As always when my vacation ends and I'm home, slapped with reality, the best part is looking back on the photos and of course, the memorable meals I had. An abundance of awesome food went down with quite a few meals at the Raas. Staying in the old city, I found it a bit challenging to find restaurants by foot for dinner. Sure, there are carts and food stands all over the place, but this was my first trip to India, I was especially cautious about eating safely. While out shopping during the day, our friend and Jodhpur resident drove us to some of his favorite local spots. But in the evenings, staying at the Raas made it pretty easy, meals there were fresh and delicious. One day on a walk, we ran into the chef buying produce and spices for the day.
He was super friendly and immediately recognized us. We stopped for a quick chat and he told us about his daily visits to the bizarre to pick up everything he needs for the menu. The restaurant staff at the Raas were incredibly accommodating and willing to create anything you wanted, even if you were attempting to deviate from the menu. In fact, on the last night, the hotel was so gracious for our lengthy stay, they had planned a special dinner with a private table by the pool cabanas. When I told the waiter we couldn't join for dinner since we had already booked a class at Spice Paradise, he replied eagerly and said, "we would be happy to put together a cooking lesson for you with the chef!" Now I wasn't going to cancel with Rekha at the last minute, but man, next time I'll definitely take them up on it. I could learn something from that chef and if nothing else, his secret to laal maas will do. It was hands down the most wonderful thing I ate while in India. A signature dish of Rajasthan, it's sort of like the love child between a tangy vindaloo and a creamy tikka masala, made with boneless chunks of lamb.
The food festivities kicked off in Delhi, one lighting fast night at the Taj and then off to Jodhpur.
There is a bit of a void for some other photos. Lighting was a struggle at times, but beyond the lighting issues, my diligence in taking probiotics and eating cautiously eventually failed. On the fifth day, three days before departure, I was struck down with oh so powerful, gut twisting Delhi belly. Sick to my stomach with barely an appetite, when I finally got a hint of a craving, it was for anything but Indian spiced food. It was a sad morning when I opted for an egg white omelet and some toast instead of that puffy, crisp chapati with aloo gobi.
But I tried not to let my crippling belly ache sour the fact that this was an unbelievable journey. I'm still stunned when I look back at some of the photos and study the vibrant colors, the contrasts, the textures, the people and the food. India really is a traveler's dream, just make sure you're in a superb hotel, you may have to hunker down for a day or two if you eat the wrong thing.