Tag Archives: FOOD

Castillo del Morro- A Picturesque Picnic Location

Castillo de Morro
(http://farm6.staticflickr.com)

By Rohan: 

You are never too old for a picnic. There is nothing quite like the feeling of basking in the sun’s rays while enjoying scrumptious sandwiches, delicious frozen drinks, and plenty of finger-friendly appetizers. Perhaps the best location for an outdoor meal is the Castillo del Morro, located in beautiful old San Juan. The fortress stands on the tip of a peninsula, guarding the city from invaders with its majestic stone walls and menacing cannons. After enjoying a delicious lunch in this perfect mix of man-made and natural beauty, we knew there was no question as to why the Castillo del Morro is considered one of the most beautiful castles in the world.

The Castillo del Morro is separated from Old San Juan by a large field that is considered historic land as it was the backdrop for several historical battles. Since the lawn is maintained with such diligence and care, seeing children running around, kites soaring in the sky, and families enjoying a nice meal is never a rare sight. We suggest checking out one of the quaint stores in Old San Juan. Here you can take out delicious sandwiches and soups as well as local specialties. For dessert, try to find one of the several frozen yogurt carts near the castle. Everything is made from local ingredients, and the pineapple flavor in particular tastes divine.

After you eat, feel free to explore the catacombs of the castle. One of the most exciting things to do is take pictures out of the various portholes. Some face the Atlantic Ocean while others offer breathtaking views of Old San Juan’s historic buildings. In addition, located adjacent to the castle is Puerto Rico’s largest cemetery. The cemetery is home to an array of significant tombstones as well as a building that serves as a commemoration to the dead. From the castle, you can get a fantastic bird’s-eye view of it all.

The Castillo del Morro also offers plenty of ways to let the kids have their own adventure. Tunnels, towers, and mazes can be found throughout the castle and the little ones are sure to be amazed when they run into an exotic animal or find a hidden passageway.

Perhaps the best part of the castle is its ability to bring locals and tourists together. Cruise ship passengers, business travelers on break, local families, and honeymoon couples can all be found on the field enjoying a memorable afternoon together.

To learn more about the experience, go to this site:

http://gopuertorico.about.com/od/top5attractions/gr/El_Morro.htm

Ayza Wine and Chocolate Bar

By: Siddhi

What’s more fun than classiness on a West Village fall night? Classiness and chocolate. Of course, anyone acquainted with my favorite part of New York City is well aware that the quaint yet tremendously lively part of Greenwich by the Hudson boasts no shortage of elegant evening experiences. But equipped with my serious sugar bias, I have to say that Ayza Wine & Chocolate on 7th Avenue South has definitely been one of the most memorable food experiences of my village days thus far.

Part of it was probably being with some great company, but even if I had gone alone, I would have been irresistibly coaxed by the warm seductiveness of the Ayza ambience. The realest electric candles, the subtle yellow and orange color scheme, and the slick and narrow outdoor dining area illuminated by the welcoming but not too effusive car headlights makes Ayza socially first class and yet intimate.

We ordered a chocolate fountain with fruits and brownies (oh yeah, brownies dipped in a pool of rich chocolate sauce.  Diabetes on a fork right there, but hey, you only live once), New York cheesecake drizzled with chocolate sauce, and some special red wine. All of it just hit the spot.

But the highlight of Ayza was undoubtedly the discovering of serenity in a perfect downtown alcove.  Greenwich Village away from Washington Square Park is a relatively quiet part of the city to seek sanctuary, but at night, as life flares up again, it’s sometimes difficult to find that much-needed intimacy with yourself or a few others.

Ayza may not be the prime crowd retreat, but for smaller gatherings, dates, or even solo ventures, the wine and chocolate bar is a West Village gem that surely does not disappoint.

To learn more, visit Ayza’s site here:

http://www.ayzanyc.com

Juhu Beach – Many Shades of Life in Mumbai

By Lakshmi:

Who?  Anyone visiting Mumbai who wants to experience the many shades of life in the city on a beach.

What? Juhu Beach is located in the suburbs of Mumbai.

How? You can take a taxi, auto or a public bus to the beach.  The JW Marriott in Mumbai is located on this beach.

Why? Growing up in Mumbai, Juhu Beach was a favorite economical Sunday outing.  It was a few minutes from home, we got fresh air and cheap food and occasionally bumped into a movie set as an added treat.

Recently, I got to spend about three weeks at the JW Marriott in Mumbai and this gave me the opportunity to experience many facets of a Mumbaikar’s life on the beach.  First, given the shortage of space in Mumbai and most people living in cramped quarters, Juhu Beach is this wide open space that serves as an oasis and a great equalizer across all socio-economic classes.

An early morning outing on the beach provides a profusion of life scenes.  There are joggers and walkers getting their early morning exercise.  The less intense workouts are accompanied by conversations around challenges faced at home, issues in the office and of course a plethora of tips on the SENSEX and what stocks to invest in.   One or more groups of yoga enthusiasts get busy doing their “surya namaskar” and other asanas.  Even in this early hour, you are suddenly jolted by the yell of kids playing soccer on one end and cricket on the other.  You see a few couples in a distance walking and talking before getting into another crazy day in the city.  There are a few solitary garbage collectors, cleaning up while looking to see if there is anything that is salvageable from the trash of the day.  And let’s not forget the city’s many stray dogs.  While a few run along uninvited with beach joggers, others are fighting or congregating around discarded food.  The many food stalls stand deserted at this early hour and in the backdrop you can see the buses already starting to transport hordes of people to their daily destinations.

Fast forward to the evening and while you still have fitness enthusiasts working out, there are crowds of people of every shape, color and size that descend on the beach in droves, suddenly flooding the beach with a profusion of every color imaginable.  The food stalls now are humming with action and the smell of all of Mumbai’s well loved junk food including bhel puri, pani puri, ragda patties and more permeates the air.  Couples are cute feeding each other or sharing shaved ice “gollas”.  Kids are building sand castles and nagging parents for the cheap toys and balloons sold by street vendors.  As the sun goes down, people slowly, partially unwillingly get up to go home, having enjoyed their small piece of bliss in a tough city.