A Zensational Discovery

#zense (1)Wolfgang and Karen want take us out to a stylish place that serves Dosa and it is in Candolim   my husband said.

Well, a dosa place… stylish…in Candolim. Well I had already nailed the place as a tourist fleecing “hospitality trained” kind of place. Which would have tomatoes and onions in various combinations and call it south Indian by adding coconut scrapping.

When we arrived at the Zense  it was on the busy street of Candolim,  giving a choice of either indoors, or outdoors.zense (1)

It was always fun Karen and Wolfgang, because they so extensively travelled they have a lot to share. Like Wolfgang’s observation about the changing drinking habit in Italians, who always drank wine and not beer, but are now changing to beer and that they would soon out beat Germany when it comes to beer drinking.

zense (2)While we were busy without conversation, a youngish man turns up with pleasant smile and asks us what we would like, and Wolfgang told him, that we wanted us to try the dosa starters.  We were served the foot long dosa with individual bowls for potato masala, chutney, and sambhar and believe me, I was eating such wonderful sambhar after a long time.

During the conversation with the chef, it turns out that this is part of the bananaleaf enterprise.

The conversation then went on soups, and staple food, about again Germany was not much of soup country, it preferred its wholesome meat ball bread business, but how noodles had slowly made inroads into the cuisine so much so, that has become part of the cuisines. My daughter and I decided to share a bowl of Pepper Rasam—it was really good, Shivagami-mami would have a run for her money.zense (3)

Interestingly the Menu was very south Indian, chettinaad and Mangalore cuisines dominated with a stray Appam-stew and Malabar Parota-kurma thrown in between, when it came to rotis they had only Malabar Parota or Puri. This again is very impressive since most south restraurants do have the regular mish-mash Punjabi fare.

Vangibaat, lemon rice, bisibelebaath, was very much present. While Karen and Wolfgang were non-vegetarian they opted for Kingfisher Ghassi and another Chettinad dish, while we went for Vegetable chettinad and  Manglorean Kurma.

zense (4)Chef Mahesh told me, I am feeding you, something that you would probably cook in your kitchen, so its like a test for me. it was nice that the staff waited on us, filling in when the conversation was getting stagnated, otherwise they were taking care of other guests. What interested me, was the kind of guests they had they were not the loud, I am holidaying in Goa . There was this soft elegance both in the venue and its guests. The music at the background was soft, classical but the brisker beats.#zense (1)

The food was spicy but balanced, individual flavours were tangible. What I liked the best was the pepper flavour was distinct and the use of green chilli or red chilli was minimum, that made the food very comforting.

Its really amusing how conversations float around maybe it effects the way we choose I do not know, because I remember this part where we talking about Naomi Duguid’s book on Burma, then we came to rice being very distinctive of where it is grown. That’s when I noticed that the steamed rice served was the long grained southern Hamsi and not the usual for the tourist Basmati, no wonder the fragrance of the spices and vegetables could be experienced.#zense (2)

Karen and Wolfgang loved their Kingfisher Mangalorean ghassi, we had no room for the “Yelluneeru payasa” or the “kadale/Hesaru bele payasa” again very mangalorean desserts.

Next time round my daughter and I have decided to try out their Bisibele Baath, or the Vaangibaath. Maybe they would add in Bassale from the Bangalore cuisine and jolda rotti from the northern Karnataka region.

The evening was definitely “zensational

Seven Billion Dreams One Planet….

WED 2015
Image courtesy internet

Seven Billion Dreams One Planet….

Consume with care….World environment day June 5th.

This is the theme for the this years environment drive. The well being of humanity, the environment and the functioning of the economy, ultimately depends on  how responsibly we manage the planets natural resources , yet, we seem to be consuming far more natural resources than the what the planet can sustainably provide.

United Nations has created  WED or world environment day as a vehicle to create awareness and action. It is now a global platform for public outreach that is widely celebrated by stake holders  in over 100 countries.  Its the people’s day for doing something positive for the environment, a pivot to galvanize individual actions into collective power that generates an exponential positive impact on the planet.

The earth’s ecosystem are nearing the critical point of depletion or irreversible damage, this is fuelled by the high population growth and economic development by 2050. At the current trends of growth we would require three planets to sustain our ways of living and consumption.

