Five Things I Learned While Eating My Way Through Spain

In 2016, I finally took my taste buds to the Eastern Hemisphere for the first time.  This chic travelled solo to Spain.  While in Spain, I visited 4 cities (Madrid, Barcellona, Valencia, Seville) and had a ball.  Spain is beautiful.  The people are amazing.  And the food is even more amazing.  While eating my way through Spain, this is what I learned:

  1. ‘Menú del día’ is a wonderful thing.  Menú del día means menu of the day.  Monday through Friday restaurants will serve a three course meal (includes bread & your choice of beverage for one price for lunch.  The choice of dishes are prepared with thought & precision.  And the  portion sizes are hearty since lunch is typically the largest meal eaten in Spain.  I found these meals my most enjoyable.  Below are pics from my menú del día at Toro Tapas in Madrid.
    Vegetable & Potato Salad topped with Tuna
    Grouper Fish in Green Sauce with Clams

    Apple Pie
  2. A spanish tortilla in Spain has a different meaning.  Spanish tortilla in Spain is different than the tortilla made for tacos.  If you see ‘Spanish Tortilla’ on the menu, this is a dish made with eggs, onions, and potatoes.  I ate spanish tortillas almost every morning for breakfast at my hotel.
  3. Food tastes fresher.  It is what is.  Potato chips from a corner store tasted as if they were made with ONLY potatoes fried in oil with minimal salt without any extra added preservatives.

    My Chip Fix
  4. Siesta is a ‘real’ thing.  Pay attention to the hours of operation for restaurants, shops, & other businesses you would like to visit.   Some places are closed for 2 to 3 hours before they reopen during siesta.  Side Note: You might want to carry a few snacks in your bag to tide you over until you can find somewhere to get a meal.
  5. Sometimes the best made plans occur when there is a change in plans. Piggybacking on lesson 4, I had 1 restaurant picked out.  I had studied the menu; but I failed to check the hours of operation.  Good thing that they were closed or else I would not have found a  vegetarian restaurant, El Estragón Vegetarano in Madrid.  And of course, I ordered the menú del día 😉
    Salad with Feta Cheese
    Broccoli Burger with Trimmings

    Vanilla Custard topped with Chocolate

This was only a snippet of what I ate while in Spain.  And yes, I ate tapas & drank wine while in Spain.  But I will save that for another post.

I am looking forward to returning to Spain.  But in the meantime there are a ton of other places I must cross off the Dish Destination list first 😉

It’s Not Goodbye. It’s Hello.

I missed soooooooo many holidays. I missed soooooooo many possible posts. This chick was busy making some changes before 2016.

I know July was my last post; but I was busy saying, ‘Until we meet again’, to my favorite city, Chicago. I traded pizza, lemon pepper wings, and State Street for clam chowder, sourdough bread, and Market Street. I moved to East Bay area of California.

When I settled in the Bay Area, I had felt the need to visit Brown Sugar Kitchen, located on Oakland’s Westside.

Brown Sugar Kitchen
Brown Sugar Kitchen

Each time I visited Brown Sugar Kitchen there was a wait. And honestly, the food was well worth the wait. Chef Tanya Holland’s soul food creations will make your taste buds happy. My favorite item on the menu is the Cornmeal Waffle. The light and airy waffle served with brown sugar butter & apple cider syrup truly dissolves in your mouth with minimum effort.

Chicken & Waffles
Chicken & Waffles

Check out Brown Sugar Kitchen’s website for the hours & location. I have added a few pictures detailing my taste excursion.

Chai Tea Latte
Chai Tea Latte
Brown Sugar Kitchen
2 Eggs, Chicken Sausage, Toast, & Breakfast Potatoes
Breakfast Potatoes
Breakfast Potatoes
Brown Sugar Pop Tarts
Brown Sugar Pop Tarts

Tasting My Way Through Atlanta

For my pre-birthday celebration, I decided to take a quick trip to Atlanta. It has been 4 years since I visited the city where I lived for at least 9 years. I had been searching the Web and discovered the Atlanta food scene had changed in the time that I had been away. And let’s just say that the change was for the better.

My first stop was to a buffet with great tasting food and awesome service. For the low price of $10 (excluding gratuity/tip) you can enjoy all you can eat soul food at Murrell’s Café located at Interdenominational Theological Center in the historically black college district of the West End community.

Murrell's Cafe
Collard Greens, Dressing, Macaroni & Cheese, Cornbread from Murrell’s Cafe

Later that night I decided to have a night cap at my old stompng ground, Café Intermezzo located on Peachtree Street in Atlanta’s Midtown neighborhood. The peach martini hit the spot.

