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Pop Ups

A Healthy Meal Delivery's International Food Diary: Nepal (Part 1)

A Healthy Meal Delivery's International Food Diary: Nepal (Part 1)

Friends, Romans, Countrymen... we are officially up on YouTube!

 

 

Pop Up Dinner Party in Nepal: Part 3

Pop Up Dinner Party in Nepal: Part 3

In order to celebrate his 40th birthday with some style and adventure, Client #254 and his friends planned a once-in-a-lifetime adventure in Nepal that culminated in a climb of the Himalayas.  On the evening before the hike, my client and his friends were to enjoy an unforgettable 5-course meal served up in a secret location by yours truly.

This is Part II in a three part series. To read Parts I and II, click here and here.

PART III

I had two missions before leaving Nepal: to see the Buddha's birthplace, and to take a few cooking classes. Upon checkout, the young man who worked behind the desk, Dipesh, asked me if I would be willing to come to his hometown and meet his family before leaving for my next destination. Unable to say no to such an honor (and intrigued about seeing "the real Nepal"), I happily obliged.

Dipesh lived perhaps 30 minutes outside of Kathmandu in an area called Jitpur Phedi. The drive out there was gorgeous. I saw the often talked about rice paddies and wondered at the beauty and practicality of their construction. Jitpur Phedi itself was in stark contrast to the open space all around it. The town, set on a hill, has winding paths that take you from one house to the next. Each was quite humble and basic, with no electricity or running water (for the most part). The wealth of the families lay in their livestock, which they kept either just outside the house or inside with them. Every house I walked past had curious eyes looking back at me. Dipesh's family was very kind. The offered me warm chai (Starbucks has nothing on them) and some food before my trip back to Kathmandu. I gladly accepted.

That evening, I boarded a plan for Pokhara, the second largest city in Nepal. Pokhara is naturally beautiful in a way that Kathmandu is not. The Himalayas nearby certainly helps. I was advised to take my morning cup of coffee and climb a small hill to experience sunrise, and it was well worth the early morning alarm. The rising sun lit the Himalayan range up with dusty pinks and bright oranges. It was a sight to be seen.

For the next few days, I indulged in beautiful scenery and enlightening cooking classes. My instructor was a Nepalese grandmother and incredible cook. She was also open to sharing with me etiquette tips. Those I present to you below. After my classes ended, I said goodbye to my instructor and made my way to Lumbini. It was a peaceful town, and the site of the Buddha's birth was memorialized beautifully.

In all, I spent 6 whirlwind days in Nepal. While many tourists come to Nepal to hike the Himalayas, the country still has an unaffected feeling to it. I hope you enjoyed my photos as I enjoyed my time in that beautiful, delicious, and humble country.

--PB

Pop Up Dinner Party in Nepal: Part 2

Pop Up Dinner Party in Nepal: Part 2

In order to celebrate his 40th birthday with some style and adventure, Client #254 and his friends planned a once-in-a-lifetime adventure in Nepal that culminated in a climb of the Himalayas.  On the evening before the hike, my client and his friends were to enjoy an unforgettable 5-course meal served up in a secret location by yours truly.

This is Part II in a three part series. To read Part I, click here.

PART II

With most of the evening's preparations in order and a full day on my hands, I set out to view more must-see sights around Kathmandu Valley. I returned to Durbar Square and took in the sights and architecture I missed the day prior. I then hopped in a cab and traveled to Bhaktapur, the Place of Devotees. Here I came across more ancient temples and statues. Next was Pashupatinath, the place in the city where bodies of the deceased are brought for their cleaning and burning ceremony. It was a sobering trip to say the least, yet also beautiful to see families gathered to perform their ritual. My final stop was Boudhanath,one of the largest stupas in the world and an UNESCO World Heritage Site. The history, tradition, and symbolism of the site was humbling. I enjoyed the opportunity to join other visitors in a meditative lap around the structure, spinning prayer wheels and reflecting. At the front of the stupa, I was fascinated to find colorful sculptures constructed entirely of butter. They were gorgeous.

That evening's dinner party was an undeniable success. My guests were alerted to the location of their pop up a mere hour before the event was to begin. They made their way to me and, upon walking into the venue, were taken aback by the atmosphere. I had transformed an empty flat into a vibrant dining room complete with Nepalese music humming in the background. Their 5-course meal consisted of American and Nepalese favorites, including a field greens and mixed berries salad and a warm bowl of thukpa, a soup that had become a favorite of my client during his time in Nepal. The evening closed with cordials and warmed brownies a la mode. Everyone left with sleepy eyes and overstuffed bellies. My job was complete.

Below are some photos from the day of the event. Enjoy, and stay tuned for Part 3, coming soon!

Pop Up Dinner Party in Nepal: Part 1

Pop Up Dinner Party in Nepal: Part 1

Since our launch, the staff at le banQ has had the extraordinary opportunity to travel around the world hosting pop ups for our clients. Today's post is is the first in a series of three about one such trip I took to the inspiring country of Nepal. 

From the Himalayas to ancient temples to the birthplace of the Buddha, Nepal is full of little wonders and tremendous delights. And then there is the food! Being nestled between China and India means that Nepalese dishes are a unique combination of the two food styles. The tantalizing flavors and colorful dishes of Nepal are enough to keep any tourist satisfied. So, when Platinum Club Member #254 proposed that I host a pop up dinner party in Kathmandu for he and a few of his friends, I was happy to oblige.

In order to celebrate his 40th birthday with some style and adventure, my client and his friends planned a once-in-a-lifetime adventure in Nepal that culminated in a climb of the Himalayas.  On the evening before the hike, my client and his friends were to enjoy an unforgettable 5-course meal served up in a secret location by yours truly.

PART I

I spent the first two days in Kathmandu acclimating and preparing. I explored the raucous, bustling streets of the capitol city in search of markets for ingredients and decorations. One of my favorite parts about traveling are the surprises and wonders you encounter being in a new land, and Kathmandu did not disappoint. I was walking down what seemed to be an average street on my second day when it opened up into Durbar Square. There I found ancient temples and intricate statues, preserved for hundreds of years. I saw a crowd gathering at the edge of square around one particularly large and modern looking building. As I drew closer, I noticed a golden palanquin carried out by four men and placed on the earth outside the door of the building. The crowd grew and, at the height of the excitement, the doors were flung open and a young girl in intricate clothes and makeup was carried out, placed in the palanquin, and carried away. Confused as to what I just witnessed, I turned to someone nearby for an explanation.

"That was the Kumari," he told me. "She is a young girl that is believed to be holy. She was selected and brought here to live. If you lay eyes on the Kumari, it is said to be good luck. That you had the chance to see her in this way is extremely fortunate."

"Where was she being taken?" I asked.

"There is a parade happening downtown. She will be marched in the parade for all to see."

And there you have it. I left with more questions than I had answers. In the weeks to come I read more about the Kumari- how she is chosen, what her life is like, where the belief originated and what happens to her when she is deemed an adult. It's these fascinating pieces of culture that make travel as awe inspiring as I find it to be.

I wrapped up the day in a large market downtown. I bought produce until I could hold no more. Then, I went to an area of the market with small statues and other such souvenirs, selecting items that could serve as decoration for the party. I wanted to have a blend of Nepalese and American influence in the food and decor as a nod to the blending of cultures that we do when we travel.

That evening, I met with the owner of the space where the event was to be held and, when he left me, I spent some time ensuring the table was set perfectly and the ingredients prepared to my satisfaction.

Below are some shots from my first couple of days in Kathmandu. Enjoy, and stay tuned for more in Part 2!