More Mussels Please

Hey ya’ll! Hope everyone is having an awesome Monday. I am having a great day since I don’t have to go to class. Sucks to be all those other people who go back to school today. The perks of going to grad school at Columbia. I love still having a week and a half off. I’m living the life. Today I got to go see Hunger Games, for a second time, with my mom, and I got frozen yogurt (OMG how I miss you so much). For today’s post, I’m going to share more about my trip to DC with ya’ll. I swear it is not the only thing I talk about. When we woke up on our third day in DC, we ended up going back to the zoo in the morning because the zoo keeper told us that they let the animals out in the mornings when it is cold and let them go back inside later.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

I was excited since I love animals and we missed a lot of the ones the day before due to the bad weather. However OMG I can’t believe the animals were out because it was freezing. This was the start of the polar vortex and man was it already getting chilly. I did get a lot of steps in though, which was awesome. I’m pretty obsessed with my fitbit. We averaged about 20,000 steps a day while in Washington. It is a great walking city! After we went to the zoo, we decided it was time for lunch since we didn’t have breakfast. The night before we had debated about a lot of places, but settled on Brasserie Beck. They were known for their mussels, so obviously it was the right choice for us.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

If it wasn’t obvious to ya’ll, we started with a half lb of mussels. Oh god I died. These were amazing. No joke. They were in a mushroom cream sauce with smoked bacon and fresh wild mushrooms. This sauce was something that you would typically find on a classic hearty Italian pasta dish, but instead our mussels were soaked in it. Plus it was served in a hot skillet, which kept the mussels and sauce hot the entire time we were eating. My brother and I pretty much drank this sauce through bread. I wouldn’t be surprised if we ate an entire bread basket while dipping it in and soaking up the sauce. I wish we would have gotten more of these because they were just that good.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

My little brother ended up getting a sandwich because he wanted to have a small break from eating so much seafood. He was debating back and forth between a few good looking choices, but decided to get the pork shoulder sandwich. It looked pretty good. He let me have a bite, so I can definitely vouch for it. The meat was incredibly tender and the bun was toasted slightly. I thought it was simple yet delicious. I thought it was a good choice, but he decided he should have gotten something else. It came with a side of fries and these three dipping sauces. I thought that was cool that the restaurant gave three different sauces, although one was a bit weird. The odd one out was a curry mustard. It was a little too spicy with odd flavors mixed in it. The other two were white cream sauces.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

My dad of course stuck to one of his favorite seafood items and what the restaurant was known for: mussels. The picture is a bit blurry because at this point I was already focused on my own food and I wanted to chow down. He ended up getting Thai style mussels. These were also crazy good. Not as good as the mushroom ones, but different. I like that throughout the trip we never had the same style of mussels. Each kind was prepared differently, which was really nice. That made it seem like we were trying out different foods. These had a ton of Thai spices in the sauce, which soaked into the mussels. Overall it was a really tasty dish.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

I ended up going for a healthier and lighter option. I chose the diver scallops salad, which contained scallops, arugula, red onion, oranges, and avocado. There was a light vinaigrette that was lightly tossed on top of the salad. It was a nice change to all the heavy food we had been eating over the past few days. I have such a weakness for scallops. I find them to be incredibly tasty and meaty for such a small amount. The salad gave me a really fresh feeling and for once I wasn’t full after a meal.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

Just look at that bad boy hiding in a bed of leaves. I probably would have been happy with just a plate of scallops, but I feel as if I needed a serving or two of just straight vegetables. Sometimes when I go on vacation I don’t exactly stick to my morals and eat my daily servings of fruit and vegetables, so I always feel better when I have a salad or some type of vegetable at a meal. Anyways Brasserie Beck lived up to its fame with the mussels and the non-mussel dishes were also delicious, so it was definitely a hit. After we paid the bill and the guys used the bathroom, we headed on our way to that day’s activities. Thank god we ended up going on the metro because it was starting to get colder and I thought I would die in my nonexistent outfit (JK I was wearing clothes, but my pants were so thin that my legs were freezing).

