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Day 11 – Trip to India – Further explorations of Goa and dinner at Gunpowder

IMG_2636Though the bulk of our stay in Goa was spent relaxing, this morning we had a guided tour of the churches of Old Goa and the neighborhoods of Panjim. We saw ruins of an old church on a hill that gave the impression the church was vanishing, the church which houses the relics of St. Francis of Xavier who’s nearly completely intact body you can view through glass, the large cathedral that Portugal built, and a recently, partially restored church with a great view of Old Goa named Our Lady of the Mount.
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We walked through the small Latin Quarter that has heritage Portuguese houses, stopped at the fashion designer Wendall’s boutique, and has well prepared Goan food at Mum’s Kitchen. We had the red chili based Peri Peri preparation of pomfret and a curry of kingfish steaks.
Erin and I had an excellent meal tonight at Gunpowder. Gunpowder is owned and operated by the same team running the store People Tree. In fact, the store and restaurant are collocated. In the monsoon season Gunpowder only has four tables sitting on the verandah of the old Portuguese house. In be on-season, a larger outdoor patio is used as the main dining area.
The menu features South Indian cuisine from Andrah Pradesh, Kerala, Mangalore, and Goa. We focused on good from Kerala but made an exception for a sweet and sour pumpkin dish from Andrah that was highlight d in our Love Goa travel guide. We started with a spiced whole fish that had been grilled. We then orders a chili based prawn preparation and a delicious coconut and potato dish is that tasted like an Indian fusion version of potato chowder with spices of black pepper and fresh (very spicy) whole green chili peppers. The desserts were scrumptious as well. We had a mango Lanka cotta and a chocolate ganache atop a crumble similar to graham cracker pie crust. We also sampled a local cashew feni – a liquor sourced from cashew nuts. Erin craved the taste, but it’s sour notes were not for me. You will want to browse the artisan textiles at people tree before or after your meal. There is a great reading library spread over two bookshelves and some literary/political journals for purchase. The neighborhood of Assgao where Gunpowder is located has beautiful Portuguese houses and churches.
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Categories: Goa, India

Day 10 – Trip 2 India – Goa Relaxation

Our second day in Goa was the most chill on our entire trip. Erin hired a  Belgian masseuse to give her a massage in our hotel room. She highly recommend’s hiring Natalie for a 75 minute session costing 2500 rupees. Meanwhile, I went to the on-property spa, Jiva, and enjoyed a 45 minute foot massage. I had a swim in the pool waiting for Erin to finish her therapy.

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We encourage you to hire Nathalie Zoelorelei.  Text Nathalie at 98226 86617 to book a private massage appointment.

We went on a shopping excursion in the late afternoon. Erin made her first visit to FabIndia to add to her collection of clothes from Indian chain stores “W” and the more craft based block printing store of Anoki.

After a few shops we sought out the Pousada beach shack on Caligueta Beach. We were set up on two cushioned beach loungers and enjoyed beers and well prepared Goan food as we attempted to see a sunset despite the clouded sky. The sun went down without releasing color, nevertheless we enjoyed the evening.

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We kept it low key in the evening and had dinner at the Taj Vivanta Banyan Tree Thai restaurant.  It is built beside a large 300 plus year old Banyan tree.  The food was decent.

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Categories: Goa, India

Day 9 – Trip to India – Arrival in Goa

Day 9 - Goa - Ajuna Beach

Ajunta Beach

Day 9 - Goa - Vagator BeachVagator Beach

Day 9 - Goa - CocktailsCocktails at Fort Aquada Bar

 We are ending our trip with a vacation within in a vacation by spending three days at the beach in Goa. The pace of life and our intent is certainly slower than Mumbai! We checked into a beautiful property the Vivanta by Taj Fort Aguada property. We tried Goan cuisine prepared by the Beach House restaurant on premises stewarded by Chef Rego, Goa’s most acclaimed chef, who has worked with Taj in Goa for 30 years. Our favorite dish were prawn coated i semolina fried and served with a chili masala. We also had boiled potatoes served in a sweet grilled onion masala, grilled squid in a chili masala, and a shrimp cox it and chili curry.

The beach at Fort Aquada is beautiful especially as the Portuguese built a wall and rampart on which the waves strike up against at our end of the sandy beach. Nevertheless we were eager to see two beaches we had read about in our guides… Ajunta and Vagator. We only stopped by Ajunta to look at the waves above the seawall. We splashed around a bit in the water at Vagator. People like Vagator because the backdrop to the beach is lush with grasses and Palm trees… Very little development. It reminded me of Guiones in Costa Rica. The splashing in the water was my first touch of the Arabian Sea.

We returned to our hotel to sit I the seaside bar for some twists on classic ingredients incorporating Indian spices/fruits. Goa is famous for spice plantations. I had a modified Mai Tai which was less sweet than the traditional preparation.

For dinner we went to Casa Portuguesa. A Portuguese restaurant Id reserved a table at before our trip began. As the monsoons have just begun we are in the low season and Erin and I had the privilege of bent the only guests this night. We were parity faithfully served by a spry older gentleman. We enjoyed a bottle of Portuguese wine, a Portuguese Chorizio filling with the most scrumptious lardons of fat, chili shrimp, and sliced of roast suckling pig served in a sauce with crisped potatoes.

Categories: Goa, India