A little European mid-week adventure

. . .

[The European, Spring street Melbourne]

Open: 7.30 to 3am

“…Breakfast to supper, 7 days a week, The European serves honest, simple food, sourcing only the best produce from Australia and Europe. This institution is a must visit, even if it’s just for one of this cities finest coffees…” (http://www.theeuropean.com.au)

It wasn’t our initial intention to be at The European (although, it is always a delight being there), Miss H and I started our day eager to try an ACTUAL breakfast at Cumulus inc

We’d previously been paralysed with culinary joy at a share platter of something sweet and savoury, but had never returned due to my adventure to Germany, so luck & fait were our ladies that day as Cumulus was a bubbling over with way too many people and we made our way to try something a little more “European” as there is nothing more frustrating than “enjoying” a breakfast whilst tactfully “crowd surfing”, and NOT eavesdropping on a billion (very fast paced) conversations. (What I didnt get was, they were all in suits – hello work anyone? hahah)

So, when we stepped foot into a less “stock market vibing environment” to a more relaxed one at The European, our tummies were looking for some yummies!

It was particularly humid on this day, and a hot breakfast was not really looking appetising – although, being inside the warm hues of The European, you immediately get transported to somewhere very Winter in Europe and long for that glorious aroma of “home-style, slow cooked” meals.(I immediately was transported to many a cosy feast in France, Luxembourg, Germany…)

So.. Miss H ordered her favourite Brioche with assorted jams:

And I opted for some fresh fruit salad:

It was very exiting to see the “usual suspects” of a fruit salad were absent, rather a myriad of delicious bite sized delights which simultaneously stimulated my 5 senses were very much present. 🙂

It was AS bursting with flavour as it was bursting with colour, aroma and the assorted textures. Uniting the flavour differences was a delicious natural yoghurt, and whimsically presented pot of honey.

I was in culinary, breakfast heaven. 🙂

There is nothing like the sheer, unadulterated joy of a simple, yet flavoursome breakfast. (or any meal really) Its exiting when the produce is so good, it really doesn’t need much else.

Upon leaving The European in one of my post breakfast bliss moods, we made our way to explore a little bit of Melbourne city that I had missed!.

Living in Melbourne allows us to experience such treats that transport our senses to another place. We live in tumultuous times, but its nice to know that a little adventure to Europe is a stones throw away.

. . .

Tastefully yours

Adiós. . . for now ☺

[Caffe Fiorino, Barcelona]

Heres a little picture story for my last spanish blog post…. for now 🙂

We started with creamy coffees and fresh OJs at Caffe Fiorino.

The view inside is warm and inviting with quick and simple food.

[Euskal Taberna, Barcelona]

We then decided lunch would be a ‘grazing’ affair, and in true spanish style we dabbled in tapas and sangria @Euskal Taberna. 🙂

The sangria was sweet, delicious and just what we needed after being on our feet all day.

[Taller de Tapas, Barcelona]

Paella was on the menu for dinner @ Taller de Tapas

Galician style octopus was amazing as usual, the fresh grilled ciabatta with garlic and tomato was crunchy and a nice break to cleanse the palatte.
And the Paella in broth was morish but quite simply not enough. We wanted more 🙂
We ended with a perfect espresso which was oddly strong for Barcelona, but still very welcomed.
As we were also quite close to Gelaaati di Marco, we once again had a nice serving of diabetes… eek!!

This concludes the ‘foodaholic in Spain’ segment… for now 🙂
Stay tuned for some more german flavoured tasty adventures 🙂

. . .

Tastefully yours,
. . .

Delicious & beautiful

[La Llavor dels Origens Restaurant, Barcelona]

Love it when I see a forecast like this! It’s sunny and blue skies. Even though the actual temperature is low, the sun is warm and soaks right into your skin.

So, yesterday morning [when I STARTED writing… finishing now :)] I was listening to Rosie on Triple J requests whilst indulging in some natural full fat yoghurt with honey – streaming it of course and some Live recordings of Jonsi came on – what a perfect way to spend a little blogwritn in the sun listening to that magical sound. 🙂 right?