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

This was the day of museums. We pretty much just walked down streets going into every museum possible. Thank god that everything was free. Otherwise that would have been one huge museum bill. This was taken at the Hirshhorn museum, which was definitely an interesting place. It was a modern art museum with some hilarious things inside. My brother and I had a great time exploring it, but my dad not so much. I think with modern art you just kind of have to let your mind free. The building was kind of like a doughnut, which I really enjoyed. We went to a few other art museums that day, which were much smaller galleries.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

We also ended up at the airspace and science museum, which was pretty fun. My brother and I got to do the simulators, which I definitely recommend. It is only 7-8$ depending on which one you do and you don’t pay to visit the museum, so I just think of it as paying for a ticket to the whole museum (which is MASSIVE btw). I’ve actually been here before, so I wasn’t that excited. The simulation was great though and I thought I was going to vomit afterwards. Fun times obviously. My dad enjoyed the museum a lot though. He spent some quality time with the exhibits. I was slowly dying at this point, needing a break before dinner. Thankfully after the museum, we went to rest for an hour before our dinner. I’m going to share the epic dinner with ya’ll tomorrow. You won’t be disappointed. It is droolworthy with quality food porn.

What is the best museum you have ever been to?
Do you have a favorite piece of artwork?

Advertisements

Baby, I’m back

Guess who is back, back, back, back again?!? MEEEE. I know ya’ll have missed me so much! I have missed ya’ll too. I’ve been crazy busy for the last month. I was working like crazy in a lab, I moved back to Austin, and then as soon as I moved back I was off to Spain! For the next week or so, I will be recapping my entire trip to Spain. Once that fun stuff is over, I have a TON of new recipes to share with ya’ll! I also have some pretty big news for ya’ll! I got accepted into the masters program at Columbia University for my masters of science in Nutrition and Exercise Physiology. Go Lindsay. Seriously still so proud of myself. I’m trying to figure out everything right now, so I will let ya’ll know if I end up going there (which I really really really want to go)! Now onto the big topic of Spain.

Oh god the flight was pure hell. I thought I was going to die. It wasn’t long, but it was the fact that we got into Madrid at 8:30 am and we had to wait at JFK for about 5 hours. It was definitely not fun. I was so tired when we got in, but we had to do a full day of activity!

DSC02807

This guy was hilarious. I am still not even sure what this is, but it was one of the many street performers we saw on our trip. After we checked into our hotel in Madrid, we wondered off into the streets of the city to find something to eat and see some fun things. This is one of the great things we saw that first day. My brother was obsessed with him. He would like move around and make these really weird noises. I was doing some epic stalker pictures of him as he moved around the plaza we randomly walked through.

DSC02808

When we eventually got to our hotel (we rode the subway all the way), it was around 11 in the afternoon. Then when we went out it was getting closer to 1 pm, so we decided that lunch would be the best option plus breakfast is not very popular there. We ran across this popular market, Mercado de San Miguel. It was actually really beautiful. The entire market was wrapped in glass windows that expanded from the floor to the ceiling, so you could see all the delicious stalls from the outside. As soon as we walked in, the fresh and delicious aroma hit our noses and our stomachs started to grumble. We obviously bee-lined to the first scrumptious looking stall we found, which was this seafood tapas one.

DSC02811

We got four types of tapas of the many that were offered. They were all different types of seafood on small pieces of toast. One of them was mussels, one was clams, one was salmon, and the other was tuna. They were so delicious. There was a nice blend of textures from the softness of the chopped seafood with the crunch of the toasted bread. It was such a fresh light snack to have. This was what I loved about Spain. You could have multiple tapas or small plates, so you would get to try a multitude of things. You also didn’t feel like you were overeating or anything since everything was very small. I was in foodie heaven at this point.

DSC02810

My favorite one was the oyster with a little caviar on top. You couldn’t taste the caviar. Only the rich flavor of the chopped oyster mixture. It was so delicious. It was creamy and sweet. I wasn’t even sure that it tasted like oyster, but that is what the label said at the stand. I was definitely not complaining. I could have eaten more than one of these, but there were so many more stands to try, so we had to keep going on.

DSC02813

Fried food? Yes, sign me up please. My family loves calamari, so as soon as we saw some fried squid we had to grab some to go. It was in a paper cone, which was handy because we were able to walk around the market while holding it and not making a complete mess everywhere. The squid was perfectly fried. It was crispy, but not greasy. Sometimes when people fry things, it gets really greasy and disgusting. The calamari was so fresh too. It was bursting with flavor as you ate each and every piece. My brother and I gobbled this up in a few minutes. We also tried some fried sardines, which was interesting. It tasted like fish sticks.

