Saturday, October 28, 2017

Diwali - Light, Love and Laughter

      Hope you all had a great week and great Diwali for those who celebrate. This year Diwali fell in mid of the week. After coming back with kids from there after school activities, I was running late but had already done some preparation for a few things, a few days back. In India, Diwali is a holiday, and here in the USA, it's a regular weekday.

      But I just could not let go the joy of lighting diyas with my family,  relishing good food and decking up for Diwali dress. I made a festive dinner and lighted diyas with my kids. This year I successfully avoided refined flour and white sugar. Didn't felt must of a  difference. On the weekend, we had one lovely dinner with old friends and another at our place with some new friends. Loved the lighting, the laughs and sharing food with old and new friends.
      Presenting you a little bit of our Diwali celebration. I am wearing a light pink sharara with gota work accessorized with bangles. Hope you all enjoy the post. And have a spooky Halloween as well, can't wait to hear your stories.

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Diwali, Kati Bihu Halloween and memory lane

      15 years back I left Assam, India making a new home in Connecticut, USA. I left a few festive, fair, smell, fragrance, family, friends and much more. While you leave something at the same time you gain a few too. You all might know that at this time in India, Indians celebrate the most glorious festival Diwali "A celebration of light". As I am from the eastern part of India, Bihu is the fulcrum festival. After coming to the USA, we started celebrating Diwali as equally as Bihu. We love preparing sweets and exchanging with friends and putting lights to decorate the house with candles and Diyas earthen lamps. With our neighbor, we celebrate Diwali where kids perform dance and music with all the cultural programs and an array of good Indian food. We celebrate our roots and heritage, trying to give kids the essence of India.

Kati Bihu celebration. Photo Credit - Parasha Konwer

      Along with Diwali, back in Assam India, we celebrate one festival called Kati Bihu or Kongali Bihu. This Bihu is not as grand as Rongali Bihu or Bhogali Bihu. All Assamese festivals are associated with harvest. Since this Bihu falls before the harvest that's why it is called kongali Bihu, Kongali means poor. Place Earthen lamps (diyas) in storage (bhoral), gate and front of the kitchen for praying for good harvest according to local belief. Planting basil tree and placing earthen diyas and offering prasad (Soak chickpeas and Moog with fresh cut fruit) is a ritual and kids visit you for prasad. As a kid, I used to visit our neighbors and friends. But later when I grew up, I recall kids were not coming for prasad and the tradition slowly becoming extinct. Now when I look back at those nostalgic years, it lights up my heart just like Diwali Diyas. Here along with Diwali, we celebrate Halloween too. My kids go for Halloween Trick or Treat in our close tidy neighborhood for candies. I see a glimpse of my childhood in them, celebrating Kati Bihu. With our Halloween decore Diwali Diyas and candles get equally placed too. Our whole neighboorhood fills up with Halloween decor and Diwali Diyas. Everything oozes same merriment and joy of festivity. I couldn't differentiate whether it is because of Halloween or Diwali.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Burlington, Vermont Experience the New England offbeat charm

      When it comes to travel, I'm always intrigued by unique and offbeat places more than a commercial tourist attraction. Living in New England offers me plenty of such place choices. Burlington, Vermont is one such place I have ever visited with the serene shore of Lake Champlain and quiet Canadian border. A perfect destination for your weekend getaway. Some of my favorite things to offer for each and every one.

Church Street Market PLace
      Experience the history and liveliness of church street marketplace. This four-block pedestrian zone with endless shops, eatery and unique art galleries with view surrounded by pristine Lake Champlain. Walk along with all the happy people feel of festivity with fashion, fun, food, and frolic just name it.

Waterfront Park
      Just takes your walk a few steps forward to the 7.5-mile bike path, a pier for Lake Champlain boat trips, the Echo aquarium and Discovery church street marketplace. There you are, experience the vast view of Lake Champlain. Take a walk or a bike and unwind all your hassle. Either busk in the sun or soak the sunset or swing in a bench, sip your chai or coffee.

ECHO, Leahy Center for Lake Champlain Burlington, VT 
      Visit would not be complete without taking a tour of ECHO's 70 live species, over 100
Interactive experiences, and seasonal changing exhibits and events. Great experience for the tender learner to learn the marine life and about marina and biology with hands-on experience. Butterfly exhibits, weather report exhibits, sand table and much more. Also, ECHO top level has a stunning view of the lake and surrounding serene mountains.

Enter and experience the food scene. Yes, please. Burlington offers a vast variety of food experience from upscale to casual healthy to indulgence alley of great breakfast, lunch, and dinner options.

Saturday, October 7, 2017

India, West Hartford Sunday brunch review

A true blue foodie myself, lazy days especially Sundays, I look for Sunday brunches. As Sundays are also associated with Monday mania, I prefer brunches as there is no hurry to get up, devour and savor your food, yet you have time left to merge in Monday Mania.
Last weekend was such a savory Sunday, and we went to India, West Hartford for Sunday brunch.

     If you follow me, you might have read India West Hartford lunch review earlier, here is the post. India West Hartford has an interior that blends India intricates with urban design, and we were humbly and quickly greeted. They have an optional entry of menu where you can choose street style India food. The menu is not too extensive to overwhelm yet consisting most Indian street style food.

        Most Indian street style foods are indulgent. Here I indulged with chili chicken, Indochinese. Delicately deep fried chicken pieces with relishing red sauce, crispy veggies, succulent-chunky onion pieces and green pepper fiercely flavorful. A full of high on sin yet worth the sin decadent. A must try if you happen to be into Sunday brunches.

          For my son, he had veg Manchurian. Vegetable balls dipped in soy and garlic based sauce on a bed of basmati rice. It was absolutely delectable with the perfect pair of the mouth-watering Manchurian.

       Then came the chicken Kathi roll for my husband. A cooked to perfection chicken with yogurt and medley of masalas and wrapped in a wholesome wholewheat wrap.  Served with healthful veggies. The raving part of India West Hartford is that it sources its vegetables from the local organic farms. You can sense that in your every bite, the twists of restaurant style yet goodness of healthy home cooking.

      My daughter opted for Gobhi Paratha, cauliflower bread. An Indian cauliflower whole wheat bread, a bread stuffed with hearty cauliflower and carefully cooked in clarified butter. A great for picky eaters for fulfilling and satisfying.
           Our Sunday brunch in India West Hartford was certainly satisfying and ended there, but the taste and flavor keep inviting us over again. Have great weekend guys.

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