Category Archives: Food

Post 17: Jaipur – An Extended Family Tour (Part –I)

I always carry a book whenever I travel; sometime it is just to add the extra 250gm in my hand bag. This time I had picked up, “My Family and Other Animals” but then considering it a bad idea (chuckle) I dropped it and continued with “ Eat Pray Love “ instead.  We, a total of 9 people (1 toddler, 4 young and 4 not so young), were off to Jaipur for 4 days .

For me this was my second visit, the last one was our honeymoon, a very memorable one indeed.  Usually in honeymoons the boy is lost in the eyes of the new bride but in our case my groom was lost in the details of the forts, maharajas and their artillery . We always had a guide standing sandwiched between us explaining the intricacies of the architecture, and there used to be a twinkle in the eyes of my husband and I couldn’t yawn enough.

Now, you must be wondering why I went to Jaipur again. In short this was a long awaited family tour and Kerela worked out to be costly. So we settled for Jaipur.  Also this trip was an experiment on how different people with different tastes survive together for 4 days. If this experiment succeeds we have other tours in mind.

We had not just planned the travel but had also set strategies.  Our best strategy was to keep one day tour to Pushkar and Ajmer. Always remember no matter where you go with your  parents/in-laws and no matter how well you have planned there will always be this question,” Aren’t there any temples here?”.  My mother still has fond memories of the Mangeshkar Temple in Goa.

Day-1: Chokhi Dhaani

We all reached our destination on time by different trains. We headed to the Hotel. We had booked a decent hotel ‘Souvenir Peppermint” somewhere near BaniPark.

In the evening we decided to take every one to Chokhi dhaani . Doing this on the very first day would give them a brief glimpse of almost everything- food, dance, language , culture etc. In my previous visit we had covered it on the last day and by then we had lost interest in the rich food.


We covered almost every thing in Chokhi Dhani – Puppet show, dance, magic show, Bajre / Makke ki Roti with makkhan jaggery and chutney, games, recreated Haldi Ghati scene, camel ride, horse cart ride, paani puri concluded by Jeeman i.e the food. Everyone was elated on  being called ‘seth’ and ‘sethani’ by the Chokhi Dhaani boys.




Amma serving Bajre Ki roti with Lehsun Chutney

If you go there do have the khichdi with loads of ghee and sugar.I had stopped them from pouring the ghee and sugar powder but upon being insisted I tried it and it was amazing. They are very generous with Ghee and they believe it is ‘ Bhudape Ki Lathi’ (support in the old age) . I had to remind my parents their  Cholesterol level and who actually was their ‘ Bhudape Ki Lathi’ .

It was an amazing experience and every one was happy.

Day 2: City Palace – Jantar Manatar- Hawa Mahal and Shopping

Second day after the scrumptious buffet breakfast at the hotel we went to City Palace. We were wise enough to take all the photographs – single, group, selfies etc. well on time before our energy level and the makeup wore out.  The rest of the tour was the bitter sweet recap of our honeymoon. The difference was that this time I was not yawning but running after my toddler outside the palace.

After 15 minutes of toddler hyperactivity and group inactivity I went in to find the whole gang glued in front of the displayed dress of Sawai Madho Singh –I. His pajama had drawn all the attention as this Maharaja was 7 feet tall and 4 feet wide weighing 250 Kgs.

The whole group was fascinated.

Immediately after city palace we took a right turn to cover Jantar Mantar. One of my friends had suggested reading about Jantar Mantar beforehand to save time but I was too busy reading food blogs that I forgot this part. The visit would have been better if I had followed that advice.  While the gang spent extra time reading about each astronomical instruments I and my daughter sat down at one place and enjoyed watching the lovely foreigners in Indian dresses.



View of Amer from Jantar Mantar


Then before covering Hawa Mahal we thought of giving our legs a bit of rest and went for lunch. The biggest mistake we did was asking the e-rickshaw wala where to eat.He took us to the restaurant which was The Best- ” Venus restaurant”. The moment we enter there was a stench and the food is not worth mentioning here. The learning we got, while traveling never ever ask the auto or rickshaw wala where to shop or eat, they have their own commissions.

