Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Visiting Bengaluru

{trees from the IISc campus}
This past weekend I flew down to Bangalore for a short 30-hour visit. Prior to the trip, I had done some asking around and Googling to see what there was to do and see in the city and decided that with the time I had, I would prioritize spending time with my cousin who lives there, whom I hadn't seen in five or so years, and forego visits to palaces, gardens, and the like. But in a short amount of time, we manage to fit in an amazing amount of beautiful things to see and eat.

{insanely beautiful sunset from the rooftop}
I got into Bangalore Saturday afternoon and after a quick bus ride from the airport, I met my cousin for coffee at a place called Anand Bhavan. While most people around us were there for lunch, neither of us were particularly hungry and the perfectly sweet, hot South Indian filter coffee was enough to satisfy us. After coffee, we took an auto to her apartment, an adorable place with plenty of windows, a balcony, and access to a rooftop, which provided us a stunning view of the sunset, stars, and bats flying around. After some tea and toast and the stargazing that followed, we headed out for dinner at a microbrewery called Arbor Brewing Company.
Arbor was heaven. The ambiance alone was amazing; think long wooden tables, hanging lightbulbs, and plenty of cool signs lending to an industrial-chic sort of vibe. And it just got better from there. Their beer menu is extremely diverse and well-crafted (pun sort of intended), and I first opted for Smooth Criminal, an ale brewed with lavender and honey that managed to be perfectly smooth and light rather than overbearingly sweet. Later in the evening, I got a glass of Michael Faricy's Irish Stout, which tasted more like delicious black coffee with undertones of dark chocolate than actual beer. And their music selection was on point, too. I couldn't pick out more than bits and pieces from the size of the crowd that had gathered on a Saturday night, but every now and then my cousin and I found ourselves commenting on the songs playing. Speaking of the crowd, it really seemed like the place to be. The girl sitting next to me assured me that this place was well-known for their pizza, and my friend from GW, who is from Bangalore, seemed impressed that I had gone there as well. And if you couldn't guess from the fact that this post sounds more like a restaurant review than an actual travel post, I was in heaven.
{my beautiful cousin!}
But waitI haven't even gotten around to the food yet. I'm a huge foodie, and that combined with the fact that I grew up in North Jersey has made me quite the pizza snob. I won't touch any of the garbage that considers itself pizza in DC (with the only exception being Pete's New Haven Style Apizza) and have very strong opinions on sauce consistency, sauce-cheese ratio, and crust thickness. After a plate of seriously satisfying nachos, my cousin and I ordered the Garlic Goat Cheese pizza. Instead of sauce, it came with plenty of goat cheese, parmesan, mozzarella, roasted garlic, green onion, roasted sunflower seeds, and a hint of honey. And honestly? It was good. I'm not going to go out and say it was the best I've ever had. I've been to Italy and my region of New Jersey knows what its doing when it comes to pizza, but in a country where Amul has an apparent (and in my opinion, undeserved) monopoly over the cheese industry, I was damn impressed.

I also seriously appreciate attention to detail. I've been to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter twice, and possibly my favorite part about the place, even beyond the rides and roller coasters, is the attention to detail. I'm not going to describe too much and spoil things for those who haven't been yet, but to give you an idea, everything in Diagon Alley IS DIAGONAL. DIAGONALLY. Isn't that great?! Anyway, so another thing I loved about Arbor is the attention to detail. Their menu is loaded with references to historical periods, TV shows, music, movies, and more. It's seriously witty and I actually sat down and read through the entire thing. Very dorky, yes. But when a menu is written better than some of the crap you've read for class, you appreciate it.

My cousin and I started Sunday very leisurely, the way all Sundays should be spent. We had a breakfast of toast and tea, along with a slice of cold pizza each, and headed out into the city for some souvenir shopping. We then had lunch at Burrito Brothersthe tortilla was undercooked, but overall the burrito did not disappointfollowed by ice cream at Corner House. I got Rocky Road and Caramel Crunch, and my cousin picked up Fig + Honey and Chocolate Europa. And after the scooter got a flat-tire (and was fixed in a quicker and more cost-friendly fashion that I think one would have to deal with back in in the U.S.) we drove through the campus of the Indian Institute of Science, which was much more beautiful than either GW or HCU can claim to be.
{insane trees}
After a quick nap back at my cousin's place, I headed to the airport, marking the end of a trip that was tons of fun and way too short. As I've already said, I really only went to Bangalore to see my cousin. She's incredible to talk to about anything and everything, and our time spent together was so easy-going and fun even though we hadn't seen each other in years. But even still, I really loved Bangalore. It may be more than a bit presumptuous to say so, but I definitely liked Bangalore more than Hyderabad. I love being where I am, but Bangalore has an incredible climate, tons of greenery, and plenty of places to go for good food. But as I thought that during our time around the city, I was just reminded about how I have to put in more effort into my time both here in Hyderabad and DC. I have such little time left in both cities, and hope to make the most of my stay in each. So if you have any must-visit spots, send them my way and I'll try my best to check them off my list.

 Until then, here are some more photos from my trip:
{the street my cousin lives on}
{the neighbor's house}
{view from the top}
{I made a new friend!}
{auto repair shop aesthetic strong}
{house built around a tree}
{look closely; there's a tree coming out of a house}
{where we sat for ice cream}
{my cousin's place is filled with gorgeous fabrics}
{cutest door I ever did see}
{sunset still beautiful even without the color}

~ V

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