For the Love of Churro

Hey ya’ll! I’m back for day 2 of my trip to Spain. The second day, we were still in Madrid. Since we got so much sleep the night before, we decided to start the day early in Madrid. I was in the mood for breakfast (something that I did not eat that much on the trip, which made me very sad since that is my favorite meal of the day). We ended up going for a very unconventional breakfast: Churros con chocolate. We wondered off into the streets of Madrid to San Gines, a very popular churreria in Madrid.

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Hello to these crispy cakes of goodness. When a lot of people think about churros, they think of covered in cinnamon sugar. However churros in Spain are pretty plain. Just fried sticks of heaven. They were crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. Perfection. You could either order yours with a cup of hot chocolate or a cup of coffee. My brother and I both got ours served with hot chocolate. This was a huge plate of churros. Somehow we managed to eat it all, but it definitely kept us full for hours and hours.

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When we ordered hot chocolate, I was thinking it was going to be a hot cup of liquidy chocolate silk. However this was not the case. The hot chocolate actually is very thick. It seems just like a cup of melted chocolate, which it probably was. I should have acquired more information on it, so I could have shared the wonders of this delicious cup with ya’ll. It was perfect to go with the churros though because with each dunk of churro in the cup, the churro would be coated perfectly and it wouldn’t drip that much. Three cheers for no messes! After we finished up our churros and took a minute to let our stomachs rest, we set off on our journey to the Prado Museum.

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This is the outside of the Prado. We weren’t allowed to take pictures inside, which made me very sad. We ended up getting there about 15 minutes early, which was good since we were able to get to the front of the line. If you are ever in Madrid, this is a must do. Get there early because by the time it reaches 10 am when the museum opens, there is a huge line wrapped around the museum and you will have to wait a while in the heat. We had this hilarious tour guide in the museum. She was making us crack up laughing while still educating us on all the wonderful paintings in the museum. We saw tons of El Greco, Vasquez, and Goya. We spent a lot of time at the museum, but it was totally worth it.

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Next we walked all the way to Retiro park. It was so gorgeous. There were tons of different types of plants. My favorite were the trees that were shaped like broccoli. They were quite funny to look at. The people that cut them did a very good job at shaping the plants. This park was huge. It felt like we could walk forever and still discover new areas of the park. We walked to the water, which was so nice. People were rowing boats on the water, which looked like a lot of fun. We then trekked further through the park to find a beautiful structure that awaited us!

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Hello to the Cristal Palace. It was so hot inside haha but it was so beautiful. They had these circles hanging from the ceiling in different colors. It was gorgeous. There were also matching circles spread throughout the floor. It was a really cool thing to find in the middle of a huge park. I definitely recommend for anyone in Madrid to spend some time in the park. Maybe have a picnic or layout by the water.

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For lunch, which was around about 3 pm, we went to this lovely place called Malaspina. This is a MUST. The place was so amazing. Probably the best meal we had in Madrid! This was a tortilla espanola. It was sooooo cheesy in the middle. I love anything that has melty cheese in the middle. The egg and potato part of the tortilla was delicious too. It was served on a perfectly toasted piece of bread. This was definitely the best tortilla espanola we had on the whole trip.

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This may be the best Spanish tapa dish ever. Patatas bravas. They are small pieces of potato topped with a delicious spicy sauce. After this time of having them, we ate these suckers everywhere we could find them. These were definitely one of the best things I discovered on the trip to Spain. I am definitely going to have to recreate these and make a healthy version. I miss them so much. It was like a staple of my diet while I was there. The sauce was the perfect amount of spicy. Not enough to burn your mouth, but just enough to give you that little kick in your mouth. The potatoes were also crispy just like I like them. They reminded me of hashbrowns.

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Just your average Iberian ham on top of some toast. This was delicious. Such a simple dish, but so tasty. I love how thin the ham is. It is perfect. My brother gobbled this plate up. He loved the Iberian ham more than anything on the trip, well besides the patatas bravas.

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This just looks like heaven on a plate. You can’t go wrong with melty cheese on the top of anything. This was a different kind of ham with cheese on top of toast. This may have been my favorite dish of the meal besides the potatoes. It was so rich and creamy from the cheese. The cheese provided a sweet flavor while the ham added a small amount of saltiness. Then the bread added a nice crunch to the dish. It was perfect.

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Of course we had to have a plate of calamari. This one was fried perfectly. We topped it off with some lemon juice and started devouring away. I love tapas because this was a small amount of calamari. If it was a large plate, I’m not sure if I would be able to consume it all with my brother. We really enjoyed this calamari though. I like it when it is in the rings. Although, as seen from my post yesterday, I obviously don’t have a problem eating pieces that look like baby squids.