Consuming with care means living within the planetary boundaries to ensure a healthy future where our dreams can be realized.  Human development and prosperity need not be at the cost of the earth and environment. It is about doing more with less.  It is about the awareness that rising rates of natural resource use and the subsequent environmental impacts are not the by-products of the economic growth.

image courtsey internet
image courtsey internet

Every little action counts. Although individual decisions may seem so tiny in the face of global threat and trend, but if billion people join forces for a common purpose we can make a tremendous difference.

The world environment day  reveals action plan in sustainable management of water, food, and energy.

So how do You and I contribute? Please feel free to think and plan something out. Not in terms of paper but in action.

DesiZaika Raichur adige with udupi oota– Bringing Raichur food to Udupi

Raichur thali
Raichur thali with Bhaakri

Udupi  the temple town of Karnataka, has lent its name to the hospitality industry by lending its name to  become a cuisine cult “Udupi hotel” most of these that we see today, are the standard cosmopolitan fare that homogenizes various cuisine to create one standard taste.

Though the traditional Udupi cuisine if you want the original one go to “Mitra Samaj” in rathabeedi Udupi. Is quaint and different from the fare served in the “Udupi hotel chains.”

However it is possible to see different cuisines in Udupi it could be the changing Udupi palate or changing Udupi population. Last visit I discovered DesiZaika, that serves authentic northern Karnataka food. Interestingly the owner is specific he is not vending the popular “Dharwad Khanavali” food which is ethnic and generally recognized as the northern Karnataka food.

DesiZaika has three thali’s one is authentically the Raichur kind of food. As the Raichur borders Andhra the shadow of the Andhra palate manifests. The spices are stronger than Dharwad; there is also the presence of Rasam, and Sambaar, and absence of “Kodhel” the typical Udupi dish.

The Raichur thali comes with Baakhri, while the Andhra thali is served with Puri, the northern thali has chapatti.

One dry vegetable in all the thali’s.

Pulses in the Raichur thali comes as Jhunka, the spicy chickpea flour dish, in the Andhra thali it is the bland pappu, and North Indian thali has the standard north Indian dhal.

Andhra taali wiith Puri  and Pappu
Andhra taali wiith Puri and Pappu

Mr.Desai the owner sticks to tradition with chutney, salad, papad and sweet dish.

The thali serves both curd and chaas.

Other than the three staple thali DesiZaika also serves an unlimited version called the DesiZaika special. There breakfast fare is also out of the box with Avalakki, and Thalipeet.

I finally found a rival to woodlands Udupi my other favourite non Mitra samaj joint.


akshayapatraWhen we were kids, it was quite acceptable for kids from the villages to attend the town school; those who had relatives in town went to their house for lunch.

Then there were houses that took on “vaarada oota” that is families would take on feeding couple of school going kids once a week. The kids would each at a particular house on a particular day and move on another the next. The families had a system so that the financial burden would be shared. The parent’s kids if they could afford it, thank the feeders in kind, but otherwise just bless them.

Then there were those that carried their lunch, and for those did not fit into any of these there were free lunches at the temples. These are called as prasadams, or blessings usually sponsored by the donations people made to the temple.

This system ensured that the children had a proper lunch and it also built bonds between people and built a community. somehow somewhere this system has died out.

I am come from the temple town of Udupi, where every temple has the concept of annadhana.  Anyone can walk in there to eat.

Temples of Sringeri, Dharmasthala and many places even the small ones do have an entire time and space block for school kids to eat. The fare is nothing fancy, rice, dal, some vegetable usually locally grown non glamorous one, and a glass of chaas. Fair enough.

Gurudwaras up north have these facilities too.

Many small towns the school timings take to account the temple lunch hours. The problem with the temples in the south is that the NGO’s created various issues about the temple feeding the children. Like quality of food, there are accusations of segregation of children and anything that catches the fancy.

I really do not see, what is wrong with it. The government does have the midday meal courtesy UNISCEF but why get into something when the community has created something for itself?

As long as the children are provided with food, that is nutritious, and education to carry on with life and livelihood I think we have made a start.

If we as a community, can take responsibility of nurturing our community, in the long run we would have greater bonding between us, and it would also bring about tremendous emotional intelligence within the society. If ever I could envision Akshay Patra—be it the current NGO that tries to feed, or the one Draupadi owned I really look at it like a community kitchen.

