Tuesday, March 25, 2014

P.F Chang

It was my wife’s birthday. We all know that you can forget anything in this world but not your wife’s birthday. If you forget one time in your life you will definitely never forget again. You know what I mean.
                This time it was Monday and I took a day off from my office to be with her and cooked a nice lunch this time. But you know dinner in a restaurant is really mandatory to celebrate birthday. Either you celebrate with your friends or alone like this time for me.
                We planned for P.F Chang this time a well-known Asian themed American restaurant. We went in P.F Chang two years before in Torrance, California when we first came to USA and as usual we didn't liked the food but yes we like the ambiance and cordiality.
                We firstly thought to go for an expensive classy restaurant to celebrate her birthday but this time she wants to go to P.F Chang. In reply of my “why” she replied, “Let’s revisit a place which we didn't like in first year of marriage.” I said, “Okay”.
                We both are great fan of Thai food and if you don’t mix with all Thai, Filipino, Mongolian, Korean and Japanese into so called “Chinese” food then you definitely know they are really different in nature. And literally I don’t like Chinese food as they are much blunt than any other cuisine in Asia.
                We reached there around 9 o’clock at Monday night but there were lots of people. We secured a nice place and really felt good to choose this restaurant for that special day. If you go to any other authentic Asian restaurant you will get a unique smell of DON’T KNOW WHAT. And the smell is pretty consistent in the entire authentic restaurant. But as this is a mix there was no smell.
                Taking a look my eye stopped on “Thai Rice” and “Tuna Tataki”; Thai and Japanese menu in Chinese American restaurant. Nice, let’s try it. My wife said, “No”. She read somewhere in Yelp that they have best Lettuce wraps as starter and Singapore street noodle as main course. She is the boss. So I agreed. We ordered along with Firecracker chicken the best phony name I saw in the menu.
                Drinks came, for her STRAWBERRY CUCUMBER LIMEADE (Alcohol free) and for me Blue Moon. Wait a minute I asked for Draft beer but she came with a bottle of blue moon and when I asked showing menu she told me check twice, alas! It was Craft beer not Draft. So I accepted. But anyway her drink was fabulous. It’s strawberry lemonade with grated cucumber, fabulous and unique taste.
                 Lettuce wrap came and I really want to thank yelp-ers who give a high rating for lettuce wrap in P.F Chang. First time spicy lovers will also love but they will feel bit sweeter and there was lots of chestnut which I like most.
                Then the noodles and chicken came. Let me say first that the amount what you expect in other Chinese shop is not same in P.F. Chang. They are not bit pricey they are really pricey. Normally we order and take a big portion home. But this time those were not adequate (We don’t eat rice given in side).
                Chicken was fabulous. If you like spicy you should have it in place of ginger chicken. Lots of ginger like taste was there along with the sweet sauce and hint of Thai basil. Battered chicken deep fry sautéed with sauce , ginger and basil is what they called Fire Cracker chicken ( I remember fire cracker sushi roll with shrimp tempura inside).    
                Next is the Singapore street noodle. Don’t know how it tastes in Singapore Street but it’s really similar when you eat in Indian street only exception is this is made with rice noodle. My wife added some sault on it to make it tastier and it became awesome.

                All along the service was pretty good which reflects in my tip and we both were happy. Oh! I forgot to mention that the Chinese restaurant was playing Katy Perry not Yu Zonglin which definitely soothe your ear. 

