‘Opinions are like arseholes, Everyone has one’
Without too much of a pun on the word, in my ‘opinion‘ everyone is entitled to their own as long as they don’t subject it on the likes of others around them- at times forcefully imposing their point of view leading to culling objectivity in the process.
A beautiful piece written by a talented fellow blogger for OHeraldo in Goa- Fernando Monte da Silva and I share a few thoughts on the subject.
My excerpts as follows:
“In the field of throwing open ones ideas up in the air objectively speaking of course- is the false assumption of acceptability from multiple thoughts alike. Basing that assumption the objectivity of food is that of Russian roulette from multiple factors ranging from the chef having a lovers tiff to the improbability of sourcing the right ingredients thus leading to lack of continuity and monotony to produce the same fare time and again matching to expected objectified standards by patrons.
As a writer it’s imperative to understand the perception of the chef to allow a deconstruction of his food through a presentation and taste storyline for acceptance and approval from the concerned recipient. Many a times, this is lost in translation thus leading to objectivity been thrown out the window without caution. Influencers and foodies alike play a integral part in this constructed ‘storyline’ and it needs to be cajoled with utmost love and care. Failure to do so would lead to quite the catastrophe.
Let’s break it down with an example. Not a particular fan of aubergine- does that make the ratatouille carefully crafted unpalatable to describe and eat to my readers? Objectifying the process and the closeness to home is something everyone looks forward too in a meal given Nuevo cuisine and international fare.
Objectivity of a writer is paramount as their recommendations form the quantitative basis of food making its way to multiple palates for them to make a decision accordingly.”
“Monetization for the art of writing and blogging is a trend that has long been in parlance just as paid media is these days.
My opinion on that is just cause it’s monetized, a seasoned writer should not be influenced by the same. There are two independent parallels. Cash for goods and services in this case words.
Writing is an art form indeed and a mature writer should not allow the cost of words dictate the truth behind them. Are we saying that if it weren’t paid it would be truthful? There are two sides to that story.
There are many incognito writers I am aware off who go unannounced and craft beautifully written articles, however died out naturally in coverage due to ‘life’ happening to them in the interim. Eating out is a serious business these days and let’s not forget extremely expensive.
Having said that the cycle of ad space vs articles is something people are banking on these days. Also there should ideally be no demarcation between traditional media and website blogs. A few known blogs have coverage close to rival of many regional papers and hence capitalize on the same much like how newspapers and magazines run.
More eyeballs. Having said this in the matter of objectivity it’s a sharp sword. Once bitten indeed if a writer is not true to his word it shows through the readership of fans knowing that monetization ruined the piece written was not objective enough.
All it takes are a few bad reviews and voila, one loses credibility in the eyes of all.”
Thank you for a wonderfully crafted piece.
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 encaupsulates Art on a Plate in the age of food being presented as a work of art- a feast for the eyes.
Written by: Nolan Mascarenhas
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.
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.
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.
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
This is going to be a pictorial representation for the primary purpose of ‘art’. After all, art, is interpretive and can never be solely explained. Whilst the dishes do the talking, I shall parallel echo my sentiments of a night at Ziya at the Oberoi Mumbai. Persian for ‘splendour & light’ and the labor of love from thrice Michelin star Chef Vineet Bhatia this restaurant is tastefully clad in its statement for understated regality.
This being my second meal at the hands of a Michelin chef and being quite the avid follower of a few starred restaurants, I arrive early. After all, it only takes a few months to procure a reservation at these establishments when abroad and,I ,suffer from being German about time. The restaurant is being set for the big culinary ‘Jugalbandi’ night ahead. Prep and checks are being made between the Chef & Manpreet Kaur Dhody- the commandeer restaurant-in-charge for the evening. Everything has to be perfect. I’be been told it’s a one sitting affair (just the way chef wanted it).
