Shop No. 187

May 20th, 2009

So what do you do when you are on holiday in North Goa? Ride a motorcycle? (We rode to Goa on a motorcycle, so!) Eat a hearty breakfast at Infantaria? (Skipped this time…too many people) Drink your first beer before lunch? (No, we stuck to Bisleri! What a question!)Go to Brittos for their golden fried prawns and potato wedges? (Mental note to extend swimming sessions back home by 30 minutes for a whole month)Try your hand at parasailing? (As in hanging on a sail that is hooked to a speed boat ridden by some one who is still thinking about the drunk Norwegian who gave him a US$100 bill as a tip during peak season),  rode a Jet Scooter? (Trying to ensure that your arms are still attached to your torso while the ‘thing’ progresses uncontrollably towards Dubai), listen to 70’s music and chill at Cavala? (The band was named Bellbottoms, so what?)And get all misty eyed? (As the evening grows into night and you start wondering which direction your hotel is).

So we did the usual. And woke up every day morning with a hangover the size of Pangaea. And then of course, we made a mental note to hire a fat-wheeled Gypsy next time around – they look awesome and come for under a grand for a day. A wind in the hair blast to the lighthouse and back should be great. But the point of this note is none of the above.

Tucked away in the middle of the confusion called Mapusa Municipal Market (not too far away from the Aguada – Baga stretch and is conveniently on the way to NH17 and rest of the world) is a small shop not more than 10-15 sq ft called Francis Picardo and Sons. Shop Number 187 to be precise. It is adjacent to Simonia Bakery which, of course, is world famous in Mapusa. And trust me no trip to Goa is complete without a visit Shop No.187. This time too I made the pilgrimage. Sure, proprietor Raymand Picardo makes money by selling booze to dignified bootleggers who buy their share of Smirnoffs and Bacardi bottles (Rs 350 and Rs 300 per bottle in Goa! Please continue reading…makemytrip.com can wait!) But that is half the secret at 187. Picardo stocks the very best Goan sausage money can buy – all home made and carefully chosen by him, the tastiest fish pickles and Goan masalas. On a steamy afternoon, you will find the entire Picardo family at the shop – wife arranging fresh rolls of Goan sausages and son stacking up crates of Kings and Belo beer. If you are into local brews, and we are not talking about fortified grape juice that passes as ‘port’, Picardo will select the best of Cajulana or PVV branded cashew feni. My discovery though was a new coconut rum that goes by the name Cabo. From the picture on the bottle it is clear that the local drink got its name from Cabo de Rama (the southern most point of Goa and made up of stunningly beautiful ruins of a Portuguese fort). Cabo costs Rs 350 a bottle and is a brilliant substitute to fiercely expensive Malibu. How do I know?

 Back home I made some phenomenal Goan sausage pulav (lightly fry the innards of a Goan sausage roll and cook rice on top of it in a electric rice cooker for full blooded flavor!. While it was being cooked and its aroma was making my neighbour’s tummy rumble, ahem, I invented my very own cocktail called ‘Picardo to brain 187’ – one generous shot of Cabo, canned pineapple juice, twist of lime and a solitary mint leaf’. Trust me, I could feel the Arabian Sea lap on my feet. Thanks Picardo!

 

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