An elephant never forgets

This was not only about an elephant in the room…but elephants in the wild. And yes there was a time when a herd of elephants came trampling through this vicinity.

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Situated on the border, between Goa and Karnataka is the Shangrila Jungle Resort….just the place to commune with nature.

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The rooms are interesting…the suites heavenly. If numbers don’t spook you…this was one to try out.

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The beauty of the place, this space is where you can opt for a ‘rain dance’ once they open the sprinklers.

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Or take that elephant ride and say hello to the horse as he nuzzles your hand.

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Just the place that children would love. Open spaces, water creeks and nature. At the Shangri La Jungle Resort its a holiday one will never forget. Just like the elephant.

Goenchem Fest 2017

The Goan Culinary Club believes in retaining its legacy…its authentic culinary preparation. For its 50 strong members, it is a platform of learning where recipes are shared, home styled preparations are invited to be shared and a platform of networking and professional trust is established. Since its inception 6 years ago, Co founders Odette and Joe Mascarenhas have worked hard to retain its identity.

This year at The Park on Holiday Street, it was a sundowner like the days of yore….fun, food and music. Watch GM Saurabh Khanna on the poder bicycle.

GM Saurabh Khanna rides the Poder cycle

With this in mind member chefs researched the local flavors..From the Saraswat Kitchens (Kokni Kanteen/Voltaire) – Prawn Lonchem/ Toranche Udhamethi and Bangda Hooman /  Chavli Batata Tonak. The Hindu centric (Spice Goa)- Kholyatle Sungta / Sungta che kadi , Inspired Goan (Moki, The Park, Cidade )- Kokum chili glaze yam pops / Pane cracker cafreal hint chicken and  Crisp fried cheese pockets w Balchao mayonnaise & cafreal dip. Portuguese outside India (Cerveja) – Feijoada/ Cavala com Arroz de Tomate, Portuguese Inspired Goan or Christian Goan (Taverna Panjim, Saligao Stories) – Grandma’s  Chicken roast with stuffing /Goan Pulao  and Salted tongue and Olives/ Pork Assado…….the chefs from Holiday Inn, Fern Kadamba, Fidalgo, Bay 15, Flying Dolphin, they all researched and took their pick

Judges for the competition Ms Amita salatry and Chef Nitin Dhar

There were many interesting challenges too. Two member chef’s were challenged in a cook off…they were blindfolded and given to taste the preparations. With just their palate they had to identify the spices and flavors. The two judges Chef Nitin Dhar and Ms Amita Salatry found it very difficult to judge the winner… the chefs from Bay 15 and The Park were stupendous.

Chef Sunit Sharma conducts the McCain Burger competition

The next challenge was the ability to gorge a Mc Cain burger…Fastest burger finished first. Yes, chef’s are known to have a ‘quick’ meal but the contestants were even faster, The winning time was 1 min 20 seconds. Those burgers were really wholesome.

Nolan judging the cocktail competition with Aziz Lalwani and Viren Sinh

There is no fun without spirits flowing…With feni cocktail challenge (create your own mix)…lucky winners ahoy.

The music with Lavinia and Sancho was ‘catchy’…old Goan medleys and dancing music too. And the ‘highlight’ of the show was the fashion show of Ms Philu Martins…inspired by the local cuisine. We had the models (our very own members…chef’s, proprietors, GMs, home kitchen enthusiasts) walk in creations inspired by the Poder, local chillies The bhendo, the Mango.

curtain call joe, philu martins, odette mascarenhas

The showstopper for the evening was the Sorpotel and Sanna with a headgear of chilies worn by the clubs co founder Odette Mascarenhas (nicknamed as The Culinary Queen of Goa). Our very own singing sensation Varun Carvalho sang live ‘paka paka’ at the model’s curtain call, besides a few of his popular numbers.

Nostalgic memories of the past in today’s ‘newly’ defined spirit of Goa. The magic of fun, food and music definitely remains. This time the Goan Culinary Club really made it happen.

Un-Pho-Gettable!

Foodies who want that An Unforgettable experience. Well that was at the Taj Vivanta Panjim, where Chef Sherap Lodoe brought in the choicest Vietnamese preparations to stimulate the palate.

Chefs at work

A break from his kitchens at the Blue Ginger – Taj West End Bangalore, he bonded with the local chefs to create a 6 course menu.

Soup

The Soup: Pho Ga (chicken breast in chicken stock) and the Pho Chay (Tofu and button mushrooms). The accompanying sauces add zest to the flavor.

The Appetizers and Salads: Crispy Squid butter garlic…the light crunch…just divine. The salads mouthwateringly good. (Goi Xoai (Spicy green mango) and the Goi Chay (lettuce and Asian herbs)…don’t miss this on the a la carte)

The colorful designed menu for the festival said it all…The Fresh Rolls included fresh rice paper roll with roasted duck and the Fresh rice paper roll with water chestnuts.

Mains

Mains: Wok tossed lamb with bamboo shoots and Saigon sauce, Vietnamese chicken Red curry, Stirfried mushrooms, squash and bottle gourd in Sate sauce and Vietnamese vegetarian Yellow curry with sweet potatoes and eggplant. A confession to make. The Red and Yellow curries seems to the palate a richer version than those served in the neighboring state. Well let the battle of opinions rage….just my palates opinion.

Noodles and Rice: Vietnamese Style Stir fried rice noodles with Bokchoy, Carrots and Mushrooms and steamed Jasmine rice.