Lets get right into it then….

Restaurant La Llavor dels Origens has 4 destinations tucked away in Barcelona – we happened to stumble along the one in the ‘Born zone’ [please click here for other locations] I think it’s always a good sign when a restaurant is filled to the brim with locals! – and this was no exception.

A lot of work has been poured into the overall ambience, menu, website and the ‘brand’ . By promoting locally produced and organic goods the restaurant holds strong and in the minds and mouths of the customers.

The vibe is adjacent with the view – its warm, inviting, relaxed and ‘organic’…if that makes sense? i.e. everything has a very natural feel including the very personable staff and the presentation. Very ‘home-cooked’ and oozing with love in every corner. Its warm and informative staff glide across the restaurant floor chatting and taking orders and laughing. I know… it sounds all very exaggerated…but it honestly just felt as thought they were merrily gliding along they merry way.

We were presented with what is essentially a magazine… menu yes, but it definitely covers all questions, if you had any, about the produce, the wine even right down to the vinegar.

Initially we were overwhelmed, but our angst was quickly lessened by the information provided – it essentially empowered the consumer to make the right choices for the evening and beyond.
As the menu seemed extensive and so very packed with useful information, the decision was becoming harder and harder to make.

The tasting platter choice was appealing, however maybe a little TOO much food… even for me. 🙂

Wine for the evening was the local speciality:

Now, the photos really don’t do the food justice… the lighting was low and all I had was my phone. But I tell you, the food was amazing! seriously tasty and simple food. Def worth a second, third… repeat visit.

We ordered a few dishes to indulge in together, starting with the Roasted zuchinni with mozzarella:

& Stuffed octopus with squid ink:
[this was delicious but were left with black teeth and mouths… so maybe dont order this on a date :)]

Slow cooked rabbit with caramelised onion and potatoes:
I’m not a fan of rabbit…so I didn’t have much of this one.

& Last, but not least, baby octopus stew type thing cooked in own juices and served with soft and delicious beans.

I felt satisfied and ‘culinarily’ loved through and through… after all that wine and gorgeous ‘homestyle’ local food – I was pretty much ready for a lie down and taking off the belt :)…BUT…we somehow found some room for gelato, which was down the road at Gelaaati di Marco.

This was some seriously delicious gelato with the usual and the very unusual flavours : eg Avocado, croissant, Rice…

You can never really be too full for amazing dessert like this…. really 🙂
Hopefully this cleared the bad taste in your mouths after reading ‘a huntsman abroad‘… sorry about that :/ 🙂

. . .

Tastefully yours,

Diagonally shopping [part 2]

[Canas y Tapas, Barcelona]

So, its lunch and we’ve been pretty much shopping for 3 or 4 hours straight… and the men have been really patient. waiting. waiting. waaaaaaaaaaaaiting.

This is when I thought why the hell isn’t there a ‘men/baby/bags’ drop off point in shopping centres?? you know, like an area where the helpless victims of shopping go to congregate, discuss how shit their life is waiting for their ‘WAGs’ as they chew through their credit card… naturally watching some sort of manly sport event over a manly drink, like beer. hmmmm, I seem to have gotten a bit carried away with the ‘masculine’ stereotyping….


[image from here]

In all seriousness, if there was a ‘bar’ or some sort of couchy/tv/drinky area where men and women alike can rest and wait for their significant others… [like a pitstop] – I think it would really take off!. You could also leave your bags there whilst you mosy around collecting more?? I dunno, I’m just putting it out there. 🙂 I saw a billion men in pain-blank look in their eyes, wishing this would end with one hand on the hip and the other on their throat…as they died a slow and painful, shopping related death….. [omg…. distracted!!!!]

Just quietly, I thought men and women had evolved from the shopping stereotypes… but I guess these were middle aged men, and old habits die hard…

ok, where was I?…. LUNCH!!!

We stopped by the outdoor eating area, but opted for inside eating as the weather was being super Melbounrne – bipolar!!

We proceeded to eat through the menu. pretty much.

