A Taste of India: Rasika

Hey ya’ll! I know technically I didn’t blog for three days, which breaks my resolution, but I had no wifi or internet connection where I was, so I’m not going to count it! The weird thing is that I was in Washington DC, so you would assume that I would have wifi, but nope. They charged you a lot of money to access the hotel wifi, yep not doing it. Ya’ll had to live a few days without my awesomeness, which I know is pretty hard. So for the next few days I’m going to recap my trip to DC (which I love btw). Seriously I think I could live there. It would be a great place for a registered dietitian and there are sports teams (did I mention that I have an insane crush on the super sexy John Wall). So we got in around 4 to Baltimore and had to drive to DC. We didn’t have dinner reservations until about 9:45, so we tried to figure out what to do in the meantime.

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Say hello to my little friend. Lets stop lying to ourselves because this is actually HUGE. We ended up going to Moe’s Seafood in order to get a little snack to hold us over till 9:45. My younger brother and I ended up splitting an order of crab cakes. I was totally expecting some small dinky thing, but no these were enormous monsters of crab. Delicious succulent crab that is. The crab was so fresh, duh its Maryland, and it was packed with flavor. There wasn’t an overwhelming amount of breadcrumbs, which was nice because you mainly tasted the herbs and the crab. I was in heaven. I am a sucker for good seafood, especially crab cakes!

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My dad ended up getting an order of clams with some type of parmesan crust on top. They looked really good, but since there was only three I didn’t have any. That didn’t stop my little brother from taking one though. He seriously will take all your food even if you are in the middle of eating it. Happened multiple times throughout the trip. After our quick seafood snack, we hopped in our rental car and drove towards DC.

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Our 9:45 pm dinner reservations were at an Indian restaurant called Rasika. I had found this place on Eater’s guide to DC and from reviews on yelp. This was the best place to go. If you are ever in DC, I would definitely recommend going here. I want to ride the train down from NYC just to go here (lies because I also want to explore Georgetown more). Anyways this dish was Mango Shrimp. It was simplistic, but packed with tons of flavor. I love the hint of the mango in the glaze on the shrimp. The vegetable medley that came along with it went well and provided a more cooling effect with the hot shrimp.

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Oh you sweet potato samosas, how I love thee. You can’t really go wrong with anything that is wrapped in a fried wonton like wrapper. This was no exception. The sweet potato was a creamy mixture inside that went well with the crunch of the fried outside. The sweetness from the cranberry chutney was a nice addition to the dish. It provided a bit of a sour acidic flavor that balanced off the sweetness from the potato.

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Oh Palak Chaat, you are what dreams are made of. Really though. I have been craving this ever since. I can’t wait to look for this in NYC. That is how good it is. The spinach is crispy from being fried in hot oil. There is yogurt, tamarind, and dates in the mixture. There is also chopped tomatoes and red onion. I don’t think I can really explain this dish good enough to give it the justice that it deserves. The crunch of the spinach provides a good texture to be paired with the creamy smoothness of the yogurt. It was the most amazing thing. I am definitely going to try to remix this recipe into a healthier version (although the only bad thing is that it is fried).

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Hello Cauliflower Bezule. This was fried cauliflower. Hmmm there seems to be a trend here of fried food. What can I say? We southerners love to consume some fried foods. I do love cauliflower, so this was a definite thing that I had to get on the menu. It had mustard seeds, curry leaf, green chiles, and lemon juice. I liked the dish, but I thought it was just okay. I would have rather had more bowls of palak chaat. My brother seemed to really enjoy this though. It was a little too spicy for me.

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This sort of looks like green throw up set in small clams. Well it was really good tasting vomit. Hahaha. No I didn’t actually eat vomit. These were clams caldine. SO GOOD. There was coconut, green chiles, and cilantro. I think the coconut calmed down the spice from the green chiles because I didn’t get any kick from these. Instead it was more of a sweet tasting broth and sauce in the clams. They were amazing. We threw these back so quickly. When the bowl was empty, we all were pretty sad. I would definitely order these again.

