Monday, June 28, 2010
Friday, February 12, 2010
Some of our friends had told us about a place called Literati near Baga at North Goa. We were told that it was a cafe and a bookshop.
K and I went to the beach on our second day at Goa. I was carrying a stomach bug. Couldn't take the sun. So we decided to check out Literati the next day and have breakfast there.
The first room had the new/ first hand books. Then there are two more rooms which have second hand books. There are comfy sofas to sink in. Well worn. Ceiling fans to cool you. The mood is balmy and lazy thanks to the trees outside. The staff are very sweet and helpful. Don't expect any supermarket speed and efficiencies though.
To take the grandma metaphor further, the place did remind me of my visits to my grandparent's house when I was a kid. And the joys of discovering great books in my grandpa's collection. Literati is not a steel and chrome air conditioned functional shop. You should go there if you want to unwind, laze, step off from the treadmill and discover some great books. The place invites you to walk around, feel at home and takeaway memories. Don't go there if you want to pick a book on the go.
We picked loads of books for ourselves and our friends. Just about manged to dodge the excess budget limits.
- Literati is at a place called Ice Factory near Calangute at North Goa. Here's their web site for more details
- They are shut on Sunday
- The shop closes at 6 PM
- The kitchen shuts at 2.30 PM. Because "she (the cook I assume) leaves"
- They don't serve aerated soft drinks. But they serve wine and beer. That's Goa
- If you see a lab who looks like Marley then you are likely to have met Frieda. Do say hi to her from me. Poor thing had to be dragged away as K squealed in fright when Frieda scampered in
Friday, February 5, 2010
Now one could always argue that this was a superficial outsiders un-researched take. But then that's what this blog is meant to be. A sum up of first impressions. I was actually at KL for more than a week. First for a conference. And then with Kainaz when she joined me. We did the touristy bits. Saw the Twin Towers. Climbed the other tower. Went to the Batik factories. The Museum and the Malls. Scoured the streets for food. Went to a highly recommended disc. Zouk. Which was shut. We were happy and relived to move onto Langkawi.
Three years down the line I discovered that the best way to see KL is to skip the Twin Towers!
If you look at KL from the surface then it is hard to find anything which distinguishes it from other Asian Tiger cities. What you need is someone who loves the city. And shares common interests with you to give you a real peek into the city.
Folks like Arindam and Sasha. Bengalis who moved into KL from Calcutta then Delhi and finally Mumbai. Arindam was earlier upset when he read that I was not impressed by KL. And was incensed that I had called Singapore the food capital of the world. He was bent on proving me wrong. Soon the opportunity came and I landed at their place at KL one Friday. What followed was a culinary romp through buttered pork, suckling pigs, chilly pan mee, siew yoke, fried frogs and lots lots more with a bit of touristy shopping thrown in at Ikea, Watsons and Carrefour.
We didn't see the Twin Towers. And I had a whale of a time.
Moral of the story. It pays to connect with someone who knows the city before you land up there. Ideally someone who has common interests with you. This will not always be possible. But you will be surprised what a little bit of blog searching or Facebook questioning could throw up. I learnt this from the expert. Sasha actually reads up travel sites and enters into discussions there before she plans Arindam and her vacations. Individuals tend to give less exhaustive but more intense and useful information. You are likely to gain much more than just going to impersonal travel directories, books or agents. I am going to do that the next time.
Anyone interested in Mumbai, Calcutta (slightly dated info), Baga Goa feel free to ask me questions. Especially if they are to do with food.
And you can go to my food blog, Finely Chopped, to see what we were up to in KL this time. Check this for live updates from KL and some more posts after I returned.
Saturday, November 21, 2009
Our hotel at the French speaking Montreux, Villa Toscane, was a restored villa with no staff except in the mornings. We drew the curtains open and looked out onto a most amazing view. A tranquil lake. The lake of Deep Purple’s ‘Smoke on the water’. A stately mountain. And a huge balcony and a terrace by our side. We were living the Princess Diaries.
We had to go the adjoining hotel lobby for breakfast which for me turned out to be a warm croissant, a pat of butter and more than a pat of Nutella chocolate spread. The salty burst of butter rushing to meet the noble, hazelnut chocolate spread, cocooned in a maternal bread is the stuff which makes heaven what it is. Add a good strong coffee, with a point of view, and you have just what was needed to start the day. Did I mention that every coffee that we had at Switzerland, be it at Starbucks, or at supermarket dispensers, or at elegant cafes or at hotel breakfast buffets, was a work of art matching up to the best treasures sleeping in Swiss bank vaults?
Yes we’ve all attended conferences at fancy hotels. But this one was special. It was at the Music Convention Centre, home to the International Jazz Festival, when we market researchers weren’t discussing statistics.
A bus ride of twenty minutes and you reached the Chillon Castle which looked like it was straight out of an illustrated Hans Anderson book. A castle which inspired Lord Byron to pen a poem and vandalise the dungeon walls by etching his name.
Montreux was also where we had the first Swiss national dish of Roesti, assorted meats served with fried, soft potato straws (roesti). This had my Parsi wife jumping in joy as she found it to be a cousin of her Sali per eendus and Sali per kheemas.
Montreux is where I realised that pizza needn’t be a melted goop of cheese and tomato puree on bread. We sat by the lake, close to aapro Freddy Mercury’s statue, and had a very elegant pizza with shards of Emmenthal, blobs of Mozarella, fresh rocquette leaves, cherry tomatoes and pepperoni … individual tastes which came together as one happy family on the crisp naan-like pizza crust.
There was a Lebanese, Mediterranean joint too which was an Asian god send for Indian tastes. Is this a good time to say that Montreux is where we tried a horse steak? In case you are wondering, it was a fairly tough cut of meat.
The last supper
Our last stop was Zurich. We arrived on a Sunday. All malls were shut. This was a big blow as we’d kept all our shopping for the end.
Thursday, October 22, 2009
Have you ever been on a holiday when you had the sinking feeling that things were not going right. Well we were quite low after Interpatel, sorry Interlaken, and trooped wearily into Lucerne.
I want to go back!!!!!