Goa

Goa – the land of toddy, feni, siestas and fish! Every where we ate, the sea food menu far out did the veg menu. And Pork!! Goans and their Siesta and Dukkar!

We stayed in Casa Colvale. Back of the Beyond.

By the Chopra River
By the Chapora River

If you don’t mind driving 40 minutes to the closest good eatery, and if you dont require extreme luxury – stay there. Because the people are lovely, service fabulous. It’s clean, romantic, extremely peaceful, and the small pool is clean and water beautifully chilled, set in the midst of a forest and by the river Chapora, Siolim.

Places to eat –

Mustard. It’s a mix of Bengali cuisine and French. Both of which use heavy doses of mustard. Bengalis use Kasundi, and the French, version of Dijon. Both potent!

Bomras. Oriental at its best. Beautiful settings, slightly bad service. (PSST – I think my server had inhaled some substance which made him slur and his nose water!) Decentish veg options. The rock fish with galangal is highly acclaimed. PS – order the khowsuey in advance. Its really nice, but not readily available.

Gunpowder. Authentic coastal cuisine. You wont get idli dosa there. Look for their appam’s, ishtew, and fish curry.

La Plage. Shack/ restaurant by the sea. Go there with you costume, jump into the sea, have a few drinks, have a meal, chill and spend the day there. Great service.

Thalassa. On the cliff, by the sea, great food, awesome sunset. Book in advance. Well in advance.

J&A. Amazing Pizza’s. But the service has fallen some.

I have a friend sitting next to me, itching to get hold of some pics on my computer. She also has some suggestions for Goa.

Sinq and Cavalla Night clubs. Look for their bollywood and retro nights.

Leela Cottages. Elevar Restaurant . Another place like La Plage. But its seems La Plage is loosing its plot, in comparison to Leela Cottage. Try the baked Camembert cheese, says friend who breathes down my neck.

Fiesta Old favourite. Still does well.

Curlies. Famous shack. Go. Party. Eat and feel the sand between your toes.

Jardin D’Ulysse. Comes highly recommended.

Go with the flow. S A A. So many restaurants were recommended to me. This was one of them. We needed more than 15 meals to complete the list given by friends.

Antares. Started by Master Chef, runner up no 5 or something. Giving Thalassa a run for it’s money. Book in advance.

PS : Look out for Goan Poi bread, Balchao Naan, Balchao Prawns, Fish Curry, Goan Xacuti. All local favourites.

Do have a Feni and Toddy based Cocktail. If you have the gumption, try it their way, neat with whatever they mix it. I don’t know as I have never had the guts to try.

Sit and Chill. Goa is for relaxing, eating and drinking, Chatting and Catching up. Enjoy!

IMG_2943Underneath the Coconut Tree. 

Sitting under the whorls.

Staring at the sky,

My word mixing with yours.

Conversations in the breeze.

Catching up.

Old times and New.

Planning the future.

Blessing the past.

For it brought me to you.

And you can be compared to very few.

(For Mr. Somani – cheers to our many days in the sun!)

 

 

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Budapest

I’m afraid, this post is going to be about only drinking and partying. No touristy info, no gyaan and no insights. I cannot – because all we did for 6 days was drink, laugh till tears stormed our cheeks (and in that state, how can one look around?) and ate.

It was hot in parts, in the middle of Sept. So if you don’t like the heat, DO NOT go before that. It was crossing 40deg C in the earlier months.

We have friends who lived in Budapest for 16 years, and they still go there ever so often. Nothing like a local showing you around. We saw places small and big, wonderous and awesome because they took the pains to take us, and show us the side of Budapest most people would not see. Unfortunately they were as mad as us, and as uninterested in tourist shit as we were.

What you must know about Budapest —

  • It is cheap. I mean in terms of money. The currency is called Forint. It is lower than the Indian Rupee!!!!! Yes! I swear! They did not adopt the Euro. So 10000 Forint is 2500 INR.
  • The population is as classy as the currency is cheap. The women were hot, well dressed and gorgeous. Alas, the men were not fat, but just about ok looking!
  • Buda and Pest are two sides of the city, divided by the Danube river. Buda is more residential, ultra green and some places are out of a fairytale book. Pest is the commercial side, with the Parliament and shopping and restaurants etc.
  • Check out the weather before you leave. Unlike other European countries, Budapest has a more temperate climate. Having said that, they still get very hot summers and cold winters.
  • Stay in the Pest side.
  • Uber is not easily available. Nor are taxis. We got caught in a cats and dog kind of shower and were stuck without a taxi for 30 long, soaked minutes! On a normal evening (and no evening was normal for us!) Taxi’s can be booked. Do not hail off the road. It seems, they charge way more. Use the METRO ,TRAMS and BUS. We bought a 3 day pass, and it was super convenient. Most, to all, parts of the city is covered by the public transport. Very efficient!
  • Eat early. Most restaurants and pubs stop serving food, by 10pm.

