Friday, 22 April 2016

After Party for the tummy: Top 5 spots to head to after a party

So the party never stops when you’re in Goa? That’s a lie, there’s always an after party! Well for me however an after party involves sobering down and returning home safe. That however is secondary; my stomach deserves the after party more than anything else. Nothing completes a night out with a satisfactory meal before hitting the sack. So here are a few of the after party hang out spots which are open in the wee hours of the night, actually dawn almost. Though Goa may boast about its nightlife, there are honestly limited places you can actually head to. 

Here is the list of my favourite 5 after party hang out spots based on food.

#5. Nescafe, Miramar

Open 24 hours, this café will give you the chilled out space you need to discuss the night that just flew by with your squad. A place for quality alone time if you’re a couple and can also be absolute mayhem if in a group. The proximity to the beach, gives it the added bonus. It’s practically your second home the moment you step foot. Don’t just get too carried away though, there are CCTV cameras installed. Service is quick, a bit overpriced. Good spread of food, however my favourite is the espresso and paneer tikka sandwich. The croissants, quiches, cold coffees, cappuccinos are definitely worth a shot.

#4. Fidalgo (Aunty Maria)

Club sandwiches, the best in the city may I add. Bacon, chicken, coleslaw, French fries and a mug of coffee all within 300 bucks. Pure delight. The coffee however comes in a flask which is sufficient for three persons. But when you want to sober down and feel refreshed, one flask would do no one any harm. Located in the heart of the city this used to be my favourite after party spot, but of late, the quality has plunged. The pastries are also available. Do not hesitate to try the apple pie and New York Cheesecake. If lucky, Biryani is also on the menu. Two persons should be more than content with the Dum Biryani. Luxurious sit out, and a decent place to crash till you’re ready to head home.

#3. KTC Bus stand, Panaji

Yes, the gaddos where you see half the youth smoke in broad daylight, however at 4.30 a.m till 6 a.m the scene is a tad different. The most freshly baked chicken patties, veg patties and samosas are on offer. Accompanied by some hot coffee and tea, and the occasional smokes for those who fancy it. One can get out and breathe in some fresh air and eat the most scrumptious of egg, chicken and veg patties. If you are too fancy to head to the gaddo, you can always have it parcelled and gorge on it in your four wheeler. Don’t blame me however for all the crumbs that will be filled in the car. 

#2. Thirsty Bear 

The best 24 hour stop for all your cravings. A bit pricy in comparison to the other places mentioned, but absolutely worth it. One of my favourite places to head to at any time of the day or night. Good coffee, great gelados and the best waffles and cheesecakes in the state. Especially after a long night, it tastes even more magical somehow. Great ambience and decent Wi-Fi . The portraits of celebrity quotes are something you don’t want to miss out on. Situated on the Bambolim Highway, no way you can miss this one.

 #1. Shantaram’s , Caranzalem

Quaint spot, located bang opposite the Caranzalem Chapel, could go unnoticed for the regular populace. Opens at sharp 5 a.m. serving the most delicious sheera, so hot and delectable you can’t settle for just one. Apart from that the patal bhaji,mirchi and samosas are so satisfying, you the g-spot of food if there was any accompanied with one of the best cups of tea. There is an outdoor as well as indoor setting. The ambience is anything fancy, shady honestly but hey if the food is good all else can be neglected.

It’s been quite the while have had a night out considering I’m stuck in Mangaluru answering my exams one last time. Won’t be too long since I have more experiences like these. I encourage you’ll to follow the same.

Image Courtesy : Google Images

Thursday, 21 April 2016

Whiskey is risky: Top 5 Whiskey’s in Goa under Rupees 1200/-

These 750 ml babies are a pure delight. They might be classy, but when overdone can be a tad risky. Made from frain mash which is malted and used for different varieties including barley, corn, rye and wheat. It’s aged in wooden casks and made of charred white oak.

