My French neighbour has introduced me to some of the coolest places in Bangalore. Is there something wrong with this picture, or is it just how it is? Expats come to Bangalore and discover the city in a way that many of us who have lived here for years don’t. I have never been to City Market, its flower market, on a Lalbagh walk with a naturalist, and that musical fountain near the planetarium (the last one is not on my to-do list). So anyway, Elisabeth and I were shopping for that oxymoron that is common in furniture shops these days– antiquey new furniture, custom-made to specifications. This shop called Geetanjali was selling a cool mobile-bar for Rs. 40,000. Just above was Pho-bidden fruit. Ran into photographer Sudeep Gurtu there (yes, related to Trilok). Of course, I had Pho. And momos, which were great. The Pho was okay. There is this whole category of foods that have just a whiff of meat in them that I wish I could imbibe. Pho in its native land is not meat-heavy. If I could do away with my mental block, I am sure I could enjoy this dish in its original glory. But that is not to be so no use speculating over meat-I-will-not-eat. The vegetarian Pho was crunchy and brothy. This whole crunchy vegetable concept needs a complete overhaul. Simply throwing in diced celery, carrots, or scallions into broth and tossing in some lemongrass for fragrance doesn’t do it for me. Crunchy vegetables only work when there is fat, some fried stuff, some peanuts, at least some cheese. As in bhel puri, Thailand’s raw papaya salad and those amazing salads that Marcus Samuelsson used to make when he was at Aquavit New York. The Rogue Elephant makes a mean salad too.

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