Monday, August 31, 2015

Favorites in Spain

I had some friends and family going to Spain and wanted to give them food and drink suggestions, but realized I never ended up blogging about our experience there. So here it is! We loved Spain. Despite what most people would think, there were more veggie options than expected! But first, before getting into the different cities and places to eat, I am going to cover wine. My favorites were the tempranillos from the Rioja and Riberia del Duero regions. The sangria was so refreshing, perfect after a full day of exploring. In southern Spain, we enjoyed a typical summer drink called tinto de verano which is basically a lighter version of sangria.

Park Guell
Spices at the Market
Lanterns upon lanterns


La Fermata
The margarita pizza and pesto pizza with the mozzarella is amazing here. The mozzarella cheese on the pizza is some of the creamiest, richest mozzarella I have ever had! It is imported from Italy so you know it was damn good! Great for lunch or just a snack! We ate here twice because it was just that good!

This was an all vegetarian place. The chilaquilas were yummy and this place had the best chocolate truffles I have ever eaten! If you don't want to go for dinner, just go for dessert and enjoy the truffles!!! It is worth it :)

The black truffle pasta was soooo good!!! The olive oil was some of the best olive oil I have ever tasted. It is the olive oil that they bring out with the bread. I think overall everything we had here was delish! Great place for a fancier date night dinner!

This was a yummy gelato place we came across. I don't think you can go wrong with whatever you get here! 

In terms of breakfast, we tried a ton of coffee and pastry shops in the area we stayed in a few blocks from our hotel. They were all delicious and there are so many to choose from.


If you are sick of Tapas and want some spice. Come here! They have homemade tortillas chips to go with the their delicious salsa. There are three different salsa's that range in spice level. My favorite was the chile de arbol salsa! We ordered the guacamole and chips for appetizer and then tacos for the main course. All of it was a very tasty and I would absolutely go back again.

This little gem was hidden on a side street and initially not easy to find, but was well worth taking time to find it. This was our favorite Spanish Tapas places we ate at. It was not traditional small tapas in that the portions were slightly larger. Everything we ate here was fantastic. They also had a good amount of veggie options. Our favorite dish we had here was on the specials menu. It was a vegetable tempura with a yummy sauce and OMG it was delicious.

Flamenco Shows:
While in Sevilla, do not forget to go to a flamenco show. We went to an authentic one and it was a really awesome experience. The show we went to did not have the typical fancy outfits that you see when you go to a flamenco show. It was free and drinks and snacks were super cheap! We were also lucky enough to hang out at a bar one night and there was a flamenco performance at the bar that was impromptu and ton of fun!


If you are going to have paella in Spain, have it here! It was AMAZING! We got the veggie paella and it was so flavorful and had a variety of vegetables from shiitake mushrooms to lima beans. All the ingredients were fresh and there was so much food that we had plenty of left overs. I would also highly suggest getting a pitcher of sangria here. I thought it was the best sangria we had while in Spain. The ambiance was nice and there was live guitar performance while eating dinner.

Loved this restaurant so much that we went back twice! This place really hit the spot. It is a small Lebanese restaurant hidden in between a bunch of shops on a hill. It is a family business and the wife and husband are super nice and the food is very fresh. We had the hummus, tabouli, and falafel and all of it was so good. The falafel were the best I have had anywhere! Make sure to order the hot sauce if you want some extra spice!


This was a hole in the wall taqueria we discovered that was right near our hotel. All the tacos are a la carte, so you could try a bunch of different types without having to commit to one type. There were other options on the menu also like quesadillas and tortas. My husband had a veggie taco with cactus and enjoyed it. I tried a few tacos but the chicken taco was my favorite! It was delicious! This place was super yummy, cheap, and great for quick bite!

Monday, July 27, 2015

Yummy Seattle Eats!

We came out to Seattle to visit some good friends of ours and had such a great time :) We both had been to Seattle individually years back and knew we liked the city a lot. But after this trip we can't wait to visit again soon because we loved it so much it!  Thanks Khush, Keyur, Arti, Josh, and Anjani for suggesting so many great places to eat at and showing us around! 

