Soup in London

Foodie Friday: Of London, jet-lag and soup!

In today’s Foodie Friday post I want to tell you about the time I went to a Gordon Ramsay restaurant without knowing, and had the best soup I have probably ever tasted yet.

It was the first day of a work trip to London with my boss (we were attending a Trade Expo) and I was badly jet-lagged. We decided to get a bite to eat someplace nearby, as we didn’t have the energy to explore much.

So we basically just walked into the first nice-looking restaurant that we found close to our hotel. This happened to be The Narrow, a really cool riverside eatery that is part of the Gordon Ramsay group. I found out this bit later – at that point I just knew that it was a nice warm place where we could eat dinner and I could finally get to sleep! How’s that for serendipity?

We were seated quickly in the centre of the dining area. I remember seeing a glassed-in part of the restaurant which looked lovely. They call it the conservatory. I could see around me cheerful groups of people visibly having a great time.

Now I am not much of a soup person but since it was cold and there were not too many vegetarian options, I selected the roast butternut squash soup. Even in my jet-lagged hazy state I remember being blown away by the dish. It remains to this day one of the best soups I have ever tasted. Don’t ask me why, it was just right in every way. After the soup I declined a main and opted for dessert instead (naturally!). It was an apple crumble of some sort, and I enjoyed it immensely.

I wish I hadn’t been so exhausted and zoned out that day, because the place seemed really nice. Someday, whenever I am in London again, I must go to The Narrow again to experience it properly. If you are ever in London and anywhere close to the Docklands area, do give it a try!

 

 

Meeting locals

Travel Tip Tuesday: How to meet locals while travelling

To me, one of the most interesting facets of travel – apart from seeing a new place – is that you get to meet people. If you really want to take back a correct picture of the place you are visiting, you want to be sure that you also interact with actual locals and not just tourists like yourself. How do you get to meet locals while travelling by yourself and have no friends in the area? Today’s Travel Tip is from a fellow blogger Maria, who blogs at this very interesting site.

How to find a friendly local where you don’t know anyone

We live in such a globalized world that it’s super easy to find a friendly local to show you around or have a beer and a casual chat wherever you are in the world. All you need is to know where and how to look for them.

I am not a great fan of tour guides because they often tend to follow schedules, lack flexibility and all in all are just doing their job. What I love is having a local (a friend or a friend of a friend) everywhere I go to rely on for insights and tips, but I don’t have friends all over the world (yet). So what I do is use platforms like Global Greeter Network and MeetUp to meet locals who are more than happy to welcome and show around visitors to their cities.

Global Greeter is all about filling a short form pointing your interests like architecture, history or local cuisine, and then the website matches you to a local volunteer who wants to show you around. Unlike many other platforms, this one is completely free, which means you are not expected to leave a tip at the end. After having met tens of amazing people around the world, I became a Global Greeter local guide in my own city.

MeetUp is another hub for cool, open-minded people that meets locals and visitors who share the same passion. Everyone can organize an event (a meetup) and invite all people at this location to join. It could be anything from a yoga class, slacklining in the park, language exchange or a book club. If you don’t find an event you like, you can simply create your own.

Meeting locals instead of hiring tourist guides is one of my favorite ways to travel for free and how I can afford to travel almost every week.

Do you do something similar when you travel? Share your tips and thoughts with me in the comments below!

About the author of this post: Guest blogger Maria Angelova is a 20-something “traveling disaster” roaming the world. She’s crazy about mirto from Sardinia, speaking in foreign languages (mostly if she can’t) and studying fortune-telling. 

Foodie Friday – Breakfastgrams!

Okay, I just invented that word. You’ve probably guessed that it refers to instagrammed images of the breakfast kinds. That’s what this new Foodie Friday breakfast post is all about.

When I travel, it’s as much about exploring the place as about trying out the food. Even though being vegetarian limits my ability to try out the entire universe of cuisines, I still manage to experiment as much as possible. Over the years, I have realised that I often skip lunch or dinner when I am out around town doing my thing. But I never start my day without a good breakfast. It’s a practice that has worked well for me.

This post is simply a recollection of some of the more interesting and memorable breakfasts I have had while travelling.

