Tag Archives: Tapas

Cal Pep – Barcelona, Spain

After a stroll through Sant Pere-Santa Caterina, it was nearly time for dinner. Cal Pep was on the agenda! Earlier in the day we had strolled by just to check out the scene and to see if we could recruit two personas for our reservation. It happened that two unlucky souls had dropped off, so we needed a complete party. The plan was to turn up and wait for a seat at the bar. Worst case scenario we could kill some time drinking delicious wine while making Spanish friends.

We were shuffled into the overwhelmingly lively bar area at the front of the restaurant. Attempting to make our way over to the dining area and out of harms way, we slowly earned the best view in the house. It only took about thirty minutes and a little cava.

The corner of the resto became pretty intimate quarters with about 7-8 bodies all huddled up, simultaneously dodging extremely busy servers and bartenders rushing about. We eventually became friendly with these two and scored a table under the original reservation.

The Meal:

The dining room was basically a cave-storing area for all of their delightful wines.

The meal began with some more traditional tapas-fare like tortilla.

We had some fried calamari…

Then we moved on to some larger squids and shared a tender tentacle of broiled octopus.

A steaming pan of shellfish loaded with fresh clams and mussels arrived to the table as well.

These courses were broken up by lighter tapas such as bruschetta-type-vehicles with red peppers and anchovy along with blistered padrón peppers sprinkled with sea salt. It was all very wholesome and traditional Spanish food made with super fresh and high-quality ingredients.

We later graduated to some heartier chorizo and beans with a sturdy side of veggies and potatoes surrounded by (fish heads).

There was so much delightful wine free flowing through the entire meal. We made sure our server sent out a bottle of red and white to complement the meal accordingly. He did a great job at making sure “the well did not run dry” that evening.

He even sent out a dessert just to remind us of where we were dining (in case we forgot)…Maybe it was in case we forgot where we were entirely.

There are seriously few tastier things than an authentic crema Catalana! I’m still trying to figure out how they got “Cal Pep” to stand out on top after torching it. I would have expected it to all melt down. #magic

This guy was so playful and welcoming…He made our experience at Cal Pep so much fun! I couldn’t believe the value of our experience when the check came. I’m so scarred by NYC prices that I expected this meal to be double the cost.

I wish I could say the rest of the night went as well as our delicious dinner. It was the first time I turned up to a club to be turned away! Word on the street was they didn’t like my shaved head or my footwear (I had flip flops on).

I had to return home for a costume change and appropriate footwear. Le sigh*

#thankgodforthe24hourpharmaciaandresourcefulandsupportivefriends <3

It had been a full day in Barcelona and sadly “life on the run” had begun to take its toll. You see, in your 30’s it’s all fun and games until someone ends up at the pharmacy (at 2am)  ordering drugs through a 3×5″ flap in the door.

I’m convinced this city will never let me like it.

All is well that ends well (with a croissant at the airport).

With new Spanish foodies on the horizon to explore, I was excited to catch my Vueling flight.

For More Information: Cal Pep

Questions, Comments, Concerns and Review Requests Please email to: JenzieInTheCity@gmail.com

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Bacari – Playa Del Rey – Los Angeles, CA

My cousinPeanutPimpMama1-300x300 (a.k.a. partner-in-crime) moved out to L.A. a couple months ago. The family misses her dearly, but for me it just means I get to hang with her in NJ sometimes AND I have a reason to get on planes to CA for foodie-FUN-filled visits! PPM is overjoyed to have all of the amazing material she has collected in the past eight weeks. It all started off with brunch at Bacari in Playa Del Rey.

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On my last flight out I took Delta from JFK to LAX which meant I got to visit the only kiosk I will touch in terminal 4, Le Grand Comptoir. I don’t sit there because their food is any good. Their wine list is quite decent though!

In spirit of my Cali-visit the evening’s selection was a Pinot-Gris by Russian River Valley.  I also ordered a salmon tar-tare which was less good. Some olives got the job done and I was off to my gate.

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Recently I retired a piggy-neck support cushion from the Xpress Spa that I purchased en route to Thailand in 2012. My glass of wine helped me make the game-time decision to purchase a new whale. The head is fatter than the rest of the body and allows options to rig-it as you wish (against various crevices, nooks and crannies on-board) almost as though it were adjustable!

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When I fly west at night it feels like I get two sleeps instead of one and leaves me “fresh as a daisy” for the day ahead. I arrived at cousin Kristen’s apartment in PDR to see that we were all on the same page.

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When I woke the next morning, I learned all about easy do-it-yourself Paleo-creations like snausage-hash with sweet potatoes that teeter on not being all-that-sweet. Can someone say cheater?
imageAfterwards, we hopped in the car to head downtown for brunchiez @Bacari.
imageThis euro-inspired resto is perched on one of the many hills of PDR and happens to be one of the most obscure shapes I’ve ever seen a restaurant occupy. It feels like it should have been a surf shop, or was…The bottle-covered ceiling is eye-catching and could make a great conversation piece for awkward first dates!

