Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Copenhagen, Denmark: The Royal Cafe

Copenhagen is like my 2nd home in Europe :).  Thanks to the cool dutch friends of HT couple who has been living in Denmark, it was easy to feel at home in this country.

With our visits in Copenhagen, we always stuff ourselves with ristet polse...check out the previous post.

This time, after stuffing ourselves with polse (hotdogs), we decided to get cozy in this lovely cafe (beside the shop...The Royal Copenhagen) i.e. 

I got myself a glass of hot chocolate (50dkk~7 euros) ...to warm myself after walking around the cold and misty Copenhagen
The chocolate was creamy and not overwhelming.  It's one of the best hot chocolates i ever had. 

Cortado (35 dkk ~5 euro) - after HT hubbie's first sip, he just blurted out "this is how a good coffee should be".  I am aware how particular HT hubbie is with his coffee.  To be able to say such compliment, says a lot on the quality of the coffee and how Cortado was done perfectly in Denmark even if it's more famous in Spain and Portugal.  (Cortado - espresso with a small amount of milk).  He hates it when some cafés drown their coffee with milk (whether you order a latte or cappuccino).

if tapas are for the spaniards, Smørrebrød (open-faced sandwich) is for the danish.  This smaller version of smørrebrød, known as Smushi is the specialty of this cafe.  Only 6 selections, we decided to get 3 of them (it was quite expensive 130 dkk ~17 euro for 3).  Indulging into each of them explained the price...the quality of the ingredients used were superb! 

Røget Ål med Æggestand og Purløg (Smoked Eel with Egg stand & Chives) - we loved the combination of the smoked eel and the egg which the latter was nicely cooked.  Topped with cherry tomato and black raspberry, we get the best of everything in this smushi.

Mørbradbøf med Svampe a la creme (Fillet of Pork with Mushroom a la creme)  - carnivorous HT couple, this is a must among the 6 choices.  The pork was nicely cooked but was a little bit bland.  Until we realized that the mushroom a la creme was very tasty and delicious and should be eaten together with the pork.  I loved how such combinations worked unexpectedly.
Juleksinke m/ Cornichonner og Grønkål(Christmas Ham w/ Cornichons and Kale) - from the name itself, it must be a limited edition smushi, so we decided to get it for this yuletide season.  I like the colors that were put into this sandwich.  The cornichons (pickled cucumbers) were mixed with cream cheese and layered the ham in between.  The cream was quite overpowering that you can't taste the ham anymore.  Nevertheless, it was still a delightful smushi.

The setting is so cute that it's worth to be posted. :)

Wouldn't you love to stay for a few hours, having a cup of chocolate or coffee with your girlfriends?

or get cozy with your hubby or wifey in this sofa...:) (Taking pictures of food is becoming an "in" thing not only for asians :D )

So don't miss this entrance when in Copenhagen.

The Royal Cafe
(beside The Royal Copenhagen shop)
Amagertorv 6  1160 København

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Spain, Barcelona Part 3: must-eat, must-do, must eat...

For the last installation of this trip, we made sure that we don't miss entering one of the tabernas around Barri Gothic.

you're sure that you're in the right place, when you don't mind if a leg of jamon or a few sausages hit your head upon entering the place.

and the first thing that welcomes you, is a cake of anchovies...*yum*

it's a point-point system, point which one you salivates on, and you'll get it.  The bread is toasted with tomato pulps and olive oil.  You'll get this anywhere even in restaurants as starters.  It gives the bread a fresher taste.

locals eat in front of the counters..standing.  Little did we know, that there's surcharge if you get a table.  (this is typical in Barcelona tabernas.  And if you want to sit outside, enjoying the sun and lovely weather of the city, you pay more...nothing is free nowadays. (average is about 10%).  Feel free to ask if you wanted your pennies worth.

don't forget to wash down your meal with cerveza

what else do you gorge in Spain?  Tapas!!!  Check out the galician style octopus(purple) and the black sausage.  Don't be shocked when you see in the menu the combination of meatballs(albondigas) and cuttlefish...it's a typical combination there (based on several restaurants/tabernas)

Spaniards eat dinner pretty late.  So we "localized" ourselves and jogged into this restaurant at 9 pm...famished!

Arroz negro, paella cooked in squid ink was the best dish that night.  It was lovely to the palate and the ink was not overpowering but rather giving a balanced taste to this arroz plate.

our yummy seafood paella!  The seafood was abudant and the rice was nicely cooked.

Cochinillo is a must-have especially for Flipinos visiting Spain.  It's just like home...our lechon.

One thing that HT couple loves doing aside from eating...exploring as much churches as we can wherever we are!

Barcelona cathedral

Iglesia Santa Maria del Mar

Picasso Museum "wowed" me.  The museum was done in such a way for the visitors to see the  progress of Picasso from the start when he's art still spoke "anybody can do that" until he has improved and found his own style.  It was very interesting...

check out the interesting facade of the museum...it ain't ordinary...

This ends our Barcelona trip...and before ending this post...

credits to my friend, Cindy :D

HT couple wishes everyone...a very Merry Christmas!  Happy Holidays guys!  Keep the love in the air!  Love, love, love...eat, eat, eat!!!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Spain, Barcelona Part 2: Must-eat, must-do, must eat...

Barca wouldn't be a food haven without their infamous boqueria (market).  If you remember, in Madrid, I went to the mercado several times (aside from taking chance if i get my wallet back :D).  I just love walking around looking at the items being sold in the market.

i wish we have such market in NL

And for breakfast, go into any cafe and you can get these...

churros with cups of thick hot chocolateWe got ours at Granja Dulcinea (carrer Petritxol).  One of the better ones around La Rambla/Barri Gothic area.

enjoying my churros

ensaimada @ Cafe L'Opera (La Rambla)

I made sure that I get ensaimada and churros in Barcelona to compare it with Madrid.  I think I prefer the ones from the latter.

