Animal House and Diving for Pearls

Hey ya’ll! Two for two. I’m on a roll with this whole blogging thing. Gosh how I feel great when I keep to my new year’s resolutions. So what do I have in store for ya’ll today? The second day of my trip to Washington DC. It was a pretty good one. The weather was a little chilly, but nothing like how it was near the end of the trip. The one thing I really wanted to do on the trip, besides eat a ton of good food, was go to the National Zoo. I remember going as a little girl with my grandparents and I loved it. In general I just love animals (seriously, I want to go on an African Safari), so this was a definite on the trip. Before we could go though, we had to have a delicious brunch. We ended up going to Pearl Dive oyster bar. This was also on Eater’s guide to the 38 essential restaurants to eat at in DC, so you know us foodies had to go to it.

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We ended up getting the wood grilled east coast oysters, which were served hot. I mainly consume oysters cold, so this was a nice change to my typical seafood meal. These oysters were simple with garlic, red chile butter, and gremolata. They were amazing. We got two orders, so that each of us could have two or three oysters. My brother and I ended up getting three each. I would have loved to try the bacon wrapped ones too, but these were so good. You could taste the butter as you scooped out the meat in the oyster. I definitely would have been happy if I just had these as my meal because they were that fresh and tasty.

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Are you seeing a trend here? We love consuming mussels and clams. I think we had them at every single meal we ate in DC, except for our lunch the day we flew out. These mussels were heaven in a bowl. They had garlic, shallot, fumet, butter, and lemon. Also it came served with grilled baguettes. Ummm yes please. The best part was that once my brother and I were finished dipping all those baguettes into the sauce of the bowl, the waiter brought us more to finish the sauce with. Seriously such an amazing waiter. He was really on top of his game. The mussels were such a simple preparation, but it was melt in your mouth good. The best part was the garlic wasn’t super overwhelming so none of us had nasty garlic breath.

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Anything with a fried egg on it is pretty much one of the best things you can ever eat. Seriously, you cannot go wrong with a fried egg. This sandwich that my brother ordered was no exception. This was the C.E.B.L.T. Po’Boy. I love Po-Boys, as does everyone else in my family. This may be a result of living in New Orleans, but hey I’m not complaining at all. The sandwich was fried catfish topped with a fried egg, bacon, lettuce, and tomato. My brother let me have a bite of this, so that I could experience the greatness of this dish. The catfish was fried perfectly, so that it was light and crispy on the outside. The fish was fresh and flaky. The farm egg was cooked so that the yolk ran a little bit down the sides and it soaked into the catfish, which added a nice flavor to the simplicity of the dish. The bacon gave a smoky flavor, which was a nice addition. It gave the dish a sort of breakfasty feel, which was perfect for brunch. This is a good choice if you ever end up here for brunch!

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This was definitely the star of the meal. My dish. Oh how I am so good at picking the best thing on the menu. I ended up choosing the wood grilled gulf coast redfish. My oh my how a delicious piece of fish you were. The top of the fish was grilled, so it had a nice char and blackened taste. It was crispy on top and the fish underneath was incredibly flaky. The fish tasted like butter and it fell apart in my mouth as I took in every single bite. It was cooked in a pecan butter, topped with pecans, and served on top of grits. The grits were mindblowing. I love a good bowl of grits and these were no exception. They were cheesy and buttery. They served as a perfect medium with the fish. Everyone agreed that this was the best dish of the night.

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This photo is just average because my dad took it with his phone because I decided I wanted to eat my fish instead of take more pictures. He got the Ponchartrain. It was pretty much egg’s benedict. It was two poached eggs, an english muffin, blue crab, tasso ham, crawfish, and cayenne hollandaise. My brother and dad said this dish was amazing. I tend to steer clear of egg’s benedict because it is packed with tons and tons of calories. I love crab and crawfish though, so it was a bit hard to resist. Overall it was an amazing meal. I was seriously happy that we chose to go here for brunch. Even if we had to waste time walking around for a long while until the restaurant opened. We were always early for every place, so we had to figure out things to do.

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Finally we got to go to the zoo. I was so excited. The best part of this zoo, besides having tons and tons of animals, is that it is free. You know how Jewish I am and I can’t resist when there are amazing things for free. This place was awesome. It was also ginormous. I got in 10,000 steps on my fitbit. Plus I got to see pandas, tiger cubs, and zebras. The panda was so cute. He was nomming on so much bamboo. Literally had snacks for later on his stomach.

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So cute. The zoo had baby cubs that were born back in August. They were so cute. The only downside was that because it was pretty chilly outside and there was just a massive snowstorm, not all of the animals were out to be on exhibit. I will definitely want to go back if a friend and I go down to DC for a long weekend or so.

