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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WIAW (I’m Back)

Hey ya’ll! Sorry I’ve been MIA from the blogging world. Lets just say I have a knack of misplacing things in my room and stuff. For the past week and a half, I haven’t been able to find my camera charger. Uh oh. That means no new photos for the blog since they have all been hanging out on my camera. Thankfully when I was home this past weekend, I found my charger in my backpack that I took to Boston. My bad. So now I’m back and just in time for my favorite day of the week: What I Ate Wednesday. Thanks to Jenn for hosting my favorite day of the week!

Hello to a breakfast of champions. Sometimes when I go grocery shopping I eyeball certain things, like these Vans lite waffles, and debate if I really need them. I then come up with amazing breakfasts like this one to justify why I really need to buy these. Heck plus they were on sale, so it was calling to my Jewish nature.

This lovely creation was two Vans lite waffles, a sliced banana, strawberry slices, fat free vanilla yogurt, and a sprinkle of chocolate chips.The only thing I thought was missing was some dark chocolate sauce. Oh well, I definitely will be putting that on top next time. This was the perfect breakfast and it held me over through the morning until I ate my lunch after back to back classes.

Smoothies are one of the best snacks out there. You can totally customize them to your preferences and they are very filling if you put lots of fiber, like I do, in them. Mine was a chocolate pineapple smoothie topped with some fat free whip cream and dark chocolate sauce (I love my dark chocolate – who doesn’t).

My mom and I went on a little shopping spree the other weekend, and ended up at godiva because a couple of new flavors were out. We ended up getting an 8 piece box of chocolates – total score in my mind. The flavors are birthday cake, chocolate chip cookie dough, pumpkin cheesecake, pumpkin spice, walnut brownie, and pineapple hummingbird. So far the birthday cake is my favorite. I pretty much love anything birthday cake flavored, so throw it in a chocolate and I’m yours.

Since I have class literally all day pretty much, I have been needing to pack lunches that fit into my backpack and are easy to eat throughout the day. This means tons of salads. For this day in particular, I had a hamburger salad. I did meatless crumbles, shredded lettuce, sliced red onion, sliced pickles, mushrooms, and it was topped with mustard. Oh man. This was actually really good. I was impressed. Especially because I threw this right together before I had to go to class. Skills.

My mom and I are obsessed with Halibut. When we were at Central Market we saw some fresh fillets of halibut that were really thick, so we decided to get it and make fish tacos with. We were originally going to marinate it in some hatch chile soy sauce, but my mom realized that she had thrown it away. We ended up just tossing some olive oil, salt, and pepper on them.

The fish turned out amazing. It was flaky to perfection. We just ended up throwing them on some corn tortillas that we also got at Central Market, and topped them with diced onions and tomatoes. This was the perfect dinner.

Froyo is always the best night cap in my mind. You can’t get anything better than some low calorie frozen yogurt with amazing toppings. Definitely will have to do a review of the local froyo places in San Marcos sometime soon – I won’t complain about that!

Hope everyone has an amazing Wednesday! I’m dying because I just had my intermediate volleyball class, and I swear all we do is run instead of actually play volleyball. I’m ready to play!

Rollin with My Homies

Hey ya’ll! I hope everyone’s Monday is going awesome. I’m still going through the moving process. Lots of drama, lots of people cancelling on helping me, which ended up leaving me to move myself. Oh well. It was some really great exercise. All I have left to do is the big pieces, which my dad is coming in tonight to help me get. Then I’ll start settling into the new place. I can’t wait to hang everything up in the closet. It is beautiful and I have deserved a nice closet after my small, dinky one. Anyways, sorry I get a little distracted by it, but today I’m going to share my spring roll technique with you. I have shrimp in this spring roll, but you can do anything. I plan on making one with fruit only soon – mango, strawberries, and mandarin oranges. Delicious. Maybe some avocado too. I’m so creative.

I really wanted to make this a vlog, but alas I have no one to film me doing this, so I have to do a photo how-to, but I think it is pretty great. Spring rolls are super easy to make, and they are a healthy low  cal option. Plus they are gluten free! Yay for Asians using rice noodles in most of their cooking. No wonder they are so freaking skinny.
1. Set out all ingredients and tools needed to make spring rolls on table: one plate, a pie plate filled with water, rice paper sheets, rice vermicelli noodles, parsley, shredded carrots, shredded lettuce, and meat of your choice (in this case I used shrimp, but you can make it vegan by using tofu)

2. Dip one rice paper sheet into the pie plate of water, make sure you coat it evenly, and let sit for a couple of seconds.

3. Place wet rice paper on the plate, but be careful because the texture will have switched from being hard to being sticky and soft, which means that it will rip easily. Once it is on the plate, start piling all of the inside fillers in the middle. Just don’t overload because the paper will rip or it won’t fold well.

4. The first part of the actual rolling of the spring roll is pulling in the sides. Take the left and right side and pull it inwards, so it is partially covering the food in the middle.

5. Next pull the top of the rice sheet down towards you and tuck it in as tight as possible underneath all of the food. This is the trickiest part because when you are pulling it tight, the paper will want to rip. The one pictured above is a little loose, but as long as it isn’t super floppy then the springroll will hold.

