Mothership Coffee Roasters [7,] Henderson NV

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Mothership Coffee Roasters

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Sunrise Cookie Butter Muffin

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Vegan Chili Corn Pocket

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Vegan Pumpkin Pop-Tart

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Vegan Coconut, Almond and Chocolate Twinkie

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Very Vanilla Pound Cake

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Carrot Cake, Cream Cheese Icing, Caramelized Pineapple Puree and a Secret

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Pumpkin Scone with Candied Pepitas

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Chocolate Hazelnut Nutella Scone

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If one carefully surveys the landscape of Las Vegas Bakeries from West to East they will no doubt find a bevy of options, yet as much as the scene has evolved over the last three years the fact remains that only three truly stand out, Rosallie to the West for its World-Class French Pastries and CRAFTkitchen as well as Mothership to the East, the later filling a particularly special niche in terms of creativity and their high quality Vegan treats.

Written about here several times since the small Roastery and Bakeshop opened in May of 2015, Juanny Romero and Joshua Walter’s decision to expand past Sunrise Coffee continuing the pay dividends as their Beans remain the city’s best while Pastry Chef Beth Ryan-Small continues to reinvent her display of Baked Goods as often as possible, it was after lunch at Naked City Pizza on Paradise that seven new selections from Beth’s fall lineup were tasted in addition to one new item from Sunrise, the Cookie Butter Muffin most certainly something worth driving a bit further down the street for as tender Batter surrounds a core of pudding-like Speculoos with tender Chocolate morsels and Streusel on top.

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Having taken over Vegan responsibilities earlier this year, the Strip-Veteran proving quite versatile after years of cooking in some of Las Vegas’ busiest kitchens, it should come as no surprise to fans of Mothership that Autumn 2017 sees the kitchen once again offering several completely new items in addition to the classics, Beth’s spicy Vegan Chili Corn Pocket easily the most convincing pseudo-meat dish experienced across several years including many dieting on such things shortly after College.

As always impressed by the textures Chef Ryan-Small and her team has been table to create without Butter, Milk or Eggs, the Vegan Pumpkin Pop-Tart sort of like a Thanksgiving Dreamwhip Pie with less sweetness while her “Twinkie” outperforms Hostess in all ways in its current Almond Joy iteration, those who harbor no dietary restrictions should show no hesitation when diving into Beth’s newly released Carrot Cake Muffin with Cream Cheese icing, the tangy toping proving an admirable foil to the moist base imbued with caramelized Pineapple Puree, a touch of something Special and plenty of aromatic Spices.

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Once again changing up the Poundcake, a “Very Vanilla” wedge not quite as impressive as the Blood Orange version previously offered but still quite good with plenty of heft and swirls of crystallized Sugar, fans of Mothership’s Scones will be happy to see two new versions offered for the season, the Pumpkin and Candied Pepitas triangle thick and rich with a flavor not unlike a Pumpkin Spice Latte while the Cocoa-based version is decidedly decadent beneath cracked Nuts and slightly hardened Housemade Chocolate-Hazelnut Spread.

FIVE STARS: More remarkable with every visit, the ingredient quality certainly important but Chef Ryan-Small’s training, effort and years of practice helping to create items that are anything but run-of-the-mill, Autumn at Mothership is once again worth making a special trip for regardless of dietary restrictions, though early arrival is advised as the best items will often sell out.

RECOMMENDED: Carrot Cake, Vegan Chili Corn Pocket, Vegan Pumpkin Pop-Tart, Chocolate Hazelnut Nutella Scone

AVOID: N/A, though you may want to stop by Sunrise for the Cookie Butter Muffin if that is more convenient.

TIP: Open 7a-6p daily, some baked goods coming out later than others including Beth’s excellent Brownies.

WHAT THE STARS MEAN: 5 World Class, 4 Excellent, 3 Good, 2 Fair, 1 Poor.

https://shop.mothershipcoffee.com/

Mothership Coffee Roasters Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Posted in Breakfast, Dessert, Food, Henderson, Las Vegas, Mothership, Mothership Coffee, Mothership Coffee Roasters, Nevada Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Naked City Pizza on Paradise [5,] Las Vegas NV

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Naked City Pizza on Paradise

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A’ LA VIE Pizza – Butter poached Lobster, Foie Gras Drizzle, Bourbon Maple roasted Chanterelles/Maitake Mushrooms, Butter roasted Lobster/French Horn Mushrooms, Roasted Garlic Sauce, Italian Parsley

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Gelato – Chocolate, Asian Pear-Pinot Grigio, Juju-Honey

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Call it good fortune or simply a matter of spending too much time on Facebook, but when Christopher Palmeri posted pictures of raw ingredients offering a free Pizza to whoever named all five first it seemed a no-brainer to take a guess, the answer of Foie Gras, Lobster, Lobster Mushrooms, Chanterelles and Maple Syrup winning one free sheet served up piping hot the following day at Naked City Pizza on Paradise.

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Admittedly a fan of Palmeri and his Pizzerias, the location on Paradise still the most well appointed and family friendly with even more kitsch including the Jon Secada Poster and old Family Photos decorating the walls on this visit than prior, it was with another local Chef that a party of two sat down Friday afternoon to indulge in the “A’ LA VIE” Pizza, the music of Elvis Presley playing overhead a perfect pairing for Butter Poached Lobster, cubes of Foie Gras, gently cooked Mushrooms and Garlic Sauce on Naked City’s puffy Crust lightly topped in Mozzarella.

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Recently taking on another challenge as a Gelato maker, the ownership of two restaurants plus an express location, consultation at Bacon Bar and gigs at both Baseball games and the Speedway clearly not enough for hard-working Palmeri, it was with the whole sheet of Pie polished off that three samples of Naked City’s first run were tasted, the Juju-Honey a bit icy in terms of the texture while both the Chocolate and Asian Pear-Pinot Grigio were beautifully flavored and silky smooth, even though the Chef stated that the freezer is running a bit cooler than he would like it.

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FIVE STARS: Always taking chances and usually coming up a winner Naked City Pizza remains a quintessential part of Las Vegas’ dining regardless of location, though the place on Paradise remains the most well appointed with the recent addition of Gelato giving fans or first timers yet another reason to visit.

RECOMMENDED: Although the Pizza Logs and Wing Dip are great, no visit is complete without a Pizza.

AVOID: N/A.

TIP: Keep an eye on Social Media for weekly specials.

WHAT THE STARS MEAN: 5 World Class, 4 Excellent, 3 Good, 2 Fair, 1 Poor.

http://www.nakedcitylv.com/

Naked City Pizza Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Posted in Dessert, Foie, Foie Gras, Food, Ice Cream, Italian, Las Vegas, Lobster, Naked City, Naked City Pizza, Naked City Pizza on Paradise, Nevada, Pizza Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Jean Georges Steakhouse [7,] Las Vegas NV

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Jean Georges Steakhouse

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Brioche Bread with Herb Butter

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Moet & Chandon Imperial Brut Champagne

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Golden Osetra Caviar, Egg Toast, Herbs

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Wagyu Carpaccio, Gougeres, Lime Salt, Truffle Mayonnaise and Balsamic

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Heirloom Tomatoes, Burrata, Blackberries, Blueberries, Raspberries, Red Peppers, Golden Peppers, Cucumbers, Red Wine Vinegar, Aged Balsamic and Basil

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Burrata, Heirloom Tomatoes, Balsamic, Olive Oil, Toast

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Black Pepper Shrimp, Dried Pineapple, Garden Herbs

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BBQ Baby Back Pork Ribs, Tamarind BBQ, Lime

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Pepper Crusted Foie Gras, Strawberry-Rhubarb Jam, Marcona Almond

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Soy Glazed Short Rib, Apple Slaw, Rosemary

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Short Rib Dumplings, Braised Mushrooms, Pan Jus

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18oz Bone-In Dry-Aged Ribeye / 6oz Tajima Australian Wagyu Filet / Lamb Rack Bolognese / U4 Salt Water Prawns with Butter and Parsley

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Crunchy Potatoes, Chili Yogurt, Herbs

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Black Truffle Mashed Potatoes

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Sauteed Corn, Manchego, Chile, Lime

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Bone Marrow, Toast, Parsley Salad

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Trumpet Mushrooms, Garlic, Jalapeno, Lemon

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Double Espresso, Ice

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Salted Caramel Sundae, Fudge, Candied Peanuts, Caramel Popcorn

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Strawberry Linzer, Strawberry Ice Cream, Strawberry Meringue, Strawberry Sorbet, Dehydrated Strawberries, Fennel Blossom

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Gold Bar, Hazelnut, Chocolate, Passion Fruit-Mango Gelee

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While some may argue the virtues of Chicago or New York there is little doubt that Las Vegas is America’s Steakhouse-Central, nearly every property On-Strip possessing at least one place to get a good piece of grilled Beef but none so frequent to change their Menu as Jean Georges Steakhouse at Aria where Chef Sean Griffin and his team have raised the bar so high that each visit sees guests old and new impressed by something new, whether it be Vegetable, Grain or Protein.

