Restaurant Diaries: Savera Indian Cuisine

We have visited Savera Indian Cuisine a couple of times over the past few years and it has never disappointed me. Yesterday, when my craving for tandoori food kicked in, D and I decided to revisit Savera to satisfy our cravings. It’s a small restaurant, located on the west side of the city at 815 St. Clair Avenue West. There’s ample parking on the street in front of the restaurant or on a side street just a couple of steps away. 
When we arrived the 7-8 table patio was nearly full and inside the restaurant half full. We decided to sit inside since Nid was with us. I asked for a booster seat for her and 10 minutes later, was given one. It took another 10 minutes for us to receive our menus and water and that too only after I got frustrated and asked the owner who stood lingering around if he could bring us a menu. He apologized and one of the waitresses immediately brought us a menu. Not a good start to the visit but I gave them the benefit of the doubt and decided to stay. 

We ordered the Snack Platter to start; which came with Chicken Tikka, Lamb Kabob, Onion Baji, a Samosa and hot and sweet chutney. The lamb kabob and onion baji  were absolutely delicious. However, the chicken tikka was bland and undercooked. D and I split the samosa in half and just as he was about to take a bite, I pulled it out of his hand. It stunk. It was old and probably spoiled. It had a foul smell to it, like the smell of fungus or food that has been unfrozen and left out to rot. I called over the owner and let him know that there was an issue. He took it away and came back to apologize and asked if we wanted another one and I immediately rejected. A couple of moments later, his daughter Sonya came by our table to ask what the problem was. After explaining that the samosa had gone bad, she apologized, asked if we wanted a replacement item of our choosing and I declined the offer as we had already ordered plenty of other dishes for our meal. 

Sadly, that wasn’t the only disappointing dish we had to experience last night. For our main course, we ordered chicken tikka, chicken curry, fish curry, plain rice and garlic naans. 

Once again, the chicken tikka was bland and a couple of pieces seemed undercooked. The platter had so much onions and cabbage on it, which under normal circumstances I would really enjoy because most restaurants will add some spicy or salty masala to the onions and throw the chicken on top of it. However, here, the onions and cabbage had no seasoning on them just like the chicken tikka. What a disappointment, since the main purpose of our dinner here was to satisfy our tandoori cravings.

As always, D ordered the fish curry expecting perfectly seasoned fish in a spicy curry; which authentically how fish curry should be made. To his disappointment, the fish wasn’t seasoned and had just been placed on the curry. The curry itself didn’t taste bad, it was quite good. But it lacked the spiciness that we had expected. So, he ended up sharing most of my chicken curry instead of enjoying his fish.

The chicken curry was well-made and tasted authentic. It wasn’t spicy but was a perfect mixture of spices and seasoning. The chicken was well-cooked and it really hit the spot. Except for a couple of pieces of chicken, we nearly finished it. The garlic and plain butter naans we ordered with it, perfectly complimented the curry. Besides the lamb kabobs, this was a second favourite dish.

At the end of our meal, we spoke to the owners daughter, Sonya and I let her know how so many dishes were undercooked and flavourless. Being from the Indian restaurant industry for so many years, we recognized one of the chefs as a past colleague of D’s. He came outside to greet us and I mentioned to him how disappointed we were. He too apologized. I mentioned to them that I was a food critic and wrote restaurant reviews for my blog and that sadly, Savera had failed to impress us this time around. 

Sad to say, this little nook on the west-side of the city has left us terribly disappointed and I doubt we’ll be revisiting anytime soon. The 10% manager discount couldn’t justify the price we paid for the undercooked, spoiled food we were served.

Here’s the rating:

Service: 1/5 – we waited over 15 mins for menus, a booster seat for Nid and to be served

Ambiance: 3/5 – Nicely decorated and dimmed lighting. However, with their garage door patio opening, the inside of the restaurant was extremely humid and guests were left sweaty

Food: 1/5 – undercooked, under-seasoned and spoiled food was served to us

Price: 1/5 – Over priced, even after a 10% discount for the spoiled samosa. 

Portion Size: 4/5 – Good size to share

Will we visit again? 1/5 – No

Recommend to a friend? 1/5 – No

Overall Rating: 1/5

Is This My Permanent Normal?