My friend Khush planned a food packed schedule because she knows how much I love trying different places to eat. She had great suggestions for every meal and she didn't even forget to leave out dessert! Khush also had fun things planned during the day like hiking that let us work off all the great food we ate! I have to say she is quite the planner and none of the places disappointed! She also has a blog of her own that is about her travel adventures. So check it out for ideas!

There were so many delicious options but I decided to write a blurb about the places that were the most inspirational, creative and that are a must on our list for next time! I feel like the endless number of great options in this city can get so overwhelming otherwise!

Marination station- This place was originally a food truck that now has two actual locations in the city because it became so popular! The tofu tacos and kimchi fried rice are the best I have ever had! I did get the pork sliders as well but the other dishes we got, put them to shame because of all the amazing flavor! The tofu was seasoned so well in the tacos and the fried rice had some spicy kimchi and a fried egg on top! ~Thanks Anjani! 

Kimchi Fried Rice

Hot cakes- The molten cakes here are delicious. We had the dark decadence and chocolate malt molten cakes with burnt salted caramel ice cream. But since I am like the Cookie Monster my favorite was the chocolate chip cookie, topped with burnt salted caramel ice cream! Khush had mentioned the peanut butter cookies are her favorite cookies here. Unfortunately we did not have a chance to try them. ~Thanks Khush and Arti!

Hello Robin-  My husband loves ice cream and I love cookies. Ice cream cookie sandwiches are perfect for us! The cookies were freshly baked and so yummy. I got the chocolate chip and the whole wheat fancy chocolate chip with sea salt and Molly Moon's maple walnut ice cream. The combo of all of this was so delish! I was blown away by how good the whole wheat chocolate chip cookie was because it wasn't doughy like I was expecting. It was so soft, chewy and nutty. I fortunately got to try all the different types of cookies they had and surprisingly the whole wheat chocolate chip was my favorite! My next baking mission is to try to figure out how they made these delicious cookies. ~Thanks Arti!

Delancey- Pizza is one of our favorite meals so eating good pizza in new places always works out great. It is thin crust pizza that is topped with fresh and good quality ingredients. It reminded me of a place we have in Durham, North Carolina that we love and so I had to put this one on the list!

Margarita Pizza

In.gredients at Microsoft- My friend Keyur works at Microsoft and he wanted to bring us to his work for lunch. This lunch was not just any normal lunch in a work cafeteria. It was an actual restaurant with modern but semi rustic decor. The restaurant features a new menu by a different top local chef each month. We enjoyed a three course meal with every course being perfect from taste, presentation, and creativity. I was thoroughly impressed! ~Thanks Keyur

Watermelon Burrata Salad

Grilled portabella with pesto 

Chocolate Mousse

Crumble and Flake- Get the pistachio croissiant! It would be a crime not to. It was the most perfect croissiant ever. Crispy and flakey on the outside and filled with yummy pistachio gooeyness on the inside. Just make sure to go Friday- Sunday otherwise they don't have the pistachio croissiant available. I tried to go back again on a weekday and I was super disappointed. Thanks Khush!

For Coffee lovers, check out the Starbucks Roastery and Tasting Room. This is a cool spot to check out to taste different types of coffees and understand the roasting process. They have so many more options than Starbucks and offer espresso drinks with any of their coffee beans. I ordered an iced latte with Vietnam de lat coffee. It was delicious and different from other latte's that I have had!

Coffee being made with a siphon

There were so many other great food places we tried while we were in Seattle. However, I tried to stick to my favorites from vacation. When visiting Seattle check these places out! Hopefully, they will not disappoint!

Kaavya (Khush and Keyur's daughter) becoming a foodie already :)

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Salsa Verde

I love chips and salsa! I use salsa to top enchiladas, tacos, beans and rice, and the list could go on. I was planning on making tacos tonight and decided to make a tomatillo salsa to go with it. This salsa was so easy because the blender and oven did all the work.

A few things on tomatillos: A lot of people think that tomatillos are green tomatoes but they are a part of the gooseberry family. They come with husks on them that need to be removed. They also have soapy skin, so make sure to wash them well. I usually do not add any lime or lemon to tomatillo salsa because tomatillos are naturally tangy. 

