Category Archives: Travel

Calcutta Street – the menu discovery

Hi everyone!

Today I’m going to let you all know about the inspiration behind the dishes of Calcutta Street. Obviously the main courses and the bulk of the Calcutta Street menu are inspired by my mum’s cooking, but a HUGE part of the inspiration (as the name might suggest) is Calcutta itself. Calcutta is a vibrant city which is so rich in culture and history, but when I was growing up, the thing I really appreciated (and still do) was the food.

When I was growing up, my mum would always make incredible food, but as a child you never fully appreciate the great cooking you have at home, so the food I most looked forward to as a young girl was often snacks and desserts from my favourite hubs. One I often visited that you might have heard of is Golpark. Golpark was just down the road from my house on Gariahat Road, and is still full of snack vendors and food stalls. The variety of food was staggering – anything a young child could possibly want, from phuchka to ghoogni, to kebabs and chops. Some of my most fond childhood memories are making my way home from school, and picking up a snack from Golpark.

On Saturdays, when I had dance classes instead of school, I used to love skipping lunch at home (sorry Mum!!), and head over to New Market for an egg roll from Badshah or Bedouin. When it came to putting street food on the menu, having egg rolls was a no-brainer; they’re a real staple of Bengali street food.

Another staple of Bengali cuisine is sweets; Bengalis can’t have a fridge without sweets in it at all times of the day. My mum and grandad (even though he has diabetes!) always made sure that there were sweets from Chittaranjan Avenue at home. My mum especially always made the effort to trek all the way there to get our favourites. Even though we can’t actually bring Chittaranjan Avenue to London, we’ll do our best to make a Bengali home in Fitzrovia, sweets and all!!

So that’s my trip down memory lane, and I can’t wait to bring my small part of Calcutta to London for all of you to enjoy. See you soon!!

Shrimoyee

P. S. Here’s a video where I’m making the Doi Phuchka:

 

Twitter: @calcuttast

Instagram: @calcuttastreet

Facebook: Calcutta Street

 

 

Eating, Drinking and Road Tripping in USA

New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Las Vegas – Till last month, I used to only romanticise about these cities while watching movies and TV series. Woody Allen made me fall in love with New York and Entourage/Californication (TV series, if you haven’t seen them, you must) made me drool over California. So a couple of months back I decided to travel across USA and visit all these cities and more in just under a month all by myself. The whole idea was to meet as many new people as possible and obviously eat and drink while doing so.

So I am going to give you a virtual food tour of all the cities I visited..

San Francisco (Round 1)

I landed in San Francisco first and then flew to New York the very next day only to come back in SF in 5 days – Yes, I know I am an Idiot but hey the flights were cheaper that way! So all I could do was literally have a cup of coffee and some snacks in this round!

Shrimoyee, Philz Coffee, San Francisco
Philz Coffee

New York 

New York as they say is a foodie heaven. The highlights for me were – spicy chicken wings at west village, Vietnamese noodle soup at China Town, Halal Brothers ,Rice on Lamb supposed to be the best street food in NYC and a gorgeous Greek Meal at Hotel Wellington in Midtown.

 

San Francisco (Round 2)

This trip was mostly about drinking and (some) eating but the highlight was meeting locals and hanging out with them!

 

Los Angeles/ San Diego

LA and San Diego was stunning, a very good friend John and his family hosted me there and showed me around. My highlights were : Live and fresh oysters, Champagne breakfast, Fruits with chilli powder on the beach, Wilson Creek Vineyard and home made steak made by John’s mum! And I went to Hooters – YAY!

 

Las Vegas

I was at Vegas with a friend who is a professional Poker player hence my this trip was filled with champagne, Michelin Star restaurants, clubs and limo – This is NOT my usual lifestyle (I wish it was).

Highlight : Room service breakfast, best thing ever when you are hungover!

 

 

Road Trip from Vegas to San Francisco 

This was the best part of my holiday, driving through the pacific coast highway. We stopped at random places to have the real Californian food – burgers, sandwiches and beers! And we rented a Ford Mustang (Hollywood movies are to be blamed) but hey, it was fun! We did have a very good dinner on the last day at this French- Asian restaurant called Ame in San Francisco!

 

My favourite city definitely was San Francisco – love the vibe, the people and the sunshine!

Oktoberfest – Austria and Munich

One of the most exciting things about visiting a new country for me is experiencing their culture – Food, Drinks, Music, Fashion. This year I have been fortunate enough to travel around various European cities and one of my recent ventures was to Austria and Munich during Oktoberfest. I know the locals get rather annoyed with thousands of tourists flocking to their country during this time of the year but you gotta experience this massive beer fest once in your lifetime.

For those who are not aware, Oktoberfest is the world’s largest funfair held annually in Munich, Bavaria, Germany. It is a 16-day festival running from late September to the first weekend in October with more than 6 million people from around the world attending the event every year. Locally, it is often simply called Wiesn, after the colloquial name of the fairgrounds (Theresienwiese) themselves. The Oktoberfest is an important part of Bavarian culture, having been held since 1810. Other cities across the world also hold Oktoberfest celebrations, modeled after the original Munich event. (Yes, I copied this from Wiki)

Wearing a Drindl and drinking beer!
Wearing a Drindl and drinking beer!

 

Things I did and recommend:

  • I decided to stay in Salzburg instead of Munich, because accommodation in Munich is extremely expensive during this time and Salzburg is one of the most beautiful cities you will ever visit!
  • I bought a Drindl – Yes! It drilled a massive hole in my wallet but it was worth it. I did feel like very German besides the fact that I am half their height!
  • Drank gallons of beer – That is the whole point of Oktoberfest! The ones I loved are – Stiegl and Eidelweiss
  • I took the train from Salzburg to Munich – It’s an extremely beautiful train ride. Takes only 1.5 hours.
  • Walked around Salzburg and discovered the pretty city – Mirabelle Gardens, Mozart Museum, Little alley’s with shops. There is a lot to do in this pretty Austrian city.
  • Went on one of the super scary rides inside Oktoberfest after drinking tons of beer – It wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be, on the contrary it was a lot of fun!
  • Ate a lot of bread – you will not find such fresh and tasty bread in UK!

Here are some photographic evidence: