Gokul Ras thad, a delicious discovery

I love those happy accidents when I find a place I have never been to before, and end up having brilliant food at it. One night, my old room mate and a friend came over and asked me to join them for a drive. Since none of us had dinner, the idea was to have something on the way. We had taken the old NH8 highway out of Baroda towards Ahmedabad. Around 9 kilometers on the highway, we stopped outside this place which we hadn’t seen before. Since the place had opened only two months ago, few people knew of it then.

Gokul board

I absolutely loved this idea of having small tents over each table. This way you can enjoy the cool breeze that is blowing, and yet maintain your small personal space. There are lights and pedestal fans inside the tent, for when the wind is not enough.

gokul tents Gokul tentThese are how the tents looks up close. There is enough space inside for a group of 6 to sit and eat comfortably.

Three of us were in the mood for Kathiawadi (belonging to Saurashtra region of Gujarat) food, so this is what we ended up ordering:

Wagharela Rotla (Broken flat bread that has been stir fried with spices and sauce)

Gokul rotla

There was Lasanya Bateka (Potatoes made in a gravy with loads of garlic)
Gokul bateka

The friends love Brinjal so we ordered Ringan/Baingan Bhartha (Squashed Brinjal)

Gokul bhartha

And some Ringad ane papdi nu saak (Brinjal Sabjee with beans)

Gokul brinjal

Of course we had piping hot rotis with fresh white makhan (butter) on them

Gokul rotibutterSince I felt adventurous, we had fried sated chillies (which I didn’t eat , and my friends had to finish)
Gokul chillies

And this is how my plate looked when we were eating.

Gokul plate

 

So, if you ever end up with a craving for Kathiawadi food, with some lovely ambience, I will accompany you here.

 

Written for day 7 of the A to Z challenge, 2014

 

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Barista, the place I belong to

Everyone has a place that is special for them. A place which they are not just fond of, but a place that makes them feel comfortable, a place where they get a feeling of belonging. The Barista Lavazza café in Baroda happens to be mine.

Baroda is not where I came to know of Barista, our connection is much older than that. More than 10 years ago when I used to haunt the Crosswords book store at Mithakali in Ahmedabad, I would spend time in the adjoining café with the book I would have had bought. That café happened to be Barista. It was a ritual for me to read my pre-ordered Harry Potter on the day of release in Barista. When having bought anything other than Harry Potter, I would spend less time in there, but a visit was always on the cards.

Then something horrible happened. Barista shut down, and was replaced by some other chain of coffee shops. It was decent, but didn’t have the same feeling as Barista. Years later, when I had to meet a friend in Baroda, she asked me to come to Barista. I was overjoyed to learn that Barista had opened sop again. Lavazza had taken over, and opened up at new places. They were smart in the fact that they didn’t change what was already bringing back the old loyal customers, and yet had something for new lovers. My love was back.

After renting out a different place with new roommates in the same area, I could easily spend more time at Barista. It was natural for one of us to be tired from work, and ask the other to join him for coffee at Barista. Barista still serves some of the best coffee that I have had. Their hot chocolate is to die for. Let me walk you through the place with pictures.

Welcome to Barista

BaristaoutsideThis is one of the few places that I know where people love sitting outside as much as they love the insides. There is no special sitting arrangement outside, just two ledges on either sides of the door where you have glass panes. There is enough space to sit on it.

Baristaoutsit

There have been many nights when roommate and I have spent sitting there just chatting away into the last hour of the night forgetting what happened at work, or sometimes just reading in silence.

baristagroupspot

When we went in as a group, this was our spot. One could keep track of the score if there was a cricket match going on. We could all have our drinks and snacks placed in front us, on the centre table.

baristamochaWhen it came to hot drinks, I prefer their Cafe Mocha. It is such a wonderful blend of chocolate and coffee. The cookies help as well 😀

baristabrrista
At times when I felt like reading alone, I would order a Brrista for myself. It is their version of a cold frappe which has icecream blended with coffee. The only sad thing about this is that I end up finishing it quickly in three sips, and am left wondering where it all went.

baristaart2 baristaartThey have such lovely wall art decor. The first one has “AT ANY TIME OF DAY A CUP OF COFFEE DELIGHTS, REVIVES AND STIMULATES THE SENSES.” on it.

BaristacoverThis is another lovely piece they have, that takes up almost half of the wall. I love how they have not drawn the features and expressions of the people in it, and have left it to the viewer’s imagination.

BaristaMyspotThis is my spot when I go there by myself. If someone is already occupying it, you may find me sulking about it. The moment they leave, I get up and move to it before anyone else does.

baristapanaroma

This a panaroma shot from the spot. I can cover the entire place from it, corner to corner. I can see the wash room and wait at my seat instead of having to wait at the door for the person to come out. The barista can signal for me when my order is done. I can look at the outsides through the door and glass panes, and keep an eye out for a friend who may have made plans with me. It also has a charging point right behind the chair, and I can keep my laptop plugged in. I remember sitting hours over there playing games on my laptop.

baristacupOne day I received a call from the Barista office regarding a feedback form I had filled up. They had called to confirm my address, and they sent in this lovely mug as a gift along with a letter.

baristaletterThe letter reads as :

Hi Hrishikesh,

Thank you for writing in!

We appreciate feedback like yours that inspires us to move in a positive direction.

I am enclosing a small souvenir with this package.

Please keep writing for customers like you are the ones we work for. 🙂

 

Barista Team.

BARISTA FOR ALL.

 

They’re the best!

 

 Written for day 2 of the A-Z Blogging Challenge 2014.