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Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Maoz: Best Falafel

While traveling Europe on a budget, Maoz has become my new best friend. It's delicious, healthy and cheap which is hard to come by these days. The concept is simple; you choose whether you want a salad or pita and then load up on the toppings at the open bar. I always opt for a salad because it's not as messy and you can pack in more fresh toppings. Sometimes they even let you come back to the bar for seconds. This is a great price performer!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Churros con Chocolate

Spain is known for its vibrant nightlife that lasts well into the morning. After dancing all night, crowds of people roam the streets in search of two things: Shawarmas or churros con chocolate. Shawarmas are extremely popular, but eating churros con chocolate with friends after a night out is a longstanding tradition in Spain.

Most Americans are used to the churros smothered in sugar and cinnamon commonly sold at sporting events. The churros in Spain are the same concept except shorter and served in a pile on a plate without anything on them. The next step is to either put sugar on them or dip them in a warm cup of thick chocolate. Whenever I have eaten churros with Spaniards everyone gets their own cup of chocolate to dunk their churros into. People do not hold back and eat churro after churro until all of them are gone and the only thing left is the chocolate in the cup. One might think that's the end, however, this is a rookie mistake since every Spaniard at the table will drink the rest of the chocolate no matter how thick or rich it is. And that is the end to a successful night out in Spain!

Personally, I prefer my churros with sugar as an occasional treat on a leisurely Sunday and would pick Shawarma over churros any day. More on the beauty of the Shawarma later!

Friday, April 2, 2010

The Best Sandwich in the World?

There are many different types of jamón, but Jamón Ibérico is hailed as the best due to the pigs' ripe acrorm diet which heightens the flavor of the meat. Mark Bittman, a food critic for the New York Times, claimed that the best sandwich he's eaten is the flauta d’ibéric from Café Viena in Barcelona.

While visiting Barcelona recently, I had to try this hyped up sandwich. My friend Jennifer and I stopped into the surprisingly touristy looking cafe and ordered their specialty. There were only 3 ingredients: a crunchy baguette, grated tomato, and of course the Jamón Ibérico from Jabugo, Spain. Jamón from Jabugo is the Holy Grail of jamón. It is a very dark ruby red color and extremely expensive, but like nothing you have tasted before!

I would call the Jamón Ibérico the best simplistic sandwich I have ever had because of its high quality ingredients, but definitely not THE best. I'm anxious to try Rick Bayless's famous tortas at XOCO in Chicago next time I visit!