Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Tapeo, anem de tapas in Barcelona, Spain

Our New Years dinner was at a small tapas place in Barcelona called Tapeo. We were lucky to get a reservation. There was a special pre-fix menu which included the most amazing Spanish tapas!

Jamón ibérico
Iberian ham is everywhere in Barcelona. Every other restaurant has it on display. It's served with a side of the most delicious bread, topped with olive oil and tomato paste. It so simple and perfect. The combination of ham and bread is outstanding. This is a must-try at any restaurant that has it!

Ham Croquettes
Another version of iberian ham. It's made of ham pieces mixed with some kind of cheese and covered with crispy bread crumbs. Absolutely wonderful hot, cheesy and soft paste-like deliciousness is covered by a very thin crust. I tried ham croquettes at a couple of other places in Barcelona but Tapeo tops them all.

Tomato and Burrata Cheese
Burrata is mozzarella on the outside and soft cream on the inside. It's covered with the tastiest olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Again, so simple and yet so delicately flavorful. This was outstanding.  

Codfish Fritters
So tasty! Not much else to say.

Squid Stuffed Sanfaina
I've never tried anything like this before and I can't even describe how amazing it was. The squid was perfectly cooked, not too chewy or mushy, and the mushroom stuffing was beyond words. I could not get enough of this. How awesome is the presentation?! Definitely one of my favorite dishes of the night.

Mushroom Cannelloni
My second favorite. Perfect consistency cannelloni stuffed with mushroom deliciousness. All covered by a great cheesy, creamy sauce. Perfection!

Truffle Eggs with Foie Gras and Mushrooms
I love anything with truffle. This was especially unique because of the way the egg is prepared. The chef makes an opening in the shell of a raw egg and drops in the truffles. Then, the opening is resealed and the egg is partially cooked and poached. So imaginative! This place really likes it's mushrooms huh. However, all the dishes are so completely differently cooked that you don't really notice the similarity.

Creamy Chocolate, Oil, Salt, and Bread
Mmmmmm, chocolate! Such an interesting combination of sweet and salty. The rich chocolate was of a creamy and semi-solid consistency. All topped with olive oil, just like all the other dishes, and a bit of salt. Yummy.

It is a tradition in Spain to eat twelve grapes in the last 12 seconds of the of the year. Obviously we did!

I am not exaggerating when I say that these were the best tapas I've ever had. All the ingredients were extremely fresh and full of flavor and so imaginative and perfect. I loved this place, it was a great way to start 2012.

Tapeo, anem de tapas
C/Montcade 29, 08003
Carcelona, Spain

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

The Parlour in London

Apparently The Parlous at Fortnum & Masonis is where the local londoners go for an afternoon tea. In addition to a cafe and restaurant, this place has a huge tea store on the ground floor where you can find anything from English teas, coffee, tea sets, chocolates, and all kinds of souvenirs.

English Breakfast tea
One of my favorite teas is English breakfast and this is the perfect place to order it. Most of the time you drink black tea with milk. Every person at the table gets their own unique tea cup and saucer, this I found to be very cute.

This was very yummy! There was a duo of scones (plain and fruit with a side of Somerset clotted cream and strawberry preserve) and a selection of mini ice cream cakes (fruit cake, white and dark Amedei chocolate and mixed berry). All of these were freshly made and delicious.

This was such an amazing experience. I felt very fancy going to an afternoon tea in London and would definitely recommend it to anyone visiting London.

There is a similar experience in New York at Alice's Teacup. Their tea is good and the pastries, especially warm scones, are amazing. With that in mind, be prepared to catch one or two little girl parties when you're there. Yeah, it's that type of a girly place but if you're brave enough to venture there you will be rewarded with great afternoon tea.

Fortum & Mason
181 Piccadilly  
London, W1A 1ER, United Kingdom

Alice's Tea Cup
156 East 64th Street, New York, NY

Friday, February 10, 2012

Le 19 in Toulouse, France

While in Toulouse, we heard of a really good restaurant called Le 19. It was the perfect choice for out last day in the city because it was incredibly delicious. Pretty much everything we ordered was amazing. A great way to end our time in this wonderful French city. 

Le 19

White Truffle Ravioli
This was unbelievable! Mushroom ravioli with truffles and cheese was probably the best revioli dish I had in many years. After I finished it I was seriously considering ordering another portion but then realized that this is only an appetizer and there's more delicious food to come. It goes without saying that after I was done with this, the plate was completely clean.

