Tag Archives: Cook

Soda & Swine

Soda & Swine: 2943 Adams Ave, San Diego, CA

soda 1Soda & Swine is possibly the first restaurant that I went to twice in one day. Soda & Swine consists of two parts. The menu is based on four kinds of meatballs with different sauces you can eat a la carte,  on a slider or as a sub. The menu is supplemented by such standards as mac and cheese and fries, but also has unique offerings such as roasted chick peas and polenta,  Next door is  Polite Provisions and they have wonderful creatively flavored cocktails for the evenings!

The modern design of the Soda & Swine is lovely. The cafeteria style dining room is open to the sky yet enclosed on the sides. Polite Provisions was an old pharmacy and they’ve kept the old fixtures but modernized it a bit The effect is beautiful. Be sure to pay a visit to the bathroom and pay special attention to the floor!

soda 3  soda 6soda 4   soda  2soda 5  soda 7 soda 8 soda 9


Homemade Spanish feasts

If you decide to date a Spaniard, there’s a good chance his family will cook Spanish food for you at least once a week. These are some of the dishes they will force feed you, and you won’t hate it! Pan con tomate, jamon carts, paella indoors and out, fish and more!

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new year 2  la foto 5

xmas 2  xmas 3

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xmas 25  xmas 26homemade bacalao   homemade flan  homemade pulpohomemade paella

xmas 27homemade 2  homemade 3 homemade 4  homemade 5 homemade 6 homemade 7  homemade 9 paelaa homemade 10 salad       homemade 11   homemade 12   homemade  homemade 8 paella

El Filete Ruso

El Filete Ruso: Carrer d’Enric Granados 95, Barcelona

El Filete Ruso is another great find on the pretty and petite Carrer d’Enric Granados along with Cup & Cake. The restaurant is decorated in a cute and trendy way and the staff is pleasant and helpful. They serve gourmet burgers at about 9€ each so this is a great find for an inexpensive and filling dinner. Their food is all organic and locally grown and they’re fans of the “slow food movement” which is rare in Barcelona. And we like it!

They have some great starters like potatoes with apple all-i-oli topped with crumbled bacon. bacon. The onion rings are fantastic and you’ll love the barbeque sauce that comes with them. They taste like America and it was a perfect place to celebrate the 4th of July.

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As you can see we’ve tried quite a few burgers here. The favorites are the “Montana” which has bacon and barbeque sauce this is the most American. The other favorite has Iberian jamon on it which is Spain’s National treasure. The jamon goes nicely with the meat, the rucula lettuce and cheese. We haven’t found one burger yet that we do not enjoy and we’ve nearly tried all ten!

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The dessert of choice is this little ball of chocolate mousse. It’s called “the lice” in Spanish, I suppose because it looks like a little bug. (?) I think a nicer name would have been “chocolate lady bug” if it needed to be named after a bug.

With desserts and beers you will end up paying just under 20€ per person, (€€) so it’s a great deal by our standards! Enjoy!

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Llamber: Carrer de la Fusina 5, Barcelona

Llamber is an adorable restaurant located right next to the newly reopened Mercat del Born.  Pronounce the name like “yam-burr”. (Those tricky Spanish and there double L’s) They serve the traditional tapas that every Barcelona visitor needs to try but in a stylish manner.

The tapas are each prepared with exquisite care and luckily we’ve tried almost everything on the menu. The great thing about enjoying tapas with a big group is that you’ll get to try so many different dishes. Tapas restaurants abound in Barcelona but none prepare the plates with this much precision. The photos should speak for themselves.

llamber morcilla llamber croquetas

The morcilla was a real show stopper. Blood sausage or black sausage as I like to call it is a traditional tapa in Barcelona and this one was melt-in-your-mouth great.  The morcilla was served sliced in half and topped with scrumptious little calamaris.  The grilled vegetables were tasty flavorful and I almost felt like I was back in California. The croquetas which are fried balls of cheesy and chicken goodness were possibly the best I’ve ever had. (And trust me I’ve eaten far more croquetas than the average person.)

llamber veggies llamber arroz negro

llamber potatoes

The arroz negro which is a flavorful black rice with seafood mixed in was beautifully displayed topped with al-i-oli sauce. This was my favorite dish and almost every table around us had also ordered it, so it may be a house specialty. My favorite plat was the potatoes stuffed with a creamy Cabrales cheese sauce. They were intense small bites and the red potato nicely offset the very strong cheese. I could have eaten those little guys all day!

For dessert we tried the “chocolate layers” with pepper ice cream! The ice cream was spicy and interesting and delicious! The chocolate was rich and gooey, mouse layered with crunchy chocolate bits and then enveloped in a chocolate ganache.  As you can tell it’s a party in your mouth, so save room for this!

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It’s common for restaurants to care too much about appearances and plate up pretty foods in a gorgeous setting, but lack the flavor. This was not the case. Llamber serves great food and they do it with style. Give it a try! You’ll love it!

Una Mica de Japó

Una Mica de Japó: Carrer de Arago 104, Barcelona

Una Mica de Japó” is Catalan for “A little of Japan” and here you can enjoy authentic Japanese dishes served in a perfect Catalan accent. This mother and son team moved to Barcelona and started a business doing what they do best, cooking.