This is one of the few things in today’s world that gets better with age. There will always be a never ending debate as to how exactly to consume your whiskey. I say, put ice, mix water, cold drinks lime whatever you want. As long as you enjoy the drink, it should do no one any harm. Tourists main purpose of visiting Goa whether one accepts it or not is the cheap pricing of alcohol.

Here’s a list of my favourite whiskey’s under rupees 1200:

#5. Seagram’s 100 Pipers

This treat is a blended Scotch Whiskey. Its origin is in Scotland, but today it is bottled everywhere possible. 42.8% abv. The bottling is rather unique and something one can stare at for quite a while whilst sipping on the whiskey.  Little less known fact, it was earlier produced by the Chivas brothers and eventually sold to Seagram’s in 1949. Priced at Rupees 1000/- a bottle, this should definitely be on ones things to try out list.

#4. Black & White

Another blended Scotch whiskey, and no prizes for guessing the origin as well. Yes, Scotland. Extremely easy on the tongue, this whiskey can be sipped neat without a struggle. 42.8% abv, the green bottles are rather catchy. The logo features a black Scottish terrier and a white West Highland white terrier hence the concept of black and white. Priced at 1140 Indian Rupees you will know its worth after having a good drinking session with your buddies. Absolutely no hangover if stuck to the same drink.

#3. Antiquity Blue

Indian whiskey and bottled in India itself, this beauty is fairly new in the scene. Established in 1992, with 42.8% of alcohol by volume, the blue bottle looks extremely gorgeous beyond words. The pricing at rupees 600 is fairly justifiable as well. An accolade for this whiskey was receiving the silver best in class in the spirits tasting competition held at Las Vegas by the Wine and Spirit Wholesalers of America (WSWA).

#2. Vat 69

I think for any company to click, all you need to do is add a 69 to its name. Automatic success guaranteed. Despite its name, this is not a vatted malt, but a blend of 40 malt and grain whiskies. It’s a Scotch blended whiskey with 40% abv and originated way back in 1882. The bottling however never changed for the first hundred years, later on modifications were made in comparison to its bulbous design.


#1. Rockford Reserve 

I should probably be the brand ambassador and do PR for this drink. The number of bottles purchased, and endorsement I’ve done for this whiskey by word of mouth is unthinkable. Today almost all of my friends have switched to this drink. Priced at 570 Indian rupees I can vouch for this drink anytime. Taste so smooth and mellow, yet complex with maturity this blend of Scottish Malt whiskies and Indian grained spirits is for the win stuff. The bottle comes packed in the most decent cardboard boxing.

Drink responsibly but more importantly enjoy, and do remember, whiskey is risky but if drank with precaution it ends up classy.

Image Courtesy: Google Images

Wet Adventures: Top 5 water sport activities In Goa

Who doesn’t fancy a little adventure, thrill and an experience similar to that of cheating death? Hormones raging, Goa is the best place to fulfil your water sport fantasies. It does however come a t a price, but nonetheless it is totally worth every penny speaking from experience. To be fairly honest, speaking in Konkani will give you bonus points and the deal struck with the instructors will be a lot lighter on the pockets.

Here’s a list of my preferred 5 water sport activities within the state.

#5. Banana ride

Engaging minimum of four people and maximum 6, this is one ride you don’t want to miss out on. Sheer team work and diligent balance is the key to continue the ride. Although, the more haphazard the team is the more fun it is. Reason being, you stumble and fall in the water making it a very lasting memory. It can be experienced at Vagator, Calangute and Palolem beaches for roughly under 300 rupees per individual and the ride lasts under half an hour.

#4. Windsurfing

This takes some serious skill to execute initially. One must bear in mind the force and direction of the wind. Trust me, speaking from experience it’s not as simple and smooth sailing as seen in the movies. That stuff is done by professionals. Once you try it, you’d probably end up in the bloopers section. An instructor assists and guides the person who wants to try it out. The entire ride is about 600 rupees for an hour. Can be found at different locations like Vagator, Bambolim, Colva.