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You need a good portion of naan bread at any meal that comes with a variety of stews, sauces, and broths. We used the naan to dip into the clam sauce, the curry, and the masala. It was such a good vehicle to get all that delicious food in my mouth.

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This was the chicken tikka masala. Oh how the naan tasted so good dipped into the sauce. This was a pretty great dish. It was packed with a ton of flavors from the Indian spices and the herbs. The chicken was cooked perfectly. It was tender and not overcooked. I felt like I was slowly disappearing into an Indian food coma.

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Oh shrimp curry, how sweet you are to me. It actually was really sweet, but in a good way. It was the Shrimp Kerala Curry. It had coconut milk, cumin, and black pepper. This was definitely my choice over the chicken dish because of the thick creamy texture from the coconut milk. I loved the sweetness that the dish had and it went perfectly with shrimp. Of course I dipped my naan into this.

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My oh My. I don’t remember the name of this dish, but it was amazing. It was pork chops with a mint leaf sauce to rub on top of it. The lamb was so tender and just fell off the bone. I actually picked my bone up and started eating off it in the restaurant. I’m gonna get all the meat possible. The waiter loved this dish so much that he told us on his days off he comes to Rasika to enjoy a malt and these lamb chops. We all loved the lambchops so much. Get these along with the palak chaat and you won’t regret it.

Now comes for the time when my brother decided to order four desserts. I really only wanted one or two to share, but no he thought that it would be a good idea to get four desserts. He pretty much ate most of all of them, which I was pretty impressed with.

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These were apple doughnuts, which I really enjoyed. They were thick instead of airy and light. It was a good thing though, which you normally wouldn’t want or expect with your doughnut. The plate was covered in pistachio crumbs and a vanilla ice cream. It was definitely a good choice for dessert. Oh if we only stopped at this one.

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This was the dessert that I had wanted to get. It was Shahi Tukra, which may be the best dessert. It was a bread pudding type of dessert. It came along with apricots, figs, mangoes, and cherries. I was in heaven. It even came along with some edible foil on the top. If you only get one dessert, which is probably the smartest idea, I would definitely get this one.

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This was Gulab Jamun. Another interesting Indian dessert. I was really excited to try this once I googled on my phone what it was. It was a sort of dumpling like dessert. It was served on top of a tropical fruit curd and with a scoop of nutella ice cream. I would definitely like to try this dish at another Indian place because I feel like it was really good, but I was so full and only had one or two bites, so I didn’t get to really taste the full potential of this dessert.

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I thought this was disgusting. My brother and dad enjoyed this a lot, so at least someone got some pleasurable tastes from it. The reason I didn’t like it was all the different textures and flavors mixed in one cake. This was the baked kulfi. It had a rose cream on top of orange saffron cake and topped with baked marshmallows. That is too many different things in one for me to enjoy. I did like the fruit on the side though.

Overall I definitely give this restaurant a five star. Our waiter was amazing, the food was delicious, and the atmosphere of the restaurant was so cute and whimsical. It was the perfect way to start out our food adventures in dc.

What is your favorite Indian dish?
Have you ever been to DC?

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WIAW: While Abroad

Hey ya’ll! It is that awesome time of the week again, What I Ate Wednesday, thanks to the lovely Jenn. Unfortunately I’m going to have to recap some of the past today because I don’t have time to write an elaborate post about what I have been eating lately. Plus I’ve been slacking on the picture taking front. I have been too busy studying for my advanced nutrition midterm and working on my lab skills, such as blood pressure. I’ll probably kick the butt of all of it, but I would rather be overprepared for everything. So I’m going to recap the rest of my Spain trip in this awesome post because I realized that I forgot to share the rest of the trip with ya’ll. Get ready for some delicious, appetizing Spanish food porn coming your way.

