We really hadn't planned on getting Chocolate con Churros, even though it's a favorite breakfast for many. I'm just not a big fan of Churros....as we know it in SoCal. But Emilio, one of the owners of the apartment we were staying in really said that we should try the Chocolate con Churros (for some reason folks tend to call it Churros con Chocolate) at Maestro Churrero in Plaza de Jacinto Benavente, which was quite close to the apartment. So on our last morning in Madrid we headed over. We cracked up when we found the place; we'd passed it once at least everyday we were in Madrid. It really looked like some fast-food joint.
So, how did we like it? Well, the churros weren't overly sweet, but crisp, light, and reminded the Missus of youtiao for some reason. The chocolate was thick like pudding and not overly sweet either. The Missus enjoyed it much more than I did, so I'm thinking we may have this again if we're back in Spain.
Maestro Churrero Cafeteria Churreria Plaza De Jacinto Benavente 2 Madrid, Spain
After a nice stroll in the park we headed up Calle de las Huertas, then, somehow ended up on Calle Concepcion de Jeronima...and the intersection of Jeronima and Calle Toledo. The Missus immediately recognized the shop on the corner Calzados Lobo. this store specializes in espradilles; shoes and sandals and has been around since 1897. The Missus suddenly just "needed" some sandals. Though it looked pretty mellow from the exterior, it was packed......
I just tried to stay out of the way and hide in a corner while the Missus went about things.
Actually, the guy that helped the Missus was a total pro; the Missus told him Her size.....metric of course, which he brought, in addition to a size smaller, which he thought would fit Her better and did.
The Missus was quite happy, until She came upon Casa Hernanz....which claims to have been in business since 1845....check out the line.
Talk about buyers remorse. I didn't feel so bad though, as I really didn't want to stand in this line. As we walked around the streets near Puerta del Sol, the Missus reminded me of how boring my tastes are in clothes....so I ended up buying some bright, bright, blue loafers....I was actually going for the red; but even the Missus backed down on those.
And got some of the Jamon Iberico Pata Negra; the top of the line Jamon......as you'll see in a later post, even at 160 euros a kilo, this was worth much, much more.....
It was getting close to 1pm....early for lunch by Madrileno standards, but we were hungry. Emilio had recommended trying La Posada de la Villa, which, for some reason we had never seen during our visits to Calle Cava Baja.
This restaurant, built on the site of an inn which dates back to 1642 is full of character. From the somewhat formal, though still relaxed service, to the chairs, which have the names of famous customers carved in them.
Want to know who this dude was? Well you can find out here...... there's even some scandal involved!
The meal started rather inauspiciously. The croquettas didn't impress. The Revuelto de Esparragos was nice, the eggs fluffy, but the dish wasn't anything special.
The mushrooms were nice, the portion size amazingly large.
But it was the Callos Madrilenos, tripe stewed in the style of Madrid that really got us. The "stew" was thick and just coated your belly, rich and slightly gelatinous.
The texture of the tripe was perfect; not too chewy, but toothsome; the morcilla was fine, nothing special, but it just fit well in the dish. This was a nice, hearty dish. and while we were a bit afraid that the place would be a tourist trap, it was not. In fact, if we're ever in Madrid during the winter season, we might just stop in for the house specialty; the roasted kid lamb for two!
Posada de la Villa Calle de la Cava Baja 9 Nadrid, Spain
Bluegrass Soy Sauce and other stuffs at Catalina Offshore:
I don't get to Catalina Offshore quite as often during winter months, so I was surprised to find Bluegrass Soy Sauce on a recent visit. I know Catalina has been bolstering their retail sales floor; I regularly buy Salt Farm's Ghost Pepper Salt from there, but was really pleasantly surprised to find Bluegrass Soy Sauce. If you've never tried the stuff, check it out; deep flavors, a hint of sweet, perhaps a bit more salty....no don't use it in a marinade....try it on some tofu. From what I've read, Kentucky non-GMO soybeans are highly prized for miso and soy sauce makers in Japan.