#3. Kayaking

I thoroughly enjoy this ride. You need strong arms for this nonetheless, but it’s more on the calm and peaceful end. A couple or an individual can sit in the kayak boats.  The oars are supposed to be manoeuvred in the opposite direction of the desired direction. For example if one wants to move to the right the oars have to be moved towards the left. Best place to Kayak as per me is Pallolem beach, where for an hour you pay rupees 200 per boat. The sunset timing is the perfect hour for this wanderlust.

#2. Parasailing

Absolute thrill is all I can say. A parachute is attached to each individual which is connected to the sail boat anchored deep. The boat is taken deep in to the waters. In one parachute with the help of a handle, either two individuals can go together or alone as well. With the right boat speed, the person is made to jump and drifts apart from the boat having the feeling like that of flying freely over the ocean like a bird. Goosebumps I tell you that feeling is, such sovereignty! The charges are roughly 600 per person, and the activity is done in a fairly large group. The whole ride takes about an hour collectively. Found in Anjuna, Calangute, Bogmalo and Candolim.

#1. Jet Skiing

For some reason I always considered myself a biker, and a biker on water is just next level stuff literally. The buzz one gets while riding this baby is unexplainable. The whole world is left behind once you ride these. They are found in abundance at Palollem and Mobor for about 1000 bucks for ten minutes or so. A bit pricy to be honest, but honestly you really can’t put a price for the involvement.

Quoting Sia “I love cheap thrills” and I may add I cannot lie. Try these and let me know if at any point am I wrong.

Image courtesy for all pictures except for jet skiing: Google Images

Tuesday, 19 April 2016

Happy feet: Top 5 Bands in Goa

Goa loves its music and everybody wants to dance! And not just to a CD playing music but to a live band. This is almost like tradition. Weddings, Dance Balls are incomplete without our live bands. Some Dance Parties even have 2-3 bands playing on the same nights! for years friends and family met these dances to have a good time. Christmas, New Year, Easter, Red and Black ( a party of the eve of ash Wednesday), feasts saw these Dances that compulsorily had live bands playing. The music went on till the sunrise. But with new rules, apparently loud music is’nt allowed in open air venues after 10pm.. max 12am. With increase in clubs, this culture has kind of reduced, although people do no get the point, that clubs are open throughout the year and these Dance parties are live, are in open air venues and are Tradition! 

Here are few of these loved bands. 

#5. Ragaas 2 Riches

 This Goa based Band, is young and energetic. They play for weddings, food festivals etc. their band members are Genevieve (Gen) – Vocals,Rahul – Vocals,Ryan - Keys & Vocals,Amorin - Bass & Vocals,Ashwin - Lead Guitar,Jonathan – Drums.

# 4. Brothers in Arms

They made their debut in 1999, since then they are rocked their shows, performing at weddings, New Year’s as well as Christmas, at places like Emerald Lawns, on 25th and 31st nights. They have often brought in the New Year, with the New Year song, Auld lang Syne.

#3. Crimson Tide

A popular versatile band, their Genres - Pop, Slow rock, Portuguese & Indi Pop. Their Musicians - Edwin(Rhythm Guitar & Vocals), Roy(Keyboards & Vocals), Colin(Lead Guitar & Vocals), Wellington(Bass Guitar & Vocals), Blasco(Drums), Tavia(Vocals). They often play at food and wine festival and the true Goan spirits just enjoy this.
#2. A26

Just 6 years old, this band has played not just at Goan weddings and festivals but also internationally. They are said to play a minimum of 120 gigs a year and are in demand during wedding season. Were extremely popular at AZUR in Marriott.
# 1. Alcatrazz

One of my favorites, in setting the spirit of Joy and Happiness. This band really makes me dance. Thankfully it plays often at Emerald Lawns on 25th and 31st December, and even if I’m really tired I just love dancing to them. They are lively and are in full demand. Their members Patrick, Peter, Jude and Cassy are great musicians and always manage to get crowds to the dance floor.