Each generous dish is served on a bed of sticky rice, topped with a meat and a sauce. (Each costs 8-9€) The most famous of these and my personal favorite is the Katsudon. Katsudon is rice topped with cerdo (fried pork) and fried eggs not fully cooked. The yolk mixing with the rice and the pork makes for delicious bites every time. They also top it with a pinch of grated ginger that adds an exciting kick. I could eat this every night for the rest of my life and die happy.

mica de japo Katsudon mica de japo curry

My Spaniard prefers the cerdo and curry dish, and refuses to try anything else. I’ve snuck a bite and it is delicious. It’s a bowl of rice, topped with fried pork and smothered in a generous scoop of high quality and creamy curry sauce. His signature dish to make at home for me is chicken curry and this is what he attempts to imitate.

For starters we’ve tried the dumplings or “potstickers” as I call them, they’re quite tasty. They vegetable tempura is great as well and the sweet sauce poured on them is delightful! The main courses are quite large so I can’t say a starter is necessary but they’re nice to share for a party of three or more.

mica de japo potstickers mica de japo tempura
mica de japo

The other type of dishes served here are bento boxes, which our vegetarian friend tried and loved. (They have non-vegetarian versions too.) Bento boxes are what workers in Japan enjoy for lunch each day. It’s almost like a fancy “lunchable,” a plate divided in 4 sections with small portions of a few types of foods. These are great if you don’t want to commit to just one bowl of food. This way you can try a bit of everything. It’s a tapas style little meal just for you.

The place is tiny and modestly decorated. The service is very welcoming and they make you feel like you’re right at home with them. Including your beverage & hefty dish your tab will be under 15€ per guest, thus it’s quite inexpensive (€). You’re sure to have a great meal here. Enjoy!


Kibuka: Calle Verdi 64 & Carrer de Goya 9, Barcelona

kibuka hot philidelphiaAs we’ve said time and time again good service is a hard thing to come by in Barcelona. The American mentality of “the customers always right” and “working hard for tips” just don’t translate to Spanish. Here at Kibuka you will find gracious servers and attentive staff. (Yay!)

There are 2 locations in Barcelona’s cute Gràcia neighborhood. We’ve tried both to see which we prefer. The one at (Calle Verdi, 64) is quieter and nicer to have a romantic date. The more central one at (Carrer de Goya, 9) is loud and always bustling; go here if you’re with a group of friends. They’re both nicely decorated and both have lovely employees. Great service is so hard to find here, so be sure to visit! 

kibuka chicken kibuka new 4

Our favorite sushi roll was the Hot Philadelphia roll: a breaded roll filled with tempura shrimp and cream cheese. The foie roll was more rice than foie and rather tasteless. The rainbow roll was colorful and delicious. The tempera shrimp were enormous and we highly recommend them. There are two maki rolls with shrimp tempura in them, they’re outstanding. Also try the Kibuka Urimaki with anguila fish and salmon with avocado and a swet eel sauce. The breaded chicken was really moist and flavorful topped with lime and served with an amazing “Japanese mayonnaise.” Don’t miss this one!

For dessert we highly recommend the chocolate coulant which is a small chocolate lava cake. It can be paired with a selection of ice creams. We loved the Japanese option of wasabi ice cream. Save room for this dessert! We were hesitant at first. But it’s more of a sweet wasabi ice cream than a spicy one, but definitely has the wasabi taste!

kibuka wine kibuka-coulant

This restaurant is very well priced, for 20€ per person you will eat incredibly well. Of all of the dozens of sushi places we love, this is certainly the best bargain. 

Read my Spaniard’s thoughts on Kibuka.


kibuka collage

Restaurant La Cuina de l’Uribou

Restaurant La Cuina de l’ Uribou: Carrer Taquigraf Serra 26, Barcelona

We frequent this restaurant nearly once a week and have since the glorious day we discovered it. Uribou serves traditional  Japanese cuisine, (my Spaniard’s favorite) and as it is always full of Japanese looking business men we know it’s an authentic find. An “uribou” is a warthog and while I have never seen it on their menu there are paintings of “Pumbas” on the walls. Located in a residential area, you wouldn’t expect to find this hidden gem. They just started brewing their own toasty beer which is lovely and also displays the cute little warthogs.

uribou1.1 uribou beer

The food combines traditional Japanese and modern cuisine with a Spanish kick. A blackboard posts daily recipes that never disappoint! Try to order at least one dish off the board, they’re always great. We’ve tried eggplant and shrimp tempura patties, oyster makis, sea urchins and more!

The basic makis like spicy tuna and salmon avocado are great. One called SSTU is a rainbow of a roll wrapped in salmon, and filled with avocado, cucumber and a zesty and spicy sauce. ​

uribou sushi shrimp salad
Uribou rollitos Uribou SSTU

The rice dishes are also great, like the Katsudon. Katsudon is a traditional Japanese dish consisting of rice, pork and fried eggs. Here the large bowl is also topped with chives and grilled onions. Our favorite salad is the “langostino” salad, which has big shrimp, lettuce and a delicious creamy and flavorful sauce. This is perfect for sharing.

uribou curry uribou noodles

For dessert be sure to order the green tea tiramisu. It’s a moist pound cake soaked in green tea layered with a mascarpone cheese cream in a small glass. It is topped with a green tea powder and red bean compote. You need to try this even if you are full. It will probably be your favorite dish!

Cost wise it can be expensive or not depending on how much you want to eat. Either way it is worth every dime and great value for how much you’ll enjoy each bite. For larger groups order six or seven plates to share and you will all leave full and happy. (€€)

Bottom Line: Try Uribou. You will not be disappointed & we guarantee you will return. The green tea tiramisu will most likely change your life.