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When we were in Barcelona, we went to heaven. Also known as La Boqueria. It is this huge outdoor market. It was amazing. There was so much to see inside. There were also little restaurants spread throughout the place. I pretty much wanted to gobble up everything that was in sight. It was really hard to just choose a few things to snack on because we really wanted to sit down and get some tapas too.

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Isn’t this beautiful? I thought so. I really just wanted to rob the entire candy stand. I’m not gonna lie, but I totally kept taking free samples of everything when the Spanish woman working the shop wasn’t looking. Sometimes it is hard to tell if a candy is good or not, so I thought why not test taste. Since we were getting tapas in a little bit, my brother and I decided to each get a huge bag of candy to take home with us on our long journey. Well he ended up eating his all before we even left Spain, but I got to enjoy mine when I was back in America and on my long journey. This candy was the bomb. I really miss it actually. It was pretty cheap too.

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Since it was a pretty hot day, we ended up getting smoothie/juices. It was a mix between a smoothie and a juice. It was really delicious. I ended up getting the pineapple coconut one. You could taste the fresh pineapple chunks in it mixed with the creaminess of the coconut. My brother got a watermelon one. It was really good too. His was more juice like while mine had the consistency of a smoothie. These were all over the market too. Pretty cheap. At some places, you could get a small one for one euro. I like cheap things.

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After walking around the market a bit, we decided to sit down and get some tapas. We ended up getting calamari of course. This was actually some pretty good calamari. It was salty, but when sprinkled with the lemon juice it became a little more acidic. It was really good. I wish there would have been more to enjoy because you can’t go wrong with ordering anything that is fried. Especially squid. It is definitely always a win win (lies though because I was poisoned by horrible food at this place in Sevilla – trying not to think about it).

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Of course we were getting patatas bravas too. These were very hasbrown like, which was delicious. It is always a safe choice to go with patatas bravas. As long as they aren’t just drenched in sauce then you are good to go. I think we ordered a few other things, but apparently I blacked out at this point in the meal and stopped taking pictures. I think we were in a rush that day because we were taking the train back to Madrid. This feels like forever ago too, which is sad because it was only a few months ago. I definitely miss this trip. It was amazing.

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I know when I was recapping my Spain trip that I wrote about the greatest meal of my life, but I lied. This meal was definitely tied with it. We went on a day trip to Malaga, which was so beautiful. It was a nice coastal town where we could look out at the ocean. I wish we would have gone to the beach while we were there, but it was a long drive from where we were staying, so we couldn’t stay that long. Anyways this restaurant we went to while we were there was AMAZING. This is caramelized apples with foie gras. Ummm YES. It tasted as good as it looks. The crispy sweetness of the apples went well with the foie gras. My life belief is that you should always treat yourself to foie gras. You won’t regret it.

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These were definitely some of the best croquetas I had on my trip. Actually the dipping sauce was amazing. It was like a spicy mayonaisse. That is definitely want you want to be dipping fried cheese balls in. I think that these were just your basic jamon (ham) croquetas. They may have been simple, but definitely packed a ton of flavor. I think that all croquetas should come with a delicious sauce like this.

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These were some really interesting things. At first I thought I was at an Asian restaurant, but then I remembered that I was in Spain. I thought these were eggrolls, but I’m still not really sure what they are. Anyways they were the best things EVER. They had duck in them, which was tender and delicious. The sauce that went with it was sweet and tangy, which went nice with the crunch of the fried wrapper. I was sad that I couldn’t remember the name of these because I am always looking for them at tapas restaurants in the city.

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This was a tapas from the gods in heaven. It was toasted bread with mushrooms, shrimp, and a creamy ranch sauce. It was so good. I was sad that we had only gotten one order because we each only got to enjoy one piece of it. The shrimp was cooked and seasoned perfectly while the mushrooms had been sauteed in butter and oil providing a nice texture along with the crunch of the bread. The sauce was amazing. All creamy, fattening sauces are good anyways, so this was just like mmmmmmmmmmm.

