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Gloria Jean's the new name for coffee

The gorgeous waft of freshly ground coffee welcomes you as you make your way into Dhaka's newest eatery. This is one of the main reasons why Moksina Haque, a university student, and her friends decided to spend their precious free hours between classes at Gloria Jean's Coffee Bangladesh.

This international franchise hit the streets of Dhaka and laid out its delicious hot and cold milk and coffee beverages to please the palates of the eager coffee lovers of Dhaka city.

The café is a global specialist coffee company in the truest sense, having travelled from one end of the globe to the other. It started in the USA but has been owned by Australian businessmen for the past 16 years. At present Gloria Jean's operates in 40 countries, Bangladesh included.

The brand is not only about quality; Gloria Jean's preaches love and respect as its core brand element. This is all too evident if you step into their Gulshan 1 outlet. Every employee, be it the doormen or the security staff and of course the servers, are dedicated and courteous. Captain M E Sobhan, a retired mariner gives the service of the place a generous 5 out of 5. “They have trained the employees very well. Everybody is helpful and attentive,” he states.

The interior of the coffee house also deserves a few words of appreciation. From the seating to the lighting, Gloria Jean's exudes a sense of 'intimacy'. You can spend time with your friends or family here but at the same time can occupy a corner to consume your caffeine and pore over your newspaper in peace. A small open seating space at the back of the outlet also beckons lone coffee enthusiasts looking for a place to relax and unwind.

But since it's an eatery, at the end of the day the taste and quality of their food is what matters most. Rafsan, another university student, asserts that he is more than satisfied with the drinks' quality. “Gloria Jean's is quite impressive compared to other Dhaka coffee places,” he says, “The pricing is also justified since this is international standard coffee.”

The beverages of the chain consist of two main lines, hot beverages and cold 'chillers'. There is also a wide range of milk-based, decaffeinated beverages suitable for children.

In terms of food, Moksina recommends their meatloaf sandwiches but says the spaghetti could do with a little more flavour.
If you are yet to sample Dhaka's favourite new hotspot, step into the spacious and comfortable outlet of Gloria Jeans' in Gulshan 1 and find out what the hype is all about!

By Raisaa Tashnova
Photo: Sazzad Ibne Sayed


When East met South

The classic response of a Bangali when asked about South Indian food.

The plethora of eateries selling dosas across South Calcutta had a lot to do with this.

Today, dosa has spread wings and are available from friendly neighbourhood carts, reinforcing the “idlidosa” paradigm.

Beyond that, South Indian cuisine has always been a black box.

In fact, the country-trotting Bangali has always complained about food when visiting the “South”, as they refer to the nether part of India.

Today, thanks to the efforts of a few enterprising people, we have got to know appam, mutton stew, chicken 65 et al.

And that is the subject of much consternation.

Aren't all South Indians supposed to be vegetarians? What's with this meat and fish?

So, when my wife wanted to take my in-laws to a South Indian lunch, the first thing they said was “Vegetarian?”

Then they said, “Idlidosa?”

All bases covered, we went to Banana Leaf, a modern version of the classic South Indian eatery in Lake Market.

Seeing a three-page long menu, my in-laws staggered at the variety of “idlidosa” on offer.

Not only was there dosa, there were about twenty kinds of them. Rawa, masala, cheese, onion, paper, adai, podi. All kinds of sobriquets.

Same with idlis. Steamed, fried, mini, with sambhar, molgapodi.

The mind boggled.

They gracefully left the ordering to us, the more seasoned ones.

We got down to auththapam platter to start with.

The FIL wanted the onion cheese dosa. Actually, we asked him if he wanted that. He merely said yes.

The MIL wanted to be safer and ordered a classic masala dosa.

My wife wanted a paper dosa. One of those supposedly paper thin ones.

I had a podi masala dosa and a plate of molgapodiidli. Both intensely spicy.

My mother decided to take some from everybody and for herself ordered a kesari. A semolina and saffron pudding. She is very capable of eating only dessert for a meal.

In fact, we all ordered kesari.

The utthapam platter had five small discs. One topped with cheese, like a pizza, the other with tomatoes, yet another with onion and one with potatoes. The last one had podi masala on it.

Podi is this spice mix unique to South India. Possibly every family has their version. The restaurant version is usually reddish brown in colour and heavy on red chilies.

The “idlidosa” gang went ahead and finished the various dosas and utthapams.

The kesari was a nice, soft, warm, semi sweet counterpoint to the spicy dosas.

And the buttermilk that I ordered to go with my dosa never arrived.

At the end of it, the FIL summed it up in one pith statement, “Bhaloi chhilo” (It was good).

And thus, East met South as well.

Photo: Kaniska Chakraborty


Dressing up your table

Gone are the days when a plain, flat table could be used for dining at a party. These days, being creative with your dining table adds a lot of value to the party itself. And there are many simple, inexpensive and yet creative ways to decorate your table.

First, you need to dress up your table accordingly. Think over your party theme and see if you can match the table cover with it. For example, elegant dining calls for fine, white linens whilst a birthday party can have a vibrant, upbeat and colourful one. A jar full of candies too, makes the atmosphere vibrant and joyous.

