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Goa – Day 2  

The second day in Goa for us started off pretty late. Waking up after a sound sleep with the aftereffects of the Feni to be thanked, we headed out to Panjim for a shoot. But first let’s get the tummy satisfied with a proper Goan lunch at one of the oldest restaurants and bars in Goa, Café Ritz. Numerous people come and leave satisfied through the doors of Café Ritz. It’s stood it’s test of time with it’s quality. The fish thali still costs about 180 rupees and comes with Rice, Cabbage Fry, Sol Kadi, Mussels, Fish Curry and huge slice of King Fish Rawa Fry.  Phew, talk about value for money. On the side was a fiery Crab Recheado which take a lot of water and time for me to finish.

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A meal fit for the king later, we were on a trip through Fontainhas. Fontainhas in Goa houses the Latin Quarters and the houses built are truly beautiful. The architecture vibrates with tones of yellow, green, blue and red resplendent of European Cities. Do take time to look at the lovely tiles that adorn the houses because each has a story to tell. There are numerous tours which are given about the Fontainhas. You can choose to book any of them or do it on your own.

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Also while at Fontainhas do NOT forget to visit the bakery on 31 January Street. The puffs and Goan specialties are worth having. They make a mean Bebinca, the traditional Goan dessert.

Of Quaint Bakeries and Colorful Buildings. Portuguese inspired cafes at Fontainhas in Panjim.

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My evenings were spent back at Sinquerim Beach overlooking the sunset. Being on the west coast of India, the sunsets over the sea in Goa have to be admired.

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Our find for this trip has to be Burger Factory in Anjuna. Set up by a few lads from Delhi, the burgers had here beyond awesome. I’ve had massive and delicious burgers in the US and this evoked those memories. The patty was beautiful and the sauces, beyond heavenly. It was so good that I drove down again the next day despite a higher chance of missing my bus, to indulge in one last burger. The guys at Burger factory are doing a stupendous job and I’m sure gonna be heading there once again the next time I’m in Goa.

Missed the usual haunts with this visit Goa. So Lila Café, La Plage have all become touristy for my liking. That isn’t a bad thing but it’s just that I’ve moved on. Palolem Beach is where my heart lies, but going back to North Goa after so long was truly wonderful. Cheers to many more visits.

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Goa for me has almost become a second home of sorts. It’s my annual pilgrimage and also a state where I can let go of my wandering thoughts and finally relax. I’ve been there multiple times, sat on the beach doing nothing other than a King’s in my hand and let my body relax with no other thought in my mind at all. So this February as we packed our bags for Goa once again, we though to revisit places which our favorites which we hadn’t since a couple of years.

Taking up accommodation in a beautiful house called Matilda’s Place (You should definitely check them out) in Candolim. Now I usually prefer taking the bus from Hyderabad and renting bikes right from Panjim, so that I don’t have to pay extra for the to & fro auto/cab ride to the beach. This way I end up saving atleast 600-800 rupees minimum.

Goa – DAY 1

The Carnival had just ended and the remnants of the festivities had yet to taken down. Along the Candolim – Calangute road is a beautiful German Bakery run by a Nepali which is worth checking out. Even though I love the one in Palolem, this one didn’t disappoint. The breads for the sandwiches had been freshly baked and moreover they put fresh basil which is just delicious. A Ham Sandwich and Watermelon Juice I was back at my favorite store in Goa, Newton’s. Now the Newton’s supermarket is where I do all of my liquor shopping. They always have offers going on and also the varieties stocked are much better than any other store. It’s now almost a landmark in Goa.

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Now that’s a Lineup. Beer Weekend is here

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Though a lot of tourists now head to Fat Fish, I’m now over them. There was a time when I was a regular at Fat Fish for their Goan Thali during lunches but now it’s the crowd which puts me off. They also make a Portuguese inspired Goan dessert called Serradura which is superb. Driving a little further is Crazy Crabs which they’ve now renovated to look more upscale. They make a delicious Butter Garlic Crabs and Rawa Mussels Fry. Looking for a respite from the heat, I sat down to devour happily my Butter Garlic Crabs washed down with Sol Kadi.

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We then headed out to the Chapora Fort to undertake the trek we hadn’t for years. The last time I’d gone up Chapora Fort was almost 4 years back. The road was much better then but they’ve totally screwed up the climb with a lot of digging. If it’s your first time in Goa then be my guest to head up there else it’s not worth it anymore other than the view.

My evenings in Goa are set with one dish. Post relaxing on the beach watching the sun go down, I always end up going off in search off a good Ras Omelette. Now if you don’t know what’s a Ras Omelette, then let me explain it to you in the choicest words.  Imagine like the best omelette in the world made with fresh onions and green chilies and then topped off with the Xacuti gravy. The Ras Omelette is to be had with fresh buttered pav. They sell it for like 20-30 bucks in the thelas and is a must have when in Goa.

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For dinner that night we ended up going a bit exotic. Meeting a friend over for dinner we headed to Chef Soumyen’s Kitchen. Run by an Ex-Taj chef, the Steaks at Chef Soumyen’s are fabulous. The prices aren’t cheap by Goan standards but so it their quality. The Spaghetti Bolognaise was exquisite.