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Well we couldn’t go anywhere without having an order of patatas bravas. Since this was one of the best meals of my life, these were obviously going to be one of the best patatas bravas on the trip. I loved how they used not only the spicy traditional sauce, but also drizzled some mayonaisse based sauce on top too. When the sauces blended together, it gave a creamy spicy combination to go along with the crunchiness of the fried potatoes. Man, how I miss these things. I seriously dream about these little bites of heaven all the time because it is so hard to find traditional and delicious patatas.

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Since we are totally fatties and it was our vacation, so we were treating ourselves, we had to get a dessert. It took a bit to pick because I wanted those eggroll things, but in dessert form. However they had ran out of that, so we settled for this cinnamon apple dessert. It was definitely a winning choice. It was amazing. It had caramel, cooked apples, cinnamon, vanilla icecream, and walnuts. I died. Literally. It was perfection. It was literally gone in about less than a minute. My brother and I of course had our typical spoon fight over the last few bites.

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Breakfast of champions right here. I’m not even sure what any of this is, but my dad stopped at a pastry shop and just picked a bunch of things for my brother to have. I got the doughnut looking thing. It was not your typical doughnut. It sort of reminded me of this cronut craze that is going on. It was more pastry like on the inside and then topped with a sugar glaze.

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Here was my breakfast of champions. I think this was called a bombello or bombom or something along the lines with the letters bom in it. It was like eating cake for breakfast. Actually it literally was. The inside was a sweet buttercream. The pastry was a cream puff that had been dipped in rich dark chocolate. It was good. The other thing was just a basic little pastry roll stuffed with sweet cream. Everyone was grabbing to get a bite of my big pastry. It was that good. I was in a sugar coma though after breakfast. Not a bad way to start the day.

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We stopped at this interesting little tapas place in Barcelona. You pretty much picked all the tapas you wanted from a bar and went back to your seat to enjoy them. You paid by the amount of toothpick and the size of the toothpick, so that was pretty interesting. It was a good place to go to get a little snack before we went on a long adventure for the day. Some of the stuff was really good while some of the other things were just all right. It was overall an experience.

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I obviously have to share some more sweets, specifically helado. I love ice cream. In Spain, it was actually pretty delicious. This was more of a gelato style kind of ice cream place. I ended up getting white chocolate with raspberry and chocolate chunks in it. It was really good. I think the owner said that it was one of the most popular flavors. After I had a few bites, I knew why. The tartness of the raspberries went along well with the rich flavor of the chocolate. It was so good. A nice treat for a warm day (although the weather was never really that hot while we were there, which was nice).

Well that is all I have for ya’ll today! I hope you guys have an awesome Wednesday. Now it is back to studying for my exams. I am ready to kick some butt though. I know I’m good when I have literally memorized every single thing and can repeat it without looking at any notes. I could practically teach the class.

Where is the best place you have traveled and eaten the best food?
What was the best meal of your life?

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?

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?

Sushi Wasted

Hey ya’ll! Sorry I’ve been gone for so long, but I have exciting news. I got accepted to my first graduate program! I got into TWU at Texas Medical Center for a Masters with a thesis in nutrition and exercise physiology (SO EXCITING)! I’ve been crazy busy with my last two weeks of my bachelors degree in nutrition, but I promise I have tons of fun things to share with ya’ll coming up. So what do I have for you today? Sushi Wasted? Whaaaat? Yes, my favorite sushi place in Austin, Roll On Sushi Diner, had an event called Sushi Wasted because they were notifying the world that they are open on Sundays now. It was all you can eat sushi! My brother and I obviously had to go to enjoy this feast!

photoThis was the menu for the night. The best part was that you could eat as much as you wanted off this menu and get a free drink, salad, and miso soup. I’m game. The rule was that you were only allowed to order three things per person at a time, which was really smart because you wouldn’t get overwhelmed with food and it would keep things organized. The only thing that I wish was different was that there were more rolls! This place has the most creative and fresh rolls.