Band members are close to rock stars, so don’t hesitate to pick up an instrument and blow people’s minds away.

Sunday, 17 April 2016

Bookworm:Top 5 Novels about Goa

Goa the tiny little state, known for its natural beauty, picturesque landscapes and mind blowing food also has lots of literature. People love to have fun, but also enjoy a good book. Our rich heritage and culture has influenced not just our lifestyle but also our history. Even modern Goan literature has traces of our History in it. Many of our own Goan authors have done great research for their works, understanding our past, our present and building captivating fiction around it. Theirs books speak of themes of love, family, tradition, the effects of being colonized. These novels have a worldwide audience and even though they have such deep connection with Goa, it has universal acceptance. These authors have given the tiny state of Goa, something more to it than just its publicity for its food, beaches and parties. They leave you moved. My favorite 5 Goan novels are as follows:

# 5. Goa: A Daughter's Story by Maria Aurora Couto
This book is a  Blend Of Biography, Memoir And Social History. The author takes us through a journey of a woman. This book gives a glimpse at Goan life.

#4. Tivolem , by Victor Rangel

The little village of Tivolem is a fictional village, it is a typical Goan village during Portuguese rule. It’s a story of Marie Santana who has returned back to Goa from Mosambique,to look after her grandmother. she has lost her Parents and business and wants to start fresh. But some typical gossip mongers make life hard for her. Spreading gossip and keeping others away from her. Its her journey to forgive her past, and accept new people and make it through her hard times, with love and support of her Grandmother.

#3.The Upheaval by Pundalik Naik

His novel Acchev, was written in Konkani and was the first Konkani novel to be translated to English (The Upheaval). This book as published in 1977. It a foresight of the evils of mining in a small and simple village. The villages with their greed for fast money slowly give up on morals along with farming and seek the mines for their livelihood. This novel has relevance even today as years later, these problems still affect Goa.

# 2. Sorrowing Lies My Land by Lambert Mascarenhas

Lambert Mascarenhas recently celebrated his 100th birthday. His novel Sorrowing Lies My Land, is the story of a family with 9 children, even little villages in Goa get affected by the changes in government in Portugal. Most of the villagers don’t bother taking note. But Tobias the protagonist and father of 9 warns his villagers and fights for Goa to be free. Some of his children go abroad, the others are torn apart because of their clashing views about the Portuguese rulers. This novel is heartbreaking and causes deep sympathy in the heart of the reader.

#1. Skin by Margaret Mascarenhas

One of the best examples of Magic Realism. This book is simply beautiful. The story is so captivating that you just cannot put it down. Pagan the protagonist, pulls together a story that goes back in the time of her ancestors, Goa Elites, slave trade, stories that are beautiful, stories that are disturbing, magical elements, stories that have African tales etc. this book is a must read!

 Not too much of a “bookie” myself, but books like these will definitely get you booked.

Image courtesy: Google Images

Friday, 15 April 2016

Drop that beat: Goa’s Top 5 DJ’s

You can be a film star, industrialist or even politician but you cannot ensure people to dance to your tunes. That power is only vested in the hands of a disk jockey. Most people think it’s an easy task to be a DJ. Trust me its way more complicated than it appears to the eye. I, for one, always thought of being a DJ myself, but it’s not easy knowing what the crowd really wants. These DJ’s are gifted at knowing the mood of the crowd and what kind of beats to drop and when.

Most of the populace attend parties or night clubs to socialize or hang with friends. For me the priority however is to check the line-up and accordingly decide to attend. Here’s a list of my top 5 favourite Goan DJ’s:

#5. Navin Rodrigues

Hailing from the southern side of the state, earning the tag of chocolate boy he has played at all the hottest nightclubs in the state. Recently he had a gig with Bullfrog in Dubai as well. Plays house and crowd pulling hip hop being the reason where he is today in the nightlife scene. He does venture out by even engaging in classes for budding artists to climb the ropes of the profession. Is pretty regular touring the entire nation and playing gigs at different night clubs in the nation.

