The haul from a shopping expedition to the produce carts, starting top left: papaya, fresh figs (which we cooked up for dessert), a yellow pomegranate (so good!), beets, pineapple, big bananas, and fresh chickpeas. Plus the ever-present Times of India, a must-have!
Oh man, Khakra, where have you been all my life. I discovered these goodies last time I was here, fell in love, and somehow managed to forget all about them. As soon as I saw them again, on the shelves at the market, all the warm memories of love and happiness came pouring back to me, and Jane & I stocked up. Seriously, these are the most delicious cracker-like product in all the world. They are shaped like corn tortillas, but are salty and crispy like a tortilla chip, and they come in tons of enticing flavors: fenugreek, garlic, spinach, masala, punjabi... oh man, they are goooooood.
Dal Methi, from the Aroma Restaurant (on the roof of the Ambience Hotel, in Pune). I know it looks like yellow glop, but it tastes like a million bucks! This rooftop restaurant is really good actually! We stayed at the Ambience for our first few nights and were totally stoked on the delicious South Indian breakfasts that were included in our room rate. So, we've gone back quite a few times for lunches and dinners, always delighted. This dish is a dal made with fenugreek leaves (delicious and hard to find at home), and eaten with some fresh roti (flatbread) or paratha ( more flat bread). There is no shortage of delicious flat bread choices in India, that's for sure.
One of favorite fruit vendors in our neighborhood. We are especially fond of the cantaloupes and MINI BANANAS. I have been doing paintings of the mini bananas, which is quite fun. In fact, now I am realizing that we are presently all out of mini bananas and that is a very bad situation. Luckily, there are countless fruit vendors in the few blocks between here and home... so I'll pick some up on the way home.
This is a bad (flash!) picture of one of the world's most special creations of all time: Palak Masala Dosa - the spinach dosa from Savera restaurant on FC Road in Pune. A big dosa spread with spinachy goodness, sprinkled with fresh coconut, with a malasa mix of potatoes and spices and cashews and golden raisins, served with fresh coconut chutney and hot sambar. YUM. YUM YUM YUM YUM. It is very good. Much oooohing and ahhhhing and happy sounds occurred during the eating of this meal. I'm quite sure the restaurant staff thought we were mad, treating our dosa like a super star Bollywood celebrity.
New Maharastra House, on the left, where we buy many of our dried goods (soymilk, cereal, snacks, club soda... etc). They are really friendly here! Also, they have a whole bunch of terribly alluring snacks and sweets on the counter, many of which are vegan and quite hard to resist. Just today I noticed some candied winter squash with saffron and cardamom in a cute little box. Not like I need to be eating candy all day long, though!
I just snapped this picture today. These veggie carts are all over the place here, and are a great way to buy fresh produce every day. There seem to be three main types of produce carts: veggies, potatoes & onions, and fruit. I'm not sure why potatoes and onions get their own cart, or why they always go together, but it seems to work. This cart caught my eye because these fellas had such a great variety and also had some really nice looking stuff. Common finds are cauliflower, shelling peas, pidgeon peas, cabbage, red carrots, okra, string beans, eggplants, and various other goodies we don't know much about. It's really a fun way to buy our veg though!
Last but not least, I'll leave you with this glam shot of a Masala Dosa from Vaishali Restaurant, a true favorite here in Pune. Vaishali often has quite a long line to get in. They have inside seating, which is fine, but they also have a really beautiful and tropical and totally verdant patio in the back, which is clearly worth waiting for. All the food is South Indian, which is just fine with me. I love pretty much all Indian food, but I really really love South Indian food. I"m trying to get my fair share while I'm here, and take advantage of all these amazing menu items. Plus, totally vegan friendly, and it costs about $2 each to eat out... maybe $3 if you really go crazy and pig out.
That's all for now, friends! Hope you're having exciting eating adventures of your own!