Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Baby Dreams

Had a very vivid dream last night ... this took place after the baby had already been born (I wasn't sure how much after) ... I was on a cruise with Labonee ... which makes me think it was Kathak related and we were on tour or something. I had left baby home with Kingsuk for the week, and they would be joining us at the end of the week at the end of the tour.

When they arrived, I remember I was so excited to see the baby, I didn't even give Kingsuk a hug, but immediately reached for baby ... and it was a baby girl! She was about 8 months old, really, really cute and pretty ... and I could see a resemblance of myself in her! It was such a strange dream, because it felt very real, and it was the first time I had such a detailed dream about the baby. Perhaps the dream was inspired by the fact that King told me the other night that he thinks it's a girl. Up until now he's never had a feeling about what it is ... I've been saying it's a boy ... but honestly, I don't have a gut feeling or anything about it, I'm just saying that ... and neither of us really have a preference, so either way we'll be thrilled.


But the baby was really shaitaan ... she couldn't sit still and kept kicking and climbing on top of me when I was holding her godi.

:-)

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Back Home

Ughhh ... I don't wanna be back to reality!! At least Kutu was here so it's been a little more exciting. I just spent 3 hours getting my email box down from 200+ messages to 32 that I need to work on this week. And I'm already feeling stressed out.

I hadn't scheduled my 16 week appt with the doctor, but she took me in yesterday at the last minute. Brahma didn't go with me, which is a shame bc she let us look at the baby through her crappy ultrasound machine (Vaish was with me, so I wanted her to see the baby) and she would have been able to tell us the sex, but I told her to hold off, since Brahma wasn't there with us. Oh well! Will just have to wait it out another couple of weeks I guess.

Baby's totally grown in size -- he's 5.5-6 inches big. My tummy has really grown too ... apparently my uterus is the size of a canteloupe right now ... I definitely feel super-pregnant. You're supposed to gain 25-35 lbs in the duration of the pregnancy -- I've gained 12 so far ... hopefully that means I'm on track??

Anyway, back to the reality of the real world .. I've been out of town for the entire month ... this is going to be rough ....




Monday, August 22, 2011

Off to Venice

Despite free wi-fii the last three days in Positano, I never blogged abt this trip! Well, to put it shortly, despite the disastrous bus ride here, where I had an emotional meltdown and couldn't stop crying in the middle of the streets of Positano, and arrived HATING this forsaken town ... it's beautiful, and of course I loved it. Our first day of food was rather mediocre, but yesterday was stellar (Saraceno d'oro and Il Ritrovo). Didn't do much shopping; it's too hot here in the daytime ... spent a lot of time hanging out at the Hotel Sirenuse, drinking fresh lemonade, eating olives and marcona almonds, admiring the view ... even had a celebrity sighting, lol! The lead actor from 'American Pie' was staying at that hotel and we saw him hanging out poolside both days we went there.

Ok, gg now .. checking out now :( Excited about Venice, but sad that it means our vacation is 2/3 over!! I don't wanna come back to real life. Being out here has been such an escape from reality ... no watches, no email, no idea what day or time it is, nowhere to be, but to hang with my hubby.

Btw, Baby is kicking a lot more! I've decided it feels like mild pins & needles -- like not a whole lot of them at once, but as if you had a couple happening at a time. So, rather uncomfortable, but nice knowing it's there.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Capri