First, we have grilled chicken salad: This was lying on a bed of fresh salady leafy numbers accompanied my amazing goats cheese. I love cheese. I would totally die for cheese…totally. 😀

Fresh tuna salad on a bed of leaves. Partying on the side we have tomatoes and boiled eggs… this wasn’t my favourite dish… but thats only b/c I cant stand boiled eggs!

I ordered sauteed mushrooms with my favourite Iberico Jamon on crusty fresh bread. This was beautiful accesorised with fresh leaves and a touch of onion sprouts. Oh and I ordered a handbag/airport friendly bottle of olive oil to go!.. seriously, what was with that…. we were swimming in oils… OH heres some for your carryon luggage, pop it in with your 100mls!!! right!.

Lastly, not leastly, we have the cheese and meat platter… seriously I need to be kept away from this stuff. It is my weakspot.

Meat platter: YUM!!! JIZZ
Cheese platter: again JIZZ!!!

Fresh.Crusty.BREAD and DIPS and take home airport friendly OIL!!!!! I DIE! 🙂

To top it all off, we were presented with a gorgeous espresso that left the most creamy taste in my mouth… LOVE!

This essentially ends Diagonally shopping in Barcelona… stay tuned for the next session of ‘a foodaholic in Spain…’ *giggles*

. . .

Tastefully yours,
. . .

Diagonally shopping [part 1]

[Diagonal Mar shopping centre, Barcelona]


[
image from here]

I’m supposed to be posting all the lovely foods of Barcelona, but I just cant stop listening to Burberry acoustics tunes online… SO GOOD!!!

So here I am bopping away to tunes with a British flavour, reminiscing the delicious flavours of Spain…

I probably should put out a warning regarding the next few posts…
WARNING: If you dont like spain [why on earth would you not???] and/or spanish food [again, WHY??], then please, refrain from reading the next few posts… they will be covered in paella and delicious jamon. DROOL!!!!

Normally I wouldn’t be wasting a beautiful day in a shopping centre, especially in Spain, but it was a miserable day and as the gods would have it shopping was on the agenda for that day. [I am sooo smiling from ear to ear :)]

So, first point of call is naturally breakfast!

Here goes:

A view from where we were sitting at Khenyan Classic coffee. We were at the s/c super early like eager beavers, so this was one of very few open at this hour.
As lovely as the spanish are, I’ve become used to the German punctuality and as a result just ended up waiting for a lot of things to open…. but meh! We were on holiday- all the time in the world.


Fresh croissants and coffees: you can really tell here, but spanish croissants are GIANT and drowning in glistening sugar coating. [no complains here :)]

And here we have a beautiful espresso and my new obsession: Iberico Jamon bocadillos…. oh how I miss you!!!!

after breakfast, we were off to conquer the big beautiful world of spanish shopping…. Dynamically, diagonally shopping 🙂

. . .

Tastefully yours,

RAINING like a mother*beep*

[La Taverna del Bisbe, Barcelona]

I must have some sort of crush with Spain, b/c here we are again, eating our way through this beautiful country. This time round it wasnt AS stinking hot and rain was rather looming at every corner!.

After a long day sightseeing and having super tourist fun…[light sarcasm] we were in real desperate need for yummies, AND a well earnt rest. We debated to sit in or out for an excessively long amount of time, but after about 1000 years we opted for the inside! LUCKY-when it rains it POURS in Barcelona. I swear I could’ve been in Vietnam during one of those crazy downpours. LIKE BOOM!

Crisis diverted, we were snuck inside enjoying the ‘lunch menu of the day’. For 10 Euros we were treated to 1 entree, 1 main, 1 dessert, 1 drink [alchoholic or non] and even a drink top up.

