The Best Meal in Barcelona

The best meal in all of Barcelona?  Quite the statement, I know.

Perhaps it was the magic of a two week trip winding down.

The culmination of the exploration and needing some place to top it all off.

It may have been built up by our wonderful airbnb host, who stated upon our arrival, that he himself as foodie considered this place the best of the best.

Barcelona is full of culinary delights… full of jamon and queso… full of pincho bars where one can toothpick their way through endless selections..

We ate and ate for two weeks.

Our last spot however has my heart.

On the recommendation of our host, we made it to Bar Canete on our last night. We perhaps should have made a reservation! But to our delight we were seated shortly after ordering a drink to wait with.

I had to start with oysters. Oysters and I are obsessed. with each other. And I get to eat them ALL as a certain someone claims he is allergic. (which I doubt based upon described symptoms…)

FullSizeRender

IMG_5943

The spicy clams came next.

IMG_5946

Rabbit cutlets to continue the meal..which were perfectly cooked and mild.

IMG_5947

As my main I had to order the wildly popular, seemingly social media classic, the Cannelloni of roast poularde and foie bechamel.  O my heaven in my mouth. It was meaty yet light, rich and creamy, scrape my plate delicious. I would have licked the plate had I have had another glass of wine..

Foie Canneloni

My dining parter aka world travel partner ordered the aged beef steak with foe and truffle sauce… perhaps we indulged a bit 😉

IMG_5948

And of course; no trip finale is complete without ordering half the dessert platter.

Because it is vacation of course.

Rob with three desserts

Orange dessert

Chocolate torte

If you find yourself in Barcelona, go go go go go here! I’ll just be over here drooling.

Perhaps I should have started this post with a, “hey we went to Spain” intro! Or started posting chronologically, depicting the places we went, things we saw, restaurants we tried… but no. This time I started at the end. The end which was the best capstone I could have asked for. Hopefully the posts to come fill in the gaps 🙂

Philly and My Cheese Steak.

Each plane ride leads me to the next. Each trip, long or short, has me craving a new adventure.

I am always dreaming of that next departure.

I cannot be still and stay. My most comfortable place is the airport.

Last weekend was spent traipsing through Philadelphia with the one and only KB.

IMG_3587

Off we were to explore her new city and eat just about everything in sight. It was as we called it, a foodie weekend, with not much but food crawls on our  minds.

Naturally our first stop had to be a cheese steak.   I’ve had Pat’s and Geno’s on a previous Philly trip, so this time, we walked blocks and I mean like 6 miles to get to Jim’s Steaks.

FullSizeRender (123)

IMG_3611

I made (yes made) KB order, as technically she had never ordered one before. Don’t worry, whiz was involved.

Our next stop was a jaunt to a pop up beer garden for happy hour. I could live in this pop up beer garden. Which by the way at the end of the season is stripped down to the bare parking lot that it came from. The Pennsylvania Horticultural Society puts these on and it may be the best summer activity ever. Beyond jealous one is not on my street. Ahemmm Minneapolis….

FullSizeRender (125)

FullSizeRender (124)

Post beer garden, you should probably head to Tria Fitler Square for you know… carbs and cheese.  The perfect “beer-soaker-uper”. Get the Truffled Egg Toast with Fontina Fontal. O my god this is the best toast or anything else that you will ever put in your mouth.  We also had the Pistachio Herbed Ricotta with Lavender Honey Bruschetta.  I plan to recreate this at home very soon. SO good. The braised beef short rib gnocchi was also to die for. All in all, carb heaven.

Naturally the next morning, we had to start brunch on the same carb and cheese train. Because we totally did not have enough the night before. AND we had trekked all the way to the new Century 21, meaning we had burned off at least half of the night’s delights.

Check out Zavino Wine Bar for seriously the largest meat and cheese tray ever.

IMG_3605

After more walking, exploring and a daytime cocktail or two, our dinner reservation at Mercato arrived. I’m told you are not to take photos here, and as I do not break the rules, I refused to do it. However others were doing it and KB demanded documentation. Somehow, someone managed to take the below………..

 

FullSizeRender (121)

Processed with VSCOcam with g3 preset

(Shhhh!)

With my stomach and carb love full, off we went to wander the picturesque historic streets. If anyone would like to purchase the below home for me, I’d greatly appreciate it.  Then I could spend more time traipsing through the city and sampling the restaurants to my heart’s content.

Processed with VSCOcam with g3 preset

While I’m over here already dreaming of the next trip, I left Philly happy at a friend’s new home, happy for her next adventures and delighted to have met some of her new people;  amazed at her already amassed knowledge of the city and passion to explore.

(I’ll be over here eating salad all week)

Have you been to Philly?

Water and The Soul.


I’ve got the travel bug again, and I’ve got it bad. Spain is on the brain. Have you been? I think I may need to go.

Spain may be next.

So while I’m dreaming of tapas and architecture, my mini travels to weddings this summer will have to suffice.

And suffice they  have.

Bayfield, Wisconsin may have stolen my heart a few weeks ago. Who knew this charming place was a mere 4 hours away?

Not me.

