Sunday, September 23, 2018

Indian festival look 1

Those hot mornings are now softly turning into misty dewy mornings. Moist morning transport me back to home, Assam India. Indian festival season just started there. Festivity unfolds food, flavor and fashion. I reminisce about those beautiful days of school holidays, relishing festive food, buying and feeling the touch of crisp new clothes.

   Well, the last couple of years my friend initiated celebrating Ganesh Chaturthi. She meticulously plans and creates festivity with so much care and creativity. It is a 11 days affair. Even though I want to visit every day, my kids and work just occupy me and I could only manage to visit a few days. During the visits, I enjoy dressing up for the festivity.

     This year I see how linen became vogue in summer. I chose this linen white saree with a blue border and a pink achal (the top end) which played a pinch of pop of color which you need for a festival look.  I team it up with Assamese thuria and blue potli bag and a thick traditional Assamese Bengals called gam kharu. The saree almost felt like second skin to me, feathery and soft. Some people might find it little shuttle for Indian festive affair. Everything (accessories) has a gold tint to it. Initially I thought of silver tint then later decided on the gold, as it will add up some unexpected flair to it. Hope you like this look. Have a great weekend guys and enjoy the festive season.

Saturday, September 15, 2018

Seville Soak up in the Spanish sun

      Blooming bougainvillea sweet scent of tangerines, adorned ornate buildings, closed gates when opens it feels like a home, wide and warm as every square here awaits to tell you the history of the artistic and esthetics of human curation. Seville, as if the leisurely ornate city enchants you with the quintessential splendid  Spanish holiday.  Eclectic, the capital of Andalucia and the 4th largest Spanish city has a Roman and Morish past.

Main attraction

THE PLAZA DE ESPAÑA: If you want to experience something spectacular and get awestruck by mesmerizing beauty and grandeur, the Plaza de Espana with 500,000 square meters of rose gold building beautified with blue tiles, canals, bridges, and fountains, it is nothing short of a beautiful canvas. You might have to remind yourself, this is not a dream but reality. Every tile and railing of the bridges are work of immaculate craftsmanship and seating areas are enclosed with each region's painted map. A picturesque backdrop with horse driven carts and boats rowing in the canals, its a whisper of the presence of the past.

THE REAL ALCÁZAR: If you imagine how beautiful can be the Moorish with a bit of Gothic architecture, then the imagination that takes shape in your mind probably is not too much different if I say it's the Real Alcazar. Corridor to the courtyard garden to the entrance, it is all about royalty and luxury. One of the impressive landmarks synonymous with Seville.

Seville Cathedral: Your Seville trip won't be complete without paying a visit to this Spectacular landmark. World's 3rd largest cathedral with the triumph of Gothic architecture grandeur and here the home of Christopher Columbus.

The Metropol parasol:  If you think Seville is the only gateway to the past than Metropol parasol changes your notion. Recently
finished construction in 2011, this enormous and fluid architecture is modern day prosperity of Seville.  Its architecture is inspired by the vaults of the Cathedral of Seville and is created in the form of giant mushrooms. Its terrace is home to a good restaurant with panoramic views of the city center. A museum at the lower level preserves the Roman and Moorish remains discovered during the construction of the site.

 A few facts
1. You need to wait in the queue get into the Real Alcazar and Seville Cathedral. If you book the ticket ahead, you don't need to take the trouble of waiting.
2. No doubt Plaza de Espana is the substance of beauty. But if you want to capture the true essence, early in the day or evening is always better than during the afternoon or late mornings.
3. Whether real alcazar or Plaza de Espana you require walking a lot. Be ready to walk to get the true essence of Seville.

How many days you need
We Started from Toledo  in the afternoon and reached Seville by the evening. We got two nights and a full day. I still feel that we were little constrained for time. I believe three full days would have been perfect.

Saturday, September 8, 2018

5 must try food when you are in Spain

      Being sick and lying in the bed is no fun. But imagining about good things especially memories is a solace while if you're sick. One of these beautiful memories transports me to my recent trip to Spain and it's most unique and iconic dishes.

