Goa’s Dessert Divas

This is part of a series of articles written for Goa Times (Times of India) on people and happenings in and around Goa. 

This article features Home baking dessert divas and some of the delectable goodies they create. 

Click on the image to enlarge for a better read. 

  
Publication: Goa Times 

Written by Nolan Mascarenhas 

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Planet Hollywood Hotel- it’s here!

Let’s dig deep and ask ourselves- are we star crazy? I’m not referring to the constellations or stars in the skies rather all the Stars in ‘Woods’ ranging from Holly,Bolly,Tolly and perhaps someplace in the world-Molly. 

Let’s play the Instant two second reaction game? Ok! Here goes.What happens to you when you see a known celebrity pass by? Do you salivate, perhaps scrimmage through your Gucci handbag for that IPhone (selfie time to guffaw with friends over drinks later) and go ditzy and weak in the knees all at once? I have the odd family member time and again and it’s hilarious, mind you. If so, this is one place you don’t want to miss on your destination radar. 

Welcome to Planet Hollywood. A place that could possibly have you mingling and hobnobbing (non chalantely) with A and B listers on the next breakfast table or casually lapping it at the pool. It’s a destination hideaway where the stars come to unwind and this iconic international brand is the ONLY one of its kind (currently) making its presence felt in our backyard right here in Goa. Only two Planet Hollywood Hotels in the world (the first being in Las Vegas) and the first one in Asia. This is a huge deal indeed. I’m excited!!!

I drive up the very German block design inspired driveway and make my way to the reception. Right then and there I stand with a jaw drop expression. No I did not see Pamela Anderson walk past me, though that is on my bucket list this lifetime, rather was arrested by the ‘Wall of Fame‘ with its ginormous screen at the bar in the lobby- The Heart Bar. 

 The devil lies in the details of the minimal decor and color tone setup with white and purple being the predominant winners for the overall theme. My check-in was smooth and time flew by, as my eyes traversed the length and breadth of that wall. Stars in all their glory from current to yesteryears- with the ocassional odd movie playing on the screen for visual appeal. 

Tired from my journey, post the meetings and greetings from the effervescent staff, I am ushered to my room. It’s uncanny how I am given a room with Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson adorning my masthead above in his Hercules avatar- a movie I happened to watch just the other night. Karma perhaps?

 The room is spacious and well balanced in decor and light. It’s got mood lighting for all you lovely couples and a beautiful relaxed balcony with a hint view of the beach in the distance. The bed has a cloud like embrace and allows you to sink in whilst it moulds itself to the contours of your body. There is an added touch with a leg massager given for those aching feet and is a much needed delight to sore heels. 

The bathroom is well proportioned with his and her sinks and a wet rain shower cabinet with a similar resemblance of ‘Boogie Nights’ and shimmering floors. Rather large enough to hear myself think, like ‘The Thinker’ on the commode. 

Tastefully Opulent   
A hot shower post, I am ready for breakfast. While this is a #staycation mention, the one item making it to this review has got to be the delicately moulded Eggs Benedict at the hands of Chef Sundar. I would do it a great injustice if this had to be explained especially the gastronomic senses that sent my tones into a frenzied rapture- a mere suggestion for you egg lovers? Do yourself a favor and head on over to Planet Dailies and order this marvel.
Eggs Benedict with Hollandaise sauce  

The eager beaver in me scouted the grounds to find out much an interesting thing. There is a playground for kids and an archery zone to practice your aim. The beach is close by with its pristine sands. The swimming pool is magnificent and vast with a pool bar menu thrown to you by the peppy staff as a frisbee. Fun indeed!! 

For those more adventerous there is a Zorb in the pool as well as a paddle boat to exercise those muscles. The gym has an overview of all the heavenly bodies entering the pool in swim trunks and bikinis. This could, without doubt be a venue for the Pirelli calendar of 2017. I did spot a couple of celebrities but this is a haven for them to unwind; so Mum’s the word!!! Head on over and carry your camera.

The spaces are expansive and one can make out the grandiosity of the venue through the definition of its negative space. Neat and crisp lines with memorabilia around to remind you of the theme at hand. 

Grandeur defined in negative spaces 

Each section of the resort is well defined; from their Pink Room Spa to their multiple dining venues. There is Planet Dailies– their signature all day dining restaurant, Fame– the hot spot resto lounge, Heart Bar– the eclectically designed high energy bar, Cigar lounge– A perfect place to relax over champagne, martinis and that perfect stogie in old world charm (I felt the ghost of Winston Churchill while I sat there- it’s that Brit!!) 

Being spoilt for choice I have decided to head on over soon just to cover the Food Junket of these amazing establishments. More on that shortly. 

Feeling Nostalgic @ Cigar lounge   

If you know me, I have a bucket list of sorts. One of them would have recently been ticked off this year, all thanks to the magical pool under a starry lit sky. The lights twinkle beneath you and the cool blue water is a perfect romantic setting for you and your loved ones. I happened to do hand stands and cartwheels however- blame it on the kid in me. But imagine a late night swim (the pool is open till 9pm) with your beloved and relax in the perched jacuzzi ahead and whisper sweet nothings to your special someone. A truly magical experience. 