Monday, March 11, 2013

Lucky Garden Restaurant, Bloomington,IL

My wife was so much depressed that day. I had to cheer her face up. After a long day of trying to be joker and make her smile, I thought to bring some happiness with a wonderful dinner. In Bloomington, IL there is never scarcity of restaurant. Good, better, worst all type of restaurant and all type of cuisine are present there. We used to try different restaurant when I visit that place fortnightly. We used to try different kind of food based upon our mood and demand of tongue.
                But that night I didn’t want to try. I want her to be happy with an already tasted food from a visited restaurant. So we chose Sushi from Lucky Garden. In last visit they did show their best and we were so glad about their hospitality. Previously we had best Sushi in Tokyo Sushi, MI. but Lucky garden exceeded by their taste of Dragon Role.
                We were bit late. Almost 9-30 we visited the restaurant. Some people were there. I asked the waiters that are they open. With a wide smile she responded affirmative and we get in. the restaurant have a retro-modern look with Chinese setup (Though they have Japanese sushi in their cuisine).
                Last visit they gifted me a calendar where the Chinese calendar was printed. The same man, who gifted me the calendar, screwed up this dinner completely.
                After getting seated a sweet lady asked us about the drink and left. She came back within 2 min with our drink and asked if we are ready or not. I told her that we are checking as we were checking the Sushi menu and we don’t eat raw. She went back but within 2 minute the guy came who gave the calendar to me.
                He is taller chubby man with a chubby voice. He was having excellently worse vocabulary and throwing of English is worse than me. In last visit I asked the name of a symbol from the calendar. He failed. I was amazed. Neither he is Chinese neither Japanese nor American. So what he is doing in a Chinese restaurant in America. May be he is Korean.
Whatever, lets not talk about his race as I am also struggling with my English pronunciation. But he came with an attitude that they are going to close their kitchen by 9-45 and we have to order now. I said all right. And the lady came out from behind and he gestured her to take our order. The situation was like “Okay I slapped them…. Now you kill”. The gesture was really offensive in terms of etiquette in America. But we ordered. We ordered in hurry. And we ordered wrong.
We ordered a curry and two sushi role (California role and Tiger eye [I forgot the name. It was in the last in special sushi menu.]) Fortunately the curry was excellent. It was awesome and you will lick your finger if you use your finger as spoon. The gravy was brown and brown sauce never fails.
Both plates came at the same time. Seeing the Sushi plate we understood our mistake. Raw salmon was on the Tiger role. She asked me that we are okay with it or not. But she was not in mood to change that. Normally they have to do their business. Seeing her hesitation the man came and said, “Normally you people don’t eat raw. I don’t know why you ordered.” I don’t know what “You people” means. I am from a country where 23 national language is present. So there is no mean to “You people”. He should learn to talk before serving food.
Anyway, with a smile I accepted the sushi as I don’t have problem to eat raw and I love Sashimi. But my wife don’t eat. Unfortunately the night was to cheer her. We started eating.
The worst part came after. The guy came with the check and asking that we can pay it now. We were in middle of the curry. I gave him my credit card without seeing the check, as I was so angry facing that behavior. He came back and told me to sign the receipt. I was not in mood to give any tip for their worst service. And that shameless guy said, “No tips????” I stopped eating and saw his face and said, “No”.
From then onwards the guy was standing and looking towards our table with a very irritating look. His body language was saying, “When will you finish???”
My wife got so much irritated and stopped eating. We left wasting half of our money.
I completely understand that we were late. They also have to go to home. They also have their family waiting in dinner table. Then why you told us to have dinner there. We can carry out our order. You should say it upfront. No need for this kind of humiliation.
                My purpose to visit there was not solved and her depression converted to anger. I want to give 10 out of 10 about the food from my two visits. But that tall man should be ignored when visit. A worthless and ill-mannered fellow. 