DSC02814

Introducing the Spanish food of croquettes. Fried cylinders filled with different types of creamy mixtures? Ummmm HECK YES. These were so delicious. That day we had a jamon (ham) and cheese one, a lobster one, and a shrimp one. It was hard to pick a favorite. It probably was a tie between the ham and lobster ones. The ham one was so cheesy with small chunks of chopped up Iberian ham while the lobster one was a creamy mixture of lobster and cheese. I was definitely a big fan, so this was the beginning of our croquette obsession on the trip along with our ham obsession (THERE HAM IS SOOOOO GOOD)!

DSC02815

After we went to the market, we decided to walk around some more. After a little while, we ended up in Sol, which was an area filled with shopping (obviously I was in heaven there). We wanted something sweet for dessert and there was this delicious looking bakery. In the windows, they had shelves of some of the treats they offered. We went in and ordered two things. One of them was a napolitana de chocolate, which is sort of like a chocolate croissant. Although I think this was better than your typical chocolate croissant. The chocolate inside tasted like a fluffy buttercream. The pastry was baked perfectly, so it was only slightly crispy on the top and soft all around. It was topped with some type of sugar. We weren’t really sure nor did we care because we shoved this in our mouth so quickly.

DSC02816

Hmmm this is interesting. A large white square. It is a meringue. It is definitely one of the more weird meringues that I have ever seen, but who cares since it was so delicious. It was soft and fluffy. It was so hard to eat though and we looked very awkward eating it. Every time my brother or I took a bite, our mouths were covered with meringue. It was very sweet, but I didn’t mind. It was like we were eating a soft cloud. I was sad that we never went back to the bakery because it was definitely my favorite bakery we ate at on the entire trip.

DSC02820

After all our munching adventures, we walked all the way to the Thyssen-Bornemisza museum of Art. There was a special Pizarro exhibit while we were there, which was very interesting. I have a huge love of art, duh, so I was very happen to explore all the museos that Spain had to offer. I am looking hella exhausted. I am even rocking the glasses look. My brother would get so pissed every time I wanted to take a picture. Too bad. We were definitely needing our siesta at this point though. We were dragging through the museum, which made me kind of sad because I wanted to really absorb the greatness of the art.

DSC02822

For dinner, we went to this tapas bar called Lateral that was very close to our hotel. We had taken a nice long siesta. It was good. The thing about Spain is that siestas are definitely needed. I haven’t been the one to nap during the day, but there somehow I was able to sleep. For the first dish, we had tortilla espanola. It was delicious. Another classic dish of Spain. It is pretty much a Spanish omelet. It was filled with potatoes and cheese. I was definitely a fan, but I had this dish before at a tapas bar in Boston.

DSC02823

This tapa was jamon con queso. The cheese was a delicious brie that was topped with Iberian ham. This was delicious. The ham is sliced so thin and it is has a wide variety of flavors in just one piece of meat. The brie was so creamy. This probably was my favorite tapas of the night. It made me fall even more in love with the greatness of Iberian ham.

DSC02824

The lower tapa was foie gras on top of a steak type of meat and the top was caramelized onions on top of the same type of meat. Oh man, how I love how Spain does caramelized onions. It sort of looks like a tablespoon of jam, but really it is a sweet mixture of cooked onions. We definitely had our fair share of onions after this meal. My brother and I also love foie gras. It was one of our favorite delicacies. We had it probably at almost every place that we ate at. Most people probably think we are weird, but ya’ll are the ones that are missing out!

DSC02825

These are abondigas, which are Spanish meatballs. I thought these were just okay, but I’ve definitely had better. Like the time I was in New York City. They were served cold rather than hot, so I think that is why I didn’t like the dish as much as the abondigas I have had previously. After our meal here, we ended up exploring a bit more. We ended up at this really cute rustic place that was most famous for mushrooms. We ended up getting a plate of mushrooms that was to die for. I forgot to take a picture because I was so exhausted at this point in the night. After dinner, we strolled around the city a bit, but then went back to the hotel. I was exhausted and passed out easily!

I hope ya’ll enjoyed my first day in Madrid! Get ready for some great pictures of food, sites, and random things. I have missed this community so much while I was gone! But now I’m back with tons of delicious things to entertain ya’ll with!

Have you ever been to Spain? Where?
Have you ever had Spanish cuisine?

