Badalona, Barcelona, Montgat, Thoughts, Travelling

MONTGAT – and some thoughts about travelling

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During our Easter holiday we decided to go on a little trip to Montgat. Montgat is a little town about 16km away from Barcelona. The road there is simple: you just have to follow the coastline. Barcelona is a great city for bikers and they are building new bike lines all the time. The weather in Barcelona is sunny most of the year so it’s optimal for biking. If you ever travel to Barcelona I recommend you to explore it by bike.

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I’ve lived in Barcelona now for almost two years and I’m a bit ashamed that I don’t know much about towns that are close to Barcelona. My resolution for the year 2018 was that I have to explore Barcelona’s outskirts more. There are so many places to see and little villages to visit. For a long time I’d been so focused on travelling far that I’d forgotten to focus on my surroundings. When I lived in Finland I was always planning the next trip and constantly dreaming about new places to go. I was waiting for the next holiday to be able to travel and go somewhere else. Moving to Barcelona changed my travelling habits and for the first time I realised that I didn’t even want to go anywhere.

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It’s important to love the city you live in. Previously I thought that it was normal to have this feeling where you constantly wanted to be somewhere else. I’m not saying that I don’t want to travel anymore because that’s a lie but let’s say I’m a lot more relaxed about it. That has a lot to do with the fact that I love the city I live in now, it’s very relieving to realise that you don’t need to escape anymore. 😀 This time instead of planning the next trip we packed our backpacks went biking..

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.. and it really did work out!

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I enjoyed our day trip so much. The weather was beautiful and the hill we stopped at was totally worth visiting. The road to Montgat was very nice and interesting because you see the modern side of Barcelona and also go trough the beautiful boulevard in Badalona. I had this feeling like I was far away from Barcelona and even though you might love the place you are in, it’s normal to want to disconnect for a moment. In the evening I was happy to bike back home without passing any airport security checks or sweating in a metro.

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Boulevard in Badalona

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So whenever you feel like you want to be somewhere else or your next holiday feels like a distant dream, do a day trip. Pack some food and go somewhere near where you still haven’t been. After that if you still feel like you need to leave, maybe you can think about buying plane tickets, but at least give it a try. 😀

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I would definitely bike to Montgat again and I’m sure at least we will sit in the boulevard in Badalona. The reason why I even wanted to go there was that I’d heard that there were a lot of cats everywhere but this time we didn’t see any! I have to say that I was looking forward to seeing the cats but even without cats the day trip was successful. 😀

– Eeva –

 

 

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Food, Mexican food, Recipes

ENCHILADAS

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“Enchiladas”, they are so tasty! Years ago I didn’t know much about REAL Mexican food, I had a vague idea of what “enchiladas” were, mainly through Tex-Mex food in Finnish restaurants. Also, I didn’t know many types of tortillas existed. I thought that the only type of “Tortillas” that you could get were big wheat tortillas from the supermarket (the terrible Old El Paso brand is a good example) and I didn’t know that corn tortillas existed. Another shameful confession is that I thought tortillas and tacos were the same thing! 😀

There are many other things that I didn’t know about Mexico but let’s focus on these amazing authentic “enchiladas”.

INGREDIENTS

  • Authentic Corn Tortillas (if you know any Mexican people it’s a good idea to ask them where they buy their tortillas)

For the chicken

  • 500 grams of chicken breast
  • 1/2 of a medium onion
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 5 cups of water
  • 3 cubes of chicken broth
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • A hint of olive oil

For the “Salsa Verde”

  • 32 whole “Tomatillos” they can either be fresh or from a can. (we used La Costeña brand)
  • 1/2 of a medium onion
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 10 chiles anchos (you can also use jalapenos or serranos)
  • Maggi seasoning sauce to taste (optional)
  • 1 cube of vegetable broth
  • Salt and pepper to taste

+ cheese, avocado and creme fraiche (you can also add raw onion and coriander as a topping if desired)

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I recommend to start off with the chicken. Pour five cups of water in a pot and add the broth, chicken, onion and garlic cloves, set the burner to maximum heat. Once it boils bring the heat down to medium and continue boiling for 30 minutes.

While the chicken is boiling prepare the “salsa verde”. Put the chiles, onion and garlic on a pan and grill over medium heat, chiles are usually done pretty quickly so remove them after a minute or so, it’s important that they don’t get burnt. The onion and the garlic should be left until charred (partially burned).

