Celso y Manolo

Like Aziz Asnari talks about millennials in his book “Modern Romance,” I have a fear of eating in restaurants that are not the absolute BEST. Before choosing a restaurant to eat at I obsessively search the web, ask friends opinions and read reviews and blogposts to find the perfect place to spend my time and money.

Josemi is not like this. He loves the romantic idea of stumbling into a restaurant that “looks good” from the street and taking a chance. I like this idea as well but it rarely works out to be amazing.

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CELSO Y MANOLO changed everything. This is one that we stumbled upon and fell in love. While walking by, this place immediately caught our eye. We decided to go inside just for a small beer at the bar. The space is beautiful. A classic Spanish bar and floors but decorated in a modern rustic way. So simple and sophisticated. Casual yet elegant.

After looking at the menu, although we weren’t hungry, we couldn’t resist ordering something. We decided on the Chuletón de Tomate de Huesca con 6 Cosas Ricas. It did not disappoint. This was a large heirloom tomato steak topped with avocado, papaya, mango, red onion, cilantro and topped with a Siurana eco oil. I was surprised with how much flavor a dish like this could have. We couldn’t stop soaking up the oil on the plate with the delicious fresh bread.

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We have to return soon to try everything else on the menu. This place is perfect for a date night or just to grab a drink with a friend. This plaace is like my Spanish restaurant soulmate. Muy TOP.

Celso y Manolo

Calle Libertad 1

Hours: Every day 1pm-5pm and 7:30-2am


Nicole & Julie & Julia

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While home for the summer I was so lucky to cook often with my grandmother. I definitely get my passion for cooking from her. I hope, one day, to be as talented and knowledgable about food as her. Now looking back I realize I was so so lucky to grow up with her just a few houses away from mine. This time I was home we spent many hours in her kitchen sipping wine and cocktails and I asked her many questions about her best recipes and favorite cookbooks.

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I was lucky to find a second hand copy Julia Child’s “Mastering the Art of French Cooking” (a cookbook I had had on my wish list for quite some time). Then my grandmother gifted me another beautiful French cookbook and “Mastering the Art of French Cooking Volume II.” That night I went home and watch the 2009 film “Julie & Julia” and decided it would be crazy and impossible to try and cook all 524 recipes in one year. I don’t have this aspiration in my life but I do plan to try most of these recipes!

The first one I attempted was Julia’s Quiche Lorraine. I did this recipe while still extremely jet lagged so I couldn’t find the energy to make the crust from scratch. It seemed like a great idea at the time but was a choice that I later regretted. Next time I will follow Juilia’s recipe 100%. But even without the homemade crust, it was still the best quiche I have yet to make. I can’t wait to try more French recipes.

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Top Ingredient: COCONUT MILK

Coconut Soup & Brazilian Moqueca

Ok maybe it’s just me but I have been using a lot of coconut milk lately and really craving it.

One night while on vacation at my parents house in California they decided to leave me for the night to fend for myself. Although I love cooking I rarely cook while on vacation. Too much work and I just want to try all the restaurants and have my mom and grandmother’s food. I almost went to the local Thai place to pick up some coconut soup but decided to wing it and try to make it myself. Looked up the first recipe on Pinterest and made it my own.


2 cups water and 1 cube chicken bullion (or 2 cups chicken broth)

1 can coconut milk

1/2 eggplant

1/2 red bell pepper

1 inch fresh ginger

2 cups cremini mushrooms

1 tsp chopped lemon grass

Juice of 2 limes

Sriracha sauce



Set aside. Peel and dice the eggplant into bite size pieces. Dice the bell pepper and slice the mushrooms. Mince the ginger and chop lemon grass.Heat water to a boil with bullion. Lower to a simmer and add coconut milk, eggplant, red pepper, ginger and lemon grass. After about 15 minutes test the eggplant to check if almost fully cooked. Add mushrooms, lime juice, Sriracha to your liking, and a pinch of salt. Simmer about ten minutes. Serve using cilantro as garnish. Add more Sriracha if you like it spicy!

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The next recipe is a Brazilian dish I learned about from my good friend Lauren. She raved about how it was so good and simple. I begged her for the recipe and here it is (changed a few quantity things)! I cooked some white rice to go along with it.


