In the Shadow of Shahrukh

It was 1988 and I was wending my way to Khajuraho in June. I remember that trip with clarity, despite the 26 intervening years. Partly because the muddy dull light of the height of summer crept into every one of my photographs, whether I took them at 6 am, 3 pm or 7 pm. And…

La Vie en Rose

A week after I returned from Paris, I visited an up-market restaurant near where I live. Though I have always been partial to their warm chocolate cake, I have to say it tasted like hell. It was chocolate brown all right, but the flavour defied description. It had nothing to do with the ingredient I…

Jaisalmer

If there’s one man in Jaisalmer who qualifies for the title of Mr. Jaisalmer, it is Jitendra Singh Rathore, Vice Chairman of Fort Rajwada, by far the best hotel in town. He has worked tirelessly to put Jaisalmer on the tourist map, an activity that has borne him bitter-sweet fruit. Bitter because as yet there’s…

Blue Blooded in the Pink City

Zorawar Singh Gate, held up with scaffolding, does not look like a very promising sight. Nearby, a movie hall, also coloured the regulation pink, albeit in a lurid shade, looks even less promising. Yet, just as you’re thinking that you’ve left the ‘old Jaipur’ behind, somewhere in the vicinity of Tripolia Bazar, you’ll be taken…

Lucknow

If Paris is the city of the Eiffel Tower and Agra the city of the Taj Mahal, it stands to reason, in these days of instant imaging, that Lucknow is the city of nawabs and kebabs. In fact, all the hoardings that deface the city tell you as much. “Bacardi Breezer – now available in…

Food Shopping in Hong Kong

My two traveling companions were far luckier than I. They were in Hong Kong to shop for electronics – cameras and cellphones. I was there to look around for food. They pored over catalogues long before our trip; I wasn’t even sure if there’d be anything for me to buy. They knew what they’d be…

Indonesia

“Hardly any of us visit the islands of Indonesia, and that’s the only reason why the cuisine is relatively unknown in India. What other explanation can there be?” This is Suddha Kukreja’s take on Indonesian food, which has a resonance with Indian food. Both cuisines depend on long cooking times, plenty of spices and relatively…

Madrid

You see, that was the day that Chef Ferran Adria announced at a press conference that he was going to close El Bulli for two years. I don’t think I’ll forget the flash of lightning that was almost tangible in the auditorium. The uproar that ensued was like a clap of thunder. The very fact…

Tunisia

We were in the Dar el Jeld, but we could have been in a jewel box for all you knew. The most iconic restaurant in Tunisia filled up an entire mansion, with a plethora of rooms that led out one from another over two floors. Each room had walls that were decorated, in the Tunisian…

Washington Apples

America’s North West “The best types of salmon are chinook, followed by sockeye and then coho.” These words of wisdom were imparted by Kevin Moffit, President and CEO, Pear Bureau Northwest. A friend and I were at Paley’s Place, a small, intimate restaurant in Moffit’s hometown, Portland, Oregon. Moffit was the host and much as…