A tablecloth is exactly that though -- just a cover. And there is ample room to accessorise. Candles are a good way to add a feel-good vibe to your table. Place candles of different heights at the centre of your table, with the tallest candle at the centre and smaller candles flanking that. See if you can place a mirror under the candles to spread the glow. Or, you might want to place a traditional hurricane lantern at the centre. The game of light and shade is important. If you seek a calm romantic setting, or are planning a Halloween party, candles and lamps may be your only luminous objects.

Balloons, too, can be used for your dinging table setting, and they can be used in a wide variety of parties with variations in size, design and colour. You may have a few stray ones near your dining table or buffet table.

You can also decorate your table by borrowing from nature. Petals may be laid on the table, or you might want to put a flower vase at the centre. Whatever you put on the table, make sure they are small enough for guests to be able to look at each other and converse freely throughout the meal.

And speaking of borrowing, take a walk around the house to look for suitable showpieces that go with the theme and you can easily use for the dining table.

Last but not least, the notion of decorating your table is one that should be on your mind when you are out shopping. This will allow you to gradually have your own unique little collection of table covers, show pieces, napkins, et al. And decorating the table won't be a problem when you are hosting.

By M H Haider
Photo: Sazzad Ibne Sayed
Table decor: Sabina Ameen


Care for your Rabbits


Hello Rabbit lovers!! Welcome to our new write-up on rabbits starting from this issue. Rabbits may be easy to love, but they're not quite as easy to care for. These lovable, social animals are wonderful companions for people who take the time to learn about their needs. Though providing care for these adorable creatures isn't difficult, rabbits have a long lifespan -- more than 10 years -- and many specific care requirements. Anyone considering adding a rabbit to their family should carefully read books and discuss the care issues with those people who have been rearing rabbits for a long time before making a decision. Here are some quick tips to get you started:

Housing for a domestic Rabbit
Every rabbit owner should follow the housing requirement of a rabbit. They should know that the safest place for a rabbit to live is indoors. Rabbits should never be kept outdoors! Domestic rabbits are different from their wild relatives -- they do not tolerate extreme humidity or temperatures well, especially in the hot summer months. Even in a safe enclosure, rabbits are at risk from predators. Merely the sight or sound of a nearby vehicle or the generator of your house can cause rabbits so much stress that they may suffer a heart attack and literally die of fear.

First decide whether your beloved rabbits will enjoy a caged or free-to-roam life. Whether you decide to let your rabbit roam free in your entire home or just in a limited area, it is important that you make everything rabbit-safe. One little bunny can easily find a whole lot of trouble in an average home. Because rabbits like to chew, make sure that all electrical cords are out of reach and outlets are covered. Chewing through a plugged-in cord can result in severe injury or even death. Their chewing can also result in poisoning if the wrong objects are left in the open or in unlocked low cabinets. Aside from obvious toxins like insecticides, rodenticides, and cleaning supplies, be aware that common plants such as aloe, azalea, Calla lily, Lily of the Valley, philodendron, and assorted plant bulbs can be poisonous to rabbits.

If kept in a cage, rabbits need a lot of room to easily move around. A rabbit's cage should be a minimum of five times the size of the rabbit. Your rabbit should be able to completely stretch out in his cage and stand up on his hind legs without bumping his head on the top of the cage. Additionally, cages with wire flooring are hard on rabbits' feet, which do not have protective pads like those of dogs and cats. If you place your rabbit in a wire cage, be sure to layer the floor with cardboard or other material. Place a cardboard box or "rabbit condo" in the cage so the bunny has a comfortable place to hide, and respect your animal's need for quiet time. Rabbits usually sleep during the day and night, becoming playful at dawn and dusk.

When rabbits are kept in a cage, they need to be let out for several hours each day for exercise. Aside from running and jumping, rabbits also enjoy exploring their surroundings. This is an ideal time to play and interact with your rabbit. Make sure that he has a safe area to play and explore.

Bunny Bathrooms
Just like cats, rabbits can easily learn to use a litter box. Place a litter box in the cage to encourage this behaviour. If your rabbit roams freely through multiple rooms of your home, it's a good idea to have litter boxes in several places. Many rabbits enjoy spending time relaxing in their litter box, so make sure that it is of ample size. For bedding (litter), stay away from cedar or other wood shavings, which may cause liver damage or trigger allergic reactions in rabbits. Also avoid clumping or dusty kitty litters, which can cause serious health problems if eaten. Instead, stick with organic litters made of paper, wood pulp, or citrus. Newspaper can work too, but may not be as absorbent. Be sure to put fresh hay in the litter box daily, as many rabbits like to have a snack while sitting in their litter box.