The Players:
  • 3-4 medium sized tomatillos, husked and rinsed
  • 1/4 of a medium red onion, unpeeled 
  • 2 garlic cloves unpeeled
  • 1/4-1/2 a jalapeno, whole (depending on what spice level you like)
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 tbs of olive oil
  • Handful of chopped cilantro

The Game Plan:

Set the oven to broil. Place the first 4 ingredients on a baking sheet and coat them with the olive oil. Then season them with salt. Place the baking sheet in the oven. Allow the ingredients to become charred. Then remove the baking tray and let the ingredients cool for a few minutes. Once you can handle the heat, take the garlic and onion and remove the peel. Place all the ingredients, including the cilantro into the blender and blend until there is a smooth consistency. Season the salsa with salt to your liking. Place in the refridgerator for a few hours or until it is chilled. Enjoy!

Thursday, June 18, 2015

"Sushi" Bowls

One of our favorite sushi places in college was a place called Rolls and Bowls. It was such a cool concept because you could either build your own sushi bowl or sushi roll with whatever meat/fish, veggies, and/or sauce you wanted. I used to eat here almost once a week and pretty much always got the sushi bowls because they were a lot more filling. I missed this place so much when moving away that it inspired me to create my own version of it so I could enjoy it whenever I wanted!

I love this recipe because it is so much easier than actually making sushi rolls and you can put as many toppings as you want without having to worry about it all fitting into a roll. Also, you can easily make this non-vegetarian by substituting the tofu for meat or you can make it both ways without having to make two different dishes!

Feeds 2-3 fans

The Players:

Sushi rice
  • 1 cup of sushi rice*
  • 2 cups of water
  • 1.5 tsp rice vinegar
  • 1 tsp of sugar
  • Pinch or two of salt (optional)
Marinade and extra sauce

  • 6 tbs of soy sauce
  • 6 tbs mushroom oyster sauce
  • 1.5 tsp of chili oil
  • 3 tsp of siracha
  • 3 tbs schezwan sauce
  • 1 garlic clove grated 
  • 1 tsp grated ginger 
  • 1 tbs vegetable oil for stir fry
Spicy mayo
  • 3 tbs mayo
  • 1/2 tbs siracha
  • 1/4 tsp sesame oil
The toppings

  • 1/2 a medium cucumber sliced into thin sticks
  • 1 large carrot sliced into sticks
  • 1 scallion sliced 
  • 1 avocado cut into pieces
  • 8 shiitake mushrooms de-stemmed and sliced
  • 1/2 a small yellow or white onion diced
  • 3 eggs scrambled (optional)
  • 14 oz of firm or extra firm tofu drained and cut into small squares**
  • Black sesame seeds to sprinkle on top (optional)

Chicken sushi bowl
The Game Plan:

Mix the first 5 ingredients of the marinade up in a medium bowl and place half of it in a large bowl. Add the ginger and garlic to the large bowl and whisk to combine. Add the tofu and combine gently without crumbling the tofu. Set aside. Then combine all the ingredients for the spicy mayo in a small bowl and place it in the refrigerator.

Tofu sushi bowl
Place the sushi rice and water in a medium sized pot and place it on medium hi heat and bring it to a boil. Once it is boiling bring the temperature down to medium low and let it simmer until the water evaporates. Do  not stir the rice until the end! Once the rice is done, check to make sure it is cooked through. If it is not, you can always add more water if needed. When the rice is done, fold in the rice vinegar, sugar, and salt with a wooden spoon. Do not over mix and cause the rice to become mushy and do not use a metal spoon to mix the rice because it will change the flavor of the rice.

While the rice is cooking, place 1 tbs of vegetable oil in a wok on medium heat and place marinated tofu in there. Let cook for about 5 mins. Stir and try flipping the tofu over so it cooks on both sides. Add the diced onions and cook for another 5 mins. Add the shiitake mushrooms and cook for another 5 minutes stirring occasionally. If the mixture looks dry you can add more of the extra sauce you set aside.

Now you are ready to assemble your bowl. Place rice in the bowl first, then tofu mixture and then toppings. Top with spicy mayo and any additional sauce you desire. I usually make sure I have extra of the marinade so I can top it with that.

* To make this healthier you can make it with brown rice or quinoa. However when I do make it this way, I omit the rice vinegar and sugar.

**You can use any type of protein you like. I have used chicken before in place of the tofu and it was super yummy.