#4. Ryan Nogar

I like to call him the king of retro. No one brings back so many memories by dropping the tracks like he does. Very versatile and steadfast in genres like hip-hop, Rnb, tech, progressive and house. A maestro and has been in the scene for quite a while now. Regular on the nightlife scene and has played at possibly every location in the state. I’ve been following him around and been a fan of his music for a while now at all the nightclubs. But for some reason I will never forget the gig he had at Bonderam 2014. Epic would be an understatement.

#3. Jay Naik

One of the most talented and flexible DJ’s of Goa and also the brain behind the most talked about weekly party hosted at Capetown Café namely “Middle Finger”. Resident DJ of the most established night club in Goa (Café Mambo) and rightly so. Hailing from Caranzalem, he goes by the stage name “DJ Brainwash” and once you listen to his set you will understand exactly why.  Mixes most genres but I fancy the house he has to offer. One of the fortunate few Goan DJ’s to perform at SuperSonic.

#2. Ajit Pai

Veteran in the scene. Has been around for donkey’s years. Opened for the biggest names possible in the EDM field. Easily the most respected and influential DJ in Goa. Two decades in the scene, Ajit Pai is the most favourite member of the Tito’s family today. Played at almost every top notch night club in the country. Thailand is a regular gig for him as well. Killed it at EDM festivals like Sunburn, Sound awake, Submerge Supernova to name a few.

#1. Anish Sood

The biggest name in Indian Dance music today. ‘Sunburn On Air’ is definitely creating waves across the globe. Performed along acts like David Guetta, Axwell, Dimitri Vegas and Like Mike to name a few is something only one can dream of. This boy is definitely living the dream. His blend across house, Electro and techno is alluring to say the least. Playing at all major festivals including being a regular at Sunburn and gigs across the globe, just a matter of time we see him at stages like Ultra Music Festival and Tomorrowland displaying his magnificent “sooding ”music. An all-rounder, engineer and a decent table tennis player, I have the pleasure of calling him my ex-college mate. My very first clubbing experience was on the tenth anniversary night of Café Mambo were a bunch of my friends were welcomed by him and Nikhil Chinnapa. Will however never forget his gig for Easter 2010 at Café Mambo itself!

DJ’s want us to break a leg dancing to their tunes. Be sure you are fortunate to be a part of at least one of their gigs! Till then happy mixing.

Tuesday, 12 April 2016

Sweet Tooth : Top 5 Sweet dishes of Goa

Yeah Goa is super famous for its seafood. But we also love our desserts. Rich and healthy, these form a huge part of our diet. These recipes are a blend of different Portuguese and  Indian food habits and diets, over time they have been improvised and now have their own Goan Touch. Be it festival or feast, wedding or birthday. These sweet little treats were often made by loving grandmothers; they loved overfeeding their grandchildren with sweets. They are made out of natural and organic raw food products.  And the process of making them was elaborate. These recipes have been part of Goan culture for years. Nowadays these sweets are made much more easily with mixers, ovens etc. With the increase of Goan tourism these products are now sold at bakeries and cafes all over Goa.

Here's my top 5: 

#5. Doce de Grao (Gram)

This Christmas sweet, is made out of gram is usually shaped into little diamonds and looks a lot like kaju barfi. The outer layer is  little crusty but the inside is a total melt in the mouth. Delicious and soft, it is also often distributed at the time of weddings. It requires constant stirring while the dish is made, but its worth all trouble taken.

#4. Neurios

This sweet is a must, be it Ganesh Chaturti, Diwali or Christmas. Families often keep a day off from work and spend a whole day prior to the festival. Many hands make light work and it is a fun process and everyone starts feeling the festival already. This sweet along with few others is then sent to neighbors and friends.  This is a has a crispy crust and is filled with desiccated coconut or gram flour mix.

