Thursday, June 21, 2018

The fantastic 5 Sunday brunch at Park Hyatt Goa

This father’s day, we made it a family event at the fantastic five brunch at Park Hyatt and I realised it was the perfect option for families.

The Hum Paanch series at Park Hyatt Goa, for Rs 1400 for a non alcoholic brunch, a treat for the entire family

The chicken cutlet pao got a five star upgrade, with chicken kismoor, lime wedges and lasun pickle
 Our family is a melting pot of food preferences ; while my mother in law is all about experimenting and experiencing anything that she doesn’t cook at home, my father –in- law prefers the home cooked Goan staples of rice and curries. The husband is keen on healthy grills and dry meats, I am all about the indulgent desserts and cheese boards.

So when Park Hyatt Resor and Spa announced the launch of their 5 distinct culinary experiences, in the form of their 5 speciality restaurants coming together under one massive epicurean experience, I knew it was the perfect fit for the two fathers for father’s day.
My mother-in law eating fancy exotic cuisine, which she got to try for the first time at the buffet, love to giove them new experiences. and my father-in law happy to have the simple Goan red rice and Goan baked breads and the familiar Goan cuisine

The brunch is not your average, multi cuisine spread, or even dining in a multi cuisine restaurant, because this is about 5 distinct kitchens, 5 separate teams taking care of the cuisine they do best.
And so Casa Sarita, the Goan Soeciality restaurant morphed into the Goan Priestess, Da Luigi the Italian speciality restaurant morphed into the Italian Empress, Palms the sea facing grill speciality restaurant came dressed as the sea food emperor, Masala the Indian speciality restaurant became the Indian Magician, and village café turned into the street style star.

couldnt get enough of tthese white chocolate and almond rocks topped with a sugar coated rose petal, which my son thought were jujubes :)

The cheese and charcuterie grazing platter, a sight to behold.
The gorgeous Park Hyatt property, which offered father's day games art art work for kids, play area and bonding activities and plenty of open spaces to run around.

The customary mom and baby cup of cheers with our tea cups.

couldn't help posing with this beauty

Each of these desserts signified us as a family, the flamboyant blue and white with a base of brownie is me, the clean classic chocolate bar , the husband, and that adorable tart which stole my heart has got to be the apple of my eye, my son.

The fantastic five brunch is a first of it's kind concept meal by the resort, and I think it's a fantastic move, in that it showcases each of the speciality offerings in a stellar manner. we loved the prawns grilled on open flame, the chicken dimsums , and the tava mutton in this monsoon season, and judging by the fantastic turnout of people, this concept biffet lunch is going to be a sizzling success all through the rainy season.
If you cant make up your mind if you want fish curry rice, or a grilled chcken and roast potato kind of meal, or a wok tossed noodles and creamy pasta dish, then decide to have it all at the newly launched sunday brunch for the monsoon season at Park Hyatt. do call in advance and book your tables though, because this one is extremely popular . 

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Cafes of Goa : Monsoon Trail

So you plan on visiting Goa in the rains, but still want to visit quirky and cute places, with instagrammable food, which is good for you, also meet other people, collaborate on projects and soak in the artsy vibe of Goa in the monsoons.

This post is just for you!

Three cafés which are open during the monsoon season in Goa, where you can come in to dry yourself off, do a spot of shopping even, eat some gorgeous food, and who knows even make a local connection .

The project Café , Assagao.

Imagine a 130 year old Portuguese Villa housing a lifestyle experience space, with Food, design, retail, and gallery space. The restaurant/café within this art gallery like space, serves up some vibrant and fresh salad, like the fig and blue cheese crumble salad we loved, and also south east Asian cuisine like a thai green curry. But we loved their rendition of Serradura the most, with dessicated coconut crumble, and creamy biscuity bits to add to the wonder.
The Project Cafe , Goa 

What’s exciting? The outdoor café which is inspired by Bismarckia leaves, notice the leaves marked on the concrete tables, and a giant mural on the wall of the tree as well.
watercolour workshop with Allen Shaw, the project cafe Goa