There's now a bunch of other stuff as well.
It was great browsing around....even if Mr Grumpy....ummmm, Tommy wasn't around to entertain me on this day.
Catalina Offshore Products 5202 Lovelock St. San Diego, CA 92110
The Missus shops at Trader Joe's a lot. In fact, this might be the one place She'll go on Her own......everywhere else....I do the shopping. That is, so long it's a familiar TJ's. She has problems with unfamiliar set-ups and it drives Her nuts. It has to be the same Target, the Sprouts.....you know what I mean? Rite Aid in our neighborhood did some redesign. Five minutes after entering the place, She had to leave....couldn't find anything was the issue. The new PB location was a challenge at first, but She's gotten used to the set-up......I recently went along....if I go to TJ's it's usually on the weekend and I'm on a Mission. This time, while the Missus went and got Her stuffs, I had a chance to browse and I found this.
Good stuff! I've seen this local line of salumi at Siesel's and Venissimo, but here at TJ's it was $4.99. Makes for a nice addition during the last two days when the weather has been more April than January.
I know, it's usually Kirbie that gives us updates on this stuff.
My current favorite beer? Paris of the West by Almanac.
While much lighter than most Quads, which I think is rather misleading, I like the balance of stone fruit, sweet, mild hops, with a nice earthiness, this is so drinkable and balanced for my taste. Even the Missus likes it with blue and washed rind cheese.
Just to show you, I can be sucked in by "cute" labels.
And this was an interesting one for me.
Not quite sure what to think........it was indeed briney and the tart flavor combined with that was interesting to say the least. Wasn't quite sour enough for me. Still, it's great to have such an interesting beer.
Thank you for reading mmm-yoso!!! all these years. Kirk really needs a break and so does Ed (from Yuma); Cathy is writing her first post of 2016...so much for that resolution to help Kirk on a more regular basis...
Late last year, The Mister and I were driving down Highway 101, looking for breakfast and noticed cars in front of this unassuming Cafe. We decided to park and walk in.Noticing the narrow ramped entrance and neatly decorated lobby, the architecture and decor made us think this restaurant must have been here a long time. The menu (a small photo is at the bottom of this post) states that T's Cafe Restaurant and Bar has been family owned and operated since 1978. This was a chilly morning and we saw an empty table near the fireplace and asked to be seated there. We were here close to the 7 a.m. opening and only two other tables were occupied at the time.The walls are filled with historic photos and descriptions of the local (Solana) area. The seating area is comfortable. There is a back patio area that is used for groups. The Mister has been on a waffle kick for the past few months and this day was no exception. He ordered the "Combo Wombo" ($11.95) with over easy (local) eggs, (homemade) sausage patties and a really good Belgian waffle. He could have chosen bacon or ham and also French Toast or pancakes. This was a tasty and filling meal.Noticing the corned beef hash was also homemade, was definitely my choice. ($11.25) I chose poached (local) eggs, rye toast and grits. The corned beef was finely ground and mixed with a minimal amount of potatoes and fresh herbs. It was light and fluffy in the center while being lightly crisped on the edges; a really excellent version.It is difficult to find good grits and these are excellent. You can see a pat of butter was 'hidden' in the middle of my serving.
So glad we stopped and discovered another local place.
T's Cafe 271 N Highway 101 Solana Beach, CA 92075 (858) 755-7642 Open Wednesday-Monday 7 a.m.-2 p.m., closed Tuesday
Yeeesh....it's been a tough week and it's only Tuesday. I need my sleep and some time to regroup, so here's a Clearing Out the Memory Card Post for ya....... Not much verbiage.....mostly photos.
While I think the Hu Tieu Nam Vang at Ly Heng has surpassed 777, you can't deny this is a good deal for $5.77......though the portion is a bit smaller now.
777 Noodle House 4686 University Avenue San Diego, CA 92105
Can this place even serve the noodles cold upon request? The noodles a bit overcooked....the place a lot over-hyped.....still, if you must, I think the Rikimaru Miso Tonkotsu Tsukemen might be the way to go. I will say, there's much more pork these days and the egg, while still overcooked wasn't tragically dry.