Café Intermezzo
Peach Martini @ Café Intermezzo

The next morning in the middle of a 3 mile walk I stumbled across Sublime Doughnuts. Located in Atlanta’s Home Park neighborhood just west of the Midtown community, do not be surprised if the line is outside the door

Sublime Doughnuts
Fresh Strawberry N Cream Doughnut @ Sublime Doughnuts
Sublime Doughnuts
Orange Dream Star Doughnut @ Sublime Doughnuts

I am happy that I didn’t eat a huge breakfast. I had to save room for the Taste of Atlanta. Yes, Atlanta has their own Taste. It was one enjoyable food experience. I purchased a ticket for the VIP Experience so there were additional benefits including the standard benefits of this amazing festival.

Taste of Atlanta
A Few Tastes @ the Taste of Atlanta

My favorites were:

Polaris, Atlanta
Georgia Pumpkin Spuma with Pumpkin Seed Oil From Polaris
Ink & Elm
Pickled Shrimp with Deviled Egg Sauce, Mustards, & Crispy Chicken Skin from Ink & Elm
Chai Pani
Kale Pakoris from Chai Pani
Choya Umeshu
Choya Umeshu

After all that tasting, I decided to go have dinner later that evening at Negril Village. Negril Village is located on 10th Street inside the old firehouse steps away from the MARTA station. The unique Jamaican dining experience awakened my taste buds with bold flavors. I ordered the Ginger-Lime Brick Chicken with Herb roasted sweet potatoes, sautéed cabbage, and ginger chicken jus. The chicken was tender and easy to pull off away from the bone. While you are there, make room for for dessert 🙂

Negril Village Atlanta
My Experience @ Negril Village, Atlanta, Georgia

I enjoyed my brief visit to Atlanta. Of course, I did not scratch the surface of the amazing eats Atlanta has to offer. Next time, I will be sure to stay a little longer in order to check out other restaurants located in Atlanta and the surrounding suburbs. If you have any Atlanta area restaurant suggestions, be sure to let me know.

Road Trip to Saugutuck, Michigan

Instead of driving 45 minutes to Downers Grove, Illinois, I decided to continue driving I-94 South two weeks ago.  I exited I-94 and began driving on I-196 North.  After two hours of driving, I exited I-196 North to arrive in downtown Saugutuck, Michigan.

I was born and raised in Saginaw, Michigan.   In the 21st century, I didn’t even know Saugutuck existed.  My co-worker friend, Kim, put me on to this quaint town sitting on one of Michigan’s beautiful lakes.  And yes, the temperature was a crisp chilly 35 degrees, but the wind chill made the air feel like it was in the low 20’s.  Apparently, I didn’t care since I was bundled up enough to walk along Butler Street.

At the end of the street was an awesome store by the name of Spice Merchants.  Spice Merchants was a dream come true for me.  When I first walked in, I was greeted with a friendly smile and ‘Hello’.

The woman at the register, maybe the owner, left me to explore the store.  I had only 20 minutes before paradise was set to close.  I had to hurry and take it all in.  The wooden shelves were filled with a wide variety of jars containing spices, teas, and cocoas.  You can even find bags prefilled with same items found in the jars.

I purchased adobo spice blend, New Mexico green chile powder, crystallized ginger and two cocoas.


I used the first two items.  They were amazing.  I seasoned some chicken thighs with the adobo spice blend.  I seasoned a medley of carrots, green onions, sweet potatoes, red peppers, green peppers, with Trader Joe’s South Africa Smoke, fresh cilantro, and the New Mexico Green Chile Powder.  I lucked up on creating a well seasoned chicken chili.  I will definitely be going back to spice merchants.

Chicken Stew Ingredients

Chicken Stew

While you are in Saugutuck and if you by chance have a sweet tooth, you have to stop by Kilwins Chocolates on Butler Street not far from Spice Merchants.  I had the pleasure of experiencing the pecan caramel apple as well as a pretzel rod covered in chocolate, pecans, and caramel.  The rich caramel tastes of butter, butter, and more butter.    I look forward to trying their salt water taffy, fudge, and any other mouth watering tempting sweet treat that will catch my eye.

I didn’t spend much time in Saugutuck.  But the time I did spend there was most enjoyable.   I will return to Saugutuck when it is warmer and I am able to ride my bike to explore the town.  By the way, I did try a restaurant while I was on Butler Street; but I will save that review for when I return and is able to compare it to other restaurants in Saugutuck.