The story of pasta and morunjchaatham

cheesecake factory

I’m the typical south-indian morunjchaatham[curd rice] types. Not very keen on what I get to eat except that I’m a veggie. My wife, on the other hand, is a food junkie – the food channel types – the pastas, the teriyakis, the pitas, the paninis, the calamaris, the polentas and whatever. And she is a fabulous cook who makes sure that I get my share of onion rava masalas and aviyals and vatha kuzhambu and whatever you-get-to-eat-only-in-chennai including rava kesari, puffs, aama vadai and home-made ‘samsa‘[remember pammal k sambandam].

As you land in the US [though that was a while ago], you get overwhelmed by the types of food available. From Japanese to Continental to the typical American food, there is just too much lying around. In the last one year, I found myself saying no to most dishes but still enjoying the vegetarian dishes offered by all each type. I even found myself eating greek food. And it’s called, Kolokythokeftethes which is: Zucchini & Cheese Croquettes. So as I acquired tastes from distant lands, I found myself falling in love with Pasta.

Pasta, the Italian pride is probably my most favorite type of food after the south indian thaali. Just like all great types of food, pasta can be made in different shapes and sizes. The pasta dough can also be made of different flours ranging from Unbleached White Flour to Brown Rice Flour to Mung Bean Threads. Just like a barbie doll, you could decorate it however. Add Garlic and Herbs or dump Strawberry or even chocolate, pasta would still be great to eat.

At first, I hated the word Macaroni. When I had my wife serving plain Macaroni, I preferred to eat Rava Uppuma. Next time she added some Marinara Sauce to it. Since then pasta was my love. Marinara Sauce is made of Italian tomatoes, garlic, basil [the italian tulasi] and oregano [for the aroma]. Now I can eat just about any pasta ranging from Macaroni to Capellini to Spaghetti to Rigatoni to Fettuccine. All I need is a cup of Marinara sauce.

Other than my home which is pasta headquarters these days for me, I also like to have it in the Cheesecake Factory. CC Factory is one famous restaurant chain in the US that dictates the next modern American food. Time had an exclusive coverage on Cheesecake Factory, couple of weeks back. CC Factory truly keep changing their menu regularly and every time your there you find a lovely dish. So here in the US if you want to know if a certain dish is a good one, check to see if CC Factory had it on their menu or not. If it was there, its sure is hot stuff.

Surprisingly its one of the few places where me and my wife love the food. Its usually me who is choosy about food, partly due to my veggie habits. So you could be sure that Cheesecake factory serves food for people on either side of the food spectrum. I heard they serve lovely cocktails too. And some amazing appetizers like the Chilly Cheese Sticks and Bruschetta [Freshly Baked Pizza Bread Topped with Fresh Chopped Tomato, Red Onion, Garlic, Basil and Olive Oil]. Needless to say they have some lovely cheesecakes, one of which is the lovely Tiramisu Cheesecake.

I’m finding myself in an urge to try out such high calorie food these days. But then at the same time, I also buy 2 Gallons of Fat Free Milk from Costco. Just to underline how crazy a desi could get.

20 responses to “The story of pasta and morunjchaatham”

  1. narasi Avatar

    Hello LG,

    Recently I had the priveldge of having a dinner at Cheesecake. I am also a vegetarian and even when ordering for Cafe Latte unknowingly my mouth utters “no meat no egg”.

    I enjoyed the food having at CC, since they had very good vegie dishes. The spinach with macroni and had good vegie pizza.

    When I asked for fresh juices and uttered Mango juice, I jumped in to order it. But to my disaapointment it was even worse than having a Coke+Fanta+Sprite. But then they replaced with the fresh orane juice which is waterring my mouth till day.

    Also the ambience of the restaurant is cool and enjoyable.

    Hope you and your wife had a great time. One more lottery for me is I wasn’t the bill payer but don’t think so for you the same 😦


  2. asif Avatar



  3. Swaminathan Avatar

    what ever you say, there is no compromise to our (we veggies) morunjchaatham. When i made my visit to NY in november, i couldnot eat anything for a whole week stay there, they say everything has meat and mushrooms. That is a very bitter experience to me in NY.


