“A daydream is a meal at which images are eaten. Some of us are gourmets, some gourmands, and a good many take their images precooked out of a can and swallow them down whole, absent-mindedly and with little relish.”
Don’t you just love Auden? He really has a way with words. . .making them sound so delicious and dreamy. Mmmmm. I’ve been reveling so much in the recent buffets of love and celebration that I’ve been a pathetic slacker getting this anecdote out to all of you.
If a daydream is a meal at which images are eaten, then my stomach is like the Mary Poppins bag that can fit uncountable universes inside of it without looking bigger than the average purse. Yes, even though I am a creature of refined moderation, I do love indulgence. Indulgence of the senses is the soul of my dream land.
So, when our second wedding anniversary (and 4 years together) was coming up last month, I wanted to go on a truly indulgent adventure with my one and only Magic Man. We live a pretty frugal life most of the time, but after 2 months apart, we both wanted an extra dreamy experience to celebrate our cosmic love. Eff yeah, am I right?!
That’s when I started my quest to plan an evening of revelry. I conjured up my most wildly romantic fantasies of what I thought an evening could be, which of course included eating a damn delicious meal, and Google search pointed me to nothing other than the most fitting word in all of the English language. . .reverie.
A day dream.
Was the internet speaking to me? Did it all of a sudden know the heartsong of my mermaid-piscean-taurus language? Wow.
I clicked on the link assuming it must be some poetry because who calls a restaurant ‘A Reverie’ unless they, too, are a mad one like me?!
Then, a hypnotic spiral swirling on top of a dreamy turquoise background. . .like an invitation from my ancestral mermaids deep in the sea. . .pulled me into this greeting:
“A great meal is not one that merely fills you up; a great meal is a journey that returns you to sources of pleasure you may have forgotten and takes you to places you have never been.”
Um, yes, please?!
I warned Magic Man that I may have found a really special place and called up to book our anniversary reservation right away. Now, since this is not my first rodeo, I had slight apprehensions about having too many expectations for this mystical place. For one, not everything is as it ‘seems’ and anyone can hire a good web designer. Second, we have been disappointed before with supposedly “good” places. Thirdly, we had to leave our shanti jungle bubble and brave the busy mayhem of Calangute. It’s kinda like leaving the woods for the bright lights of the big city. . .but my, oh my, those lights were shiny, indeed.
A few hours before our anticipated reservation, we mustered up the will power to hit the gym for our daily workout in hopes that we’d make room for the feast of revelry ahead of us. Whew. Excitement brewing, love swirling in the air, smooches and googly eyes. . .all reminiscent and in honor of the past 4 years of our magical togetherness. It has been a wild adventure of trials and tribulations, navigating the realms of Home in different cultures across the world, surviving faulty fates and beginning anew, and reminding each other that we are always living THE DREAM if we want to. And in the blink of an eye, we jumped into Dinky-Doo (our car) and headed out into the Great Wonder.
A corridor with a mirrored ceiling stretched before us. . .
Intriguing, right?! Ooohh, ahhhh. . . .okay, okay. Then the corridor opened up into an area with tiered seating underneath a large pavilion. Smaller pavilions surround the main structure and there’s a glimpse of the twinkling stars in the night sky for anyone wishing to see. Glittering trees, glowing lamps, lights on the pathways. . .so many different hues coming from each angle and direction. Simple, yet elegantly whimsical.
We were happy to be seated underneath the main pavilion. Each table has its own designated area like it’s carved into a separate space. . .incorporating a couch on one side of the table and chairs on the other. There was a bottle of bug spray in case the mosquitoes were a bother and the menus were long and skinny with upholstered covers. Upholstered?!? Yep. But upholstered with some extravagant, lush fabric that looked like it belonged to a chair Alice might’ve found in Wonderland. And the inside, the words, were nothing short of honoring the restaurants namesake with funny comments and titles of things.
The bar is on the top tier of the pavilion overlooking all of the seating nooks. A large, golden, human silhouette stands precariously above the liquor bottles, as if jumping off a cliff into the vast expanse of the dreams below.
We studied the cocktail menu and settled on their version of a Long Island Iced Tea. We were a bit stunned at our drinks when they arrived to the table because they were a) HUGE (a fish could’ve lived happily in one globe) and b) filled with test tube, err, syringe looking devices. Did Bill Nye make these things or what?
We called the waiter over and he informed us that each thingy was filled with more alcohol “in case we wanted the drink stronger.” Stronger? Do most people want Long Island’s stronger than they normally are?! My eyes grew wide and I looked at Magic Man. His eyes grew as wide as his grin.
What the heck! Let the reverie begin!
BTW. . .our waiter, Xavier, did a fantastic job. He was so attentive without being annoying. He would appear if we shuffled in our seats or batted an eyelash but never hovered constantly in sight, and he’s pretty darn cute. Don’t you think?!
The first sips of our crazy cocktail proved to be quite strong and I happily squirted each of the extra shots into my gigantic globe of libations. A solo lady sang low music in the background covering favorite songs in a jazzy, swanky way without the cheese factor. Magic Man and I chatted and chatted and let our eyes wander around the restaurant checking out the sights and the sounds surrounding us and then finally decided it was time to try some food.