I’ve been reading some of the reviews for this place, and its not good…. the only good thing was the price and the close proximity to Barcelona cathedral…BUT, I beg to differ… I really enjoyed the food and the service and quite obivously the shelter. There wasn’t really much to complain about for the price we paid. [except maybe the LOG-OF-A-POO in the ladies toilet which just wouldn’t flush….VOMMIT]

Here we have some photos of the location in question: [pretty nice]

I ordered Gazpacho, fresh tasty and most importantly cold! [couldn’t complain there]

The other option for entree was Spaghetti Carbonara [not amazing, but still very edible and fast]

For main I ordered ‘white fish’…. I really coudln’t understand what it really was. This was also not amazing, but it was tasty and for 10 Euros, I dont think I really had the right to complain. 🙂

The dessert I must say has not made the photo list…. it was actually terrible! We ordered Creme Caramel… it was more like rock hard egg thing drowning in some sort of sweet caramel flavoured liquid…sorry, but THAT was a shocker!.

Just to reiterate, I want to defend the place for providing value for money and a pretty nice place to be enjoying your food. The food wasnt amazing, nor would I go back in a hurry, BUT for 10 Euros, I really couldn’t complain.

Oh and the coffee was pretty good!…no complaints there.

Adiós!! until next time 🙂

. . .

Tastefully yours,

. . . .

V a l e n c i a : d e l i c i o u s !!!

[Valencia, Spain]

In search of the best Paella….

Day 1: Coast side restaurant in Valencia

Paella is always served for a minimum of 2 ppl, its always best enjoyed together in other words 🙂

‘Paella (Spanish pronunciation: [paˈeʎa]) is a Valencian rice dish that originated in its modern form in the mid-19th century near lake Albufera, alagoon in Valencia, on the east coast of Spain.[1]

Many non-Spaniards view paella as Spain’s national dish, but most Spaniards consider it to be a regional Valencian dish. Valencians, in turn, regard paella as one of their identifying symbols.

There are three widely known types of paella: Valencian paella (Spanishpaella valenciana), seafood paella (Spanishpaella de marisco) and mixed paella (Spanishpaella mixta), but there are many others as well. Valencian paella consists of white ricegreen vegetables, meat (rabbitchicken), land snailsbeans and seasoning. Seafood paella replaces meat and snails with seafood and omits beans and green vegetables. Mixed paella is a free-style combination of meat, seafood, vegetables and sometimes beans.

Most paella chefs use calasparra[2][3] or bomba[3] rices for this dish. Other key ingredients include saffron and olive oil.’

Seafood Paella + Sangria + hot night = trouble!… I think I shortly fell into a food coma after this meal!

Day 2: something different 🙂

Entree was a local potatoe and egg dish, I’m not the biggest fan of sunny side, but it was a very interesting meal nonetheless.

It was a bit heavy for entree, but I think for a breakfast – it would be lovely after a big night out or on a cold sunday morning.

then, we tried NOODLE Paella! that was VERY interesting. Apparently it was a local speciality, it was surprisingly salty but very tasty and bursting at the seams with seafood! 🙂 yummm!!!

Day 3: Amstelleria, Aqua shopping centre.

We were staying accross the road at Hotel Melia Valencia (which was an absolute treat at a bargain price), and we ventured towards the new shopping complex to see what it was all about.

It was an interesting space – all very open and no use of air-conditioning in the foyer area because it had been designed with the environment in mind – it used the natural flow of air as ventilation.

For lunch, we decided to try something different, and I think we both agreed this place was amazing!

Beer on tap on you table!!! – what a seriously cool idea!!!

I ordered a salmon bocadillo and we were on our merry way to becoming a little tipsy 🙂

[Last day brunch]

At the only place that seemed busy on the Sunday we were leaving, we were treated to a massive brunch including drinks and coffee for only 10 Euros each!

Paul got an amazing roast entree and lunch…I think it was a bunny rabbit (:( )

and I got this pan fried egg and potatoe thing again – with patee this time.

I’ll have to say, I probably wouldnt go back to try the same, but Paul’s roast was seriously melting off the bone type deal. yum!

It wasn’t the best service, as there on only one woman pretty much running the front, but she did the best she could.

And given the circumstances, it was all very quick and filling.

Desert was also simply, but fresh and delicious.

[strawberry sponge cake & fresh melon]

Overall a pretty ‘delicious’ Spanish summer holiday, and would definitely go back to try the other parts of Spain’s specialities.

…………………………………………

tastefully yours,

Joanna