La Cantina de Frida Taquería: Restaurant Review

Hi you guys!  Sorry, again, for being out of touch for awhile.  These past few weeks have been truly hectic, and on Friday I ended up moving apartments.  I’ve spent a lot of this long weekend unpacking, which isn’t the most fun, but I’ve also made it to the beach yesterday and today, and it is gorgeous.  To help redeem myself, I thought I’d review the Mexican restaurant I went to on Friday night.  I went with a friend to celebrate our move.  We were going to just stop in for drinks, but drinks turned into dinner, and it was so good.  It’s been so long since I’ve had Mexican food, and this was especially timely with Cinco de Mayo coming up! 

We’d both heard mixed reviews about this place, namely that it was impossible to get in without a reservation, and that it was crazy expensive.  We walked right in and they sat us at the bar, which was perfect.  And honestly, the place never got that full.  There’s no set menu, instead you pick your courses off of a blackboard.  When we went it was 18/person.  I’m not sure if that drinks were included or not, which I know is something I should know, but it was that kind of night.  Basic margaritas were 5 on the drink menu, so at most, it was 23 total, plus any extra margaritas you might want, which I thought was reasonable.  They also had a lot of beer and tequila to try, but I was happy with my frozen margarita.

The ceviche I had was really good, and so were the nachos, and my burrito.  My friend enjoyed her quesadilla, but the best part of the meal was undoubtedly the tequilamisu – a homemade tiramisu with tequila instead of rum.  If you have the chance to try it, you have to.

All in all it was a very successful Mexican food adventure.  When I googled it today, I learned the place is not actually called Frida Kahlo, but Frida’s vibe is certainly there.  I spotted her picture in a few places, and I read somewhere that the restaurant was designed to look like her home, but honestly, I don’t know how much I believe that part.  Either way, it’s a worthwhile pit stop in Palma.

Do you have plans to celebrate Cinco de Mayo?  What’s your favorite Mexican restaurant?

IMG_5661May 3, 2015

View from the bar – can you see Frida?

IMG_5664May 3, 2015

My ceviche and the nachos in the background. Sorry it’s a little blurry.

IMG_5665May 3, 2015

Quesadilla in the distance.

IMG_5667May 1, 2015

My burrito! I went with vegetarian, and I didn’t feel like I was missing anything! So good!

IMG_5668May 3, 2015

Frozen margarita with a flower petal.

IMG_5671May 3, 2015

The star of the show. Tequilamisu.

Italy Part 2: Rome

Rome!  I don’t know where to begin.  I spent most of my Italy trip in Rome, and absolutely loved it!  I stayed in Trastevere, a part of the city that I know a lot of people will say is touristy.  Trastevere is touristy – it definitely had its fair share of American and British students studying abroad.  But beyond that, it felt like a community.  Something was always open, there were always places to grab pizza or gelato, and I fell in love with a particular cafe around the corner from my AirBnB.  The water in Rome is all drinkable, and there are natural fountains everywhere.  A big upgrade from schlepping 6L of water home from the grocery store every other day in Mallorca.

Rome is an amazing city, filled with amazing food, and history.  I walked everywhere, even though I bought a week long transit pass, which in retrospect, I’m not sure is really worth it.  Italy is also notorious for not checking that you bought a ticket – you’re supposed to buy one before you get on the bus and validate it, but it’s really on the honor system.  If you get caught, there are hefty fines, but, if an official gets on the bus you could just as easily get off.  I’m not the kind of person that operates under that kind of pressure though, so I wanted to make sure I could get anywhere easily and not worry about having to find a point of purchase.

In Rome I got to meet up with a friend I haven’t seen from high school, and that was the best.  Aside from the comfort of having a little piece of home all the way across the ocean, it was nice to reconnect, and also not wander around the city like a completely blind tourist.

The woman whose apartment I stayed at was delightful.  She introduced me to the Rome free walking tour, which I totally recommend.  It was a lot of walking, but I got to see a lot more, and with better direction than I would have with just my tour guide book.  If you’re interested, here’s a link to their website.  The same day, I also had the most amazing pasta caccio e pepe, at a restaurant I found based on a friend’s recommendation.  Even better than that was the mascarpone and chocolate-laden coffee I had for dessert.  The restaurant is called Il Brillo Parlante.