#3. Patoleos

This sweet is made of rice flour, jiggery and coconut, and is set like crepes, and covered with turmeric leaves. this not only gives strong flavor to the sweet but is also healthy. Hindus prepare it during the early days of August, as these leaves are freshly available, Christians prepare it on the Feast of Assumption. The leaves give a strong herby flavor to the crepe like sweet  which is soft and chewy.

#2. Serradura

A dessert with Portuguese influence, is easy to make with hand mixers. It is soft and fluffy, creamy and moist. It has whipped cream, sugar and condensed milk whipped till thick and then is layered with powdered biscuits and nuts. The variation in texture makes this sweet a pleasure to eat.

#1. Bebinca

The all time favorite, sweet has to be made with great patience. It has 7 layers of soft, sweet, creamy goodness. It is made with coconut milk, sugar, a little flour, butter and a little of nutmeg which gives it that special flavor. Each time a thin layer of batter is placed in the mould, and after every layer, butter/ghee is used, and another layer is added. With the ovens this is an easy process. But grandmothers would prepare this with firewood and earthen vessels and the process was very long and tiring. The things grandparents did for love!

Can never ever get enough of this stuff. Fifty percent of the reason my body is structured the way it is because of these devils.

Image courtesy for all other than the Serradura : Google Images

Sunday, 10 April 2016

Serenity: Top 5 spots in Diwar

I’d never ever forgive myself if I hadn’t written about the most beautiful island of the state and a place I’m honoured to call home. Diwar island is easily the most serene, therapeutic, green, vivid island one would come across in Goa. What makes it even more special is that there is absolutely no road inlet or outlet, only way across is the ferry. The ferry connects the island at three distinct ferry points. Namely, Narva, Old Goa and Ribandar.

I would like to invite each one of you to visit this heavenly spot. Earlier as a kid, when my dad would brag to his friends about how beautiful the place was, I thought he was insane. Only after moving out of the place I realise how much sense his statement made donkey years back.

Here’s a list of my favourite 5 spots in the village:

#5. Malara Football Ground

Was a ground which was recognised by the Sports Authority of Goa in December 2009, but as a child way back in 2000 we would as kids play day in and out on this turf. I partly blame this very ground for giving me the slightly burnt complexion that I possess. At the same time I’m very thankful to it as the decent enough football I play I give credit to this place.

#4. Diwar Church

Built in the 16th century, this Portuguese masterpiece is still standing tall and divine. A place of worship for most of the locals, along with the divine intervention, one begins to question itself as to where they really are. The moment you exit the church, you see a temple right next to it. Full marks to this place for secularism. The view so splendid overlooking the Mandovi River, one can get a few glimpses of Panaji from here. Right next to the Church is the cemetery and a park for children to engage in outdoor activities.

#3. The bridge

I like to call this place the mini Howrah Bridge. Got a similar structure, but way smaller in size. The best place ever to witness a sunrise. The rays just illuminate and sparkle your day like no other. It is part of the Konkan Railways, so there is no shortage of passing by trains which has all the ingredients for a perfect Bollywood background.

#2. Ferries

They are available in numbers here, since there are three routes to enter and exit the island/village, you tend to fall in love with them slowly but surely if not at first sight. A meeting point for most locals where most gossip is discussed at pace. There are ferries every fifteen minutes in Old Goa and Ribandar. The Narva one though is every half an hour. Unless you are Aquaman or some super hero, this is your only way in and out of this beautiful island. Most of the local populace are against the idea of building a bridge as they consider it would disturb the tranquillity and safety of the island.

#1. The Tree

Hit to stardom for most of the people when the then “Hutch” advertisement was shot at this spot with the cute little pug. It only emulated with being featured in movies like Dil Chahta Hai and the so called sex scene in Finding Fanny which starred Arjun Kapoor and Deepika Padukone. For the locals it was no stranger, it stands aloof on the road which leads to the Ribandar Ferry. Sunsets over here can make you question what good did you deserve to witness a sight like this. We Diwadkars are fortunate enough to gaze at it on the regular.

Just typing this post has got me reminiscing how lucky I am to be a Goenkar.