Ode To Abu

Monday, 8 April 2013

G for Grand Sweets & Snacks (GSS)


This blog post is part of the A to Z Challenge. This challenge involves writing a blog post on any topic/theme in the order of the alphabets from A-Z. The blog posts have to be written each day through the entire month of April, excluding Sundays.

My chosen theme is the city of Chennai, its happenings, events, and my memories and experiences connected with this place.
Thirty plus. That's how old this shop is. Quite naturally, it has evolved over the decades. Grands Sweets is the city's best known and one of the first shops of its kind. Started as a sweets and savouries (purely South Indian items) outlet operating out of a traditional home in Chennai, with a huge yard and lots of trees in a residential neighbourhood, it has many branches across the city now with modern interiors, and some have added restaurants into the premises.

There would not be a typical South Indian Brahmin family that has not haunted this place, whether a local or a visitor to the city. Their sweets, savouries, podis* and pickles are legendary and have traversed continents, seas and shores. Their free prasadam** that is distributed every day is so delicious that there is a queue of people who come by just for that. Grand Sweets takes great pride in ensuring all their sweets are made with pure ghee (clarified butter) and have long been a stamp for quality, hygiene and consistency in their products. 

The recent split within the family has been a source of great sadness for many who associate Grand Sweets with Chennai and vice versa. Quite naturally, the many branches that mushroomed nearly overnight do not convey the same homely touch, taste, ambience (possibly the swanky glass interiors and polished flooring are the culprits!). They seem to be doing well, however, with people still thronging to their numerous outlets for the sheer brand status, despite the higher pricing.
#atozchallenge
I recently visited one of the restaurants and ordered a simple meal of roti (dry flat bread), kadai vegetable subzi (stir-fried spicy mixed vegetable curry), and dal (lentil stew) - primarily North Indian staple dishes. Wasn't sure I had chosen wisely from the menu considering it is a pure South Indian eatery until I had a bite, or two, and then some more. It was simply delicious. The menu card is a thick bound paper book that reminded me of high school drawing books. It even had pencil sketches of images portraying Indian kitchens of the good old days. The meal and the service was a more than satisfactory experience. 
#atozchallenge
One looks forward to more dining experiences to sample their variety fare. This is a newer side to their quick tiffin items that continue to be as popular in the original premises at Adyar.

I guess it is better to have less expectations of everything in life. One discovers (and in some cases, rediscovers) and enjoys everything that much more. That's the trick to being constantly amazed :-)

*podis - spiced powders
**prasadam - 1st offering of food to the Divine, making it auspicious 

29 comments:

  1. Very interesting blog post. I have never been to India, so I am enjoying hearing about all the sights and sounds.

    Visiting from A to Z Blog Challenge.

    SiouxsiesMusings

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    1. Thank you so much for stopping by, Susan :) Hope you get to visit India sometime soon.

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  2. Hello! I finally got a chance to come visit your blog. Loved your profile about you section. Have a great week!

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    1. Hi Jamie, thanks so much for coming by :)

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  3. I hate the loss of a fave restaurant-- branches are never the same.

    Damyanti @Daily(w)rite
    Co-host, A to Z Challenge 2013

    Twitter: @AprilA2Z
    #atozchallenge
    Read more AZ blogs here

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    1. Good to see you here, Damyanti, thanks much for stopping by :)

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  4. Ah Grand Sweets eh? Hehe.... :) Superb

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    1. A foodie like me can't help herself! :D

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  5. True. I have also heard about GSS. Since now I am in Chennai definitely would pay a visit.
    Keep Posting and I would follow your blog as my guide for Chennai. Thanks.

    Fellow participant
    Salvwi Prasad

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    1. Hello Salvwi Prasad, thanks for dropping by, fellow participant! And thank you, lots to discover in the city. You're sure to have fun :)

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  6. I am a Keralite residing in Middle East now. And reading this made me miss my hometown and sweets. Great post! :)

    - A fellow blogger from A to Z!

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    1. Thank you fellow challenger! I'm sure its just a matter of time before GSS opens in the ME!

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  7. Mmmmm sounds like a delicious meal!

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    1. Totally is, Talya! You must try it sometime :)

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  8. I've never been to India. Thanks for a sneak peek. :)
    If you have a chance to stop by, I'm at: http://www.kmnbooks.com/karens-shenanigans/ :)

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    1. Hi Karen, do visit India, it will be unforgettable experience, that much is guaranteed! :) Thanks much for stopping by.

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  9. Now I'm hungry!! Indian sweets are amazing. Two favorites from our local Indian restaurant are bananas in lemon, salt, and pepper, and some kind of carrot kulfi. And then there's rice pudding. I'm not a big fan of gulab jamun, but I've tasted a few exceptional varieties.

    I was in India in 1989 as a shoestring traveler, so I didn't get to eat really good food there, alas! But I enjoy reading about it!

    Stopping by from the A to Z: www.marie-everydaymiracle.blogspot.com.

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    1. Wow Marie...that's amazing that you have tried a variety of Indian sweets :)

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  10. I enjoyed this post. I visited India in 2005, but unfortunately didn't get to Chennai.

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    1. There's always another time, Carol :)

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  11. Reading about GSS brings back the memories of the mouth watering "Athirasam" I had at GSS way back in 1992. Havent tasted one as good as theirs at any other sweet shop. It was such a homely little place then.

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    1. Indeed, its the homely touch that's missing now. The original outlet remains largely unchanged though, so you could still go there next time you're in town :)

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    2. In fact, trips to CBE are always preceded by the mandatory visit to GSS first to pick up Athirasam for folks there!!

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  12. I used to haunt their place in Adyar from the time they opened. Eager wait to get free samples of curd rice, sambar rice while my order was being processed.Not any longer . After the split, the whole place seems to have fallen apart. Sad..

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    1. Pepper rice was my favourite! Aren't they still doing the free samples...thought they were?

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  13. Yummyyy .. its the Grand sweets
    I love their cheedai
    Nice post!

    Keep smiling,
    Lakshmi

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    1. Hi5 Lakshmi...cheedai was my fave too :D

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  14. Pencil sketches in the menu would probably be reason enough for me to love this restaurant... ;-)
    Unless there was nothing vegan, of course. Then I'd be at a lost as to what to eat.

    I love your blog.

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  15. Very nice blog.
    Vaango is one of the prominent South Indian restaurant across the country with luscious food and quick, efficient and friendly customer service. Visit Vaango and enjoy eating vegetarian South Indian snacks.

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