This week, I visited Goa for the first time ever. Although this was a work trip, it ended up being very memorable. On our first night there, we ate at O Goa, a restaurant in Hotel Fidalgo. We sat outdoors, while three young singers tried to entertain us. Little of what they said was understood by us. They asked for requests from the audience, especially if someone was celebrating birthdays and anniversaries. Incidentally, it was my fourth wedding anniversary on that day. My colleague suggested I request a song and record them playing it and send it to Mahesh. I laughed at the idea & then decided to at least request a song. I asked them to sing Love is All Around Me. They never did. As my colleague pointed out, they were not accompanied by live musicians and had to download the track before they could sing.
O Goa had a good number of goan dishes for us to try. We ordered the Solkadi, a drink made with Kokum and coconut milk, which aids digestion. We had king fish xacuti, prawn balchao, and pao. It was a yummy meal.
Next day, after our meeting got over, my colleague and I decided to head to the Miramar Beach. Now, the previous night I dreamt that I lost my shoes on the beach and wondered whether I would be allowed to enter a restaurant in Goa without them. While walking on the sand, I clung to my shoes with dear life. We stood in the water, gazed into the sea, yapped, and soaked it all in. The beach was quite empty. After sometime, we made our way back and realized that my colleague had left her shoes on the beach!! She went back to hunt for them. I couldn’t believe this was happening for real. While waiting for her, I checked with locals on the beach. The closest shoe shops were in the Panaji market which was a good 2-3kms away. I had also identified the location of the restaurant I wanted to eat at – Mum’s Kitchen. My colleague returned barefoot, but her enthusiasm was intact. She even insisted that we eat first and then go to buy shoes. Thankfully, there was an auto nearby and we hopped in asking the guy to take us to panaji market and to bring us back here for dinner. I told her about my dream. She simply could not believe it.
My colleague bought her shoes from a place aptly called Grab a Shoe! We headed back to Miramar to eat at Mum’s Kitchen. Unfortunately, they were hosting a private party and said that it would not be possible to serve us. We stepped out and checked out places near about. Something possessed me and I decided to go back and ask them to recommend a good place for goan food. I was told that there was no good goan restaurant in the area and the closest was a place called Mandovi which was 10 minutes walking distance from where we were. Then began, Part 2 of our barefooted adventure!
We walked for close to 20 minutes with no sign of Mandovi. The next thing we knew, my shoe broke! We laughed and laughed. My dream did come true!! With no auto in sight, I had to drag myself back to a shoe shop in Panaji market. We wondered what the reaction of the people at Grab a Shoe would be. They may have thought we were tipsy. We entered the market through a separate entrance and I bought a shoe from a different place. We were super hungry and tired by this time. The previous day, our hotel guys had recommended a place called Ritz Classic for dinner. I recalled that this place was rated No.1 on tripadvisor. I suggested that we head there for dinner. We hailed an auto and headed to Ritz Classic. We joked that after having walked so much we deserved a dinner in a place like RITZ CLASSIC. We imagined it would be a fancy place. As the auto stopped and we looked up, we burst into laughter. It was not even close to what we had conjured up in our head. It was a simple place with no fancy décor or anything. My colleague heaved a sigh of relief. She had been wondering how we would justify a fat bill to office. All her worries disappeared after one look at the place.
Ritz Classic was quite full when we went in. It was clear. This place was about the food and nothing else. We ordered lime sodas, a seafood soup, prawn cafreal, mutton vindaloo, and pao. The vindaloo was way too spicy for me. The cafreal was spicy too, but quite yummy. The soup was good too and actually had lots of seafood in it.