Last meal in Sorrento: that's a bed of buffalo mozzarella on the bottom!
We did our day trip to Capri today. Well, it was more like a couple of hours. We took the ferry to the island, and arrived at a very hot and very crowded Capri. The line for the cable car to get to the city center was so crowded, I got tired just standing in that heat. The town was really cute in Capri though – loved all the little shops and me and Kingsuk bought some really awesome shades for ourselves (gift from Mommy Bhardwaj to us). I got exhausted way too quickly – if Capri hadn’t been so hot or so crowded, I would have been ok, but the combination of both was too tiring. We came back to Sorrento, had lunch at a nice portside restaurant that had really good seafood (Vela Bianca) and then came back to the hotel. King fought off the rest of his jetlag by staying awake without falling asleep – he went swimming while I napped. In the evening we went to dinner to the much awaited ‘Il Buca,’ a one-star Michelin restaurant in Sorrento. It was our most expensive meal on this trip, and, sadly, our most disappointing meal as well. My antipasti was really good – a mashed potatoes dish; King’s prawns with lemon were mediocre at best. My pasta with courgettes was bland as hell; King’s pasta with seafood was barely any seafood, and just lots of pasta. It was also severely under-salted, so they took it back to properly season it, and when they brought it back, mine was better, but King’s was over salted. What a disaster. At least they didn’t charge us for King’s pasta. Dessert was good. King had Sorrento’s famous Limoncello for the first time, as an après dinner liquer. His reaction was hilarious … first sip he grimaced and said ‘This needs like 5 parts soda and 1 part limoncello and then it’ll be drinkable!’ At the next sip he smiled, ‘Aaah, it’s sweet now… nice.’ Half a minute later he took another sip and said disgustedly, ‘Saale, itna bitter banaate hai!’ I think you had to be there, but I burst out laughing at his see-saw of melodramatic reactions to the famous drink. I don’t understand why Sorrento doesn’t just make awesome lemonade with all those lemons; would be so much tastier.
Today we’ll be heading out to Positano. We just had breakfast – King is waking up at more acceptable hours, I’m still waking up pretty early. I also just threw up all my breakfast right after eating it. That was disappointing – I thought that phase was over, which I guess it still is, but it’s still lingering a bit. It’s also just worrisome because now I’ll be worrying about getting sick in public or inconvenient places, and that’s no fun. I’m gonna pull out the vomit bags and keep them on hand, just in case it happens again.
Off to Positano!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Arrabiatta with a kick


So, after our fantastic 7am breakfast buffet (which we ate at for an hour, there was SOOOO much variety), King and I hung out by the pool. I found the first place in the world where I didn’t like the fries – I didn’t think that was possible. Yeah, yeah, why am I ordering fries in Italy, but the Hilton pizza/bruschetta was not worth a repeat order, and I figured, the potatoes probably taste so good here that the fries would be awesome. Not so.
We went to Kutu’s recommendation, Gaetano Vino Vero, this restaurant up in the hills which both Vaish and the concierge had said is a better lunch place. I don’t know why Kutu used the word ‘ghetto’ to describe this restaurant because it was absolutely beautiful! It was way up in the hills and overlooked all of Sorrento, on an outdoor patio surrounded by olive trees and flowers. There was this really old Italian couple sitting next to us (they looked like they were 80) but they were so full of life and ‘shaukeen,’ their entire lunch must’ve lasted 3 hours bc they were there before us and were still hanging out afterwards. They didn’t speak a word of English, yet we managed to have conversations with them about how it’s our first time in Italy, we’re originally from India (she thought I was Turkish because of my eyes), where we’re going over the next few days, etc.
'We'd like to pay our compliments to the buffalo who gave us this cheese.'
The buffalo mozzarella was by far the BEST mozzarella I’ve ever had. It was so rich, creamy, and chewy all at the same time … I cheated and had to eat some, it was just too appetizing. My one piece of cheating became two, but I stopped myself after that. Gotta hand it to you Vaish, you know your food. I also ordered myself a Rocket (arugula) Grana Padano side salad, yay!!
As per our orders from abroad, we ordered the arrabiatta and the ravioli. I took my first bite of arrabiatta, and was pleasantly surprised at how flavorful the tomatoes were, and how extremely spicy the arrabiatta was, and then I felt the kick.
Or I should say kicks, and possibly punches. I felt baby kick for the first time!! It was still small enough where it couldn’t be felt on the outside, but it was DEFINITELY kicking. It repeatedly thumped against my tummy, tiny little hits … hard to describe what it feels like, but normally I think I would just ignore it for some sort of weird gas bubbles or something, but because I was sitting, and my stomach was otherwise very calm, I could feel the distinct repeated kicks. It was so exciting and so cute to imagine my little avocado-to-turnip sized baby kicking away J I’ve been trying to feel it since then, and I think I’ve felt it once or twice more, but never as clearly as the first time.
The rest of lunch was a little bit of a damper for me because I started not feeling so well – I think the time in the sun took it out of me; I was completely exhausted, a little bit nauseous, and needed to just lie in the A/C. I brought back the arrabiatta and just ate it right now at 6:30 am – it was still really good.
Let’s see what we do today, maybe we’ll go to Capri? But our jetlag is getting better, we woke up after 6am – better than 3am!   

