Cholula Mexican Restaurant, Shelbyville, Indiana

When you roll something this good, it’s usually illegal…Anonymous burrito shop sign

I was a late-comer to the Mexican or Tex-Mex cuisine, only having the occasional drive-thru taco or just ordering tacos in some of the finest Mexican restaurants of Houston when I lived there. I wish I could go back to my early twenties self and slap him in the face with a seafood enchilada and say, “What is wrong with you?”

Now I love foods from Mexico and whatever Tex-Mex is.

We visited Cholula Mexican Restaurant in Shelbyville, Indiana (now my home) for a Sunday lunch with some family. This was the first visit to this establishment and I loved the festive atmosphere. The menu was filled with dishes I want to try and the staff was very friendly and service-oriented.

Now I don’t mean to sound derogatory to the country of Mexico and its chefs, but I consider the appetizer of chips and salsa the best part of the Mexican eating experience. Let me explain…the salsa can tell me a lot about what is to come and heighten my expectation. Everyone is excited to see the chips and salsa and they usually start digging in and the conversation starts. These chips were warm and crunchy and the salsa was delicious.

I ordered the Burrito California, filled with chicken, beans, rice, sour cream, guacamole, salsa, and cheese. And let me emphasize the cheese here, because there was a lot and if you don’t like melted, gooey, delicious cheese, I suggest you look elsewhere on the menu. I loved this burrito.

Everyone at the table loved their food and I will be back.

I highly recommend the California Burrito at Cholula’s.

The colorful, festive decor set the tone for an enjoyable meal.

I will compliment the chefs at Cholula, hopefully…”¡Qué rica comida”.

Voy a volver (I will return).

ODE TO THE INSALATA CAPRESE

Twas on the isle of Capri that I found her, beneath the shade of an old walnut tree—Jimmy Kennedy from Isle of Capri,1934

Nothing embodies summer for the tummer (sorry I was in a lyricist frame of mind) like the Caprese Salad.

My first sign of summer in eastern Kentucky was not the oppressive heat, or the air that felt like you were wearing a wet dog, or the flowers blooming in everyone’s small gardens, or the neat rows of tobacco in the field…it was the first bite of the “garden tomato”. Nothing tastes as good as the tomatoes grown in an eastern Kentucky garden.

Now I know some may take issue with this last statement, especially the good folks I have met here in my new home in southeastern Indiana, for the tomatoes are very tasty here also. And those who grow tomatoes in southern Italy, but c’mon will any of them actually read this blog?

In the hills and hollers of eastern Kentucky, the first tomatoes were usually eaten on a bologna sandwich, or just on a plate with salt and pepper, or as my dad would just make a tomato sandwich with mayo. But for me, it’s the celebration of the first locally grown tomatoes in a Caprese Salad.

This wonderful, simple salad is believed to have originated on the beautiful island of Capri, off the Amalfi coast in southern Italy. It is probably the closest most of us will ever get to this heavenly place and as far as the taste buds are concerned that is ok.

The salad is traditionally made with only five ingredients…tomatoes, mozzarella, basil, salt, and olive oil. Thankfully it can still be called a Caprese salad with variations of ingredients. I usually add olives, sometimes cucumbers and onions. I usually top it with red wine vine or balsamic vinegar mixed with the olive oil and add pepper. I hope the Italian chefs don’t take issue with my liberties for it still has the red, green, and white colors of the Italian flag (well, other than the balsamic and kalamata olives and occasionally the purple onions and yellow tomatoes I will use).

I know this last salad is pushing the Italian envelope here with the hard boiled egg, so if you see “insalata caprese con uovo sodo” on the menu when you are in Capri, just remember where you saw it first.

Eating in Milan and Lake Como, Delizioso

L’Appetito Vien Mangiando!—Italian phrase

The above phrase basically means “appetite comes with eating” or explained, as people always want more than they already have.

This is Big Surf Daddy in a nutshell. I am always planning the next trip when I am on a trip. I think about the next meal while I am eating a meal. I’m not proud of this trait and it drives Mrs. Big Surf absolutely batty.