The famed blue cheese and fig salad , worth the hype , the project cafe , Goa

Millennial travel goals: The project café loves to collaborate with skilled travellers, and we have attended a pop up with a travelling chef couple from Lisbon, as well as a watercolour travel journalist from Berlin, and a visit to project café could lead to connecting with interesting people from around the world doing interesting things on the sphere of art, design , food and more. Infact you can reach out to them if YOU want to do a workshop or an exhibition as well.
Dinner Pop up with Travelling chefs Tony Santos and Marta fernandes from Lisbon, The Project Cafe , Goa

Artjuna, Anjuna.
A café restaurant which believes in Organic food, enough to not serve any chicken or meats, because they may not be sourced from organic farms. But trust me, you don’t miss the meats. They do serve fish, and the tuna and avocado salad is amazing. Between instagram worthy smoothies and shakes, and fresh organic sourdough bread and gluten free banana cakes, there is much to choose from.

Artjuna, Anjuna, Cafes of Goa. Of Mezze platters and instagrammable salads

when smoothies and salads are bae, head to Artjuna, Anjuna
treehouse playarea, artjuna
 Whats exciting?  All through monsoon, you have movie nights, and also there is a lovely book library overflowing with books, so that you can cozy up in a chair with a book, and watch as the rain washes of the beautiful green trees in the area. Kids also have a tree climbing play area, and a place to enjoy nature and the monsoons while you can keep a watchful eye from your cozy corner.

Millennial travel goals: A large Yoga and pilates area, a mixed martial arts area, a shop filled with quaint India inspired curios and jewellery, which is all very affordably priced to take back as souvenirs from your travels. Most of the belts and handbags are made in house, and are all unique bespoke pieces.

The book library, artjuna, Anjuna

Shakshuka , at Artjuna, Goa

Natti’s Naturals, Anjuna.

A white Goan Potuguese home, nestled in a wooded garden, is home to one of the more popular natural food movements in North Goa.  A menu teaming with breakfast bowls and healthy superfoods, like Kombucha, acai berry smoothies, granola trail mixes, not to mention lactose free nut milks, and gluten free desserts which will have you weak at the knees, but healthy in heart and gut.

Natti's naturals, Goa

ecofriendly soaps, using natural soap berry, reetha

quinoa salad, acai berry smoothie bowl, kombucha , hummus falafel mezze platter.
all so instagramable and all so deliciously good for you. 
What’s exciting? An Natural food  store, which even has environment friendly detergent soaps for your clothes and home washing purposes. Throwback to Indian ethos of care and nurture, they store and sell, unique health foods like apple cider vinegar from Himachali apples, and organic indian spices an oils and organic milled grains, apart from your nuts , and granola trail mixes.

Millennial travel Goals : At the time we went, young Caroline from Canada was painting a magical garden of cornflowers and dragonflies on the dried leaf walls of Natti’s Natural. A chance to work and share your skill, while you travel and experience a country , is an exciting prospect to the millennial traveller. And we loved connecting and interacting with this effervescent soul who was visiting India to learn Yoga.

Millenial traveller , Caroline, with her artowork in the background, Natti's Naturals

Gluten free chocolate cake and Banana cake with organic honey, Natti's Naturals

Monsoons are the perfect time to travel to Goa if you are looking for the offbeat, the economical, the slow paced travel. If you are looking for an immersive travel and food experience , then I hope this post helps you get the most from your #monsoonsingoa experience, also if you are a local Goan, then this would be the best time for you to get to know the hippy chic travel lifestyle of the world travellers and what makes Goa such a hotspot for millennial travellers.

If you liked this post, I would really appreciate that you shared it on your social media.
Also follow me on Instagram  @thefoodietrails on facebook page @thefoodietrails and if you do visit the places do tag me and use the hashtag #goafoodietrails 

Want to read more?

Read the foodies guide to the Goan Fish Thali
Read the three Best times to visit Goa

Sunday, June 3, 2018

The number one food trend for 2018 , Godrej food trends 2018 #GFTR2018

The Godrej Food Trends Report is out,which is a detailed analysis of what to expect in the food industry in India this year; from pop up restaurants, to celebration of millets, from ethnic food ingredients to Buddha bowls, there is a lot that we can look forward to in 2018.But as we reach the half mark of 2018, when I look back on the last 5 months, the food trend for 2018 that I find most exciting is Mindful eating.

