Posts Tagged With: food

Destination Goa

Beautiful Goa, India is a place for pure relaxation. There are miles and miles of beach as far as the eye can see. Our trip to Goa with our children was definitely enjoyable for everyone. There is a sort of rustic charm that surrounds Goa that makes it a must see beach. The local people are very cheerful and happy overall in my experience. Goa has a feel of a newly developed area in an old culture where the kinks are being worked out to make the 2 meet. In the midst, there are many nooks and cranny’s of interesting sights to see. My children had a wonderful time, as did we, exploring all the wonderful and quirky things around us. We found that Goa has a large mix of people from different cultures visiting from all over. In particular, there was a great deal of Russian influence. So much so that many of the street signs were written in 3 languages: Russian, Hindi and English.

beach shacks

Goa is a large span of land and many people distinguish the areas as the south side and the north side. The north side is more populated. There is more of everything… people, restaurants, tourists, hotels. The beaches are filled up with more people and the vendors are plenty. The south side has the same things in much less quantity. The beaches are cleaner with fewer people. The area is relatively quiet in the evenings and it does not have as much activity. Choosing which side to stay on is definitely a matter of the type of vacation you are looking for. If lots of activity is what you want then the north side is the place. If quiet and fewer people is what you want then the south side is what you want.

Map of Goa

Where to stay?

We opted to stay a bit on the southern side in Benaulim Beach. We had a great experience. There are, however, some great places in both sides to fit a variety of budgets.

Some fantastic and beautiful places to stay are the following:

Near Benaulim Beach (toward the southern part of Goa) is Taj Exotica. This is an absolutely beautiful hotel. You feel like you are in a magical place upon entering. The service is wonderful and very kid friendly. The restaurants are amazing as well. This is definitely a pricy hotel but worth if it fits your budget.

A bit further south in Cavelossim Beach is the Leela Goa. This hotel is wonderful and beautiful as well. Great service and a luxury experience.

In Cavelossim Beach as well is the Park Hyatt Goa Resort and Spa. This resort is a newer hotel. They have a beautiful setting with lots of activities for both adults and children. For children they have a kids club where they do activities and you are able to drop off the kids with great childcare providers for a few hours if you like.

On the north side is a hotel called Vivanta by Taj – Fort Aguada, Goa. This hotel is wonderful and in the mix of lots of activity. There is not much of a beach on this waterfront property as it has eroded away over the years with the tide, however, it is a wonderful hotel and in a great location for the nightlife of north Goa.

What to do?

There are many wonderful things to do in Goa. It was key, however, to hire a car and English-speaking driver during our stay to take us around the areas to see all the wonderful things there were to see. Of course, you can always opt to spend your trip getting massages and enjoying the beach. There are plenty of places to get a massage and many of them specialize in Ayurvedic massages. We opted to do a mix of both sight-seeing and beach relaxation.

A must see in Goa is the Anjuna Flea Market. This market is located near Anjuna beach in the north. It is only on Wednesdays during the day. It is mostly a souvenir market, however, there is a very interesting mix of people, food, and animals to see. My children loved seeing this market.

Cow eating corn

Teas

Lady selling goods at the market

Spices

In Goa, the spice plantations are a great destination. Goa’s dense forested areas make this a wonderful experience . The favorable climatic conditions make it possible for a variety of spices to grow. My children really enjoyed seeing where all the spices come from. The spice plantation we visited was the Sahakari Spice Farms.

This spice market grows a vast variety of spices such as betel nut, cardamom, vanilla bean, chili peppers, as well as many others. The spices that grow high up on the trees are collected by people who climb up the trees and swing from tree to tree to save time and not miss a tree. This was exciting for my children to see.

Worker climbing the tree to retrieve the spices.

Betel Nut

bananas

There are many other activities that are going on at the spice plantation. There were ladies dancing and singing, there were elephant rides and elephant baths, and there was a wonderful lunch served at the end of our tour.

Women dancing and singing at spice plantation.

Elephant getting a bath at the spice plantation.

In Goa, there are lots of Temples and Churches that are wonderful to explore. They have a lot of unique characteristics and beauty in them. They are wonderful to explore when visiting Goa.

What to eat?

Goan food is very unique and wonderful. The food has a blend of flavors that is absolutely mouth-watering. They have a lot of seafood specialities as it is a coastal region, however, there are many options of food for every kind of palette.

I found it wonderful to be able to sit on the beach and taste the wonderful food served at the beach shacks. The servers bring you your food and drink order right to the beach. This is casual but flavorful food. I would say this experience is worth a try indeed. There are beach shacks all over Goa so you would be able to spot them wherever you are on the beach.

Here are some other restaurants in Goa, some of which I have been to and others that have been recommended to me:

Mum’s Kitchen – They offer wonderful Goan cuisine in a charming atmosphere. They strive to preserve the Goan culture and cuisine.

Brittos’s – This restaurant is great for the experience mostly and great if you are spending time on the beach and want to grab and quick bite. They are located on the north side of Goa in Baga Beach (the party central of Goa). The restaurant is on the beach itself with the floor being the sand of the beach. There is a wide variety of foods offered. This is a tourist spot for sure but might be worth seeing.

Allegria – This restaurant is located in the Taj Exotica Hotel in the area near Benaulim Beach. They offer Goan cuisine. This restaurant is wonderful. The food is outstanding and very flavorful. The atmosphere is quaint and luxurious. This is a great outing for a nice dinner.

These are only a handful of the many selections in Goa. If you are looking for other cuisines besides Goan food, there are many to choose from as well. My children had all the selection they needed, as did we to find the type of food we were looking for during our trip.