In Italy, I can’t wait to eat. I am always thinking about the next thing to eat or drink, while I am already eating or drinking something. Of course in Italy it is easy to do. My thoughts are constantly swimming in pasta, sauce, gelato, cheese, wine, coffee, pastries, and pizza.

As some of you know, who read this blog, we travel a lot with our family and that includes small grandchildren, five to be exact (6 yrs old and younger). Eating with this group takes more planning than the D-Day invasion and also the ability to bob-and-weave like being in the ring with Ali.

As you could imagine, the food on our recent trip to Milan and Lake Como was delicious and easier than I thought it would be.

Beginning with the best food for children…GELATO!!

This was a great spot for gelato, Dulcis In Fundo Gelateria on Piazza Garibaldi in the beautiful Lake Como town of Menaggio. I recommend the limone (lemon).

The Gelato Fatto Con Amore, near the Cadorna train station was a big hit with all of us. I thought the name was a subliminal message to us Americans, but actually it means “made with love”. I could taste the love. The lead photo is the gelato bar in this gelateria.

At Gelato Fatto Con Amore, you get a piece of waffle cone with your cup, so innovative.

Venchi is a really nice gelateria, chocolateria, coffee cafe, and crepe-ateria. This is a large chain with quite a few locations in Milan. We had wonderful gelato here one day and breakfast crepes the next morning along with wonderful coffee.

This crepe with chocolate sauce was so good at Venchi.

The coffee at Venchi was very good and notice the little square of dark chocolate served with the coffee, a nice touch.

Ok, the last image of gelato (because it is causing a great yearning for me to return to Italy). This lovely treat was from Veranda Beach in Calozzo on Lake Como.

A big part of eating in Italy for me is the quick bites that you can take away and eat on the piazzas. We found this at Panzerotti Luini, a small cafe about a block away from the Duomo in Milan.

At Luini’s you get the panzerotto. This simple Milan tradition is made from flour, cheese, and tomatoes. It costs about 2.70 Euro and it may have been the best thing I ate all week. Mrs. Big Surf and I took ours to the steps of the Duomo and ate while watching the activity in the piazza. I advise you to do the same. You can also get a glass of red wine at a vendor in the piazza. We complimented our panzerotto with one of those.

Miscusi served a wonderful pasta dish called Paccheri Tricolore. While we were debating about going in, a very nice young local couple convinced us to eat here. It was their go-to pasta and I must say it was a good piece of advice.

We had a simple lunch at La Marmora. We noticed a lot of young people eating here after school. Normally this would not be the information I would use to choose a cafe, but this is Italy and young people evidently like good food in Italy.

This panini sandwich was Italian bologna and cheese. It was so wonderful. I would put it right up there with Kentucky bologna. The Missus had a pizza panini and it also was very good.

This small pizzeria was located across the street from our AirBnB apartment in Milan. I hadn’t planned on ordering from here and that would have been a big mistake. We were only Milan for two nights and our other family got in later on the last night, so we had to decide what to eat with the kids, so pizza it was. Johnny Takeue was a great place for carry-out pizza. It was the best pizza I had this trip.

With this pizza oven at Johnny Takeue you know it had to be good.

On to Lake Como…

We had two wonderful evening meals and a really nice lunch. Our breakfasts consisted of walking to town and getting some breads, cheeses, and pastries.

Since Signore Clooney and his lovely wife did not invite us to dinner, we were on our own.

Our best meal on Lake Como was at La Baia Ristorante in Cremia. In addition to wonderful food and a lakefront setting, they went out of their way to accommodate our large group with our small children and made us feel welcome.

Risotto is a traditional dish in Milan and Lake Como. This dish, called Persicotto, served at La Baia Ristorante, with lightly-breaded, fried lake perch was so good. It was the best meal I had on the trip.

The lovely blue-eyed darlin’ went with another risotto dish, served with pesto and a creamy cheese with red prawn carpaccio. This is their best selling dish and I could see why…so good.

