kathryn y trent, los chefs

kathryn y trent, los chefs

My two friends Kathryn & Trent hardly ever cooked in the US, so they took this move abroad as a chance to learn. They’ve been telling Dan and I that they wanted to cook for us ever since the fall, but we finally got around to it last week. They made a delicious baked cod with dill sauce, mashed potatoes and broccoli. Thanks so much for dinner, guys!!

PS. Have you ever seen this one minute brownie? We finished the meal off with it, topped with vanilla ice cream & strawberries.

Advertisements

Leave a comment

May 31, 2012 · 1:40 pm

el fin de semana


This past weekend was absolutely awesome.  Despite the on and off rainy weather, I had an all together great weekend in Madrid.  With only three months left and lots of travel plans between now and the end of August, I’m really trying to take advantage of every moment I have left here.

Friday afternoon I went to lunch with my co-worker Raquel; she lived in Miami for four years so we bonded over that connection to the US instantly.  Since then, we’ve started having English lunches every Friday, where we go out to lunch and only speak in English.  It’s really fun and I’m always happy to help people practice their English!  This week we went to an Italian chain restaurant that’s very popular in Spain, Gino’s.  I had the best pizza ever with roasted eggplant & zucchini, sundried tomatoes, pesto, mozzarella, tomato sauce and goat cheese.  It was so good I talked about it literally all weekend… Jackie thinks that pizza is what gave me all of my energy for the weekend haha.

Friday night we hung out at Lauren’s for a little bit before going to Sol to meet up with the Germans.  Jackie’s sister Bridget was visiting with a friend, so we were hoping we’d find something fun to do!  As soon as we got to the bar, our friends informed us they were leaving to go to a club Gabana, that we can just say is not my favorite.  However, we went anyway, and I had a blast!  I even had to ask Lauren to stay half an hour longer with me, which has never happened!!

After a long, long sleep, I met up with Jackie, Gabby, Bridget & Madison at one of our favorite bar/restaurants, Bar Casa Paco.  We devoured pinchos of a few different types of Spanish tortilla; they serve a million different varieties that are all amazing!  When there was a break in the rain, we headed out to give the visitors a tour of the city.  We went through the normal tour route that we have all perfected by now, but my friend Trent did a great job of mapping out a similar one here if you’d like more details on it!

I took a crazy two hour siesta from 8 – 10 pm when I got home and then woke up and got ready to go out. We went over to an outdoor tent/bar/not sure how to describe it, which has 6€ buckets of 5 beers.  Once they started locking us in, we took cabs back to a bar Gabby’s roommate Ana had told us about that was actually one block from my apartment.  Since it was so close to home, we figured we would give it a try, since none of us were up for going to Kapital, where everyone usually takes their visitors.  This place was so cool!  It’s the sister bar of a pirate bar we went to a few weeks ago for our friend Joe’s birthday, and it was nearly as fun as that one!

After another long, long sleep, Dan and I had delicious homemade egg sandwiches before heading out to an Artisanal Beer and Food Festival in Casa de Campo, the huge park on the west side of the city where the Marathon Expo was.  There are ton of different outdoor areas for expositions it seems, so I’m hoping to find more things like this through out the summer!  We spent a few hours tasting Spanish and International beers, enjoying locally made chorizo on crusty baguettes and soaking up the sun with some of the guys.  I hope everyone enjoyed their weekend as well! Ciao, amores:)

  

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

feliz san isidro

Tuesday was el Día de San Isidro, the patron saint of the city of Madrid, so for the whole first half of the week there were cultural events and parties all over the city.  Since we didn’t have to work on Tuesday, Monday night Dan and I met up with our friend Chrissy from Northeastern and a bunch of her friends for some beers in Sol and then walked over to Retiro to see the fireworks.  They shot them off of the statue on the back on the man made lake (where I rented a boat when my parents came to visit!).  Everything was lit up beautifully, and they even had music to go along with it.  Unfortunately, they only lasted 15 minutes, but it was still a lot of fun, especially since we all sat around in the park for a couple of hours after they ended.  The weather was finally warm and sunny this week, so it was great to finally be outside!

There was a huge festival in the San Isidro park all day on Tuesday, so we headed over there after lunch!  It’s located by the river on the west side of the city, where I haven’t really gotten to explore all that much yet.  It’s so beautiful though and I definitely plan on spending a few days this summer relaxing in the park along the river.  We relaxed in the shade most of the day, drinking ice cold tinto de verano, but as it got later we walked around the rest of the festival where they had carnival games (with a ham leg as the price!), awesome outdoor tent restaurants and lots of pottery and artesanal goods on display.  I also finally got to meet Kathryn’s boyfriend, which I was so excited about, and we hung out for most of the afternoon with them and some other friends too!  Dan and I went out for sushi afterwards and ended the night back at Retiro for the last night of the fireworks.