Then we took an auto to Hawa mahal . It is photogenic place. In todays world this much is enough to be told , after all our priority these days is to get perfect photos for facebook and whatsapp dps.



View of City Palace and Jantar Mantar from Hawa Mahal

In the evening we got a bit late for shopping as the market here closes at 9. So we were not able to grab much.

We asked at a local shop about some good restaurant at Bapu Market and he without giving a second thought said ‘Ganesh restaurant’- perfect for home like food. Everyone was hungry so we headed toward this place. I was bewildered to find this place, the entrance was a steep narrow stairways leading to an open air half constructed roof with few steel tables and chairs.  I didn’t speak for the next 15 minutes and kept a tight grip on my toddler as the roof din’t have railings!!!

The food came. You wont believe that it was so delicious that all my anger just vanished.

We had ordered: Laccha Paratha , Butter Roti, Missi Roti , Sev-Tamatar (Local Dish) , Daal Tadka . It costed us 800/- for 8 people!!!!!!

If you guys are shopping in Bapu Market then don’t hesitate to have food in such weird small dhabas placed at every  other roof of the shops, as you wont regret the food.

(To be Contd…)



Week 48-52: Phuket (Amazing Thailand Part-II)

Taking power naps during travel to boost one’s energy is considered as blessing. I am talking about babies, they have mastered this art so well. Phuket was a three hours ride from Krabi, and by the time we reached, my daughter was all ready for the next level of fun while all we wanted to do was get to the hotel and crash. But that is always a distant dream for parents with toddlers. It was drizzling. But then I had become a pro in weather forecast and was mentally prepared for the heavy shower at night in Patong, which was our next destination in Phuket.

Day 3: We reached Patong at 3PM . We had booked Ramada Deevana Phuket through Make My Trip. It is about 500 M walking distance from Patong beach. It gave me a feeling of luxury, and I loved it the moment we entered it.


The rooms were equally comfortable. Though we had some issues with the safe box as it refused to open every time we wanted it and we had to call the mechanic to fix it. It delayed all our plans by 15-20 minutes causing a little bit of irritation.

We quickly settled. Since we were starving, we thought of eating Pad Thai which was at the top of my to-eat list. I searched trip advisor and found a local eatery shop called “Thai Smile”, best recommended for Pad Thai and that too only 5 minute walk from our hotel. We didn’t need to search much. It was located next to the Ibis hotel and surprisingly had just six tables. It was 4 pm so we din’t need to wait at all and we ordered Pad Thai and rice with basil chicken.


Both the dishes were delicious. Sadly our daughter didn’t like this sticky rice and vomited. It was the third day and my daughter had refused to eat anything. We were running out of option to offer her to eat. I felt sad and hopeless and concluded that one should never travel with toddlers. All she wanted to do was to either go to the beach or take a dip in the pool, and for all this only God knows from where she got the energy. All she was surviving on was Kinder Joy .

In evening we went to Bangla road. The street was a little too much happening to my liking. My daughter soon started to cry for Roti-Shabji and we ended up in Indian restaurant “Bombay House”. Since we were not hungry, we ordered just a Roti and later had  “Mango & Banana Pancake” from the streets.



When we reached hotel, we were very tired and crashed. But the baby had plan for us. She vomited thrice in night and we had to call the room service to change the beddings.

Day 5

We woke up little late in the morning and rushed for complimentary buffet breakfast. It has assorted range of dishes, but most of them had a peculiar smell of sea food which was kind of annoying. But due to variety of other continental dishes we were able to eat well.

