Sunday, November 13, 2011

Goa Going Going…… Gone


Over the last few weeks, Mumbaikars have been blessed with a fair amount of long weekends. And as anyone who has been worn thin by Q2, we decided to pack our bags & take off of for Goa. Now being Goa aficionados, we always get the ‘Where do we go in Goa/What are the fun things to do in Goa’  calls pre-getaway or during the holiday.

So here is my three day guide to Goa…. but given that once you hit the shore you may just realize beer & breeze is all you need! Nonetheless here is s quick what to/where to guide.

If you want action, then North Goa is where its at. If you are more the  laid back kind then without a doubt South Goa is where you should be. Having your own transportation,it is an added advantage getting from the North to the South.

To start your stay in North, a great way to begin your holiday is at Café Lila’s on Baga Creek (they are open only during the Oct –March season & they are closed on Tuesdays – we learnt that the hard way). This lovely whitewashed café is run by a German husband and wife pair & the menu has a completely European feel to it. There is lots to choose from & my personal favorites  - the ham & cheese croissant(buttery heaven) and the cheese omelets.  Highly recommend you try the seasonal fruit milkshakes & pastries. Next door is Poco Loco which is attached to the Royal Goan Beach Club. They too have an excellent breakfast & if you are looking at a hearty meal to take you through to a very very late lunch go for the English Breakfast. Must try the brownies here…best brownies in Goa! If you are craving for great Mexican, come back for dinner. Pretty close to the real thing.

Seafood.jpgTime for sun and the surf… amble across the bridge & head to two of the most famous beach shacks on Baga Beach, St. Anthony’s and/or Brittos. You can actually spend the day sipping chilled beer & gorging on everything from butter garlic prawns & squid to rechiado masala kingfish and of course the defacto fish curry rice.

Pancakes.jpgWalk up to Siquerim beach, which is past Calangute (stop by at Souza Lobo for their coconut pancake… I swear it’s a little bit of the legal kind of ecstay), past Candolim & reach the grounded ship River Princess. That’s a nice little quiet patch just before you hit Aguada.

If you are in South Goa & looking for solitude, Colva tends to get a little crowded, but head further South towards  Utorda, Arrossim, Benalium all the way to Varca.  The beaches here are sylvan, uncrowded & trust me when I say the bluest of the blue skies.  If you are in Goa South Goa Beacheson a Sunday & time (and the pocket permits), spend the day at the Alila Diwa. Their Sunday brunch & infinity pool set amidst the green fields framed by the palm trees on the oceans edge is worth every penny you pay. There’s nothing like watching the sunset over a picture perfect setting. Grab dinner at Martin’s corner while you are in the vicinity.

And for another spectacular sun setting head to Zee Bop or the more low key Johncy’s on the water’s edge. Its breathtaking watching the sun a blazing ball of gold tingeing the sky into hues of pink & purple,  finally plunging into inky blackness.

Now breakfast in South Goa means making your way to Margao market a heading straight to San Pedro’s. A bakery that also serves traditional Goan treats like Rissois, Coconut stuffed Sanas, Poi, Bol & the list goes on.

Last & definitely not the least, for a cosy, homely meal drive up Fernando’s Nostalgia in Raia. Off the main Old Goa road, this slice of the old world is set in the old Portuguese house of Maggie. While you wait for your order of Caldeen, Pork Vindaloo, Prawn Balchao & Beef Chilly Fry to come up, take a walk thBol San Rival (2)rough the beautiful old house which is a treasure trove of heirlooms from Macau & Portugal. For dessert do not (I mean it) miss the the Bol San Rival which means Cake without any rival. This melt in you mouth cake made of almond meal, egg white, sugar & butter are a perfect end to a perfect meal.

On the off chance, if you still have sometime to spare, take a drive down to Shakhari Spice farm for a biology class in the spices, fruits & veggies from Goa & end it with an organic Goan meal. Did I mention you also get a shot of in-house feni? The fire water that is feni does have a way of vetting the appetite. Or if you like the more prayerful side of things, head to Bom Jesus.

There’s plenty more you can do in Goa. Watch this space for more.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Strawberries & Cream…& Ecstasy


Like all weekends this too has been one of indulgences (more like excesses) but whose to quibble right? So time it was to be disciplined..

And what better way then to add fresh citrusy fruit to your Sunday dessert. The easiest dessert in the world has to be Strawberries & Cream… sigh. All you need to do is beat fresh cream (100-120ml )into soft peaks, add about about a tablespoon and half of castor sugar. Don’t add the sugar right at the start because the sugar starts releasing water and then you won’t have the pretty peaks.

Make sure you you wash & clean the strawberries well. Destalk & quarter them. If you like you can always add a dash of balsamic vinegar.

Now to finish this dish and if you are lucky and have a few macaroons round the house (I use the Warden’s macaroons & they are excellent), crush a few at the bottom of a the bowl drop the chunky strawberries over, dollop the fresh cream & for the finale, just drizzle the snowy macaroons on the top.  The ecstasy of digging into tart strawberries, light decadent peaks of cream & the crunch of the macaroons is something that will want you coming back for more.Strawberries & Cream

And if you really want to still indulge, go all hog, sip a glass of champagne with it. Who said you only needed to have strawberries & cream court side!


* Photo credit

Monday, January 3, 2011

SpotMyGadget… Jai Ho



So the other day, I decided it was time to get out there & get with the times, get myself a new laptop & be done with the one I was using (an Acer that the British brought over… seriously. That’s the only explanation for that hunkering piece of technology).

I did what most people who have access to the internet do… I googled. Now doing research on the internet can be fun… if you are a gadget geek, and that I assure you I am not. So sifting through pages of jargon and technical specifications didn’t really help much. Then I tried the news boards and that did help me get some kind of shortlist in place but I am not a geek!!!! Was still at sea when I cam across this little treasure.

The guys who built the site -  SpotMyGadget completely get my vote. You actually have to get on it yourself to believe how easy it is to buy a gadget. Currently they feature laptops, digital cameras and displays. It takes all the technical specifications you get on regular sites and converts them into end user questions e.g. for laptops it actually asks you questions if you will use it while travelling or sitting at a desk, will use it SMG logo primarily for regular office documents & surfing or high end data crunching etc. And in a few easy clicks you actually get the top 3 laptops suiting your specifications! So you don’t have to worry about all the jargon,  the site does all the heavy lifting of the specs to finally come up with just what you need.

The User Interface & phraseology is as simple as it gets and its like really speaking with the friendly neighbourhood geek, with no confusing terminology thrown in.

Can’t wait to see what other fun gadgets they will come up with. Here’s to the think tank at SpotMyGadget! Kudos!

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