Monóculo – my latest discovery on the island

IMG_0147.JPGAs 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.

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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.
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Octopus
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Pork cheeks
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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.
Monóculo
1 José Mesa y López Avenue, 35006 Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Canary Islands

Arzabal Ponzano – one of the liveliest streets in Madrid

From a couple of years back Ponzano has been becoming more and more popular with a wider ranger of places to go get a drink or grab a bite to eat. Actually it has become so popular that you will find swarms of people flocking around both inside and outside making it hard to walk down the sidewalk or to order a drink. There is no doubt that this street is upbeat and fun on any day of the week. Now that it seems that summer is almost upon us, eating out and having a drink outside becomes even more appealing.

The choice is so wide that at times it can be difficult to decide which bars/taverns should be the chosen ones during your bar hopping. There are so many options ranging from places where you can grab a beer or a glass of wine and a tapa to more serious places where you can get a good quality meal. One of my favorites is Arzabal Ponzano run by Álvaro Castellanos and Iván Morales, you might have gone to one of their other restaurants: Arzabal Retiro, Arzabal Reina and one of my favorite Japanese restaurants Kirikata (previously known as A de Arzabal) It has been only a matter of time before they ventured out to trendy Ponzano.

The place is hip and stylish. You can eat either at the bar area or sitting down at one of the tables. It is the kind of places where you can grab some tapas with your friends after work or actually sit down with your parents or clients for a more formal/informal dinner.

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We are all accustomed to their quality standard. Delicious ham croquetas and it is actually a great place if you are in the mood for meat.

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I am a fan of their torrijas… simply perfect and topped off with a scoop of ice-cream. You can’t ask for more.

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Arzabal Ponzano
29 Breton de los Herreros Street
28003 Madrid
Telephone- 915 94 06 90

Echaurren Tradition – five generations

Ezcaray is a small mountain town in the Spanish wine region of La Rioja. Although there are many vineyards and cellars close to the town, Ezcaray is actually better known as a ski town and it is especially known for its wool blankets serving world renowned brands such as Loewe. Honestly, this is a food blog but I must rave about their cashmere and mohair blankets which are a dream to roll up with on a cold winter’s day.

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Right next to the church Santa María La Mayor, pretty much in the center of the historic town you will find, Echaurren, which dates back to the late nineteenth century when Pedro Echaurren and Andrea García started their business and gradually it has become a part of La Rioja’s gastronomic history and this is partly thanks to Marisa Sánchez who has very skillfully, since 1957, alongside her husband, Felix Paniego, managed to make her restaurant Tradición a must-go-to place in the region. Her croquetas are legendary and according to many, are considered the best in Spain. I am not going to argue if they are or are not the best but I will say that they are exceptionally good with a very creamy interior.

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El Pescador – Galicia right in Madrid

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El Pescador belongs to the same group as Pescaderías Coruñesas, O’Pazo and Filandón all of which work with high-quality produce. I especially like El Pescador which is a restaurant that can be played two ways; either as a proper restaurant or as a tapas bar. Located on Ortega y Gasset it is a great place to pop into on a Saturday for el aperitif or on a weekday for an informal dinner. The restaurant has an inviting nautical feel to it. The counter is a lot of fun asyou can see their selection of oysters from France, Spain and even Japan. There are other dishes which are always catching your eye.  They tend to have wines from Galicia which are tasty and they also serve champagne by the glass which pairs beautifully with seafood. Well, who am I kidding? Champagne goes with everything.

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