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After we went to the zoo, we went to a few museums. We ended up at the Natural History museum and the National Gallery of Art. Just another great thing about DC. The museums were all free. I love free things. I definitely need to go back, so I can go to all the museums that they have to offer. Since we were still a little early before dinner, we ended up having to go figure out something to do. We decided to drive around and go to monuements. We went to the capital, the Lincoln memorial, the Jefferson memorial, and the Washington monument. Overall it was a really great day. I will be sharing the dinner meal with ya’ll another day, so stay tuned for more drool worthy pictures.

What is your favorite seafood dish?
What is your favorite animal?

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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?

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!

A Day Trip to Toledo

Hey ya’ll! I hope everyone has been having a fantastic weekend. Mine has been pretty relaxed. I’m still trying to figure out everything for graduate school, but I will let ya’ll know as soon as everything is final! I love sharing all my happy news with the community. Ya’ll are such a wonderful group of supportive people! Anyways on to the fun stuff: Spain. The third day in Spain, we ended up taking a day trip to Toledo. Lets just say that this was a very interesting experience. Not thinking about it, we went to the train station in Madrid, called Atocha. We ended up sitting for about an hour and a half in this DMV sort of place. You drew a number and waited and waited and waited until your number was called. It was very odd because we had 535 while they were on like 745…hmmm luckily they did not start all over again at 1 or I may have killed someone. We were smart though and got our tickets for the next trips at the same time!

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So what is there to do in Toledo? Well not very much because that is why it is the perfect early afternoon day trip. The main thing to see is this Alcazar, which is sort of a castle like structure. My dad told stories about how you could walk around throughout the castle, but in 2013 this was not the story. The Alcazar has been updated, so it is now a museum inside. I was definitely not a fan of this. It would have been much cooler to walk around a castle than look at boring exhibits (trust me the exhibits were super boring). There were beautiful views though from the gardens, so that was nice. After we left the Alcazar, we ended up going to an old Sephardic synagogue. I did not take any pictures there, but it was very beautiful. I love seeing old synagogues that have survived terrible times for its people. Finally we were getting to eat (we didn’t eat breakfast), so my stomach was eating itself at this point. We ended up going to this cute place called Tapas 24.

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A nice cold gazpacho came along complimentary with the meal. It was delicious. I am not a fan of gazpacho, but this one was a very simple one. The flavors were very subtle and the texture was enjoyable. Trust me when I say that I have had some weird gazpachos, so I was happy that I could enjoy this dish. It was a refreshing way to start the meal off.

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This sort of looks like a bunch of random things piled on top of each other. However this is an endive salad topped with cherry tomatoes, arugula, shredded carrots, thinly sliced beef, and a delicious dressing that I’m not sure exactly what it was. When you take a look at it, the beef actually looks like red cabbage leaves. The beef was such a nice addition to the salad. We split the salad, but I could have eaten an entire one by myself for my meal. I was surprised that I liked it so much. My brother liked it a lot too.

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Oh another plate of foie gras? Why yes, we are pretty much addicted to that delicacy. I love the taste of foie gras. It is so delicious. I think this one had some thinly sliced ham on it, but I can’t exactly remember. My brother pretty much ordered foie gras wherever we went, but I never complained. When I eat it, I feel sort of sophisticated or that I have a very exquisite palate. I probably do have a great palate since I eat anything haha This dish was delicious though. The meal kept getting better and better.

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Tuna tartare. Gosh how I love raw fish. Lindsay needs her fix of raw fish every once and a while. It is so good. This dish was super interesting because the tuna was on top of guacamole. Ummm yes. As a Texan, we love ourselves some guacamole. This was a little taste of home in my mind. It was delicious. I like that they serve theirs with toast rather than chips. Less salty and more of a focus on the flavors in the dish.

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My brother of course had to get a cheese plate. What I liked about this dish was that the cheese came along with different flavored jams (not pictured). That was my favorite part: mixing the jams with each cheese. At this unfortunate moment in my life, my camera was sitting in my lap. It slid off my lap and crashed to the floor. From then on, it was broken. I had to use my iPhone for the rest of my trip pictures, which upset me a lot. What can you do though? Nothing. I also missed taking pictures of our dessert (a marzipan souffle) and our last dish, which was some shrimp paella sort of thing. After our meal, we walked around a bit and then went to the train station to catch our train back to Madrid.

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They really love their castles in Spain. It was interesting. There were castles probably in every city we visited. The thing about Toledo was that it is super hilly, so if you are every going to go, bring some comfortable walking shoes or money for cabs. You will definitely want one of those options. After we finally made it back to Madrid it was around 7 pm, and we were so exhausted. We ended up not going out to eat that night, but instead going to bed early since we were meeting a 9 am train to go to Cordoba! I hope you enjoyed my day 3 of the trip!

Have you ever seen a castle before?
Would you want to live in a castle?

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?