Thursday, June 30, 2011

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

MADRID: The OLDEST Restaurant In The World

According to the Guinness Book of Records, Alex and I ate at the oldest restaurant in the world. Established in 1725, Sobrino de Botín boasts such a title, as well as claiming to have had Francisco Goya as one of its waiters (thanks 

Sobrino was the first restaurant in Spain that Alex and I stepped into that told us that there was a wait, as well as the first restaurant I had ever been to that had its own tourism brochure. The restaurant is most famous for its Segovian cochinillo asado (Segovian suckling pig), which is interesting since the restaurant is in Madrid, not Segovia. Coincidentally, Alex and I had made a day trip out to Segovia earlier that day where we had true Segovian suckling pig (post coming soon) and therefore, we passed on the pig and picked a lighter fare of fresh salad and fried eggs with black sausage, as well as their sangria for a light nightcap. 

Monday, June 27, 2011

MADRID: Your Highness

Alex with the Royal Palace in the background

Royal Palace, Prado Museum, Retiro Park. 
These are perhaps some of the top attractions that Madrid has to offer. In a single day Alex and I managed to visit all of these, here are the highlights...


-PRADO- (Just a picture of the statue of Velazquez since photos are not permitted inside)

Resting & people watching outside the Prado


MADRID: Mercado de San Miguel

Hello Mr. Fishy
While in Madrid Alex and I made several stops at the Mercado de San Miguel. The key to avoid the massive crowds was to visit during off peak hours, so we avoided siesta and the tourist lunch rush. While San Miguel has been around for years in Madrid as a typical fresh market, recently it has been converted into what only seems like a slight tourist trap, and is intended to delight the palate of the hungry traveler (primarily through the eyes)

Now don't get me wrong, the market offers a fantastic array of cheeses, meats, and fresh shellfish, but I came to learn that the tapas left more to be desired. After a long day of traveling Alex and I engulfed the tiny sandwiches of mussels, tuna, octopus, and salmon. However, days later when we ventured into a supermarket to do our own shopping we found that all of that great seafood on our tapas didn't come directly from the Mediterranean, but rather, a CAN. In fact, we proceeded to buy a few cans of their mussels and tuna and fresh bread from the panadería and made our own tapas. 

For anyone traveling overseas, I think it's always fun to venture into the supermarkets of the country and try the different and often surprising food they offer.

Outside Mercado de San Miguel

Jamon..and so so so SO much of it

Tapas assortment

Cortezas de Cerdo (Pork Rind)


Sweet caramelized lollipops
Buying what I buy best--chocolate treats!

Besides being in Madrid in early June, it was absolutely freezing!

Friday, June 24, 2011

MADRID: Churro, Churro, Churro

Plaza Mayor
Hello dedicated followers! (You exist, right?). I am happy to report that I am back from a wonderful two and a half week vacation through España (or Spain to keep it simple). The next several blog posts will consist of our Spanish adventures (our since my Don Quixote of a boyfriend, Alex-- or Alejandro to keep things in theme--was with me). Prepare for tales of stunning architecture, delectable cuisine, exciting outings, and a wonderful excursion through a truly remarkable country. 

My starting point begins in Madrid, and follows through to Toledo, San Lorenzo de El Escorial, Avila, Segovia, Seville, Granada, Cordoba, Valencia, and finally 'Vicky Christina BARCELONA'. 

Upon arrival in Madrid, fighting jet lag and an overnight flight, Alex and I made our first stop after dropping our bags at our hotel: Chocolate Churros. We found our way to a cafe hidden through narrow streets (a common theme in Spain) behind a beautiful church close by to Puerta del Sol (overtaken by recent protests). 

Nothing breaks a serious case of jet lag quite like the taste of chewy churros dipped in rich dark chocolate and a coffee (mind you that in Spain, the coffee is served in small portions--forget about that Venti Red Eye). Things were getting good....