Quickly becoming a staple of dining out, the recent makeover lightening the space a bit and switching the soundtrack from pumping EDM to the sort of place where one might hear anything from recent Top 40 to Three Dog Night to the Guess Who, it was as a party of four that Carte Blanche was once again given to the Chefs from a table to the left of the entry-way, the night unfolding as five courses over two hours and once again containing an abundance of new plates and plenty of Food.

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Visiting for the first time with Chef Griffin out of town, an event in Singapore with Jean Georges requiring his presence but Sean stating that he is very comfortable with his current crew to execute a great meal, it was with greetings from Executive Sous Chef Robert that things got underway, friends enjoying several Asian-inspired Cocktails while Champagne was poured for all to pair with a new and improved Egg Toast featuring not one, but two Yolks and big dollop of Caviar.

Of course presenting a few classics in addition to off-menu specials and items to be launched in fall, three of those present at the table marking their first visit to Jean George Steakhouse, it was immediately after finishing off warm Bread with Herb Butter that two Salads and the famous Wagyu Carpaccio arrived, the creamy Gougeres draped in Beef with bold notes of Truffle as good as ever while Produce from The Intuitive Forager featured a late summer bounty of Heirloom Tomatoes, Peppers and Berries intermingling with old Balsamic and fresh Burrata.

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Again going old and new for course two, the famous Baby Back Ribs meaty, moist and elegantly spiced after a twist of Lime atop Tamarind Glaze, those looking for something with a bit more heat will be happy to see the Autumn arrival of Black Pepper Shrimp, the snappy Crustaceans butterflied and lined up alongside Pineapple chunks that eat like Marshmallows while the seared Foie Gras remains as impressive as ever in its seasonal composition with Strawberry-Rhubarb Jam and Almond textures.

Never disappointing with Short Rib, a friend at that table who orders the dish at every restaurant possible quickly deeming the Soy Glazed Meat served with only a spoon and fork the best he’d ever tasted, it was with a side-dish of Dim Sum made from the same that the table was set for a feast, the original board actually too big and thus requiring re-plating in the kitchen to serve the Medium-Rare Dry-Aged Ribeye, Jumbo Prawns and supple Australian Wagyu plus a clever riff on Rack of Lamb topped in shredded Parmesan and thick, meaty Lamb Bolognese.

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Sticking to the menu for sides, all of them obviously new for first timers, it was with full stomachs that most picked at Summer Corn and beautiful Trumpet Mushrooms tossed with Jalapenos while both Mashed and Crunchy Potatoes went quick, as too did the further table-crowding Bone Marrow that none but Vegetarians should leave Jean Georges Steakhouse without tasting.

With 3/4 of the table waving white towels, the promise to ‘try one bite’ of Dessert expectedly becoming a couple bites from all but one, it was with a Double Espresso on Ice that three sweets were enjoyed, the Salted Caramel Sundae a classic not going anywhere soon while the Linzer is a visit-worthy seasonal dish and even the light flavor of Passion Fruit is not enough to make Jean Georges Gold Bar any less impressive in terms of taste, presentation or its multitude of textures.

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FIVE STARS: Not running at quite as high a volume as usual, the Golovkin vs. Canelo match ongoing as the meal began emptying many of Aria’s Restaurants until later, it nonetheless speaks volumes about the team at Jean Georges Steakhouse that such a great meal was served even when Chef Griffin was out of the country, thus furthering a personal belief that at this moment there is no better Steakhouse in town for repeat visits…and probably not a better one in the country, either.

RECOMMENDED: Wagyu Carpaccio, Foie Gras, Short Rib, Dry-Aged Ribeye, Crunchy Potatoes, Bone Marrow, Strawberry Linzer, Gold Bar.

AVOID: Filling up on that excellent Bread. You will be challenged.

TIP: Lamb Bolognese and Black Pepper Shrimp coming in Fall, make a reservation for at least the former and probably both.

WHAT THE STARS MEAN: 5 World Class, 4 Excellent, 3 Good, 2 Fair, 1 Poor.

https://www.aria.com/en/restaurants/jean-georges-steakhouse.html

Jean Georges Steakhouse Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Posted in Bread Basket, Coffee, Dessert, Foie, Foie Gras, Food, Ice Cream, Jean Georges, Jean Georges Steakhouse, Las Vegas, Nevada, Pork, Tasting Menu, Truffle, Truffles Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Frank & Fina’s Cocina, Las Vegas NV

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Frank & Fina’s Cocina

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Chips and Salsa

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Queso Fundido – Three Cheese Blend, Green Chiles, Pico de Gallo, Chorizo with Flour Tortillas

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House Tamales – Chile Colorado Beef, Chicken Mole, Melted Cheese, Beans, Rice

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Churros – Caramel, Vanilla Ice Cream

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Tres Leches Cheesecake – Whipped Cream, Chocolate

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Tucked away in the Grand Canyon Parkway Shopping Center, recent openings such as Cinnaholic and another Rollin’ Smoke location joining old favorites like Mad Hatter Cupcakes, it was for lunch on Mexican Independence Day that a seat was taken at Frank & Fina’s Cocina, the setting intended to resemble a little piece of Mexico and its employees both pleasant but the food routinely average despite a fairly high price point.

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Located at the same spot since 2008, a fairly remarkable accomplishment in a city where the dining landscape sees openings and closings almost daily both on-Strip and off, Frank & Fina’s is one of those rare places in Las Vegas that has sustained the test of time despite minimal advertising and little media mention, the patrons on this particularly afternoon almost universally Caucasian and obviously regulars with an average age North of fifty despite two well-behaved children dragging that number down.

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In some ways a ‘theme’ restaurant, the décor intentionally transportive with overhead music ethnically appropriate and items such as a Tequila Bottle shaped piñata hanging not far from a painting of Frida Kahlo, diners at Frank & Fina’s Cocina are greeted from a small hostess stand labeled “Que Pasa?” on entry, the tables filling two rooms and the Menu totaling five pages plus a handful of daily specials.

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Named after its ownership and offering a typical American-Mexican menu, the obligatory basket of Chips and mild Tomato Salsa fairly forgettable though the Tortillas are served warm, it was after perusing a predictable list of Enchiladas, Tacos and Fajitas that eyes landed on some items that stood out as somewhat unique, the Appetizer quickly up-sold by a pleasant young Mexican waiter who did a great job covering a lot of real estate as he appeared to be the only employee working the room.

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Fairly quick in terms of service, an okay to serve both Appetizer and Entrée at the same time seeing merely ten minutes between placing an order and receiving Food, it was after briefly surveying the landscape that a Chip was used to scoop up some of the Queso Fundido that had already started to turn somewhat rubbery, the $2 addition of “Chorizo” no more than a tablespoon and certainly not spicy with a taste and texture not unlike ground Beef.

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Off to a fairly inauspicious start, the $9 plate similar to what one might pay in a Casino for something better, it was onto warm Flour Tortillas that additional Cheese was scooped along with flaccid Peppers before moving on to a combination plate of standard-issue Beans and Rice plus two Tamales, the Chile Colorado Beef featuring shredded Meat actually quite good while the “Chicken Mole” ordered was inexplicably covered with a sour green Salsa that made one wonder whether the server instead wrote down “Chile Verde Pork” or if the kitchen accidentally added the wrong Sauce to the flavorless cubes of Meat inside a steamy roll of Corn.

