you may be asked to wait for some time, but it will be worth it.
7. Second opinions are your right- Don’t be afraid to take second opinions on the minutest of things. Advice in India will come from all directions, and if your doctor doesn’t seem convincing enough, take a second opinion in the same nursing home or hospital, or another. It may initially lead to confusion, which is fair enough, but eventually you will know you made a decision after hustling. Also note, doctors who get offended if patients have taken a second opinion are not worth your time, they don’t care about you, they merely care about themselves and their ego. Granted they may have accumulated decades of experience, but you haven’t! and they have no right to dictate your considerations. In the end it’s your body, your pregnancy and your baby.
8. Check out the facilities- Not just the room, the pediatric facilities at the hospital/nursing home as well. You can go around to the NICU or the pediatric unit to find out about the same, don’t hesitate in building information. I have done it, at so many hospitals, and you will be grateful and happy in the end. You owe it to your baby.
9. Read documents- I was surprised that Fernandez asked me to sign an acknowledgement that my doctor may not be available for consultations, delivery, complications etc. And me having a high risk pregnancy was taken aback by that. Maybe this won’t be such an issue in a normal pregnancy. However it’s important to know the timings of your doctor and when she would be available. Apart from emergencies there may be arise a need to take an appointment prior to the date set, and in those cases it’s even more crucial to be able to meet your OBGYN and not someone else. They may be qualified, but they’re not the doctor you’re consulting.
10. Expensive and popular hospitals are good- A belief most of us have, but may not be true. Yes they may be cleaner, with a better ambiance, well dressed staff, a polite reception person but trust me not all are what they seem to be projecting. Delivery and several OBGYN procedures have been performed since centuries, you are most likely to end up paying close to a fortune for the ABC of gyneac procedures. You can call other hospitals near you to find out about their charges just over the phone. It’s obvious that a big hospital has more payments to make in terms of salaries, and upkeep of the vicinity, all of that is added to each and every procedure. You may sometimes find that scans and procedural tests are cheaper at reputed diagnostic centers. Simply confirm with your hospital if they accept that particular diagnostic centers reports, and if not, what reason do they have. Based on the confidence of the response from the person, and other signs go ahead with the diagnostic center, the doctor won’t send you back for them. Trust that these diagnostic centers aren’t running a game, and you have the right to be a sound consumer who has the right to be money savvy. Save up for the delivery and other big procedures, and get tests and or scans done at a diagnostic center near you. A trick while speaking to the concerned person at the hospital is to tell them you’re staying very far away, and travelling isn’t possible, with the morning sickness etc. their tone will completely change. The people who sit in the pathology department aren’t trained to be money suckers! They know how simple a test or scan is. Two things may happen, either they will tell you which diagnostic center to go, or be clear that the prescribed test/scan is complex and requires to be done at the hospital. You can have this discussion over the phone or in person, I have tried both. In person both you and your partner can be present, but stay calm, and listen. You don’t want to sound like you’ve already made up your mind.

Being friendly with the staff always helps. The nurses that check your BP and weight, the reception staff even the dayaas. They all work hard, and don’t earn their fair share of income most of the time. Being friendly with them can also help in gathering inside information, or just simply getting some extra emotional support. Trust me in pregnancy you will want all the emotional support you want. I would also advice to not break any hospital rules by bribing anyone or giving money. Your kindness should be sufficient, have trust in the human being you are. Making a person smile on a hectic work day will do wonders for their self-esteem than a note. Get them a box of sweets as a display of gratitude, that would be better.

Have you liked any of these tips? Do you have any you want to share? Leave them in the comments below and spread sanity!

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Ethical education?

I have done my grad through distance education from University of Madras, and right now am enrolled in the masters prog at IGNOU. I hated the experience of the former and just am pushing myself through the masters at IGNOU.