In Rome I fell in love with pizza  by the slice, where they have pizza waiting, and they chop off as much as  you want, and charge you by weight, with gelato, and with the cafe near my AirBnB.  It’s called Checco er Carretiere.  I just found their website, and I didn’t know they also are an actual restaurant, but the cafe part was amazing.  The men who worked there were the sweetest, and drew flowers on my cappuccinos.

I could go on and on.  Rome was fantastic.  I would return to Rome, and Trastevere, in a heartbeat!  I think anything I write about it at this point is redundant, and I really want to share my photos, so I’m going to post as is.  The moral of the story is I had an amazing time with amazing people and amazing food, and if you get the chance, you should visit.

IMG_3826Apr 15, 2015

My first gelato in Rome.  In Rome they put panna, whipped cream, on top of the gelato.

IMG_3827Apr 15, 2015

At the entrance to Trastevere.

IMG_3850Apr 15, 2015

Most creative garbage can award goes to this gelato place.

IMG_3851Apr 1, 2015

So many flavors, and I didn’t even capture all of them.

IMG_3852Apr 15, 2015

Here the gelato guy was cranky and didn’t offer me panna.

IMG_3868Apr 15, 2015

Piazza Navona

IMG_3869Apr 15, 2015

Breakfast of champions… a chocolate thing, cappuccino, and a side of whipped cream which I did not ask for but happily ate.

IMG_3883Apr 2, 2015

Inside the Pantheon.

IMG_3908Apr 2, 2015

“Tonnarelli Cacio e pepe con fiori di zucca” – Tonnarelli with pecorino cheese, black pepper, and squash flowers – at a restaurant called Il Brillo Parlante. I went at the advice of a friend. So good!

IMG_3912Apr 15, 2015

Cafe Il Brillo Parlante.  Possibly the best thing I’ve eaten ever.  It’s a shot of espresso covered in mascarpone cheese and chocolate chunks, dusted with powdered sugar.  Stay tuned for my recreation of this recipe.

IMG_3935Apr 15, 2015

Outside of the Colosseum. I didn’t make it in, but, there it is.

IMG_4488Apr 4, 2015

An amazing Sicilian bakery.

IMG_4493Apr 4, 2015

A cannolo {singular of cannoli}, pistachio almond cookies, and a chocolate lobster tail. All amazing.

IMG_4494Apr 15, 2015

The best cannolo I’ve ever eaten. Absolutely amazing.

IMG_4501Apr 4, 2015

We talked a lot about the great architecture of the desserts. All of them were easily cut in half, with minimal crumbling, no smushing, and no collapsing. A+ to these guys.

IMG_4505Apr 15, 2015

Pizza by the slice!! At La Renella in Trastevere.

IMG_4508Apr 4, 2015

Some flavors.

IMG_4522Apr 15, 2015

From my friends at Checco er Carettiere.

IMG_4676Apr 15, 2015

Pretty sure this was Easter dessert. “Cookies” flavored gelato with panna.

IMG_4726Apr 6, 2015

Breakfast from my favorite place. A chocolate filled donut, I think called a bomba, with a beautiful cappuccino.

Italy Part 1: Naples

I’ve had a half-started post about Naples open for over a week.  Clearly I’m not doing a great job of telling the story of my trip, so I’m going to let the pictures do that.  It was the last part of my Italy trip, but one of the most exciting.  I was really looking forward to eating pizza where it all began!  Naples is safe enough.  There are sketchy people, but friendly people too!  I traveled alone and pretty much always felt fine.  Pompeii was boring.  The gelato was good, not as good as in Rome.  You should go and eat the pizza.  Or better yet, the pizza fritta.  The pizza was delicious, but nothing you couldn’t get at a good Neapolitan pizza place in New York or New Jersey.  Still worth the trip.

IMG_4738Apr 15, 2015

Capri in the distance.

IMG_4739Apr 15, 2015

Supposedly Oscar Wilde lived there.

IMG_4763Apr 15, 2015

Islands from a cave.