Banana Nutella pancakes from a street food stall in Phuket – Sweet and chocolaty!

The finished product!

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Peanut butter French toast in Atlanta – Could not finish it off! That’s sweet potato pancakes on the left and eggs and toast on the right. Yes, everything was delicious. No, I didn’t order all of it for myself.

Breakfast #Atlanta #yummyfood

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Pooris with tangy potato curry in Kolkata – Worth the early morning start

#Kolkata #foodiemoment

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Masala dosa with sambhar and two types of chutney in Chennai – Probably one of the best dosas I have ever had

#Chennai breakfast treat #foodiemoment

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Beignets and coffee in New Orleans – When in Rome…

The obligatory Cafe au Lait with beignets at Cafe Dumonde #neworleans #latergram

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Naga Chilli Cheese Toast in Shillong – Spicy as anything!

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This is by no means the entire list, and I sure I will be writing more on the subject sooner or later 🙂

If you are reading this, do share some of your favourite foodie memories!

Foodie Friday – Amritsar

This is the first post in the Foodie Friday series. I hope to make it a regular one. This post is about a foodie-delight city called Amritsar. Amritsar, apart from being the home of the revered Golden Temple, is also an absolute heaven when it comes to Punjabi cuisine. I recently had the good fortune of spending a day and a half here with my parents. While the primary aim of the trip was a visit to the Temple, the side attractions of various food outlets that we tried out were equally enticing!

So here’s a quick run-down of the places I tried out (too many on the list were left out due to paucity of time and inability of the system to handle so much food):

Gian Chand Lassi – Delicious lassi served in metal tumblers, topped off with butter and cream. People struggle to finish one serving, and once done, you are sorted hunger-wise for hours together. They also have something called “pede waali lassi” where they add bits of sweet pedas to the lassi! Located near the Temple in the narrow market lanes.

Bharawan da Dhaba – The place to have a vegetarian meal in Amritsar. While my parents raved over the dal and bharta and the crisp tandoori rotis, I went straight for the one thing I wanted here – the onion kulcha thali! The kulchas were hot, crisp, nicely stuffed and accompanied by some very delicious chholey. While most people head to the outlet near the Golden Temple, we went to the newer branch at Ranjit Avenue. Comfortable seating, good ambience, decent service. My dad still remembers this meal fondly!

Kanha Sweets – The Sunday brunch here is legendary – a fixed menu of pooris, potato curry and chholey. The potato curry is like nothing you would ever have tasted before – tangy and sweet-spicy. It’s a challenge to stop at two pooris, and you will definitely ask for refills of potato curry as well as chholey. Don’t go here for ambience, there’s none – just focus on the amazing food! The sweet shop outside also sells a variety of traditional mithai (sweets), of which the most famous seemed to be the pinnis. After having eaten one, I could see why.

Prasaad at the Temple – While the Gurudwara visit was not food-centric at all, I cannot help but mention the kara prasaad here. It’s one of the best suji halwas you will ever have, and even though we were not able to join the Langar, I am glad I could have this famous prasaad and be blessed.

Lubhaya Ram – Different from the Ram Lubhaya shop, this is a small kiosk under a tree near the Girls’ College on Lawrence Road. We tried out a range of delicious aam papad, choorans and interesting mouth fresheners before settling on a few to buy. Worth a visit if you’re there. Chef Vikas Khanna’s list of food recos for Amritsar includes this little cart.

I realise the list is way too short given the scores (hundreds?) of amazing food joints in Amritsar. Unfortunately we barely had 24 hours, and of course being vegetarian means that I did not try any of the fish and meat dishes that I’ve heard people rave about. A second visit (soon, I hope) would be needed in order to scratch the surface further.

What are your favourite places to eat in Amritsar?

Getting there: Most airlines now fly to Amritsar; there are also multiple convenient Shatabdi trains at different times of the day.

Stay:We stayed on Ranjit Avenue – good restaurants around, calm and quiet, and only a short Ola ride away from the bustle of the old town.

If you are planning a visit and looking for tips on places to visit in Amritsar, then Shivani at The Wandering Core has some helpful tips here, take a look.