Butterflies are Free. 

Eliza Dolittle said ‘I don’t really go out to Party but I’m definitely a social butterfly.

Interesting…because that what happened to us on a Thursday night. I am not really a party animal but had heard that things were happening at the Sol. This is a place where perhaps everyone who is someone catches up to relax, unwind and ‘flit?’

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Ihaan, Kiran and me…decided to party that night with Joe. Yes we were pepped up because this was our first visit to the ‘Boutique Hotel’ on a Thursday night.

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We caught up with GM Ashley Thomas. And then the band began strumming…. What are they called? The Chrysalis. Very interesting if one remembers the Chrysalis is a transformation of the Butterfly. And this is Chrystal Farrells own band. But let’s get back to the butterfly….

Those pretty creatures that flit around nature and beauty. Nature…It is said that on earth there is no heaven…just pieces of it. Just found one. The Sol is a beautiful oasis of peace with a body of water, beautiful green fields and…yes let’s talk food.

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So what did we nibble on…their pizzas are great. They have a variety…a big choice although pepperoni is my fav. The thin crust is oh so mind boggling. Yes pizzas have a great history, but closer to home we too have our own crusty variations too…the pao (Portuguese for bread). The Goan breadmaker is known locally as PODER, an adaptation of the Portuguese ‘padeiro’

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What is the story of this bread? Let’s get back to the 16th century when the Portuguese found a surfeit of toddy in a small area called Utorda in South Goa  And with it began the Goan pão which is  a culinary masterpiece, because the toddy was used as a leavening agent instead of yeast. And so we have the pao, undo, poyi, the pokshie the unique crisp kakon (the bangle) and the katre (butterfly shape too)

Let’s end with a quote from the American drama film… “I only ask to be free. The butterflies are free. Mankind will surely not deny to Harold Skimpole what it concedes to the butterflies’

Goa has that magic if one wants to be free..

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Roots

Alex Haley captured it for posterity, the story of Kunta Kinte a 18th century African in his book Roots. With so much development along this belt of Baga in Goa, we are sure to forget our very own ‘Roots’

Francisco D’Souza has helped rewrite the past. But this is not a novel but a story told over dinner at Casa Portuguesa an old heritage home in Baga. Francisco has retained the olde world charm, dim lighting included. It’s a story about how locals lived in that era.

Give a big shout to Marianne Borgo a French actress who is so passionately in love with our culture. So here we stood posing for the camerain a happy frame of mind with food author on Mediterranean food Kornelia Santoro getting ready for the meal. Informality is the theme.

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But before we start take in the ambience. That old piano, the chandeliers. Stop to see the ceramic bottles standing all in a row.

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Yes the old altar remains the way it used to be. The old Icons are still intact. Perhaps the new ceramic bharnees with the flowers add a ‘quaint’ touch.

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Francisco can plan your meal for you, off the menu. The old Portuguese Goan touch. And don’t be surprised if as a ‘digestive’ he will pick up his guitar and sing a few Portuguese numbers for you.

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At the end it was time to say goodbye. But many people did linger on. This is not one place to be experienced in haste.

You don’t stumble upon your heritage. It’s there, just waiting to be explored and shared. Robbie Robertson

Love is the poetry of the senses.

L’amour est la poésie des sens (Balzac). That is the French translation. Sounds romantic…doesn’t it? Time hubby and I made the most of it…and we did. It was the Celebration of Good France Day at The Park on Holiday Street. And it was apt that the celebration took place in their restaurant LOVE.

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But first let’s find out what was the origin of the literal word LOVE. It is used so often these days that one does not even stop to think about where it originated. It goes back to the very roots of the English language. The word is recorded in the earliest English writings as far back as the 8th century. The Old English word is lufu. It is said to be related is related to Old Frisian (West Germanic) word luve, There is a cognate lof in the early forms of the Scandinavian languages. In Latin it was lubet meaning it is pleasing and lubido meaning desire.

Pleasing…desirable…  Those words did come to mind as we sat down to a four course menu with General Manager Mr Saurabh Khanna. The restaurant is by the beach, can one get more romantic? Want to get to Paris in france and see the Eiffel Tower? That too was taken care of.

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We nibbled on the Amuse Bouche…time to choose the courses. It was back to the days of fine dining…Saumon Fume, ferme roquette fraiche, fromage a la crème, roulade, coeurs de palmier, de raisin et de la salsa aux tomatoes sechees (Smoked Salmon with a grape sun dried tomato salsa). Sounds more poetic in French. Lets take my choice of the main course: Ralentissez jarrets d’agneau cuit dans son jus avec tente glacure d’asperges, micro greens tour de pommes de terre boulangere (Lamb shanks in its jus, glazed asparagus tent, micro greens boulangere potato tower). Get my point. English translations are a bit too prosaic. After the cheese course we opted for dessert. Looked at my hubby saying…where are the roses?

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And then it was presented…with the dessert. The passion fruit crème brulee decorated with rose petals.

Well the French do end things in style…and so did The Park. For the nightcap…a play on the senses. The Chocolate Cointreau Shooter. What more could one ask?

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Love was in the air…at Holiday Street,