I'm participating in Gwen Bell's Best of 2009 Blog Challenge. It's an opportunity to look back and appreciate the year gone by. I'm getting into the game a little late, but don't intend to miss any more of it than I can. Do join in on the action if you like. I think it's a brilliant idea and it's very cool of Gwen to host this.
Today's question: New food: You're now in love with Lebanese food and you didn't even know what it was in January of this year.
I can't claim knowledge of Lebanese food yet, but the cuisine I sampled this year for the first time was Goan. N, P and I jetted in from different parts of the country to meet up with our BITS friends for three days of mad, merry fun in Goa in May. Compulsive as I am, I had cobbled together about forty pages of research about Goa, a map with all the locations I wanted to visit marked out in colour and a checklist of thinks I wanted to do before leaving. I wanted to see forts and beaches and perhaps work in a waterfall. I also wanted to visit the floating casinos, sit at a shack and try adventure sports. Pappu had other ideas. When I dug out my 40 pages, he looked stunned for a minute then said, "I thought we'd get high, Re." Turns out, it was possible to do it all, simply sacrificing a little sleep.
I had read a great deal about Goan cuisine and was eager to try it. The thing was, the food there is mostly seafood based and we vegetarians have pitifully few options. Seriously, in most menus, there were perhaps two vegetarian dishes, thrown in at the end like palpable afterthoughts. Still, I managed to sample the Xanuti: boiled vegetables in a mouth-burningly spicy coconut curry. Goa's traditional sweet, the Bebinca wasn't available in any of the restaurants we visited on those first two days.
Finally, on the day we were to leave, N and I marched out in the 11 am sun, in a quest for breakfast, brightly coloured dresses and Bebinca. The breakfast place we went to didn't stock it, though they did have thickly buttered and crackly paranthas which ate dipped in thick curd. The nice waiter there told us of a bakery about a kilometre away though, that did. So we trudged through the blistering May sunshine, pausing often in cloth covered stalls to ogle beach coverups and chunky jewelry.
Finally we reached the Imperial Bakery, a pretty little place on the main road with potted plants and marble tables. There we ordered ourselves a slice of Bebinca. It came on a pretty glass plate with two silver forks. Such ceremony seemed apt. It was delicious, at least I thought so. N, sweet as she is, isn't much of a dessert person, but I had no problems demolishing that slice, layer by sticky layer. We trudged back afterwards and though the sun had only risen higher, I was thoroughly satisfied. I could tick the last box off my checklist.