photo(1)This was the salad that came with the meal. It was nothing special, but the dressing was actually really delicious. I wish I found out what it was because I would love to recreate it to use on my own salads. Also eating a salad made you feel like you weren’t about to just gorge on a ton of sushi rolls. I like that small healthy touch (not that sushi is that unhealthy for you – mainly the sauces and use of white rice instead of brown).

photo(2)This was the miso soup and it was pretty delicious. I had never had miso soup before this (I know shocker), so I was surprised that it was so good. It had mushrooms, green onion, and tofu in it. I loved the surprise of tofu. It was a good way to pre-game the feast that we were about to crush.

photo(3)This was the shrimp tempura roll. It was pretty awesome. I have to say that the staff did a pretty fantastic job at making sure that you got everything you ordered. There were only a few slip ups, like the time we got two shrimp tempura rolls. We weren’t complaining though because this roll was tasty. It had tempura fried shrimp, avocado, cucumber, sushi rice, nori, and it was topped with spicy mayo and unagi sauce. The fried shrimp provides a nice crunch when you bite into the roll while you have a spicy flavor coming from the sauces. However the sweetness of the unagi balances it out. We had never had this roll, so it was nice to try it.

photo(4)Hello to one of my new favorite rolls at Roll On. The Red Dragon Roll. It was a simple roll, but it was packed with a ton of flavors. It was a California roll topped with spicy tuna, spicy aioli, unagi sauce, scallions, and Roll on crunch. I would definitely order this again off the normal menu. The tuna that was on top was extremely fresh and added a nice flavor to a average roll.

photo(5)This is probably one of the greatest rolls ever. It is so creative and is full of unique flavors that you would not expect in a sushi roll. It is the Respect My Asparaguh roll, which you have probably seen on my blog a multitude of times. It has asparagus, candied walnuts, goat cheese, sun dried tomato, and it is topped with a balsamic glaze. The goat cheese provides a rich creamy flavor to this amazing roll. Order it immediately, you won’t regret it.

photo(6)This was the chef special roll. I forgot to write down what was in it, but it had some really interesting flavors. It sort of reminded me of typical Mexican flavors. It packed a punch in it. There chef specials change every few weeks, so you probably won’t be able to get this again unless they use it as a special.

photo(7)This was the Hawaiian roll. They did a lot of variations on the California Roll. This one was just topped with tuna. It was nice, but nothing special.

photo(8)Here is yet another variation on the California roll, but called the Sunshine Roll. This one had salmon on top of it. I preferred the one with tuna instead because I have a deep love for tuna, but it was still good. Just not something I would order off the regular menu because I prefer their crazy rolls.

photo(9)Hello, Mr. Grouch roll. It has roasted chicken, green chile, jack cheese, caramelized onion, arugula, and chipotle aioli. Now this is what I’m talking about. Roll On has the most creative rolls I’ve ever seen. They use non-traditional ingredients such as caramelized onions and roasted chicken to create pure food genius such as the Grouch roll. This is definitely on my must always order list at Roll On.

photo(10)This is pure heaven in a roll. Not even kidding. Definitely one of my top 5 rolls in the sushi adventures I’ve experienced in the 23 years that I’ve been alive. This is the Lo-Burn roll. It is shrimp tempura, unagi and jalapenos tempura fried, and topped with spicy aioli, unagi sauce, and scallions. I can’t even come up with the words to describe this roll because it is seriously mindblowing. If you are lucky to ever make it to happy hour, this roll is only about 3.95$. If you live in Austin or close by, definitely check it out and order this.

photo(11)This roll was another crazy one. It was the Rasta roll. It had blackened shrimp, mango, roasted red pepper, scallions, curry, jicama, and cilantro topped with a spicy mayo sauce. I’m not sure this roll completely worked. I think it would be better with the blackened shrimp and a bunch of fruit instead of all the vegetables. I think this roll could be really amazing if they tweaked it a bit.

