Jesse’s Blog

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Delhi

Delhi is a great city, but when you first arrive here it can be a bit frustrating to find all the things you need to make yourself comfortable. Usually you can ask around, but sometimes it takes a lot of searching to really find what you are looking for.

Here are some hard-to-find things that have made my life normal in Delhi:

A Real Musical Instrument Store – Onstage is a company that has several branches in Defence Colony and Noida Sector 18. After searching dusty back alley shops in vain for quality music equipment, the amazement and relief that swept over me when I entered OnStage for the first time was indescribable! Quality instruments (albeit at inflated Indian prices), good service, and good prices on everything else.

Tex-Mex that isn’t Indian - For my first 2 years in Delhi I craved a good burrito with tortilla chips, salsa, guacamole and an authentic margarita to wash it all down. Frankly, this didn’t exist. Until Sancho’s came along! Located in South Extension Part II, Sancho’s menu doesn’t have a single Indian item on it. It’s a favorite local hangout for Americans like myself, and compared to other restaurants in Delhi, it isn’t excessively overpriced and has a great bar.

Some people might advise you to try Amigo, a new “Mexican” restaurant next to Smokehouse Grill in GK-II. Those quotation marks are around Mexican for a reason. Everything aside from their guacamole is overpriced and under-satisfying. The dishes I tried tasted like they were prepared by a chef failing miserably to appease two different palettes, one of which he obviously doesn’t understand at all. I’ll let you guess which.

Real Beef – Most Indians will tell you that you can’t get real cow meat in India. That’s not actually true. There are a few high-quality ways to get beefy: restaurant-prepared food or delivered directly to your door ready-to-cook.

The best-prepared steak I have had in Delhi is in the middle of the pack when it comes to price (about 700 INR after the ridiculous 22.5% VAT and 10% service charge all the restaurants attach to their bills). Just head over to Smokehouse Grill in GK-II and order the Tenderloin Fillet. It comes with potato wedges, asparagus, and some great sauce on the side.

The real secret, however, is “The Meat Man”. This guy is akin to the alcohol smugglers during prohibition. While not technically illegal, he understandably wants to keep things on the down-low. Althought I haven’t had time to try him personally, he supplied some amazingly tasty beef to Sancho’s last year. If you’d like his contact information, send me a message! What do you get? Commercial-quality fresh beef of any shape or form (ribeye, fillet, sirloin, ground beef, etc) delivered on ice from Calcutta to your door for about 300 INR per kg. So I hear. Minimum order is 500 INR.

posted by Jesse at 1:15 pm  

Monday, November 17, 2008

Jaipur or Bust

Jaipur 46

On Taeber’s last weekend we headed on a road trip down to Jaipur to see some more of India. I have never been to Jaipur, but it turned out to be one of my favorite places. After a 6 hour drive (I was driving) including stops at places like McDonald’s and Cafe Coffee Day, we arrived and attempted to quickly locate a hotel for the night.

Jaipur 02 After calling some friends we ended up staying at Hotel Arya Niwas. We had a bit of trouble finding it, mostly because I was relying on Google Maps for my Blackberry (search results are a little whack in India). Once we found it, everything turned out to be really great! Not only were the rooms reasonably priced, but the food from the restaurant (a mix of Indian and Continental) was fantastic! The three of us watched a few episodes of It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia before heading off to sleep.

Jaipur 23The next morning we took a half-day government-run city tour. We saw a lot of nice forts and even got a bit lost in one of them, racing against the clock to return to our tour group waiting for us in the parking lot. I hear we missed out on some of the cooler things in Jaipur that are only on the full day tour, but I’m fine with saving stuff for next time. The Jantar Mantar observatory more than made up for it!

Jaipur 72 We ended the day with some Rajasthani Thali at Hotel LMB’s restaurant. The serving staff was very friendly and explained every dish to us. Thanks to Nicole, Taeber and I experienced some new Indian food that we liked a lot. I have already had a second serving since I have been back in Delhi.

We would have loved to stay longer but it was already getting late and we had a long drive ahead of us back to Noida. Entertained by USB sticks full of Taeber’s music and Nicole’s road games, everything went smoothly. Except for the part where we dashed across the highway and I nearly twisted my ankle on the metal railing and fell into the gutter in an effort to get to Cafe Coffee Day. That wasn’t so smooth.

posted by Jesse at 1:55 am  

Monday, November 3, 2008

Rishikesh and Shivpuri

Shivpuri and Rishikesh I

This weekend Taeber and I went up to Rishikesh and Shivpuri to get out of Delhi for a few days. The air was clean and fresh, the water amazing, and we were a bit surprised by the fun we had. We went rafting and even explored the Beatles’ ashram (which I wasn’t able to find on my last trip). Thanks, BlackBerry GPS with Google Maps!

Taeber has all of the rafting pics on his camera. We’ll get them posted soon!

posted by Jesse at 2:34 pm  

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Shanghai Redux

Shanghai Redux-7

Following our company grand opening celebration, the rest of the week was a blur of working by day and partying by night. Shanghai Redux-26Part of the reason for this was that my visit happened to coincide with ChinaJoy, a game industry trade show aimed at developers in China.  We met up with friends and colleagues for more than a few drinks, discovered some awesome new places to hang, and even tried the Chinese version of some American hangouts. Who would have thought that singing and dancing in a conga line at Hooters would ever happen, let alone be so much fun??

Achievements this trip:

  • Shanghai Redux-2Found awesome unlimited food and drink Japanese restaurant near our office:

大渔铁板烧(百联中环店)
上海市普陀区真光路1288号百联中环购物中心4楼

Da4 Yu2 Tie3 Ban3 Shao1
4F, No.1288, Zhen Guang Rd., Putuo District, Shanghai

  • I_Love_ShanghaiChecked out MUSE, a popular night club in Shanghai. It was huge, packed, and pulsating with some great mashups mixed by a badass DJ. They make a mean mojito.
  • Battled my addiction to bubble tea. I’m down to one serving per day.
  • Met cool new friends!
  • Got even better deals on cheap knock-off merchandise than I did last time – from the same merchant!

Check out the pics!

posted by Jesse at 11:16 pm  

Monday, July 14, 2008

Exigent Shanghai Celebration

Exigent Shanghai Celebration (41 of 96)

Exigent Shanghai is officially open for business! We just threw our grand opening celebration at the new studio (don’t miss all the pics; Facebook no worky through the Great Firewall of China). People came from far and wide to celebrate with us, including Garland’s entire family.  I miss them so much and it was great to see his wife and all the kids.

Exigent Shanghai Celebration (54 of 96)We started with a studio open house with snacks and drinks, and then had a ceremonial unveiling of our brushed-steel logo in the lobby after some speeches by Garland and our primary outside investor. The mood was very excited and upbeat as we laid out our plans for global domination.

Exigent Shanghai Celebration (76 of 96) After some more mingling we moved on to dinner at a nice hotel. Paul talked a little more about the company and the people while George and Sarah continued to translate everything into Chinese (they had been doing this all day). We ate and schmoozed until about 8 PM and then called it a night!

Well, except for Paul and I. This IS Shanghai, afterall.

posted by Jesse at 8:04 pm  
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