  

These types of cultural events are the things I always like to explore during our time here in Madrid.  It was really cool to see all of the Madrileños singing and dancing, and so many little boys and girls in the traditional Madrileño dress.  What a great way to spend a day off in the middle of the week!  Hope you guys enjoyed your week & weekend; an update on my weekend coming soon!  Ciao, amores:)

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

un finde rural

Casas colgadas, the San Nicolas bridge, and the newer part of the city

In the fall Dan and I bought a Groupon for a two night stay in a rural bed and breakfast about 45 minutes outside of Cuenca, Spain.  Cuenca was on the list of four or five cities near Madrid that my roommate Eva had given me when I first arrived (by the way, I’ve visited all of them now!).  Being half way between here and Valencia, it was about a two hour drive, so we decided this Groupon would be perfect for devoting a weekend to this small city.

Knowing ourselves, we booked the trip for a few weeks after we had started work with anticipation of how nice a weekend of r&r would feel.  We spent a lot of time driving through the country side of Castilla – La Mancha, the province where Cuenca is located.  It was absolutely gorgeous and full of green rolling hills and steep stone canyons.  It was such a contrast to the landscape of La Rioja, where I was just a few days before, but they were both beautiful in their own ways.

The house we stayed in was really cute and was in a small town that, I kid you not, did not even have a convenience store or a bar.  The owners were so kind, so we decided to take them up on their offer of a barbecue dinner on Saturday night, which was delicious!  Other than that, we enjoyed Castilla – La Mancha delicacies like wild boar, Castillan soup, red wines and manchego cheese.  We also stopped in the adorable bakery Ruiz I had read about on Lonely Planet, but since we couldn’t decide what looked best we got one of everything to share, haha!

  


On Saturday we explored the historic part of Cuenca after lunch at this amazing restaurant, including the Plaza Mayor, Cathedral, quite a few lookouts over the mountains & newer parts of the city, and the casas colgadas.  The casas colgadas or “hanging houses” literally appear to be hanging off of the cliffs on either side of the historic part of Cuenca.  They’re so surreal looking and I’m still confused about how they actually stay up, even after exploring the Spanish Abstract Art Museum, which is actually housed in one of them!


On Sunday, we drove north of Cuenca to see the Ciudad Encantada, or Enchanted City, which is filled with crazy natural rock formations that used to be all covered by water.  It was really awesome, and it felt so great to be outside in the woods, something I really haven’t done since I left the US.  We also stumbled upon quite a few beautiful lookouts on the side of the road into canyons and rivers, which were absolutely stunning.

    

After a delicious lunch in Plaza Mayor (with a few scattered showers here and there to keep it interesting), we headed home.  It was such a relaxing weekend away; I’m so happy we had purchased that Groupon so long ago!  Hope you guys enjoy my photos of the trip.  Ciao, amores:)

1 Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

chicas en la rioja

I’m so sorry I haven’t been posting very often!!  With just a few weeks of work under my belt I have been coming home and passing out very early almost every night.  However, once I get used to the new schedule, I promise I’ll be able to keep up with blogging even better than usual!

To add to the lack of time for blogging, last Tuesday & Wednesday were public holidays here in Madrid.  My four friends and I took these days off as an opportunity to plan a spur of the moment roadtrip to Spanish wine country.  La Rioja is about a three and a half hour drive from Madrid.  We picked up a car Monday afternoon and to our very pleasant surprise were given a white Audi A4 for the price of the four-door automatic car we had rented, since they had all already been picked up.

We stopped in Burgos for a yummy 7 euro dinner of traditional tapas (including blood pudding), red wine, salad & complimentary honey liquor, as well as to check out the famous cathedral there where El Cid is supposedly buried.  After that we headed to a bed & breakfast in Navarette, a small town about 10 kilometers outside of Logroño, the most commonly visited city in the region.

   

We headed over to a bar across the street for breakfast.  A few confusing encounters in bars, a piece of tortilla and a cup of black tea later, and we were on our way. Our first stop was Laguardia, a small town on the top of a hill and also a former fifteenth century fortress.  We enjoyed the beautiful views of the vineyards before settling on our first wine tasting.  We took a tour of a family-owned winery, very typical of the town.  Because Laguardia used to be a fortress, there are small basements in the bottom of nearly every building, which were used to hide food, water, etc. if need be. However, now they are used for wine cellars, wine-making, restaurants, bars or as part of personal homes. We got to see how the Carlos San Pedro Bodega makes their wine and also got to taste a glass before it goes into the final step of its aging in the bottle.  I’m really glad we started our trip at such a small scale winery because it was so cool to see the differences between this and the other ones we got to visit.  After the tasting we enjoyed some Basque Country pinchos before continuing on our way.