Friday, March 8, 2013

Buddys Pizza

Pizza born in different country and flourished perished and cherished in different country. Americans are the biggest consumer of pizza in the world. And they have their own version. They love to see and eat it in their own way, as other. So before going to a pizza shop you really need to know what kind of pizza they are serving.
                I have been to east coast and west coast to see and eat different kind of pizza. I can post the difference of the different kind of pizza available in US. But for that you need to wait for some time.
                Today is the day of Buddy’s Pizza, serving pizza only in Michigan from 1946. I visit Auburn Hills pizza shop at least 5 times as it is a common destination for an office lunch. This is a complete Americanize Pizza so don’t expect the taste you got from Italy.
                The shop is outstanding if you think American. It has TGI Friday looks. But I really don’t understand how an oversize guy can sit in those small chairs. I know one of my colleagues who don’t want to get in as in office lunch they need to join the tables and doesn’t provide the sofa. That’s really acceptable. It is not their problem that you are fat. Though they are making people fat.
                Cheese and Cheese and cheese are everywhere. Even in customers face. It is a complete Americans place and you will not get parking properly in time of lunch. So must visit in AM not PM.
                Some round of parking space and get a good parking spot when you enter the shop a yummy smell of mix pizzas will snatch your attention from the beautifully dressed waiters (I don’t know if in America it called something else.) They are really well mannered and the make-ups make them really than others.
                You will get a beautiful salad with no dressing and lots of Feta cheese to taste you up. As our team has vegan and non-vegan, beef-pork and non-beef pork, we used to order almost every famous pizza they have.    
                Then your wait time starts with salad and lots of business talk from the managers. Salads are not chewable and also the office talks. I used to get bored and turned my head to see the customers and their expression. And then you will feel you are the only not happy person in the room.
                Lots of happy face discussing the beauty of pizza. Lots of senior people are moving their fork and knife making small piece of cheer and add into their face. “Wow” and “Excellent” word you can here everywhere if you have the bad habit of overhearing. But their happiness will tell you that how tasty pizza you can expect from your buddy’s order.
                The wait time is longer and a new order will take a lot of time so better order everything at one time. You should be smart enough to understand your hunger and the weight of those pizzas.
                It came after all, excellent looking flat chicken fajita pizza on your plate, properly baked, crunchy in corner. But wait. Don’t take a bite. Leave your Indian, Mexican, Italian dot dot dot taste from your tongue. Then take a bite. The salt less, flavor less, pile of wheat flour with lots of Marinara will cheer your lunch. It’s really tasty when you think American. It’s really nasty if you think global.
                My vegan friend who is in US for more than five year was enjoying a vegetarian pizza with a smiley face. I took a bite from his plate which was really awesome. I added some chili flakes remove the tomatoes and add some salt. It simply melts in my mouth.
                So here is the confused conclusion from my side. Buddy’s pizza is for them who use buddy in place of friends. It’s not their fault that their cuisine doesn’t satisfy a person (or a community) but they are best in what they are doing. If you are American and have tested a lot you should go for this place to give a star. But if you are from the country which loves spices then definitely you can ignore. It’s not the place for you.  For me I will definitely not going again.
                Buddy’s you should try to make a Asian buddy.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Thai House

Thai House, Bloomington, IL

805 Morrissey Dr. Bloomington, IL

It was stomach full evening. The heavy lunch was not yet drained by peptic juices. We knew that the situation gonna change and we will feel hunger in at night. So we decided to go visit some restaurant which we never visit. Thai House was in 2 mile.
Sometime before we were there but that day they closed early. This time they were open. It was a nice setup and authentic Thai touch was everywhere.
There was no one at door but a good crowd grabs almost all the table. This was the first visit and I saw most of the servers are white girls. That didn’t made me happy as I have really bad experience with Noodles and company, Pad Thai  
A white lady cladded with Thai traditional dress came and told us to sit with a nice smile. The menu was almost same as other Thai restaurant. I was trying to searching at least one item in the menu which can make any difference.
So we ordered:
·         Tom Yum Shrimp soup
·         Chicken Pad Thai.
·         Fried rice with --- Crab, basil, scallop, cucumber, cilantro, lime(that days special)
·         Pad Prik Bamboo.
Tom yum Soup was excellent except they added lime juice with lime leaf. It was much sour as it normally goes. But we enjoyed as the hotness and amount of sault was perfect for an Indian taste bud.
Chicken pad Thai was looked something different than other Pad Thai I tasted. It was not the flat noodles. It was normal rice noodle with all the spices. The taste was mind blowing and all blend well.
The fried rice we ordered without scallops but they didn’t remove that. But it’s okay. The taste was really awesome and people who don’t love sticky rice’s in oriental restaurants this was the best nonstick Thai fried rice I ever had.
 At last the Pad Prik. I never heard this name but a little research in internet got me understand that Pad prik are stir fry. But what I had was with Brown sauce or gravy. But whatever the name is the dish was fabulous. I want to return back only for that dish. It was some piece of bamboo sautéed in an oyster sauce with basils.
Last but not least the check came with two small pieces of cheese cake and a Fortune roll (Not fortune cookie) and also that tastes fabulous. Whatever the fortune roll told is really don’t matter as they never let you down.
So my overall rating is 8 out of 10.
Let’s see the break up:
Thai  flavor
What you saw what you eat