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Holding out hope for Dessert, $4.95 for one room-temperature Churro broken in half and piped with Caramel both ridiculously priced and fairly underwhelming next to store-bought Vanilla Ice Cream, it was at an even more eyebrow raising $6.95 that a thin wedge of “Tres Leches Cheesecake” from the Specials board was offered, the sponge moist but not ‘wet’ while the center was more firm than creamy, as though it was nothing more than Cream Cheese with a little bit of Sugar mixed in.

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TWO STARS: Offering pleasant service and a comfortable setting, the ownership and staff both doing their best to create a family-friendly environment harkening something one might find The Mission or in a small Mexican community in Phoenix, Frank & Fina’s unfortunately lacks in terms of quality and execution with dishes that do not fit the price point.

RECOMMENDED: Chile Colorado Beef Tamale.

AVOID: Queso Fundido with ‘Chorizo’ Upgrade and, if that really was Chicken Mole as it is supposed to be served, then that too…and the Tres Leches as well as the Churros can be found at about half price, better, elsewhere.

TIP: 11:00a-9:00p Sunday through Thursday, 11:00a-10:00p Friday and Saturday.

WHAT THE STARS MEAN: 5 World Class, 4 Excellent, 3 Good, 2 Fair, 1 Poor.

Frank & Fina's Cocina Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Posted in Dessert, Food, Frank & Fina's Cocina, Frank and Fina's Cocina, Ice Cream, Las Vegas, Nevada, Pork Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Yardbird Southern Table & Bar [16,] Las Vegas NV

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Yardbird Southern Table & Bar

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Iced Tea

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Fried Green Tomato BLT – House smoked Pork Belly, Pimento Cheese, Frisee, Smoky Tomato Jam, Lemon Vinaigrette

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Classic Buttermilk Biscuits – Honey Butter, Apple Butter

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Deviled Eggs – Dill, Chives, Smoked Bacon

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Crispy Brussels – Spiced Honey

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Friday Fried Fish Platter – Shrimp, Crawfish, Catfish, Remoulade, Grilled Lemon

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Shrimp n’ Grits – Seared Shrimp, Roasted Tomatoes, Virginia Ham, Red Onions, Nora Mill Grits, PBR Chicken Jus

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Etouffee – Shrimp, Rice, Tomatoes, Dark Roux, Grilled Bread

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Short Rib – Cauliflower Mashed Potatoes, Blistered Corn, Asparagus

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Chilled Spiced Watermelon

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Vermont Sharp Cheddar Cheese Waffle – Bourbon Maple Syrup

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Lewellyn’s Fine Fried Chicken  – 27-hour Buttermilk Brined Natural Chicken

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Cornbread Muffins – Jalapeno, Vermont Cheddar

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Cast Iron Cherry Pie

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Red Velvet Cake – Chocolate Pot, Vanilla Ice Cream, Oreo ‘Dirt,’ Gummy Worms

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Raspberry Brioche Donuts – Crème Anglaise, Whipped Cream, Chocolate Fudge

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Peanut Butter Ice Cream Pie – Chocolate Ganache, Chocolate Fudge, Peanut Butter Cups

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Fried Oreos and Twinkies – Rice Crispy Doughnut Dough, Confectioners’ Sugar

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Peach Bourbon Paletas

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Now with a Singapore outpost flying high and more expansion soon to come it was once again on Friday that Yardbird continued to show itself as a standard-bearer for Southern Food and Hospitality, a party of five including four first-timers all impressed by a multi-course feast featuring three new savories and a half-dozen Desserts pending release as part of the new Fall menu.

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Undeniably a fan of the restaurant, and as such apparently in good company as this visit once again found Yardbird packed to capacity while it’s 50 Eggs neighbor and several other spots along Venetian’s Restaurant Row were less than half-full, it was moments prior to 7pm that guests were sat at a high-top in the front section, drinks ordered a la carte while the Menu was prix-fixe crafted by Chefs Sandra, Keris and Joe.

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Now marking the sixteenth visit in what will soon be three years, the sustained popularity of the space a testament to both the concept and the quality in a city where dozens of restaurants come and go in half as much time, it was with Cocktails and Tea in hand that the night got started with several classics, the Buttermilk Biscuits still reigning supreme while the BLT and tricked out Deviled Eggs were as delicious as ever, as were the caramelized Brussels Sprouts and a fried platter of Seafood including flaky Fish, jumbo Shrimp and sweet Crawfish Tails.

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Presenting some dishes in larger portions than the menu versions, though most entrees remain more than capable of feeding at least two, it was with an oversized plate of the Shrimp n’ Grits impressing all present that NOLA-classic Etouffee additionally made an appearance, the smoky Roux clearly time a time-consuming endeavor given its complexity and smokiness while the house Short Rib remains as meaty and tender as ever atop Cauliflower Puree buried beneath a blanket of blistered Corn.

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Looked after by a team of servers, the same thin fella’ as last visit happy to take on the role of southern gentleman in playing up an accent throughout the evening, course four saw Yardbird’s signature dish broken down into three separate plates along with Cornbread, the 27-hour Brined Bird, crispy Cheddar Waffles and cubes of Melon all dialed in while the Muffins were piping hot and lightly spiced, though not quite as impressive as the menu’s skillet version.

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At this point turning the show over to Keris Kuwana, her Las Vegas Dessert Menu soon to undergo substantial change after a trip to help the team open up in Singapore, it was with only one repeated plate that a half-dozen items were presented, the Popsicles not for the faint of heart as they pack a hefty punch of Booze while everything else was straight forward and delicious, the Donut Tree drawing a lot of looks thanks to the service piece while the potted Red Velvet has evolved a lot since it was first seen, the Vanilla Ice Cream layer playing well off of two layers of Cake while the Peanut Butter Pie is downright decadent even before a tableside pour of molten Chocolate.

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FIVE STARS: Always a great time, both the food quality and the service continually impressive for a place doing such big numbers, Yardbird remains the reference-standard for Southern cuisine West of the Mississippi, a situation that seems unlikely to change even as John Kunkel and team focus on Global expansion.

RECOMMENDED: Buttermilk Biscuits, BLT, Shrimp n’ Grits, Etouffee, Chicken n’ Watermelon n’ Waffles, Peanut Butter Pie, Red Velvet Cake.

AVOID: The off-menu Bourbon Peach Popsicles might need a little more sugar…or maybe a chaser. Smilie: :-)

TIP: Photos display a triple order of the Chicken and double order of Shrimp n’ Grits. Etouffee, Fried Fish, Cornbread Muffins and Desserts all potentially coming soon.

WHAT THE STARS MEAN: 5 World Class, 4 Excellent, 3 Good, 2 Fair, 1 Poor.

www.runchickenrun.com

Yardbird Southern Table & Bar Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Posted in Bread Basket, Cornbread, Dessert, Food, Ice Cream, Las Vegas, Nevada, Pork, Waffle, Waffles, Yardbird, Yardbird Southern Table & Bar, Yardbird Southern Table and Bar Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Restaurant Sant Pau, Sant Pol de Mar ES

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Restaurant Sant Pau

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2016 Mas Bertran ‘Balma’ Reserve Brut Nature Cava

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CANAPES – Savory Cookies

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Farmhouse Bread

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1. GALILEO GALILEI – Almadroc and jurvert, cantuccini, anchovy

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2. RED PLANET – Tomato and strawberry velvet

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3. HALLEY’S COMET – Cod, spicy picadillo

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4. BLUE PLANET – King prawn, lemon pulp, fennel

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5. SUPERNOVA – Octopus, chickpeas, plankton

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6. EXOPLANETS – European eel, vegetables, dashi

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7. THE BRIGHTEST STAR – Spicy brick, lobster, salicornia, “del cuc” beans

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8. WHIRPOOL GALAXY – Cuttlefish in its own ink, romesquet, mangetout

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9. CELESTIAL BODIES – Sea bass, lettuce heart, asparagus

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10. TAURUS CONSTELLATION – Stewed Wagyu ox, 3 misos

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11. ASTEROID – Puigpedrós cheese, apple, sponge cake

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12. ECLIPSE – Grapefruit, coffee, tea

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13. KRYPTON – Cucumber, ginger, lime

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14. MILKY WAY – Coconut milk, baked milk, Amande chocolate

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GAMBA TAILS – Mole verde, vegetables, leaves and flowers

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CREAMY RICE WITH SEA CUCUMBER – Maresme style, mimetic cayenne

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BRUNETA VEAL FILLET – 3 misos: white, red and black

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HOMEMADE TUPÍ CHEESE – With goat, cow, and sheep cheese with grilled fruit confit

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Double Espresso with ice

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PETIT FOURS – The Sun, banana, passion fruit, cayenne, black chocolate / Mercury, Aromes de Montserrat candy / Venus, citrus jelly / Earth, sea water bonbon, crushed wafer / Mars, griote, white chocolate, pink pepper / Jupiter, puff pastry and angel hair / Saturn, chocolate, praliné, blueberry, juniper / Uranus, spicy chocolate truffle / Neptune, philo pastry, liquorice, sherbet

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Now 65 years old and still in the kitchen daily, her career essentially beginning as soon as she was old enough to cook amongst a family of farmers, Carme Ruscalleda is currently the world’s 2nd most Michelin Starred Female Chef, her Tokyo outpost holding two macaroons and the location opened outside Barcelona in 1988 garnering the Red Guide’s highest accolade ever since 2006.