Rested in plush opulence with Chef Vineet’s book in hand, the dominant color of the evening is clearly ‘Gold’. I felt under dressed however my Iphone6 was at ease in the surroundings,playing its part all decked up in its gold case. Attention to detail is at its minutest best. From the 24 karat gold plated cutlery, (a limited placed order from the crockery house in Italy – Industria Vetraria Valdarnese Italyin of only 200 sets) to the ceilings adorned with 24 karat leaf gold paper there is a pattern at play.
Attention to details has mr. NObody be a ‘somebody’ that evening.
I am engrossed in the book, till the time I am ushered to meet the man himself, Chef Vineet- a gentle and unassuming culinary extraordinaire. His kind eyes and gentle smile put me at ease instantaneously thus avoiding any faux pas, I was about to commit. A brief discussion has him explain his humble beginnings and awe inspiring story of how he started out peeling 200 potatoes in this very kitchen many moons ago, only to head the same restaurant today. Humility and simplicity at its best.
I was explained that tonight’s Jugalbandi was at the hands of Chef Adriano Baldassarre, Chef Rubén Santos and himself with a confluence of Indian, Japanese and Italian flavors over a 5 course menu.
I am escorted to my table and requested at my own pace to inform my attendant as and when ready to begin. I try to hold back my glee and over enthusiasm and gently whisper ‘please begin‘ in the most monotone baroque voice possible. Pulled that off rather well, might I add.
Each plating had a story to tell. It was well explained and to the point. The San Danielle ham and Parmesan maki with a roll of saffron khichdi and sweet shitake was something I would relate to an extra marital affair (not that I would know off first hand, hearsay at best). Two pieces of sinful delight each captivating my senses over the other. The Good wife vs the provocative mistress and before ones knows it, the affair consumes you onto the next course.
San Danielle ham & Parmesan maki
It is the season for porcini mushrooms in Italy all this month. And yes, I know a few Italians who are anal in their consumption of the freshest produce and dining with them have learnt to expect the same. It’s simple,wholesome living yet plentiful as to how structured they are in their eating habits.
The Miso porcini soup hit the spot. The pairing of the crunchy shrimp fritters over sun dried tomato chutney, struck a perfectly poised balance between the two. My use of the gold cutlery for the first time did have an awkward geek moment wherein I wrestled with the thought of taking a selfie, luckily the deer in headlight stare from my observant server had me compose myself at the awkward immediate last second. Missed my selfie-Darnnit!!!
The next course was a delicate Chilli & Burnt garlic Chilean Seabass. Accompanied with a dust of carbon mash (yes you heard right carbon!!), zucchini scapesce and black bean sauce this was a treat to the senses being paired with the 2002 Chateau Margaux. You do not want to know the price of a bottle- (hint; it runs into the six figure range INR).
What is amazing and refreshing is the art on display at the table in perfectly sized portions. Not too little not too much. Each dish presents itself with a story that arrests me. To others, on several occasions I might have looked like a gawking Buffon, as I marvel and reveal in these painstakingly handcrafted pieces- a part of me not wishing to consume it and bid it farewell but another craving to devour it the minute it arrives. Due respect must be adhered too merely as protocol. We shall let Mr Hyde slumber for now.
After a refreshing ginger sorbet to cleanse the palate with some fine Moet poured over it, I took a few minutes to digest and read the crafted menu more elaborately. And the last line arrested me. ‘Close your eyes and explore a myriad of sensory dimensions’. Indeed.
However I had to move along to the next course. The Curry leaf and crusted lamb loin with spaghetti puttanesca, sesame wasabi pak choy steamed white asparagus.
By the time, I was playing Sherlock trying to deduce associating the dishes to the personalities of the chefs inside. On a wild note, I’ve been chased down the streets of Rome for the misunderstanding of the word ‘putta‘ so I find it hilariously funny when spoken about spaghetti that way.