Let's take a break from eating and explore the wonders of Barca.

Casa Batllo is a must-see. You're gonna adore Gaudi even more once you step inside.  Casa Batllo was a house designed by Antoni Gaudi for an aristocrat family.  Now, it's open for tourists to explore the wonders of Gaudi's design.  Check out the skeletons and skulls look-a-like in this structure.

just a sneak peek of what's inside...so you still have that excitement when you experience it yourself.

the modern design of the roof (colorful!)

You walk a little bit further from Casa Batllo in Passeig de Gracia, and you'll stumble into La Pedrera.  This is now a Gaudi museum. 

where all tourists flock, the infamous Sagrada Familia, which is still under construction.

take time to go inside and check out this extremely modern church architecture.  He made it look like a forest.  Even the way it's constructed is based on the force of nature.  He was not be able to finish this church, but the wonderful artists who's completing this church made sure that they continue Gaudi's modernist way.

I'd suggest to go to our next stop only if you're well-rested. From the train station Lesseps, it's a hike up to reach Parc Guell (15 mins).

You'll be welcomed by this colorful lizard.

the HT couple ready to go around.

friends having fun!  (we, Filipinos love "jump shot")

The Gaudi's magic design is visible in the park.  Even if it's too much walking, it was worth seeing every detail that our "architect idol" had done.

Just a suggestion, explore Gaudi's gems in several days...with other Barca sites in between...or else you might get Gaudi overload.

'till our next visit, sir!
More coming up...in the last Barca post!  Stay tune.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Spain, Barcelona Part 1: Must-eat, must-do, must-eat!

Yes, HT couple is back blogging and we also went back to Spain after a year!  If you remember our moments in Madrid, you know that we heart Spain *love*.  This time, we set foot to Barcelona which is the capital of the Catalonia region.

Just like Madrid, the food scene in Barcelona is huge. In every step, you can see a restaurant, cafe or shop drawing you to go in or grab something.

Spain is known for its small bites/tapas

Barcelona is known for its pintxos(pinchos) which is a staple in Basque region that is near to Barcelona. 

What are pintxos(pinchos)?

Pinchos as per babelfish are "thorns" in Spanish which signifies the toothpick.  These are tapas placed on small bread and stuck with a toothpick to hold them all together.  I've read in http://www.barcelona-tourist-guide.com/, that when taking pinchos, hold the bread and support the toothpick with your forefinger as you don't want to create a mess when picking it up.

Usually pinchos have a common price.  The sticks are used to count how many pinchos you have upon payment.  A friend of mine told me to behave and advise me not to throw the sticks on the floor (*bummer, she knows me well*)  :D)

a wide variety of pinchos

We were looking around how many pinchos the locals were having.  That night, on average, they had 2 or 3 sticks per person.  HT couple had 12 (*wuhoo) :).  Yes, we were hungry and thanks to the self-service, they just made it easy for us to grab as much as we can.

This taberna charges 1.80 euro per pincho and is near the Picasso Museum (street~carrer montcada)

Barcelona facing the Mediterrenean Sea is known for its seafood.

Friends of ours were able to get tips from a local on where to get good Catalan dishes with decent prices.

Arroz Bomba (Rice bomb) - a soupy paella starter.  Yes, it was pretty big to start with.  But i was satisfied that I ordered this.  (Ht hubbie had the same :D)  It was my first time to try out a paella this watery but i was surprised how delicious and tasteful it was.

For main course, I got kokochas.  This traditonal basque dish was inherited by Barcelona having basque as a neighboring region.  Kokochas is made of cod pieces and clams (at least in the version I had).  The cod is gelatinous because it's taken from the chin part of the cod (which i think is their cheeks already) and the clams were just so fresh and its sweetness and juiciness were inexplicable.  The clear sauce is salty and I think with the main ingredients, this was just cooked with oil and garlic(any maybe with white wine).  It was amazing how such simple ingredients bring out a great taste of the sauce and of the meat.

It was nice that they show it to me first how it was cooked, and transferred it to a plate. :)

HT hubbie's main dish - scallops wrapped in bacon.  Since there were only 3 pieces of scallops, I just let hubby enjoyed every piece of it.  He described the scallops as perfectly cooked, juicy and delicious!  Even without the bacon, the scallops were very tasty.  And the bacon just made this dish more than perfect.

this is not part of the normal menu and was their special dish for the night.  Callos which is spanish dish and also a filipino dish (we inherited it from our spaniard ancestors) is a stew of meat and ox tripe (stomach lining).  What was amazing in this dish is that there were more tripe slices than meat which in our version is the other way around.  This was an order of a friend but i was lucky to get a taste of it.  This has more intense taste and quite oily due to the abudance of tripe.  It goes well with garlic rice which my filipino friends were amazed that it was available in the restaurant.  (Filipinos eat garlic rice usually for breakfast and having it for lunch or dinner is just great).

Fonda restaurant resides in Hotel España.  This is in one of the small streets intersecting the famous La Rambla.  (street ~ carrer de Sant Pau) and in the Barri Gothic area.  The starters cost between 8-16 euros and the main courses are between 12-20 euros. 

Outside the hotel, they recognized Filipino's national hero, Jose Rizal.  He stayed in the said hotel during his stay in Barcelona during the late 1800's. 

You wonder why would Barcelona do such thing?  Yes, there is a significant number of Filipinos who lives in Barcelona. In the same street, is where most Filipino immigrants lived.  They called this street
"filipinized" .

Filipinos have a special bond among the spaniards, after all, the spanish colonization left traces of their culture, their language  and most especially their love for food to Filipinos like me. :)

More Barcelona post...coming up!