Goa In The Rains Is Magical

Travel It Makes You Speechless…Then Turns You Into A Storyteller..

 

Goa in the rains is just magical. The color green takes on a brilliant  hue and turns the lush landscape into a plush carpet.Coconut palms swaying in the breeze and the emerald green contrast of the rice  fields is a breathtaking sight indeed.

The hubby’s  from Goa. Well lets say all his ancestor’s and family lived there once upon a time and now everyone’s moved away to all parts of the world. Hence he has a natural affinity to Goa. Now being based in Mumbai, it’s a short hour’s flight and very accescssable for a quick weekend getaway.

We travelled to  Goa in  April earlier this year,just before the dear son went off to London for summer school. It was a short break for all of us, with some R &R as the main objective of this trip which is why we choose to return to Alila Diwa as the hotel’s Idyllic and picturesque setting amongst its lush green landscaping and gorgeous aquamarine pools hit’s all the right boxes for a relaxed and chilled out get away.

 

The property is gorgeous indeed and the monsoon’s seem to weave their own magic and bring about every shade of green possible. Well lets say we are prepared as predicted it had been raining incessently with some golden sunny interludes of sunshine in between and we were quite happy to sit back and enjoy every bit of “Goa in the Rains”. Having travelled to Goa on numerous occasions doing the usual touristy spots is far from what we wanted to do. But yes good food is always something the family is happy to explore.As luck would have it the ever popular Martin’s Corner is a quick drive from our hotel and the hub’s announced earlier that lunch must begin there. So that’s where we headed right after arriving at the hotel.

As I mentioned the sole aim of this trip was R &R and not really getting too touristy. So will pen down some absolute must eats around this neighbourhood.

  1. Martin’s Corner:

The restaurant is abuzz with locals and tourists alike, indulging in a lazy Sunday afternoon luncheon.Seemed like the perfect ambience with music in the background, tables filled with laughter, chilled beer and aromas’s of some fabulous pork vindaloo and Sorpotel wafting through the air. We get seated and settle down with our drinks and order some fried prawns, Goan chilly sausages which is served with some wonderful fresh bread and a Goan fried fish called “Chonak” which is a red snapper variety of fish. I’m totally sold out on the flavours of this delicate fish. Oh yes and a side of a Veg Au Gratin to get our fix of veggie’s too.A very enjoyable meal and a great place for lunch or dinner. With our bellies quite satiated we decide to return back to the hotel.

2.Restaurants at Alila Diva Goa:

The hotel too has a great variety of dining options that offer a multitude of cuisine. The breakfast which consisted of a buffet would usually be served at Vivo which had an extensive fare of  international and local fare.The Spice Club serves up a gastronomical array of traditional Goan fare. Another great place to hang out in the evenings is the Edge Bar and Lounge that is located in the main hotel area over looking a gorgeous infinity pool and the back drop of paddy fields.

 

3. Ritz Classic: Mall De Goa

The next day we decided to drive out towards Panjim and checkout Mall De Goa which opened just a couple of years ago. We had not much of a shopping list as all the fresh produce was been reserved for a must visit to the fresh markets in Goa. However the attraction of the mall visit was the Ritz Classic that serves us a delicious Fish Thali at lunch times. While they do have a large A la carte menu as well, the most sought after order at lunch would be the Thali which consists of a various fish curries, fried fish, rice, and some vegetables as a side too. So while the hubs decided to devourer this I choose a Fried Chonak (local red snapper) sautéed in garlic and butter as my main course. I tell you, I’m totally sold out on this fish.

The Fish Thali at Ritz Classic


Fish Chonak (Red Snapper) in a butter garlic sauce:

 

4. Madgao Market: A must do whilst in Goa is a visit to the fresh markets that give you a bazaar kind of feel. Infact  the new markets are covered and have a vibrant display of fresh produce, cashew nuts, pulses and legumes, local spices and lots more. The fresh fish is located in a separate area and just outside the main market are various stores that have several varieties of Pork products, ranging form the local goan sausages,curry spices and pork chops and meat. I love exploring local markets where ever I travel.They are unique and have the best of foodstuff that represent the local cuisine. Needless to say we managed to get our hands on some great stuff to take back to Mumbai.