After breakfast we went straight to Patong beach. The weather was sunny and the beach was looking stunning blue in sunlight. The beach was perfect for swimming and we didn’t wait at all and jumped in water. Best part was that the marked bathing area was only 5 feet deep for quite a long distance and this was the best ever experience I had in any beach. My toddler got a Japanese friend mean while. While returning we had lunch in an Indian Restaurant for the sake of roti for baby and ordered local green dish and Tom-Yum soup. The food was decent but smell of some pungent spice was disappointing.

In evening we again went to Bangla road. The street was happening and buzzing with loud music. But we didn’t like it much. By this time we were a bit troubled with the toddler’s mood and decided to act as a team. So hubby stopped for Thai massage which happened to be a surprise element for him as the whole massage was too strong for his liking. I headed for room and cooked oats for the baby. Surprisingly she finished it without making any fuss and slept peacefully.

We continued this team work the next day also when I went for a massage and hubby took the baby for lunch.

Next morning, we followed the same routine. first Patong beach and then pool. As i already mentioned , on our way back i went for Thai massage. Learning from other’s mistake, I got the gentle oil massage rather than the thai massage and it was worth taking an experience. It was relaxing. We rested the whole afternoon in hotel as we had fixed the evening for the theme park “Fantasea” located in Kamala beach.

Fantasea was the first theme park that we had visited . It had many shops and stalls to keep you amused before the grand show. The dinner  before the show was arranged in a huge hall which could accommodate upto 5000 people. The seating arrangement was done as per the ethnicity and no wonder we found indian food buffet along with thai food next to our seats.

The show started at 9 pm . No cameras or phones were allowed inside. The show was great but I feel overall Fantasea was overpriced. It costed us 2500 THB per person including pickup and drop.

Day 6: Next morning we spend time in the pool and packed our food from the same Thai smile and took a cab to airport.

I just wished this trip wouldn’t end this soon. I loved my first international trip and so did my baby. My final verdict on traveling with toddlers is that let them be the way they are. Try your best to make arrangements for their likes dislikes but don’t overdo it. Let it be. My daughter didn’t eat the first three days but when I stopped running after her she started eating normally for the remaining three days.

Keep traveling and Keep learning !!!!


Week 41-43: Hibernation is over.

It was real cold here and I was hibernating the whole month, doing nothing but curiously watching what others are doing. I browsed a number of blogs and vlogs, mostly in field of art, food, lifestyle, and travel and started following  few bloggers and vloggers for their unique style and content. I will share the three people I loved.

  1. In oil painting space, I came across this beautiful girl  Lena Danya. It was not her beauty that struck me but her style of water series painting . I love the way she uses small brushes for detailing which is completely opposite to the way I do. She uses glass palette and bowls which are way lot easier to clean after the work. After following her for almost a month my favorite color is teal 🙂
  2. In travel and food section, I stumbled upon Mark Wiens and his blog What caught my attention was his expressions, especially how he widened his eyes and swayed a little bit every time he tasted something good and this is exactly what I do when I eat good food :). I was actually researching about thai food and this guy is the champion of thai cuisine for obvious reasons. Apparently, he  came to South Asia in 2009 to start his journey of food and travel and married his love, a native to Thailand, and now they both travel and eat together :). Though his culture and food choices are totally different than mine but his videos are very much enjoyable.
  3. In lifestyle, I checked this girl Lucie Fink . Lucie makes 5 days series in which she takes challenges/projects and accomplish/continue it for 5 days (Monday-Friday). Her blog has inspired me a lot and I am also planning to do something similar and interesting :).

Finally, after peeping into other’s life I realized that the time has come to wake up and to do something with my ongoing monotonous life too. First thing i did, I put my plants in the sun, did a bit of weeding and watering to throw new vibe in them. Hopefully the petunias will  bloom by next week. I also took out my canvas, easel, colors, and brushes to show them some fresh air. The greenry and the mini studio in balcony now inspires me to finish my butterfly series. I have planned to make four abstract butterflies, an idea actually inspired (copied) from someone from net. I am taking these small painting projects to explore new ideas, new color combinations and detailing before I can get back to my true self and start doing something original of my own.