This plate of small lake fishes was gathered from some of our parties seafood dishes and eaten like fries. I loved them, some of us weren’t so sure…couldn’t get past the heads.

This beautiful restaurant is called Veranda Beach in Calozzo. It was mentioned earlier as a place to get gelato. We came back later for our evening meal. It is a lovely restaurant on the lake, with an Italian menu and operated by a very charming lady.

Quite the ambience at Veranda Beach.

This take on a caprese salad with burrata cheese was the star of the meal, we all had some of this.

Our last meal on Lake Como was at the Grand Hotel Menaggio, a beautiful old hotel on the lake. Most of us had the spaghetti, a truly wonderful dish and one of us had the Insalata Nizzarda, a salad with anchovies and tuna.

This was our lake view for lunch on the patio at the Grand Hotel Menaggio.

Spaghetti at the Grand Hotel Menaggio was a dish of comfort.

The Insalata Nizzarda tasted as wonderful as it appeared on the plate.

We had to fly out of Milan back to the US. We had to have a negative Covid test to get back into the states, so it was easier to stay at the Sheraton Hotel at the Milan Malpensa airport. This turned out to be a good thing. The kids and adults got to swim and we had a lovely meal at the hotel restaurant, IL Canneto.

I had the salmon poke bowl, a delicious choice.

Mrs. Big Surf was presented with a lovely leek soup. She felt the presentation was better than the flavor.

It was a whirlwind trip for us, not much planning since we didn’t decide to go till about a two weeks before departure to meet the rest our family. I left everything up to the next generation and they didn’t disappoint us.

Until next time, buon appetito.

Maui…Wowie! (part 1)Food !

I believe Hawaii is the most precious jewel in the world—Don Ho

With my apologies to Chuck Mangione, the title of this blog was how Mrs. Big Surf and I felt the whole week we were in Maui.

This blog is about the food we ate in Maui, other blogs to follow will entail the rest of our trip because with me the food is the most important part of the trip.

I’m sorry, but this blog is lengthy because I eat a lot. And since Hawaii was still in the throes of Covid protection, most of our food was take-out and styrofoam and plastic doesn’t photograph as well as fine china.

Now realize I researched many restaurants on all parts of the island and was ready to put my eating plan in action on the first day. So no matter where we were on Maui, I had multiple restaurants on my radar. Until we discovered….FOOD TRUCKS!!!!

We did sit down in a few restaurants, but due to Covid, if you needed reservations, some were hard to come by. Also I discovered the Maui sunset from our patio on the beach. So whenever a restaurant was marketing their sunset view, and somewhat elevated prices, and the wait for reservations, the option of a delicious meal from one of these food trucks looked a lot better. We just took the food back to our patio for our own private table to view a sunset like the one in the above photo, taken from our patio on Sugar Beach.

Day one started with an early breakfast pick up from Sugar Beach Bake Shop in Kihei. They have incredible malasadas, a Portuguese fried dough. Think of a solid cream-filled doughnut. We had these every morning. I also picked up some good coffee at the Java Cafe in the Azeka Mall in Kihei.

These malasadas were simple and delicious.

We had an early lunch from the OAO Sushi Go food truck. We had the Hawaiian Poke Bowl, the best thing we ate all week. We enjoyed this dish so much, we went back two more times for the poke bowl. We also got some wonderful sushi here during our last day, the Black Mamba roll…so good.

This Hawaiian Poke Bowl from OAO Sushi Go was the best thing we ate all week.

This Black Mamba sushi roll from OAO Sushi Go was really, really good.

We had a late lunch or an early dinner in Kahului. We stopped for carry out at Tin Roof, operated by Top Chef finalist, Sheldon Simeon. This was great food for a picnic at beautiful Ka’a Point on the north shore and a great starting point for our sunset viewing trip up to Hakalekulae Crater.

This pork belly was such a good dish, pork belly Kao Kao tin, from Tin Roof.