A Balanced Diet
Rabbits have complex digestive systems, so it's very important that they receive a proper diet. Many health problems in rabbits are caused by foods that are incompatible with their digestive physiology. A basic rabbit diet should consist of the following foods:

Rabbits need hay. Rabbits should have access to a constant supply of this hay, which aids their digestive systems and provides the necessary fiber to help prevent health problems such as hair balls, diarrhea, and obesity. Alfalfa hay, on the other hand, should only be given to adult rabbits in very limited quantities, if at all, because it's high in protein, calcium, and calories.

In addition to hay, the basic diet of an adult rabbit should consist of leafy, dark green vegetables such as romaine and leaf lettuces, parsley, cilantro, collard greens, arugula, escarole, endive, dandelion greens, and others. Variety is important, so feed your rabbit three different vegetables at a time. When introducing new veggies to a rabbit's diet, try just one at a time and keep quantities limited.

Fruits and Treats
While hay and vegetables are the basis of a healthy diet, rabbits also enjoy treats. Cartoons and other fictional portrayals of rabbits would lead us to believe that carrots are the basis of a healthy rabbit diet. Many rabbits enjoy carrots, but they are a starchy vegetable and should only be given sparingly as a treat. Other treats your rabbit might enjoy are apples (without stems or seeds), blueberries, papaya, strawberries, pears, peaches, plums, or melon. Extra-sugary fruits like bananas, grapes, and raisins are good too, but should be given on a more limited basis.

Foods to Avoid
With such sensitive digestive systems, there are a number of foods that rabbits should avoid eating. These include iceberg lettuce, tomatoes, cabbage, corn, beans, peas, potatoes, beets, onions, rhubarb, bamboo, seeds, grains, and many others. Also, don't feed your rabbit chocolate, candy, anything moldy, or most human foods. If you are not sure about a certain food, ask your local veterinarian.

If you choose to make pellets a part of your rabbit's diet, it is best to use them as a supplement to the dark green, leafy vegetables, not as a substitute. These pellets should only be given in small quantities (1/8 -1/4 cup per five pounds of body weight per day, spread out over two daily feedings). Many brands of rabbit feed contain seeds, corn, and other foods that are too high in calories to be the basis for a healthy rabbit's diet.

Rabbits should always have an ample supply of fresh water available. Be sure to change your rabbit's water at least once each day. Water can be kept in a sipper bottle or bowl. If you use a sipper bottle, watch new rabbits to make sure they know how to use the bottles, and clean bottles daily so the tubes don't get clogged. If you use a bowl, make sure that the bowl is heavy enough to avoid tipping and spilling.

Chew on This
Chewing is part of a rabbit's natural behavior, but it doesn't have to be destructive. To keep rabbits active and amused, you may want to put untreated wood blocks or cardboard in their cages. Bowls, balls, and rings made of willow wood are big hits with many rabbits and can be purchased online or in specialty stores. You can also use paper-towel rolls, toilet-paper rolls, and other chewable cardboard materials that can be tossed in the trash once they've served their purpose. Avoid objects with sharp edges, loose parts, or soft rubber that rabbits could chew into pieces and swallow.

Handle With Care
Rabbits are fragile animals that must be handled carefully. Their bones are so delicate that the muscles in their powerful hind legs can easily overcome the strength of their skeletons. As a result, if not properly restrained, struggling rabbits can break their own spines.

To pick up your rabbit, place one hand underneath the front of the rabbit and the other hand underneath his back side, lifting him carefully with both hands and bringing him against your body. Never let a rabbit's body hang free, never lift by the stomach, and never pick a rabbit up by his ears.

Don't forget that rabbits are prey animals and many will not enjoy being picked up. Be sure to go slowly with your rabbit and practice. Let your rabbit get accustomed to being handled.

Rabbits groom each other around the eyes, ears, top of the nose, top of the head, and down the back, so they'll enjoy it if you pet them on their heads. Like any animal, each rabbit will have an individual preference about where he likes to be touched. Rabbits lack the ability to vomit or cough up hairballs like cats, so try to remove loose fur when you have the opportunity to do so. Simply petting or brushing your rabbit for a few minutes each day should remove most of the excess fur. Some rabbit breeds, such as angoras, have extra grooming needs because of their distinctive coats.

Fix That Bunny
Spaying or neutering your rabbit is very important. Aside from preventing unwanted litters of kits, spaying or neutering has health and behaviour benefits. Neutering males eliminates the risk of testicular cancer and can reduce aggression and territory-marking behaviours. Female rabbits have extremely high rates of reproductive cancers as they get older, but spaying them can eliminate those potential problems. You can contact your local vet in this regard.

Rabbit Companions
Rabbits are social animals and most will be much happier as a part of a pair or trio than on their own. If you don't have a rabbit yet, consider adopting a bonded pair instead of a single rabbit. If you already have a rabbit, you should consider adding another one to the family. Local rabbit groups can usually find a good match for your rabbit and help with the introduction and bonding process.

When thinking about adding a rabbit, please remember that rabbits are not toys. Rabbits are complex creaturessocially, psychologically, and physiologically. They require a great deal of special care and supervision. If you make the decision to add rabbits to your family, you may buy from a pet shop or friends but before taking a new rabbit to your home you should discuss and have a routine check with your local vets.


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