The Indian system of distance education doesn’t satisfy the purpose nor is it as dynamic as it should be. There is no wonder that distance degrees do not hold much value, anyone and everyone can get an admission! I am specifically talking about the field of psychology. People who enter the field end up working to help other people and if their education is going to be sub-mediocre quality, we are going to have sub-mediocre quality people working in the field. Many students I know are pursuing a masters in Psychology with the plans to work with children. Every Tom, Dick and Harry wants to become a counselor, and sadly we have no quality control whatsoever by the government in this regard.

In the IGNOU masters we have to hand write assignments that will be a min of 50 sheets per subject. The assignments are nothing but a set of questions. I can not understand how that is practical for anyone who is opting for a distance course. Many applicants are not in the flow of writing so much, let’s face it we hardly write with our hands 1000s of words on a daily basis for anything!. They do not accept assignments that are typed. There’s something sad here. India isn’t the only country in the world providing a distance course, universities all over the world are. And they have assignments that are typed, well researched and intellectually igniting. Needless to say, many and I mean many students end up copying their assignments, or paying others to do them. I in-fact even received an sms from someone saying that they have the solved assignments and guides for IGNOU students. Now if that’s going to be the masters holder in the field of Psychology, I would be scared at the level of knowledge of the person.

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We have so many things that need development in our country, but if the education doesn’t improve the future never will. Therapists with such qualifications open their own counseling centers, and once you have a center no one really cares how qualified you truly are!. And this is the truth.

University of Madras has still not issued my degree, provisional certificate etc. I have the TC/Course completion certificate and original marksheets, but that’s about it. I have to constantly write LETTERS to the university, to do what should be in their protocol. Not being in the same city as the university causes great communication disadvantages. Which is why I opted for IGNOU this time around. A full time education, even though was mouth watering for me, didn’t seem like it would be practical, I am at a point in my life where I do not trust Indian education nor the teachers to do a decent job. Going back to college surrounded by youngsters high on life, wouldn’t serve the purpose for me. Intellectually stimulating environment is difficult to find here, even in an intellectual field like psychology.

My assignments are due this month, and so far I only got around to making one answer. And am not interested in submitting assignments that are stupid to begin with.I want to indulge in education, not do it so that I can add it to my name later. I see myself as someone who is so well versed with the subject that I can converse about every aspect of the field; particularly history. May not write exams this year either.Want to be sure of everything.

The sad truth is, there are students out there, eager to learn, but the country isn’t giving them the attention and practical approach needed for them to flourish. And then we complain about brain drain!

What have been your experiences with education in your respective countries/fields?

 

 

Himalaya Diaper rash cream new packaging

I had done the review for the Himalaya Diaper rash cream back in September 2015, and the company has since changed the packaging. The formula and the performance of the product remains the same, I love the mild fragrance of the product, it’s perfect for babies, and absorbs into the skin easily. A little goes a long way with this product. This post is going to focus on the differences in the product then and now, so let’s get into it:

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Let’s start with the packaging, Himalaya now is clearly marketing its baby care products under ‘BabyCare’ this is visible on the box and the tube. Previously it was under the umbrella of ‘herbal healthcare’. The product is herbal no doubt, but there seems to be more emphasis on the baby care aspects, and highlighting through simple marketing techniques via content on packaging.

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New added information on the tube is that the product is; ‘Free from parabens, Mineral oil and synthetic colours’. With the growing awareness among mothers, and consumers in general, more information is always good to compare with other products in the market before venturing out to purchase something for your baby. Previously, the box and tube said that the mildness of the product was tested for baby skin, however now; it has simple points mentioned at the bottom ‘clinically tested. Hypoallergenic’. The company is also trying to reach across to consumers about its product features by simple word tags, like the one mentioned at the bottom highlighted in the signature Himalaya purple ‘Pure.Gentle.Safe’ These are all the three things we look for in a product for our little babies.

Everything else is the same, except the price. In September the product retailed for INR 85 and now it retails for 10 rupees more i.e. INR 95 for the same 50 gm pack.

