Planner’s Travel Series
About the series: Welcome to our ongoing travel series. These are all posts written by planning students and professionals about what to do in a given city when looking for Brunch, a Brew, or a good idea on a Budget. To cap it all off, we include a fun planning fact!
By Ian Baltutis
About the visit: My first visit to Delhi was a unique adventure in family, culture, and urban planning. The reason for the trip was primarily to attend a family wedding in Delhi, but we extended our stay to allow for extra sightseeing and urban exploration. After hearing many stories about India, a visit proved them all true and so much more. After beginning my dive into experiencing the vibrant diversity of India, I cannot wait to return again.
If you love great coffee, India is your heaven. The growing regions of the south provide a perfect place for the beans to develop, and Blue Tokai expertly crafts their light roasts to display the full bouquet of fruit and floral notes. Dive into a darker roast to enjoy the richer flavors of chocolate and cocoa. I love pairing all their roasts with their wide selection of homemade pastries and cakes. This brunch is the perfect way to start your morning and have plenty of pep to keep you going as you take in the sights and sounds of Delhi. Blue Tokai shares space with an art gallery and is a quick walk from the Qutub Minar tower, which is a great place to start your tour of Delhi’s rich selection of historical sights.
South Asia is famous for their lagers that pair nicely with the rich blends of flavors and cool the searing spicy heat of meals. But just like so many counties, craft beer, and its brewpub culture are showing up across India. Effingut is one of the early pioneer breweries and offers a wide selection of quality craft beer. Their hip pubs feature live music and good food, plus their brewery merchandise is spot-on if you are like me and love collecting pint glasses. After you have tired of Kingfisher lagers, pop over to Effingut pub and enjoy a more robust pint of ale.
Fun Planning Fact
India’s climate is perfect for all different types of amazing fruits to grow. Many of these delightful delicacies will be entirely foreign to most American shoppers. My advice is to be bold and try them all! Sand apples are one of my favorites. With a rich sweetness, these soft fruits have a slightly grainy texture when they melt in your mouth. If your visit spans March through August, then you will have the opportunity to try the dozens of different types of mangos as they are picked fresh daily. With so many local varieties of these juicy treats, you will find new shapes and sizes appearing every week at fruit stands around the city. And for the best budget snack, snag a coconut for about $0.25. Vendors will gladly chop a straw hole for you to enjoy the refreshing coconut water before they split it open and leave you with a satisfying bag of coconut cream to munch on as you keep exploring.
I am a transportation nerd, so my favorite part of traveling is checking out all the different types of mobility in a city. You need to ride in an auto-rickshaw when you visit, but the easiest and cheapest way to get around is the Delhi metro. The city is continuing to add and extend lines all across the metropolitan area. As the rise of car culture snarls streets, the Metro’s new trains are an open, airy, and quiet way to take in the Delhi sights from high above on elevated viaducts. Skip the Uber and the carsickness that driving in Delhi is sure to elicit. Toss a few rupees in the vending machine, grab a slick RFID metro token, and take in all that Delhi has to offer.
Featured Image: Visitors to Delhi enter a colorful and diverse world of sights, sounds, smells, and urban mobility. Photo Credit: Ian Baltutis.
Ian is an inventor, serial entrepreneur, planner, and Master’s student at UNC DCRP. After founding Burlington Beer Works, the first co-operatively owned brewery and restaurant in NC he made the jump into public service when he was elected Mayor of the City of Burlington, NC in 2015. He served 3 terms leading the launch and expansion of the city’s Link Transit bus system, construction of a greenway network, and modernization of planning, zoning, and development ordinances. He is passionate about place-making, walkable communities, and trains. He loves riding trains and visiting railroad museums all around the world.