I have taken the liberty to articulate this last piece of culinary art as the Art Platter. Though the name is as simplistic as the concept behind it Chef Vineet calls it the Matcha- rasmalai cheesecake, Coconut panna cotta, Matcha chocolate truffle and black sesame Kulfi. I just stared and then some upon its presentation, and wondered how Chef managed to get a rasmalai in between a cheesecake!?!
Simple, yet awe inspiring and brilliantly executed. Perfect and moist right down the centre. The chocolate truffle was a loaded cannon with the explosion hitting all the sensory spots. And the cute puzzle moulds of Panna cotta and kulfi were a playful delight.
Indeed an enlightening affair. Thank you Chef’s and the entire team.
Pic courtesy: Nolan Mascarenhas Photography Shot on IPhone 6
Woke up this morning to a lovely piece written about one of my communities- the bloggers and content generators in the OHeraldo newspaper in Goa. Aptly put and described with a holistic view on media and where it’s heading.
A BIG shoutout and thanks to my fellow blogger and writer Fernando Monte da Silva for this piece.
Stop reading, start blogging. Our tribe calls out to YOU.
I’m going to sing a song. You have one guess to get it right. It goes a little something like this;
togari noh pocato-li kani, malo mani kano chi ka- baba, ba-ba nana
It’s Minion time. And while I’m on the subject of these lovable hilarious characters, I must say after a hectic trip to Jaipur, rather spiritual and fulfilling in nature, I’m back to doing what I do best – going bananas at Off the Wall in Sinquerim near Fort Aguada. A quaint and creative Art-Bistro wherein one can witness the art of food and art in general medium. It’s a rental space where one can even hold their own exhibitions. The food compliments it perfectly, at the hands of Ian Marc De Souza . Creatively inspired. A man who shares a similar penchant for travel, rather a sufferer of wanderlust like yours truly, he is back from one of his jaunts, to lands of mystery and unfulfilled quest for discovery. He delights me as always by catering to my sweet tooth apart from other delicacies he has picked up from his worldwide travels. Let me get these delicacies mentioned out of the way before I head on, first is a must try, the Pan-Pizza. A pizza with a southern Italian salsa, red onions, bell peppers, Home made goan chouriçe, topped off with oodles of mozzarella and American cheddar, thin crust style. The sweet delicate balance of sweet and tangy with a crunchy bite sends one into a stratospheric gastronomic realm. And I insist as a personal favorite there, to consume the succulent Grilled Tenderloin Steak with pepper n garlic , delicately finished off in the oven served with grilled cherry tomatoes, sauteed Greens with olive oil & smoked paprika and oregano. As Ian recommends it best served Medium. Do check out and subscribe to my Instagram feed to see these delightful images. The handle is @nolansatwit, for those unaware.
Having merely mentioned in conversation of my backyard banana tree yielding fruit and not knowing what to do with an abundance of butter bananas in my kitchen, he scoots off into the kitchen to come back with a simple yet scrumptious , Banoffie Pie– a biscuit texture-NUT crumble base, laden with banana caramel toffee, and fresh butter banana slices, served with a side of crème Chantilly! Now that’s just putting words, not to mention bananas in my mouth.
And with his impish smile he carries on to call for the second dessert to grace our table – fresh banana slices and sauteed in butter, with bruleed brown sugar accompanied by an almond crumble. Now while this may seem simple (and mind you it is enough for me to consume it as a 3 am sweet craving snack) and unassuming it is a power house dessert that will leave you wanting and unfortunately pining for a second helping. Better hit the treadmill post. I had to roll out of his joint. Literally.
So before the minions head on over there after reading this on the World Wide Web, I suggest you make a Gru line towards this place. Are you drooling like Kevin yet? Go and grab some ba-na-na!
Pic courtesy: Nolan Mascarenhas Photography
Have you tried Pisco? It is a colourless or yellowish-to-amber coloured brandy produced in winemaking regions of Peru and Chile, and is bloody potent. Made by distilling grape wine into a high-proof spirit, it was developed by 16th century Spanish settlers as an alternative to orujo, a pomace brandy that was being imported from Spain. I had it neat as well as this deadly concoction aptly called Capitan, being distilled fruitiness at its best. The Capitan is a potent refreshing cocktail with a pisco base, mixed with an infusion of grape juice and lemon with loads of crushed ice. Now, while the crushed ice dilutes the potency eventually, I was nursing a irritable throat hence sans ice made me reach a lot closer to the moon and stars that evening than intended.