So how does this make a difference to us? Price is subjective to consumers and affordability; however no other diaper rash cream is available for the price as reasonable box 4as Himalaya. Let’s face it, as long as your child is going to be in diapers, rashes are inevitable, and catering to them shouldn’t be an issue due to price. Coming to the packaging, though crowded with content, it gives all the important information right on top, you need not read the tiny font behind/on the side of the product to get to the important information. Making the decision to purchase a product for yourself is very different from the responsibility of buying for your baby. Information is everything. The box and tube are big enough to encompass all the information, and it’s designed in a tasteful manner. I love the colour combination of the purple shades and the green.

I would recommend trying this product to see if it works on your babies rashes, Himalaya makes products for the Indian consumers, at a price point that is affordable, and the best part is that it’s all herbal. There’s no doubt you will find Himalaya baby care products in general in ‘best seller’ list on websites!

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Something different happened this year on my birthday. I am no longer afraid to grow old. The feeling is totally gone. I used to always joke and wish anyone on their birthday saying “Congrats you’re one year closer to death!” And while I wished myself the same, I realised that I should be grateful for the year that has gone by, no matter how it went, I am alive, and I have survived the downs and stayed humble during the ups.

Another conscious move that I am making it to think in terms of destiny. What has God planned for me this year, and be excited each day, and be thankful each day of the people and happenings. For surely I do not control everything and I need to be able to focus on the day and make sure if my Birthday didn’t bring me a whole year closer to death, I at least made the most of the few days/weeks/months!

Been thinking of death more often as well, as a reminder of the inevitable returning to your creator.I fantasize more about heaven now, and think seriously about life after death. Not focusing on long term stressful goals, even if it is my education, because you just can’t plan anything.I am going to make an effort to make the most of the present.

How did my Bday go?

Well it was a busy day just like last year, I had a training to do at SAFA. After which the hubby and I had lunch at Spice 6, picked up my red velvet cheese cake from Eclaire and headed home. It was a busy day, the cake was yummy as usual.

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I have to say the packaging of the cakes at Eclaire is beautiful. Eclaire is my go-to place for baked goodness, I love their chocolate cupcakes, and triple chocolate brownie cake, it’s very heavy but if you’re a chocolate lover, you’ve got to taste it!

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I had been told by cousin to visit Spice 6 but I only could get around to doing that recently, and I am in love with their Arabic platter, takes me back to Dubai, it’s so filling and delicious. They are known for their lebanese food, I have been there twice already and ordered the same platter! It’s just yum!spice 6

The hubby couldn’t make up his mind on the birthday present, so I asked him to buy me a stationery obsession I was having, this pen has been in my wishlist since forever, I didn’t want to buy ANOTHER pen without having a good enough excuse. And what better excuse than your birthday!

It’s a matte black Parker. Lovely!

I am looking forward to life. And not concerned about growing older, going to take each day, one step at a time. 🙂

 

 

 

Himalaya Refreshing baby soap Review

The essential ingredient for a bath- Soap! Himalaya sent the refreshing baby soap for oily skin to me, and I have been super late on this post as confessed before, so without further delay, we shall acquaint ourselves with the product.

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The soap is meant for oily skin, however I do not understand if babies or even children have a skin type that early. I guess they’re trying to target skin that needs moisture without any oil ingredients. This soap contains watermelon, khus-khus and neem. It has been clinically tested and is hypoallergenic. They describe the soap on the package in three terms ‘pure, mild and safe’. All of these are very important for babies. The soap is also free from parabens, animal fats and synthetic colours.

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Packaging wise it’s the same as any Himalaya baby soap, inside the card box, the soap is safe in a plastic cover. The soap itself is white in colour, but as soon as you unwrap it, you can smell the fragrance. I like this because my daughter isn’t a baby, and for a 6 year old, a soap that smells refreshing, yet not perfumed is great. As babies turn into toddlers and into little children, the soap requires a little more than just cleaning.  On the package the soap is described as follows:‘Mild and soothing soap that helps the baby’s skin cool and fresh while cleansing it gently. Enriched with: Watermelon, helps cool and condition the skin; Khus-Khus, helps keep the skin fresh, and Neem helps provide skin protection.’