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Located in Sant Pol de Mar, a quaint seaside town just over an hour from central Barcelona with most of the journey featuring expansive views of the Mediterranean, it is via the highway that those approaching the Restaurant by car will enter village and although returning guests may be aware of Sant Pau’s Private Lot those making their first trip will be compelled to park nearly a half-kilometer away, the walk usually a pleasant one down narrow streets but on this particular day a pressing issue after the meal in the midst of a torrential downpour.

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Focusing on traditional Catalan flavors, a sense of seasonality and the Ocean present in most of her plates but much like the Roca Brothers greatly influenced by Modernism during the era of El Bulli, 2017 sees Chef Ruscalleda and her team taking on the difficult concept of a “Menu inspired by The Universe,” a fourteen course feast capped by nine planetary Mignardises that was ordered by one guest at a table overlooking the garden while the other opted to dine a la carte.

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Set back from the street and the Sea, a nearby trainstop dropping those traveling by such means directly at the Beach and not far from Sant Pau, it is after greetings in well-appointed foyer that guests are led to widely spaced seating inside a room of maize and red, less than a dozen tables making the room quiet and romantic with thick linens though servers often seem to be a mile away which can make communicating with them rather difficult, such as was the case when it seemed no one gave the Chef notice to begin service thus pushing the 21h00 start back by another thirty-five minutes.

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Offering a diverse Wine list, both diners opting to begin with a very brisk €15 glass of Cava that went well with more than half of the menu including three savory Cookies present on arrival, it was with outsourced Bread featuring a robust Crust that the evening got underway after apologies for the aforementioned delay, a dish called Galileo Galilei featuring marinated Anchovies atop Bread stuffed with a Cheese and Egg Mixture quite unexpected in its complexity while “Red Planet” channeled Mars in presentation with Stawberry Powder atop chilled Tomato Veloute.

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Forced to augment service slightly in presenting both tasting and a la carte menus to the same table, the three savory courses all offered at €49 each with Dessert €19, it was after an impressive Salt Cod Croquetta served with a shimmering comet tail that a large plate of Prawns in Green Mole was served alongside “Blue Planet,” the a la carte dish elegant in its balance of Sea and Earth while the thin crisp painted like Earth shattered to reveal a similar idea with a single Crustacean bathed in Lemon Curd with a hint of Licorice.

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At this point with the pace finally up to speed, though several surrounding tables that were already present and dining long before the 21h00 start quoted by the Restaurant as “the earliest time available” when booking over four months in advance, it was in Chickpea Soup alongside fried orbs of the same that Octopus was served along with Iodine-laced dots, the “Exoplanets” of Eel presented next taking a distinctly Asian twist while the a la carte plate of Creamy Rice and pan-seared Sea Cucumber outshined anything offered on the tasting with exemplary Risotto cooked in Shellfish stock, Cheese and a light touch of heat.

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Crossing the Tasting’s midpoint with thin crisps of Pastry forming a dome over Lobster and Beans from both Seaside and Farm, the follow-up an off-putting plate of Squid and Fish with a snotty textured Sauce perfumed in Cognac, it was with a bit more Bread requested to refresh the palate that a generous filet of Sea Bass was presented with Squash Blossoms, Lettuce and Asparagus, the a la carte entrée of Veal with three different styles of Miso served along with the Fish and still being enjoyed when the final savory of the tasting menu arrived similar though more elaborately plated with Wagyu Beef.

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Transitioning savory to sweet with Cheese, the “Asteroid” of Puigpedrós dusted in dark Spongecake Crumbs atop Apple Gelee a very pleasant and creamy bite, it was here that “Eclipse” was offered, the Grapefruit with a sour Yogurt center topped tableside with strong Coffee to create a flavor greater than the sum of its parts that at first seemed quite harsh but after the first bite mellowed into something pleasantly tangy and refreshing.

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Electing to enjoy housemade Tupi Cheese as the final a la carte Dish, three different Milks brought together in one pot to form a smooth and mild flavor that paired well with Nuts, Fruit Chutney and locally foraged greens, it was here that Ruscalleda and her team of twenty showed an unexpected sense of humor, the dish titled Krypton with texture-modified Cucumbers on a base of Ginger and Lime Pudding revealing a tiny image of Superman when eaten before being replaced by the “Milky Way” of Tuilles, Crumbles and Ice Cream featuring the flavors of Coconut and Chocolate.

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At this point fully aware that one umbrella would not be suitable for the trip back to the car, the offer from staff of one of their umbrellas – to keep – politely declined as it would have done little good with water in the streets now above ankle deep, it was slowly lingering over Petit Fours and Espresso that the evening stretched on, Neptune and The Sun a bit challenging in just how poignant the flavors were presented while both Saturn and Earth were very impressive in terms of their balance of sweet and salty flavors.

https://www.ruscalleda.cat/

Posted in Barcelona, Bread Basket, Coffee, Dessert, Food, Ice Cream, Lobster, Octopus, Restaurant Sant Pau, Sant Pau, Sant Pol de Mar, Spain, Tasting Menu, Vacation Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

DeLaCrem, Barcelona ES

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DeLaCrem

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Orange Carrot Cake

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Grape, Fig, Pistachio, Dulce de Leche

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Located at Carrer d’Enric Granados 15, the nearby University of Barcelona providing a steady stream of traffic during a particularly warm Wednesday in September, it was as an afternoon snack that two visitors sat down at DeLaCrem, the Gelateria opened in 2010 still considered the best in the city with a rotating selection of over one hundred flavors with at least eight new ones available monthly.

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Originally opened as just a Gelato Shop, the small space since expanding to offer Espresso and a few baked goods with everything made on site and hours beginning at 13h00 on Weekdays and at 09h30 Saturday, it was stepping around a small group enjoying their scoops that the tight store was entered shortly after 15h00, the staff bilingual and happy to offer samples though visibly a bit stressed as every seat in the place was filled with more orders coming.

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Focusing on classic Italian methods and mostly Organic ingredients, the Milk and Eggs all sourced locally with a focus on Nuts and seasonal Fruits, it should go without saying that although some atypical flavors are found amongst DeLaCrem’s collection the vast majority are fairly traditional, the single type of Chocolate bitter and dark while Fruits such as Apple and Grape were each far lighter and very refreshing.