Godrej Food trends Report 2018 #GFTR2018

It makes sense that India, the land of Yoga and Ayurveda, and body and mind consciousness, should not only adopt mindfulness in food, but also embrace it as a way of life.

So what is Mindfulness in food? Being Mindful is knowing what you are eating, where is it coming from, how is it grown, who made it and how, and finally giving the food the respect and losing yourself to the five senses while eating your food, and being thankful for the food we have.

Let’s start from the beginning; being aware where your food comes from: A lot of food influencers have taken to growing their own vegetables and herbs, and I do think that given the ease of planters and balcony greens, that can very well be the way to go. But, baby steps. Many of us working professionals  may not have the time or the patience to do our own vegetable gardens, but step out once a week to your neighbourhood vegetable vendor. Touch, feel, prod and smell your produce. I found myself doing just that when I went Mango shopping, I felt for the softness and piability of the mangoes, I judged them by their colour and checked for bruises and cuts, and then finally held them up for a glorious whiff of sun ripened mangoes. The entire sensational experience of touch, sight, smell before actually tasting is where the mindfulness lies.

Choosing mangoes, an exercise in Mindfulness 

How is our food being produced?: I think this is the part Indians struggle with most. We love to visualise fields of mustard with Shahrukh Khan and Kajol dancing, but we dissociate with the farmer who grows the food. In fact, the dissociation from our food is even more when it comes to the animals we eat. We love our butter chicken, but we don’t want to be drawn into the controversy of how they are bred.  One of my Easter lunch spread had the picture of a suckling on the stuffed pig platter. People don’t mind eating sausages and bacon, but the fact that it is an actual animal produce disturbs them. I eat all meats, and I love the western approach of giving dignity and respect to the shepherd who grazes them, to the butchers and even the chefs who work extensively with meats. There are countless travel and food shows which are now taking us on virtual tours of farmlands in Australia, and Butcheries in France, but not one which shows us the Tabelas of Punjab. If we need to embrace food, we truly need to embrace the where, who and what of food.

Knowing , acknowledging and respecting the source of your food, mindful eating, #GFTR2018

Next up is Mindfulness about who is making the food: Raise your hand if you make your food everyday. Raise your hand if you cook for your entire family, everyday. Raise your hand if you feel like an under-appreciated mom. There is a reason why Ma-ke-haath-ka khana is such a big thing. No yearly trend report can take away that blissful joy of ‘my mom cooks the best’. And a lot of brands have jumped on the bandwagon of celebrating the ‘MOM’ , be it cooking oils, to fast food brands, from cornflakes to mayonnaise everyone has a yummy mummy prepping breakfast, tiffin or checking up on her husbands calorie count.

 I will be honest, I am a doctor, I work out of home, and while I plan every meal of the house, I do not cook every meal. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t healthy and tasty, and it does stem from age old family recipes. But, sometimes spending time rustling up a meal, is just the therapy I need after a day at work. Making salads, or adjusting the spices in a dish, or tossing up a fried rice in the wok, I don’t know how many of you have cooked for yourself or for family, but try it. And better still , involve the kids. Right now we make imaginary food for everyone at the park, using play sand, and being mindful that kitchen is not the only place for a woman, and that the kitchen belongs to an entire family, and the entire family can come together not just to eat, but also to cook, I feel will go a long way in promoting mindfulness and well being. Having open kitchens, where a kitchen connects directly to the dining hall, I think takes the cooking out of the kitchen and helps others see the entire preparation of dishes.

And finally the eating of food: By now you might have guessed from the 700 odd words above, that I believe that Mindfulness in eating food, doesn’t just lie in eating it. But, one of the greatest joys of life, is that every now and then you have to slow down and savour a meal. But how many of us have rushed through our meals on our way to work, binge eaten in front of the TV, or netflixed our meals, not even realising what we ate. Guess, the biggest advantage of eating your food mindfully, is that you feel satiated much faster, and that translates to eating lesser. Eating slowly, admiring the long grains of basmati, deeply inhaling the smell of fresh ghee, and even eatin
g with your hands to really feel the texture of food, all help immersing yourself in the eating experience.

