The Greatest Meal of My Life

Hey ya’ll! It is my favorite day of the week: What I Ate Wednesday! I am so happy to be back in the country to participate in this. Luckily for ya’ll, I’ve been holding off to post for this special day, so that I could share the best meal I had on my trip with ya’ll and the rest of the foodie community! Thanks so much to Jenn for hosting this weekly event! Girl, you are a genius. Anyways now time for my meal. This was when we got to Sevilla. The day after we went to Toledo and went back to Madrid, we woke up the next morning super EARLY and hopped on a train to Cordoba where we would only spend a few hours. Thank god before we left I ate a Luna bar to tide me over.

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Our first stop on the itinerary in Cordoba was to go to La Mezquita, which is a sort of catheral and mosque. It was amazing. I am a huge art history buff, I even took a course in my undergraduate studies. Near the end of the course we studied this famous architecture because it has a huge Moorish influence. The arches are probably one of the most notable features of this place since they go on and on forever. The columns themselves are also gorgeous. You can learn a lot about the time period of a building by looking at the crown of the column, which has the decoration part on top of the pillar. All of the carvings in the wall were very intricate too. It is amazing that such beauty like this can be created years and years ago when there was not that much technology and tools.

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More arches and columns. Don’t worry I won’t torture ya’ll so much. I have about a million pictures of this one place. It was so beautiful that I just kept snapping away at everything. My eyes were a bit overwhelmed by everything, so I wanted to take enough pictures to be able to remember it later. There was a small amount of stained glass in the building, which was seriously breathtaking. I am a huge fan of stained glass (Jewish probz – or maybe art lover problems). I really just love art and architecture in general. If I could do something else in life (I wouldn’t because I love nutrition and health too much), but if I did it would have to do with art and architecture. I love it.

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After La Mezquita, we headed off into these really small alley ways to find a synagogue. However the synagogue was closed for renovation, but luckily the Sephardic museum was open! I’m an Ashkenazi Jew, which means that I come from Eastern Europe. Sephardic Jews come from Spain, Morocco, etc etc. The museum was really cute though. It was three stories with each room being a different part of Jewish history in Spain. They had tons of old Spanish Jewish artifacts like a seder plate that was painted in the brightest colors. I liked that the Sephardic Jews were into very bright and vibrant things. It makes everything so much more beautiful. After this museum, our train was in an hour, so we didn’t have time to sit down and eat anything. We went back to the station and got on our train to Sevilla. Once in Sevilla we were starving, so we went to look for something that was open to eat. However it was siesta around this time, so we were getting nervous that nothing was open. Luckily we ended up at La Azotea, which had the best meal of our entire trip.

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This may have been my favorite tapas plate of the entire meal. It was wontons with goat cheese and shrimp inside topped with a spicy aioli sauce and scallions. Ummmm yes. It was like an asian fusion with spanish food. The wontons were really hot, but the cheese just melted into your mouth as you bit into it. The shrimp was chopped very finely, so that the texture was not a bothersome at all. It was the perfect dish. I could have eaten about two or three plates of these and called it a meal.

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This was a fish plate. It had a small filet of fish on top of a bed of greens, tomatoes, and this garlic sauce. It was also topped with parmesan flakes. This was a medio portion, which meant that it was half of what the ration is. It was cooked perfectly. The fish was extremely flaky and fresh. The tomatoes were so good too. When you mixed everything up with the sauce, it was the perfect bite. There were some other good looking fish plates that went by us as we sat waiting for our food. We wanted to eat everything.

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This looks extremely weird, and a little bit like sushi. However it is just some brown rice and meat stuffed into a seaweed wrap and topped with either an egg or caramelized onions. When I first saw this dish on the table, I was a bit worried. It looks a little sketchy, however it is an explosion of deliciousness when you shove it in your mouth. You expect it to be a bit bitter, but instead it is extremely sweet in a savory sort of way. I would have definitely ordered this again.

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Croquettes! We obviously couldn’t have gone one meal without eating at least one of our favorite traditional Spanish foods. These were AMAZING. It was like a sweet duck sauce underneath the croquettes, which were just simply filled with ham and cheese. They were fried super crispy too, which gave the outside a nice crunch as you got into the soft inside. These were definitely one of the best croquettes I had on the trip.