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Invited to decide amongst several sizes, the largest offering up to four flavors for just €5, it was with the aforementioned Grape alongside Fig, Pistachio and creamy Caramel that a gaping Waffle Cone was topped, each flavor a pure expression of quality ingredients while a slice of Orange Carrot Cake was unfortunately not particularly reminiscent of either Orange or Carrot and remarkably dry as well.

http://www.delacrem.cat/

Posted in Barcelona, DeLaCrem, Dessert, Food, Ice Cream, Spain, Vacation Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Disfrutar, Barcelona ES

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Disfrutar

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Frozen Passionfruit Ladyfinger with Rum

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The Beet that comes out of the Land

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Lychee and Roses

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Panchino con Caviar

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Savory Walnut Candy with Mango, Tonka Beans and Whiskey

Smoked Instant Apple Cider

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Mille Feuille of Idiazabal

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Mandarin Flower Wafer

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Disfrutar’s Gilda

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Gazpacho Sandwich with Vinegar Garnish

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Super Tender Almonds in Vinaigrette

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Crispy Egg Yolk with Mushrooms Gelatin

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Multi Spherical Tatin of Foie Gras and Corn

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Ceviche Deconstruction

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Salmon Ribs with Tarragon Mojo

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Razor Clams and Seaweed in Salt

Our Macaroni Carbonara

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Liquid Salad, Tomato Polvoron and Arbequina Oil Caviar

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Sea Cucumber Noodles

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Langoustine in Suquet, Cappuccino Suquet

Pigeon Consommé with Tarragon

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Pigeon and its Liver BonBon

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Laksa

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Pibil Style Pigeon

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Pandan

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Black Sesame Cone

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Cherries 2017

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Tarta Al Whiskey

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Coffee Swiss Roll

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Cotton of Cocoa and Mint

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Already a Michelin Star recipient and seeing a marked increase in interest since being named the “Miele One to Watch” winner at the 50 Best Awards earlier this year it was for lunch on Wednesday that a seat was taken at Disfrutar, former El Bulli Chefs Mateu Casañas, Oriol Castro and Eduard Xatruch putting on quite a show and packing the place even as many claim that “molecular cuisine” has run its course.

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Translated as “to enjoy” in English, the restaurant’s signage going so far as to create its first letter from Smilie: :) in the form of a smile as a sort of wink towards the experience diners are promised within, it was just prior to 13h00 that a short queue stood in front of 163 Calle Villarroel, the doors soon to unlock and guests quickly guided through a narrow bar as well as the kitchen en route to the expansive dining room complete with outdoor garden.

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A completely self-funded operation, the three friends expressing in multiple interviews how their collective process is essential to the restaurant and a continuous goal of refining and perfecting each guest’s experience, it is at both banquets and tables in a room of layered textures that seats are offered, the service a perfect blend of personality and professionalism that is absolutely essential given both the pace of the meal and the number of tableside presentations.

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Offering three menus, one classic and one seasonal with the longest a blend of the two that totals 32 items it was with all allergies and aversions declined that the Menu Disfrutar was selected, the first bite arriving less than two minutes later featuring light-as-air Passionfruit Ice mellowed by Rum followed by a swirling bowl revealing Beet Sugar Meringue and a Rose from which perfumed Gelee are licked off before finishing with a frozen “Raspberry” made entirely of Lychee.

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Dining without pairings, a vocal table to the right from San Francisco frequently heard complaining about both the rapid pace of the meal and how Wine never lasted long enough for all the courses with which it was intended to be consumed, it was tuning them out and focusing on the intended experience that dish four immediately raised eyebrows by packing hot bread with Cream and pristine Fish Eggs, the brine washing over the palate in a very pleasant way and lingering there until it was cleared just a few moments later by an edible Walnut Packet and Mango poached in Vanilla with Whiskey.

At this point setting up a boiling tableside contraption for later, the Chefs featuring several fluids as part of the menu either as dishes themselves or as compliments to another flavor, it was as the “Smoked Instant Apple Cider” boiled that a crunchy Mille Feuille of Idiazabal Mousse was enjoyed before a floral Communion Wafer sandwich, “Disfrutar’s Gilda” next on the list with slices of Mackerel and Anchovy served next to styles of Olive both pure and modified.

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Impressed by the Gazpacho Sandwich, a Macaroon-textured two-bites that taste exactly like the namesake Soup, it was in follow-up that both raw Almonds and Nut Pudding were served in a bubbling broth followed by a fried Yolk over an Egg filled with Mushroom Consommé, the “Multi Spherical Tatin of Foie Gras and Corn” taking Ferran Adria’s Olives to a new level with eighteen individual bubbles served on buttery pastry layered with Foie Gras.

Not particularly impressed by “Ceviche Deconstruction,” the Ice and Panna Cotta textures contrasting oddly on the palate, it was with the ship back on course that tiny bites of Bone-In Salmon with their Roe were presented next, the Salt-Roasted Razor Clams unearthed tableside another very impressive dish that married performance to flavor as was “Our Macaroni Carbonara” that eschewed Italy by way of Cream from an ISI container and perfectly al dente “Noodles” made of Gelatin.

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Continuing to dance back and forth between rich flavors and light ones, the duo of Liquid Salad and a Tomato Shortbread refreshing before again diving deep to taste “Noodles” of Sea Cucumber, spicy Mussel Laksa and Langoustine Stew served next to foamy Bisque of the same, fans of Fowl will no doubt be impressed by the three-part finale of cold Pigeon Consommé, an Offal Bon-Bon and Pibil-style Breast with Baby Corn and pickled Onions used to offset light heat and a pronounced acidity.

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Bridging savory to sweet with Pandan in several textures, the leaves presented as part of a description of the plant for those unfamiliar, it was with the sweetened flavors of Black Sesame that the meal marched onward, one real Cherry and one made of Ice Cream offered next before guests were asked to consume a boozy two-part “Cream Pie” after washing their hands with a shot of Single Malt Whiskey.

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At this point just 130 minutes in, the kitchen’s suggested pace perfect for solo diners and those visiting the restaurant to dine as opposed to reminisce, it was after a bitter-sweet Swiss-Roll that tasted like Tiramisu that the meal’s final plate arrived, a single puff of Cotton Candy plucked from a blooming plant with the bold up-front flavor of Chocolate and cooling linger of Mint.

http://ca.disfrutarbarcelona.com/

Posted in :)isfrutar, Barcelona, Coffee, Dessert, Disfrutar, Foie, Foie Gras, Food, Ice Cream, Pork, Spain, Tasting Menu, Tiramisu, Vacation Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Granja M. Viader, Barcelona ES

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Granja M. Viader

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Hot Chocolate

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Churros

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Pa de Pessic

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Crema Catalana

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Originally opened in 1870 on Carrer d’en Xuclà, at that time a dairy and only to become Granja M. Viader in 1910 under a the ownership of a man named Marc who subsequently turned the space into a workshop, kitchen and counter that spawned several locations and pasteurization facilities before the wars, those visiting Barcelona in 2017 will find the current store near the Museum of Contemporary Art much like an American deli, the small made-to-order menu served alongside cases filled with a variety of Meats, Sweets and Cheeses.

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Previously a favorite of the likes of Pablo Picasso and other poets and artists living in the area, their Milk and Eggs still brought from Cardedeu and several Cheeses and Creams made on site, it is with invitations from staff that guests are invited to sit down at low tables surrounded by relics and old photos, the menu available in several languages featuring several enticing choices though on this particular day the housemade Horchata was unfortunately sold out.

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Doing an impressive job of listing allergens and ingredients by way of symbols on the menu, everything from Gluten and Dairy to Sulfites and Soy included, it was after a bit of perusal that the decision was made to order five items which were delivered to the table in less than ten minutes, two orders of Churros piping hot from the fryer and ready to be dipped into thick Dark Chocolate – though actually quite good and surprisingly light beneath just a hasty shake of Granulated Sugar.

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Moving next to a dish listed as “Pa de Pessic,” the translation as suggested by Google simply “Spongecake,” what arrived from the kitchen at Granja M. Viader for €1.80 was instead a fluffy sort of fried Pastry something like an American “Elephant Ear” topped in Confectioners’ Sugar, the interior wispy with good yeastiness while a large dish of Catalan Cream was served room temperature, creamy and sweet with a touch of bitterness from the just-torched top.

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http://granjaviader.cat.mialias.net/

Posted in Barcelona, Breakfast, Dessert, Food, Granja M. Viader, Granja Viader, Spain, Vacation Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Forn Baluard, Barcelona ES

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Forn Baluard

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Americano

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Ham and Brie Croissant

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Almond Croissant

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White Chocolate Marzipan Croissant

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Blueberry Coffee Cake

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Apricot Tart

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Pinenut Cream Brioche

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Personally not the sort to stay at swanky hotels, but happy to benefit from the on-site dining options available to those who prioritize such things, it was for an early breakfast in Barcelona that a stop was made at Forn Baluard where an impressive Pastry display and pleasant seating awaits those with reservations at Hotel Praktik Bakery while those just visiting are invited to enjoy their food on either the patio or standing inside depending on availability.

