Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Dinner @ Gino's #......4?

I think this may have been the fourth time eating at GINO'S (click on GINO'S link at top of page). This time we headed to the one near Metro Sevilla (C/ Alcalá, 23).

On the menu...

...a difficult-to-eat caprese salad.

...spaghetti al frutti di mare.

...and delicious maccheroni al forno (studded with chorizo).

Check out my earlier mini-post on GINO'S here.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Noche Vieja in Madrid

This year, Nat & I spent New Year's in Madrid. For dinner & grapes, we went to a party at a fellow American's house. Her husband, the chef & baker, prepared a delicious feast for all senses.

The theme: Mexican

The drinks: margaritas & sidra (Spanish cider)

On the menu:

  • zesty shrimp and whitefish ceviche (tons of lime!)
  • roasted chicken with a delicious mole sauce
  • spicy bean and jalapeno tamales
  • saucy ground beef enchiladas
  • yellow rice
  • perfect guacamole
The verdict: AMAZING.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Night Lights in Madrid

In Spain, the Christmas festivities last until January 6th, the Day of the Kings. For the duration of our stay in Madrid, the streets of the center were lit up with lovely white (and sometimes blue) designs.

The first photo is of the Puerta de Alcalá.

This second shot is looking back toward the Puerta de Alcalá (on Calle Alcalá).

This is the Christmas tree in the Puerta del Sol.

And this is a shot of one of the sidestreets that leads to Sol.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009


I need your help! I'm entering a photo contest for shots taken while studying abroad. I've taken all 35 contenders and narrowed them down to only 4. However, I can only submit 3 and I need to eliminate one.

Please take a moment to look them over and comment on which is your favorite. It would be very helpful! Thanks!

Monday, January 19, 2009

Confusion averted!

I figured out what was going on with my "duck" at MUSSOL Restaurante!

The title of the dish said "magrete de pato" but since the description only said "pechuga de pato" (breast of duck), I brushed aside the word "magrete" because I assumed it was a Catalan word that I did not know. The truth is, I did not know the word, but it's not just a Catalan one.

Thanks to a few sites, I now know that a duck magret is indeed a duck breast, but that of a duck that has been fattened for foie gras. Since the duck is force-fed a diet that is high in corn, the pectoral muscles become stronger and the flesh has a less-tender texture, but the taste as well is decidedly different than traditional duck breast. Hence, the confusion in my taste buds.

Check out my sources here and here.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

MUSSOL Restaurante

On the prowl for Catalán cuisine, we sought out the flagship of MUSSOL Restaurante's four locations: the restaurant on Carrer
Casp, 19, in Barcelona's Centro district (Metro: Passeig De Gràcia‎ or Full-screenUrquinaona‎).

We started out with the traditional Catalán coca (toasted bread with olive oil, garlic, and tomato). For the main dishes, I ordered pato (which means duck in Castellano), but my "duck" was decidedly beefy tasting, so I was a bit confused to say the least. It came paired with some lovely roasted apples.

Overall, MUSSOL has a reputation for serving traditional farmhouse food in a big city setting. Prices per person average
15,00€. It's worth a try!

For more information on MUSSOL, check out their site in
English, Castellano or Català...
OR click
here for a more thorough description of their menu and decor.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Pep Restaurante

My favorite part of Spain cuisine is the existence of the "menu of the day". Most places will offer a midday selection of dishes (menu is usually posted outside of the restaurant): you choose a first course (primer plato), and a second course (segundo). Standard menus also include bread (pan), wine (vino) or a soft drink (refresco), and a dessert (postre).

On our second day (I think) in Barcelona, we set out looking for Casa Amalia (Passatge Mercat, 4-6 -- rumored to have a menu of the day for only 7,81), only to find out that it was closed on Mondays. We went, instead, next door to Pep Restaurante (Passatge Pla, 11) to sample their Catalan cuisine.

The second courses (segundos) we chose were decidedly non-memorable, but the primer plato was to-die-for. Both of us got shellfish soup (sopa de mariscos) -- a tomato-based puree laced with bits of whitefish and tiny prawns. Overall the soup was a perfect balance of savory aromatics and sweet tomatoes and seafood. My only wish was that I had had two bowls. =)

The dessert (postre) we chose was crema catalana (catalan cream), a close relative of France's
crème brûlée. Click here for a recipe.

Friday, January 16, 2009

きいりん (Kirin) Barcelona

If you find yourself in the need of some quick sushi, look no further than Kirin Japanese Restaurant in Barcelona, Spain.

Located on Carrer Aragó, 231, Kirin sells moving sushi -- that is, sushi that comes right to you on a conveyer belt. All you have to do is sit and wait while numerous tiny plates ride by, each holding a few bites of either rolled sushi, panfried noodles, seeweed salad, or even dessert.

It's all-you-can-eat for only 9,90
mid-day and 14,90 for nights and holidays.

The buffet even includes a create-your-own-meal option. Go to the raw bar and choose your seafood, meats, and veggies, and they grill it for you hibachi-style. Delicious!

For more information, check out their website here.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Tapas in Barcelona


We got into Barcelona a little before 8 am on a Sunday... Not the prime time to get the true feel of a Spanish city. =)

After dropping our bags at the hostal, we set out to find some coffee and warm food. We settled on a small restaurant near Las Ramblas that serves both tapas and classic Spanish fare.

We started off with café con leche (coffee with milk) and a bocadillo (cold sandwich) of chorizo
(garlicky pork sausage seasoned with paprika), cheese and tomato. Then we moved onto tapas: patatas bravas (fried potatoes served with a spicy sauce), warm marinated mushrooms, and txistorra (or chistorra -- chili and paprika seasoned pork sausage).

Monday, January 5, 2009

Hola de Madrid!!

Hello, all!
Nat and I are in Madrid -- wasting away endless hours navigating the cobbled streets and enjoying delicious (and some not-so-delicious) international foods. While I have many pictures to share and a handful of restaurant reviews to publish here, I am in a locutorio (aka internet cafe of sorts) and there is no USB port accessible, so my pictures and stories will have to wait.
Heading out to do some gift shopping -- right now in Madrid, the stores have already started with the "rebajas" sales -- post-holiday sales where stores cut back up to 60 or 70%. In addition, tomorrow is the Día de los Reyes (the day the three kings come, bearing gifts for all the children -- a second time!-- and marking the finale of the Christmas festivies). Therefore, eveyone and their mother is carrying around a giant box or two of roscones, the traditional bread eaten on Día de los Reyes. Needless to say, the toy stores are also packed, so if you want that new Caillou doll, you´d better be prepared to fight for it...
The kings´ parade is starting any minute now, then we´ll be meeting up with our beloved maid from last semester for a coffee or a chocolate (can´t wait!!).
Just checking in for now -- back in VT on Sunday!
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