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Foods of Paris

Paris has wonderful places to eat. In any price range you can eat tasty foods that you can savor. We enjoyed eating the great crepes from small roadside cafe’s made fresh in front of you.  Breizh Café located in the 5th Arrondisement is a great casual creperie where they serve these wonderful delights. This is only one amongst many.

In December, there are the Christmas markets that offer food stalls galore. These stalls offer a variety of selections at affordable prices. You can fill your stomach with wonderful dishes from sandwiches to desserts to cheeses and pastas cooked fresh in front of you.

My kids loved the way they were wrapped in paper into a triangle shape that was easy for them to hold. Of course there was always some filling that fell all over them but they had fun all the same. Just make sure you bring lots of wet wipes. I really enjoyed the fresh baguettes with bree cheese. The baguettes were warm with a crusty outside and soft inside. My mouth waters whenever I think about it. Of course we cannot forget the bakeries. The bakeries are wonderful to say the least. They fresh baked good leave you wanting them all upon entry.

I have included a list of restaurants that could be good to explore in Paris. Though I have not explored all of these restaurants, they all have been recommended to me by others. I have added comments of thoughts from others as well as my own. My hope in compiling this is is that it could serve as a useful guide for anyone who would like to explore the culinary varieties of Paris. All of the restaurants I have included allow diners to bring their children. For anyone who has tried any of these restaurants I would love to hear your thoughts about them.

Le Grande Colbert, 29 rue Vivienne, Paris 2nd — This is a Parisian brasserie that is great for a casual lunch.

Au Bascou — located in the 5th arrondissement– They have good south French food in a casual setting.

Villa Spicy next to the Champs Elysées  – good French food with a twist–  They have a special children’s menu. The cost is around 30-40 Euros per person.

Glou, 101 Rue Vieille du Temple, 75003 Paris — this is a casual place, with simple food and good service. There is a nice view on the gardens on the opposite of the streets. This place is about 20-30 euros per person.

Le Petit Pergolèse, 38, Rue Pergolèse, 75016 Paris —  This is a restaurant with a variation on traditional French cuisine. This place is small with only 47 seats. It is located near the Porte Maillot underground station. This restaurant would run about 50-60 euros per person.

Les Fils à Maman, 7 bis Rue Geoffroy-Marie – 75009 Paris — The meals have a feel of food that would be cooked in a simple french home by someones grandmother. The food is simple comfort food. This is a very casual place. This place would cost around 20 euros per person.

Le Petit Resto dans la Prairie, 9/9 bis, cour des petites écuries — 75010 Paris — This is a sister restaurant of Les Fils à Maman. This restaurant has almost identical food in a different location and slightly different setting. This is also extremely casual and full of local Parisians. The cost is around 20 euros per person.

Le Relais de l’Isle, 37 rue Saint Louis en L’Isle, Paris 4th –very casual local restaurant.

Zyriad, located on top of the institute of the arabic world. They have a view of Notre Dame — The food at this restaurant is lebanese cuisine. The price is around 40-50 euros per person.

–  Le relais de l’entrecote next to the Champs Elysées– This restaurant is mostly steak with french fries and a special sauce.  They are somewhat touristy but good, casual and great for the kids. They cost around 20 Euros per person.

Les Cocottes, 135 rue Saint Dominique, 75007 Paris –Every meal is served and cooked in French Cocotte. This restaurant would run about 40 euros per person.

Le Bistrot du Sommelier, 97 boulevard Haussmann, 75008 Paris — For wine lovers, this is the place to try.They have one of the best rated sommeliers in the world. They have a 20+ page wine list. The service is immaculate and the food is tasty. The cost is 40-50 euros per person. Of course this will vary based on the wine you order.

Le Pinxo, 9 rue d’Alger, 75001 Paris. They are located near the Vendome place.  They offer a modern concept of chic tapas to share for up to 3 people. The cuisine is subtle and the service decent.  The owner of the restaurant, Alain Dutournier, is very famous in Paris for another excellent restaurant named le Carre des Feuillants. The cost is around 40-50 euros per person.

Au Gourmand, 17 rue Moliere, 75001 Paris. They are a gastronomic restaurant. The cost is around 60 euros per person.

L’Absinthe on the place du Marché Saint Honoré: nice terrace and nice bistrot decoration inside. The food and setting is nice, however, the service is not always predictable. The price is around 40-50 euros per person.

16 Haussmann is a restaurant with a nice setting. They have a mix of tradition and modernity. The price is around 40 to 60 euros per person.

If you wanted to try a more high end restaurant, here is a list:

La Maison Blanche, 15 avenue Montaigne, 75008 Paris– Very interesting gastronomic and modern restaurant with nice view over the Eiffel Tower. Quite expensive for dinner when the illuminations give all powers to the scenic view (around 150 euros per person) but definitely a great deal at lunch (around 50-60 euros per person)
Gordon Ramsay at the Trianon Palace in Versailles. The price is 200-300 euros per person.

Les Fables de la Fontaine, 131 rue Saint Dominique, 75007 Paris –They have a modern setting, good service and a 1 Michelin star chef make the place a good pick for a gastronomic French meal. This restaurant is loved mainly for fish. The cost can range from about 40 to 70 euros per person.

La table du Lancaster, 7 rue de Berri, 75008 Paris — This is a Michelin star restaurant with fantastic food, very nice setting, and a great service.  We decided to splurge and enjoyed our Christmas Eve dinner at this restaurant. We had a wonderful evening. We took our young children as well and they were very accommodating. They even made special food just for them. The desserts at the end were a work of art and were a perfect end to a perfect dinner. Around 100 Euros a person.

Wonderful dessert with a sweet mango filling in the bottom half and raspberry filling under the top half topped with a chocolate hat.

Yummy chocolate cookie with a minty undertone.

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