Conceptualized by Anna Bellsolà, her childhood raised in bakeries by bakers clearly giving her an education in and passion for great Bread and classic techniques that have since birthed both her original store and the one now incorporated into the boutique hotel, guests arriving at Hotel Praktik by either the street or elevator will quickly be struck by the sheer volume of daily options, nearly three-dozen styles of Bread offered in the Restaurant’s repertoire along with nearly as many sweet and savory smaller items available daily.

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Featuring counter-style ordering and quick lines, the whole process of ordering, paying and collecting goods easily completed in less than ten minutes even with a line that trickled out the door, it was with the space fairly busy on a Wednesday that two guests were offered seats on the patio where a rough-speaking smoker had unfortunately already taken up residence, the smell of cigarettes unfortunately compromising things a bit though first bites of the oven-warmed Ham and Brie Croissant still spoke of good things to come with the outside flaky and interior structure well maintained even though the buttery Viennoiserie had been sliced.

Not known as a city for great Bread, the few historic bakeries of Barcelona mostly focusing on Desserts and Cakes with the artisan baking movement really only beginning to catch on in the last decade, it was with the Ham and Cheese saved for those more fond of savory breakfasts that attention next focused on two filled Croissants, the Almond unfortunately a bit too moist with filling that was neither Frangipane nor overly sweet but still too thick while the White Chocolate Marzipan option fared far better with airy pockets inside and plenty of creamy half-melted Chocolate Chips.

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Mostly impressed by the quality considering the volume, a wedge of Blueberry Coffee Cake slightly drier than those found Stateside but still pleasant with a lot of natural Fruit flavor, those looking for Forn Baluard’s standout items should take a look at those filled with Custard, the glazed Apricots atop a lightly browned Crust still nice and sour with soft flesh while the Pinenut Brioche was soft and eggy even on the ends, not to mention the middle which was saturated and topped with Toasted Pinenuts and the contrasting texture of Pearl Sugar.

http://baluardbarceloneta.com/

Posted in Baluard, Barcelona, Breakfast, Coffee, Croissant, Croissants, Dessert, Food, Forn Baluard, Pork, Spain, Vacation Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

El Celler de Can Roca, Girona ES

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El Celler de Can Roca

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Albert i Noya El Celler Brut Rva DO Classic Penedes

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The World: Thai Chicken, Coriander, Coconut, Curry, Lime / Japanese Miso Cream and Nyinyonyaki / Turkish Lamb, Yogurt, Cucumber, Onions, Mint / Peru Causa Limena / Korea Panko Bread, Bacon, Soya, Kimchi, Sesame Oil

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Caviar Bauble

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Memories of a Bar in the Suburbs of Girona: Campari BonBon, Montse’s Meat Cannelloni, Pigeon BonBon, Breaded Squid, Patata Bravas

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Starfish of Cuttlefish

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Coral: Escabeche Mussels, Pesto Razor Clam

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Green Olive’s Ice Cream

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St. George’s Mushroom BonBon

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Truffle Brioche

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Tomato Spiral, Olive Spiral, Baguette, Olive and Apricot, Cereal Bread, Sourdough, Olive Oil Focaccia, Red Wine Wheat

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Consommé Gelee of Red Mullet : Kombu, Saffron, Charcoal, Garlic, Tomato, Fennel

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Oyster: Fennel Sauce, Black Garlic, Apple Seaweed, Mushroom, Distilled Earth, Sea Anemone

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Langoustine: Sagebrush, Vanilla Oil, Toasted Butter

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Mackerel: Stages of Fermented Ganxet Beans

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Prawn Marinated with Rice Vinegar: Head Sauce, Crispy Prawn Legs, Seaweed Veloute

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Cuttlefish: Sake Lees. Black Rice Sauce

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Turbot: Vegetables Fermented in Brine

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Duck: Corn, Figs, Foie

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Iberian Suckling Pig: Salad of Green Papaya, Thai Grapefruit, Apple, Coriander, Chili Pepper, Lime, Cashew

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Charcoal Grilled Lamb Consommé: Tongue, Brain, Scratching, Tripe

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Squab Civet and its Parfait

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The Plant from Roots to Flowers: Distillate of Sand, Licorice, Tomato Leaf, Cucumber, Chartreuse, Red Fruits, Melon, Orange Blossom, Violet

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Pine Wood: Pine Honey Ice Cream, Thyme, Rosemary, Oregano

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Old Book: Puffed Pastry, Butter Cookies, Cream of Darjeeling

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Mignardises: Juicy Apple, Yuzu Macaron, Chocolate Brioche, Whiskey Ganache

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To hear Restaurants, the Food Media and Public Relations companies discuss dining today the entire establishment would seem to revolve around metrics and although the actual impact of Instagram and “influencers” is still undetermined compared to world of fashion there is no doubt Michelin and San Pellegrino’s “World’s 50 Best” list still carry a lot of weight with Chefs, at least enough that a place like El Celler de Can Roca can require reservations a year in advance and still be filled every day despite a somewhat remote location in the city of Girona.

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For all intents and purposes a traditional Catalan restaurant, brothers Joan, Jordi and Josep originally opening a place of their own in 1986 next to their parents restaurant and eventually moving to the current location in 2007 after an embrace of the Modernist techniques trickling down from Ferran Adria at El Bulli, El Celler de Can Roca in 2017 finds itself a Michelin 3* property highly ranked on several international lists and with guests playing internet roulette at the start of each month for a reservation often times as far as 390 days away the bar is set high, a perhaps unfair expectation of any ‘meal’ but one that food, service and presentation all set out to meet.

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No doubt a polarizing restaurant, its detractors commenting on the unnecessary showmanship and some misfires while fans go on about the 60,000+ Bottle Wine cellar and how well it pairs with the elaborate display of textures and flavors unveiled over three and a half hours, it is after a pleasant drive from Barcelona that most will find themselves parked in a private lot across from the sprawling wooden structure filled with no less than 40 Chefs and an equally large front of house, the visit beginning with a trip through the kitchen before guests are led to tables surrounding a glass-enclosed garden at the center.

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Offering two distinct tasting menus, one a collection of classics and the other a “Feast” of flavors from the current season, almost every table within eyeshot going for the later with the restaurant’s volume surprisingly loud compared to most in its league despite only seating 46 diners, it was with a glass of Cava poured that dining quickly got underway, the puzzle-box globe presenting flavors from around the World that must be dialed into position in order to release a rounded Gelatin of Caviar inside.

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Now designing their own serviceware for several seasons, a concept similarly adopted by other top restaurants around the world that will frequently see diners plucking items from makeshift Trees, Coral Reefs or textured plates, it was here that a “pop-up” book was used to present memories of the Brothers’ past, the five bites covering everything from Bitter to Sweet, Sour and Salty with the follow-up duo of a Starfish made from diced Cuttlefish and Mussels with Razor Clams equally elaborate in their presentation before canapés ended with a Olive Ice Cream on a tree, Mushroom “Rocks” and fluffy Truffle Brioche.

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Expressing a lot of confidence in the staff and high hopes that diners are willing to try everything but true allergens, the use of ingredients indigenous to the area making much of the menu pescetarian, it is after an impressive Bread service that individual plates begin to roll out of the kitchen at intervals of fifteen to twenty minutes, the first of these a clear gelatin of Red Mullet topped with textures including crispy Skin and dots of Vegetables and Herbs all on the backdrop of Saffron while a follow-up of one Oyster divided into five parts focuses the diner on different aspects of the Bivalve’s flavor with the most impressive found in Apple-sweetened Seaweed and the salt-magnifying flavor of Sea Anemone.

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Felt to be a little too aggressively ‘fishy’ by the other person at the table, a matter of taste to be sure though the Roca Brothers’ embrace of Iodine and fermented flavors is definitely more prominent than many, course three lightened things up with a plump Langoustine served in browned Butter, Vanilla and foam of Sagebrush while both the Mackerel and Prawn again went bold with the former actually quite enjoyable to everyone thanks to the zig-zagged Bean Paste that grew milder from top to bottom.

