… and had the best dinner ever. But let’s start with breakfast, which started last night:

With some of this:

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And some of this:
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Plus everything you see here:
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1/3 cup oats, handful raisins, tablespoon peanut butter, 1/8 cup skim, part of a banana, and a lot of cinnamon
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Smooshed onto Santa’s face to make my first breakfast cookie!!!
I woke up with a headache .. sad, for my not-even-a-glass-and-a-half of wine, but I just really don’t drink. After some coffee and nana:
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I ran a 5k at the gym (too windy for the trail) in 28:59 and spent 15 minutes with the Stair Master.
Treadmill:
  • 5 minutes @ 6.0 mi/hr, 2.5 incline
  • 5 minutes @ 6.5 mi/hr, 2.5 incline
  • 2 minutes @ 7.0 mi/hr, 2.5 incline
  • 5 minutes @ 6.5 mi/hr, 2.5 incline
  • 5 minutes @ 6.0 mi/hr, 2.5 incline
  • 5 minutes @ 6.5 mi/hr, 2.5 incline
  • 2 minutes @ 7.0 mi/hr, 2.5 incline
  • 1:59 minutes @ 6.5 mi/hr, 2.5 incline

Stair Master:

  • 3 minutes, level 3
  • 2 minutes, level 4
  • 3 minutes, level 3
  • 2 minutes, level 4
  • 3 minutes, level 3
  • 1 minute, level 5
  • 1 minute, level 4
  • 1 minute, level 3

Then I came home, had this:

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and thanked God for Gina.

Seriously delish. I might add some Truvia or honey next time for a little more sweetness, but it really was like a giant oatmeal raisin cookie!

After a brief trip out with mama, I came home on the verge of being hangry! I was craving falafel and sweet potato fries. So I made both. While my “fries” were baking, I made this Hugh Jass salad:

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It was a beast containing:
  • The remainder of the spinach container (3 cups?)
  • The last 3 Veggie Patch falafel balls
  • Brocc
  • Green beans
  • Peas
  • Hummus
  • Tzatziki
  • Frank’s

It was delicious and devoured. Then these were done:

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Half of the potato in here, half in the fridge to take back with me.

We had plans to go to a Cuban restaurant in New Haven, but they couldn’t seat us for a while, so my uncle suggested Barcelona, a tapas and wine bar. I’ve been DYING to go here since the summer. There is one closer to us, in Fairfield, but we were meeting my stepbrother and he lives closer to New Haven.

Fail: no pictures. I REALLY wanted to take them, but my I’m still to shy in public :(.

I started off with a white wine, a 2007 Albarino from Pedro de Soutomaior in Rias Baixas, Spain. It was really great – refreshing, crisp, fruity – but not sweet. My mom and stepdad had the red sangria but I didn’t try it. It was really really hard to choose what to get to eat. For tapas, aka “small plates”, you can get a few tapas for your meal, or a tapas as an appetizer and an entree – there’s probably thousands of combinations you could make.

I ended up choosing 3 tapas for my meal:

  • Warmed Cana de Cabra (goat cheese) with Port Figs and Green Apple
  • Spinach-Chickpea Casserole with Cumin & Garlic Confit
  • Pulpo a la Plancha – Octopus with Fingerling Potatoes, Smoked Paprika, and Celery

Yes. It’s okay to be jealous.

My stepdad got the Boquerónes (fresh marinated anchovies) and something else I can’t remember. He and my mom also split the the Roasted Chickpea Puree with House-Made Pita Chips, the Homemade Cumin-Scented Chicken Empanadas with Avocado Puree, and some roasted brussel sprouts with garlic and bacon (not on the online menu so not sure of the exact name/ingredients). My mom also ordered the Albondigas (meatballs). My uncle was at the other end of the table, so I’m not sure what he ordered, but my stepbrother and brother both ordered the Pepper-Rubbed Filet Mignon with Mashed Potatoes, Brandy Reduction, and Crispy Onions.

