Eat Our Way Through Spain: Day 2 (Madrid)

After a busy day at the Prado museum and attending a soccer match, we had dinner at the Restaurant Botin (Calle de Cuchilleros, 17). I had the merluza, or Cantabrian hake, which is a buttery, flaky white fish oven baked to produce a golden crust and served with potatoes. A ordered the cordero asado, roast baby lamb, with meat so tender and succulent, we didn’t have to cut it with a knife.  Though the specialty of the house was the roast suckling pig, we wanted to have the real deal in Segovia. We had planned a day trip there for the next day to sample their famous dish.

For dessert, I ordered the Freson San Isidro, strawberries drizzled in creme anglaise and caramel. A ordered the torta botin, a cake layered with cream and and topped with torched meringue. All of this and a small pitcher of sangria cost us €78.

Again, after dinner we rolled home and passed out. 2 weeks of this would not be good for my waistline.😦

Eat Our Way Through Spain: Day 1 (Madrid)

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Eat Our Way Through Spain: Day 1 (Madrid)

Last August, A and I traveled through Spain. On the itinerary, 3 cities: Madrid, Sevilla, and Barcelona. He wanted one last hurrah before succumbing to B-school and I loved Spain so much when I visited via a Contiki tour 2 years ago, that I had to go back. My goals: eat, eat, eat! I also wanted to practice mi espanol and came better prepared this time with a food journal and my new Canon Rebel dSLR camera.

Highlights from our first day in Madrid:

We had lunch at Cafe de Oriente (Plaza Oriente, 2) which was recommended by the Michelin guide and has a patio overlooking the Palacio Real. We both ordered the menu del dia, which included 3 courses for €13. Side note: When traveling, especially in Europe, I highly recommend ordering the menu of the day- you get the best bang for your buck!

The servers gave us complimentary tostas, similar to canapes, to munch on while we ordered. We ordered gazpacho andalus to start. The red and green bellpeppers sprinkled on top provided just the right amount of crunch while the cool broth refreshed us in the stifling madrileno heat.

I ordered the sepia a la plancha y ali-oli, or seared cuttle fish with aioli sauce, while A ordered the bistec con patatas fritas, or grilled steak with fries.  I definitely liked my dish better than A’s and felt he copped out with such a “safe” choice. My cuttle fish was very similar to squid and was seared to perfection. It was topped with roasted red peppers and was complimented by the aioli sauce. Even though we specified that A’s bistec be cooked medium rare, it came out almost well done, but was still juicy. We ended this meal with a scoop of ice cream.

For dinner, we were excited to do our first (out of many more) pub crawls. Since it was our first night in Madrid and we hadn’t gotten our bearings yet, we followed Rick Steve’s Madrid pub crawl. We started out at the Museo del Jamon, which is nirvana for the ham aficionado.  Hence, if you’re a vegetarian, stay away from the Museo del Jamon – or better yet, don’t come to Spain! Alas, we were on a budget and didn’t spring for the famous jamon iberico, but instead chose to order off the €1 menu.

Next stop, La Casa del Abuelo, where, following Rick Steve’s advice, we ordered the gambas al ajillo, or shrimp cooked escargot-style in olive oil, garlic, and butter. Needless to say, A and I almost licked the bowl dry when we ran out of bread to mop up the juices. Their house red wine is really good too – on the sweet side though.

Across the street from La Casa del Abuelo was Orejas de Oro, or the “Golden Ear.” The specialty of the house is oreja, pig ears, and after noticing that many of the patrons also ordered it, we did as well.  They ran out of their other specialty, octopus, so we also ordered ham croquettes and sangria. The pig ears actually were quite tasty, like chewy bacon bits in a tangy sauce. The ham croquettes were crunchy on the outside and piping hot on the inside. The filling seemed to consist of creamy mashed potatoes dotted with ham bits.

By now A and I couldn’t eat another bite but wanted to end the night with something sweet, which meant churros and hot chocolate! We waddled over to Chocolateria Sangine near the Plaza Mayor for our sugar fix. Spanish hot chocolate is a lot thicker and creamier than its American counterpart and is delicious when strips of fried dough are dunked into it.  What an incredible first day in Spain!

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Tokyo, Japan

Last June I went to Tokyo on a somewhat last-minute business trip.  Because I didn’t have the idea for this blog yet, I didn’t take pictures of every meal or take copious notes on every morsel that touched my lips – which is, on one hand, too bad because Tokyo is definitely one of the world’s foodie capitals, but on the other, my limited culinary vocabulary would not do the cuisine of Tokyo justice. Here are some visual highlights:

The Tsukiji Market

When presented like this, tuna sashimi that is a bit too fresh for my taste.

Sushi, more to my  liking. Side note: my friend C convinced me to try uni while in Tokyo. So glad I did! Utter bliss – but would not touch the stuff here in the States.

Yakitori place

I couldn’t go to Tokyo without trying local ramen. I entered the gates of ramen-heaven at this ramen shop in the Harajuku district. The only local place that comes close is Santouka, which I’ll be reviewing soon.

One of A’s friends who moved to Tokyo for work, took us out to eat shabu shabu in Ebisu. We felt really special because we were the only Americans and stuck out among all the drunk Japanese businessmen. This meal was easily my favorite meal in Tokyo. It was UH-MAAAAZING! Sadly I haven’t been able to find a decent shabu shabu place in the Bay Area that would compare, so if you know of any, send suggestions my way!

Izakaya food

Tonkatsu (not greasy!) and udon in Roppongi. Check out that wagyu beef!

One of my coworkers advised me to bring home a box of Royce nama (fresh or raw in Japanese) chocolates. They can be conveniently purchased in the International terminal of the Narita Airport after passport control. Though I have been known to declare See’s chocolates as “good,” I have never had an orgasm by chocolate until Royce chocolates. Pure fudgey, velvety goodness that’s not cloyingly sweet like American chocolates, the Japanese really know a thing or two about chocolate, surprisingly. They also make chocolate covered potato chips! If you’re looking to bring back a food souvenir from Tokyo, I highly recommend a box of Royce nama chocolates!

(left source; right source)

Have I convinced those of you who haven’t gone to Tokyo yet to go now? If you do, take me with you!

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Hello world!

I love food, taking pictures of food, and traveling. Food has been one of the main focuses of many of my travels. So, I thought, why not jump on the bandwagon and start a food blog of my own to share my photos and food musings to a wider audience?

A friend of mine C, introduced me to the term “foodiot.” Yes, I am that dork you see in restaurants painstakingly arranging the food before allowing any of her poor dining companions to take a bite from their plates.  However, I wouldn’t define myself as a full-blown foodiot – yet. . .  Maybe only 50% foodiot. I think I’m pretty considerate as I try to take the requisite iPhone food picture without embarrassing anyone. I’m not one of those food snobs that wax poetic about organic figs or the virtues of the sustainable food revolution.

Some things to keep in mind if you choose to follow my foodie adventures:

  1. I am a total blogging amateur
  2. I haven’t yet developed the sophisticated foodie lingo or palate that goes along with so many other food blogs out there.  So please bear with me as I learn how to talk about food articulately. (I promise to limit the usage of “yum!!!” and NEVER to say “YUM-O!!” Ha ha)
  3. Going off of #2, I’m not much of a writer, so my posts will be words-light and mostly picture-heavy

Bon appetit!

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