Beyond Poutine: Montreal Must Eats

The past few years have taken us to Montreal on several occasions. The very first visit was in seeing  the dear son off for his first year at McGill University. We have been there a couple of times since and of course the last visit a couple of weeks ago for his graduation. Each visit has been unique in exploring this city to its best. Travelling to explore local eats and cuisine is always top on my mind and its always great to get back and document the same in the form of a blog post.

Montreal has lots to do and discover right from a walk upto Mt. Royal, the grand and lovely walk around cobblestone paved Vieux Montreal with the Basilica of Notre Dame standing tall and spectacular as ever in it’s glory, retail therapy down the bustling streets of Rue de St. Catherine’s, or perhaps if you are a culinary traveller like me that loves to browse around farmers markets around the city, like the ones at Marche Jean Talon and Atwater that host various local vendors of fresh produce, bakery goods, meats and cheese.

No matter what grabs your fancy, food plays a key role in exploring and getting to know a city well. Montreal too in its own way is a Culinary haven and the food scene seems to be exploding each year. Now while there is an addition to a must eat every minute and the options seem endless, I wanted to do a quick round up a couple of our favourite places that we discovered over the past few years in Montreal. Let me take you around some great places that I enjoyed eating at and hope you will strike these off your bucket list too.

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The Old Bakery Goa: A Hidden Gem You Won’t Find On Trip Advisor


 

 

Now when you are a baker at heart and by profession and you stumble upon a hidden gem tucked away in a hole in the wall kind of place,your joy knows no bounds. And for a bread baker there is no better excitement than to get lost in conversation with a Poder (Goan bread baker).Well these were exactly my sentiments on un earthing this old bakery nestled in a  inconspicuous bylane of Ribander Road Goa.

This Bakery has been christened as the Old Bakery of Goa for the want of a name as none seemed  to be  displayed on the facade or any signage of sorts. I recall having read about this place on one of the Goa forums as a post from a member and hastily  book marked it as a “Must visit” place.

Visiting local markets gives a great insight into local traditions and customs. The true essence of a city comes out alive by  wandering around these rustic settings  in search of local flavours I for one am a huge supporter of local artisans and vendors and ensure I keep aside a couple of hours to take in the sights and delve deep into history where food seems pure and simple and time is enhanced by a new discovery.I was keen to write about the old Goa bakery in a small attempt to revive this delicious profession before it faces extinction.

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Udvada: The Perfect Foodie Getaway

 

Culinary travel is something that I’m very passionate about. And yes, I certainly will  travel 200 kilometres  away from Mumbai in search of hidden gems that nourish and  feed the soul.Well after all the best part of any travel is the food, right?

One such getaway was a road trip to the sleepy and quaint town of Udwada in Gujarat. The hubs and I are the perfect partners in crime as he loves to drive and I’d go to the end of this earth in search of good meal. En route, our pit stop is  the legendary “Ahura” on the NH8 which serves up some great Parsi delicacies. We settle for some Akuri (spicy scrambled eggs with onions, tomatoes and spices) and some Kheema (Minced meat). Both these are served with Pav (Indian dinner rolls). With our bellies full we proceed on our journey ahead.

 

NH 8, Amboli, Tal. Dahanu, Dist. Palghar | 14 km after Charoti Toll Booth on NH 8 while driving to AhmedabadDahanu 401601, India
+91 97665 12512

We arrive at our destination late afternoon. Now Udvada is a small town in Gujarat and home to   famous for its Zoroastrian Atash Behram,probably the oldest place of worship for Parsis. The drive from Mumbai is about 3 hours  making it a  quick weekend getaway from Mumbai and quite a foodie haven. This quaint town spells old world charm. Perhaps even a sleepy old town with a population of no more than 10,000 inhabitants and mostly Parsis.It is said that the name ‘Udvada’ was derived from ‘uth vada’ which means ‘grazed by camels’.This was our getaway a couple of months ago. Just right for an overnight trip to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city. We decided to stay the night at a the Globe Hotel as this came  highly recommended by friends.

 

Globe Hotel Udvada:

Udwada Road, Near Pundole Agyari, Udvada, Gujarat 396180 

 0260 234 5243

 

This place is  every bit old world and a “no frills” kind of place. It’s nice to see the owners around the property and taking good care of their clients. We opt for an air-conditioned room which is simple and just right for just the night. Having checked into our hotel we decided that the best way  to explore this town is to take  a walk around. The roads are fairly isolated as it is quite lateen the afternoon and perhaps a time for siesta.We pass by some fairy tale cottages and sandal wood vendors on our way to the fire temple.

Some Must Do’s in Udvada:

  1. Fire Temple:

 

Quite rightly coined as the Mecca for Zoroastrians as it home to the “Atash Behram” s the most sacred of the Zoroastrian fire temples in India and the oldest continuously burning fire-temple fire in the world. Since only Parsis’s are allowed into the fire temple, I was quite happy taking pictures from the outside. It is said that the name ‘Udvada’ was derived from ‘uth vada’ which means ‘grazed by camels’.

2. Goodies from the Irani Bakery:

Nestled in one of the by lanes, we discover this lovely bakery and decide to buy some Mawa Cakes, Brun pav and Khaki biscuits as food souviniers to share with the family back home.
3. A walk on the beach and wandering around the city:
The beach turned out to be quite rocky and we just about managed to take a short walk but this, and all the trotting around the town does our appetite good. We get back to our hotel in time for an early dinner. One that I’ve been waiting for. The food is cooked in the hotel kitchen on the premises. The gastronomy arrives and at first seems like a large spread for two. All though we do land up doing full justice to our meal.
5. A Parsi Meal at Globe Hotel:
Our meal consists of:
  • Fried Boi ( Local Fish)
  • Fish Curry
  • Parsi Gosht Ni Curry (Mutton Curry cooked with potatoes)
  • Rice
  • Chappatis ( Indian wholewheat bread)
  • Kachumbar ( fresh salad with Onions,tomatoes and fresh coriander))
  • Hand churned ice cream ( sadly no pic, but was delicious)

We decided to head back to Mumbai early next morning.This trip turned out to be exactly what the foodie in me hoped for. I can happily check it off my to-do list around Mumbai. I do hope I have enticed you to discover Udvada and revel in some Parsi gastronomy.

Bon Appetite & happy travels! I’m working on my blog post on my recent trip to Montreal. Can’t wait to share my Culinary sojourn.

 

 

Sri Lanka: Sights & Flavour’s around Galle plus a Culinary Workshop

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Our  holiday earlier last year to Galle, turned out to be an unplanned and delightful Culinary trail as it were to be. The dear hubs was travelling to Bentota, Sri Lanka and messaged me if I’d like to  join him in Colombo for a couple of days. Perhaps a quick getaway from there on was what was so needed.Well most certainly yes, was my answer. I call it the only joy of being an empty nester.With the dear son being at University, it’s great to be able to do these quick getaway’s  out of Mumbai.

Having spent a couple of days in Colombo, I was ready for our drive to Galle ( pronounced as Gawl) which is a three-hour drive and a beautiful one too. As we drove into the city I was pleased to discover this  ex Dutch Colony, is by the beach coast with some spectacular views. It is no no surprise that our hotel too overlooks the Arabian Ocean and would promise us numerous Kodak moments. We arrive at the Jetwing Lighthouse property and hurriedly settle into our rooms as we have realized there’s going to be lots to discover amidst sand and sea. I love the view from our room and now can’t decide whether to just sit by the verandah and watch the waves pound against the rocks and frolic in some idyllic or head out and discover more. Continue reading