Monday, January 7, 2013

Comcast Xfinity Internet

Comcast Xfinity Internet

Should we start with the negative points? I think it is not good to serve you the lime before donut. So let me start with the wonderful service I am receiving from Comcast Xfinity internet.
The name of the internet is really weird. Xfinity… why? Don’t have time to read. May be extream inifinity. If it is so then you will feel the warmth when you browse the internet with a great rapid speed in cheap price which is more important than anything.
My wife just moved to Bloomington,IL and we were trying to find a decent internet connection there. I am using AT & T U-verse and not completely satisfied by the pricing. But okay that time Comcast was costly and AT & T gave some discount. I also have some bitter experience when I first install the u-verse internet. I am not going into that.
So we were definite to have the internet connection except going to AT & T. We went to the shop fill out the form and wallah they said that the connection is already in the building and you only need to buy a modem. Fortunately I had a modem and that worked well. Aligning that modem with her account was really fast.
And just in an hour we saw the deadly speed of optical fiber. My god downloading a 500mb file took just 10 minute. There was the promotional offer and we chose 20Mbps connection in only 40$/month. I know the 20Mbps speed is always a great speed but really download and upload speed in this internet, I never saw before.
The representative was saying that there is no contract and any time you can revoke it as after 6 month the cost will rise to 60+. But six month is late enough to think about that.
 Now let me share the pain I took for setting up the internet.
I was looking for other ISP in Bloomington when I was in Michigan. I went by the review and chose Comcast first. To test their service I logged into their website and push the live chat button.
I am pausing now. Read the transcript of the chat:
 Reference Number 757538015805420772
Your chat transcript
This is an automated email. Please do not respond to this email address as it does not accept incoming email.
Chris: Thank you for visiting Comcast. What questions can I answer for you today?
You: hi
Chris: How may I help you today?
You: I want to apply for a new connection
Chris: I'd be happy to assist you in setting up new services.
Chris: So that we don't lose connection, can you please click on the orange ‘Move chat window’ button to make it a window of its own. That way, you'll still see this web page while we chat.
Chris: Thank you for moving the chat.
Chris: Do you mind if I ask a few questions to make sure we get the ideal package that best suits your needs?
You: ya sure... but better you check that are you availble in this site
You: address: <Address Removed intentionally>
You: bloomingon, il
You: 61704
Chris: Thank you for providing your complete address.
Chris: One moment please as I get information for you.
You: ok
Chris: Thank you for waiting.
You: its okay
Chris: Before we proceed, may I ask you to please verify your complete address again? Our system can't find an exact match for the address you provided me.
You: <Address Removed intentionally>
You: bloomingon, il
You: 61704
You: city name is Bloomington
Chris: Thank you for verifying your complete address.
Chris: Just to check before we move on, are you a current Comcast customer or have you had Comcast service in your name within the last 120 days?
You: no
Chris: Thank you for considering Comcast!
Chris: May I ask what services are you interested in?
You: only internet
Chris: May I ask what do you find yourself doing online the most so I can check the best internet plan that suits your needs?
You: but is the serivce availble in that address
Chris: As I have checked, packages appeared when I entered your address. However, we can verify its availability on the last step of the order process before you commit to anything.
You: okay
Chris: Going back with internet, what do you find yourself doing online the most so I can check the best internet plan that suits your needs?
You: I want the 20mbps package
Chris: It is nice to hear that you already have a package in mind.
Chris: Performance internet has download speeds up to 20 Mbps and uploads up to 4 Mbps with
PowerBoost. It costs $29.99/month for the first 6 months and $44.99/month for months 7-12.
After 12 months, regular charges apply which is around $62.95/month.
Chris: How does this sound to you?
You: too costly
You: any cheaper option is there :)
Chris: I can see where you're coming from.
Chris: Comcast Internet services are powered by an enhanced fiber-optic network, it’s faster than any other internet provider and we have the most reliable speed. You'll surely get your money's worth.
Chris: And the good thing is that there is no term agreement or obligation period with this package, so you do have the freedom and flexibility to change to any other regular priced option any time.
You: okay ... I got it... but i thought that the it is 40$/month for a year
You: anyway
You: do you have any cheaper plan with less speed
You: and I am a state farm employee so any discount
Chris: For the next tier lower than Performance, we have Performance Starter which has download speeds up to 6 Mbps and upload speeds up to 1 Mbps. This package costs around $49.95/month, non-promotional price.
Chris: How does this one sound to you?
You: okay
You: choose the first one
You: that is better
Chris: I know you are considering specific services; however, right now we have Triple Play Bundles for as little as $99/month that may save you even more money! I'd be happy to give you more information on those.
You: no
You: just now verify that if the service is avalible there
Chris: Thank you for letting me know this information. I was just letting you know of our Triple Play packages.
Chris: We can check if your area is serviceable once we reach the last step of the order process before you commit to anything.
Chris: Going back with Performance Internet, I'd be happy to help you through the next few pages of your order!
Chris: Do you have additional questions before we proceed?
You: no
You: please go ahead
Chris: Let's go ahead and get you started!
Chris: Is Performance internet already on your cart?
You: I just want to know that if the service is availble in my area or not
You: i think i spent too much time
Chris: I can see where you're coming from.
Chris: The good thing about ordering online is that it only takes approximately 5 - 10 minutes of your time.
Chris: Are you ready to continue?
You: I am not ordering right now
You: I am just asking
You: if you dont have the service in my area
You: anyway good night
Chris: Yes, however if you go through the order process, on the last step we can check service availability before you commit to order.
You: thank you very much I will contact att & t
You: bye