       

Next we stopped at Marques de Riscal, a fairly well-known winery in another small town, Elciego.  We took a tour of the new state-of-the-art winery, the older one and the storage rooms.  There were barrels upon barrels of wine, and they even have a huge storage area with bottles that they have saved from every year’s harvest. We also got to see the hotel at the vineyard, which was designed by Frank Gehry, the arquitect that designed the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain.  We enjoyed a glass of red and a glass of white and then headed into Logroño to explore a famous tapas street there, Calle del Laurel.  Each bar had their own specialty, which was the only dish that some of them made, ranging from pineapple shrimp kebabs to sautéed mushrooms.

          

Wednesday morning we woke up bright & early, packed our things and got back in the car to head to a reservation we had made the day before for another tour!  We toured the Dinastia Vivanco Bodega and also checked out the Wine Culture museum, which is supposed to be the most interesting one in the region.  It was really cool to see all different things about the history and culture of wine-making though, and I’m definitely glad that we got to see it.

   

After the Dinastia Vivanco, we started heading home, but stopped in the capital city of the region, Haro, for lunch.  We had heard great things about Haro being a cute and fun small city to visit, but unfortunately it didn’t live up to our expectations.  Our experience wasn’t as crazy as the last stop we made on our way home from Sevilla in December (remember the Trujillo story?), but it certainly made us bring that up again.  We had a delicious menu del dia, but could not even finish a bottle of wine between the five of us, having drank far too many glasses of tastings in the past 48 hours.

{how red, white & rose wines go from grape to bottle}

All in all it was a really great weekend two days off in the middle of the week!  In between stopping at all of the vineyards we had a great time driving around the countryside and listening to awesome cds that Gabby, Lauren & Jackie had made for the trip.  Going to wine country for two days in the middle of the week with four of my best friends is definitely something I am going to miss when I go back home to the US.  Everyone always says that since I’m here, I have to take advantage of all of the cool things to do, but this experience has made me realize that you can do that anywhere… no matter where you’re living!

Hope everything is going great with you all and maybe this will inspire you to go exploring this weekend!  Animo, amores:)

1 Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

corre a ritmo de rock n roll

After the sinus infection I had last week I had actually decided against running the 10k race I had signed up for in December.  I thought I would be too sick, plus I hadn’t been able to train in almost three weeks between Easter vacation and the sickness.  However, all of a sudden on Friday night I just changed my mind.  I figured I might as well just try it, see how it goes, so I did!

Yesterday Dan came with me to the sports Expo in Casa de Campo, a huge park on the west side on Madrid that we’ve really been meaning to check out anyway!  I got a Rock n Roll 10K running shirt, a mug, and a bunch of other random offers when I picked up by bib number.  Then we walked around the Expo, bought some Power bars and enjoyed the 2 euro pasta lunch they had provided.  Last night I went out for a little bit with my friends and Lauren’s parents who had just arrived from the US, but went home early hoping I could fall asleep despite my nerves.  After getting my things together I actually fell asleep very quickly, despite my anxiousness and excitement for the race.

I got to el Parque del Retiro (the other big park we used to go to all the time in the summer) around 7:45am with two friends, and I had plenty of time to check my bags, do a warm up, stretch and prepare myself for the next hour or so of running!  This was my first actual big race, so my nerves were definitely going crazy at this point!

Once I started running though it was so great!  We ran up Paseo de la Castellana to the Real Madrid football stadium and then back to finish in el Retiro; here’s the map!  I finished in just over one hour and one minute, averaging 6:02 minutes/kilometer.  Click here for my full results!  The energy of the race was just pushing me along, especially since there were a few bands playing along the course and lots of cheering by runners and bystanders alike.  I had such a great time, and I definitely plan on running another 10k or maybe a half marathon soon!

I met up with Dan & Gabby around 10:30am after the race (thanks again, guys!!) and then spent the rest of the afternoon at the Templo de Debod, lying in the grass and relaxing with friends.  I feel a lot better than I was expecting, but I will definitely be feeling those 10 kilometers on my commute to work in the morning!  Hope you all enjoyed your Earth Day too!  Ciao, amores:)

1 Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

la primera semana

As many of you know, as part of my study abroad program there is also a working abroad component.  On Monday I started the five-month internship that will be occupying the majority of my time between now and my return to the US.  I’m working at Leroy Merlin España, the Spanish subsidiary of the French version of America’s Home Depot.  I’m working for the Internal Services Management Control Team, which is actually part of the finance department.  This week I am just attending different training seminars of each of the teams in my department to see what exactly they do, but for the remainder of my time here I will be working on a Cost Analysis & Operations Report.  I’m definitely existed to get started on that!  I met all 80 of the members of my department on my first day and after “giving kisses to the entire floor” (as my boss described it), I can hardly remember any of their names.  I’ll be working with a lot of them through out the five months I’m sure, but for now it is certainly nice to see familiar faces around.  I’ll try to keep you guys in the loop with monthly updates about what my job is like!  Hope your week is going well:)

(photo)

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized