Über Desi

Keeping it real, desi ishtyle

Florida and Michigan delegates to count, with a slight twist

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The Democratic National Committee (DNC) has voted to seated Michigan and Florida at the DNC convention, but each delegate would only count for half a vote. In Michigan, Clinton got 69 and Obama 59 delegates and in Florida, gave Clinton 105 pledged delegates to 67 for Obama. The number needed to earn the Democratic presidential nomination was changed from 2,026 to 2,118. After this ruling Obama effectively needs at least another 130 delegates to clinch the party nod. [link]

Jhatpat Restaurant Review: Memories of India – part 2, Lake Mary

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Submitted by author.

Restaurant Name: Memories of India – part 2 (yes, there is a Memories of India, the original)
Restaurant Address: 3895 Lake Emma Rd, Lake Mary , FL 32746
Restaurant Phone: (407) 804-0920

1. What kind of meal did you have?
Thali Lunch. They do offer regular dinner also.
2. What kind of food is it?
Mostly North Indian/Pakistani fare. Lunch Thali comes with option A (regular dish with white rice, raita, half naan, papad, chutney and pickle) and option B (option A + samosa). Mango ice cream free at end of meal.
3. What did you eat and drink?
Navratan Korma thali (option A). Wife had Palak Paneer thali (option A).
4. How is the ambience, decor and service?
Ambience is low-brow. Decor typical Indian restaurant – kitschy and mismatched. Service was surprisingly good. The waiter even jokingly gently chided me for ordering medium instead of hot.
5. What can you get to drink?
Soft drinks, sweet tea, wine, beer, lassi, chai, coffee.
6. What other dishes would you recommend? Any other selling point – music/dance?
Lamb bhuna, dal thadka. They advertise a champagne lunch on Sundays (don’t ask me what it means).
7. Is vegetarian friendly?
4 of 10 items in lunch menu were vegetarian. I would say mostly non-veg but sufficient choices for veggies.
8. Cost?
Reasonable. Of course, vegetarian items are cheaper than non-vegetarian.
9. Eat there again yourself?
10. Would you recommend to friends?

Other comments (if any):
Parking is easy but lot is hard to exit especially at lunch time. Both Memories of India restaurants have consistently featured among the top restaurants in Central Florida consistently. No frills but food is reliably good and reasonably priced (at least for lunch). Mostly frequented by office-goers for lunch.

A Twenty20 tournament in the US – part 2

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Part 2 – The facilities and the atmosphere

The CCUSA pavilion and grandstand in Florida

The CCUSA facility in South Florida is located about 30 minutes to the North of Miami. The ground is round in shape. If you’ve been to a cricket match in the US, you probably know most of them are played on mat tracks. The CCUSA facility in Florida boasts of a test quality wicket with an outfield to boot. CCUSA also goes through a great deal of effort to maintain this wicket as was evident during the rain storm. The wicket was well protected in a couple of minutes by the ground staff. Two elevated stands around the ground which can be hoisted and lowered on will, for the video cameras covering the match live.

As mentioned in my previous post, there are a couple of seating options – the grandstands (second from left above) for $20 and general admission for $10. If you ever get a chance to go to this stadium, I would highly recommend the grandstands. They’re built to be well shaded irrespective of the time of the day. In the sweltering South Florida heat, unless burning in the sun is your thing, the grandstands provide the necessary protection with comfortable single person seats. General admission means seating out in the open. Sure the tournament organizers provided a few strategically placed tents but for an extra $10, I’d take the grandstands any day. There is a huge maidan (open ground) nearby where vendors sell food and miscellaneous ware with enough space to hold thousands for concerts and tailgating.

Carribean flavor to the tournament

There is an air-conditioned pavilion (leftmost pictured above) accessible to players, staff, VIPs and media. Live commentary is piped throughout the stadium during matches. By my estimates, the grandstand could hold a crowd of up to 5000 people along with the thousands more that can avail of the general seating area. The crowd is mainly a mixture of expatriate South Asians and Carribeans with the occasional Aussie or Englander thrown in. The stadium was so raucous especially during the second match featuring the Windies, that announcements were made for them to calm down. Palm trees swaying in the breeze, live musical instruments, women dressed in carnival gear, free flowing alcohol, party atmosphere – the entire experience had a distinctly Carribean flavor to it.

Part 1 – The tournament

Coming soon:
Part 3 – Über Desi behind the scenes – how we briefly went behind the scenes. Featuring 2 legendary cricketers including an extremely controversial former captain of India and also a former Bollywood actress.

Photo slide show of the entire coverage. [Über Desi on Flickr]

Some personal photos including the ones with players are also up on my personal Flickr account.

A Twenty20 tournament in the US – part 1

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This is part one of a three part series covering the MAQ T-20 international cricket tournament, a Twenty20 cricket tournament held near Miami, Florida, USA.

Part 1 – The tournament

This tournament was the first of its kind anywhere in the US – the MAQ T-20 cricket tournament organized near Miami, Florida by the Cricket Council of USA, featured a host of erstwhile one day international and test cricket stars.

The tournament started on a Friday but we were unable to go there until Saturday. The first game on Saturday was scheduled for a 11am start time and we reached the ground 10 minutes fashionably late – desi ishtyle, thanks to incorrect directions courtesy Google Maps. On arrival we parked what seemed to be a mile away from the stadium. Parking was $5 and we saw a desi arguing with the parking attendants to point him to a free parking lot. We were at the right place. The entrance fee was $20/person for the grand stands (pictured top right) and $10/person for the regular stands. Reasonable you would think. Not us. After paying record gas prices driving 3.5 hours, either way, we were too cheap (and too broke) to spend even that much. Instead, we arranged for press passes, that would enable us not only to get in 100% free – desi ishtyle but also unrestricted access to the facility, the players and the field.

Couple of games in progress

The tournament had 4 teams – West Indies, Pakistan, Canada and World XI (formerly India). The first game of the day was a matchup between Pakistan and Canada. Now, the Pakistan team headed by Javed Miandad had a host of test/ODI players. Canada on the other hand was comprised of a motley crew of mostly South Asian expatriates. Seems like a total mismatch, correct? Pakistan did what they often do against inferior sides. The final score – Canada beats Pakistan by 5 wickets. Pakistan plodded their way to 106-7 in 20 overs which was easily overhauled by Canada 109-5 in 19 overs. Pakistan by virtue of having lost the previous day to West Indies was eliminated from the finals with this loss. [Pakistan-Canada scores]

The second game seemed even more of a mismatch – a World XI comprising of relative unknowns headed by controversial former Indian captain Mohammad Azharuddin up against a West Indian team headed by former captain Richie Richardson heading a host of former ODI and test players. This match was curtailed by rain and the World XI who batted first ended up with a score of 100-5 in 15 overs. The West Indian inning was cut short by rain too and at 58-1 in 8.1 overs, the West Indians were declared winners. The Duckworth-Lewis law sucks anywhere in the world. [West Indies-World XI scores]

I was unable to stay for the finals on Sunday but the West Indians were the champions of this tournament beating Canada comfortably in the finals. While the tournament was dominated by the Windies, the surprise team was definitely Canada. [Champtionship game scores]

Coming soon:
Part 2 – The facilities
Part 3 – Über Desi behind the scenes

Photo slide show of the entire coverage. [Über Desi on Flickr]

Some personal photos including the ones with players are also up on my personal Flickr account.

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