Let’s start with a small plate. I wanted to savor the moment, revel in the Now, truly be in this reverie. We ordered ‘chicken lollipops, which is a standard snack around India. They’re made from wings and cut so that they kinda resemble a lollipop. When our dish came out, it was transformed into a whimsical version of the national favorite, of course, because we’re not in Kansas anymore, Dorothy! Duh!
A tree branch with greenery arrived. It was definitely not what we were expecting but the view was quite silly and different, and more than anything, fun. Each ‘lollipop’ was made with an actual lollipop stick with a cubed piece of hoison spiced chicken at the top. The flavor of the chicken was yummy delicious and it was very entertaining to pluck each lollipop out of the tree branch. I mean, when do you get a tree branch on a plate for dinner?!
(I apologize for the blurry pics. I really need to get a better camera. Next time, I swear!)
After the first small plate, we decided to take some time indulging in conversation and those huge bowls of drinks in our hands. . .mmmmm!
Eventually, another small plate option caught my eye. The ‘taco truck.’ I personally can’t resist anything related to Mexican food, and tacos, especially. Living so far away from Latin culture has been a hard one and this cuisine always reminds me of home. It is my ultimate comfort food. So, we ordered the blackened chicken tacos to continue our journey of tantalizing flavors and surprises. When it showed up, it was just as whimsical and fun as the first plate. . .
Each taco was only a few bites and just the perfect amount. The blackened chicken was seasoned perfectly and the sour cream drizzled on top just took me to a creamy dream. Yes! I love tacos! I was a bit sad I couldn’t actually drive the truck around on the table (because it was attached to the entire plate), but given the drink I was consuming, it’s probably best the truck didn’t fly renegade into the night air and, perhaps, whack the singer on the head. This reverie had some boundaries, I guess.
Aww. . .see that oozing cosmic love? And, dang, who is that movie star chick in the purple skirt? Ha ha. . .okay, okay, I’m entertaining myself too much right now. Back to the experience.
By now, I wanted to see what a bathroom looks like in a place like this. After working in hospitality for almost twenty years myself, one of the ways I’ve noticed that places tend to lack attention to detail is in the washroom. Could ‘A Reverie’ make even just going for a wee an exciting experience? And, well, the answer is a definite yes!
First off, people, when I walked into the bathroom, it smelled like freakin’ oranges! And not like, ‘oh-my-god-I’m-getting-a-headache-from-this-smell’ kind of oranges. It was like ‘wow-it-smells-so-good-in-here’ kind of oranges. Being in India, that was a big shocker to be so utterly and pleasantly surprised by the wonderfully, intoxicating smell. It made me happy and definitely enhanced the experience. There was also some really cool lights ranging from a rustic metal sun hanging from the ceiling and a dreamy half orb on the wall to some simple candle lighting.
But, hands down, this washroom had truly one of the coolest sinks I have ever seen in any restaurant or hotel or home. My picture doesn’t do it justice, but water cascaded down the center vein of a terra cotta leaf into a bowl of pebbles. Am I dreaming? Is this real?
The flash on my camera totally takes the whole romantic lighting out of the scenario, but I felt like a nymph washing my hands over the shiny pebbles. I may have lingered quite awhile like it was the most fun I’ve ever had washing my hands. Breathing in the luscious oranges also helped.
When I returned to Magic Man I said, “You should definitely go for a wee!”
Maybe it was my fish bowl of a drink (and maybe, just maybe, a second one), the good food, or the unending conversation, but by the time main course showed up, I was feeling stuffed full of so much reverie and excellent vibes, I barely had enough room in my stomach for more. Magic Man got some fabulous pork dish and I got a creamy pasta dish. Although they weren’t as wild looking as the small plates, they were every bit as delicious and indulgent in an orchestra of flavors.
I did have my heart set on a dessert called OCD, Obsessive Chocolate Disorder, which was a version of a black forest cake. The description was enticing and drool worthy, but dang, I couldn’t even finish my dinner. I surprised myself by not having room for dessert. That never ever ever ever ever happens. Dessert is my thing and it was hard to tell Xavier that we didn’t have room for the OCD, especially after he said it was the best choice. Ugh. What to do?! No more daydreams could fit in my belly.
However, the staff at ‘A Reverie’ knew it was our anniversary and they surprised us with a stunning dessert that had fireworks shooting out the top. There was also a funny card that read, “The key to happy marriage is for him to listen to ‘his masters voice’.” I still didn’t have enough room to feast on anymore daydreams and I happily boxed our chocolate mousse dessert. We also had a visit by the manager and we thanked him profusely for such a wonderful experience. Wow.
I won’t tell you what happened after we got home from dinner because I can’t possibly tell you all of my secrets, but I can tell you this. . .
For the quality of service, ambiance, food, textures, flavors, drinks. . .it is adequately and fairly priced and I felt like it was worth the ticket price. The menu is workable so that it can accommodate a range of budgets depending on the amount of indulgence you crave and the staff is very good at anticipating guest needs.
If you are in Goa, spoil yourself with a visit to ‘A Reverie.’ It is definitely an experience you should dare to dream.
Happy daydreaming, family!
Check out their website here.