Dessert

Desserts: Mindblowing Che Chuoi. Banana with sago pearls and coconut milk sweet soup. Served in a champagne saucer…it was Cheers to this heavenly repast!

Greedy pig!!

Let’s not take the term literally and get offended. This is the Khadras Club (translation Greedy Pigs Club). Initiated by Master Chef Cyrus Todiwala OBE of the Spice Namaste fame in London, he has now brought in this concept to Goa at the Acron Waterfront Resort in Baga.

At the Cyrus Todiwala’s- The River Restaurant, the flavor before foodies sat down to dine was one of fun and Parsi styled hugs.

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One must remember that the Parsi’s do things in big measures. And while the Parsi pegs dominated the pre lunch buzz, the tables were set for a 4 course meal which included a pre dessert course.

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Interesting offerings…eggs usually dominate their preparations…the starters ‘mini bite’ tastings did have one. Ever see an egg so small in Goa…well they managed it.

Watching the diners enjoy the meals…Sara and Pervin did have a moment of relief.

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Moving on to the entree…the kid Gosht….nostalgic memories indeed. And then the mains..the prawn Patio was divine…the combo palate fulfilling indeed.

The pre dessert was an old favorite…Parsi styled dry sev, served with a ‘rabdi’ styled sweetened curd mix. O! so very traditional.

Desserts

But the desserts had Sara’s stamp and Cyrus’s tweak on the Laganu Custard. Absolute Bliss!

Greedy Pigs?? Oh yes…not a single bite or morsel left back on the plate for the ‘dhonn’ (left overs). We in Goa normally rear our pigs on that. Would our pigs love this food? Sure they would if anything was left over for them.

Not a breadcrumb trail…

This week was packed with excitement…definitely not for those seeking breadcrumbs. The Park Hyatt on its 15th Anniversary had an action oriented…food and feni extravaganza.

This is what Goa is made of. To start with the Goan Culinary Club with the Queens of the home kitchens initiated the ‘down memory lane’ adventure of reviving a near to be forgotten Portuguese Inspired Goan food. Tasting and advising..the chef’s did not disappoint. Even to the Bacalhua which is so difficult to get in the state now a days

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Then there was the cook off. Six women participated…starters, mains and even dessert. A tough choice indeed for member judges Nolan Mascarenhas and Chef Eldridge Vaz. Finally the winners….Nikita Sirsat and Vaisahali Joshi….the other ladies too cheered. Honestly speaking there were no losers.

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Then it was a picture perfect brunch

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And yours truly took a few minutes on stage. The Club had challenged the chef’s to replicate what the winning Queen’s of the kitchens had done.

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And afte the tasting…the challenge was well worth the effort. The Chef’s had worked their magic.

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Lastly lets not forget to blow the bugle…yes a little odd in shape…but that is truly the feni way.

W…the WOW factor

It’s perched on a hill, the villas and restaurant touching the sandy shores of Vagator. It’s the new ‘W” hotel.

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And they do things in style. The party to inaugurate the pool…well with the floating deck in the middle, the beauty was unmistakable. In more ways than one.

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Wear sensible shoes was the advisory invite. A laterite trail wherein the chef had perched his counters for starts…the potato compositions were unique.

Hang on…well those were the trapeze artists, and the hoola gals who tempted one and all to gyrate with them

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It was a night of fun….the moon above played peek a boo, but the flaming torches and the music was made for dancing.

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Was the dinner a food truck? No way. Grilled temptations that included seafood and the desserts…what is the term? ‘To die for!’ Glad that did not happen we are here to tell the tale.

The three kings of gourmet cuisine

This is not the Christmas season and yet from Chennai and Hyderabad to Goa they came bearing ‘gifts’ of some mouth watering preparations. Under the Park Hyatt masters of food and Wine series, the 3 chefs had laid on a family style Sunday brunch with the ‘Evergreen’s’ to set the mood.

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Argentinian Chef Franco Canzano  (Goa), Italian Chef Michele Prevedello (Hyderabad) and Indonesian Chef TeukuSyafrulsyah  (Chennai) showcased their skills at the Palms.. Park Hyatt Goa’s premier Beach restaurant.

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Just imagine…the wind playing ‘peek a boo’ on your hair, the music enticingly provocative tempting one to step up and dance, the sizzling aroma and discreet ladle stirring noises…with the warm afternoon sun compelling one…

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Not to sleep, because the food was too much of an enticement. From Chef Michele repertoire the Spinach and ricotta lasagne was awesome, and accompanied with the marinated sardines and the parma ham and melon…

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Move over to the Argentinian Grill from Chef Franco. Choose from the Pork belly or ribs…decided to have both…but left some space for the Indonesian…my best choice so far although both cuisines were great.

The SeladaUdang  (spicy prawn salad with coconut dressing) , AyamPelalah (shredded chicken with sambal) Ikan Masak Lemak (fish in coconut cream and turmeric), the  Ayam Panggang – (spicy barbecue chicken) and many more. Absolutely mouth drooling stuff…

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Lets not forget the extensive dessert counter ….Pisang Goring – fried banana with vanilla ice cream, Dadar Gulung – coconut and jack fruit pancake, Fried cream ‘Veneziana style’ with fruits and acacia honey, churros with milk sauce ….unique, spellbinding, prepared a la minute…a fitting finale.

We Three kings of Gourmet we are…..Bearing these gifts we travel afar