Tourists often come to Spain with the intention of trying one of our most renowned dishes: rice or paella. We produce rice in the south of Spain, in Valencia and there is no doubt that we love rice, rice with chicken, with game, with rabbit, with pork, with vegetables… I am sure that you grasp the idea. Although many come with the intention of eating a mind boggling paella, few do and that is because a rice dish is a somewhat difficult dish to master. The rice has to be cooked just right and it must be very savory cooked by slowly incorporating the broth. It is no secret that in Spain we often say that the best rice dishes or paellas are prepared at home. Not to fret, there are places where you can have great rice and one of those places is La Bomba Bistrot.
La Bomba Bistrot is a French decorated bistrot run by Christophe, the chef and by his wife Cristina who is in the dining room. The restaurant also has a lovely terrace which is surrounded by greenery making it a delight on a spring or summer night.
If you are a Bloody Mary fan you might want to start off your meal with one. As you can see two of us went for it and the other two had vermut.
Christophe knows his rice and he has been perfecting his method for years.
Do not let the post lead you to believe that all you can have here is rice. Christophe also prepares a delicious roasted chicken and he carries butifarra (a type of sausage) from Hermanos Rovira. There are always season vegetables as well.
I love his cannelloni stuffed with guinea fowl.
And when it is time for dessert there is no doubt that the pavlova is the way to go. I have fallen in love with this merengue based dessert filled with chianti cream and topped with passion fruit, berries, raspberries and strawberries. It is the perfect way to end your meal and leave you craving for more.
Richard Camarena is one of the most sought after chef’s in Spain with a Michelin star restaurant in Valencia he has also taken his business to more informal, casual territories where he doesn’t sacrifice flavor but adds a dash of funkiness. Now he has brought his playful style to Madrid where he has opened a second Canalla Bistrot, the first one is in Valencia, in Platea right next to Colon Square and on Goya Street. Platea is a former theater turned into a gastro arena. Where the orchestra used to be you will now find two floors of a food market filled with different options for you to choose from and then once you have mixed and matched you can sit to have your meal. The stage remains as a stage where live music is performed. At the mezzanine level is where you will find Canalla Bistro and then further above at the balcony level, a cocktail bar.
The idea behind the menu is to order dishes to share making it a great place to go with friends so that you can try more things.
I loved Avocado Cannelloni with marinated white tuna and pico de gallo.
A great dish to share and one which will have you popping them constantly into your mouth is the Vegetable Tempura with a slightly spicy sauce.
Duck Nigiri, it was tasty but it was hard to pick up on the duck flavor.
Pizzajapo Okonomiyaki with Chinese cabbage, bacon, mozzarella and okonomiyaki sauce (which is basically made with ketchup, worcestershire or tonkatsu sauce, honey and soy sauce) This isn’t your typical pizza but we would it to be very tasty.
Canalla Bistro both in Madrid and in Valencia. A fun place to check out this summer!
You have to love the Danes for coming up with fika which is cake drank with coffee or tea in the late afternoon. Although the concept is not exclusive to them by any means it is a widely spread and as you walk around the city you will find that cafés start to fill up at around four o’clock with groups of friends, couples and even people on their own working on their laptop as they enjoy the afternoon.
The winters in these Scandinavian countries are long and hard with very few hours of sunlight and low temperatures so needless to say, they spend countless hours indoors therefore the feeling they perceive inside their homes or restaurants need to feel right. It needs to be a place where you don’t mind hibernating during the winter solstice. Danes put in great time and effort into their decoration and they have a word in their vocabulary which I love, “hygge” pronounced hoo-ga which means cozy. It means green plants and flowers on your window sill, drinking coffee wrapped up in a warm blanket on your sofa or sipping wine with friends in a candle lit living room among other things. Since I have come back I am always trying to have a hygge feeling at home.