Goa in the rains is truly Magical….The lush landscape around our hotel proper at Alila Diwa

5. Fisherman’s Wharf: 

A colleague at work very much recommended this place and it’s been on my “Must eat list” for sometime now. As it would be it seemed a short 30 minute drive from our hotel and so I dragged the hubs into driving us on one lazy afternoon.Set on the banks of the river Sia in amid the lush surroundings of Cavelossim village, this place had a great vibe. A live band playing some great music,riverside seating that over looked the water and a great menu that had an assortment of Goan delicacies and International cuisine as well. We settled for a Mutton Shagoti ( meat cooked in coconut and spices ) and a Rawa fry King fish and some Cashew feni to wash that down.It turned out to be a gem of a location and I would very much recommend this place. They do have another location in Panjim as well.

 

6. Fishka: 

Our last day in Goa and a quick run across from our hotel property is a shack style  place called Fishka. Again this place came recommend by a foodie pal so decided to walk across and grab a quick bite before heading to the airport.

Goa has numerous shacks that double up as bars and restaurants and are almost at every nook and cranny of the this beach town. Now some of the popular ones are located on the beach and are a great hang out spot and are perfect for relaxation and good food. Fishka as we discover, is a no frills kind of place with a relaxed laid back ambience.The menu is quite extensive which includes Goan dishes, Indian Chinese and International cuisine as well. The place as we learn is run by Indian-Russian duo and seems like a popular jaunt as there are not too many eating places in the vicinity. Our meal consists of some classic Lamb chilly fry served with some Poi (local goan bread), an all time favourite Fish and chips and I settle for a vegetarian paneer chili fry. A great place for a quick bite.

Well this was our quick getaway to Goa in a nutshell. There is just so much to do and explore in Goa and condensing it into a single blog post is the difficult part. Well you may like to take a look at another post on Goa that I wrote up a couple of years ago: Goa:Spice farms, Food Markets & A Recipe:  wp.me/p2eASG-yq

I do hope I have enticed you enough to visit Goa. The rains are magical indeed and most hotel properties offer great deals from June- September. The peak time of-course is from  November- March with the Carnival and other festivities that make it an interesting time to visit. The gastronomy, beaches, culture and the laid back lifestyle are every reason to make this your next destination to visit.

Happy Travels and I hope you will visit Goa some day!

 

Taste of Spain Part 1: Marbella,Puerto Banus & Granada

 

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Hola Readers!

A very warm welcome to 2016! Here’s hoping the year has begun on a great note.I do hope the New year brings in Fresh beginnings, Every Success, Health and of course  Exciting Travels to far and beyond along with Culinary  experiences that are every bit delightful and gastronomical!

The last two weeks of December were spent vacationing  and I”m very excited to share this post with you.When you speak of Sun kissed beaches mingled with specks of history and culture and gastronomy beyond one’s imagination you could only be in Southern Spain or more specifically in the Andalusian region.Our Spanish Sojourn began  with landing in Malaga and then onward a  short drive to Marbella, where we planned to stay on for a few  days.We arrived at the Marriott’s Marbella Beach Resort,which is a pretty spectacular property  located in the heart of Costa del Sol (Coast of Sunshine) and boasts a pretty plush beachfront,amenities including a lovely spa,heated pools and jacuzzi and some good restaurants.

Day 1: Chilling at The Marriott’s Marbella Beach Resort:

The hubs and the teen quite quickly resolve to a relaxed first day at the heated pool and I’m quite happy to take a stroll on the beach and get some fresh air.The day goes by well with all of us fairly rested and we sit down at dinner at the lovely heated patio of La Med,the resort’s in-house restaurant,drawing up plans for the next few days.Each one of us have an agenda.The teen was keen taking a trip into cultural and historical Granada and I was absolutely wanting to explore the variety of cuisine, head to a tapas bar,sip endless Sangria’s and just watch the world go by.

