Star icon to indicate updates At a glance

The occasional writing, photographs, gadget reviews and travel notes from product manager based in Boulder, Colorado. Up and about since 2003.

Click here for the RSS 2.0 feed


Star icon to indicate updates Latest Tweet

@_gianpi_ @johncutlefish Absolutely a major worry about C that PMs have is that they will no longer provide unique… twitter.com/i/web/status/1…
at 11.9.2019 17:15

More at @rioakasaka


Star icon to indicate updates Latest image


Alpaca at the Pacabuddies alpaca show in Castle Rock, CO


Most commented posts Most commented



Categories Categories


Sep 6 | Discovering Bangalore


A lady selling flowers in Nagarthpet, Bangalore

I’ve always cherished the opportunity to visit India. Every time I go, I uncover another beautiful or surprising slice of the country, and come away, as many do, changed in indescribable ways.


The modern Bangalore metro, with an average ride costing approximately $0.28

This time, I had the chance to visit Bangalore for work, and while the bulk of the week was spent shuttling back and forth from a wonderful hotel to the office, I took the one free day I had — Saturday — to explore Bangalore on my own. I started the morning early with a visit to the flower market at KR Market, though ironically while I was extremely close, I actually missed the main structure. But standing still, trying to be out of the way of everyone (it seems like in the busiest of towns you’re always in the way of someone), it felt like the whole market was one organism, breathing, flowing. Flower sellers pitched ornate strings of carnations; in another section, bags full of roses. Around the corner, pineapples and pomegranates.


This man apparently wasn’t selling anything, just waiting for a friend

I then wandered south towards Brahmins’ Coffee Bar in Shankarapura. I was told this was where the who’s who of Bangalore will gather for breakfast of idli and coffee. Watching others eat from tin plates I asked for the same — two idli and one vada, plus coffee, for a grand total of 72 rupees — and proceeded to devour it all. The idli and vada, soft and crunchy textures each, sits on a thin layer of coconut chutney, which one can refill at will. The coffee was just the right sweetness; a man who helped me order told me that the coffee “decoction” was brewed first, then sugary milk added later, which seemed perfectly ordinary. But by the same token that I had zero notion of what was completely ordinary to Bangalore, so too they must have wondered what I took for granted, looking like a lost Japanese tourist relishing every moment of the uncertainty.


The view from outside Brahmin’s Coffee Bar, where there’s not a place to sit, but just absolutely amazing breakfast


A plate of idli and vada from Brahmin’s Coffee Bar

Next, I headed to the southern Bangalore neighborhood of Sarakki Nagar to take a roti-making class at a home of an AirBnB host, Julian. I learned how to make standard rothi, tandoor rothi (without the tandoor), aloo paratha (stuffed with potatoes) and lachha paratha. Each of the four are unleavened, and go from least fancy to more fancy, with the idea being that one might consume the most basic standard rothi at home, but the tandoor one if outside, and any of the parathas (made with ghee) for more ornate meals. The rothi becomes puffy with the rapid heating of the water in the dough.


My attempts at making roti were, shall we say, elementary

I was impressed how, unlike the process of making bread in the West, making rotis felt like just another side item to cook together with everything else, the accompaniments like curry and chutneys. Perfected in the hands of an expert like Julian it becomes fast and effortless. My clumsy hands, used to the relative freedom and relaxedness that comes with yeast fermentation, could not catch up.

After a sumptuous Indian lunch (made to accommodate “unfamiliar palates”) together with Bira 91 (my kind of beer, to be honest) with the breads that Julian made (he made it clear that the ones we had made earlier were to be abandoned; “none of these breads are good cold” he mentioned, somewhat offhandedly), I meandered further. I headed east towards Vega City mall, where I knew I could shop for a sev sancha, a sort of handheld noodle maker that I learned about from Julian. I was also on the hunt for gifts for my colleagues and a few more kurtas, which I knew I could find from within the mall.

