Condado de la Mota – Mogro

August 31, 2014 By: erik Category: Food, Spain, Travel

Condado de la Mota, MogroOn Sunday morning, our last weekend day before our children return from summer vacation, my wife and I realized we had total freedom to do whatever we wished. As we were contemplating our options, my stomach rumbled, so I picked up an iPad and went to Mule Carajonero, far and away the best food blog in Cantabria, to check out potential restaurants we could experience. When I marveled aloud at how many “We’ve eaten at” posts there – roughly 750, 610 of them in Cantabria – my wife came over to look. One of them immediately popped out because she’d read an article recently – probably this one – and had stored the name “Condado de la Mota” on a mental restaurant todo list. We liked what we saw, so I called them up to make a reservation.
(more…)

Return to Restaurante Solana – Michelin Star Dining in Cantabria

June 22, 2013 By: erik Category: Food, Partying, Photos, Spain, Wine

Coconut and pineapple ravioli with passionfruitWhen our friends Simon and Paola were visiting last week from Brussels, we wanted to show off our local cuisine. As you can see from Simon’s blog, they are fine dining hobbyists, taking advantage of their location in Brussels to try as many Michelin Star restaurants as they can. After I visited them and they took me out to one of Brussels’ finest establishments, the fine dining bug bit me as well. It really is a fun experience.

After I visited them in October, I took my wife out to our local Michelin Star establishment, Restaurante Solana, and we were wowed, especially my wife, who had been dubious about the whole thing. So naturally we wanted to take Simon and Paola to Restaurante Solana to show off what Cantabria has to offer.
(more…)

Tamarind – Adventures in African Pod Fruit

May 03, 2013 By: erik Category: Food, Photos, Spain, Travel, Weird

TamarindThe other day, during my bidaily visit to the local grocer, my grocer and friend, Andrés, said, “Hey, Erik, come here for a second. I have something to give you.” From its hiding place behind some yogurt in the display fridge, he pulled out three strange fruit pods. He explained that they are called tamarinds, and that they are native to Africa and are sort of a cross between a peanut and a date. I had never heard of such a thing, but he instructed me on how to peel and eat them, warning that the seeds are very hard and to be careful.
(more…)

Autumn Recipe: Pumpkin Almond Risotto

November 06, 2012 By: erik Category: Food, Photos, Recipes

Pumpkin Almond RisottoMy wife and I have been slowly expanding our culinary abilities this year via online recipes, trying about a dozen new recipes this past year. I’m pretty sure my favorite is this pumpkin almond risotto that she made once, and I have repeated twice. It is absolutely delicious and dead simple to make, although it does require some attention and stirring just before serving.
(more…)

Birthday Dinner at Comme chez Soi

October 18, 2012 By: erik Category: Belgium, Food, Partying, Photos, Reviews, Travel

Comme Chez SoiI have long been a fan of my blog buddy, Simon’s, penchant for blogging about his hobby of going to really expensive Michelin Star restaurants. He really is quite prolific. I knew it was an expensive hobby, but I always wondered just how much it costs, what the ambience of the places feels like, and, of course, what such exotic food must feel like in one’s mouth. When he asked what kind of restaurants I would like to try during my visit, I immediately got excited about maybe going to one of these fancy places. He sent me a list of possible options, with links to menus and his blog posts about each one, and I very quickly settled on the most expensive one, Comme chez Soi.
(more…)

Stew and Beer and Chocolate in Bruges

October 17, 2012 By: erik Category: Belgium, Food, Photos, Travel

Bruges Sunny SkyI began my thirty-fourth birthday with a pretty severe hangover from the night before. It’s been years since I’ve had such a throbbing head in the morning, especially from such a small amount of beer (two liters over six hours), so I suspect it was more about not having a bottle of water beside my bed like I normally do to stay hydrated at night. Anyway, it was a bit of a slow morning. Brian and I had made tentative plans the night before to maybe go visit the town of Bruges, a little more than an hour away. I was delighted when he showed up with his whole family, his wife, Cloe, and two sons, Aiden and Milo, ages 4 and 0.5 respectively.
(more…)

Drinking Beer in Brussels

October 16, 2012 By: erik Category: Belgium, Food, Partying, Photos, Travel

Delirium Cafe WindowTired and hungry from my multi-kilometer tourism trekking, it was time to taste some typical Belgian food and, more importantly, some Belgian beers. My hosts, Simon and Paola, chose La Villette, a small, warm restaurant boasting Belgian Cuisine. Simon and I took the metro into the city and stopped off for a pre-dinner beer at a dark, cozy pub. It was down a small alley that had actually caught my eye earlier in the day. It was a narrow, dank, stone alley off of a main pedestrian street that led, after six meters, to two doorways: one led, jarringly, into a bright florescent lit shopping mall, and the other to a dark pub.
(more…)

Sloppy Joes on San José

March 19, 2012 By: erik Category: Food, Offspring, Partying, Photos, Religion, Spain

Sloppy JoeI’ve invented a new American in Spain tradition! It’s a little similar to my Fourth of July Hamburgerfest. Today, you see, is San José, Saint Joseph’s Day. All the days have saints assigned to them here in Catholic Spain, and March 19 happens to be assigned to Saint Joseph, the poor old shepherd who, according to dogma, never got to have sex with his wife and still had to raise a son that was not his own. That’s rough.
(more…)

Homemade Chinese Food

March 01, 2012 By: erik Category: Food, Offspring, Recipes, Spain

Chinese Almond Chicken Vegetables on RiceRecently my wife has discovered a blog by a Spanish housewife called Cocinando Entre Olivos (Cooking Among Olive Trees). I must say that I am extremely impressed with the quality of her posts, particularly the step-by-step photographs; you almost don’t need to be able to read the text. There really is a photo at every single step, often actually showing the addition of each ingredient. After several years of not adding any new recipes to our cooking repertoires, it’s quite refreshing to have some new things to cook. Recently my wife made some homemade chinese food, which consisted of cooking three recipes simultaneously (the recipes are in Spanish): Chinese Chicken with Almonds, Chinese Rice With Three Delights and Spring Rolls With Sweet-and-Sour Sauce.
(more…)

A Guide To Spanish Meal Names

February 16, 2012 By: erik Category: Food, Spain, Spanish, Travel

Beans and Wild BoarLearning the words for the meals of the day is difficult any time you change cultures, whether you change languages or not. In different parts of the US, for instance, the word “dinner” can either refer to the meal at midday or in the evening. It took me years of living the UK to realize that “having tea” doesn’t only refer to imbibing an infusion, but can often refer to the evening meal. In Spain, most people eat three main meals each day, but there are words for five meals. Confused? Let’s have a look…
(more…)