Marriott collage

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Day 2: Old Town Marbella:

We drive off to the Old quarter of Marbella or also know as the Old Town and are quite pleasantly surprised by this charming town.The heart of the town is called “El Casco Antiguo” and is pretty much paved in  cobble stone with narrow winding streets that are dotted with curious stores and little road side cafe’s.I point out to La Muralla as it is located in  the centre of the square and it’s time for some Sangria sipping, people watching and tapas of course.This cafe is right across from the Encarnacion church ,while cobbled passage ways lead from La Muralla into the heart of the Old Town.We settle for a couple of Sangria’s and a plate of delicious, piping hot meatballs in a piquant tomato sauce and a Spanish omelette.We are seated on the patio outside,it’s a gorgeous Mediterranean winter afternoon  with the temperature probably around 14 C and it seemed like time had stood still,well for us holiday makers at least, we take  in the sight’s of an otherwise busy square with mothers and their young kids hurrying back from school  as the bells toll softly in the nearby church.

Marbella

Day 3 Puerto Banus:

This gorgeous Marina is located on the Costa del Sol somewhere between Marbella and San Pedro and is a short 30 minute drive from our resort.Being our second last day in Southern Spain we wanted to make the most of our day and so glad that we discovered Puerto Banus. Most often referred to the home of the rich and famous.And quite rightly so. The spectacular Marina is dotted with boats and yachts and is a great place to walk around or even perhaps sit by this beachfront cafe.

Yes of course just in time for yet more Sangria and Tapas.Our first stop was at the Paradise  cafe on the beach.It’s quite amazing that despite it being a chilly afternoon,the ice-cold Sangria seemed just perfect with some brilliant tapas.We ordered a smallish platter that came on three individual baguette slices.One with a Spanish Chorizo and cherry tomatoes,the second one with Warm Goat cheese and caramelised onions and the last one with Camembert with an apricot chutney. A tad bit bite sized, yet perfect for a lazy afternoon by the beach side.

Puerto Banus

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The main avenue around Puerto Banus has an array of designer boutiques and stores and a huge El Cortes Ingles and is also lined with many pubs and tapas bars,but we are  all set  with a mission to eat at La Moraga. I had read up about this  Spanish gastro pub and was quite keen to visit it.They do not accept reservations and it’s pretty busy at around 3pm that afternoon,but we are quite determined to sample Michelin Star Dani Garcia’s Spanish gastronomy.The decor is very modern and upscale with  diners getting  a full view of the kitchen.Our wait time is ten minutes,which is fairly reasonable given that it seemed abuzz with the locals at a late luncheon. They have an impressive wine list and the hubs and me decide to move away from Sangria’s and sample some Spanish Rioja and order some of their classic’s  of Spanish omelette made with organic eggs and potatoes served with a salad,Meat Croquettes made with Serrano ham and chicken served with an aioli, Patata Bravas and the now hungry teen settles for The Spaniard,which is a sandwich with Serrano ham,Manchego cheese,sliced tomatoes,and olive oil served on Ciabatta bread,baked open face. Very mild and subtle flavours and an amazing experience at this very contemporary and chic place. A must visit if you are in Puerto Banus.

Lamoraga

Day 4 Drive to Historical Granada:

We plan on a day trip to Granada which takes approximately 2 hours from our resort in Marbella,with a pit stop of course.This spectacular town lies encased in the Sierra Nevada mountains and traces its origins to the Moorish occupation in Spain.The main attraction being the Al Hambra palace which is a large fortress surrounded  by lush gardens and pools.It’s really quite worth the wait in the line to get your tickets and a  get a view of the interiors of the Palace.A lot of the work is still in its original form although some restoration work is in progress for the upkeep and maintenance  of the Palace.
interestingly Alhambra comes from an Arabic root which means “red or crimson castle” and quite rightly so. While exploring the palace it is also very worth a visit to the Generalife gardens which are well manicured and have breath-taking views surrounding them.

AlHambra Palace
Al Hambra

Generalife: Gardens and spectacular views of Granada

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Interiors of the Palace

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Al hambra restaurant

 

Our vacation so far has been interspersed with moments of awe and wonder as we have revelled in Spain’s diverse landscape and natural beauty and fine cuisine. As much as it’s heart breaking to bid good-bye  to this gorgeous Coast of sunshine,the rest of our journey  awaits us.  We now fervently await part two of our Spanish Sojourn as we fly into Madrid ,with promises of Museums,Palaces and People watching and then finally onto the last leg of our holiday ,to Enchanting and Charming Barcelona where everything spells Gaudi ,Food markets,Gardens and Gastronomy par excellent.I promise to write-up the next post really soon. Until then…

Adios Amigos!