1. Paella: Most iconic and celebrated Spanish rice-based dish originated in  Valencia and typically seafood based. If you don't prefer seafood you can choose chicken paella or if you are a vegetarian, it has the option for vegetarian too. There is almost no Spanish restaurant who does not offer paella.

 2. Patatas Bravas: An ubiquitous tapas in Spain. Fried potatoes almost taste like french fried topped with tomato sauce and vary from region to region. Enticing of course.

3. Churros:   Every nook and corner proudly present Spain's most delicious delight. Decadent fried sugary dough topped with chocolate...Ah heaven!

4.  Pimientos de Padron:  Tantalize your taste bud. Don't get overwhelmed as it is fried chilies and topped with sea salt. It is not as spicy as it sounds. Succulent.

5. Pan tumaca: Spanish bread topped with fresh tomato sauce, garlic and olive oil. Light crispy outside and soft inside. A treat for your taste bud.

Saturday, September 1, 2018

Toledo not just a tale of yesteryears

      Small cities and towns have always intrigued me. Small cities and towns have a wonder of its own, whether it flavor, food, flares, festive, culture or craft. You will find something significant and unique about it. When we were traveling Spain, Toledo was my top pick. Announced as a world heritage site, Toledo is a seamless blend of three culture Roman, Jewish, and Moorish.

      Cobblestone streets, historic little square mountain and wrapped in Tagus River, Toledo is a postcard-perfect city and solace for traveling soul

How to get there and how much time you should spend
      Less than an hour for Madrid by car or train, it is perfect for a day trip or if you want to witness the city at night staying over for a day or two could be a perfect option. We drove from Madrid to Toledo for a day trip but after visiting I regret that we should have spent a day or two to get the essence of the whole city.

What are the main attractions

1. Mirador Del Valle:   If you want to get a glimpse of the gorgeous view of the city here you are.

2. Catedral Primada:  Toledo's treasure with ornate interior and acute outer architecture.

3. Synagogues: Established in 1180 by Moorish architects,  now preserved by the Catholic Church these Jewish worship places are a true witness to diversity in a multicultural setting.

4. Alcazar: Sparkled from Mirador del Valle, a gem located at the highest part of Toledo, it was once used as a Roman place in the 3rd century and then later as a fortification during the Spanish Civil war.

5. Puerta de Bisagra: Greets you in the grandeur, the gate built in 1559 by Alonso de Covarrubias, you can't miss it once you enter the city.

Cool things to do

      Walk the nostalgia of  Jewish quarters:   An escape from the hustle and bustle, almost felt like a time machine, it takes you to another time. Walking on the Tiny alleys of sublime cobblestone streets, sense the Jewish heritage.

Not just shop: Shopping is fun but when you can witness the muse of what you buy, that priceless. Stop by the shops and artisans who are not just selling things but creating art, especially jewelry.

      The melting pot of multi-culture, Toledo is not just a tale of yesteryear but the past that reminisces in present and future.

Saturday, August 25, 2018

Flax and Kale Barcelona melange of culinary invention and feel good food

      Travel requires so much energy and enthusiasm and it can't be done without some good food. To be precise without a great and scrumptious breakfast no travel day is complete. While traveling, it is not easy to eat healthy all the time, yet we always try to make sure that we stay on the route of eating healthy.

      Flax and Kale, the name says it all. Is it?  All the superfood that we need to nurture the temple called the body and soul.  In preparing for one of the long sightseeing days in Barcelona, we wanted great breakfast that's not just scrumptious but healthy too and that brought us to Flax and Kale. A wide open and transparent kitchen, one can actually see the food while cooking and an ambiance that every foodie thrives for serving lunch and dinner as well as gluten-free and raw foods. An innovation and healthy take personified menu had a lot to choose from.

      While going through the menu, I couldn't resist when I saw a doughnut on the menu with a healthy take. First thing first, I ordered the decadent maple glazed doughnut. A non-fried almond flour doughnut glazed with maple syrup. It was one of the best doughnuts I have ever tried guilt free. Soft and succulent and light inside and sweet outside. If mom can eat a doughnut, how can daughter resist eating a cookie? My daughter had a vegan chocolate chip house-made cookie.