Oh! and how can the New-Year start without a resolution post. Don’t go by the things I mentioned above, this year, I haven’t made any health, travel or lifestyle resolutions.

Actually, a very big thought struck my mind and without giving it a second thought I declared it as my 2017 target. I don’t know how I will go about it and whether declaring it on a public forum will make it easier for me or embarrassing but…” By the end of 2017 I want to have an exhibition of my paintings

Week-12, 13 & 14:I Flew to Pune.

Week 12:

Finally, My flight ticket to Mumbai got booked. There had been a significant reduction in my speech, diet and activeness for a week. I noticed it when I passed by the regular chauraha without stopping  for Paani Puri.

Week 13: Mumbai-Pune


Day 1 Part 1:

The fateful day arrived. I had booked an early morning flight to get past the flight phobia as fast as possible. But since morning, the God was in playful mood. The monsoon decided to strike and it poured cats and dogs. I was praying and the cab was cutting the water in the speedy lane. Suddenly a big water body flashed over the wind shield. The watchful driver applied brakes to slow the vehicle, but the truck behind us, could not and it resulted a 25 Tonns beast bumped our sedan from behind.  After a quick settlement, we rushed for the airport and somehow made there on-time. But the drama wasn’t over. The trunk of the car, loaded with my two bags, refused to open. I was stranded there with my toddler and MIL while the driver rushed to a local mechanic to open it. It costed me half an hour. But somehow driver got my luggage on time. I started running towards all security checks with my luggage in hurry while my toddler enjoyed my insanity and my MIL worried about us missing the flight. Finally, I reached the boarding queue and took a deep breath. But breath was taken away when the Air hostess inquired about boarding passes. Goddamn, I ran like Milkha singh to check in counter and found security personnel waving the passes and smiling at me. I had left them at the counter while juggling among the toddler, the diaper bag, and the bag full with Malihabad Mangoes specially ordered by my Husband. Apparently for him, ‘Alphansos’ are nothing in comparison to the ‘Malihabadis’.

In the haste I forgot to WhatsApp all my contacts ” Love u all ” before taking off. Thank God for that or else it would have been so tedious to send an explanation to everyone.

Day 1 Part 2 Mumbai:

Ya! the flight was over without any event as eventually the God made peace with me.  I landed in Mumbai. The welcoming sight of Mumbai, the biggest slum of Asia,  was a bit depressing. I had recently finished the book ” Behind the beautiful forever” which is based on lives of people of the slum next to the airport. It suffocates me just looking at these slums and thinking how people struggle for space. Before I could delve any further I reached my BFF’s house seeing whom I forgot everything. She is like the fresh breeze which one must have in one’s life. She is a complete different world altogether and I always feel so relaxed in her company since college days. She stuffed my belly with savory good homemade food and heart with old days’ talks.


I was sad while leaving her but excited in expectation to see the beautiful Bombay Pune Expressway. But pre-monsoon shower came heavily on us. The journey was beautiful but the heavy rain spoiled the view a bit.

At times, the rain makes you depressed. Right when I was gloomy, I saw light at the end of the tunnel and felt hopeful again..


I arrived Pune with absolute zero plans. No expectations, nothing! I stepped down from the cab and first thing I noticed that the air conditioner was working outside too.

Day 2:

The Guest house where we stayed was an excellent adobe for my daughter. It had sufficient space for her to run here and there . In the evening, we strolled around MG road munched some road side Bhel that tasted awesome with raw mangoes and returned with some street shopping and enjoyed rolls from Rollsmania.


Day 3:

We went to the Phoenix City Mall, had a burger in Burger King, did some time pass and had dinner at Food Court. It was not that great experience at all. The funny part was to go to fun city for our baby, happily buying tickets and realizing there was no fun for a two-year toddler.

Day 4:

So since my MIL was with me so it was customary to visit some temples we headed to Shirdi early in the morning which is three and a half hour ride from Pune.