The Missus allowed me one of her pork belly spice wraps from Tin Roof. I was glad she did.

Day two in Maui started with another visit to a food truck, this time for coffee. Kraken Coffee served very good coffee for me and decaf for Mrs. Big Surf, this was a common stop for coffee.

After watching whales all morning and sitting on the beach, we worked up another appetite and decided to visit another food truck and eat in the setting provided for the food trucks behind the Azeka Shopping Center.

We had lunch at Vidad Local Kine Grindz food truck. We split an order of very tasty fried calamari and dry main noodles with braised short rib and had a ginger lemonade. Grindz is a local word for food.

The fried calamari and dry main noodles with braised short rib was a really nice lunch from Vidad’s.

Earlier in the morning, I stopped at Maui Farmer’s Market in Kihei and picked up some fruit, pineapple jam, and great homemade guacomole.

We couldn’t pull ourselves away from the beach and watching the whales and the sunset so we had an evening sunset meal of assorted goodies from the purchases of the day.

The Farmer’s Market Maui in Kihei had wonderful fresh fruit and very good homemade guacomole.

On day three, we went to Lahaina for a whale watching tour and had a great time. Afterward we stopped in Lahaina for lunch at Down the Hatch. Mrs. Big Surf enjoyed her fish tacos and I had a delicious local fish and fries. Very good lunch in a busy tourist town, but was really good.

On the way back to our condo in Kihei, we stopped for some fresh homemade pies at Leoda’s. This was a great idea. The pies were a delight, especially the key lime.

Fish tacos from Down the Hatch is a good choice.

If you are in the mood for some fried fish, I recommend the fresh fried fish and fries from Down the Hatch.

Satisfy your sweet tooth for some of Leoda’s homemade pies, these were coconut cream and key lime.

I highly recommend a stop at Leoda’s outside of Lahaina on the way to Kihei.

Lunch on day four was at a local favorite in Kihei, Nalu’s South Shore Grill in the Azeka shopping center. It was a good lunch menu, however Mrs. Big Surf called an audible and went for the late breakfast since she could not pass up the banana pancakes and I must say they were impressive. Big Surf on the other hand went for the raw salad to show his sensitive side.

These banana pancakes at Nalu’s were special.

The raw salad at Nalu’s is beautiful and great for a light lunch.

After snorkeling at beautiful Wakapu Beach in Wailea, we stopped for some take-out from highly recommended Paia Fish Market. We split an order of seafood pasta and clam chowder and headed back to the our patio for another Maui sunset.

This seafood pasta from Paia’s Fish Market is so good and was big enough to split for two people. The clam chowder was also delicious.

On day five of our week in Maui, we traveled north and hiked to Twin Falls. On the way back we found a roadside fruit stand and a huli huli chicken stand beside each other. The fruit and the fruit juices were so good and fresh.

Huli huli chicken is a Maui staple, often seen at roadside stands, if you are able to get some, by all means eat some of this. We love to sample local delicacies and traditional food when we travel and huli huli chicken is one of those traditions.

This lovely fruit stand outside of Paia was a great place to find fresh fruits and juices and the bonus was the huli huli chicken.

After consuming guava jelly most of my adult life, this was the first time I had ever seen fresh guavas in the wild. Now I understand my love of guava jelly.

Star fruit and passion fruit from our stop at the roadside fruit stand.

More fruit from our fruit stand purchases, mangoes and guavas. The pineapple and orange we got at the local grocery store. Don’t judge, the pineapples were local, fresh and cheap. We ate pineapple every day for breakfast.

We saved the huli huli chicken for a sunset dinner and stopped at the food trucks in Kahului for lunch. We settled on Aloha Thai Fusion. The missus ordered garlic shrimp and I ordered the Thai drunken noodles. We took back it back to our condo to consume. For some reason, I was given cashew chicken instead of the drunken noodles, but it was a very good mistake.

Though I was disappointed to not have the drunken noodles, the cashew chicken was delicious and also the garlic shrimp was scrumptious from Aloha Thai Fusion.