photo(12)We got some pork dumplings. They were pretty good, but the health nut in me wishes that they were steamed rather than fried. I don’t know why, but I just enjoy steamed things over fried any day. Here was another time there was a little slip up. They ended up bringing us two plates of dumplings. Not complaining though because they were good. Although at this point we were about to vomit from eating too much.

photo(13)This is one of the best appetizers I’ve had at a sushi place. It is the sticky ball of greatness, but really just called Sticky Ball. It has sushi rice, krab and spicy tuna stuffed inside an inari pocket tempura fried and topped with wasabi mayo and unagi sauce. It is a fried ball of delicious flavors. Not to mention the sweet sauces that top it. I am in heaven every time we order this. This time they chopped it up into four pieces, which was really nice.

We ended up eating a lot more than this, but I thought there was no need to take a million pictures of the same thing over and over again. The third mishap came when the waiter dropped off two pieces of salmon nigiri. I’m not a big fan of nigiri because I think it is just so plain and boring, but my brother was nice and ate a piece. The best part is that we think it was for a table behind us because they were complaining that they only came there for the nigiri. REALLY? This place has some of the most delicious and creative rolls, and you came for the nigiri? I’m not sure if you know this, but you can get standard nigiri anywhere, even the grocery store. We laughed so hard that we were tearing up. It was a great night with my brother.

Vietnamese in Austin

Hey ya’ll! Sorry I’ve been gone, but I’ve been dead. I’m not even kidding. When I landed back in Austin from my time at Ultra in Miami, my feet were completely swollen. Turns out I had edemas in both of my feet with two plus pitting, my arthritis was in my knee and finger, I had a virus, and many other scary complications. Yeah my life sucked for a week. Now that I’m back, I’m going to share a delicious find in Austin for you. I love Vietnamese food, so when my mom suggested this place one night I decided sure why not?

lPhonatic. It is located in a shopping strip next to a walmart. I know, I was sort of skeptical at first because of the location plus I’m extremely loyal to my favorite Vietnamese place in Austin: Tam’s Deli. However I was starving and I thought it would be much more tastier than a salad from Which Wich. We decided to go in and try it out.

IMG_3453This place is really interesting. The menus are all on these electronic screens that are lined up against the wall before the cash register. There are even some delicious looking pictures on each menu. The first two menus consist of appetizers and pho bowls. The third menu has noodles and the last menu contains kids meals, drinks, and desserts. Once you finally figure out what you want, you go to the cash register, order, and they give you a number to take to your table. Your food probably won’t all come out at once if you ordered appetizers. Sometimes the appetizers even come after the entrees. Crazy, but who cares.

photo(1)Hello to the greatest thing to exist on the planet earth. This is now one of my favorite items. They are bahn mi sliders. It uses a soft bun, that usually is served with roasted duck in traditional Chinese restaurants, and it is topped with grilled pork. There is daikon, carrots, cilantro, and this delicious mayonaisse sauce that covers the bottom of the bun. Three come on a plate, so it is the perfect appetizer to share or the perfect meal to have for yourself. I am constantly craving these bad boys. I am so glad that my mom lives down the street from this place.

photo(4)This is the crispy tofu appetizer. My brother ordered this as his meal the last time we went, which I thought was a good idea. It definitely wasn’t enough to sustain you though. It was freaking delicious. The tofu was lightly fried and cut into the perfect size squares. Then it was seasoned with a little spice, but not so overwhelming that your mouth was constantly on fire. I would order this as an appetizer again for sure.

photo(2)One thing they do well at Phonatic is cook pork. The pork there is so juicy, tender, and well seasoned. I have not had a bad piece ever. I decided to get an order of pork spring rolls. This was such a good decision. They were really simple, but because the pork was cooked so well they ended up being extremely flavorful. I would definitely order these again. The peanut sauce was perfect with them too.

photo(3)Obviously since the place is called Phonatic, they are known for their pho. My brother ended up getting a simple pho with just pork and noodles in it. He then topped it with jalapenos, bean sprouts, and cilantro (the place has a bar with various toppings and condiments you can add to your food). I have to say it was really delicious. The soup was hot and flavorful from soaking up the pork and other spices.

photo(5)However I think I win with best pho. I got the shrimp and pork dumpling pho, which was such a good idea. I was really craving a warm soup with good dumplings. The dumplings were soft and fresh while the soup was the perfect temperature. There was also Chinese broccoli in the soup, which I’m a big fan of. I would definitely order this soup again. I actually wish I had it right now.