We were in Copenhague during spring break but the temperature and the weather felt like winter to a gal used to spending her winters in Madrid so I was very eager to have fika every day. These are some of the places that we went to:
As I have previously confessed in other posts, I love pizza. Actually pizza is our little secret to a happy marriage. My husband makes home made pizza every Sunday and I am blissfully happy as I eat it. Although I eat the best pizza in the world in my house, we do like to try other people’s pizza to see what else is out there. When we were in Copenhagen we went to Baest, a pizzeria run by the owners of Relae and Mirabelle Bakery. Baest is right next door to Mirabelle.
The pizza is made with local flour and then baked in those fabulous ovens where the magic is done producing an incredible crust and melting/roasting all the organic ingredients to perfection. The wood-fire ovens are custom made in Napoles and I was thinking about how great it wood be to have one of those in my terrace.
Baest is a laid back restaurant with an open kitchen where you see all the pizzas being assembled and you get to drool as they come out of the oven.
We found Baest pizzas to be fantastic and we were sad that we couldn’t find another moment to go back again since they only open for dinner. Be sure to book ahead of time since they tend to be full.
As I have previously mentioned, both my parents and my in laws live in Las Palmas, Gran Canaria so we tend to make it back several times a year. While we are away, we have some delightful friends who are always eagerly scavenging for new places where we can go dine out. The last time we were back they took us to Monóculo located at the end of Mesa y López Avenue. The place is informal, well tended, with a touch of hipsterism to it. We enjoyed our dinner there and if you are on the island or are planning to go anytime soon I would go and check it out.
All the dishes have a fun yet delicious twist to them. The menu has a wide selection such as meat, fish, vegetables… there is something for everyone.
One of the most well known dishes on the islands is “papas arrugadas con mojo”. A local variety of potatoes is boiled and then wrinkled with salt. The mojo is a sauce that can be prepared many different ways, almost every household does its own interpretation of either the green or the red mojo. At Monóculo they prepare them with a twist leading you to believe that you are popping stones into your mouth- minus the dentist’s bill.
Croquetas are a very typical Spanish tapa and as with the mojo there are many different ways to make such a small bite. At Monóculo they have decided to deconstruct it so that it tastes like a ham croqueta but it sure doesn’t look like one.
Chocolate dessert and a fresher option
A place to check out this summer on the island. A special thanks for Arancha and Severo who are always on the look out for places we can share together.
1 José Mesa y López Avenue, 35006 Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Canary Islands
Noma, which was ranked the best restaurant in world several times, has closed its doors and is currently changing location. The new NOMA will be in Christiania but meanwhile not to fret, René Redzepi has opened a second restaurant a few meters away from where NOMA once reigned, 108. Lead by Kristian Baumann who strives to make 108 stand apart from NOMA and is succeeding. 108 is much more accessible but don’t let that fool you, tables are scarce. Baumann is working with different Nordic techniques such as smoking, pickling and fermentation to products that are all local so that you can really grasp the area’s cuisine. The restaurant serves a la carte so that you can design your own menu.
I was there during Spring Break and I have to say that it was my favorite meal in Copenhagen. It flew to the top of the list. On the one hand 108 is laid back and informal. The service is easy going and know how to guide you through the menu and the wine parring. The decoration has a sort of swanky nordic feel and the food is delicious. The flavors are well-balanced with a kick.
Leeks with algae, I love it when restaurants use algae because it is suppose to be so healthy and I still haven’t managed to incorporate it into our home meals.
Scallop with sea urchin
We had the classic Glazed Pork Belly to finish off our meal.
I strongly recommend keeping an eye on 108 and Christian Baumann!
There is no hiding it, I am sure that in a past mouse I must have been a mouse living in a French fromagerie. If you are one of those people who dies for cheese, Los Quesos de L’amelie is a must-go-to. It is located behind Arturo Soria Plaza shopping center and it has a nice garden terrace right in front. Besides buying cheese they have high tables where you can order a glass of wine and nimble away on some delicious cheese. Another option is to sit outside and enjoy the sun and the breeze.