Barcelona, Cocktails, Eating out, Tapas

Fizzy Holiday Cocktails and Tapas at Casa Lolea

I have a daytime drinking policy: it’s only okay at brunch and when having aperitifs with tapas. And vermuth. And best friend crisis. And boy problems. Well, those are several policies, but who’s counting?Also, another one if to kickstart the holiday season after a very fat Thanksgiving weekend. So, why not with a few fizzy cocktails and tapas at one of my most beloved neighborhood restaurants: Casa Lolea. This ain’t your run of the mill sangría and tapas place in Barcelona, which might sound like a distasteful tourist trap. It isn’t one of those. It’s an antic sangría factory from Zaragoza that opened its doors in Barcelona about a year ago. Their concept: straight up traditional sangrías, and some with a nice twist.

And so it began: fizzy cocktails and delightful tapas on a Sunday afternoon.

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Asian, Barcelona, Fresh Produce, Pasta, Vegetarian

Soba Noodle Stir-Fry

Each time I go to the market I get overly excited to buy fresh produce. Kind of like a child at a candy store. Everything is so colorful and my attention is everywhere. Colors. Textures. Taste. That’s mostly why I love making Asian inspired recipes, not only you get a wonderful flavor, but you also enjoy a diversity of textures. Also, who doesn’t like looking at a bright spread of fresh produce?

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Appetizers, Barcelona, Fresh Produce, Tapas, Vegetarian

White Bean Crostini with Mint-Cilantro Vinaigrette

…Vegetarian ceviche style! God, I love ceviche on a crostini. It’s probably my favorite fish dish, except this isn’t a fish dish. Anyway, lemon-lime and everything acid truly make me happy, especially when this kind of vinaigrette seeps into toast or a crostini. I can already feel my tongue tingle. I also really enjoy the combination of mint and cilantro, reminds me a lot of Vietnamese style dishes (which are amazing!).  This recipe is a very simple and quick one to make. Crostinis make the best kind of tapas! For guests, for date night, for yourself, it doesn’t really matter! Making the topping for the crostini is quite straightforward, you can use any kind of beans, it doesn’t matter. It’s not like you’re going to run a Likert scale questionnaire on yourself.

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Barcelona, Fresh Produce

Nachos + Pomegranate Salsa and Chunky Guacamole

Falling into fall is so wonderful. All the deep colors. All the versatility of the ingredients in the season: squash, artichokes, cauliflower, pomegranate, sweet potato… Sweet, savory, sour, salty, bitter… You can achieve so many layers of flavor with these ingredients it just makes my mouth water with excitement. I just love going to the market and seeing how as the year progresses the colors at each section change. although in Barcelona autumn is pretty much an indian summer, it’s delightful. I’m constantly looking at different sources of inspiration, and I love sharing them with everyone else. One of my favorite blogs is The Delicious Life, it’s so beautiful and real. Just straightforward food without all of the nonsense of unnecessary adjectives to describe beautiful and delicious food. There, I found a tasty pomegranate salsa recipe, which I’ve decided to make and adjust to my likes and haves.

Also, I took advantage on the fact that it’s National Nachos Day, I just needed an excuse to make nachos and salsa!

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This is what you’ll need:

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Baked, Barcelona, Catalan

Catalan traditions: Panellets

Being in a relationship with someone from a completely different culture than I am surely is enlightening. Each time we enter a new weather season there’s a new tradition to be immersed in. This has made me begin a series within my blog where every time I try a different tradition, I’ll share it on here. Call it “Joanne and a series of catalan traditions” if you will. Fall brings ‘Panellets’. Panellets are probably the most traditional sweet pastries in all Catalunya. They’re made of almond flour, sugar and pine nuts. Think: marzipan with less sugar. Don’t tell Marc’s mom I compared them to marzipan.

In Catalunya you know fall is officially here when pastry shops and grocery stores start getting ready for “La Castañada” (the chestnut party). It’s the holiday where everyone take the streets to eat roasted chestnuts and sweet potatoes. I like to think of it as a street food festival. Everyone is drinking moscatell and eating chestnuts and sweet potatoes. On the following morning, to cure your moscatell hangover you eat panellets (I made up the hangover part). This weekend I learned how to make them, these you don’t enjoy on the street, you have them at home, I made them with guidance from Marc’s mom (Lourdes), of course. Not as traditional without a Mama present. But don’t worry, I’ll show you guys how to make them!

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This is what you’ll need to make pine nuts, cherry, coconut, and membrillo (quince cheese) panellets:

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