The monsoons create havoc outside my window as I type this. A strong urge of piping hot bhajiyas and hot chocolate envelope me, and I cannot help but wonder why nobaarish ka khaana is being listed out in this post.
Nevertheless, July is coming up and a lot of deep fried foods and steaming beverages shall be consumed. Until then here is a round up of my June food favourites – dishes, restaurants and events that made the cut.
1. When you can’t decide between coffee and dessert – Starbucks’s Summer Beverages FTW!
What I love about Starbucks is that they keep reinventing their menu, introducing newer drinks keeping in mind seasonal specials. Their indulgent drinks on offer currently are the Coconut Strawberry Bliss Frappuccino and the Roasted Marshmallow S’mores Frappuccino. The former was an interesting blend of tropical coconut and citrus strawberries, while the latter was a creamy vanilla coffee interspersed with marshmallow chunks. Not a fan of sugary coffee drinks? Try their Cold Brew instead – a strong Kenyan brew served over ice.
Available at Starbucks outlets all over the country.
Visiting the Bohri Mohalla area or the Minara Masjid area during Ramzan is about more than just food; it is an experience. The lights and sounds are captivating. You cannot help but get drawn into the festivities and camaraderie. It’s such a beautiful amalgamation of people from different cultures, religions, and walks of life. And then there’s the food. Smells of meat being grilled, malpuas being fried, and masalas being coated. Sights of colourful phirnis and halwas on display, kebabs hanging off skewers, and ginormous tawas cooking up every meat imaginable.
I wrote these lines back in 2015, when I wrote about another Iftaar walk, which you can read about here. Nothing much has changed in all this time. The vibe at these places during Ramadan and my feeling about the entire eating out experience during this holy month remains the same. Even though most people flock to Mohammed Ali Road and the Minara Masjid area for their share of grub, I have been partial to Bohri Mohalla and the stalls there. There’s lesser jostling through crowds here, and the food is just as delicious. Here are my top five stalls/restaurants that you must visit in the Bohri Mohalla area to get your Iftaar feast.
It is not the mountain we conquer, but ourselves. ~ Sir Edmund Hillary
The mountains can be both awe-inspiring as well as overwhelming. Their grandeur can make you feel like an inconsequential speck in the larger scheme of things, which is exactly how I felt driving around in the Garhwal region of Uttarakhand during our four-day Culinary Soujourn of Garhwal. I, a self proclaimed beach bum with an exaggerated fear of heights, finally learnt to give in to nature, live in the moment and embrace the mountains. ‘Respect the mountains, and she’ll respect you back,’ my grandfather’s saying came echoing back to me.
Garhwal is a mountainous region in the state of Uttarakhand; it’s vibrant Garhwali culture has remained overshadowed and underexposed over the decades. Their simple, hearty cuisine and sustainable cooking methods are also lesser known among the larger population; which is why the Culinary Soujourn of Garhwal organized by the JW Marriott Walnut Grove Resort and Spa, Mussoorie in collaboration with Rushina Munshaw Ghildiyal of the APB Cook Studio was the perfect way to acquaint myself with their culture and cuisine. Along the way I fell in love with a region I knew very little about, a cuisine I had never eaten before, and people we never knew yet they welcomed us into their world with open arms. It was love at first sight. And/or first bite.
The heat in the month of May was absolutely unbearable. All it made me want to do was curl up inside an air conditioned room, and sip on smoothies. Luckily, I got a chance to escape to the hills of Mussoorie, to explore a lesser known cuisine. But more on that in later blogposts. Back home in Mumbai, the eating out was kept to a bare minimum courtesy the excruciating heat. Here is a round up of the restaurants and dishes that made it to my May Food Favourites list –
1. For those Sindhi Sunday breakfasts – Sindhu Sweets, Khar.
Let the aroma of freshly fried pakwans lead you to Sindhu Sweets, which is located at a two minute walk from Khar railway station. This sweet shop specializes in a few Sindhi dishes such as Dal Pakwaan, Aloo Tuk, Sindhi Kadhi Chawal, and more. Most of these are weekly specials and only available on a Sunday morning.
‘Once you live in Mumbai, no place else will ever be good enough.’
I feel exactly the same way about Bandra – Queen of Mumbai’s Suburbs. Having lived most of my life here, I have seen Bandra undergo a metamorphosis into the thriving, contemporary suburb it is today. But the Bandra I knew and grew up in was different. It was not the hipster Bandra filled with clubs and high rises we know now. It was slow, lackadaisical and relaxed. It was filled with tiny bylanes and arterial roads flanked with picturesque bungalows on either sides.