7/31/13

Barcelona, You Had My Heart Starting with Late Mornings & Romesco

I can't resist taking a portrait with a backdrop like this!

When my husband was offered a chance to teach a two-day workshop at Bau Design College of Barcelona for Typo Week 2013, we knew that we had to go! Fortunately for us, my sister graciously offered to take care of our two children for a week. We set sails for Copenhagen before heading off for five days in Barcelona.

Once he finished teaching, we had a relaxing few days on our second honeymoon (Ok, it's our third since we had gone to Barcelona alone a couple of years prior. Ok, wait, maybe it's our fourth since we did go to Europe for a few weeks before the kids were born, but who is counting?)

We loved the food, soft schedules, relaxed attitude, social life, and walkability of Barcelona (and what to speak of all our friends there!) and fantasized about spending a month or two there with the entire family some day. A girl can dream, right?

I'll be posting a few more Barcelona posts in the next week. In the meantime, take a look at some of the sights and tastes I captured with my trusty Nikon.

Bakeries like these grace almost every corner in the Gothic Quarter. And no, nothing is vegan!

Ken lecturing to a packed house at Bau.

Pan con Tomate at a dinner with friends. So easy and so good! Recipe here.

Escalivada with the world's best romesco sauce.

Thrifting at Mercat Gotic.

Classic.

Beautiful church in the Gothic Quarter that we just happened to wander into.
View of La Sagrada Familia from top of Park Güelle.

Me and some random love birds at Park Güelle.


Chufa Horchata!

Clever street art.

St. Christopher

Tropical!

Pigeons on the edge of our hotel's rooftop endless pool (and yes, yes, yes, I would recommend the Central Grand!) .

7/30/13

Raw Chocolate Orange Truffle Smoothie Recipe (Vegan)

I wasn't planning on making a post for this one, but it's so good, I had to share!


Raw Chocolate Orange Truffle Smoothie Recipe (vegan)

In a blender add:

  • Juice and zest of one orange
  • 2 TB raw cacoa powder
  • 1 and a half frozen bananas
  • 2 pitted dates
  • 1/2 TB raw, organic coconut oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • handful of ice cubes
  • 1/2 cup of ice cold water

Blend until smooth. Serves 1-2.

7/25/13

Avocado, Lettuce & Cabbage Sushi with Sweet & Spicy Peanut Sauce

I know, not technically sushi. 
My lunch today from Whole Foods, and something I will definitely make at home. The simplest recipes and ingredients are always so tasty and I love food that you get to eat with your hands! Did you know that Ayurveda recommends that you do so to aid in digestion? Makes me feel not so bad for not being such a sophisticated European-style knife and fork eater.

I'll get back to posting about my Barcelona trip, in the meantime, follow me on Instagram for more culinary and thrifting delights!

7/22/13

Snapshots of Two and a Half Happy Days in Copenhagen!

Denmark is known for their smart and clever design. This sight greeted us as we exited the plane!

My husband had the opportunity to teach a workshop in Barcelona, and with the alignment of favorable stars, I was able to go with him. We were given a week and my sister would be looking after our children while we were away. Ahhh... second honeymoon! Since we both had been to Barcelona before, we wanted to go somewhere else in Europe that neither one of us had previously visited. Having heard that Denmark was one of the happiest places on earth, it has always been top on my list of places to visit, we set sights for Copenhagen!

Our flight out of Boston left at 4 pm, so by the time we got to the Frankfurt airport--where we had a three-hour layover--it was only 11 pm our time. Not quite ready to fall asleep, we tried to nap in the airport, but that didn't really happen. Only a catnap on the plane to Copenhagen later, we were zombie tourists by the time we boarded the train into the city (Tip: It is only a short and inexpensive train into the center of city. Don't bother with a cab!). By the time we checked into our hotel, I was so drunk with fatigue. Ken tried to guarantee me that if we just. kept. going. it would help us adjust to the jet lag better. Ok. I guess. Can I just take a short nap? Please?

Copenhagen is super bike friendly and the preferred method of transportation. (Look at the back wheel lock!)

In the cloudy, chilly July weather, we set out on foot and did the recommended tourist route, toured churches and old graveyards, and browsed the shops on the car-free Strøget. All the while, amazed by all beautiful (and super tall), happy-looking Danes who were perched high up on bikes zooming to and fro. I certainly felt out of it (I hadn't slept in about 30 hours at that point), so I was quite happy to finally sit down to a vegetarian buffet at Riz Raz, followed by a lazy boat tour from the picturesque Nyhavn that meandered through the port and canals of Copenhagen. Our day was concluded at the free buffet in the hotel (which had enough vegetarian options to piece together a meal). And hey, it was free, and eating out in Copenhagen is extremely expensive, so it was very welcome change.