Day six was our last day in Maui and we finally got some Hawaiian shaved ice from Ululani’s.

Most of the blogs recommended Ululani’s for shaved ice and I have to agree. This is so refreshing and large enough that Mrs. Big Surf and I shared.

Our last meal was at Dinah’s sandwich shop at the Sugar Beach Resort. We didn’t feel like going anywhere, just wanted to stay on the beach and watch another sunset. We ordered a saimin, a traditional Hawaiian soup. I highly recommend this tasty Hawaiian staple for at least one meal while on Maui.

Dinah’s Sandwich Shop served a wonderful bowl of saimin.

Though most people don’t go to Maui for the food, you could. If you enjoy food as much as I, you can’t go wrong on Maui. This is a sample of a week’s worth of good food, not fine dining, but relatively inexpensive fare to enhance our week on Maui and I was not disappointed in any meal I was served. Part two of Maui…Wowie will be about all the other stuff we did on Maui.

Aloha and e hau’oli i kau mea’ai (bon appetit).

Turkish-Style Poached Eggs with Brown Butter Garlic Chips

Today’s egg is better than tomorrow’s hen—Turkish proverb

Sometimes I come across a dish that I just have to savor. And savor can be eating slowly, but that is never going to happen. So in this case savor is writing about it as soon as I can and keeping its memory alive amongst my hordes of readers.

This Turkish-Style egg dish is one of those meals I couldn’t get enough of. This isn’t your grandma’s or your ma’s Saturday breakfast meal to eat in a rush to begin your day. (Though it could be). My history of breakfast foods did not include these assorted tastes for my morning start-the-day. Yogurt, garlic, chili pepper, and smoked paprika give this dish a wonderful savory taste. But no worries for all you breakfast purists, there are still eggs and bites of toast and salt and butter.

This recipe came from Bon Appetite. I did not have any fresh herbs for garnish as there is a wind-chill of two degrees today and a run to the store was not an option, otherwise the recipe was followed to the letter and was so very good.

So for all of you who wonder what the Turks eat for breakfast, one more mystery solved. You’re welcome.

Big Surf’s Breakfast Bowl

Instead of thinking outside the box, get rid of the box–Deepak Chopra

Here in the Appalachians, when it comes to take out outside the box, most of us would rather eat in the box.

We eastern Kentuckians are very particular about what we eat for breakfast. If we get anything other than biscuits and gravy, eggs and bacon, or sausage, or pancakes, or waffles, or cereal…well that just puts us in a tizzy of epic proportions. In the historical context, we have just recently embraced bagels and yogurt to our start to the day.

So for me to eat a breakfast bowl that is not filled with the above mentioned ingredients was akin to dining al fresco outside the comfortable inside dining area of the box.

Saturdays are the days Big Surf goes aforagin’ through the fridge in search of ingredients to create a magical start to the day for the blue-eye darlin’. Now some of these mornings are more poof than PRESTO! However this one was quite a PRESTO! We loved it.

I sautéed some onions, Brussel sprouts (yes that’s right, so when the hairs on the back of your neck come back down hear me out), mushrooms, pork steak leftovers, and spinach. I added to the sautéed veggies salt, pepper, and Everything but the Bagel.

After the saute’, I topped with tomatoes, avocado and a fried egg. I’m sure you could add your favorite shredded cheese and I was going to add some cheddar, but honestly I forgot. I guess I was too focused on “OH MY GOSH! I’VE JUST DECIDED TO EAT BRUSSEL SPROUTS FOR BREAKFAST!”

In the end, it was tasty, healthy, and Mrs. Big Surf’s blue eyes were still sparkling.

Mokka and the Sunset Bar and Grill in Newport, KY

Goetta is somewhat of a mystery—Paul Tenkotee

Somedays turn into wonderful days when you aren’t expecting it, when the Almighty Creator gives us a glimpse of His Mercy in the midst of chaos and angst.