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Arugula/Rocket

Ok, I dunno if it’s cuz I’m pregnant, but the Arugula here is just AMAZING. Who would have thought something as simple as arugula could leave such a lasting impression on me??
King and I woke up at an obscenely early hour this morning, and were the first people to show up to our hotel’s breakfast (I pushed it to 7:10 but that was the latest I could go). Really nice breakfast buffet – I made a grilled emmantel cheese toast with fresh tomatoes, salt, pepper, and olive oil (they have olive oil packets like ketchup packets here!) – it was really good. And a fantastic spread of all sorts of pastries, danishes, croissants, and juices.
We got on our train to Naples - I love European train stations and the whole rail system by the way.  No hassle of check-in, arriving an hour early, security check, and the train leaves on the DOT. I’ve decided that the natural beauty (at least from Rome to Napoli) was most unimpressive. I remember Austria and Switzerland being lush, rolling hills, with cute houses trickling the landscape; Germany was thick, lush forests of pine trees or whatever those trees are; even France had a very unique countryside. Maybe it’s bc California has a similar climate and similar Mediterranean inspired architecture, but it really didn’t look all that different from my drive from San Luis Obispo on 101 last week. Only until when we went on the local train from Naples to Sorrento did it finally start looking like a different landscape.
Anyway, at the Hilton we had to wait an hour for our room to be ready, so we ate at the poolside bar while we were waiting. The margherita pizza was decent – really nice sauce. We also got a bruschetta, and there were a few leaves of arugula at the base of the bruschetta that I had – so peppery, and spicy and flavorful! I could just eat a bowl of that with shaved parmigiano reggiano and olive oil.
It was siesta time for us after that … I guess thanks to our jet lag our timings are matching those of the Mediterranean. Apparently all the shops close here between 1-4 pm and then open up again to stay open until late at night – 10pm onwards. The main shopping area was so cute, and so bustling with activity. And the weather is freakin perfect. King and I window shopped in random boutiques, and I ended up buying a lose white shirt that will hopefully fit me beyond this week, and King bought a blue Boss polo shirt with a small Italian flag on it. I also really liked this goose down winter coat for 345 Euro – so stylin’ … but can’t justify spending that kind of money on a coat right now. Esp bc there’s no way it’s going to fit me when winter actually rolls around.
I am, by the way, expanding on a daily basis. While 1st trimester was about baby developing all his internal organs, systems … this trimester seems to be geared towards growing larger in size. He’s the size of my palm already, and growing by the day … and it seriously shows on my body. By the time I come back to the U.S. I am gonna look full on preganator!
So dinner was at this REALLY CUTE restaurant called Antica Trattoria. This was clichéd cute – with an outdoor terrace area covered in vines, flowers, with a crazy Italian musician singing love ballads at every table. Ambience is great and all, but me and King were like ‘what about the food??’
It did not disappoint. They started us off with an amuse bouche of sorts of a ‘ricotta melanzane,’ deep fried ricotta cheese with eggplant. Wow, it was excellent. The pomodoro (sauce) with it was so tasty – how can just a simple tomato sauce taste so good? For our antipasti, I got a zucchini blossom dish and King got a caprese salad. I thought mine was ok, bc I couldn’t really taste the zucchini blossom as it was tempura-ed and filled with ricotta. The side salad with slightly sweetened pickled onions was really good though. King’s caprese was really good … I’m not supposed to eat unpasteurized cheeses … so I only ate a little bit of the mozzarella … it was like you could taste the thickness of the milk in the piece of that cheese.
My main dish was an melanzane pomodoro. I’ve realized I’m not one of those people who is crazy abt eggplant in any shape or form – it’s got to be done really well, otherwise I’m really fussy abt it’s texture and taste. I started cutting into my dish, and was amazed at how soft the eggplant was – I was expecting a battle of cutting through the stringy vegetable, but it was buttery soft, and just soooo freakin good. They had a piece of fried parmagiano on top – I LOVE FRIED PARMAGIANO. I remember I accidentally discovered fried cheese at home once when  I was making a fried egg and some extra grated cheese fell into the pan and got slightly pan fried, and I thought to myself, this is amazing … and it was just random cheddar or something. Now imagine that was Italian parmagiano. Yes, it’s 6:30 am as I write this and I’m starving again … Breakfast is our most anticipated meal of the day right now – just passing time writing this blog so it’s 7am already and I can go eat.
My eggplant pomodoro with a fried parmesan crouton. YUMMY!
But the arugula! We got a side salad – just some ‘insalata mista’ (I will never look at those two words the same way again). King took a bite and said ‘you’re gonna love this salad, it’s right up your alley.’ I was having a hard time tearing myself away from the melanzane but tried it, and he was right. I felt like mom when I said ‘Just plain salad leaves and it’s so tasty! Yahan ke vegetables ka taste hi kitna zyaada achcha hai!!’ But, hey, we’re not the only ones who say that!! To quote Eric Ripert, ‘Vegetables in Europe just TASTE different!’
Anyway, so the rest of dinner was great too. Oh, King got some local fish and loved it. You know it’s a great meal when after the initial ‘oh my God, this is amazing’ comments have passed, you’re eating in total silence for the rest of the meal. I cleaned out my dish, and the dessert and petit fours to follow. European portions are so much more doable … granted we’re doing one less course than recommended on a traditional menu.
Today’s plan is just to hang out and kick it. I’m tired of journeying here and there for the last two days. After breakfast we’ll just hang out by the pool, do lunch somewhere (maybe that really amazing and ghetto place Kutu suggested?) … come back and sleep, and then hit up the shops and Il Bucaa in the evening. Tomorrow we can consider doing Capri since we wake up at the butt-crack of dawn everyday anyway. At least we’re still accomplishing enough on this holiday and aren’t just sleeping it away like we did in London, lol.
It’s still not 7 am!!!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Roma

