The Birthday & Goan flavours

The Birthday came and has gone by… As with the past few years I did manage to escape.. But the ttrip this year was different and special.. I know I say similar things every year,but then this year it truly was different and I felt special… Why? Cos this time it was not a solo trip, it was not a trip to a new destination but infact was to a place I have been to before but it was a whole new experience.
I have done trips with friends and random groups as well, but then it is always good to travel with someone who ensures you have a good time, who takes the effort to do things for you and is someone you get along very well with… Makes sense?

My 1st trip to Goa was almost a decade ago, alone and one where I did plenty of touristy things- see all the popular sights, walk around the beaches, take the local transport and melt away in the heat of October- November. This trip on the other hand was a total contrast, I was not alone [ as mentioned earlier], the weather was awesome [ crazy rains to cool breeze] and I did explore a side of Goa I hadn’t seen before.. Above all this, got to try local Goan dishes that I dint venture much into last time around. It was a culinary treat for both of us… 🙂 
The only Goan food I had tried & loved was Bibinca, the layered dessert… That apart I had tried their Feni, and cashews.. but then this time around, I got to taste some of their popular dishes and enjoy the variety of flavours & spices.. some were too spicy to handle, while others were simply yummilicious. 
From Day1, we steered clear of all generic dishes like pasta or pizza and ensured the main meals had one goan dish in them. For breakfast, we were ok to do omelette toast, pancakes hash browns etc, but then when it came to lunch and dinner, we went to places that served authentic Goan food.. One afternoon we went to Brittos, in Baga Beach. The place is situated right on the ocean front, so you get to enjoy the cool ocean breeze, watch people enjoy themselves as you sipped on chill beer and dug into the freshly made fries and food. Oh boy, the fries were sinful, they were fresh soft and just amazing.. almost like the hand cut fries I had few years back at a restaurant in Chennai.. We finished up the meal with a slice of Blueberry Cheesecake, which was alright.. I like my cheesecake tad sour but this was fresh cream & sweetish…. 
Another evening we decided to order in [it had been pouring non stop and so we were in no mood to get dressed, drive out], but then as luck would have it, we had to do just that… We had ordered  at Lio Loco burgers and drinks via Zomato, but 45mins passed and no update. When we checked, came to know the delivery guy had a flat tire and hadnt even reached the restaurant, zomato wasnt being helpful, and so we decided to cancel the order & request a refund. A call to the cafe and we were told food was ready, and waiting for us. Since the place wasnt too far, we grudgingly got off our asses and headed over to the place. The poor guy [also the owner] had kept the place just for us [ he said he usually shuts at 8pm], reheated the burgers, made us fresh fries & drinks to go as well. During the course of the conversation came to know the place was quite popular among students, there was a school/college nearby…  We sat there, chit chatted with him a while as we dug into the juicy burgers. One of the burgers was double patty, I was unable to go beyond a few bites, heck I couldnt even get my mouth around the ginormous thing.. Friend took it and polished it off in minutes.. 🙂 The place had a few cool posters on it and a seriously gorgeous wall art – a Lion’s face that was vibrant and details blew us away… 
One of the dishes that I was told was a MUST in Goa was the lobster Thermidor, my companion had tasted it a decade plus ago, remembered how amazing it was and wanted to give me the same experience. One after, braving the crazy rains, we drove down to Calangute and he walked ahead, declining my offer to get under the umbrella and walked towards Souza Lobo, located right along the ocean… The place was fairly huge and was near packed when we walked in… mmmm… 
One more… The night before we were to leave Goa, we headed to a place called The Hangout, a small resto pub of sorts [ that was open for the 1st time this year during monsoons] where I tasted Sorpotel..served with a side of Goan Pav… This is a dish that traces its history to the Portuguese but is now cooked across the coastal Konjan region, mainly in Goa and Mangalore. A simple stew, it had masala made with vinegar and not just red chillies.. The spice factor was fairly low and went very well with the pao bread. While talking to the owner of the place, he mentioned that this was a dish that you would find at all special occasions, even weddings and was made by slow cooking the whole thing.. He also went on to share that many had this dish for breakfast with eggs and bread… 
Well, I could go on and on about the dishes I tried and the rich flavours… But the bottomline is that food is also about the company, the place,and  the experience… not just the flavours and the taste… 

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