Disclaimer: this is a long post featuring a few days. I was totally unmotivated to get in front of my computer. You’ll see why.
I realized in my last post, I didn’t specify why I am heading to India. My friend Raghavan planned this amazing trip India and Sri Lanka for a group of friends and I. It’s a trip that he had made a few times before. After India and Sri Lanka, Cathy, Ray and I will be heading to Thailand. It is one of those trip of a lifetime, dream trip kinda events in life.
Okay, now to the cool stuff. Cochin, or Cochi or Kochi is the home bananas, coconuts and ginger and I definitely had my share. After a flight from Mumbai and a bus ride that seemed to last for internity we arrived at this amazing place. Quite the start to our tour of South India. The Vivanta is one of those embarrassingly nice hotels with lavish rooms, an infinity pool and impeccable service where your room attendant folds everything. Yes, everything. My mornings and afternoons were spent lounging on the chaise and reading books while watching the fishing boats come in and out of the harbor. Oh and there was a clear wall to my shower. (Weird at first but actually it was kinda cool getting natural sunlight in as I showered.)
Once we got checked in, we snagged a quick lunch at the hotel and I was introduced to the tapioca in its actual form. Steamed and served with a shallot, curry leaves and . The earthiness reminds me a tasty blue cheese. Next we had stewed okra with curry leaves on a bed of rice noodles. And my love affair with curry leaves begins. Indians use these leaves to flavor their food much like we use it for bay leaves but you can eat it and that I did.
The first night we hit up one of the best seafood restaurants in town, Brunton Boatyard’s History. Though the seafood is caught daily, I opted for the vegetarian route with the Afsa Bi Ka Curry. A dish that consists of stewed plantains and paneer in a cashew gravy served with dal and phulks. It was a lovely night where we had a view of the ferry shuffling the evening commute to and from the island. At some point during our dinner I began nodding off with vigor. The combination of jet lag and lack of sleep.
The next day. I spent the morning laying by the water and enjoying the infinity pool. A nap and a non-alcoholic ginger lime cocktail was had. In the afternoon Raghavan took us to the vegetable and fruit markets. I was introduced to a variety of fruits and vegetables like jack fruit, purple yam, unripe mangos, curry leaves (which I’m now obsessed with) and more. All the vendors were so friendly and our friend Scott was greeted like a local celebrity.
For dinner Raghavan arranged a cocktail hour and three course dinner at the hotel restaurant, The Rice Boat. Again I opted for the vegetarian path and I wasn’t disappointed. I was presented with a variety of different curries, some I have already sampled on my trip and some new ones. The high point was definitely the shallot curry, which reminded me of a mole, rich and deep with flavor.
I have yet to have a bad meal in India. The next day will be action packed. We have two homes to visits and meals to eat.