Oh, and yes! I would totally recommend our hotel, The Clarion Collection, Hotel Mayfair. It was quiet, small, comfy and the staff was very friendly. Rooms are tiny, but what do you need a huge room for? Get outside!

Lunch: A healthy veg buffet at RizRaz



The colorful port of Nyhavn. Once home to surly sailors and now the place for tourists to take pictures like this one!
The next day, the weather was a bit warmer and the skies were clear, so we rented bikes from our hotel and set out. There are dedicated bike lanes with their own traffic signals (not that willy-nilly ride-on-the-sidewalks and against-traffic-style of city riding we are used to here). After we got acquainted ourselves with this orderly system and our self-shifting, step-through bikes (with back-pedal brakes!), we had so a simultaneously relaxing and exciting time seeing the less the touristy areas high up on our bikes with the refreshing wind blowing through our hair (no helmets!).

Our first stop was in Nørrebro for all the wonderful vintage/antique area for treasure-hunting. And, Oh Lord! I was in heaven... but with the high VAT charges, and with only our bikes to carry loot back, I kept my purchases conservative (Cathrineholm! Wiinblad! Royal Copenhagen!).

Armed with a map, we only had a loose plan of where we wanted to go and that is my way of traveling! You get to see how people actually live instead of looking at other tourists taking the same pictures as you. Cruising around on our bikes, we came upon neighborhoods not in guidebooks, talked with many shop owners (everyone speaks excellent, excellent English in Copenhagen and are all really friendly and happy to help), and experienced other joys that you just can't find in a tour group... like finding tofu sandwiches and handmade chocolates!

Nørrebro vintage and antique shop. I could have done some major financial damage here!

Crochet graffiti in Nørrebro in front of graffiti graffiti!
Bike trip lunch: Fried tofu and hummus sandwich share. Next door was a nice health food store too!
Another cute street with vintage goods, near the Kirkegard and Hans Christian Anderson graveyard.
Fuel for biking from Ro Chokolade!
Very unassuming graves for such important figures. Very Danish!
Look at our cute bikes in front of Govinda's! (Notice that each has a seat.)

Govinda's offers mixed vegetarian tali plates at reasonable prices.

We were so happy pedaling around, that we decided to grab some take-out for dinner from Govinda's, and to then make the trek out to Christiania, a hippy area in Copenhagen. Everyone said "Oh, it's so cute, you should go! Alternative lifestyles, free-living, artists! You'll love it!" Well, when we got there,  immediately a bad feeling started creeping up deep down in my gut that something was going to happen. We walked through a park called the "Green Light District." Well, let's just say, weed is not legal in the city, but tolerated in this one section. It looked like a post-apocalyptic refuge camp with people openly selling pot and smoking hash. I thought, "Why on earth are we here? It is so dirty!" Turns out though, this isn't the area of Christiania; we didn't get a chance to see the rest!

My instinct of impending doom was abuzzin', so we went back to check on the bikes. Relieved they were both still where we locked them up, I got ready to get back on the saddle. But! There was no saddle! Someone stole my bike seat! Whaaa? Fortunately, being the gentleman that he is, Mr. Scissors offered to ride back to the hotel (two miles!) without a seat and gave me his to park my tush on. Thank goodness Copenhagen is so flat! (Thanks dear!)

Defeated, we relaxed at the hotel and then headed out to Tivoli Gardens, a charming amusement park and garden for adults and children alike. It's the second oldest amusement park in the world and a must see when you are in Copenhagen. Thankfully, we ended our trip on this happy note. I can't wait to visit again!

Beautiful Tivoli in the early evening.

Cafe in Tivoli. Most outdoor restaurants offer lap blankets to warm up in the chilly air.
Tivoli is so colorful. I geeked out over all the patterns.
So, so absolutely cute.
So much design inspiration in every detail at Tivoli!
Rides!
Glass souvenirs.
Tivoli self portrait!
This picture was taken at about 10 pm. It stayed light out until about 11:30 pm or so.
The color!
Hans Bølling ducks in the gift shop. I could have gone broke in here!
Godnat Tivoli!
Godnat Copenhagen! Tak for being so friendly! Next stop: Barcelona.

7/13/13

I'm Back (Physically, but Not Mentally)

A view of Barcelona from Park Güell
I'm back home! My husband and I just returned from a part work/part pleasure trip to Barcelona and Copenhagen. We had such an incredible time that being home seems a little, almost, oddly disorienting. Traveling is such an addictive pursuit that we are already mapping out future getaways. I'll be back next week with some posts about or travels which will include some recipes inspired by the amazing meals we enjoyed.

Here is little photographic sneak peak of our experience. Can you see why we want to travel more?

Another view of BCN from the endless pool on our hotel's rooftop. That's me in the corner! 
One of our favorite parts of the trip was bicycling through Copenhagen! 
Nyhavn in Copenhagen. Picturesque!