The advent of Monson had made the surroundings lively and beautiful. In breakfast, we had ‘Misal Pav ‘ and ‘Vada Pav’. Both were spicy yet yummy. ‘Misal pav is the type of dish which should be used in Master Chef to confuse the contestants in guessing the ingredients. I could not find whether it had sprouts in it or sev.

I do believe in the doctrine that all are equal in the eyes of God but on this day I chose to take a VIP entry to the temple. In all the hustle bustle I didn’t realize when the Darshan was over. The big famous temples always remain a mystery to me, they never offer me the space and solace.  I prefer to pray at home or the nearby temple which has sufficient space to sit and offers time for one to one talk with God.

On the way back, we visited the Shani Shingnapur Temple. I was elated because I belonged to that generation of women who got the privilege to enter the temple and worship the shrine. But before I could feel more victorious and could tell shani maharaja that how these men have kept him in darkness for so long and that he will enjoy the visit by the woman squad and what not, I was pushed aside by the line of people behind me.  Photography was prohibited but outside the temple I found a big movie poster and couldn’t resist the clicking. Lord of Shingnapur.



I also clicked this amusing sight of an old fashioned sugarcane machine being run by a bull.. These places were called Rasvantis.


Day 5:

It rained the whole day and we had no option but to sit and stare at each other. I however enjoyed watching television. Yes! at one point of time, in your hectic life it becomes a luxury. In evening we went to FC road. This time I didn’t leave the evening planning for my husband. With the help of Internet, Blogs and Zomato I handed over him the list of things I had to do. Apart from shopping we had a chocolate sandwich at a place called Flavours. Packed cheese cake from ‘Sweet Chariot’ and savored the ‘Yana wok and sizzlers ‘ for their famous sizzlers for which apparently people come from Mumbai to enjoy .



I couldn’t sleep the whole night mostly because of indigestion and also the baby who caught cold and vomited all over me. But I always keep myself prepared for the unexpected from the baby.

Day 6 :

Next day after kick-starting the day with a cup of Eno…. Yes, you heard it right! Eno! We decided to let the baby rest with MIL. We left for Vohuman café which is famous for its bun Maska, Cheese Omelette and of course the Irani Chaai. On the way back bought a sweat shirt for the baby.




After spending the day we just walked around in the neighbor-hood and let the baby recover. With the help of Zomato, we decided to have a grand dinner at ‘Little Italy’. It has a bunch of the most courteous waiters, who if were Italians would have kissed my hands some 20 times I suppose. They made special arrangements for the baby to sit and when baby started shouting ‘ Maggi Maggi Maggi’s looking at the next tables pasta the staff arranged a small plate of pasta tossed in butter for her. She showed her table manners and had it with both her hands.

We ordered Pizza and Lasagna , both were amazing.

Day 7:

My husband’s colleagues came over to meet the baby and we decided to have lunch  with them at NH37 dhaba, a Bengali restaurant. The ambience was very rustic and food was very delicious. The best feature of the restaurant was that they approached us with a box with a lock and asked us to keep our phones in it and give the key to the waiter. This initiative was to ensure that we all have a good time with each other rather than staring at our phones. If u successfully had your meals without opening the box you will be given 10% discount. Unfortunately, my husband had a Con-Call to attend so we couldn’t avail the benefits.

I couldn’t take the photos of this place as the baby was cranky and my husband was busy in a con-cal.

Day 8:

The tour was over. We drove back to Mumbai. It was again pouring like crazy and it took us 4 hours to reach the Mumbai  airport from Pune. I don’t think I will even survive a day in this city if I have to stay here.

Week 14: The vacation lag is not over yet. The memories of Pune are just not leaving me and so are the extra kilos and inches. The heart wants more. So while  munching the ‘Bhakarwari’ by the ‘Chitale Bandhoos’ I have prepared my next travel plan. It will either be Goa, a luxury cruise, Pondicherry, Thailand (provided my passport is ready), Gangtok or Kerala via Pune.