You’ve all probably read my previous blog posts about not feeling well and dealing with vertigo. I’m still feeling the same but with some new symptoms. It’s like one thing goes away and another appears. My physician put me on a pill for migraines, so the migraines have gone away. But the dizziness persists. Along with that, my legs go numb almost every day. They hurt and I constantly feel like I’m getting my period due to the cramps.

I lay in bed all day Saturday and began thinking if this was the new normal that my life has become. I can’t stand for extended periods without feeling like my legs are going to fall off. Moving around makes my head spin and cause my eyes to blur and feel tired. The feeling of feeling unwell has me and my physician baffled because the tests he does come back normal. Somewhere inside me, I’ve stopped believing that he even cares anymore. He tells me most of this is probably caused by my depression. So it’s all in my head because I have depression. 

But I told him my mood is better. I don’t feel depressed these days. His excuse is that depression never goes away, even though I’m not feeling it right this minute. 

So is all this illness in my head? Am I so psychologically tainted that I’ve caused myself to feel all these things? 

I read all these stories about people going through similar stuff for years and their doctors kept telling them it was depression or another mild illness but years later they get diagnosed with a life-changing illness or cancer. Is that going to happen to me as well?

I wonder, if I’m reading too much into this and whether I should stop and just focus on getting better. 

At the end of this month my employment insurance benefits will run out. I have a big decision to make before the month ends; am I going back to work or staying home? How will I survive without an income? If I go back, what if I feel sick and can’t work or perform the way I used to? What if I faint the way I nearly did the last time I left work? What if I feel better all together and all of this goes away? Will my life return to the normalcy that I was used to before all this vertigo and pain started or will the current feeling be the normalcy I’ll have to get used to?

I don’t know what is going to happen at the end of this month or what my decision will be. For now, I’ve decided to go see another doctor and explain everything that has happened to me over the past few months and see what he suggests. Maybe it’s time for a second opinion. I need to know what’s wrong with me before I can decide what I’m going to do with my career. 

Recipe of the Month: Feta-Alfredo Chicken Spring Pasta

IMG_5227Was that title long enough for you? I couldn’t figure out the best way to sum up the medley of flavours in this quick delicious recipe.

This is a quick meal and has everything you need to feel full and satisfied! The prep time takes about 20 minutes and cook time is 10 minutes. You can use an array of fresh or frozen vegetables and pre made Alfredo or Vodka sauce. I made this one with Alfredo because it’s what I had in my pantry.

Here’s what you need: 

  • Half chopped red bell peppers
  • Half stalk chopped green onions
  • A cup of chopped mushrooms
  • A cup of chopped broccoli
  • 1/2 cup of chopped purple cabbage
  • 1/2 cup feta cheese
  • 1/2 cup each of shredded mozzarella and cheddar cheese
  • 1 bottle Alfredo sauce
  • Chilli flakes
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 tsp. Paprika
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 3-4 cups pasta of choice

Here’s what you do:


Heat oil, add chopped veggies and sauté until soft. Stir in chicken and cook until tender. Add basil, parsley, salt and pepper and cook on medium heat.


Add Alfredo sauce and half cup water and let boil on medium heat until sauce thickens. Add shredded cheddar and mozerella cheese. Cover and let cook until cheese is completely melted.

FAdd feta cheese and let cook covered, mixing slowly. Remove from heat and let stand uncovered for 5-10 minutes.


Sprinkle with chilli flakes and serve with garlic bread and wine. 

And there you have it; a quick, easy and delicious recipe for those lazy days you can’t figure out what to eat. 

Mom In Training: Consoling Your Toddler

A couple of days ago, Nid had stated to one of her teachers that she was really upset because Babu (her dad) was on the airplane and she missed him. Later that night, as we lay in bed she stated that her best friend, Maya didn’t play with her and she was upset because of it. I asked her why not and she responded, “because she plays in the doll house and there’s so many other kids there and I can’t play there.” I asked her why she didn’t play with other kids and she said they didn’t play with her and that no one plays with her. Feeling helpless, I told her, “don’t worry, mommy will play with you at home and at school, you can try playing with the other kids and try to join in the games and activities they’re interested in.”

My toddler is feeling upset and besides trying to give her as much happiness as I can without spoiling her, there’s not much else I can do but listen to her reasoning for being upset. 