RakiRaki Ramen and Tsukemen 4646 Convoy St San Diego, CA 92111
Because I had to after checking out the Flagship Store in Asahikawa....yes....we caught the train there.
While the broth and the pork didn't come close to what we had (no Santouka effect this time); I still think this is the best that San Diego has to offer when it comes to ramen.
Santouka Ramen 4240 Kearny Mesa Rd(In the Mitsuwa Marketplace) San Diego, CA 92111
Not for sushi.....but I needed a break and dropped by to see Sam and grab a bowl of Soki Soba.
Nothing earth shattering mind you, but I like this style of broth....though it could be a bit richer.
Being really busy means I'm not able to hang with my friends.....I am so looking forward to doing so again soon.
For some reason the beef noodle soup at Green China Grill had me thinking about Liang's. Not sure why, very different creatures, but, in spite of the very bad taste of bleach permeating my NRM the last time, I decided it had been a while, so why not?
I was a bit taken a back when I visited. It was 1130 and not a soul in the place. And it also looks like Liang's has not aged well; several of the light fixtures had no bulbs, perhaps to reduce costs, but the wires were hanging out. What I really noticed was the chipped paint everywhere.
The chairs I recalled had been replaced with very cheap banquet chairs. Kind of sad to see the state of the place in about five years of life.
Service was pretty much indifferent, so that part is consistent. I went with the Tendon and Beef Noodle Soup with the LaPian noodles. The bowl arrived hot and steaming.
First off, there were some decent things about this bowl....first and foremost no bleach flavor. Second, the broth was super hot. Third, that piece of tendon was excellent, holding shape but tender bordering on buttery. The broth had decent richness and the flavor of the preserved vegetable came through, but was pretty one dimensional in terms of overall flavor, low anise, lacking in beefiness, and way too much MSG. The beef was cold in the center and tasted a bit like it had been held in the fridge too long. I should have learned my lesson about the noodles and gone with the regular version. The Lapian noodles were hard and pretty much just tore to pieces when grabbing them with chopsticks.
I'm on the fence about this one. It's mediocre, not terrible, though I couldn't finish the broth because of all the MSG. Nothing really incites me to return....so maybe it'll be another 2 or 3 years, or maybe more....I do hope they spruce up the place a bit.
Liang’s Kitchen 4681 Convoy St San Diego, CA 92111
Ever since Kokoro stopped serving lunch and our offices moved further North to Kearny Mesa I haven't been in the Serra Mesa area much. Recently I had some meetings nearby and I decided to drop by the nearby strip mall to see what was up. The place looks kind of depressing.....it just hasn;'t been the same since Henry's left the strip mall. I did notice a shop I hadn't seen before....Maggie's Café.
I remember when this location was....for a very short time, Leilani's Restaurant. I decided to stop by.
the women working were very friendly. The place is fairly generic, but wide open and bright. The menu is an amalgamation of themes; everything from Alfredo to Faijitas, Eggs Benedict to Poptstickers......part Mexican, part diner, part sportsbar. Kind of scary, but sometimes places like this work because they put out honest, solid, food. So why not give it a whirl.
I ordered the Torta Oaxaquena ($11.45), holy smokes, this thing was huge.
Good lord, how does one wrap their mouth around this. Separate the parts weren't very impressive; the carnitas was basically oven pulled pork, the bolillo standard issue. The milanesa was somewhere in there. Somehow the sum of the parts made this a decent sandwich........the queso added a eaminess; though I appreciated the avocado more. Red onion, pickled jalapenos also added to the experience. And yes, there were some fries hidden behind the gigantic sandwich. It was perhaps a bit too much..... For some reason, this "Gringo Torta" had me reminiscing back to the La Torta days.
There's no denying that you get your money's worth here as I could only finish half the sandwich.
So of course I decided to return. I've mentioned before that I hold a special place in my heart for the old fashioned Club House Sandwich, so I decided I should just go ahead and try it here ($10.95).