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Now was the time to head back to beach and just relax over either Beers or Feni. This is one trip which after many years finally made me accept Feni. The Goan Feni slowly develops on you and the first taste can be quite hard to digest. The best way to have a Feni is always in a ratio of 1:3 with Limca and slice of lemon thrown in. Trust me when I say that the sleep you get post having a Feni will be the best you’ve had in a long time.

 

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For those who have been following us on Instagram and our Facebook page, know the number times that we’ve been to Goa in the recent few months. Yes Goa is the perfect vacation you need from work and otherwise. But there is so much to Goa to be explored. The culinary food history is a delight worth exploring. The Xacuti, sorpotel, cafreal from the Goan cuisine to the Bhaji and Solachi kadi of Hindu Saraswat cuisine.

Pao And Prawns Rechaed

The state has had many settlers over history that it has evolved it’s cuisine too along with it. But the unifying factor for all Goans is the Pao (Pão). The art of making Pao was a legacy brought in by the Portuguese. Every neighborhood has it’s one or two bakeries which make their usual two rounds of the day to sell bread. Most of the bakeries that I visited to watch the art of making pao, usually do them in two shifts. In the first shift they make throughout the night so that they can do the rounds early morning for people to have with their breakfast and lunch. While the other is in late afternoon, just in time for dinner.

Katriche Pao

Poi (Healthy Wheat Pao)

Pao Loaves

So this time in Goa we formed our very own Pao trail. To visit the bakeries and watch how the pao, poi, katriche pao, etc…are made. Now finding the bakeries are quite hard unless you’re a local. Nestled inside small villages, winding alleyways makes for quite an adventure to locate a bakery in Goa. A lot of the poders sell the bread in the Mapusa, Anjuna and other markets which are frequented by tourists. But upon asking for directions to their bakery, they politely declined.A Poder Out To Deliver Pao In The Morning (Pic Courtesy Goa Tourism)Near the Saligao Church, you’ll see a lot of peddlers standing around on the bridge selling bread. As I got to chatting with one of the poders, he finally did give me directions to one. Winding away from the touristy side of Goa, is it’s countryside. As I made my way, stopping to ask for directions through a lot of alleys completely broken away from the main road, came an extreme narrow path between two houses and right behind them all was the bakery. It was pitch dark even at 9 in the night and a small light shone at one corner of the bakery. The bakers told me to come back at 12 midnight as that’s when they’d start their next batch.

View From The Window Of The Bakery At Night

Pao Dough

Dough Ready To Be Put In The Kiln For Baking

Poder Making Pao In A Kiln

Everything had gone quiet by 12 midnight except the bakers pushing their stuff one after another into the oven. There are more than 14 types of bread made by the bakeries in Goa. The most popular of them are the poi (whole wheat), pao (cube) and the crispy undo. Many of the Goans favor the undo with their morning tea. It gives a lovely crunch even after being dunked in the tea. For the rest of the day it’s the pao. The poi is whole wheat variant of the pao and actually recommended for people with health problems.

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The kaknam (bangle bread) looks so similar to a variation of donuts. But the hardwork gone into making a katriche pao is commendable. They have to design each of the shape with scissors and then after attaining the perfect shape, it’s pushed for baking. The bakeries only make enough to sell out for the day. They key necessity for them is to provide Goans their daily bread, but FRESH.

Pao Loaves

Without the pao many of the Goan dishes would not be complete. The Xacuti, Sorpotel and cafreal taste so much better pao than with Roti/Rice. The next time you’re in Goa, take a break away from doing the normal and become a local. The travel tales, the vibe, the conversations over pao are incomparable. Goa truly is incomplete without it’s pao.

 

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Late night revelry in Goa and you know that there is some place you need to get over that throbbing hangover. Don’t hesitate ever to make way to Lila Café. A quaint little café, picturesquely situated on the banks of the Baga River, this café will simply wow you with it’s fresh breads, croissants, jams and omelets.

Facing The Baga River

The best part is the place is so laid back with that delicious smell of hot bakes bread wafting through the air, as you relax on one of those wicker chairs facing the Baga River to enjoy your breakfast. The white muslin drapes are easy on the eyes and the food delectable for it to be considered one of the best bakeries in North Goa.

Lila Cafe Menu

Lila Café is run by a German couple since the past many years and now have moved to a new location a few meters down from where they originally were. From the moment you take a seat, breathe and soak in the relaxing ambiance, to being handed the menu card which looks more like a tabloid, to being served the fresh juices and smoothies.

Bacon Omelette

It’s all an experience to have been enjoyed. Breakfast, Lunch or High Teas, Lila Café is the place to be. So this food extravaganza for any loved foodie and you sure are happy to walk out delighted. Don’t forget to finish off with a Apple Pie, some of the best we ever had, served with fresh whipped cream.

Rosti

Note: Closed during the monsoons from June to Sept. and on Tuesdays. They also do not accept Credit Cards.

German Bread

Contact Information:
Lila Café,
Near Baga-River,
Arpora-Baga, Bardez,
Goa,

Phone: +91 (0) 832 – 2914687 or Cliff @ 9822150533
Email: lilacafe@sify.com
Web: http://www.lilacafegoa.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/lilacafegoa
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