Before I sign out here’s mr. NObody for a fleeting second feeling like a Somebody!!  Till I head on over again Planet Hollywood – you have been a STAR! 
Stars above and below 

 

Pic courtesy: Nolan Mascarenhas Photography. All images shot on Iphone6 

Ant’s in my pant’s 

Many of you reading this post would relate to a statement in the affirmative if I stated ‘The ants in my pants, take me places’. Before you get naughty, let me course alight your ‘thought trajectory’- it’s directed towards my thoughts travelling at the speed of light and my body taking me places on roller blades ( I can hardly roller blade to save my life). I’ve lived the life of a nomad ever since I can remember. That would explain traversing and immersing myself in the culture of 5 states so far, though, all along being a true blue GOAN at heart. 
My last port of call was Aamchi Mumbai. I was content with the hustle bustle the city offered. The adrenaline rush garners from mad traffic jams, the eccentric neighbor hanging her inner’s for a breakfast view which was always abrupt (thank god for small mercies) except the occasional Sunday morning. Oh, the pollution and the smell of salt water form the docks nearby. I loved it all- learnt to love it more likely. Though, what did tug at me, was being away from the motherland- (NOT Portugal folks!!), GOA. 

Anyone who hears of someone coming back to Goa from the world outside, would whisper in closed circles of NOT being able to cut it in the real world and hence come running home to Mummy & Daddy. 

I always wondered, after 13 successful years in Corporate India ,what would Goa have to offer that I couldn’t find waiting for me outside? The answer would come to me a few years later-A state of mind. No pun intended. 

These days, I wear a multi dimensional hat and travel destinations my readers (i.e. YOU) get to read through my writings (aka rantings) 

People ask my parents- ‘what does Nolan do?‘ The poor folk with a befuddled ‘deer caught in headlights look‘ on their face,fail miserably on most occasion. A typical Lost in translation moment. 

If I have to straight jacket it in a nutshell for all you potential matchmakers out there- I consult for a few corporates and handle branding and marketing solutions along with a predominant role in the Hospitality, Lifestyle and Travel Industry. I am a techno savant. What is that? Ask Google. And, I live out of a suitcase 14-17 days a month (on a slow month

As a consultant, it allows me to lend suggestions and help boost the tourism of our fair state as an influencer, of a different kind of Goa- (that would entail NOT! entertaining last minute requests from ‘friends’ who need passes for Sunburn orSupersonic every December.)It’s for the betterment of Goa- rich in so much heritage and culture, food and traditions, and more importantly blessed with a right balanced ecosystem. 

A Goa, who I have shamefully abandoned all these years , in the quest for something better out there- only to realize it was here all along. 
Here’s to you GOA. Proud of be GOAN. 
The Burning Question- Times of India on hinteland tourism 
 

The Burning Question on transportation and taxi drivers in Goa-about their rude behavior and whether justified? 
 

Resolutions lie in Paris Brest 

For all those wondering where had #nolansatwit disappeared for the season- well, I was working out! NOT. Whilst I see a sarcastic grin on the face of my nutritionist (yes, I have one of those and she’s awesome) and my yoga teacher, who probably has no will left to teach me, given all the calories I’ve gained over the last fortnight (I’m sorry, I’ll shed them all, I promise)In all fairness, I did bid them sweet goodbyes before I decided to partake in a wild season laced with eating binges and reckless abandonment for waistline safety. 

This post is more of a reconciliation effort to the dedicated professionals who keep my waistline in check and a peace offering to have them take me back to the fold of ‘eat right, workout left‘. 

It’s been a while since I put thumb to phone screen, more so take a decent picture of food and granted that I’ve been sober for more than 56 hours is making progress in the New Year, and to a different progression of blogging. 

I followed my nose to an old haunt of a friends cafe, situated in the midst of the fields with the ocassional kite for company. This is what greets you at Baba Au Rhum Cafe. It’s sublime, earthy and tranquil and the music is transcendal. I promised Dayini, I would head on over once the madness of the stated ‘outsiders‘ left us all to our mundane routine and normalcy prevail. Having said that, it was packed, though it still had an overtone of calmness and peace within. 

Known for her love of organic and holistic approach from fresh juices, meaty homegrown burgers and wafer thin crusted pizzas, it was indeed something in the reckoning to start this year with. 

Before you write me off, for all the decandence of gluttony in #foodporn that I am responsible for (falsely accused and awaiting trial) I stumbled upon this piece of  heaven which does have a irrefutable historical significance engraved in sport and fitness. (An evil snicker entails, with the item in question being of sinful repute

This my dear ladies, gents and kids of all ages, is the Paris Brest– a French dessert made of choux pastry made of almond praline creme with hazelnut and dusted with sugar snow. What stands chaperone is the Cortado– a single orgin coffee espresso with foam to light up ones brunch.  

Did you know? 

The Paris Brest was created in 1910 to commemorate a bicycle race from Paris-Brest-Paris, that took place in 1891. The circular choux pastry is representative of a wheel. It became popular with riders due to its high energizing calorie value and is a common fixture across patisseries all over France. 

Whilst there try the Bacon delight  (a freshly baked croissant with avocado, local Gouda, a fluffy egg, homemade bacon and spring onions) some fresh juices with quizzical mysterious names- I stuck to a fresh beetroot juice and the Ham & Cheese quiche. And for those following my Instagram you saw the pizza. For those yet to follow me, check out my handle @nolansatwit 

Bacon Delight   
Ham & Cheese Quiche   
Did someone say Breakfast of Champions? BINGO.  
Happy New Year and here’s to more madness from my travels and foodploits this year! 
Pic courtesy: Nolan Mascarenhas Photography. All images shot on Iphone6