FullSizeRender (119)

A town that claims to be where the water meets the soul. I’d very much have to agree.

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset

Waking early to the sun over the water, the town slowly creeping to life. the early birds sailing through the calm waters.. buying the ferry tickets to Madeline Island.. and taking in the calm around you.

IMG_3338

I could totally spend another weekend on the shores of Lake Superior.

Renting mopeds and exploring the island.

IMG_3351

Eating white fish cakes and hearing about the island’s late night shenanigans.

FullSizeRender (118)

I’ll take another order please.

I’m ready to plan my next weekend here. Have you been?

Bayfield, you’ve kept my travel bug at bay.

FullSizeRender (120)

Dresses and Dairy Delights

We could most likely call this summer, the wedding summer. The summer of dresses, and shoes and flowers, cakes and cocktails.  The summer of love and families joining and the meeting of so many new to me people.

With a good 8 or 9 weddings on the calendar, and with so many out of town, why not turn them into weekends of exploration too?

Like hopping into cheese shops along the way to Green Bay, WI.  Tucked into the plethora of cows and farms during the drive, one must explore the dairy delights.

FullSizeRender (96)

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset

Did you know cheese curds were meant to be eaten at room temp? You know, to optimze the squeak in your mouth……..

Post devouring squeaky cheese curds, one must put down a few beers.

At Titletown Brewery of course. Just avoid the food. Until last Friday, I did not think it possible to screw up bacon wrapped brats.  It happened. Just have the beer.

FullSizeRender (102)

The only way to recover from mismanaged bacon would be a trip to Lambeau Field the next morning. Obvious I guess when dating a packer fan. Ultimate gesture of Romance?

FullSizeRender (98)

FullSizeRender (103)

Did anyone notice my purple tank top….? #skol

 Continuing on this road of recovery calls for the famous Green Bay Bloody Mary; from St. Brendans Inn.

IMG_2965

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset

Next stop on the adventure? A butter burger from Krolls.  Literally a slab of butter is cooked into the burger and shall commence dripping down your hands once eating. The ulitmate diary indulgence.

And because Lambeau Field, Bloody Marys and a butter burger are the only way to properly prep for a wedding, off we went, fully preped and “dairy-ified”.

FullSizeRender (101)

Do you have weddings to attend this summer?

Get the Scallops

A weekend back in my adopted city and I learned something new.

A new mantra… a new moto.

Get the scallops.

Why you ask?  Are they good?

Well, actually I’ve never had them…. But!

Rae is convinced, you must get the scallops everywhere you go.

 I’m going to intrepret, “Get the Scallops” as more of a try the new mantra.

Is it good? Should you do it?

Have you been there before?

Absolutely you should. How will you know if you never try?

As spring creeps in I suggest you try the new. Go get lost and explore.

So while this may be the mindset and blog intention for me for quite some time…

I suggest you…

Try the Scallops already 🙂

FullSizeRender (81)

Also, if you are living in or visiting Milwaukee, GO TO ODD DUCK.

 

How to Travel to Vietnam & Cambodia

FullSizeRender (78) 

(on the cheap!)

 Though still very much jetlagged, we are back from our bucket list trip to Vietnam and Cambodia 🙂 It was nothing short of amazing. We packed our days exploring everything and anything we could. We were immersed in history, food and culture so unique to our own.  It was two weeks of trying the new.

Try it we did. Love it we did.

The verdict: Cambodia was our favorite, so much so we stayed an extra day and booked a brand new flight directly out of Cambodia. ( New flight… not on the cheap plan.) However traveling to these two countries can be done on a travel budget: heres how!

1) Flight:  We researched for months. In the end we used cheapoair.com, which saved us $500-700 over any other tickets we found. Just be warned, this service may change your flights on you! If you are willing to take the risk, it does provide a much cheaper option.

vscocam-photo-1 (2)

2) Hotels: Hostelworld.com. Use it. Read the reviews.  And I’m not talking about hostels.  Check the hotels and bed and breakfast options.  We stayed for around $15-$29 a night. (These were not even backpacker hotels. Quite the mix of people) Breakfast included. Best breakfast Pho for days 🙂

Processed with VSCOcam with g3 preset

3) Food: Street food. Eat at the vendors pushing their carts, sit on the teeny tiny plastic stools and sip your dollar beers. The best and cheapest food we found was on the side of the road. It is the most authentic and will cost you around $5 for beer and multiple entrees.

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset

Processed with VSCOcam with g3 preset

4) Tours: If there are day or overnight tours calling to you, book them through your hotel.  This will ensure they are legitimate and they may discount them for you as well (See saving more money).  Entry fees at most museums are not more than $2.  Google and find self guided tours around the cities.  There are also free tour guides available wanting to practice their English or other languages.  Check the day prior, as some start as early as 7am.  We had the most fun following a self guided tour through Hanoi, at our own pace, taking everything in.  We saw the things that “were once there” but no longer existed….. which of course only leads to numerous inside jokes. We got our bearings with the city and post tour got around walking just fine.