Ceviche (pronounced “seh-VEE-chay”) is a Latin American recipe for raw fish and seafood marinated in citrus juice, mainly lime and lemon juice. The acid in the citrus juice coagulates the proteins in the fish, effectively cooking it. It is a seafood dish popular in the coastal regions of Latin America. Additional seasonings, such as chopped onions, salt, and cilantro, may also be added. Ceviche is usually accompanied by side dishes that complement its flavors, such as sweet potato, lettuce, corn, avocado or plantain. Because the protein is cooked by the acid, ceviche isn’t heated, so it’s served cold or at room temperature.Other ingredients in ceviche typically include tomatoes, onions, chiles and cilantro. As the dish is not cooked with heat, it must be prepared fresh to minimize the risk of food poisoning. It is light, citrusy, succulent and piquant in all the right proportions.
There’s no single recipe for ceviche, and many different fish and shellfish can be used in preparing it. Snapper, sea bass, halibut, mah-mahi and tilapia are popular fish for making ceviche. Other seafood components can include shrimp, scallops, squid and octopus.
Did you know? Along with an archaeological record suggesting the consumption of a food similar to ceviche nearly 2,000 years ago, historians believe the predecessor to the dish was brought to Peru by Moorish women from Granada, who accompanied the Spanish conquistadors and colonizers, and this dish eventually evolved into what now is considered ceviche. In Peru, ceviche has been declared to be part of Peru’s “national heritage” and has even had a holiday declared in its honor. The classic Peruvian ceviche is composed of chunks of raw fish, marinated in freshly squeezed key lime or bitter orange (naranja agria) juice, with sliced onions, chili peppers, salt and pepper. Corvina or cebo (sea bass) was the fish traditionally used. The mixture was traditionally marinated for several hours and served at room temperature, with chunks of corn-on-the-cob, and slices of cooked sweet potato.
The modern version of Peruvian ceviche, which is similar to the method used in making Japanese sashimi, consists of fish marinated for a few minutes and served promptly. It was developed in the 1970s by Peruvian-Japanese chefs including Dario Matsufuji and Humberto Sato. Many Peruvian cevicherías serve a small glass of the marinade (as an appetizer) along with the fish, which is called leche de tigre (tigers milk).
So while we reveal in the art juggling delightful consumption and pronunciation I shall have the Capitan keep me company on this crescent moon light night and I bid thee well.
Wicked thoughts scurrying thy mind? I assure you of nothing scandalous, I plan on keeping this post PG rated for my younger followers (though I assure you some of them could teach you and I a thing or two.)
Happy to be back in Mumbai once again and excited to know I’m meeting guests who I haven’t seen in over a few years. It’s funny how being left to host the evening the place falls upon my choosing every now and then. Well when suggested the dining option many of them chuckled knowing only I could have thought of something so – exciting.
I wait patiently at Cafe Threesome in Versova. The vibe is fabulous. The DJ spinning some deep house tunes and the service of the barman prompt to keep my spirits ‘high’. It’s a very chic sublime concept of a restobar with a unique twist to a much enticed exotic menu. The bathroom catches my fancy given the soap dispenser being a Jack Daniel bottle with a selfie booth (I’m sure it’s seen some mayhem and action three ways to Sunday in its time) with the lovely folk visiting for a powder pucker.
It’s always great meeting old friends. So much catching up to do well in this case thanks to a multitude of Whatsapp chats were in touch though far away and life carried on. A gentle reminiscence of ‘wild days gone past’ and a somber melancholy sets in to a time not so long ago that is hard to come by these days. Thank god for change and the stagnation of us all to pick up where we left off unfettered. A few of the usual lot couldn’t make it and their presence was missed. But we were at Cafe Threesome and I had heard a lot about some of the wild preparations.