Puerta del Sol: taken over by protesters
Inside the churro cafe--pictures with Spanish figures who have eaten there
Old world Madrid 

Salivating yet?
Happy campers now that chocolate churros are served

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Coco Before Chanel

Coco AFTER Chanel

I just watched the 2009 French film Coco avant Chanel (Coco Before Chanel) and I became all the more mesmerized by the iconic life of this bold woman of character; a woman who dressed like a man with impromptu suits, scoffed at corsets, and made a modern name for herself. Immediately after the movie I quickly began browsing through Barnes & Noble's selection of her many biographies and read the quick Wikipedia link on her life. And then I decided that I would not delve deeper into my understanding of who she was as a person. I read about involvement with Nazi soldiers, shady money transfers, and I simply had to stop. 

For me, Chanel is the epitome of female. A brand I revere for not only its beautiful clothing, but the consistent name and value it holds. For that reason, Coco shall stay the way she always has in my mind: a woman to be respected for her choices as a designer, and an icon of classic female grace. One of my favorite scenes in the movie was when Coco (played by Audrey Tautou) is seen wearing a belted fisherman's striped shirt; how crisp, how simple, how modern! I do not know who Coco truly was as a person, but I do know that there is only one Chanel

Audrey, a beautiful Coco

My own marinière

Coco in the 1930's wearing a classic fisherman striped shirt

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Becoming Real People

One usually wakes up for college graduation full of vigor and excitement. I on the other hand, woke up with a 102 fever (and no, this was not my Senioritis acting up) . Yet there was one thing keeping my energy going: seeing my greatest celebrity crush of all time--Justin Timberlake? Orlando Bloom? Javier Bardem? Justin Bieber?--no; it is the one and only Bill Clinton. Yes, I was lucky enough to have Bill Clinton as my commencement speaker, and he was lucky enough to be five feet away from my screaming, gushing, neon wayfarers wearing, 102 fever-self yelling to him, "I love you Bill, I love you!" (We all have our moments of weakness). 

In the two hours that graduation passed I looked around at my fellow graduates and all I could think about was how lucky I was. Lucky to be sent to such a wonderful school, lucky to have lived in the wonderful city of New York, lucky to have met such wonderful friends, lucky to have such a wonderful human being as my commencement speaker, lucky to have my commencement in such a wonderful place Yankee Stadium, lucky to have had the most wonderful education in the last four years, lucky to have eaten at Momofuku Noodle Bar a record breaking amount of times, lucky to have frolicked around wonderful Central Park thinking to myself that I owned the city, lucky to have shared many nights out in wonderful restaurants and lounges, lucky to have a boyfriend who was eager to visit and see the city with me, lucky to feel like a truly cultured individual, lucky to feel so open-minded to life and the people around me, lucky to have gone to a school where a party was not in a frat basement, and most of all extremely grateful to have such wonderful parents willing to send me to such a wonderful school. 

When I think of New York there are many reasons why I love the city, but a few are truly profound (in no particular order):
(1) Tom Cruise living in the building across the street from me (ok, so maybe I conveniently place this as #1)
(2) Living in walking distance of all my favorite cupcake shoppes
(3) Speaking of walking, having the ability to walk anywhere and everywhere
(4) Counting the number of people on the street wearing Aviators (by my estimates, it's 83.7% of all New  Yorkers)
(5) Momofuku Noodle Bar--and in general, food.
(6) Fearing Brooklyn
(7) Mario Batali in Washington Square Park wearing orange crocs...and ONLY orange crocs 
(8) Chicken and Rice--but only after 3 a.m.
(9) Watching Nicolas Cage walk towards me from a movie set, yelling out to him "Hi Nicolas!" (insert embarrassingly giddy laugh), and him responding "Hi Honey" (and winking)
(10) Having friends who are living as "real people" in the city and willing to let me have extended 

Nothing says "ADULTS" quite like this

Graduates & Guests at Yankee Stadium

Honorary Degree Recipient: Clive Davis

I see you too Bill


Sums it all up