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Our Cooking Class vs. Oberoi Hotel Cuisine

Udaipur Travel Blog

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Pancham took us to a cooking class on a side street near the Jagdish temple, on the second floor. The husband and wife team started out by making Fryums, which are snacks that puff up and get crispy immediately when you fry them. There was the showing of the spice box, and then the making of an array of various curries, a rice, and of course, chapattis. It’s roughly the same thing in each of the classes. This one made their raita the smoky way, by putting a cooking ladle of hot oil and cumin seed, and maybe a little chili, and plunge it into the yogurt and put a cover on it to seal in the smokiness.

After the class, we left the group and did some shopping. I bought a wall hanging, and then we found a lovely area across the bridge that was a lot less touristy, and I bought some anklets and a necklace there. We walked over to the point that juts our facing the lake palace (there’s a small Jain temple temple there where a few Jain guys were praying in loincloths), and a lot of young people hanging out on the steps looking at the view. We took a tuktuk back to the hotel to freshen up.

The group was on their own for dinner, and we had heard from Laura and Garrick that the fancy-shmancy 5-star Oberoi Hotel was just a few minutes walk down the street, so we walked over. The property is absolutely stunning. As we entered they asked if we were guests and we said no, we were going to the bar and hoping to grab drinks and some food. They asked if we had reservations...I asked, incredulously, “You need reservations for the bar?” They said yes, but they would see if there was any space. And in fact, there was...a lot of space. There were 6 or 7 secluded nooks with tables and couches for 4-6 people, and only one of the nooks had 2 people in it. We were seated and ordered a cocktail, a mocktail and 4 appetizers.

My craft cocktail was delicious, but Morgan’s mocktail was a non-vodka version of my favorite cocktail from the Redbury Hotel in Hollywood: basil, mint, soda, khus syrup, something floral (maybe it was the Khus syrup), and Jalapeño. The waiter also brought some munchies: salted almonds and puffed fox nuts, which I had never heard of. They were like popcorn without the kernel, and were slathered in ghee...buttery deliciousness. I asked for more, and he came back with a huge bowlful of them. But then our food had arrived. I told Morgan I wished I had a bag to take them on our train ride when I get the munchies....aha! I DID have a bag! I had kept a barf bag from the bus in my purse just in case! I dumped the bowl of fox nuts (we didn’t quit hear the name...we were calling them fuck nuts) in the barf bag and shoved them in my purse.

The appetizers were also delicious...upscale and fusion versions of things. We had some ingredients we hadn’t seen since before the trip, like artichoke hearts. Afterwards, we wandered around the hotel and took pictures...truly lovely, with an infinity pool, gorgeous Indian architecture, and fountains in the bathrooms!

Back at our hotel, we all packed up the van and left for the train station. None of us were looking forward to this one—14 hours with no delays...and there are always delays with Indian trains.

Our group was split up between 2 cars, and all over those 2 cars. Each carriage is like a 40-person dorm, with 4 or 5 groupings of 6 bunks (top, middle & bottom), and 2 bunks across Luckily, Mo and I got top bunks across from each other. Mo needed the top for his legs...he’s 6’1” and his feet hang over the edge. Laura and Garrick were across the aisle from us, but within our group of six were 2 middle-aged Indian couples from Mumbai. Luckily, I had one more movie saved on my Amazon app on my iPad, so I watched that until I fell asleep. If I would have known how crappy the Wi-Fi would be everywhere, I would have downloaded more before I left home.
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photo by: s_vivek62