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Bacari was booked out and we were rezzy-less and forced to perch at the bar where we sipped freshly-juiced mimosas. The color of the OJ was the most exuberant shade of orange I had ever seen! This is one of the many breakfast-tails they offer (by the bottomless pitcher) for extra-thirsty customers.

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To break it down… The menu is made of small Italian-inspired plates called ‘Cicchetti”. Tapas… Small Plates… Cicchetti… You get it.

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By the time we got a menu we were ready to re-juice. Sneaky sneaky Bacari.

imageWhat we ended up with clockwise: Creamed Kale (top), Shakshuka (bottom right) and tofu scramble (bottom left). I liked the overall experience but the runny egg on the spinach threw me. The shakshuka needed some salt (but what doesn’t?) and the winner was the tofu scramble. It’s really hard to get a good tofu scramble that doesn’t continuously remind you that you’re eating tofu scramble. Did I mention it was a tofu-scramble?

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All that hard work made us thirsty so we decided to try some of Bacari’s sangria which is also available “bottomless”. Bottomless is definitely the way to be around here.

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After that bevvy we had to get going. It was raining in L.A. and there were places to be.

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Art to shop for…

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Beers to sip!

<3 PPM

For More Information: BACARI

Questions, Comments, Concerns and Review Requests Please email to: PeanutPimpMama@aol.com

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Bodega 1900 – Barcelona, Spain

Last tPeanutPimpMama1-300x300ime I was in Barcelona was Autumn of 2010. It was my second attempt at conquering the city since 2005 and I felt that it would not let me love it (no matter how hard I tried). Keeping up with my 5 year average, it was time to touch down again. I had a very short window of opportunity to make the most of it. All considered, what I thought would turn out to be a good day turned into an unforgettable one! Maybe there wasn’t time for a museum, the beach or even strolling at a leisurely pace, but it was time to eat Barcelona! With a failed attempt at snagging a ressy at what is currently one of the top restaurants of the world (Tickets by Albert Adrià) I figured his traditional experience with a nice vermouth and tapas at Bodega 1900 would have to suffice.

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When I walked in I was impressed by the tiny yet lively space. The restaurant is completely open-plan and you are literally dining in the kitchen as all tapas are prepared right in front of your face. We were greeted quickly in a curt fashion with menus as we sat in one of the best seats of the house. After ambivalently skimming the list we decided to go for the tasting and wing it “Chef’s Choice”. While tapas are not an indigenous dining experience to this city, I was excited to see one of the Adria concepts while trying to keep it purely as Spanish as possible.

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They started out strong with a little molecular gastronomy! (Pictured Above:  “La acetuna-S con piparra” – Liquid Olive) This spoon held an olive bubble which burst in your mouth with a pungent pop of olive later finishing with tinges of smokey brine. I would have loved to see how this olive embryo came to fruition. It was almost egg-yolk-like in appearance and consistency upon first glance, minus the eggy center. It actually exploded on your tongue with a clean burst of olive-y goodness.

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With our palates now primed by that savory delight, we scarfed some snow crab pintxos otherwise known as “Pulga de cangrejo”. Here the snow crab salad was detailed with a mixture of creamy avocado and romesco dots.

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The serving became a bit more aggressive in speed with two more tapas placed before us. (Plate 1)-Smoked salmon with truffle honey and (Plate 2)- Berenjenas con salmorejo – Eggplant fries with tomato purée . The salmon pintxos had a little complexity with the mixture of truffled honey and the saltiness of the salmon and spice from the horseradish yogurt. Essence of truffle was a nice touch to what could have tasted like an NYC brunch. It’s an instant lox and cream cheese correlation… There’s no getting around it. The zucchini fries were less inspiring and served with salmorejo sauce that cooled off the piping hot fried vegetable stick in balsamic drizzle.

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Then this happened…I was expecting something a little more sophisticated than shrimp cocktail. Thankfully the shrimp were fresh (and clean) and the sauce wasn’t a typical cocktail sauce. That would have been a travesty. Instead it was a sweet mustard based dip.

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With all of these animal parts on hooks… We knew they had to end up on our plates eventually.

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They started us off with a dry aged beef carpaccio called “Rubia Gallega” which is cured for at least three weeks before being sliced for enjoyment. I swear they sprinkled some olive oil on there in efforts to resuscitate it.

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A little Manchego never hurt anyone. I was happy this made an appearance after the salty meat slivers.

IMG_9118Next up were the “Croqueta de jamón Ibérico Joselito” – These are deep fried and filled with Joselito Iberian ham and bechamel then served on little grease blotters. Thankfully we were only served one each. I think they could tell we were fading fast.