I am going to #BlogToFeedAChild with Akshaya Patra and BlogAdda

The Foodie… The Roadie and the Cake maker

Welcome to Baker’s studio

Nov.1st a girls day out, two and a half vegetarians, Being vegetarian travellers in Goa eating out is quite monotonous so Lucie’s invite for French food was definitely inviting. We went up to Baga on Lucie Mason’s invite. if you are expecting an restaraunt review I recommend either




I am sharing a wonderful afternoon with  Anuradha, Archana, Lucie, Varoon and Chef Gerald.

Anuradha the traveller, Archana the food blogger and I … (a bit of both) went to visit Lucie Masson at her beautiful studio the Baker’s studio.  She does have a wonderful spread, of Breakfast and Lunch.

Lucie and Varun

Lucie has her cake studio almost beach front. The tiny Tito’s lane at Baga… With curio shops on both side and wafting aroma’s various cuisines.

hot chocolate
hot chocolate

Since lane begins with a typical garish, Gujrathi vegetarian thali restaurant I was pretty curious about the customers who came in.

“Local Goans, none,” said Lucie.

cakes on a platter
cakes on a platter

Her observation was domestic tourists who were well travelled would choose more continental food, discuss her source, her recipe, appreciate or be very specific with what they wanted. While those who are not so well travelled tend to eat food that they were more familiar with, like the American burgers, French fries. She was rather hurt that lot of domestic tourists would ask for more milk in her chocolate drink… which by the way is really exotic. I was rather reluctant to eat for the fear of the linger taste fading away.

DSCN8297Another interesting observation Lucie had, was domestic travellers would pick; pizza’s or dishes with visible peas or chickpeas.

Chef  Geraldo Caiado in action.
Chef Geraldo Caiado in action.

The food is predominantly French and Lucie sources the authentic material from all over India and sometimes even abroad. Then of course the there the famous French pastries.

bread display stand.
bread display stand.

We had freshly baked Garlic bread with garlic topping. The theme of the day was Egyptian, so we tried the Humus, the Greek salad… (This did let me down though) variety of cheese

The Greek salad
The Greek salad

About two years back Lucie and her partner Varun Sood started their studio at Ashwem in Morjim, since it caught on, they have now developed it into a chain, with one in Panjim that had to shut down because of lease issues, then the one in Baga Tito’s lane.

The memorabilia rack
The memorabilia rack

A meal for two would cost about Rs.800/- with the chocolate drink… (Don’t compromise on this) then of course the main course, and dessert.

DSCN8291With softer music the place would have been really an elegant experience. And with so much of visually enticing food, it might be a good idea to have a planned meal, which would mean adding the one glaringly missing component of a French meal, the soup oh! yes an authentic Veg.Au Gratin.

Some day Lucie when you start with soups, and Fondue’s do call me over.

For the road—if we can have Chinese Thali why not French?

To order your cakes online check out http://www.delicieux.co.in and any other information your could mail info@delicieux.co.in, ir 0832-6520521

chef Gerald is reachable at #chefgeraldocaiado


Filling an imaginary void

Prajyot Mayemkar the CEO of Androcid and a leader in the Goa android movement was helping me buy netbook. He was very considerate to an illiterate senior but one thing that he told me at the end of the conversation remained “See, all these gizmo’s have a life span of max 5yrs. But the minute you buy this one, you will realize the next generation one is launched and you are made to believe that life is impossible without it. But if you really think about it, life is possible even without this one.”
Coming to think of it, we are constantly encouraged to consume to the extent it has become a culture. Be it gizmo’s clothes, or even food, we land up spending money that we may not actually have. The joy of the buy is only for a while, maybe until we eat the food, or wear the outfit once… I opening a wardrobe full of saris and saying oh! I have nothing to wear– why does that happen? Is this a symptom of disconnect from ourselves?
Often I have noticed with me, the main cause for the desire to eat or shop, is boredom. This is also a marker of disconnect from our true self. As I got cantered and connected to my centre, my intuition guided me to a place where my energy can be best used. I replaced boredom particularly when I waited at the railways station or physician’s office with either meditation or sacred scribbling, in the larger picture learning something new I found the void vanishing along with the need to consume.
What appeared in my space was connecting to myself, was aligning myself to the universe, and the universe lacks nothing. When was physically feeding myself or consuming something from the various product range I was addressing a marker that said, “hey buddy, you are starved” and I read the marker reverse. With connecting with my inner self I did not have to consume to heal, or fill imaginary voids.
Somehow these epiphanies seem to occur when muse over my journal or gratitude book.