Today was one of those days and it came as a revelation to me at Mokka in Newport, KY on a revitalized Monmouth Street across the Ohio River from Cincinnati, over a delicious goetta frittata.

Let’s go back a few days. Cue the harp glissando…

Mrs. Big Surf and I have been in the midst of selling a house in one state and remodeling a house in another state. I am counting down to retirement, she will begin a new job. We have just been through losing parents, cleaning out houses of memories, trying to get someone to take over my business, and just recently dealing with a beloved family member going through a medical crisis, which brought us unexpectedly to Cincinnati.

My lovely missus spent a sleepless night to be with this loved one in a busy hospital room. We were both exhausted from the previous weeks, she much more than I.

We left the hospital late in the morning to eat breakfast before heading out on the two and a half hour drive home. We settled in a booth in the above mentioned Mokka in Newport.

We started with a spicy Newport Bloody Mary for me and a raspberry Mimosa for the sleep-deprived darlin’. Now I don’t advocate any alcoholic beverage before noon but we were celebrating the incredible answered prayers on behalf of our loved one and her improved condition overnight.

Our meal was so good.

The goetta frittata was just what I needed. She had a platter of French toast topped with creme brûlée cream, a biscuit and gravy, and cheesy scrambled eggs, and to my surprise she consumed it all…who’s the big girl?!

Now I realize most folks who aren’t from the Cincinnati/Northern KY area haven’t a clue about goetta.

Goetta came from peasant German immigrants who settled in Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky. It was a way to make meat, usually pork sausage, last longer by mixing it with oats, onion, and spices. It is cooked and dried and formed into a loaf for slicing. It has the consistency of sausage and is usually fried crispy.

This morning as I sat in that charming cafe, across from my lovely wife of 36 years, both of us in the same clothes we put on yesterday, neither one of us had showered, me unshaven, and her without makeup, I knew what Sheldon Cooper meant when he said,”The Germans are such a comforting people.”

This spicy Newport Bloody Mary is one of the best I have ever had.

This plate of a Goetta Frittata with breakfast potatoes reminded me of the comforting pleasures God allows on this earth.

Mrs. Big Surf in a rare eating frenzy consumed this plate of delicious breakfasness.

Garden Tomato Pasta Sauce

Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.—Miles Kington

It was a perfect storm, a garden tomato deluge…

I was experiencing a minor horticultural miracle of some sort as my tomato plants were actually producing this year. I had just picked some beautiful tomatoes when my cousin brought me a bucket of their beautiful tomatoes that I had requested and then I saw my neighbor bringing me some of his beautiful tomatoes. This took place in a span of about fifteen minutes.

It was a lycopene squall !!!

The dilemma now at hand was how to use all of these “love apples” and not waste any of them. I gave some to a friend of mine who I am always indebted to for his many acts of kindness because free garden tomatoes covers a myriad of paybacks.

Next I used one whole tomato in a blender with hot sauce, Worchester sauce, salt, pepper, and lime juice to create a mix for a Bloody Mary so I could ponder what to do with the rest of these lovely things.

I decided to make a tomato pasta sauce so I could use up four of the tomatoes and searched online for a good sauce. I settled on Chef Ray McVinnie’s sauce I found on YouTube, https://youtu.be/ctRo3pmFaKQ.

I was shocked at how much olive oil was used. But it was delicious. As I said I used four medium to large tomatoes and followed his recipe pretty close.

Since this sauce was made, I have also eaten about two tomatoes a day. Now I am ready for more. So if anyone has fresh tomatoes, my acidic levels have neutralized in my body, so I can introduce more acid into my innards. VIVA IL POMODORO!!!

Eating in Barcelona

IMG_0881 2

 

Estava bonissim!!

 

The above phrase is Catalan that translates to “that was delicious”.

This would have been an oft repeated phrase while we were in Barcelona, if I would have known it then.

My family and I recently visited Barcelona in January, six adults and four children under four.  Now some people would admire our courage and fortitude to attempt this traveling high wire act without a net, others would call it lunacy. When you have grandchildren that live in a foreign country, you do what you can to see them.  We were able to meet them for a week in Barcelona and it was wonderful.