1 lb raw shrimp, peeled and deveined (optional)

2 tbsp olive oil

1 small onion, diced

1 garlic clove, minced

1/4 cup roasted red pepper

1 small green bell pepper

3 tomatoes, diced

1/4 cup cilantro, chopped

1 cup coconut milk

1 -2 tbsp Sriracha sauce

Juice of 1/2 lime

salt and pepper to taste


Heat oil in saucepan or large frying pan. Sauté onion and green peppers until translucent. Add roasted red peppers and garlic and cook for a few more minutes. Next add tomato, shrimp and cilantro and simmer until shrimp are almost fully pink. Add coconut milk and Sriracha sauce. Season with salt and pepper. Simmer a few more minutes. Turn off heat and add lime juice. Garnish with cilantro and serve over rice!

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Arroz Negro


This is a quick and delicious way to do black rice paella. Easy to find these ingredients in Spain. Not so sure about in the USA. Anyone know where to get paella broth and squid ink? You have to make a fish/shellfish stock which probably involves some saffron, mussels clams, prawns etc. Maybe I can figure this out and explain in a future post. Even though I’m all about making my own caldo (broth) for my paellas, it is just so tempting when there is a box of “PAELLA BROTH” staring at me in every super market.



olive oil

saffron threads

2 whole squids

1/2 can tomato sauce

4-5 cloves garlic (sliced or minced)

1 small white onion (diced)

2 packs squid ink

1 1/3 cup rice

paella broth



Clean the squid and cut into 1 inch pieces. This is an adventure if you have never done it before! Here is a helpful how-to video: How To Clean Squid

Heat paella pan or large frying pan on medium-high heat. Pat dry calamari pieces with a paper towel and cook until it begins to become golden (about 3 minutes). Add 2 tbsp olive oil. Add garlic and onion and sauté 3 or 4 minutes. Next add tomato sauce, squid ink and a pinch of salt. Mix. Add uncooked rice and mix.

Spread rice evenly in pan and add 4 cups broth. Sprinkle with saffron threads.

Turn heat on high and leave for 10 minutes. Don’t stir! Then turn heat on low and cook about 15 minutes or until broth is fully absorbed. Remove from stove and let rest for 10 minutes.

Serve with aioli and enjoy!



Poke Bowl Obsessed

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The poke bowl is a new discovery for me that I learned about on my last trip to California. I went down near LA to spend a week with my little sister Courtney and we had no place to go for dinner. We asked her roommate Caleigh for restaurant recommendations and she says “Do you like poke!?” Thank you Caleigh for saying this! I love you and now I love poke.

For the record Courtney does NOT like poke, so we didn’t get it that night.

But the next day I did! What is poke? Cubed raw fish that can be seasoned many ways. A poke bowl is this fish over rice and seaweed salad of course in a bowl. At first I thought it was a new Japanese(deconstructed sushi?) thing but it’s actually Hawaiian and has been around for centuries. How did I even go to Hawaii and never try this! Now apparently it’s super trendy all over California but not trendy enough to have made its way to Madrid yet. Once Josemi came to town I talked to him about poke bowls almost every day and even started making a business plan to open a poke place in Madrid (if only I had poke skills and money).

Here are the two amazing places I ate poke in California: Poki Yaki and Pono

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Me on one of the happiest days of my life.

This is new.


I’ve officially moved over to wordpress.com. I’ve been wanting to change to another blogging platform for a while now but was too lazy to do it. Forgetting my tumblr password and being blocked out of my childhood email address has caused me to be banned forever from my old blog. At first I was devastated (still kind of am) but now it’s a fresh start. It’s going to be okay. New (school) year, new blog. Although today I am really suffering from jet lag I am so excited to share the new things in my cooking life. I am now the proud owner of this beautiful Fannie Farmer’s Boston Cooking School Cookbook. This is a classic and a must have in my family, or it should be. Everyone knows and loves my grandmother’s Fannie Farmers Garden special that she cans. When I came home from a trip to Portland proud to show my mom my Powell’s books find she proclaimed “Oh I didn’t know it was a book! I just thought grandma called her garden special that.” Yep, it’s a book. Also my good friend Lauren says that Fannie Farmer has the best peanut butter cookies. If Josemi thought I cooked a lot of “American” food before he better watch out! Also here is the link to my old blog →Old Blog

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