Tag Archives: Spanish language

Granada, Spain

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Fun Fact: Granada means “pomegranate” or “grenade” and while I didn’t see either while I was in Granada, it was still quite the adventure. Granada is a hippie central and for that reason I loved it. It reminded me so much of my beach town at home in San Diego. There are many people called “perro-flautas” which are hippie/wanderers that have a dog (perro) and play a flute (flauta). Our teacher flirted with a few of them and bribed them with beer to tour us around the alternative side of Granada.
Darling white washed houses and traditional Spanish roofing tiles abound. The graffiti is colorful and inspiring. The vibe of the city is a positive one and it’s just so sunny! The Alhambra is breathtaking and you’ll wish you could move right into this expansive castle. Plan to spend a lot of time there as the gardens alone can take all day to explore. Granada is easily one of my favorite Spanish cities, you have to visit! 

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Cordoba, Spain

Cordoba is full of history and bursting with the traditional Southern Spanish culture. The Mosque-Cathedral of Cordoba is the main highlight, and for good reason. The combination of Muslim and Christian architecture is gorgeous and tells an amazing history. Cordoba has an unexplainable charm and is a romantic city to explore.  The small idling streets with whitewashed homes are beautiful to explore.  When you visit Spain be sure to take at least a day trip to explore Cordoba.

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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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Pepa Tomate

Pepa Tomate: Plaça Revolució De Setembre De 1868, 17, Barcelona 

Gràcia is one of the most authentic neighborhoods in Barcelona, yet often overlooked by tourists. I highly recommend all visitors to Barcelona explore this maze of a district as each street has something special. Pepa Tomate is a cute tapas place boasts all things “tomato”. Jars of tomatoes and tomato products from all over the world fill the restaurant. Notice the dining table made of a table football game.

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There is even tomato themed artwork on the wall and a giant piece of smashed tomato art on the ceiling. The decoration is cute and the paper placemat menus give the place a relaxed vibe. The “patatas bravas” are made quite differently than the rest of the Barcelona. They are a sweet and onion based tomato sauce, not spicy at all. Definitely order these, the twist on this Barcelona staple is perfectly executed.

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The other must-order is the “Bloody Pepa” drink which is just like a Bloody Mary but more delicious. You can order it with or without alcohol, it’s tasty either way. I also recommend the cheese plate. It’s a rather generous serving especially for Barcelona. I have a deep passion for cheese and the cheese product to money ratio is very important to me. Pepa Tomate’s cheese plate is a bargain and a must-visit. You can leave full for about 20€ per person! 

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El Mirador de la Venta

El Mirador de la Venta:  Plaça Doctor Andreu, Barcelona

This tasty restaurant, La Venta, has serving up tasty Catalan meals since 1975. Their food is never to disappoint, they make the classics perfectly and add a modern twist as well. Mirador means “lookout” as this restaurant is picturesquely placed on Tibidabo’s mountain side. The views from across the road look out over all of Barcelona. This restaurant should be saved for special occasions like birthdays as the bill can quickly round up to 50€ per person.

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For the starters we enjoyed each dish we tried including: fried artichokes, sea urchin, quiche omelette and jamon. Ordering “pan con tomate,” meaning bread smeared with tomato, sprinkled with salt and drowned with olive oil is a must at every restaurant. We especially loved the sea urchin! They remove the insides and add eggs and I suppose flour and some spices and pour it back into the shell and bake it to form a mini wet cake inside the spikey shell. It’s surprisingly delicious!

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The main plates or “segundo platos” were great. The shrimp and veggie tempura is a Barcelona favorite. While I suspect the Catalan people didn’t invent this dish, they love to serve it at traditional places paired with the Catalan romesco sauce. I had a beef stew sort of dish, the meat just fell apart in your mouth, it was a delightful experience. The steak and fish plates were simple and perfectly prepared.

Most importantly, let’s talk about the desserts, or the “postres,” if you will. (Look at you, learning Spanish!) I love apple pie but it’s all too American to be common in Spain. This deconstructed apple pie tart was the next best thing. It had a thin layer of puff pastry as the base and baked apples on top with cinnamon and caramel sauce drizzled for extra pizzazz! The chocolate coulant cake, which is really a chocolate lava cake, was amazing, melty, and decedent. The cute scoop of caramel ice cream was the perfect pairing.  Don’t miss these two desserts when you visit.

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Tortilla de Patatas

A “Tortilla” in North and South America means a flat flour burrito wrap. But in Spain, a tortilla is a fluffy omelette often containing fried potatoes, onions, spinach, eggplant or even fish. The most popular type is made with potatoes but you can add anything you want. They cook them in pans and add a touch of baking powder to the scrambled eggs to make the omelette fluff up. They then slice it like a pie to share or in small squares with toothpicks if it’s for a party. Here’s how you make it!

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  • Wash, dice and fry potatoes with a good amount of olive oil.
  • In a separate bowl whip up 3 or 4 eggs
  • Add salt and pepper to the eggs.
  • Pour eggs over the potatoes and let the bottom cook.
  • Use a plate to help you flip over the entire circular omelette. (it will be messy) You’ll get better with practice. My Spainard prides himself on his “flipping tortilla skills”.
  • Once flipped let it cook a bit more
  • The Spanish prefer the inside to be runny and undercooked, but that’s up to you. (I cook it a lot as I fear for salmonella)

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Study Abroad in Barcelona

Studying Abroad… EVERYONE should do it. Me and my friends chose to go to Barcelona mainly to eat massive amounts of chocolate and churros.

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study abroad easter 2Just think about it: College consists of 8 semesters where more or less the same things happen week after week. So why not take one of those semsters and live with your friends in a foreign country? My friends and I who were “studying” architecture in Barcelona lived in Melon district. This communal style housing was ideal as we shared a kitchen but each had separate rooms. We visited and explored each corner of Barcelona, often with the help of my Spaniard and learned about nightlife, traditions and a little about the Spanish language too. We got to travel to Sevilla, Toledo, Granada and Madrid. Later on to Paris, Berlin, Copenhagen and Amsterdam. Seeing the world with your friends is an experience that everyone deserves.

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Study abroad when you’re in college. Just do it. Who knows, maybe you’ll find the love of your life.

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