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Put the garlic, onion and chiles in the blender.

We used whole canned “Tomatillos” so there was no need to grill them, however, if you get fresh ones remove the outer coating, wash thoroughly and grill them along with the other ingredients. Another thing worth mentioning is that if you don’t tolerate spicy food you should only add one or two chiles, the ten chiles that we added gave it moderately spicy taste.

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Put one cube of broth in the blender with the other ingredients.

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Blend everything and your salsa is almost ready.

Put some oil in the pot, heat it up for 5 minutes at medium heat and pour your salsa in. Boil it 10 to 15 minutes or until you obtain a thicker consistency.

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We used corn tortillas from a shop called “La Reina de las Tortillas” here in Barcelona. It’s very important that you use authentic corn tortillas for the “enchiladas”.

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Fry the tortillas on a pan from both sides. If you see some bubbles popping up on your tortilla, like in the picture above, it’s ready to be flipped.  Try to fry each side for 45 seconds at most.

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Put the fried tortillas on paper towels in order to dry them.

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Shred the boiled chicken with two forks as above.

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Put some chicken on the fried tortilla.

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Fold the tortillas as in the picture above.

Put some cheese on “enchiladas” and add the hot “salsa verde” on top of the cheese so that the cheese melts.

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Finally put some avocado and creme fraiche on top and your delicious “enchiladas” are ready to be eaten!

These “enchiladas” are amazing! I love “salsa verde” so for me all the Mexican food that includes “salsa verde” makes me cry. I remember the first time I tried “salsa verde” on “chilaquiles” and I couldn’t believe what I was tasting. This recipe is very traditional and I’m sure everybody will love it! I’m still amazed every time I eat it. 🙂

– Eeva –

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Barbecue, Barcelona, Food

BARBECUE

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I have to admit that I had never been that into barbecues until I met my Mexican friends. I can count with one hand how many times I’ve been grilling food in Finland. Usually we just walk into woods and heat sausages on a campfire. Mexicans (or at least the ones I know :D) are professionals when it comes to barbecues. An interesting mix of meat, onions, sausages and more importantly “salsas” were the key to success. Also the beautiful weather we had added an extra flavorful touch to our already amazing food!

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Our friend’s rooftop is barbecue heaven! Last time we visited him, it was raining a lot and we were only able to dream about sunny days and barbecues. I’m really glad he invited us and we were able to make our plan true. The day was perfect and it really felt that Spring was here! The past few weeks have been rainy and grey so last Saturday was a real reminder that Summer is coming. I didn’t realise until I moved here how much the weather actually influences my mood. The sun gives you so much energy and I couldn’t stop smiling!

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Before you put the food on the grill you can clean it with onion and olive oil.

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Grilled onions need only some lime and red “salsa” and they’re ready to be eaten!

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Jay the Englishman enjoying onions with red salsa.

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Jay’s rooftop is massive!

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I was a bit sceptical when Rafa said that we were going to make tacos with chistorra (spanish sausage similar to chorizo) and cheese. I couldn’t believe that you didn’t need more ingredients. Like I mentioned before the trick with Mexican food is the “salsa” you put on your taco. In my head I always imagined Mexican food being complicated but in the end the important thing is to combine ingredients wisely and make the “salsas”.

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“Pico de Gallo” on top and your taco is ready! You can find the “Pico de Gallo” recipe here. Simple and super tasty.

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We also prepared some burgers. They were super good! I added some red “salsa” to give my burger a nice spicy touch.

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Finally the sun came down and we continued our evening indoors. I moved to Barcelona over 1 and half years ago and I still feel that there is a crazy amount of things to see and do. Jay moved here recently so it’s refreshing to listen to him because I can relate to those feelings that I experienced when I had just moved here. His roommate actually summed up what Barcelona life is like: every weekend in Barcelona is equivalent to a holiday. It’s crazy, but true! I feel that you have so many things to do and time just flies so you are in this constant battle with time. Especially when Summer comes, you basically just go home to sleep and the rest of the time you spend outside. I’m really looking forward to it but I’m also glad that life is not an endless Summer. 😀

– Eeva –

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Barcelona, Music

TOMMY CASH

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First of all, I’m not an expert what comes to music. I can’t write a deep analysis of an artist, I can just describe my own experiences and feelings.

