Archive for the ‘Spanish’ Category

A Taste of Spain in Ueno

March 20, 2008

Unplanned excursions should be celebrated. Whoever made up the phrase “Spice of Life” was probably a fan of spontaneity.

Last Sunday, my boyfriend and I decided to go to Ueno park after getting up around noon. I took the Nikon D200 that I am borrowing from a coworker hoping to capture the scenes of the park. Knowing me though, the highlight of the photo session ended up featuring our lunch – a random stumble into a 7th floor Spanish restaurant called Val. It had been over a year since going to Ueno. Just going to the East side of Tokyo is a huge deal for me. Val made it worthwhile.

The mix paella was wonderful – perfect for two for Sunday lunch. Consisting of mainly seafoods, what better place to indulge than THE place for seafood (Tokyo)? With the abundance of seafoods in Spanish food, I would like to see more Spanish-Japanese fusion foods. C’mon Tokyo, wow me with some Uni-Shiso paella!

For now, I’ll settle for Spanish style Spanish food though…

White asparus salad

Hors d’oeuvres plate

Mix paella

Rare Occasion for Yamahomo to be Impressed by a Restaurant (NYC)

August 8, 2007

I am not a devoted blogger, and don’t bring my camera anywhere, so I don’t have any pictures, which is so crucial for food blogs. However, this meal was so amazing that I feel the need to share the experience. As you know by now, I cook a lot, and I usually don’t get too impressed by many restaurants.

So I went to El Cid on 15th street (between 8th and 9th) last night. There are quite a few tapas restaurants in the city, and I have been to some of them. This place completely blew my mind. I guess the place has been running strong for a long time, but I did not know anything about this place.

Looking from outside, it didn’t match the neighborhood. I felt like I was in Queens or something. Door knob was kind of greasy and hard to open. There were only about 8 tables, and a bar, where regulars sit. I had no expectation at this point.

We ordered bunch of seafood tapas.

First comes octopus with potato and some kind of garlic and paprika type of marinade. Octopus was soo tender, yet not mushy, the flavor was just right. Awesome!

Then came AMAZING shrimp in garlic sauce. I have never had shrimp that plump and tasty. When I eat shrimp, it always has a bit of chlorine or some kind of chemical taste to it because who knows what kind of process shrimps go through at farming locations. But these were absolutely fresh, garlic oil/sauce was soooo amazing, bread dipped in it was great. It had parsley, garlic, some kind of red thing in the oil, hard to guess what it was in it, but AMAZING.

Grilled sardine. Unlike many fellow Japanese, I hate small fish because they have small bones everywhere. Also fish with heads gross me out. I only had a bit of it, but I have never tasted fish like that in my life. Absolutely no fishy smell, nor taste, just how fresh fish should taste. If you like yaki-zakana (grilled fish), you will definitely love it.

Mini squid in ink sauce. It was one of yesterday’s specials. We were looking at each other in disbelief. Absolutely amazing. It came with flavored rice, and a MOUND of squid, just perfect. Again, it was the freshest squid and ink, and the only words to come out of our mouths (aside from blackened teeth, which is always fun) were nothing but praise.

We also had sauteed sweetbread and Spanish ham, but by the time they arrived, we were quite full, but they were good as well. If you are a seafood lover, stick with them, you will not regret any dish you order. Too bad we couldn’t afford $200 baby eel in garlic oil. Why are they so expensive?!

We left the restaurant, well fed and satisfied. Although we were talking about going to Pinkberry for dessert, we were way too full. Also I can make it at home now…