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Continuing to play with textures throughout the meal, occasionally in the unnecessary ways that have given “molecular cuisine” a bad name but usually to good effect, it was in a plate of Cuttlefish stuffed with Vegetables next to a starchy Sauce reportedly made from nothing but Black Rice allowed to break down that one of El Celler de Can Roca’s best courses was found immediately before its biggest failure, a nicely cooked cut of Turbot that was unfortunately completely lost in what can only be described as pickled Cream.

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Taking a step back with heavier proteins, the texture modifications still at play but flavors of Wild Game and farm-raised Animals allowed to shine with accoutrements playing a supporting role, fans of Fowl will no doubt be impressed by both the Duck with Creamed Corn and a fresh Fig as well as the elegantly plated Squab with decorative details made from Offal Terrine while those not shy about nose-to-tail butchery will find both the fatty Pig with crisp Skin and the study of Lamb delicious with the latter gamey in a good way and no two bites of either dish even remotely the same.

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Transitioning savory to sweet in levels, “The Plant from Roots to Flowers” moving from top to bottom with a perfume of Sand and Licorice progressing to the flavor of Fruits and Flowers, it was with intentionally unbalanced utensils that guests were challenged to eat Honey Ice Cream with Herbs from a cast iron Tree Stump, Jordi Roca’s new-classic entitled “Old Book” finishing things off in a marvelous Mille-Feuille on its side featuring the distillate of a Book boiled for 48 hours in Oil and Butter Cookie Crisps plus Cream perfumed with Tea.

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Now well past midnight, a double Espresso served without the requested Ice fortifying spirits for an hour-long ride back to the hotel, it was with greetings from two of the brothers that guests were sent off after a visit from the Pastry Cart, well over a dozen items offered but staff taking liberties to decide and gifting the table booked a year prior the flavors of Apples, Yuzu, Chocolate and Whiskey Ganache.

www.cellercanroca.com/

Posted in Barcelona, Bread Basket, Celler de Can Roca, Coffee, Dessert, El Celler de Can Roca, Foie, Foie Gras, Food, Girona, Ice Cream, Macaron, Macaroon, Pork, Spain, Tasting Menu, Truffle, Truffles, Vacation Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Pastisseria Escriba, Barcelona ES

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Pastisseria Escriba

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Samples: Double Chocolate Cookie, Chocolate Chip Cookie

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Raspberry Croissant

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Caramelized Apple Empanada

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Paris Brest

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Chanel de Coco – Coconut Cream, Mango Jam

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Ovellla – Torrone, White Chocolate, Praline

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Featuring three locations and a lengthy history as one of Barcelona’s premier Pastry Shops it was only a matter of time before Pastisseria Escriba figured its way into travel plans, late Dessert before heading to Girona finding the shop at Carrer de les Floristes de la Rambla not too busy with shelves well-stocked and staff as informative as they were friendly.

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Originally opened in 1906 and still a family-run enterprise, current owner Antoni Escriba and his team subscribing to the same philosophy as those before them with a focus on classic tastes with elegant designs to commemorate all occasions, it is even before guests poke their head through the doors of Escriba that most will realize this is not the average pastry shop, a current lineup of women’s high heels made entirely of Chocolate decorating the windows alongside Wedding Cakes and flowers in step with the season.

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Offering everything from Cookies and Croissants to Wedding Cakes and elegant individual Pastries, a variety of items available for sample including two styles of tiny Biscuits that were fairly mundane near the register, it was passing over many tempting choices that the decision was made to split three small Desserts and two Viennoiserie, the Caramelized Apple Empanada unexpectedly warm considering the time of day and quite flaky with a good crunch, though overall it would have benefitted from a bit more Fruit inside.

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Moving next to a Raspberry Croissant, the lamination still very obvious though the texture of the bottom had unfortunately been compromised by sweet red gel with a texture more like Pate de Fruit than actual Jam, it was after a young woman presented to add warm Sauce to both the Tire and the Sheep that the rest of the goods were tasted, a branded half-Coconut filled with Dark Chocolate, Coconut Cream and Mango Jam resembling an Egg’s Yolk clever and light while the Paris Brest’s Choux was crisp around Hazelnut Cream, though the highlight of the visit was undoubtedly “Ovellla” with its layers of Nougat, White Chocolate, Yellow Cake and caramelized Pecan Frosting.

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www.escriba.es

Posted in Barcelona, Croissant, Croissants, Dessert, Escriba, Food, Pastisseria Escriba, Spain, Vacation Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Torrons Vicens, Barcelona ES

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Torrons Vicens

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Hard Torron, Traditional Torron, White Chocolate Pistachio, Chocolate Hazelnut

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Gema Cremada

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Albert Adria Natura – Gin & Tonic, Olive Oil and Dark Chocolate, Yuzu

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Featuring several locations around the Globe, without doubt a more ‘tourist friendly’ place than Turrones Ramos in Valencia, it was after a visit to Sagrada Família Basilica that a stop was made at Torrons Vicens, the staff unequivocally friendly with plenty of samples available including Chocolates made in collaboration with Michelin-starred Chef Albert Adria.

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Originally founded in 1775 and still family owned, years of fame and intelligent investing allowing the company to expand into several International markets and styles of Nougat and Chocolate including a Sugar-Free line said to be indistinguishable from the real thing, it was just after 15h00 that the lengthy store on Carrer Provença was entered, a greeter at the door quickly leading patrons to a serving dish of four chopped treats, both the White Chocolate and Pistachio Block as well as Dark Chocolate and Hazelnut sort of like American Holiday “Bark” and pleasant enough while the hard and moist Torron were both very sweet, actually quite a bit moreso than Ramos or La Turronería Iváñez in Bilbao.

Quite the operation, the company now with nearly three dozen stores including a Turron Museum outside of Lleida that many have said to be worth the drive, it was walking deeper into the space that guests found themselves tempted by Bars, Tablets and Chocolate Bon-Bons, a trio of samples from the ElBarri collection all delightful with the Gin & Tonic particularly well crafted and the Olive Oil filled version simple and clean while exaggerating the fruity flavors of the Cocoa.

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Picking up some gifts for others plus a few small bars for later it was finally en route to the register that eyes fell upon a package titled Gema Cremada, the Candy that is apparently quite popular around holidays without a doubt the most impressive thing tasted at Vicens with a creamy body made from Marzipan and Sugar beneath a brûléed exterior that helps to mellow the sweetness while also adding a remarkable texture that compelled the purchase of a weighty €7 package for the road.

http://www.vicens.com/

Posted in Barcelona, Dessert, Food, Spain, Torrons Vicens, Vacation, Vicens Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Alkimia, Barcelona ES

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Alkimia

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Roasted Red Pepper Flat Bread with Herring Oil and Anchovy Ganache

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Langoustine, Prawn and Fish Tartare, Boccato di Cardinale

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Tuna with Sherry Tomato and Acidulated Lemon Juice

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Rockfish Rice

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Grilled Turbot with Oyster Romesco and stuffed Courgette

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Sourdough

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French Fries and Iberico

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Roasted Chicken and Pumpkin Ravioli with Cheese Cream and Ginger

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Striploin with Roasted Sweetbreads and Chicory

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Menjar Blanc with Seasonal Fruit and Cava Gelee

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Citric Souffle with Fruit Salad and Orange Ice Cream

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Chocolate Cake with Pickled Plum Ice Cream

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Double Espresso

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Caramelized White Chocolate and Vanilla Bean Macaron

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Open from Monday through Friday at Ronda Sant Antoni 41, the relocation over one year ago apparently still a secret to the manufacturer of Audi’s GPS (and several late arriving guests who were overheard telling the receptionist that they’d gone to the former location first,) Alkimia by Jordi Vila is one of those polarizing Michelin Stars that has many supporters but an equal number of people who claim the restaurant in “terrible,” a visit on Tuesday afternoon validating both opinions in one way or another.

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Set-up as a sort of clandestine space, the buzzer near a small sign at the door allowing guests with reservations to be rang in before climbing stairs lined in wrought iron, it is upon reaching the top that a large wall of fluid-filled vessels looms with the foyer to the right, a reservationist speaking slow and monotone before leading parties to the dining area where things thankfully lighten up.