I have to say that I feel like a teenager when it comes to Tommy Cash. I don’t know if you know the feeling I’m talking about but it’s just this kind of teenage excitement. I haven’t had this kind of feeling in a long time and especially I haven’t had this kind of excitement about an artist in a long time. I was so happy that Tommy came to Barcelona and after buying the tickets I couldn’t think about anything else than the upcoming show.

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The first time I saw his videos, my mind was blown away! I couldn’t believe what I was watching: an Estonian rapper with weird accent on these crazy music videos. The visuals are hypnotising. I love the colours and the way people move in his videos. It’s just breathtaking. He is making something different and you can’t put him into one genre.

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I think Tommy’s visuals explain the music a lot. I really enjoy his music but to get the full experience I recommend you to watch his music videos. My favourite music video so far is “PUSSY MONEY WEED“. I never would have thought that a song called “PUSSY MONEY WEED” would make me cry. 😀 The way he represented handicapped people on the music video was one of the best things I had seen in a while. I have never seen anything like that before and it just hit me hard!

About the show here in Barcelona. I really loved it! He played all his songs except “Surf”. I had high expectations and it turned out to be better than I expected. I’m really glad he played in Sala Apolo because the sound was very good. Also I liked the visuals and well, the atmosphere was amazing! Everyone was dancing, jumping and singing. The only sad thing was that he didn’t play an encore but the show was so good so I forgive him. 😀

I took some videos to show you how great it was, hope you enjoy!

– Eeva –

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Barcelona, Food, Restaurant

CASA LÓPEZ

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If you are travelling to Barcelona or you live in Barcelona and you haven’t visited Casa López, you have to go there as soon as you can. I have to thank our friend Roger again for showing us this wonderful restaurant. Casa López is a perfect name for this place, since the interior reminds me of someone’s house. After discovering this place, we have been there many times and it has always been great! I’ve always wanted to find our own “go to”- bar and we finally have it!

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As you can see above, they have several different “Tapas” on the menu. Prices are decent and well, the quality is great! They also have sandwiches but we still haven’t tried them. One day we will!

If you like cheese I recommend you to try this “Tabla Queso Curado”. That cheese has a lot of flavor without being too strong and the size of the plate is proper. It’s a perfect starter and I recommend you to try it with “Tapa de Fuet”. “Fuet” is a Catalan sausage and this particular one in Casa López is just perfect! It is cut into nice, thin slices which won’t stay long on the plate as soon as everyone has a taste of it.

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We also ordered “Tortilla de Patata” which is a Spanish omelette. I would say that the best ones I have tried so far have been in Casa López and in Pinosa. The problem with “Tortilla de patata” is usually that it’s overcooked and dry. This one is nicely cooked, soft and tasty. My favorite dish in Casa López is “Chocos”. They are basically small calamari and they are super delicious! Usually when we have tried calamari they haven’t had that much flavor BUT these are definitely the exception, they’re the best ones I have tried so far. They have a lot of flavor, they are not oily and they are perfectly fried.

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Above you can see classic “Croquetas de Jamon Iberico” and a big “Bomba de carne”. Bomba is a fried ball of potato and meat with sauce on top. In Finland we have this dish called “lihaperunasoselaatikko” and I would say that this is only a fatter and tastier version of that. So far this has been the best “bomba” I have tried in Barcelona.

The potatoes above are the “all-i-oli” version, they are really good but in my opinion the spicy “Patatas Bravas” are a bit better. If you like garlic, I recommend you to try the ones above. I like both sauces a lot and my inner potatolover approves the flavor of the potatoes. They are soft and nicely roasted! We also tried the meatballs which are really juicy and tender, they are cooked in a tomato sauce with peas and mushrooms which is perfect for dipping some bread into! The combination is wonderful and it’s hard to tell which exact flavor makes them so tasty.

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We finished everything!!

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Digestivos, amazing as always! This one is Orujo de Hierbas.

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As you can see I’m the biggest fan of Casa López and the only thing left to say is: “just go there!”. The only “bad” thing is that it’s usually full and maybe you have to wait for a table a bit, but I think that is always the case what comes to good restaurants. I’d recommend to arrive at around 7 pm in order to not spend time waiting for a table, they also open during midday but I’ve only been there for dinner so I’m not sure about the situation at that time.

Another great thing is that it’s located in Gracia and that is my favorite area in Barcelona. I can’t wait for Spring to come and have a cold drink under the sun at Placa del Sol (a nearby square) after eating in Casa López. 😀

Casa López

Carrer del Topazi 11,

08012,

Barcelona

– Eeva –

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