While quite large, this didn't quite do it for me. The bread was a chewy sourdough and several slices were burnt. The bacon wasn't crisp making it rubbery. I did enjoy the addition of avocado, but overall, not my favorite clubhouse sandwich.
So what to say about Maggie's Café? I think every neighborhood should have a place like Maggie's; it's not about haute cuisine, it's about full bellies, satisfied customers, a good value, and unpretentious food. Which is what Maggie's Café does. I'm not sure the place is worth going out of the way for, but I sure wish I had a place like this in my neighborhood.
Maggie’s Cafe 3232 Greyling Dr San Diego, CA 92123 Open Daily: 9am - 9pm
We had been told that the department store El Cortes Ingles had what they called the "Gourmet Experience". Having been to Japan, I wondered how this measures up to the "Depachika", so we headed to the Callao location to check it out.
There were some nice gourmet items, but we were looking for something to eat and the shops really didn't grab us.
They view though, it very nice.
So it was back down and around to Puerto del Sol, where I finally got a decent photo of Real Casa de Correos which used to be the Post Office Building and now houses the Regional Government of Madrid. The clock in the tower of the building officially chimes in the New Year.
As I noted in an earlier post, the Missus really wanted a photo of the Tio Pepe sign at night. Well, it was dusk (845pm) and still a bit too early, so we had some time to kill. So we made a loop back to Plaza Mayor.
Where the Chinese Massage/Reflexology folks were making a killing.
And then there was this weird "creature", the one to the left in the photo. It would site quietly, then jump up when some unsuspecting tourist walked by scaring the crap out of them. Strangely, folks liked taking their photo with the "thing".
Down through the corridor is Mercado de San Miguel.
The last time we walked by was during morning hours and the place wasn't open. On this evening it was quite busy.
We weren't tempted by the stuff here either as it seemed a bit too touristy for us.....
By now the sun had set (945pm) so we headed on back to Puerto del Sol. And finally! The Missus (well, at least I), got Her shot of the Tio Pepe sign!
So finally we decided to get something to eat. Nothing too heavy, but we knew we needed to get something. So back to "Emilio's list" and I found a recommendation. We headed back toward the La Latina area. Instead of heading to the busy Calle Cava Baja, we went one street over to Calle del Almendro and a place simply named Almendro 13.
The scene here was totally different from Calle Cava Baja. Much more chill, quiet, laid back, and local.
We were greeted with a smile and they found a small corner table for us in the corner which was perfect. The Missus got the house white Vina Almendro 13, which you drank from Caña sized glasses and I got a beer. The Huevos Rotos was the dish Emilio recommended we get here. It was good thing we saw an entire portion (racione) come out. It looked like it could feed a family of four! We ordered a media racione, which was still more than enough for us.
If you're a regular reader of this blog you'll know that the Missus loves Her eggs.....She can easily put away 6 a day if left to Her own devices. The eggs were fabulous, rich orange in color, yolks creamy, the yolks so flavorful. Why do potatoes in places like Spain or Peru taste so much better? I didn't dwell on that too much, I just enjoyed the potato-y goodness. The jamon was thick sliced as if from the ends, thus nice and salty, adding some toothsomeness to the dish. Just what we needed on this evening.....I don't recall the prices, but we got away really cheap on this evening.
We wanted something simple and got exactly that.
Taberna Almendro 13 Calle del Almendro 13 Madrid, Spain
I'm going to do a few posts out of chronological order. We did visit the South of France following our stay in San Sebastian, then ended back up in Madrid. The city, the first time around just didn't impress us much we'd walked around a bit, eaten some decent, but not outstanding meals and were just a bit underwhelmed. The rather griminess and grittiness of the city along with the heat and such had not impressed much on us. This was to change soon enough. This time around, we were staying at an apartment right on Plaza de Tirso de Molina a very busy square in Madrid. It meant a walk of over a mile from Atocha Station, which wasn't so bad. You'd think that being in the middle of the crowds would make things worse; but the opposite was true. First off, the apartment we were staying at. Not just the view of the plaza.....
