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About mongo_jones

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  • Birthday 02/24/1970

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  1. the boys are doing virtual camps. still out of our hair.
  2. if they're actually from lahore then there is no relation. i would guess that would be the case as for marketing purposes a restaurant operated by bangladeshis would be more likely to use an indian name than a pakistani one. bangladesh and the indian state of west bengal together are bengal in a broader historical and cultural sense. just as indian and pakistani punjab (where lahore is) are together punjab. this larger bengal is a very big place and it's always difficult to generalize. but broadly speaking you could say that there is an east bengal (which became east pakistan and then bangladesh) and west bengal distinction in terms of food (and dialect), though within both there's a fair bit of variation (keep in mind that north bengal, for instance abuts sikkim and nepal and bhutan and assam). speaking broadly you could say that east bengali food is richer and spicier than west bengali food. of course, religion is also a factor. after partition east bengali/bangladeshi food becomes identified with muslim food, many east bengali hindus (like my father's family) having fled during partition. the bengali hindu food that i know well, more precisely upper caste bengali hindu food from calcutta is distinct from the north indian food that's better known in the west in a few important ways. for one thing it's very fish-centered (even bengali brahmins eat fish). mustard oil is a favoured cooking medium. traditionally, tomatoes are used as a fruit (as chatni) rather than as a savoury ingredient: my aunts refer to my mother's cooking as being "very punjabi" because she tends to use tomatoes a lot. at this point though it's common to see tomatoes in a lot of meat and fish dishes. ginger is used far more than garlic. most vegetable dishes tend to be simple and made with very few ingredients, a signature one being panch phoron, a blend of 5 seeds. as those of you who've read my veg recipes will know, many dishes take the form of heating mustard oil, dropping in some panch phoron and then sauteeing the veg in the flavoured oil with just some turmeric, salt and maybe a bit of chilli powder and/or green chillies. even meat curries tend to be on the light side. cream etc. is very rarely used. coconut is also used a lot, usually grated but sometimes as coconut milk, as in the quintessential malai curry. another classic bengali ingredient is shorshe-bata or mustard paste, which is used to cook everything from fish to prawns to vegetables. the use of poppy seed paste with vegetables is another bengali thing. i have recipes for most of this stuff on the blog. oh yes, bengalis also eat a lot of rice. there are some uniquely bengali breads (luchis, a lighter relative of puris, made with white flour, for example) but a typical bengali eats rice at least twice a day. there's also a nawabi muslim food tradition whose dishes will be more familiar. the british deposed the nawab of awadh in the mid 1800s and exiled him and his retinue to calcutta. an offshoot of awadhi cuisine took root there with delicate biryanis and kormas and things of that nature. finally, there's sweets. bengali's have a notorious sweet tooth (though not quite as sweet as that of gujaratis) and there's a whole panopoly of (largely) milk-based sweets--which you can probably find inferior versions of in new york; frankly it's hard to get good bengali sweets outside bengal even in india (cities like delhi with large bengali enclaves are rare exceptions). there's a great youtube channel called bong eats (bong is a nickname for bengali) that you should follow if you want to learn more. great cooking videos and some good context. watching a bunch of those will be more instructive than the above.
  3. this despite the fact that the taxi union is very strong in goa, precisely so they can charge tourists appropriately (in my view). uber/lyft etc. have been unable to make inroads in the state. for the shack owners, i understand, getting a permit is not easy and there is no guarantee it will be re-upped from season to season. hence, probably, why they will not do anything that might harm traffic in any one season.
  4. i suggested to a couple of the beach shack owners on cavelossim beach that as there are so few of them total--only about 8 or 10--they should just band together and charge for the use of sun beds. something nominal: rs. 250/$3.50 for half a day, rs. 500/$7 for a full day. maybe make it refundable against a minimum food/drink bill. they laughed and said the tourists would just go to another beach. while the missus was getting her "pedicure", which cost a very trivial amount of money, two older english women were actually trying to convince me that we should not do it because it was too expensive for the quality of the "pedicure". later i saw them pouring 50 ml minis of vodka into the sprites they'd ordered from the shacks. i was talking to my brother in law in delhi later about this and he said that a lot of un-moneyed tourists from the u.k and europe come to goa on special discount flights exactly because it is a very cheap way for them to get a tropical/riviera vacation.
  5. oh i see--i thought you were distinguishing between something like seaways and star light in the other post. there are a LOT of russians in goa. i guess they haven't come around to highly spiced food--i think we mostly saw them eating ersatz pastas and such. the next major class of tourists is north indians--most of whom probably want their tandoori chicken and naan wherever they go. the "continental" stuff is probably for the brits.
  6. i'm not going to explain anything until you go click around on a lot of slideshows and increase my page views which i don't monetize in any way.
  7. well, the beach shacks are serving mostly white tourists. there is nobody local eating there. they're for people lounging on the sunbeds and going up 30 feet back to the shack to eat. places like star light are not on the beach. you have to choose to go there just to eat there. so there's a self-selection happening. i think in north goa which has a LOT more tourist action some beaches have shacks with better food.
  8. and dinner at peshawri, the calcutta outpost of the famous bukhara in delhi, and a convenient way to eat at bukhara for only 70% of the cost. this is steve's dream restaurant.
  9. then an indian-chinese dinner at tangra, the epicenter of calcutta's indian-chinese restaurant scene, which is to say, the epicenter of indian-chinese food. this is lunch at golden joy.
  10. from goa we moved on to calcutta. first up dinner and breakfast at the tollygunge club, an ex-colonial country club where some guests at the wedding we were attending were put up, along with some thoughts on the whole spectacle.
  11. 3. much more casual eating on the beach plus some closing ruminations about goa and covid. steve: this includes tandoori chicken and naan.
  12. 2. dinner at fisherman's wharf, also in cavelossim. this was our first meal not too long after arrival. aimed at tourists (indian and non-indian) and a bit expensive for what it is but also not bad.
  13. i see i haven't kept you all updated on these reports. you must be desolate. i've finished up our goa meals with three more reports. 1. lunch at star light, an unassuming eatery in cavelossim, right on the sal river. goa is full of restaurants like this, catering to locals and tourists alike. nothing amazing but a nice meal. some very nice fresh lady fish.
  14. and more (including acknowledgment of the accuracy of tammie teclemariam's tweets).
  15. first world problems? when complaining is really bragging? anyway: our new toyota hybrid has an "infotainment" system that you can connect an android phone to via android auto (or an iphone to via apple car play) using a usb port. this is very nifty in theory as you can use your phone's map app on the large touch screen. in practice a little less so. even though the car has five other usb ports you can only connect one device to this system through one dedicated usb port. so if you have--as i do--an older ipod with a massive library on it you have to choose between being able to play your music through the car's audio system or having a larger interface for maps/navigation. particularly silly as it is possible to listen to the radio while using android auto/car play. the only way out is to have a phone which also has all your music on it. will this be what finally drives me to an iphone? it's been almost four years since i purchased my first-gen pixel and it still works perfectly. the other annoying thing is that it is not possible to port a subset of my itunes library with playlists to my android phone. i could transfer the files sure, but it would have to be done painstakingly and then i'd have to rebuild the playlists.
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