In the evening, I took part in a food tour near the KR market, another experience I found on AirBnB, led by Priya, who co-owns a hostel in town. We started at Neel Kamal sweets and headed east, eating kadhi kachori, jalebi, fresh pomegranate juice, Bombay sandwiches, dosa at Lakshmi Natraja Refreshments, panipuri, a pineapple bun and ending with masala papad. It was surprising to me how one main road (which felt more like an alley) could hold so many hidden and delicious snacks. At one point, I even had to convince myself that they bread that I was devouring was indeed made in the ovens just behind the store, hidden from view.

Most importantly, it was clear that I would have missed every one of them without an expert local guide.


At a snack store on Nagarthpet, near the KR market, where we got kadhi kachori and jalebi, the orange sugary snack


Kadhi kachori, – crunchy bits of kachori (akin to fried dumplings) stuffed with spicy potato doused in a yogurt-based curry


The man behind the bombay sandwhich, extremely proud of his trade and craft (see video). The sandwich was grilled to perfection.


A sumptuous plate of pani puri, a small, airy, crispy bowl filled with spiced water


Outside the pani puri shop

I can’t wait to be back.

Comments Comments

More recent posts


Aug 10 | Two days in Niijima and Shikinejima

The view from the deserted Habushiura beach Ever since my failed trip to Oshima 3 years ago, I’ve been meaning to make it to its more charming little sister island, Niijima. Niijima and nearby Shikinejima are sufficiently remote from Tokyo that they feel a bit like a different country altogether: slower paced, quiet, beautiful, and […]

May 6 | Brydge iPad Pro 2018 Keyboard review

One of the oddest things about writing on a solid, alumnium keyboard attached to the latest generation iPad Pro is that you immediately start expecting more from iOS, and not the keyboard. The trouble is that with such a superior keyboard experience, suddenly the myriad of minute iOS limitations, like the fact that most apps […]

Jan 1 | Onsen trip report: Haccho-no-yu, 八丁の湯, Okukinu, Nikko

I had the chance to travel to the far corner of Tochigi prefecture in a place called Okukinu (奥鬼怒), nominally still Nikko city, to stay at Haccho-no-Yu, an onsen ryokan. It’s definitely a hidden gem, though perhaps not the place for everyone. Getting there takes a bit of work. From Kitasenju (北千住) station you take […]

Feb 22 | All About Tokyo Taxis – Part 1

In which I discover a minor taxi racket in Akasaka, ogle taxis from the top of Tokyo station, go taxi hunting, and end up calling myself an otakushii. You can get descriptions to all these photos by reading the alt text (hover) or by looking through this imgur album. New York City has, for all […]

Feb 12 | Strange Dreams from Oshima

In which I sleep walk 20km across an island 120km away from Tokyo, while taking weird photos and searching for warm drinks in the freezing cold. Samyang 14mm f/2.8, 15 second exposure on 5D Mark III, Magic Lantern, shooting once every 1 second at ISO 3200 with mirror lockup to prevent shaking It’s 6:57 when […]

Jan 3 | What’s In My Bag

I’m a photographer based in Tokyo. I collect film Canon SLRs too, though my current bag setup is not built around showing off my cameras! The key components are a Canon 5D Mark III and the Canon A-1, with a Samyang 14mm wide angle lens. I’m chiefly a landscape photographer stuck in an hyper-urban jungle, […]

Recently read

  • # Inside Amazon: wrestling big ideas in a bruising workplace
  • # Images show Sochi Olympics wasteland
  • # Mobile apps must die
  • # Useful objects made uncomfortably un-useful.
  • # A slightly weighted font for dyslexics.
  • # The nicest place on the Internet
  • # The definitive guide to trading candy
  • # An awesome handwriting font made to mimic a doctor’s penmanship.
  • # 32 innovations that will change your tomorrow
  • # Six years in the making, a proposition for a sexy highway font.
  • # It turns out there are many things that don’t exist.
  • # Are expensive batteries worth it? Maybe not
  • # 10 things to do with Hostess Twinkies
  • # He’s eaten at 362 pizza joints in New York City and has reviewed each one on an 8-slice scale.
  • # If you’re going to destroy your reputation as a PR person, better do it in an epic way
  •