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After we took a very long siesta (which is much needed every day), we ended up going to House Sorolla. It was the house of the famous Spanish artist, Sorolla. It was so beautiful outside. There was a huge garden in front of the house. We then went inside to look at the gallery. It was a pretty small gallery inside, but the colors of the paintings were very gorgeous. It was a nice museum. The weather was also perfect, so they had the windows open inside the house. It was definitely an interesting way to view art.

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This was the only day that we ate three meals. I know, we were very unhealthy the entire trip. Not eating a lot everyday, but walking all over the place. This meal was also super delicious. It was more of a seafood place, which we had been craving. My family loves seafood, so anytime we can get fresh fish we are there. This dish was shrimp with garlic and some other kinds of ingredients in a hot bowl. It was super delicious.

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This may be the best cheese plate I have ever had. It was a mix of goat cheese and brie. Brie is my favorite cheese. My brother is obsessed with cheese and bread, so that is why we ordered this dish in the first place. It was served with a bowl of caramelized onions! I told ya’ll that you would be seeing those suckers again on my blog. Who knew that it would be so soon! I liked mixing both cheese on a piece of toast and topping it with caramelized onions. It was delicious.

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These were tigres, which were fried mussels. They were so delicious. This was amazing. How can you go wrong with something fried? The inside was creamy and delicious. While the top was fried crispy. We only had these one other time on the trip, which made me very sad. I love mussels. However they were so delicious and I’m glad I have a picture to remember them. My dad loves tigres so much, he always goes on and on about how the tigres in Salamanca are sooooo amazing (I think we heard that story about 5 million times hahaha).

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This is a beautiful looking plate. Underneath the delicious crispy Iberian ham, there is sauteed mushrooms. Two of my favorite things on one plate. These mushrooms weren’t as great as the place we had the night before, but it was a different yet still delicious flavor. I really enjoyed the ham on top. It added a salty flavor to the mushrooms.

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Finally we had paella. I love paella. It is so amazing Filled with all kinds of seafood. My favorite may have been the calamari that was hidden beneath the rice. I was in love with this dish. Unfortunately this was the only paella we had on the entire trip. I was sad, but we were eating so much good food that I didn’t seem to really notice until the end of the trip. My tummy was so happy after this meal. We ate soo late too. We had dinner at like 1030 pm! We finished at around 11 something. It was quite weird, but so typical for Spain. People are out strolling at 11 pm with their children in strollers. I found this to be very interesting. Anyways day 2 was such a success. We were having so much fun that I couldn’t wait to explore more of Spain!

Have you ever had paella?
What is your favorite fried food?

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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)!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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?

Hop To It

Hey ya’ll! I just got back from Austin. I couldn’t post while there because I realized I forgot my camera plug at my apartment. Total fail. That tends to happen when I pack to go somewhere. I always forget something, and I get this feeling that I did, but I can never remember what I forgot until I’m already halfway away. Oh well. It was a pretty nice weekend. The highlight was definitely going to Hopdoddy’s, which is a nice burger bar in Austin.

There are two locations in Austin. The original one that is on South Congress, and this newer location on Anderson Lane. I go to the Anderson Lane one since it is down the street from where I live. Seriously best day ever when I got the news that they were getting a Hopdoddys in my neighborhood. My mom, brother, and I decided to go after my CT scans because I could only have clear liquids before, so I was starving.

I ordered the Janis Joplin. It is a hemp seed patty with avocado, bean sprouts, tillamook cheddar, and horseradish honey mustard. This is one of the best veggie burgers I have ever had. The bun is soft and has the perfect sweet, nutty flavor. The actual patty is extremely tasty, and filled with a variety of flavors. The toppings go perfect with this burger, and you definitely know you are eating the healthiest of everyone at the table.

My mom ordered the Primetime. It is Texas Akaushi Beef with caramelized onions, brie cheese, truffle aoili, and steak sauce. This is one of the fancier burgers they have on the menu. I think it is quite delicious (although I don’t eat red meat anymore), and the brie cheese is to die for. Whoever thought of putting that on the burger alongside the aoili, three points for you.

My mom and I split an order of fries. One of my favorite parts of Hopdoddys is that they have tons of sauces. Horseradish honey mustard, some chipotle BBQ sauce, and sassy sauce (their special).

My brother got the Greek, which is lamb, feta cheese, arugala, pickled red onions, tomato, cucumber, and tzatziki sauce. He said it was pretty amazing. He especially loved the feta cheese on top of it.

My brother also ordered a milkshake. The milkshakes here are life changing. This is the sea salt and caramel. It was amazing. The sweet and salty combination was perfect. I would definitely order this one next time I’m there. Although all of the milkshakes are good. I also got a t-shirt when I was there that says: “We spank our patties and they like it”. I really can’t wait to wear that around and get weird stares.

I hope everyone has been having a fantastic week!

Where is the best burger you have ever had?
What would be on your perfect burger?