Belated Birthday

Hey ya’ll! This week is sort of crazy for me. I’m taking the GRE on Thursday night, so I’ve been devoting my life to studying for it. I am praying that I do good, so I don’t have to take it again. That thing is freaking expensive. To be honest, I don’t really think you need to be skilled in geometry or have a high vocab to get your masters in nutrition and exercise physiology. Anyways this past weekend it was my mom’s birthday! I seriously love my mom to death, she is pretty awesome.

DSC01570

Funny story actually. So on Friday we went to this place called Hey Cupcake to get my cousin a few cupcakes for her birthday (yeah, all of my relatives are born at the same time – weird), and my mom decided to get one for herself for her birthday. The guy working there was like well how old are you and she was like guess how old my daughter is, so he looks at me and goes 16. REALLY DUDE? Like really? I’m 23, but sure 7 years off isn’t bad. He then proceeds to flirt with me and talk about how tall women are beautiful. Umm okay, you just thought I was 16 about 5 seconds ago.

DSCN0160For my mom’s actual birthday, we ended up going to the Whole Foods in downtown Austin to pick up lunch and about 5 million desserts. Okay, I exaggerated a bit. Only like 6 desserts because there was a surprise waiting for my mom at home. We first went to go get my mom a chocolate covered caramel apple at the chocolate bar in the Whole Foods, and that is where I saw some pretty cool stained glass chocolate. I love that chocolate is an art form. I also love the way it tastes. You are probably a deeply disturbed person if you don’t like chocolate.

DSCN0167For my lunch I had a salad from the hot and cold food bars. I piled it on with delicious goodness. It had spinach leaves and romaine lettuce, eggplant with miso glaze, roasted zucchini, grilled mushrooms, pesto roasted tofu, edamame, and some roasted tomatoes. Healthy and delicious. That is my style. My brother and mom split a sandwich called the Mopac. I know ya’ll are telling me to shut up about the food and just get to the desserts, so lets do this.

DSCN0171That is beautiful. I have a weakness for cherries. Oh and if you didn’t already know chocolate too. I love chocolate. This was a black forest cake in a cup. I love when Whole Foods smashes up a dessert and puts it in a cup to go. This dessert was probably my favorite of all the ones we picked out to have. It was so rich from the chocolate and it was moist. Thank god because I hate when cakes or brownies are like crispy instead of squishy.

DSCN0170That cloud of fluffy icing looks like a nice pillow that I just want to lay on and eat it up. Maybe not exactly, but I definitely want to gobble it up. This is the tres leches cake at Whole Foods. If you haven’t had it, you seriously need to get in your car and go pick one up immediately. This is probably the moistest cake I have ever had, and also the best tres leches cake I’ve probably had too. Whole Foods does a perfect job of incorporating the classic flavors of this traditional Mexican dessert.

DSCN0163The surprise that was awaiting my mother. A Banana Fosters birthday cake. Yes, I know. This actually exists in reality. Thank you Whole Foods for being the greatest place in the world. Okay I wouldn’t go that far, but I do love the Whole Foods. Really just the one in Austin because it is the headquarters and far superior to any other one in the world.

DSCN0169This cake was heaven. It had a thin layer of caramel for every icing layer within the cake. The bottom of the cake was surrounded in dehydrated bananas, I was a fan and no one else was. The icing was fluffy and delicious, while the cake was not dry and had so many flavors packed into it. It was sort of overwhelming, but in a good way.

DSCN0173I ended up having some fruit salad, so I could pretend that I didn’t eat all of that dessert. I’m not that much of a fatty. I only had one or two bites of every dessert that we actually got. I liked the fruit salad though. It was only filled berries and pineapple. I was glad because I’m not a fan of honeydew and I hate when people put it in fruit salad. Gross.

DSCN0161I just thought this was really neat. We obviously didn’t buy a huge thing of chocolate, but I love how they do all these cool artsy pieces in the display case at the chocolate bar in the Whole Foods. I do wonder if someone actually buys these things. I wouldn’t mind if a guy bought me that key in dark chocolate.

DSCN0162We know I love cupcakes. My weakness in life. Whole Foods does such a good job at making the cupcakes look crazy adorable, so people will buy them. This one was my favorite one that day. It was an icecream sunday on top of a plain vanilla cupcake. I’ve had their cupcakes before, so I didn’t want to get one. I love the icing, but the cake is just sort of a cake. Whole Foods is obviously somewhere you don’t go to get the cupcakes, but still most of their desserts are pretty mind blowing.

What is your favorite dessert?
How often do you go to Whole Foods?