Now I don’t have to tell those of you with small children and grandchildren that eating with a large group with four small children is a challenge at home, much less in a large restaurant, and even more in a small European cafe.  Just trying to find places to store the strollers is hard enough.  We had a double stroller, about the size of some European cars, that was like parallel parking a car between two cramped tables. The Barcelonans, to their credit, were very nice about it in the restaurants and went out of their way to accommodate us.

But, be that as it may, this blog is about the food we ate in Barcelona.  We were not able to eat a lot of meals together as you can imagine. Most meals we carried into our rental house in El Masnou, a beach town outside of Barcelona (that will be another blog). However, the food we ate in Barcelona was so good.

Our first meal was in the morning after we all met in the Eixample neighborhood of Barcelona.  We found chocolate croissants and coffee at Forn de Sant Jaume.

IMG_0671 2

Forn de Sant Jaume in Eixample.

IMG_0670 2

IMG_0673 2

IMG_0674 2

We loved the chocolate croissants and coffee at Forn de Sant Jaume.

 

Our only meal in the evening was at Set de Born. We rode the train into Barcelona and walked through the El Born neighborhood and found Set de Born.  This was a very good choice. We ate too early in the evening for the Barcelonans so we had the restaurant to ourselves and the staff was very accepting of our group. This was the one meal the little ones weren’t on top of their table manners, just on top of the table. Nonetheless, the staff was very kind and patient and we appreciated that.

IMG_0766 2

I loved the intimate setting of Set de Born, tucked into a narrow street in El Born.

IMG_0771 2

We started with some marinated olives…very, very good.

IMG_0772 2

I loved the anchovies on tomato at Set de Born.

IMG_0774 2

The meat plate with homemade sausages and Iberian ham was the hit of the meal, with very good reason.

IMG_0777 2

This is how our typical table looked in Barcelona, lots of food to choose from. The cheese plate was delicious, so was the tomato bread, and the goat cheese salad.

 

We visited the Santa Caterina Market two times. I got some more marinated olives that were a treat while walking the streets of Barcelona.

IMG_1218 2

I highly advise a foray into the many booths and stalls of this market.  It can be overwhelming, but keep in mind, there are no bad choices in here.

IMG_0825 2

The shaved ham cone was a big hit in our group, one of our purchases in the Santa Caterina Market. Why are there not any of these in the U.S.?

 

A highlight of our eating experience in Barcelona was churros!!!  I can’t express how good this treat is.  Our churro consumption was in Churreria Laietana in El Born. I don’t have any way to compare churros, but I do know this, these would be hard to beat.

IMG_1202 2

This lady that served up churros at Churreria Laietana was very impressive.  She could handle English and Spanish with ease, in a very busy and chaotic setting, while handing out little plates of love, all the while with a smile on her face.  I think she was also doing air traffic control in the back.

IMG_1203 2

CHURROS! CHURROS! CHURROS!  at Churreria Laietana

 

Our last meal together in Barcelona was a real treat. We had an afternoon meal at

El Quatre Gats (the Four Cats), one of the more famous restaurants in Barcelona.  It has a lot of history and is noted for being one of the hangouts of Picasso in his younger days.  It is located in the Barri Gotic  (Gothic quarter of Barcelona). I enjoyed this meal most of all.  The children were well-behaved and the staff was so nice and agreeable to our wishes.  Again, we ate at an earlier time than most of the Barcelonans, so it wasn’t very crowded.  This was a good plan on our part so as not to be too disruptive.  I think this is my best advice with those traveling with small children in Barcelona, eat early so as not to find the restaurants and cafes too crowded.  Keep in mind that a lot of restaurants in Barcelona do not even start serving food in the evening till about 8:00 PM.

IMG_1293 2

The 4 Cats entrance is inviting.

IMG_1275 2

The classic look of the historic 4 Cats.