6. Now start rolling the middle towards you until all of the rice paper has wrapped around the springroll. If you did the step of getting the paper wet completely right than this shouldn’t be a problem, but if some of your paper is still hard you can brush it with a small amount of water and it will stick. Tada. Now you have a spring roll to enjoy.

Once you get the hang of making them, you can pop them out pretty quick and they are an easy go to meal of mine because I can put it in my pink bento box and take to school without needing to refrigerate it in between classes and eating it. Go crazy with the combinations of what you can put into it. I have seem some pretty interesting things at a few Vietnamese restaurants that I have been to. I usually enjoy mine with gluten free peanut sauce, but you can make your own sauces with soy sauce, peanut sauce, and a variety of Asian condiments.

Mmmmm springs. Nom nom nom. This post may look familiar to some of you because I wrote about spring rolls on my old blog. I decided to bring them to Conscious Cravings because spring rolls are on the Your Healing Diet. As long as you sub tofu or have no meat in the spring rolls, then these are good to go on the plan. Spring rolls are great during the summer because there is a crazy good amount of vegetables and fruits to play with in the rolls.

Have an awesome Monday! Tomorrow I’ll be blogging from my new apartment. YAY!

What would you put in your spring roll?
Have you ever had Vietnamese food?

Food Trailer Love

Hey ya’ll! Sorry for no post yesterday. I’ve been extremely stressed out from all the stuff that has been going on in my life: school, health issues, and moving. Too much at times. Anyways for a much happier note, I thought I would share with you one of my loves in life. Food trailers. Austin is known for having some of the best food trailers, and living close by in San Marcos is great because the food trailer trend has come to town! I decided to go on a food trailer adventure.

St. Pita’s is probably my favorite trailer so far in San Marcos (although I’m still waiting to try a couple of the other ones). Obviously stated in the name, this trailer serves pitas. These pitas are ridiculously good. The menu only has four items on it: falafel, fried avocado, the classic with beef and lamb, and an all veggie pita. Since my trip to Israel, I have been on the search for falafel that is close to my new standards. This is a pretty hard task for food places since falafel in Israel is one of the greatest things, besides schnitzel of course.

I obviously ordered the falafel pita, which comes with chickpea fritters, romaine lettuce, tomatoes, cucumber, red onion sauce, and their saintly sauce. The saintly sauce is a mix of a chipotle aioli and tzatziki sauce. Crazy good is right. You have to ask for hummus on it, which I did since hummus makes everything better. Lesson 1 from Israel. They serve the pita’s really hot, so the temperature does not change when you are eating it. No one wants a cold falafel.

I am impressed. This falafel pita is pretty good. Instead of using a traditional stuffed pita, St. Pita’s rolls up the insides in a flat pita. Their pita is perfectly baked, and extremely soft. This goes well with the crunch of the ground chickpea fritters. I think the falafel are pretty good, maybe not as great as Israeli falafel because they are missing some spices I believe in the actual fritters. However, I still will go here time and time again to have this as my weekly treat. The saintly sauce is a little spicy, so be warned before diving into this pita without a drink. You will probably be wishing that you bought that water bottle.

Next on my stop was the trailer next to St. Pitas, which is How Sweet It is. The trailer serves cupcakes, cake balls, cheesecake bites, and gelato. What a hard decision about what to get. Not really though since I LOVE cupcakes. My future roommate said that these weren’t that great, so I wanted to make sure that it was true.

When I went to the trailer, they were having tons of new flavor specials. I decided on the root beer float cupcake and the cherry limeade cupcake. What creative flavors, right? Well first off, I find the icing to be generic. It sort of reminds me of frosting that you would find at a grocery store cupcake, but in my opinion I like that overly sweet taste. The limeade cupcake is lacking that lime flavor. It is very faint, so I would recommend adding more flavor to it. The root beer float cupcake had tons of flavor, and I thought it was pretty delicious. This cupcake trailer has hits and misses, so I’ll have to sample more things in order to figure out if it really is that great or not.

Since I have such a love for cupcakes, I decided to visit the other cupcake trailer in town to compare the cupcakes. Lovebaked has had my eye for a while now since they facebook about awesome 1/2 off discounts for students and unique flavors of the day like Banana Split. I was already out, so I went over.

I got the For the Girls cupcake, which is a vanilla cupcake filled with chocolate ganache and topped with fresh strawberry buttercream. Obviously from the picture and the description, lovebaked is far superior to How Sweet It is. The cupcake at Lovebaked had far more flavor in it, and the frosting was decadent. When you bite into the cupcake, there is the sweet surprise of the chocolate ganache. Not only is the cupcake delicious, but it has a cute name to go along with it. The staff at the trailer is extremely friendly, and I will definitely be frequenting this trailer most often.

While the cupcakes weren’t exactly on the Your Healing Diet plan, in my approach to dietetics and nutrition I believe that you need to treat yourself 20% of the time in order to have a completely healthy diet. There is no need to go overboard, but a cupcake (I divide mine into four pieces and have one piece at a time) is not going to hurt you. The falafel was on the plan though, which I love since it is healthy and delicious. It has actually inspired me to attempt to make my own falafel. Hopefully it comes out successful.

Have an awesome weekend! I’ll be studying for two exams that I have on Monday.

What is your favorite flavor of cupcake?
Have you ever been to a city with tons of food trailers?