If you read the whole transcript then I believe definitely you feel the pain in my ass. The customer service was ridiculously taking time to search a simple question to be answered if the service is available in the address.
I am giving 10 out of 10 to that guy if I am the manager of Comcast Infinity. I don’t know if they have sales target or not. I am sure that guy was far behind the target and pushing me to reduce a number from the list. But whatever it is I can’t believe how much a person nowadays suffers to get simple information. The experience was not unique I know and At&t is much horrible than that.
Let’s conclude.
EEEEEWWWW experience with customer service but awesome experience with the internet speed. So if you can dodge the mirage you will definitely get the oasis. So walk….. My rating to Comcast Internet is 8 out of 10.  

Friday, December 28, 2012

Windows 8

Windows 8 review

I created the blog after reading thousands of different pieces of review in different websites. Now I think that I must start a review blog and post about whatever I use. I chose windows 8 as the first post as this will be the main base of all the reviews that coming from the key press in a brand new HP laptop with windows 8.
Let’s start the blog and the review.
 Giving rating to this wonderful operating system is really tough one as it varies from person to person and job to job. Neutrally I can give rating on some points:

For Developer
For Basic internet user
For the first time pc user
As a future operating system

Let’s point out the difficulties when you first time open Windows 8:
1.       The Start menu is absent.
2.       Command prompt is not available.
3.       You can open the application but don’t know how to close that.
4.       You will not find notepad.
5.       You will see a glimpse of your windows phone in your first screen.
6.       Finding calculator is a hell.
7.       In regular reflex you will press windows key but every time it will pop up the apps screen.
8.       If you don’t know the windows phone world finding a Facebook apps is a hell.
9.       At last you managed to enter into your desktop but where is “My computer”
10.   If you are pro user and want to find the Control Panel you need to do lots of stuff
11.   Most of the windows shortcut changed ( don’t say CTRL+C , CTRL+D are still same)
12.   Click on any media it will open in a full screen view apps.
13.   Frustrated after an hour but you can’t find how to shut down the computer.
Is there everything difficult in windows 8? Not at all baby. Live with change. You only need internet explorer to find the solution for all.
                This operating system is a biggest step of Microsoft to the future of computing. They integrated the mobile apps world and the regular software world together and gave an excellent look and feel. And yes you have to cope up with the change of nature.
I am not writing all the solution here but let me help you to gel up with the first view problems:
1.       Start menu is absent but there is some workaround. Stardoc has created an application which will create the start menu for your windows 8. The application runs awesome and gives you the ultimate experience for the windows 8 in terms of windows 7 with added advantage of apps world. And yes it is only 5$ a little price for all the convenience.
http://www.stardock.com/products/start8/ \
2.       Command prompt is available in apps window. Only you need to do a right click on the window and select “All apps” in bottom right. Then drag the slide bar to the right most and you will see command prompt under windows live column.
If you want to access it frequently you need to go to below location