FullSizeRender (76)

FullSizeRender (77)

When in Cambodia and off to discover the world heritage sites of Angkor Wat and the multiple temples; get the three day pass.  You will need more than one day to explore, and the sunset and sunrise tours are unbelievable 🙂

vscocam-photo-1 (1)

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset

5) Transportation: Cabs should only cost you a few dollars. It may be best to negotiate your price prior. Also, a word of advice, never sit in the front seat….. we had the most brazen robbery attempt by a cab driver I’ve ever seen/heard of. Tuktuks should also only cost you a few dollars. Negotiate with them. But really, see the cities by foot if possible! Grab a free city map. Your hotel will have one, with all the sights nearby pointed out.

6) Visas. If you have a US passport, you will need a Visa for both countries.  Apply early to the Vietnamese embassy just to ensure there are no issues.  For Cambodia, you can  buy a Visa upon arrival.

 Processed with VSCOcam with g3 preset

If you follow me on Instagram, you saw some of the 1200 pictures I took 🙂 If you’re not following, lets be friends! Follow me at olivedoesthecity.

I’m sure another post or two on our travels are yet to come! If you are headed to either country anytime soon, I’d love to offer more tips, feel free to email me, found on my contact page 🙂

Hello 29

Well hello, I hope this post finds you well 🙂

I hope I am waking up to the sounds of a new country, new culture and new experiences.

I hope the first day of 29 brings peace while exploring the lost temples.

I hope 29 brings a calm, while even in the midst of bustling Asian cities.

I pray 29 brings deeper compassion into my life than I’ve previously known.

I’d like for this trip to reconnect me with pieces, sights and feelings from my childhood. Some of my first and clearest memories are of Asia…

I hope to meet and learn from many over these two weeks.

My past birthday posts have been a reflection.  here and here.

This year, I’m looking forward. I have a feeling 29 may be one of the best yet 🙂

So happy Monday to you; I hope you find the same peace, calm, compassion and reconnection this year 🙂

And hello 29!

FullSizeRender (74)

Vietnam Bound

The anticipation has been building like a thousand knots in my chest.  Like a swarm of pverbial butterflies bursting out.

The excitement can no longer be contained! The duffel is packed, my comfy clothes are on, and we are off. Our Vietnam adventure begins.

I do not think words can convey my excitement.  My wanderlusting soul is like a kid on Christmas morning..

Hopefully by the time you read this, we are sipping morning cocktails at MSP, or rushing to our connection Chicago flight, or enjoying a plethora of wine on the 14 hour plus flight to Asia.

Or hopping on a small plane to eventually land in Hanoi. ( I may need more wine to survive all these flights!)

Its almost unreal. We are about to cross off a major bucket list item. A country I’ve wanted to explore for years. Well, two countries 🙂 See you seen too, Cambodia.

It started with a thought… then an action. More doing, less thinking. 2014 was the year of stepping up my exploring; or at least planning such stepping up. The year of making decisions and going for it.

An out of the blue text to my now roommate, and here we are, Vietnam bound!

photo (270)

Cheers to you my fellow wanderlusting friends, happy Friday 🙂

And because I cannot think of a better Friday Fav,

Linking up with Katie, Heather and Claire for Friday Favs!!

Lost in an Irish Field….

One of my biggest joys in life is to explore the new.

To try new things. To say why not.

To get lost in a new to me city.

Like that one time, outside of Dublin, Ireland. We hopped on a train, on a whim and recommendation from a taxi driver. And all of a sudden, found ourselves lost in an Irish field and traipsing through a breathtaking ruin of a castle.

But for taking that taxi, the magically Irish castle would have never happened.

Our picturesque lunch by the water and afternoon Guinness would have remained a dream. A wish, even possibly a regret.

While I am no longer traipsing through the rolling greens and damp cold of that field, I still apply the same why not attitude to life. Try the new.  Explore. Meet new people.

So when Jen, over at Apartment Wife, reached out to meet, I was ecstatic. Her writing and creativity is inspiring to me. Head here to see what I’m talking about 🙂

New friends must check out a new restaurant, right?

We decided Libertine, the newly replaced Cafeteria, was a must.

photo (288)

photo (289)

photo (290)

The smoked salmon was my favorite.

Heres to many more meetings, new places and new friends.

Happy Weekend! What are your plans?

Take Me Back: Vail

Vail was like living in a picture.

A picturesque European painting.

I truly felt as though I was back in Europe.

My pictures can never do it justice.  Vail was jaw dropping, amazing, stunning, not even describable.

We stayed at The Tivoli, which you must stay at during your next trip to Vail 🙂 The staff was amazing, the breakfast spread delicious, and I was even treated to a spotting of the celebrity dog, Speedy (Speed). I may or may not have fed him a few strips of bacon….

Stopping at Loaded Joe’s for coffee every morning is a must. And the best post bike ride sandwich has to be at Big Bear Bistro.

Me on a bike, for the first time in like 10 years, at over 8,000 Ft above sea level…. pure comedy 🙂

I’m already dreaming of planning a trip back to experience this wondrous place in the winter 🙂

Have you been to Vail?

photo (276)

photo (277)

photo (278)

photo (279)

photo (280)

photo (281)

photo (282)

photo (283)

photo (284)

photo (285)

photo (286)