Archive for the 'Spanish' Category

Julian Serrano – Las Vegas (Aria Resort & Casino)

Julian Serrano Tapas - Las Vegas

After three days of reveling like rock stars at the Aria Resort & Casino, the #Foodies2Aria express arrived at its final stop: Julian Serrano. Modern tapas, traditional paella, and Chef Serrano’s favorite breakfast were all on deck before heading to the airport.

Julian Serrano Tapas - Las Vegas

Chef Serrano is best known for his Mediterranean-French cooking at Picasso at the Bellagio. The restaurant has received two Michelin stars, as well as the AAA Five Diamond Award for nine years counting.

Here at his eponymous restaurant, Chef Serrano shares the cuisine of his native Spain. From small plates to seafood to charcuterie, I was excited to revisit the flavors and dishes that I fell in love with while honeymooning in the country last year.

Julian Serrano Tapas - Las Vegas

To start, a cool shot of gazpacho with a filled sphere on the side. I’ve yet to warm up to cold soups, so I found this dish perfectly nice, but not much else.

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José Andrés Washington D.C. Restaurant Tour: Minibar, Café Atlántico, Oyamel, Jaleo, Zaytinya

Jose Andres Washington D.C. Restaurant Tour

A tour of D.C.’s food scene wouldn’t be complete without examining Chef José Andrés‘ restaurant empire. The Think Food Group owns five highly lauded eateries in the metropolitan area: Minibar by Jose Andrés, Café Atlántico, Oyamel, Jaleo, and Zaytinya. Located within walking distance of one another in Penn Quarter, each restaurant has a different vibe and a distinct culinary viewpoint.

On our second day in the city, we enjoyed a progressive lunch at Chef Andrés’ restaurants. My feelings were lukewarm at best after dining at The Bazaar by José Andrés in Los Angeles, so this tour offered the perfect opportunity to experience the chef’s cuisine on his home turf. I was hoping to be wowed.

Minibar by José Andrés

Cafe Atlantico - Washington D.C.

With Minibar tucked into the second floor of Café Atlántico, our first two stops turned out to be one in the same. The six seat  Minibar (yep,  just six seats!) serves an avant-garde tasting menu with upwards of 30 courses. “This is food that owes as much to art and science as it does to gastronomy, food that is as much about the brain and eye as it is about the tongue and stomach, food that forces the diner to rethink food and its presentation,” states the restaurant’s website.

Minibar by Jose Andres - Washington D.C.

As a tremendous fan of Spanish molecular gastronomy, I was most excited to experience Minibar. Unfortunately, we were only given a taste, literally and figuratively, of what the restaurant had to offer.

“Olives Ferran Adria” arrived on a porcelain spoon in a shallow pool of olive oil. The spherified green olive encompassed all the qualities of a great olive, minus the proper texture. I’ve experienced these spheres dozens of times, but the sensation of the thin membrane popping and unleashing a flood of flavored liquid never gets old. [Watch Ferran Adria and José Andrés explain the spherification process here.]

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Last Day in Spain: Breakfast in Girona, Lunch in Figueres, Dinner in Barcelona (a side of Dalí, too)

Breakfast at Girona Train Station

Our last day in Spain began bright and early. The Astronomer and I grabbed breakfast at the train station—a flaky croissant for him and a ham and cheese sandwich with a tall cup of orxata for her—before leaving Girona for the town of Figueres. The simple fare was just what we needed to get us through the morning.

Theatre-Museum Dalí - Figueres

We arrived in Figueres an hour later, slightly groggy, but also very excited. We penciled in a half-day in the city to visit the Teatre-Museu Gala Salvador Dalí, a museum designed by the artist to honor his hometown. Home to hundreds of Dalí’s original works, the museum is a must-see for anyone visiting Catalonia.

On our walk from the train station to the museum, we encountered a portrait of Dalí reflected onto a mirrored cylinder. It was definitely one of the coolest and most innovative public art pieces I have ever seen.

Theatre-Museum Dalí - Figueres

In true Dalí fashion, the museum’s facade was a spectacle. I couldn’t decide which element was more visually arresting—the giant eggs teetering around the perimeter or the gold Oscar-like statues holding down the fort. Or maybe it was the sky-high trees that were perfectly coiffed.

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El Celler De Can Roca – Girona

El Celler de Can Roca Restaurant - Girona

After The Astronomer and I left the sunny shores of Valencia, we hopped a train to Girona, where our only order of business was to dine at El Celler De Can Roca. Even though this was our third three-star Michelin meal in the span of two weeks, I eagerly anticipated it as if it were the first.

Founded in 1986, El Celler de Can Roca gives new meaning to the term “family restaurant.” The place is run by three brothers [Joan Roca heads up the kitchen, Josep Roca is the maitre d’ and head sommelier, and Jordi Roca is the pastry chef], but the food is far from homey, and the space is decidedly modern.

El Celler de Can Roca Restaurant - Girona

In 2007, the restaurant relocated a hundred meters from the original grounds. Here, the chefs work in a state-of-the-art kitchen cum lab, while the sommelier manages a wine cellar that offers customers an audio-visual journey through five key wine regions.

El Celler De Can Roca

In the custom-built space, diners are treated to a gorgeous dining room with an abundance of natural light pouring in. The miniature arboretum in the center offers a tranquil and understated view. As The Astronomer and I settled into our table and perused the menu, we were served complimentary glasses of Cava (Finca Viladellops 08 D.O. Penedes).

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