Casa Picola in Bangalore is one of my favourite places to eat. When I lived there, I wouldn’t miss any opportunity to eat there. Not only did they make awesome food, from pastas, burgers, steaks and desserts, plus their prices were easy on the pockets of a badly paid management trainee. I loved the casual atmosphere of the restaurants (they have a few branches and are now even in chennai i am told)- people would generally hang around and it wasn’t uncommon to see someone strumming a guitar or peals of loud laughter from large groups of people. I think casa picola attracted the kind of people that I wanted to be like- kind of “alternate career” seekers…not the boring 9-5 types– aspiring actors, advertisement professionals, singers, musicians, etc. For a just turned 21, first time employed person, these people were the ultimate in cool… of course I didn’t turn out to be anything like anyone I saw there, my love for their food continues tho, and I always find time to drag whoever I am with to eat there when I visit Bangalore.
They make a lovely cold chicken macaroni salad. When I stopped eating non vegetarian food, I began to have the veggie version of the same thing. It’s a bowlful of macaroni with vegetables, doused in tomato sauce and mayonnaise….described this way I am sure it sounds gross, but you have to have it to know the taste…its addictive!! Though it’s a salad, it is a meal in itself as it is served with toasted and buttered garlic bread. I doubt if anyone can eat anything else after a full bowl of this salad!!
I tried to make this healthier by omitting the mayonnaise, and making a simple dressing of extra virgin olive oil, basil and tomato sauce. I also find that tossing a salad and dressing is easier in a closed plastic container. It ensures everything blends well and is also way less messy. All you have to do is put in all the ingredients, snap the lid on and gently swirl till mixed. Works best with a large round container. This salad makes for a full meal with carbs and vegetables, and can be had warm or cold. We didn’t have garlic bread, but this was great on its own.
Other pasta dishes on Escapades:
Macaroni Salad (for 2 servings)
1 ½ c cooked macaroni (about 2/3 of a cup of elbow macaroni, cooked al dente in salted boiling water)
½ c vegetables of your choice (I used diced carrot and green peas) nuked with a little water for 2 minutes in the microwave oven
½ c tomatoes, cubed
2/3 c cucumber, peeled, deseeded and diced
1 T basil leaves, torn
1 T Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 T tomato ketchup / sauce
Salt and pepper to taste
1 T sliced green olives
1 t capers
In a large plastic container with a lid, place the olive oil, salt, pepper, torn basil leaves and tomato ketchup and whisk with a fork. Add all the remaining ingredients, close the lid on tight and gently swirl the container a few times to toss/mix well. Open the lid and check, mix a little more to incorporate well. Serve into a bowl and enjoy.