But the set-up as well with good A/C....quite important as the temps would be in the 90's until 9-10pm...no wonder dinner was eaten so late. But the double paned windows minimized the sound of the lively square below.
As a big bonus, one of the owners; Emilio apparently loved to eat. While checking in, I mentioned his great list of restaurants....then, just by luck, we started talking about Jamon....not Jamon Iberico....but Jamon Bellota, and the importance of how the jamon is sliced. We were in like Flynn! He asked us to stow our luggage, then walked us to his favorite local eatery..."nothing fancy, but very good, local style food"! It would turn out to be just the kind of place we'd been looking for. It was right down the side street, but there was no way we'd have found Restaurante Badila without him. Emilio introduced us to the owner....they found us a table in the packed little restaurant, which featured "menu del dia".....a menu of items available for the day.
The little place was packed.....all locals, looking for a good lunch at decent prices. The deal was a soup or salad, a main, dessert, and drinks (which included a glass of wine on weekends) for a set price. This would turn out to be one of our favorite meals of the trip....even without foie gras!
The wonderful "taste of sunshine" from the ripe tomatoes, the grassy-peppery flavor of the olive oil...it was refreshing on such a hot day and had that "aaah" factor to it. Smooth and creamy, onion for pungency, the jamon for a bit of salty-savory flavor. Man, this was so good......it left an indelible mark on me.
And provided in salad was just perfect for such a hot day.
The Huevos con Chorizo was probably the most mundane dish of the day.
But since the Missus loves eggs, this really didn't disappoint either.
The Estofado Carne was also delicious and quite different from what I thought I'd get.
The beef was so flavorful and tender, the sauce almost like a light béchamel.........this was delicious.
And there was dessert....which the Missus enjoyed.
No, there were no Michelin stars here. Just honest good food, the type locals like to eat. It really made our day and we started seeing Madrid in a different way. We started understanding things. A good meal can do that. In fact, I'm looking forward to returning someday soon. To the simple restaurant down a side street......
Restaurante Badila Calle San Pedro Martir 6 Madrid, Spain
Emilio had left us to our own devices once he found us seats in Badila. We had the keys to the apartment and a list of places to eat and the rest was up to us.
It was getting fairly warm so we did the Spanish thing....it was siesta time!
There were actually quite a few people waiting to get into the museum, but the line moved fast......and heck, it was free (between 7 and 9pm).
As I've mentioned before, I really don't know much about art. But this trip has really given me a greater appreciation of it. I was truly moved by viewing Las Meninas by Diego Velázquez. One artist I do know of is Joan Miró whose works I recall seeing at the Contemporary Museum in Honolulu. I've always enjoyed his somewhat whimsical and almost playful works. So of course I enjoyed viewing his works here. Next time we're in Barcelona, we'll make sure to visit his museum.
There was of course, works by Dali, Diego Rivera, and many more, like this work named Un Mundo (The World) by Angeles Santos.
There was one particular work that I wanted to see. I'd mentioned gaining a real appreciation of the work of Picasso, then being moved by his painting and the story of the Bombing of Guernica. So the main reason for really wanting to visit was to view Guernica by Picasso. Just viewing a photo of the painting inspired us to visit the city. The painting is huge....much larger than I expected. The size creates a greater impact...the vignettes...the stories each part of the work tells.
Museo Reina Sofía Calle Santa Isabel 52 Madrid, Spain
Days were fairly long during this part of the year. It was past 8 when we left the museum but as is the way in Madrid, things seemed to just be getting started.
And as is the way in large cities. There are thousands of little scenes. In this one, the older man slowly makes his move......
And in the end, got a peck on the cheek and a slap on the shoulder.......
With beautiful landscaping, ponds, trees, and interesting white marble clock-table, surrounded by Neo-classical buildings, it made for a nice stop to stroll, people watch, and just enjoy the fresh air.
