People often ask us what we miss from home. The list varies across the family but we all agree on is affordable ice cream (missing the Kroger 2 half gallons for $5USD) vs. the Baskin Robins 1/2 gallon for the equivalent of $8USD and chocolate. You must bring M&Ms if you are visiting me in Bangalore. Taco Bell seems to be next on the list and I cannot say we even eat it that much at home, but shredded cheddar, corn chips/ taco shells and refried beans are not found anywhere nearby. We have googled and found a Taco Bell - this is the next outing the kids are asking for, but like other things in India, the menu is undoubtedly vegetarian and has a hint of masala.
I have found myself craving Italian food, ravioli with meat sauce and bruschetta. And what goes with that Italian dinner better than a nice glass of Chianti? Not the Sula Shiraz Cabernet which is the top Indian wine available here. Wine is a huge void. The Indian vineyards are a burgeoning industry so the government taxes imported wine to the hilt. Just to give you an example, a bottle of YellowTail Shiraz would be $6-9USD depending on where you buy and here it's an equivalent of $25USD+ and that is not really even good wine. In fact, I was celebrating another week of work last night and headed to the liquor store. I immediately ventured into the Imported section only to find the selection slim. I settled on a bottle of Borbore Malbec from Argentina which was Rs1181 or $27USD (the dollar is weak this week). I was so excited to sit on the terrace with a nice glass of vino - it's quality is irrelevant - all I can say is it's the nicest glass I've had since my Lufthansa flight on August 18. I stopped myself at just one glass (SHOCKER, I know) and am saving the rest for tonight. There must be a way to stop my whine for wine, when I found out I will let you know.