I am a strong believer in communication and being someone that dealt with and suffered from depression all my life, I don’t want my daughter to feel like she can’t speak to me about her feelings; which is why every day Nid and I sit down and chat about her day in school. Of course, I ask her the usual questions; “did you eat your lunch? Were you good today? What did you do during activity time?” But I also ask her questions about how she felt, if something made her sad or happy and why she felt that way. I also ask her questions about how she could feel better if she felt upset.

I know she is only three and a half years old and probably has no clue what depression is. But depression can begin at a young age. With everyone being so busy and wrapped up with technology, I feel like families are losing time to communicate. You hear all those news reports of mass-shootings in schools and children committing suicide. Why do you think these children get to that extreme point where they decide to take their own lives or those of others? It’s because they’ve got years of feelings and thoughts built up inside them and no one bothering to ask them how they’re feeling or what they’re dealing with.

I won’t blame parents, it’s not my position to do so, I am not a perfect parent to the least bit. But as the adults, it is our job to open the way for communication and if your child doesn’t talk then either; which some will rebel against, it is also your job to find alternative methods to finding out what your child is feeling or going through. 

Growing up, my parents, specifically my father didn’t believe in talking to us or hearing about our feelings. It was the way he was raised; the man works and the woman deals with the kids. Although, my mother played the “I’m your friend” role in our lives, sometimes we just needed a father, a protector to hear us out. But he was too busy working. When my brother started dominating the house in my father’s absence, he became so dominating that you couldn’t even talk to him on a general level, let alone a personal one. 

My sister had a best friend, they were inseparable. They shared every detail about their lives. But I wasn’t the type to open up easily to others outside of the family. My tough exterior kept me that way for years. I wanted to tell my dad how I felt and what I feared. But when he wouldn’t take the time to listen, I turned to paper. I wrote 15-20 diaries during my early teen years. My diary was my best friend. It never judged me, it had no boundaries of what I could tell it and was always there whenever I needed it. It just didn’t console me or guide me. That emptiness was never filled and the need to receive guidance filled up inside me. I felt alone and helpless at times and depression engulfed me. 

I don’t want Nid to experience that helplessness. I’ve bought her a mommy-daughter diary and a daddy-daughter one too. Although, D and I try our best to ask questions and have an interest in her feelings. I know sometimes it might be hard for her to tell us everything. So, I’ve asked her to draw us a picture whenever she feels like she can’t talk to us. Right now, there’s a bunch of scribbles on the pages. Some are soft swirls and lines on the days when she’s just drawing for the sake of drawing. But there is also a day when she drew hard zigzags and nearly ripped through the paper. I know she was upset that day. She had gotten in trouble for misbehaving and her anger shows on the piece of paper. 

I asked her why she was scribbling so hard and she said she was upset because she didn’t like it when I got mad at her. That was the first time I realized she had shown me how she was feeling without telling me directly. 

I don’t know if I’m right or wrong to use this method of communication. I don’t know if it will help her tell us how she’s feeling. But for now, it’s an open door. As she grows my hope is that she’ll feel secure and safe enough to write or draw most of her feelings without feeling like we’ll be mad or judge her. My daily chats with her will always continue but at least we have our diaries for the days she doesn’t feel like talking. 

How do you deal with your children’s emotions? What are your methods of communication? Do you think my methods are right and will deem helpful in the long-run? Share your thoughts!

Saying Yes To Anti-Depressants Can Change Your Life

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I recently had the opportunity to share my story on the Positive People Army blog. Here’s the story below. The Positive People Army is about people sharing their stories and possibly receive support from the army so that we can all overcome our issues and join together. Here’s my story from the Positive People Army blog. Make sure to check them out!

A year ago, I was prescribed anti-depressants to deal with my depression, I didn’t take them.

There is so much negativity around taking anti-depressant, especially in my Indian culture. Taking a pill to deal with yourself is a sign of weakness and you are labelled as crazy or mentally unstable.

Even my parents had this thinking.

Taking pills for mental health and/or speaking to a psychiatrist meant you were needy and unfit. It was a big taboo.

So, I never took anti-depressant, no matter what happened in my life and how badly it affected the person I was becoming.

Growing up, I was the tough-child. Nothing phased me. I could get through everything without shedding a tear, or so everyone believed. However I cried myself to sleep a million times. Never in front of anyone.