  4. Shub Avatar

    is this the first time that you actually wrote about your better half ? Poor girls out there. They will be disappointed. — another girl


  5. s Avatar

    i second shub there!!


  6. Nandhakumar T.A. Avatar
    Nandhakumar T.A.

    hey machan!!…when u talk about delicious foods..!!, I’m not the person left behind u(he..he), Do u remember that u & myself given our 1st yr b’day treat in …ur favourite past time restaruant ‘woodlands-drivein’, i think that day we ordered..dosas,curd vada…and not to forget..filter coffee!!…those days’s remain fresh in my memory…

    And 2 ur latest treat that u gave us in ur home in chennai….she cooked the rava kesari..that was really nice!!…i thought..the grand old lady staying in ur house has cooked that day!!

    machan i saw ur photo on orkut…u r bulging..more & more…so…???


  7. WA Avatar

    Shub, you didn’t know that LG is a married man? HaHa LG how many hearts have you broken today with this post 🙂


  8. Jacky Avatar

    Unga kitchen than periya Samathuvapuram pola iruku!
    Sapidunga Nalla Sapidunga aana Nakku sethuponavanga nelamaiya konjam nenachu blog pannunga 🙂


  9. Insidemind Avatar

    // Macaroni to Capellini to Spaghetti to Rigatoni to Fettuccine.Zucchini & Cheese Croquettes //

    Ummmm……..Evalo Variety ! Ellathukum photo iruntha nalla irunthirukum ! 😀


  10. srini Avatar

    It took me a few years to get out of the taste buds of spicy food. I found that there are more varities here than in other places in the world. The challenge with Italian food in places like Cheescake factory is that they are mass produced. I would suggest you to find the small gems near your place. The family mom and pop pizza places. There are also a lot of byob places in the city whereever you live which are small and are started by good chefs. The food is exceptional. You should also try the california wave. In other words fusion of most types of food done the california way. They use lot of food puree and other types of ingredients. The challenge is always being a vegetarian. But I have noticed that it has become better every year and the west leads the east also in variety. Try non pasta dishes in Italian. You might be surprised in the variety available. The food channel will open your eyes to variety. Too much pasta or rice is not good. Keep a note of it. Putting it on is easy. Taking it off is harder.



  11. subbu Avatar

    Finally a post that talks about your better half (I use the word ‘finally’ loosely here). As part of “celebrating literature, fine arts and life” she should feature a great deal more often!


  12. nona Avatar

    lg – get out there and try out some local restaurants – not the bland fare served at national chains.. cc factory is the hq of kitsch.


  13. Ramesh Avatar

    The Pasta we get @ Wegmans is good in the East Coast. The kind of prepare on the spot with quality ingredients that you can choose.


  14. RM Avatar

    nona just stole the words out of my mouth… none of these chains cant get anywhere close to what is served in local restaurants…


  15. tamizh Avatar

    //I’m the typical south-indian morunjchaatham[curd rice] types//

    Is this trying to imply that south-indians are veggies? Or atleast the majority of them are?

    Dont forget the native andhra, chettinad and malabar cuisines are also typical south-indian varieties.

    Stereotyping? no? Food for thought.


  16. Anon Avatar

    May be a post for caste bases tastes..


  17. Ciara Avatar

    I always find that the best pasta is served at little one-of-kind Bistros rather than the chain restaurants….not a big fan of the CC factory’s food….but their desserts…..that’s another story…..

    -Ciara, first time commentator…:)


  18. Pria Avatar

    You married? REALLY? And only now you mention it. Anyway, I’ve been a silent lurker all this while, had to express my shock.



  19. Sabarish Sasidharan Avatar

    Do you take diet coke too ? 😉


  20. Sabarish Sasidharan Avatar

    Btw, Marinara is my favorite too 🙂 And being a veggie, it is kind of a life saver.


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