Anyone who knows me knows that I love food. I love cooking food, eating food, looking at food, thinking about food……
Okay you get the picture.
I also love writing about food and here in Spain there are some prime opportunities for writing about it. The gastronomy here is insane and there are plenty of Michelin star restaurants and delicious dishes to prove it. I’m going to break down 10 of the best things that I’ve chowed down on this past year. Some are from Spain, some hail from Portugal, and an honorable mention from the USA is even on here.
These are also in no particular order. I love them all the same (insert heart emoji here..)
#1. Churros con chocolate- San Gines, Madrid
Did I say no particular order? I lied. The churros con chocolate at San Gines near the Plaza Mayor in Madrid is my absolute favorite thing I had in 2015. I could just be saying that because I haven’t had them in 2 months and I’m craving them but who cares! They are a mix of crunchy and chewy and when they are dunked in the dark chocolate warm pudding like sauce they are so good you’ll have dreams about them. SO GOOD! (yes capital letters were/are necessary)
#2. Rabo de Toro- Atienza, Spain
Bulls tails….mmm sounds scrumptious right? Well yes actually they are. They are slow cooked for hours making them “fall off the bone tender” and it reminds me of a Sunday roast back home. The one I had in Atienza, Spain (a small pueblo outside Guadalajara) came accompanied with french fries and the sauce was amaaaazing.
#3. Pastel de Nata-Porto, Portugal
Yay for sweets! I seriously have a problem. My friend here in Burgos gave me strict instructions before I headed to Portugal this past fall and told me that I couldn’t leave Portugal without trying their pastel de nata. I’m pretty sure it’s spelled different in Portuguese but these guys are everywhere in Portugal so you won’t have a hard time finding them. These are so creamy and sweet you’ll want at least two (or seven) for your morning coffee. I’ve since found them here in Burgos but the real deal hails from Portugal.
#4. Bacalao Dorada –Lisbon, Portugal
Another queen dish from Portugal is the bacalao dorada. It’s a mixture of salted cod cooked with chips and comes with black olives on top. It didn’t have a fishy taste to it at all. Honestly I couldn’t even tell it was cod the flavor was so mild! I had this dish while watching a Fado performance (Portugal’s version of flamenco) so it made it extra special. Want this dish in Spain? Mercadona has a frozen version that you can whip up in the oven!
#5. Every dish at Gaia –Burgos, Spain
My diet is about 95% vegetarian so when I heard that we have a vegan restaurant in Burgos I was so excited. The chefs and owners of Gaia have a super cool life travelling the world and then coming back to their restaurant to create vegan dishes inspired by their travels. I’ve tried 9 dishes so far but they have recently changed them so looks like I have to go back!
#6. Cordero –Tomelloso, Spain
Okay so the other 5% of the time that I don’t eat vegetarian I like to eat cordero. Cordero is sheep (baby sheep……cue the tears) slow cooked until fork tender and oh so good. I had mine at a family run restaurant in Tomelloso, Spain (near Ciudad Real) and I could tell this was a high quality cut of meat and the chefs really took their time with it. Mine was of course paired with french fries because what else would you eat with meat in Spain.
(This picture is not my own. I couldn’t find my picture that I took so I grabbed this one from receto.con)
#7. Carne asada tacos –Waseca, Minnesota, USA & Madrid, Spain
Number one reason I can’t fully commit to becoming a vegetarian…? Carne asada tacos. I can’t stop loving these and I’m currently having the biggest craving for them. I used to work at the Mexican restaurant in my hometown of Waseca, Minnesota (go Bluejays!!) and after every shift I would order carne asada tacos. 9 times out of 10 my co-workers didn’t even ask me what I wanted. They just knew. When I lived in Madrid my friend brought me to Tako, a restaurant for authentic Mexican style tacos, and I miss it ever so dearly.
#8. Croqueta de rabo de toro y chocolate blanco –Tomelloso, Spain
When I went to Castilla La-Mancha I think I ate the best there than any other place. Also in Tomelloso there is a restaurant called Orbe where they make a killer croqueta de rabo de toro y chocolate blanco. Translation: Little fried ball of bechamel sauce, bulls tail, and white chocolate. Sounds crazy and oh it is. It’s crazy, it’s insane, it’s unheard of, but it’s so dang good. It’s the perfect balance of salty, sweet, crunchy, chewy, and everything in between. It has won best tapa of the year award by judges and citizens and I think everyone should try it! Curious for more? I wrote about it here and they published it on their website! I think they’ve taken it down now to make way for their new information but I had my 15 minutes of fame.
#9. Homemade warm tomato and chorizo salad –Mi casa
I love Jamie Oliver and a couple years back he did a cooking video about Andalucia, Spain. In that video he is outside with a small cooking fire and he prepares a simple warm tomato salad with chorizo using all Spanish ingredients. First you start off with browning some chorizo in a pan with some good Spanish olive oil then adding garlic and sherry vinegar at the end. In the meantime, roughly dice some tomatoes and arrange them on a plate. When everything has cooked in the pan, pour the chorizo//garlic mixture over the tomatoes and garnish with some basil. Add your favorite cheese, some jamon, bread and of course some wine and you have the perfect little appetizer.
Here’s Jamie Olivers take on YouTube
#10. Raclette cheese over potatoes –Ottawa, Canada
Cheese and potatoes. Is there a better comfort food? The smell of raclette is so strong you can smell it from a few stands down but it’s so so smooth and mild when you eat it. Word on the street says you can’t just eat it. You have to warm it up and then put it over things like bread or potatoes. When I bought it in Canada with my friend from France we roughly chopped potatoes and bread, placed them on a baking sheet, then topped them all with sliced raclette, and put them in the broiler until the cheese was melted and golden brown on the edges. I thought this raclette was so good I brought three packages back with me to the states.
(This photo was taken from this website)
Well, that’s it!! I can’t wait to see what different foods I try from the world in 2016. Let me know if there’s something you tried last year that you loved. I’d be so interested to know!