IMG_4767Apr 15, 2015

I thought it was pretty.

IMG_4770Apr 6, 2015

More views.

IMG_4787Apr 6, 2015

The pizza!! From L’Antica Pizzeria da Michele. Sorbillo was closed for Pasquetta, so I can’t compare, but it was good!

IMG_4789Apr 6, 2015

A different view.

IMG_4786Apr 6, 2015

Cheesy close-up.

IMG_4791Apr 15, 2015

Look at that bubble-age! So good!

IMG_4902Apr 7, 2015

Ruins at Pompeii. I think this was the forum.

IMG_5103Apr 15, 2015

Necessary gelato. From this place called Gay-Odum that the tour guide recommended. Decent gelato, really cranky lady working there.

IMG_5119Apr 7, 2015

Naples shoreline.

IMG_5153Apr 7, 2015

Pizza Fritta!!  From Zia Esterina Sorbillo.  Next door to the famous Gino Sorbillo.

IMG_5154Apr 15, 2015

Inside. Ricotta and some kind of delicious pork.

IMG_5156Apr 15, 2015

Again. Delicious.

IMG_5112Apr 7, 2015

Naples panorama. Pop up fair, gorgeous red clay tennis courts, a cruise ship and mountain (volcano?) in the distance.

What’s the craziest trip you’ve taken just to eat the regional food?

Eastern European Poppyseed Cake

Hi again.  I know it’s been a long time since I’ve been here, but I went away for Easter break.  I had 8 days off of work, plus weekends, and took the time to fly over to Italy for a while.  It was so nice, and I’ll share all my pictures.  I have plenty.  I got back last week, and I’ve been busy unpacking and getting re-settled.  An unexpected game of musical apartments is also keeping me on my feet.  The other day I made a poppyseed cake that my family usually eats at Easter, and while I still missed my family, the poppyseed is delicious!!  I found the recipe here, and tweaked it just a bit.  I’ve been trying to post it all week, but the pictures wouldn’t load.  Today I got a migraine at work, and they were nice enough to send me home because I looked so awful.  Now that I’m feeling a lot better, I finally have the time and the bandwidth to share this with you guys!!

It was surprisingly easy, and I’m very happy with how it turned out.  I was super-apprehensive because this was the first time I hadn’t boughten {consider this my formal entry of the word boughten into the English language} it at a very specific bakery.  If you like poppyseeds, I think you’ll love this recipe.  Let’s just all hope we don’t get drug tested for opium in the next few days!

Poppyseed Cake:

Ingredients:

Poppyseed Filling:

  • 1/2 pound poppyseeds {More is better than less.  The poppyseeds are the star of this recipe.}
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 1 tbsp butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup hot milk

Dough:

  • 1 package of yeast
  • 1/2 cup warm water
  • 2 tbsp white sugar
  • 2+ cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 2 eggs, separated.  {Original recipe calls for 1 but I could tell that my dough needed 2.}

Directions:

  1. Grind your poppyseeds in a food processor if you’re going to.  I didn’t and everything turned out fine, so I say save the electricity.
  2. Mix your poppyseeds with the hot milk, melted butter, and 3/4 cup sugar.  Cover and refrigerate.  You should probably use a bigger vessel than I did, just in case it expands.  So anything larger than a 2 cup Pyrex measuring cup should work just fine.
  3. Mix the yeast with the warm water and 2 tbsp sugar.  Let stand until foamy.
  4. Mix flour and salt in a large bowl.  Cut in butter using a knife or pastry cutter; your mixture sure look like large crumbs when you’re done.
  5. Pour the yeast/water mixture into the flour/butter mixture and add the egg yolks.  Stir it together and you should have a soft dough.
  6. Knead dough on a floured surface about 5 minutes, until springy and smooth.  If it’s too sticky, knead in a little flour at a time.
  7. Cut the dough in half.  Roll out each half into a rectangle 12x16in.
  8. Spread half poppyseed filling in each rectangle, leaving an inch on all sides.
  9. Fold the 1-inch border over on each side, and press down.
  10. Roll up the shorter side of each rectangle, like a jelly roll.
  11. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  12. Place rolls, seam side down, on the baking sheet and let rise in a warm place about 1 hour, until doubled in size.
  13. Preheat your oven to 350°F {176°C}
  14. Brush the rolls with the egg white.
  15. Cut diagonal slits in the rolls.
  16. Bake in the preheated oven 30-40 minutes, until dark golden brown on top.
  17. Remove from oven and cover with a clean kitchen towel until cool.
  18. Slice when cool and enjoy.
IMG_5255Apr 15, 2015

Combine the poppyseeds, hot milk, melted butter, and sugar. Cover and refrigerate.