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I believe that if you are having the best meal of your life, you definitely need to order dessert. Since this restaurant was so amazing, it was obvious that all of the desserts were going to be equally amazing. It was really hard to pick, but in the end we ended up choosing a chocolate orange souffle. It was mind blowing. When we broke it open, chocolate ganache spilled out of the cake. We ate it up in about five minutes. They must have thought we were American pigs, but oh well. It was good. Definitely the best meal of the trip. I wish we could have gone back at least one more time to try other things on the menu since there were so many tempting options.

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Instead of having dinner like a normal person, we decided to head over and eat some helado (ice cream) for dinner. Such a good option in my opinion. We went to Rayas, which is a very popular heladeria in Sevilla. It was definitely worth the trek (later on we found out that there was one literally a foot from our hotel lol). My brother ended up getting strawberry cheesecake and dulce de leche. The strawberry cheesecake was definitely my favorite of the two. It was so creamy and rich.

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I decided to go pretty simple and just get coconut. It was delicious. There were small flakes of coconut within the ice cream. I love fruit flavors of ice cream. I wish we would have gone back to get more because I would have gotten lemon or mango. You can’t go wrong with something simple. If I had my way, I probably would have just snuck behind the counter and sampled every single flavor. Yeah, I like ice cream. Foreign icecream is just so much better in comparison to American. I could live off gelato in Italy, but that is a whole different story. Back to Spain!

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After we got our ice cream, we ate it and walked around Sevilla. We ended up at this awesome castle/church thing. I’m not really sure what it was, but it was gigantic. It looks cool at night. We walked through the Juderia (Jewish neighborhood) and even ended up attending some neighborhood party. Actually we think it was some political rally, but it felt like a neighborhood party to me. It was super awkward in my opinion and I wanted to leave. Eventually we ended up back at the hotel and went to rest for the next day ahead of us.

I hope everyone had a good WIAW! We are halfway through the week. I’m not sure why I count down the week anymore since I pretty much do nothing besides coach volleyball. It is just a habit I guess or I’m just super excited for the Maccabi games and graduate school. Who knows!

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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?

WIAW (What My Roommate Makes Me)

Hey ya’ll! It is Wednesday. Hurray. For me, that means only class today and tomorrow. However I have the dreadful GRE at 5:30 pm tomorrow evening. Bum bum bum. I know it sucks. The things I do to achieve my dreams. On a happier and much lighter note, it is What I Ate Wednesday. YES. Thank you Jenn for giving this special day to all of us food and healthy living bloggers. I love it. For today’s WIAW post I thought I would throw an extra special twist: What my roommate makes me. I love my roommate, she is all about healthy living, so she makes some delicious food for us to enjoy.

DSC02736This past week she made enchiladas. Oh god were they good. She used corn tortillas and real Mexican cheese (although we aren’t sure how legit the cheese is because our stomachs hurt later). The sauce was the bomb though. She made it with peppers and other delicious goodness.

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This is the whole plate of delicious heaven. She served the enchiladas with chopped lettuce and cherry tomatoes. Then there was a side of brown rice with tomatoes, peppers, and chiles. The rice was amazing. It was creamy, smooth, and filled with a bit of spice. I kept going back for more. Then we had some organic refried black beans on the side. I have a weakness for refried beans, soooo good.

DSC02739This is so blurry. Maybe because I was tipsy? Blame it on the alcohol, blame it on the vodka, blame it on the henney. No, but actually really. My contribution to the dinner was the margaritas. This was round two. The first ones we had were lime margaritas and these were strawberry. We like to celebrate our Thursday nights in style, even if we are just sitting at home the two of us. We are cool like that, I know you are all jealous.

DSCN0155What is this? Vegetarian heaven on a plate. It was ezekial bread topped with relish, mayonaisse, and vegetarian sloppy joe. I’ve never had a vegetarian sloppy joe, so this was something new for me. It was amazing. Maybe even better than one with actual meat it in. She served corn on the side. I was a big fan. I haven’t had corn in a while.

DSCN0154Aren’t you jealous that my roommate is better than yours? You should be because mine serves me up delicious meals like this. I gobbled it up.

DSC02497She makes the best salads. No joke. This one was spinach leaves, pine nuts, goat cheese, blueberries and topped with a blueberry dressing. Oh man, this was good. I love a nice refreshing salad, so whenever she pops one of these bad boys up I’m pretty excited.

DSC02732This is Ivy, the crazy kitten. She had managed to get into the empty alcohol bag. Maybe she wanted to booze too? Too bad you are a kitten. Underage problems. She just has a love for bags. We think she looks like a gremlin. She pops out of nowhere and jumps on everything. She is like a little ball of energy.

Hope everyone has a good humpday and WIAW!