Who knew mindfulness could be your next step to health and weightloss.

 But first one word about giving thanks. Not a traditional Indian concept, but since many of us have been brought up in Catholic schools, where a prayer before meals is mandatory, why not adopt it in our own way? I first noticed this when one day my son, returned from school, and just folded his hands and said “Thankyou God for this food”. I don’t know how much he understands about God or thankfulness , especially since we haven’t introduced the concept of God to him, and sometimes he returns without eating his school tiffin ( so much for thankfulness) , but I think it’s a habit worth inculcating.
Inculcating Thankfulness, Mindful eating

Mindfulness while eating out: I think nothing can be more satisfying than a mindful meal eaten at a restaurant. Think about it, one of the key ways of eating mindfully is having a dedicated place of cooking your meals and also eating them. And so eating at the dining table promotes more mindfulness, rather than eating infront of the TV. Now imagine that you actually get dressed to EAT, drive a car to a place to EAT, be seated in a place particularly designed so that you ENJOY YOUR MEALS, everyone from the wait-staff to the chef to the cutlery on the table is there to make your meal a memorable experience. Leave the phone, connect with your food, connect with the people making and serving the food, and mostly connect with the person you are there with to savour the food. To be able to have someone who celebrates your love for food as much as you , is a treasure all unto itself.

mindfulness while eating out and food blogging #GFTR2018

Mindfulness as a food blogger : If you have read this far, I am guessing, either you really love your food , in which case HIGH FIVE, or are a food blogger , in which case hug from your tribe. As a food blogger taking food pictures can seem contra-intuitive to mindfulness, but it actually isn’t. Seeing how the light hits the food, and how the colours contrast on the plate, how the butter chicken looks even better with the dollop of cream, and food styling using the ingredients in the dish, means you are actually celebrating the food in front of you. But a word of caution , celebrate food, not just the pictures .

Even while eating, us food bloggers need to know that much more about textures, interplay of flavours, food combinations and so much more. I am constantly trying to identify the spices, or how a particular cooking technique affects the overall dish whether it is char grilling or smoking a dish, or cooking in a water bath. Without mindfulness, that isn’t possible.
Baby led weaning, this is my son at 9 months eating a carrot beetroot whole wheat cake ( yes I celebrated monthly birthdays). Baby led weaning, and sitting in a dedicaated high cahir are ways of starting a mindful eating practice for kids.

And finally, mindfulness for kids !
It starts as young as breast feeding and then weaning. While enough has been said, and written about breastfeeding, and I am a huge believer in it, not much is said about a baby’s first foods. Baby led weaning simply means that let the baby decided what they want to eat, and not to give mashed purees, it also means they start to grab and eat early, they chew their food better, and it means better hand eye coordination and better understanding of food texture, rather than having everything mashed and watery.

 Second tip would be to make child sit in a high chair, rather than running after the child during feeding time. It means they have a dedicated place to eat, just like adults.

 And third, is don’t feed with the Tv mobile on, something a lot of parents do. Yes, its more work getting them to eat food, more mess too, since the kid is effectively feeding themselves, but you can raise mindful eaters at a young age.

Taking your kid to the vegetable market is another great way to make them aware of food, also imaginary play and actual cooking with kids is all part of mindfulness.

That brings us to the end of why I think Mindfulness is the Number one trend of 2018 and going forth. It encompasses everything right from production to consumption of food, you can introduce it in simple ways in your daily life, and learn to love food more, and it can help you lose weight too if that is what you choose to do, and connecting with food with all your senses not just your taste buds, elevating the experience of eating, whether at home or outside.

Hope you enjoyed our playful take on Mindful eating

This post is a part of the Godrej Food Trends blogging contest hosted by Fashionable Foodz in association with Vikhroli Cucina and should not be repurposed, republished or used otherwise. the content herein is owned by the blogger. Godrej food trends blogging contest, Fashionablefoodz or Godrej is not responsible for any kind of infringement caused.