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Clearly an expensive restaurant, the Chef’s agreement to design a menu for longtime Brewery Moritz in 2011 still an ongoing partnership that assuredly helped Vila build-out the space next door with a modern open kitchen, digital screens and elegant softening touches beneath the original painted ceiling, it was at a table only feet away from the line that a seat was offered, the menu divided into two tastings and an a la carte section with the shorter Jordi Vila menu described as “more traditional” across-the-board more appealing on this particular afternoon.

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Named after the Spanish word for Alchemy, though in reality not nearly as Modernist or ‘molecular’ as such a title would suggest as Chef Vila instead looks to rejuvenate tradition by way of technique-driven cooking featuring high quality products, it was with Wine declined and Water poured that the menu quickly got underway without an amuse, the Roasted Red Pepper Flat Bread smoky and sweet in front of a glass filled with bitter Granita and topped with a leaf of Lettuce filled with herbal crumbs and a sort of Cannelloni filled with Anchovy Paste.

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Continuing strong with Seafood, a plate of Tartare absolutely pristine with tender chunks of sweet flesh playing well off tangy Yogurt, it was next that a Red Prawn with Caviar was served, the flavor immediately ‘off’ with an intensely bitter liquid gushing forth as the Head was squeezed and something, that if intentional, seems severely misguided as it immediately made one wish the next course would come and additionally threatened to spoil the rest of the meal.

Still reeling from the Prawn, a description of what had been experienced brushed away as “yes, it is intense” by the server who thankfully brought course three no more than two minutes later, suffice it to say that “Tuna with Sherry Tomato and Acidulated Lemon Juice” was definitely better than the Prawn but still not particularly well-made as the Fish got lost amongst competing ingredients, the Rockfish Rice pleasant and texturally intriguing despite the fact that the protein was slightly overcooked amidst tender Grains and a net of aged Manchego.

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Said to be a master of Catalonian cuisine, a focus on ‘modern, fresh and light’ methods used to coax the best out of his ingredients, it was finally with a meaty Filet of Turbot that Vila and his team served a dish that was truly remarkable as the Oyster Cream and Squash Blossom stuffed with earthy flavors each contributed something different yet complimentary, the Sourdough used to wipe up some sauce a nice touch while the “French Fries and Iberico” follow-up was a throwaway course that seemed far too gimmicky.

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Again showing some skill with flavor pairings by way of the Chicken and Pumpkin Ravioli, a very “Thanksgiving” sort of dish that found balance between freshly grated Ginger and a thick dollop of what tasted like Cottage Cheese, savories were rounded out by Medium-Rare slices of Beef set next to a Sweetbread cooked rubbery, the Almond Milk Palate Cleanser with Peaches pleasant enough as was the €14 a la carte add-on Lemon Soufflé served slightly browned with a sidecar of Fruit Salad and Orange Ice Cream that was added to the center of the red-hot baking dish immediately.

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Told that Chef Vila also creates his own pastries, an impressive fact considering the fact that the combined menus contain a dozen daily, it was prior to a double Espresso that Dark Chocolate Cake with a texture like Pudding was enjoyed alongside Pickled Plum Ice Cream, the flavors complimentary and without a doubt the meal’s highlight besides the Turbot though the Mignardise of Caramelized White Chocolate and Vanilla Bean was also well executed with a clean break and smooth cream featuring restrained but lingering sweetness.

www.alkimia.cat/

Posted in Alkimia, Barcelona, Bread Basket, Coffee, Dessert, Food, Ice Cream, Macaron, Macaroon, Pork, Souffle, Spain, Sweetbreads, Tasting Menu, Vacation Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Pudding, Barcelona ES

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Pudding

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Red Velvet

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Carrot Cake

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Brownie

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Located not far from Casa Milà, one of Gaudi’s many outlandish buildings in Barcelona, “The Pudding Bar” is listed as a “place of interest” or “activity” when looked up on GPS, a fact that seems fairly odd at first as the address clearly displays a menu next to the door but one that makes a little more sense on entry.

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Affectionately known as just “Pudding” by locals, its 5+ years since opening as an “Eat+Play+Think” concept making the two-story space on Carrer Pau Claris very popular amongst stay-at-home mothers and their children thanks to Books, Board Games and comfy seating, guests entering Pudding will immediately be struck by decorations including a billowing big top and Alice in Wonderland-esque Mushrooms, everything appearing quite fantastic up front including a collection of counterside Cakes and Pastries.

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Not to be confused with Pudding Coffee Shop, a sister business on Avinguda Diagonal without all the quirky decorations but far more books and games, it was with invitations to sit “anywhere you like” that two shabby-chic chairs were taken, both the length and depth of the room thankfully relegating the sound of laughter and occasional squeals of kids to little more than background chatter.

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Offering Weekend Brunch plus an all-day menu of sweets and savories from 09h00 to 22h00 daily, the service very laid back as one man was tasked with going up-and-down stairs to serve both halves of the room while two women stood talking at the Register, it was nearly ten minutes before a menu was delivered and another dozen before orders were placed, the listed Walnut Pie not currently available and thus leading to a total of three sweets served alongside a bit of disappointment.

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Amused by the setting with hopes that food would match, the distinctly American Desserts and kitschy design making one wonder if Pudding might be the work of overseas investors, it was not long at this point before plates were delivered with small bottles of water at €1 each, the €5 Carrot and Red Velvet Cakes both moist and richly flavored with thick layers of Cream Cheese Frosting that were not too sweet while the €3 Brownie stood out thanks to its layered effect with crispy bits both top and bottom surrounding a fudgy layer of Dark Chocolate at the center.

http://www.puddingbarcelona.com/

Posted in Barcelona, Breakfast, Dessert, Food, Pudding, Pudding Barcelona, Pudding Eat+Play+Think, Spain, The Pudding Bar, Vacation Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

La Pubilla, Barcelona ES

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La Pubilla

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Americano

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Warm Bread

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House Charcuterie, Pan con Tomate

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Botifarra Negra, Fried Eggs

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Cod, Spinach, Pine Nuts

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Unfortunately finding Can Ros closed for a two-week vacation, parking already paid for no doubt making it more opportune to grab something nearby than to walk for more highly regarded food, it was setting aside convenience that two guests made the fifteen minute trek on foot to La Pubilla for Breakfast on the first morning in Barcelona.

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Said by many to be one of the best restaurants for casual Catalan cooking in the city, a location on Plaça de la Llibertat making the Restaurant a locals-only sort of place with no Spanish or English menus furthering that point, it was just past 09h00 that a seat was found inside the cozy confines and thanks to a one bilingual server it was not long before an order was placed, the menu entirely savory and offered six days a week from 08h30 until Midnight.

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Visiting during an early hour filled with deliveries, the Beverage distributor creating quite a bit of noise as he placed several bottles of Booze and Water in a small cupboard across the way, it was with one of those bottles as well as two bitter Americanos that the meal got started, a basket of warm Sourdough that looked to have been made in-house actually quite impressive with a great Crust for such a small place as was the Tomato and Olive Oil brushed Bread served with a collection of Charcuterie including two types of dried Sausage brought in from elsewhere plus three housemade varieties ranging from a spicy red Meat laced with Cartilage to some pretty funky Headcheese.

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Priced much lower than almost anywhere in town for the portion sizes and quality, a plate of rich Blood Sausage and two fried Eggs only €6.50 with nothing on the menu over €10 it was after another ten minutes that a sizable filet of Cod was delivered alongside even more bread, the line-caught Fish meaty and supple atop a bed of Spinach, Olive Oil and toasty Pine Nuts.

https://www.facebook.com/lapubilla.gracia

Posted in Barcelona, Bread Basket, Breakfast, Coffee, Food, La Pubilla, Pork, Spain, Vacation Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Alta Taberna Paco Meralgo, Barcelona ES

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Alta Taberna Paco Meralgo

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100% Bellota Ham with Pan con Tomate

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Ham and Chicken Croquettas

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Brandade Fritters

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Cuttlefish ‘Obama’ Croquettas

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Patatas Bravas

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Tempura Seasonal Vegetables, Teriyaki, Sesame

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Camaron Omelette

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Steak Tartare Montaditos

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Foie with Nut Bread and Apple

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Local Octopus and Candied Onions

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