IMG_1282 2

Just chunks of parmesan cheese to nibble on before the meal at 4Cats. Why don’t we ever think of these things?

IMG_1284 2

Tomato bread is a favorite tapas dish in Barcelona.  We ordered it everywhere we ate. I think the best I had was at 4Cats.

IMG_1288 2

The prettiest dish we ate all week was the roasted eggplant at 4Cats. It was as delicious as it was beautiful.

IMG_1291 2

These pork cannellonis were really good at 4Cats.

IMG_1292 2

One of my favorite dishes of the week…seafood rice at 4Cats.

 

If you are in these areas of Barcelona, I would highly recommend these eating establishments.

Barcelona, estava bonissim!

 

 

 

 

Louisville, KY (Another Eating Weekend)

IMG_7093 2

 

I never met a Kentuckian who wasn’t either thinking about going home or actually going home.— A.B. (Happy) Chandler

 

We all have fantasies.

My latest fantasy is to be able to eat three meals a day in Louisville, KY until I go through the entire menu of Louisville restaurants, which of last count has over 2,500 of them. This should take me about three years taking into consideration I may have to leave to go see grandchildren.

Bon Appetite magazine has called Louisville,”One of the best foodie small towns in America.”  Now to  me, coming from a small town of about 2,000, Louisville is a big city.  However I am not going quibble over a few hundred thousand residents at this time. My goal is to tell you about some good food in Louisville. You can find a previous blog written, by yours truly last year, about another eatin’ weekend in Louisville.

Our strategy this particular weekend was to pick restaurants that we had not visited in past trips to Louisville.  Believe me this was no easy task, because we have loved a lot of restaurants in this city that were hard to pass up.

Our first stop was lunch on a Friday afternoon, a very interesting choice, if only for the name alone…Mussel and Burger Bar .  Guess what?  We had mussels and a burger.

IMG_7094 2

The seafood burger at Mussel and Burger Bar was tremendous.

IMG_7093 2

This was one of the best mussel dishes I have eaten.

 

The next meal was our evening meal. We met some cousins at Havana Rumba in the Highlands, one of three restaurants of the same name in Louisville.

IMG_7096 2

This seafood stew, served with fried plantains and rice and beans was so tasty.  It was a chef’s special that night, along with shrimp ceviche that was very enjoyable.

 

On Saturday, we ventured out for some Vietnamese pho.  We found Pho Phi in St. Matthews. I love pho.  Mrs. Big Surf allows me to have this one food romance.  She tolerates it and actually likes it well enough to eat with me when I have a cravin’.

IMG_7100 2

Pho at Pho Phi satiated my pho yearnings.

 

Our evening meal on Saturday night was very special.  We dined outside at Couvillion, (pronounced  coo-ve-ohn).  Couvillion has a Cajun menu that was hard to work our way through, meaning we had a hard time making a decision about what to eat.  It all looked and sounded really good.

IMG_7107 2

At Couvillion, we began with roasted cauliflower, described in the menu as “slathered with cajun mustard vinaigrette” with capers and chili flakes.  This was the best tasting dish of the weekend.

IMG_7109 2

Mrs. Big Surf ordered the duck creole with ricotta dumplings.  This was so savory and delicious, I almost put my face in and bobbed for the dumplings.

IMG_7108 2.

I had the catfish couvillion, which is a rich, red fish stew usually with catfish. It was also very good.

 

 

We had one more meal in Louisville, breakfast on Sunday morning, before heading up to Indiana to babysit grandchildren.  A friend of mine had read about, and urged us to visit  Biscuit Belly

I read about this new spot downtown and realized we could be standing in line outside.  We must have timed it right. There was a short line inside that moved quickly. However, by the time we left it was stretched outside.

IMG_7123 2

We had the fried chicken with gravy and cheese biscuit.  I see why there is a line outside.  We were more than happy when we left.

 

My advise to anyone looking for some really good food, go to Louisville, KY and feed your belly as they say at Biscuit Belly.

IMG_7119 2