Monday, November 08, 2010

Elx, Barcelona, Spain

Waking up almost at noon is cause for great eating because we have to make up for the caloric loss in the morning. Luckily for us, we heard of a good paella place just a a short walk from our apartment.

Being the first to be served during the day, we pretty much had the whole dining room to ourselves. Our sampler platter of fried appetizers did the job to wake us up. Crisp but not too greasy, the calamari and codfish fritters in particular were quite tasty indeed.

Of course, one does not come to Elx without having the paella. We decided on a mixed seafood and roast chicken paella. This was definitely bursting in flavor and the rice grains were cooked perfectly absorbing all the flavor from the stock. Despite being cooked together with the rice, the chicken still had a nice crisp and even though we felt it was a tad bit salty, I guess that just gave us more reason to wash everything down with heaps of cava.


Sunday, October 17, 2010

Jamon, Spain

One might argue this, but I personally believe the best cured type of meat in this genre is jamon from Spain. Italian prosciutto, Austrian and German speck, Portuguese presunto still take second place. Why do I like jamon and in particular jamon iberico de bellota so much? The intensity in flavour and "juiciness"(that's right, dry-cured meat which is juicy) is unparalleled. Eaten on its own, with some melon, bread or the more Catalan style Pa amb tomàquet, bread with tomato and garlic rub and a drizzle of olive oil, this stuff is mighty tasty.


I'm not dead, though it feels like it... sometimes

Monday, July 12, 2010

Bar El Tropezon, Barcelona, Spain

If one wanders off the main strips in Barcelona into the vast winding small street alleys, you may come across nice little gems such as Bar El Tropezon (Carrer del Regomir, 26 tel: +34 93 310 18 64).

This is a plate of mixed spicy chorizo. Salty, spicy and with just the right amount of grease, these went great with beer.

This dish I think it was called la bomba or something like that is essentially like a potato croquette with chunks of ham in it, deep fried and smothered in a tangy combination of tomato and sour cream sauce.

Salted fried cod fish fritters, these actually tasted a lot better than they looked. The exterior was fried just to a perfect crisp to give way to a tasty soft cod fish bite within.

Here's some bread with garlic and tomato rubbed onto it. A rather refreshing side.

Of course when we're in Barcelona, we have to take advantage of her proximity to the water. Here's a daily special of clams cooked in garlic and white wine. Very fresh, the flavor of the clams stands out in this dish.

Grilled baby octopus in garlic butter. Tender octopus that wasn't overcooked, these was pretty delicious as well.

So what's the next best thing to watching the World Cup in South Africa? In Barcelona where the crowds were just crazy all night after Espana's huge win.


Sunday, June 06, 2010

Big Nick's Burger and Pizza Joint, Manhattan, NYC

I seldom venture to the Westside and when I do, it's usually due to a detour from a walk in the park to Big Nick's for some burgers. Big Nick's is somewhat of an institution by now, safe and tasty fare without the need for long waits; trialed and tested to deliver.

Here's the one pound sumo burger. That's right, one pound of pure grounded bovine splendor wedged between two slices of burger bun bread desperately trying to hold it all in. Served with thick cut steak fries, this could pretty much count as one solid meal.

The deli burger, which is a favourite of mine has thick cut savory French toast slices instead of burger bun bread. A slightly smaller patty (still a decent 10-12oz) cooked medium rare and topped with mushrooms and Gruyere cheese. To top up that deli -ook, notice the cute little (and totally redundant) toothpicks with the coloured cellophane wrapped ends.

A straight forward bacon cheese burger that always delivers. Beauty in its simplicity. Like the deli burger, this was requested to be served with waffle fries as well.

Just to make sure we had our vegetable quota for the meal (notice all the salad that came with the burgers too), this is a slice of carrot cake, complete with a dollop of whipped cream sprinkled with hundreds and thousands.


Monday, April 26, 2010

JP Licks, Harvard Sq, Boston, MA

Your Honour, I plea guilty; guilty to blog neglect. I'm definitely not giving up on this blog but it's just that I'm in this phase of my life right now which just seems to sap away all my time and energy. This is just a quick snap at JP Licks during one of my short breaks. JP licks is a Boston chain cafe which sells ice-cream, frozen yogurts, coffee and cakes. Sometimes, sipping a hot chocolate and dismembering a gingerbread man bit by bit with my teeth are some of the best things in the world.


p.s: you can tell he is a bit of a masochist too because he's still smiling despite losing a leg.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Zaytinya, Washington DC

Waking up to a little Winter wonderland such as this invokes strong emotions within me. Strong emotions because I knew I had f**kloads of shoveling to do before I could leave the house. Well at least the snow had stopped and the three hours of shoveling worked up quite an appetite to justify another meal.

It wasn't our intention to hit another "tapas" style restaurant the very next day but technically Zaytinya does mezze style dishes which is pretty much er... Middle-Eastern tapas. The food here has strong Greek, Lebanese and Turkish influences which were evident in the flavor and selection of dishes.

Warm pita bread on a cold late morning, most welcomed.

Smooth humus with a generous pour of olive oil, this accompanied the bread very well.

Escargots on a bed of mashed potatoes served with a garlic butter sauce, a tad salty but these were still quite tasty snails.

Now this was very tasty, minced lamb kebab koobideh seared just enough to cook the exterior leaving almost a tartare like raw finish within. Delicious!

The homemade veal sausages were also very good with a surprisingly very snappy casing which pretty much just burst forth with full flavor on every bite.

Crisp pita bread filled with seasoned minced lamb, I could imagine this as a nice snack or sandwich to go, the bread remained nice and crisp despite the juicy mince.

Here's a risoni with grilled chicken and shaved parmesan, this felt a little heavy but that could probably be due to the fact that we were already pretty full before this last savory dish arrived.

Zaytinya's rendition of the Turkish delight. Walnut ice cream with Skotidakis Farm goat’s milk yogurt mousse, honey geleé, orange-caramel sauce and caramelized pine nuts. I'm not a big fan of the typical Turkish delight confectionary (way too sweet for me) but this was a nice refreshing change.

And just to balance up the desserts, here's the Greek yogurt and apricots. Muscat soaked apricots, vanilla yogurt cream, apricot sorbet and pistachio powder. Not bad either.

The almost obligatory Turkish coffee ended the meal.


Monday, February 08, 2010

Jaleo Revisited, Washington DC

Whenever I'm in DC, I make a stop by my favorite Spanish tapas joint, Jaleo. I've reviewed this place before, so I skipped the upload of many repetitious pictures but here are some dishes that I tried for the first time.

A starter of smoked chorizo and pata negra (jamón ibérico de bellota apparently), cured meat of the black Iberian pig which was thankfully released for sale from Spain to the USA in July 2008 . Oily, smooth and salted just enough, this was good stuff.

Shrimp quick boiled and drizzled with a chili and garlic infused olive oil was up next. The seafoods really shine at Jaleo and I've never been disappointed with the freshness and quality of the seafood here.

Broiled octopus with baby potatoes; fresh seafood well cooked again with a nice sprinkle of paprika.

A great winter dish was the stew of tenderly braised veal cheek with a medley of mushrooms including fresh porcini! A lot more subtle in taste than the dried ones, this should still delight the porcini lovers out there.

We finished our meal with a pair of desserts including this rich vanilla flan with brandy whipped cream. Deceptively rich, it went well with our coffee.

The service as usual is impeccable and they were still just as hospitable and gracious towards us despite the fact that they were planning to close early that day due to the crazy blizzard. That's a photo from the window by the way.