I'm sometime interested in statues you'll find in these parks. The one I saw here is for native son José María Usandizaga, a Basque Composer who succumbed to tuberculosis at the young age of 28.
The meteorological pergola (gazebo) was quite interesting as well. Though I really couldn't quite make out how it worked. It did keep me occupied for a while though.
We wandered a bit more through the street of "Centro"....doing some window shopping, the Missus considering a few purchases.
Until She'd had enough. It was time to walk back to the apartment.
So, we got back to the street where our apartment was located.....
And suddenly decided to make one more stop. This one was close by, just a few doors down at Casa Urola.
The upstairs area features a well regarded restaurant; but we decided to sit downstairs and have some pintxos.
We started with the Ensalada de Hongos, Pinones, en Idiazabal.
A nice refreshing salad; the light Idiabazal (this one didn't taste smoked) cheese bolstered by the pine nuts.
The Brocheta Pulpo y Papada (pork jowl fat) was amazing......
Tender octopus draped in pork fat......need I say more?
The Carrillera was passable. Man those potatoes had a texture of thick cream......
And no meal would be complete without some "Basque Butter" Foie Gras.
You'd think that after having Foie Gras for almost every meal; sometimes twice, we'd be getting tired of the stuff. Ummm.....no way! Nicely seared Mi Cuit with an almost jelly like interior. Decadent and delicious.
Along with a couple of beers (for me) and a "tinto" (for the Missus), this was a nice low keyed last meal in San Sebastian.
Casa Urola Fermin Calbeton 20 San Sebastian, Spain
Our apartment was literally a few steps away from Casa Urola. Eating that last piece of Foie Gras, I was suddenly worried that we'd be marching back up Monte Urgull. But the missus only wanted to take a short walk, "to help digest" and all that.
While walking around we passed these two American "street kids" whom we first saw begging for money near Brexta Market. We later saw them partaking of the "cash crop" on Mount Urgull, and now they asked us for money the second time around. We acted like we didn't speak English or Spanish. It was time to go..........
But first, we had a nice Txakoli break.
While I couldn't get up to the pouring height of the really nice bartender at Bar la Cepa; Txakoli is a very dry, acidic, "fresh" wine that is traditionally poured from a height of about two meters to aerate the wine, creating bubbles, and reducing the carbon dioxide. It was a nice way to end our last evening in San Sebastian.
The next morning we headed to the train station. Instead of catching a cab or the bus the Missus (of course) chose to walk.
Actually, it was a nice walk. We had a cup of coffee in the train station, then caught the train to Hendaye, then Saint Jean de Luz.
I haven't done one of these in a while, so here goes.
It always amazes me that the Missus can eat the same dish over and over again for weeks on end. For Christmas; along with cooking for Her potlucks the Missus wanted my oxtail soup. So I obliged Her. She requested that I add some daikon this time around. Man, She ate it for 5 meals in three days! As much as I love oxtail soup my enthusiasm was really waning at the tail end. So I bought some Sun Noodles and made this for me.
And had for two of those meals.
Heat the bowl......add the greens....
In go the noodles......
Top with da' good stuffs.....
It seems the Missus just didn't get enough beans when, by request I made kind of Cassoulet. The weekend after New Year, She wanted Red Beans and Rice. I've adjusted my recipe a tad, perhaps one day I'll update....anyway, this was good for another 5 meals.
Currently, the Missus is a bit obsessed with a sauce I through together after grilling some lamb. Duck Fat, Avocado Oil, Harissa, Cumin, Cayenne, Ghost Pepper Salt, Salt, Pepper, Black Vinegar and most importantly Sichuan Peppercorn. It's that suan-tian-ku-la-Xian with a nice dose of "ma". So we've been eating a lot of lamb; in the form of merguez patties and lamb meatballs....that sort of thing.
That sauce goes great with lamb and I went through an entire tube of harissa having to make this four times.......
One of these days I'll post recipes for Balsamic Brussel Sprouts that I sometimes make four times a week for the Missus's lunches that I often alternate with Kelaguen and Finedene......