Risotto With Seafood
I was really happy with this because the chef was not stingy on the seafood. Risotto was perfectly cooked, just the right texture. The entire dish was remarkable but I wish the portion was a little smaller, a bit too filling for an appetizer.

Rack of Lamb

The meat was great and very simply done, as it should be. Delicious!

I really loved this. It was served medium rare, which is perfect for this type of dish. The meat was very soft and delicate with a lightly crispy crust and a nice sauce on top that gave it an extra flavor kick. All together, a very tasty and yet simple dish.

Cassoulet Toulousian
This is the famous dish that Toulouse is known for. A cassoulet is various combinations of different meats and beans, all slow cooked and baked. A very hearty dish. This portion looked almost impossible to finish, especially after amazing appetizers. However, there were four of us at dinner so we all pitched in the entire cassoulet was gone. I highly recommend trying this, especially because each restaurant has their own version so it's always unique and delicious every time.

Congit of Shank Lamb
The lamb was unbelievable. The bone came out without any effort, the meat was so soft that it just slid out. So juicy and tender! I think this was the better of the two lamb dishes.

Pastis Gascon
On to my favorite part of the meal - the dessert! Pastis Gascon was the perfect choice. It's reminded me of an apple pie baked inside a crispy and light pastry. It was topped with a cinnamon ice cream that nicely melted and mixed with the pastry. Absolutely yummy!

Warm Chocolate Cake
What's a meal without a warm chocolate cake. This tasted exactly as it should. Warm chocolate poured out as soon as it was cut. Simple and delicious!

Amandine Pear
Our last dessert and the end our our meal. Amazing caramelized pear in a bed of delicious soft cake. Pear was very soft and not too sweet which was a perfect combination of texture and flavor.

Le 19 was spectacular. Each dish was fresh, balanced and cooked to perfection. We couldn't ask for a more perfect dinner!

Le 19
19 Descente de la Halle aux Poissons  
31000 Toulouse, France

Friday, February 3, 2012

Le Genty Magre in Toulouse, France

The food in Toulouse, France is amazing. From things like a simple croissant to escargot everything is fresh and delicious. This city is famous for the sausages, Cassoulets, a type of a stew with beans and meats, and duck.

On the first night in Toulouse we went to Le Genty Magre.

I was really exited about these and for a good reason since they were amazing! The buttery and creamy sauce was very flavorful but not too rich as to overwhelm the escargot. The presentation itself was simple and wonderful because you could see the rich colors, patterns and shapes of the shells. 

Araignee De Mer et King Crab
This came out a little differently then I expected. I was hoping that the crab would be simply cooked but instead it was flash-fried. The sauce was interesting though. It had kind of a beef stew type flavor. All together an unique combination of contrasting flavors. This was a very good dish, but really not my favorite.

Joue De Bauf et Saucisse
Perfect! The beef was so delicate and juicy that I didn't even need a knife to eat it. The famous toulousean sausage was a great accompaniment because it added a differently textured meat. Obviously the sauce was amazing. The entire dish was full of flavors and extremely satisfying. 

Le Confit De Canard
I love duck confit but sometimes it can be a bit too rich. This was not the case here. Even though the creamy sauce looks heavy, it really wasn't. On the contrary, the flavors were somewhat delicate. The duck was cooked to perfection, really soft with a nice golden color.

Le Carpice Glace Au Chocolat
Basically, a chocolate covered ice cream ball with a creamy coconutty sauce. The ice cream itself was very fresh and delicious and the chocolate shell was delicate and crunchy. Such a great refreshing dessert!

Le Tiramisu
Obviously we had to try the tiramisu. The cream was not too sweet and so light that it made the dish almost airy. Just as the glace au chocolat, the tiramisu turned out to be a nicely delicate creation.

Le Madeleines
Ah the madeleines! Amazing French pastry. These were bite sized so obviously they didn't last more than 2 minutes. Even though we were very full at this point we couldn't pass on these amazing pastries. We even considered ordering more to take with us but decided that it might be a bit inappropriate at such a nice French restaurant. 

Overall the food at Le Genty Magre was outstanding and if I have the chance I would definitely go back, especially because they sometimes change the menu based on the ingrediants that are in season. I strongly sujest making a reservation beforehand because this place usually fills up pretty fast.

Le Genty Magre
3 Rue Genty-Magre
31000 Toulouse, France