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I like how Himalaya educates the parents on what exactly is the effect of each of the ingredient on their baby’s skin. It is very important for educated parents to not just know the contents but also how they help their child. Since they have a variety of soaps, one can make a sound decision on what their baby’s skin needs.

The directions for use are as any soap, this soap lathers well, and it’s not a soapy lather rather a creamy lather. This soap can safely be used on the face as well. Usually baby soaps tend to melt away even when not used, just in the moisture of the air. But this one stays put. It’s creamy when applying but doesn’t melt away as other soaps do. The package that was sent to me was of 125g, and retails for Rs.55. The 75 gm pack is also available, however the prices seem to be higher than the MRP online, so you may want to keep that in check. The product is safe to use within 3 years of manufacturing.

So what is the verdict? The soap is great; it can be used for children as well because the smell is nice and refreshing and yet not overpowering. I would recommend purchasing the 125g pack, as there is no fear of soap melting. The only downside of the product or rather the packaging of the product is that; there are too many important facts on there. One side the content is vertical and on the other it’s horizontal, even then it looks cluttered, as someone who would be out in the supermarket buying; I’d get a little confused. I understand all of these facts are important, but probably the display or design could change. I love the purple and the little baby in the Himalaya Baby Care logo. A simpler, bullet design would maybe serve the purpose of noting the clinical facts, ingredients, the purpose etc. But then again that’s just my opinion; maybe most people don’t even bother with staring at the packaging, just rip and get the product out 🙂 Overall I liked the product and would give it a 5/5 based on its quality and fulfilling all that it’s meant to.

Have you tried this soap? What has been your experience?

The sheep in the herd

One amongst many, all doing their degrees and masters and just the same. While this first sentence may resonate with you on many levels, I am talking about the field of Psychology, mainly counseling.

India doesn’t have quality control in this regard, in Hyderabad alone there’s a school pooping up every month, all wanting a school counselor to complete the over all services of the school. It is mandatory for schools to have a counselor, it is important that the students get that kind of support, not just for remedial help, but for emotional health.

But where do we get ourselves registered? Who should a counselor go to for quality check? We do not have a counseling Association, that can license therapists in the field. Anyone who is interested in psychology is able to and allowed to pursue a full masters degree in the field, but no quality control. Passion, and inner wants drive people into the field, some come into it for money (just like in any other field). You will also find courses in counseling taught by people who may have been in the field but do not hold the qualification to be organising such courses. Who is to stop them? Who asks what their PhD is in? we are merely impressed by the ‘Dr.’ in front of their name and presume they may have attained it in counseling, or child psychology…

I have a belief. Just because you have been in a particular field for xyz years doesn’t make you a professional in it. Yes, it’s partly the fault of the country that we do not have a council to keep track and license our counselors, but it doesn’t stop the frustration.I wish to be recognized for my efforts, I wish to me known because I am valuable everywhere in the world not in one country or city. I believe it is important for us to try to reach that level of [proficiency if we want ourselves to be called a part of a field. Right now counselors have it easy in India, I can speak more about Hyderabad, it’s all about generating good clientele. What the client expects from the therapist, what he gets from the therapist is upto the client to decide, but the client has no clue how to pick a reliable one in the first place, they do not even know what to expect from a counseling session! This is even more dangerous when people deal with children and don’t even know the basic skills of counseling children. The intention may have been good, but many children get scarred for life by poor counseling, they lose hope, and trust in adults all together.

Point being? I rather not be in the field till the field decides to give importance to those who are not just passionate about helping people, but hold the qualification and skills needed for the job. I rather do something else in the field, or try to get recognition in another country. Universal recognition. Quality control, not money making.