      Then I had Scandal Scramble, scrambled free-range eggs, assorted mushrooms, spinach, tomato,  green garlic, feta cheese, carrots and came with 6 cereal whole wheat bread. As the name holds so much, I expected a little more innovation but nevertheless, it was delectable with juicy veggies almost gave you a homey taste. There was no denying their food personifies the freshness.

      My husband got  Classic Avocado Toast, a whole wheat sliced bread with avocado, lemon, cayenne pepper, flax and chia seeds. When a simple food gets a culinary makeover, then this is it. The presentation and the taste took it to another level and yet keep the clean eating real and simple and sustainable.

      My kids love waffle and here they were happy to get their favorite breakfast, a sweet waffle topped with chocolate ice cream, kiwi, and strawberry. They were in their dominion of deliciousness without knowing that was superlatively healthy.

      We ended our breakfast and moved along for the long day with no guilty but a fabulous feeling.

Saturday, August 18, 2018

Why you must visit Gypsy quarter in Sacramento, Granada

      In this world, difference and uniqueness always make marks in life. Uniqueness not just breaks down the monotonousness, but expands the horizon of ones life. Perhaps that is the reason people often run for unknown and wonder about in uniqueness.

      Sacromonte (“The Sacred Mount”), with the rolling hills in a bit distance and the alluring alley of narrow cobblestone roads, whitewashed buildings with Moorish character and the grand view of enchanting Alhambra, the medieval quarters of the Moorish era is this eclectic and beyond picture perfect town. Small shops and eateries surrounding this place, Albayzin flamenco and perfect mileage of cultural tidbits, history, and heritage give you a different insight of Spain.

      Everywhere you look, a magnificent view unfolds for you, and your fantasy is on your foot as you walk a bit in the narrow and seep lanes. With the changing time, some houses turned into hotels and restaurants, yet these medieval quarters still shelter the ancient architecture that makes you even more interested in visiting as you sense the era gone by is still present. This whimsical settlement of Spanish gypsies (the Gitanos) settled here from 15th to 18th century.  Picturesque little cozy houses, alluring architecture, artfully hanging ceramics and flowery courtyard depicts one of the prettiest pictures of Idyllic Granada. The raving part is quarter still retains authenticity and intriguing without being touristy.
Whether you are just for a day or a laid-back traveler, you stay for a few days and stop for a few hours Gypsy Quarter intrigue you and let you experience the world of uniqueness and charm.

Saturday, August 11, 2018

Sanissimo , Madrid aesthetically vegan

Food has a very interesting and important place in my heart. My major liking on a place often relies on the food of the place. While traveling and exploring new places, food memories stay with me quite well. Madrid is one of the places with so many factors to love about, food being certainly one of them. I am in Love with it forever and surely inspires me to come back pretty soon. I can’t believe how many healthy or vegan restaurant options Madrid has. 

One of our beautiful evenings in Madrid, we stumbled upon a vegan and vegetarian place called Sanissimo. Beautiful wall paintings, bird cases and lovely decor make this cozy place an inviting one. The Greek and Spanish inspired menu has so many options to chose from. 

For our starter, we had spinach and ricotta pastry and beetroot hummus with focaccia bread. I love the crunchy base on the Riccota cheese pastry and spinach goes so well with it. Love the facaddia bread with olives and hummus. Flowery hummus and bread presentation definitely create a lovely culinary aesthetic. As much as I love the bread, I wish I got the same punch and flavor in the hummus. It was a little blend. 

For the mains I got eggplant lasagna, it was succulent lasagna and at the same time, they were able to retain the natural flavor. Also, it came with Mexican green rice and a little bowl of red savory lentils, that perfectly balance the distinctive lasagna. Then my husband got chickpeas to wrap. A delicate, warm wrap with veggies was very filling and delicious. But, if you are in favor of flavorful food you might find it little blend. Nevertheless the less we ended the day without dessert as it was quite generous when it comes to portion. A quick and attentive service with culinary aesthetics will remain one of my favorite part of Madrid memory.