Entries Tagged as 'India'

Throwback Thursday: India

February 15th 2013

Happy Throwback Thursday! A friend recently asked me for some India recommendations and I pulled up the below—a meme I had written in mid-December 2011, exactly a month and a half into my India trip. I remember exactly where I was when I typed it: Sitting in bed (snacking on Coca Cola-flavored Mentos) in a guesthouse on a small side street in Udaipur. I had a sparse but charming first floor room painted blue with a window and an electrical outlet next to the bed; the town was full of winding back alleys and a river that separated it into two halves. I had seen so much and still had so much left to see…

How to Make it in India: Everything you Need to Plan, Pack and Prepare

[Here’s an excerpt—yes, the original was actually longer than this—of the email I sent my sister and best friend to get them ready for their upcoming India visit.]

“In terms of packing, I figured you’d both want to know what to bring. Here are my suggestions:

You really do have to dress conservatively almost everywhere here in India, except Goa. That means pants or a long skirt—no shorts. Seriously ladies, no shorts. I wear tank tops when it’s super hot, but I always carry a scarf to cover my shoulders. My basic uniform every day is a pair of colorful loose cotton pants and a white t-shirt.

The north gets chilly at night and the air con trains reach Arctic temperatures. I have an American Apparel zip-up and a North Face fleece that I wear a lot more than I care to admit.

…read the rest here

January 29th 2013


Chaiwalla, Old Delhi

The Chai Diary…

Every single day of my 3+ months in India, I drank chai: As a respite from the deluge of Old Delhi or a compliment to the flavors of Shantaram…as a morning pick-me-up or a soothing post-trek sip, from corner chaiwallas to homestay moms, I couldn’t get enough.

And I’m not insulting Starbucks chai (which I especially enjoy iced), but India chai is on another level—milkier, creamier, sweeter. It’s like liquid creme brûlée but spicy with a hint of Lipton’s. And oh, I miss it.

So when I met the lovely Seema (thanks to an Onken Family brunch production) and heard about her culinary endeavors, spice adoration and Gujarati roots, I enlisted her help. Last night she inspired me to try veganism and taught me to make real, legit chai. Recipe and pics after the jump.





Cardamom pods

Black pepper


Black tea

Goconut sugar


Combine one cup of water and one cup of milk (almond or regular), bring to a boil; grate a small chunk of fresh ginger and add along with crushed cardamom pods, black pepper and one or two tea bags (depending on desired strength). Finish off with coconut sugar to your taste. It’s that simple.

Serve with a kale salad (another recipe I’ll be sharing soon) and jalapeño hummus. 





(From top to bottom: Shopping, Simmering, Photographing, Serving)

December 27th 2012

Throwback Thursday: Taj Mahal Edition

throwback thursday: Taj mahal edition

December 27th 2012


Q & A: India Edition

December 3rd 2012


I’m heading to India in a few weeks.. sooo pumped!  Hitting Delhi, Agra, Jaipur, Kerala, Goa and Mumbai.

Would love any suggestions for the itinerary , as well as books to read about India. I’m finishing Shantaram (amazing if u haven’t read it)…but looking for non-fiction reads.


Shantaram is amazing and lots more thoughts after the jump…


Hey J!

Here goes: 

Must-Read Non-Fiction Books:

Maximum City: Bombay Lost & Found

Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity

These are my two favorite non-fiction narratives about India. Gandhi’s autobiography is interesting, though a little hard to read. If you pick up more fiction books, I recommend God of Small Things, A Fine Balance and anything/everything by Salman Rushdie and Jumpa Lahiri.

To-Do Lists:

DELHIHumayun’s Tomb is cool, was my favorite of all the tourist-y attractions. The Gandhi museum is wayy better in Mumbai, I would skip the Delhi one entirely. Set aside time to really explore Old Delhi, it’s one of the most quintessential India experiences, but prepare yourself…it’s an endless maze of crazy, chaotic stalls…hectic but awesome. Make sure you do the Red Fort and the Jama Masjid mosque while in the area…around the corner from Jama Masjid is Karim’s hotel, a real-deal down, dirty and delicious lunch spot. 

AGRAThe Taj, obvs. Afterwards lunch at Joney’s place, also real-deal down, dirty and delicious. 

JAIPURAmber Fort Palace is awesome, make sure you see the Hawa Mahal and The Water Palace. You must MUST have a lassi at lassiwalla…the best! I also had my home-stay mom (booked via Four Wheel Drive) take me to milk buffalos with her at 5am, was really interesting/fun! If you’re looking to buy gifts for anyone, Gem Palace is super famous/amazing jewelry…it’s where all the kings/sultans/etc. buy gems…they’ll show you some of the amazing pieces AND the owner has a sick vintage car collection in the back. 

KERALA: Kerala is a huge state, some of my favorites were Cochin (do Jew Town and check out the chinese fishing nets); Allepey (the houseboat tour through the backwaters is the highlight); Periyar National Park (tiger treks/elephant rides) and Varkala (gorgeous cliffside beaches)

GOA: Goa is also really big, so kinda depends what you’re looking for…the north is more of the parties, the south is more beach huts, hammocks etc; I personally loved Palolem in the south home to the famous silent discos. The north is really eclectic and fun! There’s an awesome night market on Saturdays in Baga Beach and a super cool hippie market on Wednesdays in Anjuna; my favorite club was Club Cubana (amazing, up high on a cliff, super cool crowd), Tito’s is also really famous in Baga Beach and Curlie’s in Anjuna too. Hilltop has great raves/fire dancers/etc. The German Bakery is delicious, Thalassa is amazing Greek food (you’ll want a break from Indian, trust) go at sunset, Om Cafe is cute for lunch…take a day trip to Arambol for the famous holy banyan tree, find an outdoor yoga class, rent a motorbike and explore the windy coastal roads…

MUMBAIMani Bhava, the Gandhi museum is small and unassuming in appearance, but large in impact. See a Bollywood movie at the famous Regal TheatreTrishna restaurant is AMAZING (worth the price of a plane ticket, says the NYTimes), make sure you order the king crab with garlic butter; also eat at Swati Snacks, a gourmet street food restaurant SO good. Take a tour of the slums (bring pencils, books, soccer balls—NOT candy). In Colaba check out The Gates and the harbour, grab a Kingfisher at Leopold’s (so Shantaram…and check out the bullet holes from the 2008 terrorist attacks) and have drinks at the famous Taj Mahal Palace Hotel. Try to get solicited as an extra in a Bollywood movie. Ride the subway (at rush hour!)

General suggestions:

Drink chai anywhere and everywhere. Take a train trip. Order thali at as many restaurants as possible (it’s the best way to taste a little of everything…plus each state has a slightly different take on the thali, so you’ll get to experience all the local dishes). Finagle an invite to an Indian wedding. Make friends with the locals. Drink fresh buffalo milk, lots of lassis and fresh juice. Aloo gobi (cauliflower and potatoes) is good everywhere if you’re not sure what to order. Always bargain. Be careful on motorbikes. Eat street food. Pack Cipro. Note: the north will be a lot colder than the south in December.

Finally, here’s something I wrote that may be helpful, How to Make it in India: Everything you Need to Plan, Pack and Prepare. It covers a lot of the basics.

Enjoy your trip, can’t wait to hear all about it!



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