Barcelona: Disfrutar – Best Meal Ever? (Feb 2017)

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Making a reservation at Disfrutar (in English meaning “Enjoy”) was super easy — I used their website to book in advance. They hold one Michelin star right now, but I believe they deserve more. It was reminiscent of Alinea in Chicago, where I first experienced the world of molecular gastronomy. When we arrived at the restaurant, I instantly felt the warmth from our host, who received us and gave us a quick tour that eventually led to our table. Every single person who served us was welcoming and explained everything clearly.

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You can choose between the Classic Menu or the Festival Menu, and both featured an option for 20 or 25 courses. I went with the “Classic” since it was my first time there and I wanted to experience it as a newbie. Of course, I had to get the wine pairing with my meal.

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Frozen cocktail with passionfruit, rum & coffee

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Lychee and roses with gin

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The beet that comes out of the land

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Salted candy walnuts with mango, tonka beans and whisky

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“Multipescadito frito” with fresh trout roe

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These were NOT olives! They were made of hard chocolate shells filled with soft chocolate inside. SO surprisingly tasty. One of my favorites and it looks so simple! Together with the olive oil and bread, they worked quite beautifully. Amazing.

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Mille-feuille of Idiazabal

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Crispy egg yolk with mushrooms gelatine

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Perfectly crispy on the outside, runny egg yolk on the inside

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Mushroom “dumplings”

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Ceviche decontruction

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This was my favorite wine of the meal, tastes like… mushrooms?!

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Macaroni carbonara

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Liquid salad, anyone?

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Langoustine “al ajillo”

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Red mullet with pork belly and eggplant gnocchi

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Moroccan style pigeon

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Dessert #1: mango sorbet sandwich

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Dessert #2: Cheesecake cornet

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Dessert #3: Chocolate peppers, oil and salt – another mind game, these were not peppers at all!

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Favorite dessert of the meal: Cotton of cocoa and mint — the waiter had to point out which were the real cotton and which were candy, and we picked them off the stem to eat! Really tasty, loveeeeeed the mint!

I loved this meal so much! Everything from start to finish was a delightful surprise, and I hope to go again the next time I’m in Barcelona. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

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Madrid: Where to eat & run (Feb 2017)

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Madrid airport. I was in love with the architecture here already.

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Plaza Mayor at sunrise.

Many people told me I should spend more time in Barcelona and that I would like it more, but they were wrong. Not that I didn’t like Barcelona, but I feel like Madrid is underrated. I loved Madrid for its old cobblestone streets, the architecture, the random flower shops, the huge park where I went for a sunrise jog, and all the colors and history.

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CaixaForum 

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Templo de Debod

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Mercado de San Miguel was a food hall with lots of vendors selling jamon, wine, tapas, and I loved it. I loved walking around trying out different things.

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Tapas for 1 Euro each!

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Jamon everywhere.

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A glass of wine was only 1 Euro more than water, so I ordered wine everywhere I went.

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Chocolateria San Gines for churros and hot chocolate

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Street XO, a casual hip gastronomic restaurant whose menu features these:

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StreetXO is Chef David Muñoz’s more casual and affordable restaurant. We waited for maybe 15 minutes before getting a seat at the bar where we got to see the chefs work right in front of us.

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PORK BELLAYYYY! All of their dishes were creative and the decor reminded me of a Willy Wonka world.

And amazing, unique cocktails:

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Suckling pig at Botin, “oldest restaurant in the world” — tourist destination

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Rioja is a must.

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Of course I played around with some nighttime photography.

On my sunrise jog the next morning, I stumbled upon a glass palace inside el Parque del Retiro:

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Loved the details.

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This park reminded me of Central Park in NYC. I loved running solo here, and I felt safe. I used my offline Google Map (that I downloaded ahead of time) to get from the hotel in Plaza Mayor to here (~1.5 miles) and back. Highly recommended if you like to run on vacation.

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Sunrise + rainbow!