Ketan (Mandrem, India)

Cross-posted from


Next door to the Dunes is a cute little family-run guesthouse and vegetarian restaurant called Ketan. At Rs100 (about $2), their vegetarian thali is the most expensive, but also one of the most delicious, I’ve had in India. It’s also large enough that Kenny and I can share one for lunch or dinner if we order a couple of extra chapatis.

We dined at Ketan three times during our week in Goa, and each time the thali featured a different combination of vegetables and curries. My favorite thali items were the dal and the delicious pumpkin sabji. Everything was a winner though, including cabbage, beets, and gobi curry.

There was always a very cute little boy running around the restaurant and sharing his toys with the guests. He looked great in my sunglasses. His older brother, Ketan, apparently inspired the guesthouse/restaurant’s name. We also befriended Keshav, who I believe was the patriarch of the family. He gave us a ride down to Anjuna for the weekly market, and also offered a good rate on a taxi to the airport at the end of our week.


Junes Wada, Mandrem Beach, Goa

Well Garden (Mandrem, India)

Cross-posted from


As Kenny mentioned, Sean’s good friend Josh planned our Goa trip for us. One of the places he emphatically recommended was Well Garden, a hidden little restaurant behind the mini-mart in Mandrem. One of the common features of Josh’s recommended restaurants seems to be that we can’t find them on our first try; on our first night in Goa, we tried to dine at Well Garden, but after a bit of searching gave up and ate at Dunes. The next day, we had better luck, and we enjoyed a lunch of homemade fettuccine with pesto and a delicious salad of beans, celery, apples, and onions. We learned that the famous wood-fired pizzas were only available at dinner time, so we planned to return the following evening.

On our second visit, we just had to have the delicious bean salad again. We also ordered a pizza with eggplant and capsicum, which was thin and crispy, and featured tomato sauce, cheese, and veggies in just the right proportions.

When Sean and Freeman arrived on Friday, the first item on their agenda was pizza at Well Garden. So back we went, and we also enjoyed a farewell dinner there last night. Unfortunately, after our first two meals, the bean salad was never available again (maybe we consumed all of their beans?), so we tried a few other salads which ended up being much less exciting. The hummus was equally uninspiring. But the pizzas and pastas were reliably good, and we never minded that they were out of chicken so that Sean couldn’t corrupt us while we were in detox mode (no alcohol or meat for a week). The big surprise hit was the chickoo cake, which we enjoyed on two visits in a row, and even ordered a second slice of on our last night.

If you’re headed to Goa, I’d definitely recommend Well Garden, but stick to the pizzas, pastas, bean salad, and chickoo cake. Trust me, I’ve tried most of the menu. ;)

Eggplant and capsicum pizza
Eggplant and capsicum pizza from the wood-fired oven

Bean salad
This delicious salad had beans, apples, celery, and onions. I will certainly be trying to replicate this one at home.


Chickoo cake
Chickoo cake

Well Garden
Behind the mini-mart 
Mandrem, Goa, India

Jayamahal Palace Brunch (Bangalore, India)

Cross-posted from


After a lazy morning playing cards at home, Archana suggested that we head over to Jayamahal Palace Hotel for brunch. She had been before, and had fond memories of the beautiful garden atmosphere, coupled with an all-you-can-eat brunch with unlimited beer for Rs 500.

When we arrived, we learned that brunch was no longer served in the garden; we were initially disappointed, until we learned that the new brunch location was at the swimming pool and that the brunch price included use of the pool facilities. We conveniently even had our swimwear with us, as we had originally intended to hit the Bangalore Club pool after brunch!

Kenny and I were still recovering from two consecutive nights of excessive wine consumption, so we did not avail ourselves of the unlimited beer, but we did enjoy unlimited fresh lime sodas (salt, no sweet) from the bar. The brunch buffet consisted of a barbecue area with delicious kebabs grilling in the tandoor (I’ve been sticking to mostly veg food lately, but I did indulge in some spicy chicken tikka), and an array of curries, rice, dal and Indian breads. The tandoor was certainly the highlight of the buffet, but the other items were passable and the dal was very good after I mixed in some spicy red chutney.

Jayamahal was a great place to spend a hot lazy Sunday and, while pricy by Indian standards, is certainly worth the price of admission if you take advantage of the pool. Hopefully we’ll be back when we return to Bangalore for the wedding in June.


Jayamahal Palace
#1 Jayamahal Road
Bangalore, India
+91 80 40580444

I’m an Aunt!

…by marriage, as my husband just became an uncle. Congratulations to Laura and Aaron on the birth of their adorable son Jadon Elijah!


I will meet him for the first time on New Year’s Eve in Miami.