I kept a diary and put my heart and soul on paper. I refused to let my hard-exterior drop in front of others.

This went on for years and years until I finally started cutting myself. Did your jaw just drop at the news of that?

Cutting oneself is a different kind of high that many people don’t understand. When you are battling your worst demons and your heart hurts, it is nearly impossible to rid yourself of the pain you are experiencing.

This is where cutting came in for me. If I could inflict physical pain to myself, then maybe the internal pain would stop. And it did. For some time.

You don’t cut to kill yourself. Anyone that has ever gotten to the point of cutting themselves, knows this and knows how and where to cut. If they don’t, they’ll definitely look it up.

For me, it was this mindset that I needed to do anything in the world to get the pain out of my mind and soul and so I cut. At the time, this was my logic.

Fifteen – twenty years later and slightly wiser, I know cutting won’t rid me of my demons or pains. If anything, It will make me weaker knowing I gave into my misery.

Yet the depression still exists.

This past year year I have felt defeated. I have felt lost. I have felt hopeless, almost pathetic. I felt like running away.

I even lay in bed a few nights ago and thought how my husband and child’s lives would be should I pass-away suddenly. No, I didn’t plan my suicide or even consider doing it. It was just thoughts of whether I am helping their lives or putting them through more misery.  Am I making their lives any better or easier? Am I giving them happiness? Or are they secretly as depressed as I am because of my depression?

After fighting myself all year I finally decided to take an anti-depressant. After much thought, reading and research, it became clear to me, that this is the way to go. I don’t know what the outcome of this tiny pill will be; all I can hope for is that it helps me control these extreme highs and lows I have felt

I urgently made an appointment with my family doctor.

I met with him and gave him the details of this episode. He knows the history, he knows the triggers. He knows it must have been so bad this time around that I HAD to see him immediately. And after a long chat, he prescribed me with Wellbutrin. It’s going to help calm things down, I hope.

I take a pill every morning. Anti-depressants don’t take effect immediately. But this was the beginning to managing my mental-health and stability.

Sometimes a new beginning is all you need.

That beginning moved me towards a new me. A less emotionally charged and unlikely quickly agitated me.

The pills helped, there’s no question about it.

I used my energy to do more and become a domestic diva. I pushed myself to try new recipes and elaborate my skill of cooking. I invested my efforts and time in creating selling sunburst mirrors.

The mirrors reflect a piece of me bursting out like the rays of the sun, to shine and shimmer in my house and life. I look at my wall of mirrors and each one tells me a story of a day or week I felt weak but overcame my weakness.

They are my pride and my happiness hanging on the wall. I sell my mirrors because I want everyone I know and the ones I don’t know to have a burst of shine and happiness in their lives and with all the money I raise, a small portion of it goes towards a happy evening of food and family celebrating.  The other portion goes towards helping a charity I strongly believe in.

I know enjoy celebrating. This is now what my life is all about.

Anti-depressants helped me re-start my life.

Starting Another Journey To Get Fit

Being home with vertigo with extremely limited physical activity, I have managed to gain another 12 lbs. Randomly speaking to my neighbor yesterday, I asked her to allow me to use her scale to weigh myself, to confirm my suspicions, I have indeed gained weight, more than I expected. 

A couple of days ago, a friend looked at my Whatsapp profile photo and mentioned that I looked like I had gained weight to my face. I didn’t think much out of it at the time. But yesterday’s revelation left me feeling miserable and disgusted. It wasn’t a shock that I had gained weight because I could see and feel it with how my clothes had been fitting recently. But the amount of weight gain left me in disbelief. 

I haven’t been moving around much or goin for walks. Just the walk to the car and back up to my apartment and that too only once or twice a week, depending on how my dizziness was treating me. 

I’ve decided to try my meal replacement shakes again and use an appetite suppressant to help control the hunger fangs. I’ve spoken to my doctor about the weight gain and he too was very concerned with how much weight I’ve gained since having my daughter and why I wasn’t taking better care of myself. I told him I needed help to get me started and suggested the appetite suppressants and shakes and although he was hesitant to let me go on a diet, he agreed to let me begin with this and move myself towards better and wiser eating habits. He’s also encouraged me to go for small walks numerous times a day. He said to walk in the apartment or hallway and go slowly but to definitely walk. I remember back in 2010, when I lost 30 lbs in three months, I was walking nearly  two hours everyday after I got home from work. I would put on my headphones, play some music and walk as far as I could around 4-5 blocks and back. It was exhausting but so rewarding at the end. The walking combined with the meal replacement shakes, I was losing inche from every part of my body, my face looked toned and I felt good about myself.