 

EAT DRINK PARTY

The first thing I have to share and the most important are the Ruin Pubs.

 

Ruin Pubs.
Ruin Pubs. Planked and boarded. Chipped Paint. But OH! so wild!!

When the Lehman Brothers crashed, many people who had bought out dilapidated buildings to renovate and flip over, were told by their bankers that they can no longer be funded. One genius turned his half boarded, semi falling down (but safe), planked, unpainted building into a pub. And called it a RUIN PUB. It became an instant hit and took off as a fad. For one drinks and parties harder, especially when the money is chewed up and gone. To forget!! To live!! (Hungary has just got on its feet again!) So – the ruin pubs! They are huge. And most of them play different sorts of music in different floors/ areas. Its not your classy pub. Just the way it is, boarded up, with peeling paint. But the food, booze and music is world class. (and cheap!!)

Some of the ones our friends took us to – Instant. Fogasház. Let me repeat —– GO THERE. Even if you are 80 years old and reading this ( I don’t think I have an 80 year old reading this .. ) The concept is mind blowing.  ( I would have used an F word here – but i might have a 60 year old reading this)

Gozsdu Courtyard. This place is mad. Its a huge alley, with pubs, restaurants, fast food joints and Strip clubs (Yeah!!) on both sides. It’s a You – will – definitley  –   find –  something –  of  – your  – taste- : kinda place. We went almost all nights. Food in most places shut by 10 pm but one can party till dehydrated and puking! UMM! The men in this holiday want to make sure I let you know about — KLIK. Ladies strip thingy. In the middle of Gozsdu! (But what the hell – even I thought it was an excellent marketing gimmick)

Cactus Juice. Very nice underground pub. Great food.

360Deg Roof top bar. Fab fab views. Great drinks. good food. But hey!! Either book, or go early!

Gödör Area. Amazing place. Its an open pond. With an adjoining garden. Get your food, drinks and sit by the pond and eat and more importantly – drink! Hear the music some kids are playing around you. Chill, relax and let go.

Gödör
Gödör   Breathe – Enjoy – Relax.

Frucht Térász. Open air bar close to this pond.

MIKA. Great open air restaurant. Bump into loads of tourists here and meet some interesting people.

Bordo. Another open air restaurant. Great food.

Rakpart – Pier Bar. Bar by the waters. Great feeling, sitting by the river, sipping drinks.

Tokio. Amazing amazing oriental food. Good for vegetarians also. Very close to the river.

Pomodoro. First class Italian food. Must go.

Bombay Curry Bar. Now this one!!– you have to go to. Even if you are not craving Indian food. The food was fresh, wholesome. The service warm and welcoming and the decor very brisk and entertaining. They have 2 restaurants. One in Andrassy area, and another in Corvin area.

Sugar Shop. I am a pastry chef. It takes a lot for me to get excited about desserts!! This shop was a marvel. Very cute, excellent pastries and great ice creams. They even have a candy store.

Daubner Pastry Shop. I want to work there.. in their bakery! Frankly the pastries were nothing I want to dance and sing about, but their baked goods!! OH MY! OH MY!  Things I have never had before. Sorry!  Cannot go on with the description. It evokes very hungry lusty memories! Its on the Buda side, so use that time to drive around and see the greener side of this crazy city.

Gelarto Rosa. Near the Basilica. Firstly it’s not only a gimmick, the flavours of ice cream available are humongous and they also taste amazing. Fresh. Fantastic.

Famous Rose Ice cream
Famous Rose Ice cream

Choose your flavours. Try and choose at least 2 distinct colours. Why —-

 

20120101_010749  20120101_010743

That’s why!! 

BESIDES THE EATING AND PARTYING:

SHOPPING :  Shop!! A lot! Because it’s way cheaper here than anywhere else. Because every thing is available here. Because retail therapy will keep you away from drinking too much!

My friend who is an Louis Vuitton fan, entered the shop to check out the prices and came back hyper ventilating and flapping. It took her two long sips of water and a few deep breaths to tell us all, that the prices were low! Needless to say, pockets got burnt.

Go to the Andrassy Avenue for all the designer stores.

For smaller more intimate stores ( and even the bigger names) go Tovörösmarty tér.

Vass Shoes: Very famous custom made shoes. My husband had a huge grin on his face for the entire hour he was there and for a few hours post that! They have for women too, but its more famous for men’s shoes.

THERMAL BATH. We went to Rudas. Awesome, must do experience. On Sundays men and women are allowed together. Carry your costume and be prepared to soak up a life extending experience. I will not describe this is detail. All I will say is – go! HAve fun. Relax.    PS: Carry a botlle of water! See the details here!

Basilica : you will end up passing it.

Basilica
Basilica

For stunning, panoramic views and great pictures, go the to Castle District.  Look for events taking place. We went when a chocolate festival was on!

 

In parting – I do tell thee! Budapest is happening! Amazing and Outstanding. If you like to see something different, feel something different .. make  your trip!