Today was our 'rest' day in Rome ... we landed around noon and took a cab into the city center and got to our hotel by 2:30-ish. The Rome airport, btw, is quite disastrous. We ended up exiting in the wrong terminal (a couple other people from our flight did the same thing) and ended up at a baggage claim that didn't have our baggages ... had to walk back 2 terminals and go thru security again just to get our stuff ...

Our hotel, the Romanico Palace Hotel & Spa is a five minute walk from the happening Via Veneto (and just a 15 minute walk to the Spanish Steps) but somehow being off the main road by just 5 minutes gives it such a different feel. Apparently all of Rome is gone on vacation this week, so it's exceptionally quiet in the city ... except, of course when you hit up the main touristy areas. The Spanish steps area was really crowded, but I couldn't believe how clean the streets and sidewalks were. The heat was really oppressive -- it was nearly 100 degrees around 3pm -- and we hadn't eaten (all restaurants were closed for lunch), had just gotten off a 12 hour journey (albeit a very comfortable business class for 10 of those hours) ... the heat kicked our ass. After a gelato (really good) and some walking around we decided we had to head back and take some rest -- there was no way we could stay awake until dinner.

After a 3 hour nap (which felt soooo good in the A/C) we decided to go to a small local joint for dinner -- still away from the touristy area. It was decent food ... I wouldn't say bad, and I wouldn't say great either. I was obsessing over trying 'cacio e pepe' (cheese & pepper) pasta, which I saw on an Anthony Bourdain 'No Reservations' episode on the flight over and got that -- it wasn't as authentic as his one from the show (was missing some components) but still a good dish and something totally different than what I would have normally tried and ordered. The pecorino and parmagiano was so tasty. Kingsuk got a carbonara, and then we split a tiramisu which was fantastic. King's table red wine was also really good he said.

We walked around the more happening area for the next two hours ... without any particular agenda -- just enjoying the 'raunak,' and the warm evening -- I love that I could wear a sleeveless dress at midnight and not feel cold.

I'm glad we're not doing Rome on this trip -- it's just too freakin hot. I also realized that I prefer humid heat to dry heat -- it's dry here and really kicked my a$$.

Ok, off to bed ... taking a train to Naples tomorrow morning. Hopefully I'll blog more about this trip!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Nausea free!! (knock on wood)

... And just in time for Italy!! Last week at retreat (which I really should've written abt) was the first week I went puke free since week 7... Will Complete 16 weeks tomorrow, nearly 4 months! At the airport now, abt to board flight to Rome. Just stopping over in Rome for a rest day, then 3 days in sorrento, 3 days in positano, and 3 days in Venice!!