IMG_5257Apr 15, 2015

Cut the butter into the flour and salt.

IMG_5258Apr 15, 2015

Dissolve the yeast in the yeast and warm water… let sit until foamy.

IMG_5264Apr 15, 2015

Add the yeast and eggs to the flour and stir.

IMG_5265Apr 15, 2015

It’s starting to come together, into a soft dough.

IMG_5266Apr 15, 2015

After kneading.

IMG_5278Apr 11, 2015

Roll out one half into a 12x16in rectangle. I didn’t use a ruler.

IMG_5272Apr 15, 2015

Fill with half of the poppyseed filling, leaving a 1 inch border all around.

IMG_5273Apr 15, 2015

Fold the border over on all sides.

IMG_5276Apr 15, 2015

Roll up like a jelly roll.

IMG_5282Apr 11, 2015

Let both rolls rest on the cookie sheet in a warm place for approximately 1 hour, or until just about doubled in size.

IMG_5285Apr 15, 2015

Create horizontal slits for steam to escape, and because they’re pretty. Brush with egg whites.

IMG_5286Apr 15, 2015

Bake until dark golden brown. Cover with a clean kitchen towel until cool.

IMG_5319Apr 12, 2015

Ready to be sliced.

IMG_5321Apr 12, 2015

Delicious!!!  Please ignore the sloppy photography… I was too busy devouring the poppyseed cakes.

Have you ever had a poppyseed cake?  What foods remind you of your family and special celebrations like Easter or Passover?

Semana Santa

Happy Sunday!  For those of you in Europe, I hope you’re adjusting to the time change.  It’s never easy springing forward, even when you know you “gain” an hour.  Here on Mallorca, this weekend marked the beginning of Semana Santa, the Holy Week before Easter.  The week is filled with lots of processions leading up to the main event {Easter}.  I don’t know a lot about the processions, but, from umpteen years of Spanish class, and Wikipedia {actually about.com}, they were designed in the 16th century by the Catholic Church to present the story of the Passion of Christ so everyone could understand.  If you ask me, from what I saw, it was super confusing and I understand less now.  There were lots of images of Christ and crosses, a lot of drummers and people in costume, but nothing very coherent for me.  However, I am a bystander, this is my first Semana Santa, and just because I didn’t take anything away from it doesn’t mean that there is nothing to be taken away.  Also the horses at the beginning were beautiful!

I’ll let my pictures tell the story.

*These are from two different processions – Friday night, when I was just trying to get across the center of town to buy water at the supermarket before it closed, and this evening.  I didn’t stay until the end of either, but I was there for a solid hour this afternoon.

*Just because I didn’t understand what was going on doesn’t mean it wasn’t beautiful.

IMG_3648Mar 29, 2015 IMG_3651Mar 29, 2015 IMG_3656_2Mar 29, 2015 IMG_3673Mar 29, 2015 IMG_3675Mar 29, 2015 IMG_3677Mar 29, 2015 IMG_3678_2Mar 29, 2015 IMG_3682Mar 29, 2015 IMG_3686_2Mar 29, 2015 IMG_3689Mar 29, 2015 IMG_3694Mar 29, 2015 IMG_3700_2Mar 29, 2015 IMG_3701Mar 29, 2015 IMG_3705Mar 29, 2015

What’s the most impressive Holy Week demonstration you’ve seen?  How does your community celebrate it?

Update:  I was informed by a very reliable source that what I saw wasn’t an actual procession, just practice for the procession that will happen later in the week.  The actual procession, when it takes place, will be 5+ hours long.