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Next we moved on to hot dogs! “Mollete de calamares picantes”- a hot-dog-like miniature bun filled with calamari and topped with a kimchi chipotle drizzle along with aoili. It was certainly a playful Asian-inspired presentation, but the squid was lost in all of this stuff. (wah*)

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Then there was meat on a stick! (Lamb to be exact)

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Finally another course worth writing home to mom about! Evidently this region of the world is known for the best squid. I have to say that this was the most amazing piece of mollusk I’ve had in a while. It was juicy and tender and my knife cut straight through what (can go all wrong) and tends to be a rubbery mass. Hiding beneath our grilled tentacle was a bed of roasted rosemary potatoes. Nom*

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With night time cocktails around the corner in Barri Gotic, we decided to keep the dessert course rather light. Pictured Above: “El melón con vermut blanco”- A boozy honey dew tranche soaked in vermouth. This might have been right up there with the un-olive and the octopus for me personally. It was a refreshing palate cleanser that left us feeling less pig-like and ready to hit the town.

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PPM witnessed a magical storm that evening with an interesting view of Park Güell. It might have been the first time she was elated to be stuck in a dark alley sans umbrella. She did not sleep a wink that night and would do it all over again if she could. Finally some great memories in Barcelona!

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Cheers!

~PPM

For More Information: ca.bodega1900.com

Questions, Comments, Concerns and Review Requests Please email to: PeanutPimpMama@aol.com

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Gjelina- Venice Beach – Abbot Kinney-Los Angeles, CA

Recently PeanPeanutPimpMamautPimpMama got to travel to the West Coast a.k.a. “The Best Coast.” While my tri-state area pride can’t let me agree… It’s hard to hate on L.A., and PeanutPimpMama happens to be quite good at it! The week was full of eating, drinking, shopping, beaching, pool-ing,  yoga-ing and of course catching up with old friends and family. My goals of adding to my diary of delicious foodie tales was well supported by all as we sipped many a fancy cocktail from all kinds of heights. I was grateful to experience a new perspective of L.A. daily while indulging in delicious meals that were less than bikini friendly. I also managed to fit in a “proper” Mexican burrito… I’m still in pain.

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My trip started off on a fantastic note. I somehow finagled a free wine and cheese snack out of Jet Blue, and they charge for everything! It was like the magical flight of free flowing snack all night long. Perhaps it was a red-eye special? I arrived safe and sound about five hours later and Ubered (like you do) to my new home for the next 48 hours.

Day One: Abbot Kinney and Venice Beach

First Stop: Gjelina

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I downloaded Goop for my last trip to Soggies and decided to try it out in L.A.. Our lady Gwyneth has inspired PeanutPimpMama with her collection of solid suggestions. When my cousin wanted to go to Venice Beach to check out Abbot Kinney, Gjelina’s description caught both of our eyes. Something about the feminine name and Mediterranean menu specializing in brick oven pizzas and heavenly salads on a warm and sunny Californian afternoon was particularly appealing. Since I had just spent 45 minutes on a treadmill, I was ready to conquer the world. I began conquering with a Plum vinegar cider (pictured above) It made a nice addition to the PeanutPimpMama-sips with its attractive color, cidery-fizz and an understated plummy sweetness with a tart vinegar finish that somehow tied in with the fresh sprig of rosemary garnish. A proper mock/cocktail is always a true experience for ALL of the senses.

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As my cousin and I started to look at the menu I had a serious moment of déjà vu. Four years ago I had not only dined at Gjelina but sat with my friend at the very same table. After confirming that it had been Gjelina for the last six years, I knew we were in for a feeding. The plates sold themselves at this resto (and that’s exactly what they did) as we based our choices off our neighboring table’s selection. These ladies were having a blast and we wanted in! We chose our first course pictured above: Smoked Trout, Grapefruit, Avocado, Red Onion and lemon…This was originally going to be my lunch until we decided ONE course was NOT enough.

grilled vegNext Up: Gjelina has an extensive small plates selection that could be served up as Mediterranean tapas. Even the vegetables were a challenge to select with the many decadent possibilities. We needed to fit in a pizza so the wood roasted cauliflower with garlic chili and vinegar it was! (No regrets).

IMG_7509Woomp there it is! I mean seriously check that pizza out…We were totally perving on this bad boy before we even ordered bevs. What’s on this pizza: Squash Blossom, Zucchini, Cherry Tomato, Burratta and Parmesan. We would soon learn that fresh Burrata would be hard to avoid in Los Angeles.

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Take a look at this cheesy slice. It’s amazing how many calories we managed to pack on, yet walked away from this meal feeling somewhat light. The puffy crust was so chewy and a superb vehicle for the cheese, sauce and the selected vegetation.

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With a nice belly full of goodies, we worked it off with some shopping around Abbot Kinney. Cousin Kristen got to see the famous camel-toe painting and we bought some locally made underwear from an Australian woman that bragged about her 11 year old son who designs them. After embracing the local artistry, it was time to search for the cocktail…It was definitely time.

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Go surround yourself with beautiful people and pizza…

~PeanutPimpMama

For More Information: www.gjelina.com

Questions, Comments, Concerns please email to: PeanutPimpMama@aol.com

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