The first time I tried Peruvian food was with my Spanish family. It was two summers ago as a send off dinner for cousin Maria, right before her journey to Lima to visit her brother and study for a few months. We had a big dinner an the outdoor terrace with all of the cousins at a Peruvian place near the Royal Palace.This is where I first learned about Ceviches, Causas and Anticuchos.
Later, while on a walk in the barrio, Josemi pointed out a little Peruvian restaurant in our neighborhood. La Cevicuchería.
Now that I have tried their ceviche I won’t eat it anywhere else unless I find myself in Peru. Josemi and I always decide at the last minute to try and grab a table here, which is almost impossible. With only ten tables inside and a few spots at the bar a reservation is key. This Sunday we decided to try out our luck and somehow we got in!
Because the first time we ate here everything was amazing, it’s hard for us to order new things each time we go but we try our best.
This time we started with Papa a la Huancaína, potatoes in a creamy sauce made of cheese, aji amarillo and milk. Followed by a new starter for us of calamari and an olive tartar sauce. Then we had our usual Ceviche Clásico and De Carritillera, grilled beef heart. The meat was cooked to perfection and served with white rice and the Huancaín sauce.
This place also does a great Pisco Sour and is the perfect spot for sharing a few plates. Try more things. Obsessed.
Ojo: Apparently the chef has been working on a new menu with innovative “fusion type” dishes that will be coming out very soon. Check it out.
Calle Téllez 20, Madrid
Bar Galleta (in English Cookie Bar) is an ode to cookies. Using them in many of their dishes. This is a trendy restaurant that everyone has heard about. I’m a fan. Located in this hip neighborhood of Malasaña this is a great place to start a weekend night out but a reservation is a must. It’s a small and intimate restaurant with an extensive menu.The decoration is done with lots of wood, dim lighting and mirrors. So cute and romantic.The menu is modern and has a wide variety of options.
This week my good friend Rachel Lee was in town. We met almost two years ago in a language assistant bible study group. After a year of friendship she decided to make the move back to the US and relocate to Utah. In the last year she has survived reversed culture shock, a break up and is making huge moves in her career. She is brave (this is becoming an apparent trend with my friends). But like me, has a piece of her heart and soul nestled deep into Madrid. Since she’s left she has been back twice and is already planning her next trip back and eventually is hoping to live here again. I can’t wait for that day. But at least I had her here for a few days and a Friday night dinner at Bar Galleta.
Thanks Rachel for good political conversation, stories and your friendship.
This time around we started off with cookie crusted eggplant with a tomato sauce topped with parmesan. Then had the tuna and smoked cod tartar with wakame salad and orange. Next a potato, egg and wild mushroom dish topped with truffle oil. We finished with oxtail and a shellfish rice and black rice with squid. Five plates was more than enough for three people. The quality and quantity was more and better than expected and the price was right. The staff was friendly and attentive. This place gets five stars from me. We all agreed that our favorite dish was the tartar. Muy recomendable.
Bar Galleta also has a sister restaurant El Perro y La Galleta over in Retiro that I have been dying to go to but always decide to late and I am never able to get a reservation.
Calle Corredera Baja de San Pablo 31
I love love love when my dearest friends find themselves in Madrid. It doesn’t happen often, but when it does, I cherish it. My most recent was my friend of at least 10 years, Marcea. (So when did we get so old?) So cool to see the places we’ve gone and share the experiences we have had. I went early in the summer to visit this girl in Florence, just before she embarked on a three month journey exploring all of the south of Italy and all of the Balkans. This girl is brave and I would love to one day be as fearless and as free as her.
She’s been living the Italian life now for a year and learning all their secrets from dotted eyeliner fashion tips to pasta skills and appropriate cheese quantities. What I’ve learned from her is that Italian cooking is simple but the key is fresh ingredients. The trick I would have never thought of in this recipe is adding sugar. It beautifully brings out and amplifies all of the natural flavors in the tomatoes.
This is what she made for us.
I N G R E D I E N T S
1 bunch fresh basil leaves, roughly chopped
cherry tomatoes, halved
3 cloves garlic, minced
olive oil, generous amount
parmesan cheese, freshly grated
I N S T R U C T I O N S
Cook pasta in boiling water with a pinch of salt until just done, al dente.
In a large frying pan heat olive oil and garlic on medium-low heat. When garlic begins to brown add tomatoes. Cook until soft but still maintaining shape. Add pinch of sugar, salt and pepper to taste. Add basil and heat. Add drained pasta to frying pan and mix with tomato and basil. Add more salt, pepper, oil if desired. Sprinkle with minimal fresh grated parmesan.
As soon as I got back from my summer vacation I tried to get over jet lag with sleeping pills and Netflix. I quickly got obsessed with The Mind of a Chef and binge watched all of season 1. David Chang’s love of ramen, innovation and new techniques immediately caught my interest. I’m just about to book a trip to New York City to try out his Momofuku restaurant that is almost impossible to get a reservation at, and then fly over to Japan and try all the food over there.
The most interesting episode was one focused only on eggs. Here is where I learned about David Chang’s slow poached egg. He literally poaches an egg inside the shell. A new method that I was dying to try. This technique, that supposedly originated in Japan, involves cooking an egg (in shell) in water at 140°F for 45 minutes. It’s really important to control the temperature and be sure that it stays constant throughout the process. At this temperature the white is barely set but can hold its shape while the yolk is thick, hot but still liquid. When cracking the shell the poached egg can easily be poured out without breaking. I just prepared a simple ramen soup with shitake mushrooms to go with these eggs, but nothing anywhere close to David Chang’s ramen. Just tried this technique with my eggs benedict recipe and it was absolute heaven.
SLOW POACHED EGGS
I N G R E D I E N T S
I N S T R U C T I O N S
Heat water in saucepan on low until reaching 140°F. Carefully add eggs to water and set timer for 45 min. Watch to be sure that the temperature doesn’t change. If too hot remove from stove. When done carefully remove from saucepan with a spoon and place into ice water bath. Carefully crack eggs and place into bowl or slotted spoon to remove extra whites.
My next David Chang Challenge will have to be making his ramen…That will be an adventure searching for all of the ingredients in this city, but I’m up for it! Also his book is on my cookbook wish list.
Now onto season 2 of The Mind of a Chef. Southern Cooking.
If you’re in New York, DC, Sydney or Toronto check out one of Chef David Chang”s many Momofuku group restaurants!