I want to feel good about myself again. I’ve picked up my shakes and purchased the appetite suppressants to jump start my weight loss journey. I will be taking two appetite suppressants in the morning and two in the evening per the instructions on the label. For breakfast, I will be drinking a meal replacement shake followed by a large cup of black coffee. For lunch, I will eliminate grains and any product that is white in colour and only have vegetables, meat and some fruits. For dinner, another meal replacement shake. I will also be taking my daily multivitamin to ensure that I’m not missing any essential vitamins while on my journey.

If you recall, my diet from hell post a while back, I was having the shakes in the morning and for lunch. That was fine while I was working because dinner used to be early enough  that I could burn off what I was eating. But being home right now and feeling how I do, I think a light dinner will benefit me more. Plus, if I get hunger fangs, I can drink my hearts content of water and maybe even have a small fruit. 

I know this meal plan seems extreme. But it has worked for me in the past and with trial and error my body adjusted and I didn’t have any major or minor issues come up. I strongly believe that weight loss is healthy eating and being active but I also believe that every person and their body is different and we all react to different methods differently. So this plan might work for me but might not work for you. I’m not a nutritionalist, nor am I a weight loss guru. I’ve just found what works with my body. If you’re going to try this weight loss method, please consult with your doctor before you begin. Make sure you’re taking the right vitamins and eating the right foods to boost your weight loss. 

Good luck on your journey and wish me luck and strength too. I will keep you posted on how I’m doing. But if you’ve got any suggestions or ideas, please do share them with me!

Still Not Feeling Like Myself

It’s been a while since I’ve posted anything relatively useful. I haven’t felt like myself in a long while now. What was assumed was vertigo resulted in not being vertigo. My test results came back normal. The MRI, the blood work, everything was normal. So, why do I still feel dizzy every single day? Why am I getting the worst headaches of my life still and why do I wake up feeling as if someone has knocked the wind right out of me? 

My doctor thinks the symptoms I described are related to migraine. He’s put me on migraine relief pills for a month and hopes they’ll help resolve whatever issues I’m having. I’ve been taking the pills now for two weeks and don’t see much difference in my symptoms. But after speaking to him earlier this week, he’s asked me to continue taking them and see how I feel in another week or so. 

I haven’t been to work in nearly three months and now I’m not sure I want to return after being off so long. I feel like it would be so awkward going back and dealing with all the questions from colleagues on what happened to me and where I’ve been. But on the flip side, I’m so bored out of my head being at home and am eagerly waiting to get better, so that I can’t get back to my work life. 

I enjoy working. I enjoy the crazy deadlines and hectic schedules. I enjoy out and about and focused. These days, my mind is so blurred. I’m miserable being home all day without being able to go out and about without someone being with me. I was never the dependent type. I’ve always enjoyed my independence and free-will to do what I wanted, when I wanted. But with this illness, all of that has changed. If I need to go somewhere, I either have to beg my neighbor to come with me or wait for my husband to get home from work. I don’t enjoy being a burden on people, even if they’re loved ones. 

Some rare days like Monday, I wake up feeling normal and the world doesn’t spin around me. So, I try to take advantage of the sensation of normalcy and get as much done as I can, like cooking or house work. But then other days, like yesterday, I waste the whole day in bed sleeping or tossing and turning because the night before I was so dizzy that I couldn’t keep my eyes closed for more than a few seconds at a time without being feeling like I was going to throw up. 

And if all of this wasn’t enough, the guilt of being on employment insurance and barely making ends meet causes me more anxiety. D is going to India later this month for his cousins wedding and I’m so sick thinking about how I’m going to provide for Ni while he’s away for three weeks. My mother has offered to come stay with us and help out but the financial part of it makes me sick to my stomach. 

I’m hoping these symptoms go away soon. I want my life back. I want to be independent again and provide for my family as I was before all this started. Everyday I rise hoping that I’m not feeling the way I was the day before and can finally ask my doctor to release me and let me go back to work. I just want my life to return to normal. 

a stubborn desire…

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