Now before the morale police come to task let me assure you after being in the food fraternity a while and travelled far and wide there’s not much that shocks me anymore. But a good preparation or the culinary skill and concept of chefs these days could arouse much curiosity to ensure I am left gasping for more. Yes, there is a hashtag circulating these days to the effect #foodporn and yes I totally understand why. After all good food = porn these days?
Let’s call ourselves back to the showcase at hand. I am gently ushered aside to allow me to let go of the menu to the chefs imagination and only asked my preference being vegetarian or not. I go for the non vegetarian route this time. Having detoxed myself in Goa I feel alive and fresh for more. Sadistic much? Read on.
The Italian Chicken makes its way like a caged animal to our table. For a moment, in the dim lit ambience I thought we would have a live chicken up for slaughter given the cage that accompanied it. There is a restaurant in Mexico that does that I’m told. Don’t want to divulge more details here but as I said things are bizarre in the world of food excitement these days. Fresh from the farm onto the table in a matter of speaking – literally!
On the lighter side, what did chicken say to server upon arriving at my table? Cage meeeeeee. (I’m not known for my jokes. Thank god for small mercies.)
Our up and about waiter with a hop to his step further elucidates; ‘Sir. This dish is an Italian flavoured burger patty with salad leaves, Roma tomatoes, pickled cucumber with a serving of grilled onion chutney, jalapeños & salsa served with thousand island dressings and fries.’ The waiter had me at pickled cucumber. The rest was just the icing and a orgasmic blur emitted from his iteration of the condiments. I smiled in glee thanking him like a satiated kid in a consumed candy shop.
The meat was tender and well marinated. Perfect char and succulent and juicy inside. The fries fresh and crispy. The presentation reminded me of Mr Williams character in the movie the Birdcage. The cage round and red made of firm wrought iron was produced and kept aside. Ladies this piece of jewellery could do well to husbands who don’t behave themselves on the dinner table or elsewhere- if you catch my drift. Come now, your probably thinking 50 shades darker yes?
While your at this place do dig into a few exotics such as the Silken mutton galauti and the wasabi fish fingers. One of my recommendations for the vegetarians is the cute Cupcake Shrooms. Now it’s not illegal so your safe. More on my Instagram post shortly about that in the coming week. Stay tuned.
All in all I better let your mind play havoc and run a little wild. The next time in the mood for roll cage might I suggest some with a threesome. Guaranteed to excite.
I must confess. I miss my garden. The smell of wet mud, the plucking of weeds and my entire gardening apparel, gloves, hat et all. The simple joys of pottering and tottering around getting my hands dirty (in a matter of speaking).
On my food trail in lovely Mumbai on a glorious sweaty and sunny afternoon a foodie bestie and self decided to head over to Jamjar diner @ Versova for some much needed catch up and a ‘special surprise’ that awaited me.
Least expecting come dessert time was the presentation of this ‘sinful surprise’ brought to our table- Flower pot surprise.
I guess it must have been the constant high pitched tone shrills me and my bestie kept on at that possible caught the attention of our garçon attending to us to attentively without ask hand over this delicate creation.
So what is the Flower Pot Surprise? As you can see it looks like an orchid plant but underneath the so called deceiving earthly mud is a ton of gooey brownies, a few diced marshmallows infused with dollops of vanilla ice cream topped off with Oreo soil. A gardeners treat indeed.
Mind you though, looks can be deceiving. Though small in size it took all our might to down this treat. It is comfortable enough to satiate at least 3 people on the table so order one carefully.
With great tunes belted out in a very chic retro diner (loved the old juke box) and great conversation ahead here’s to happy food trails ahead. Oh- I forget to mention – don’t worry if you don’t have green fingers for this any color will do as long as the sweet tooth craving prevails.