C:\Users\<User folder>\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs\System Tools
right click on command prompt and send to desktop. That will create a shortcut of command prompt. Enjoy the dos world.
3.       Take your mouse to the left top position of your screen you will see the other open window.
Slide few pixel down and you can see the entire open application window. Right click on each and select close.
4.       Go to the below location and send to desktop
C:\Users\<User folder>\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs\Accessories
5.       Windows mobile and the first screen is almost same. Except you can drag your important application in first column.
6.       Go to below screen and send the calculator to your desktop
C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs\Accessories
7.       Forget windows key as of now. You will be used to it when you come to know the wonderful new shortcuts. Check this link for the new shortcuts
8.       For finding your windows apps press windows button+C a sidebar will come out. Click on the magnifying glass and type desired apps and select “store” in below the text box. You may need to scroll down a little bit to get “Store” but when you select that you will get what you want.
9.       Desktop don’t contain “My Computer” you need to go to below location and send “Computer” to your desktop
C:\Users\<User Folder> \AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs\System Tools 
10.   Control panel is available in “All apps” section. Find it and pin to your location.
11.   Already defined in point 7
12.   Once you have the file right click and change it to Media player or the player you use. I use VLC for every media except picture.
13.   Don’t get frustrated. Press windows+C button it will open the sidebar( they call it charm Bar) then select the Settings icon. Shutdown is there under power button. Click it and you will see the restart button also.

Now your all problem solved. Rest of the things you can do on your own.
                Let’s now write a shortest review on it:
To me windows 8 is just a futuristic operating system whose time is yet not came. People still love simplicity and they don’t want to mess up everything in a single device. We saw that all-in-one music system was phased out slow by slow. Walkman converted to CD player, then DVD player, then iPods. But no one wants to see a movie in the iPods though it is eligible to run the video file. People love miniature phone when it migrated from the big handset. But invention of smartphone and now if you see the screen size of the phone you may understand that always combining everything into it is not always a good thing.
                Microsoft has to sell their product and they can invent everyday but we people don’t need every invention to live our life. The transition from windows 7 to windows 8 is a big flip over the usability. Some people love, some people don’t need these changes. They want a better accessibility and connectivity. That’s all. So better not use this new operating system if you are not a gig. Wait for some time and let it mature some more.
                I am almost sure that Microsoft will definitely understand the demand of start menu and will launch an update version or the new Windows 9. I am waiting to hear the same story for what windows vista failed and windows 7 is the most successful operating system ever.  
                But for the people who love to dribble the odds of silicon magic please keep your eye on this wonderful operating system. You don’t need a review from me. You can judge on your own and you will definitely feel the smell of future operating system. So enjoy as I am enjoying playing and inventing the new ways to be master of windows 8.