I hope you enjoyed this review. I definitely recommend that you check it out if you are in Austin. You won’t be disappointed.

Welcome to Seattle

Hey ya’ll! One of my favorite things to do is travel, so for winterbreak I ended up going to Seattle and Vancouver. I fell in love with both. Seriously, I want to move to Canada to go to graduate school. For the next few days, I will recap my amazing trip and the foodie adventures I had in these wonderful places.

When my brother and I landed in Seattle, it was around 9 pm. We were starving. We still had to get our suitcases, ride the link light train, and check in to our hotel. I did not realize I was going to San Francisco! Kidding, but just a little. There were hills like the ones in SF, and I had to drag my suitcase and myself up the hill, not pleasant. We made it, checked in, and my brother got on yelp. We decided to walk down a bajillion hills in order to get some sushi. We ended up going to Nijo Sushi.

DSCN0005Here is my brother. He is obviously starving to death/dying because we want our food. He is probably going to kill me if he sees this online.

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One of the greatest things abut this place was that they had happy hour until 12 am, which we were just in luck since we didn’t get there until about 10:30 pm. This was one of the dishes we got off the happy hour menu. They were yam fries, which were tossed with wasabi oil and kosher salt (yay kosher) and were served with a wasabi aioli. Oh god was that aoili sauce amazing. The creaminess of the sauce mixed with the crispy sweetness of the yam fries was pure perfection. I could just have eaten tons of this dish.

DSCN0023The second happy hour item we ordered was the dancing shrimp. It was flash fried rock shrimp tossed lightly with wasabi dressing. Once again Nijo hits us with an amazing creamy and crunchy blend of flavors. This probably was my favorite dish of the night. I am a sucker for good fried shrimp. I blame it on the cajun in me!

DSCN0017I’m about to serve you up some sweet sushi porn. My brother and I got three rolls because my dad has just messaged us saying that he was walking down to the restaurant. We ordered the frank and beans, which had tempura shrimp with cucumber topped with spicy tuna and tobiko. THAT ROLL WAS AMAZING. I’m not even sure how to describe it, but it was so fresh and creamy. I love rolls that have any type of creaminess. Another roll was the Crunch roll, which had spicy scallops, enoki mushrooms, cucumber, tobiko, and kalware. This roll was interesting. Not sure if I liked it, but it wasn’t bad. The third roll was the Cheeze roll. It was spicy tuna, cream cheese, cucumber, and avocado topped with panko breaded and fried eel. This roll was delicious too. Now it is time for some sushi porn!

DSCN0018DSCN0020Enough of this. Had to cut it off or I may not have been able to handle it. Just kidding. More sushi, but different rolls this time.

DSCN0027This beauty was the Chili Cha Cha roll. It was filled with soft shell crab, cucumber, and jalapeno topped with avocado and tobiko. It was pretty delicious. It had a nice kick to it too with the jalapenos, but it wasn’t so spicy that I couldn’t handle it.

DSCN0026This is the volcano roll. If you don’t like to have your mouth burning and on fire, run the other way. This thing made me chug about 5 glasses of water in about 5 minutes. It was crazy. It had cucumber, jalapeno, lemon slice, spicy scallop, eel sauce, and tenkasu and red tobiko. It was good, but scary spicy. Definitely couldn’t really handle it. I’m a whimp.

This place was pretty good, especially since they had a happy hour till 12 am. It was the perfect start to our amazing trip on the west coast.