After we ordered, fresh loaves of bread were brought to the table and olive oil was poured. As it was white bread, I didn’t have any, but everyone said it was delicious and very warm and fresh. The tapas were brought out as they were ready. I got my goat cheese, fig, and apple platter first, on a long white platter, each ingredient perfectly separated from the other.

OH. EM. GEE.

Warm, creamy, amazing goat cheese. Port-soaked juicy, chewy, sweet figs. Crisp, tart, refreshing slices of Granny Smith. Really there are no words except Gina’sFOODGASM. And the perfect dish. The best thing I’ve ever eaten (in America).

The spinach and chickpea “casserole” came out next, in a small, shallow round dish. Whole chickpeas were covered in the most thinly sliced spinach I’ve ever seen. To be honest, I couldn’t taste any cumin, and only got the taste of garlic a few times throughout the dish. It was good, but if those two flavors had been more pronounced, it would have been great.

Then the warm octopus salad came out. It was in a small, shallow, rectangular dish with octopus (flesh and tentacles), whole fingerling potatoes, celery slices, and red onions. The octopus was perfectly cooked – chewy, but not rubbery at all, and very savory. The potatoes were great too, but overall, the dish was WAY too salty. I actually didn’t finish it. Shocking – I know. Also, there was bacon in the dish, which I tasted before I saw. This was not indicated on the menu, and if it had been, I probably wouldn’t have ordered it. I would also be concerned for pescatarians/flexitarians/quasitarians/whatevertarians here – octopus would might be okay for them to order, but the bacon wouldn’t be! Also, I’m not sure if octopus is known to be fatty (?) but one of my pieces was entirely fat. I actually spit it out into my napkin .. conspicuously, I promise.

I tried the brussel sprouts my parents ordered – amazing. I also had two of the home-made pita chips with the chickpea puree (okay, let’s just call it hummus, because that’s what it is). The chips were visibly oily (ick), but perfectly toasted and crunchy with a great not-too-salty taste. The hummus was RIDICULOUSLY good. It had such a unique taste – including lots of garlic, which I love! I finished it off with a fork. Yup, just me and forkfuls of hummus at dinner. So classy.

It was all plated beautifully, brought out quickly, and with great service. That is, until we ordered dessert. I just got a cup of decaf (plus I still had some wine), but my uncle and brother ordered the Churros y Chocolate with Dark Chocolate Dipping Sauce and my stepdad got the Warm Carrot Cake with Cinnamon Ice Cream – mostly because my mom and I wanted just a bite. After we got our coffee, our once-attentive serve virtually disappeared and we waited 20 minutes for our dessert. It was obvious we had been forgotten about because when it was finally brought over, the ice cream on my step-dad’s plate was melted. At least plate a new dish to make it look like it hasn’t been sitting out, waiting.

I had just a bite of the carrot cake – and I’ve had better. There was no frosting on it – I guess the ice cream is supposed to serve as the frosting, but I didn’t want any. It was good, but not great. Carrot cake is my favorite so I would have been disappointed, but I’m glad I just tried it. I didn’t try the churros, but I guess they were just okay too.

Overall, it was a really great experience! My family and I had never had tapas before, so it was fun to try together. Definitely my new favorite restaurant. So so good. The atmosphere is great – very laid back, dimmed lights, nice ambiance. Modern, but welcoming. There’s so much more I want to try – and from what I can tell, things change seasonally and they use some local ingredients – woo! Go!

Back to school tomorrow for two weeks of class and a week of finals 😦 I have so much to do it’s not even funny. Normally I would feel bad about neglecting so much work over break, but I needed just that – a break. It was AMAZING to just lay in my bed all day, run when I want to (not just when I have time), spend time with my family, and have a lot more eating freedom .. especially discovering tapas. Hopefully I’ll finish my laundry tonight – nothing like waiting til the last minute! Then tomorrow I’ll get up early, run/gym, pack, and peace. With a special trip to cheer myself up on the way back to Storrs …

What’s your favorite thing to get at Whole Foods? I always love trying new foods! As much as my blog does not reflect that …

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