Tag Archives: paella

Cooking in the Dark

I slept in until 11 am on July 13, 2012.  Ivan was already up.  We had to get ready since we would be taking a cooking class today.

We walked to BCN Kitchen.  Today, we were taking a Spanish cooking class.  The cooking teacher was a Catalan man named Frank.  He told us that we were making pan con tomate (bread with garlic, tomato and extra virgin olive oil on it), Spanish omelet (Tortilla Española), Catalan Cream, and mixed Paella.  He let us know what ingredients were in each one.  Everybody got to choose which dish we were making.  Ivan wanted to do the paella, but there was squid, pork and chicken in it – so he switched with me to make Spanish omelet.  The group consisted of Ivan, Noelle, Charisse, me and a couple from San Francisco, a girl from the Netherlands and two Australian guys. 

I was paired up Helen and Jeff, the couple from San Francisco.  I had to take off the fat from the chicken wings and cut the pork in half.  Helen and Jeff had to do the cutlefish, bell peppers and garlic.  Ivan was peeling potatoes and chopping up onions.  Charisse was making Catalan Cream with the girl from the Netherlands.  Noelle was chopping up lots of tomatoes for the gazpacho.  She was making the gazpacho by herself so the pressure was on for her, and there was nobody else to blame if it tasted terrible!

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Ivan had to flip the heavy Spanish omelet onto a plate and then put it back into the pan and cook the other side. He did it like the pro chef he secretly is!

Frank was really friendly and helped everybody out if they needed it.

It’s fun learning new dishes to make.  Hopefully, we can try these out back home.

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We made our own pan de tomate.  Frank toasted the bread in the oven.  We put garlic on it (by pressing a clove against the bread it grates it) – Frank said three swipes.. but we just kept doing it for awhile, Ivan did it for two minutes!  His theory is ‘you can NEVER have too much garlic…unless you are out on a first date!’. Next, you cut a tomato in half and put some tomato on the bread and then drizzle extra virgin olive oil on it, along with just a dash of salt.  Tasty!!

Catalan Crème is similar to a crème brulee.  Ivan got to put sugar on top and burn it with a blow torch.

It was a great cooking class.  Everybody’s dishes turned out good.  The paella turned out very moist and tasted really good. 

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I really enjoyed the gazpacho which wasn’t as tomato-y as when we have it in restaurants.  We got to take away some of the food – we grabbed mixed paella, gazpacho and Spanish omelet. 

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Go take this class and learn to make some Spanish dishes!

We walked back towards the apartment.  Noelle wanted to stop by H&M and browse.  I’m glad we did because Ivan picked up a pair of swimming shorts and I got two cute shorts.  I prefer H&M in Europe to the Vegas one.  The clothes are so much better in Europe.

I worked on the blog and used the internet.  Noelle and Charisse passed out right away.  Ivan and I took a siesta.

We woke up later on and weren’t sure what to do for dinner.  Ivan found something good though.  We got a taxi to Dans Le Noir which means In the Dark in French.

Ivan has been to Dasn Le Noir in London, but Charisse, Noelle and I haven’t been.  I went to a similar dining experience with Ivan in Malaysia. 

We took pictures in the lounge area since we, of course, can’t take pictures in the dining room.

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The lady explained how we would be dining in the dark – complete darkness.  We got to choose what package we wanted.  Charisse got the one that had two main courses and a dessert while Ivan, Noelle and I got the full package with a drink to start, appetizer, two main courses and a dessert – also with a drink with three of the courses.

Ivan, Noelle and I were given a sparkling wine to start off with… it was red and quite tasty. 

We walked in a train with some Spanish people into the dining room.  It was so very dark.  I was sat next to Ivan with Noelle in front of Ivan and Charisse in front of me.  We had to try to guess what wines and food they were giving to us.  Charisse has glow in the dark nail polish.. so that was the only light we could see which wasn’t very bright at all.

It was a very cool experience trying to guess what we were eating.  It was weird being in the dark – Ivan said our brains were getting confused and then our eyes would close since it thought we didn’t need any use for it.  Our waiter is blind – his name is Jose and he didn’t speak much English – good thing Noelle knows some Spanish.  Noelle talked to him and he has worked there for 2 years.  I guess he really learns the layout of the dining room – otherwise he’d be running into things and dropping plates.

One of the stupid Spanish people at the next table kept saying Shhhh.. when they were being just as loud as us.  It just encouraged me and and Ivan to be even louder.  Noelle, Charisse and I were doing the woo woo thing that people do in clubs.  Some foods I didn’t like while others I really liked like the chocolate cake dessert.

Outside, the host told us what we ate.  Some were were dead on, like watermelon in our salad.  Charisse and I had the meat dishes and ate brains.. Eww!!  It was crunchy and small though.  I thought the meat was beef, but it was actually pork.  We tried to guess if the wines were rose, white or red, but we only got one right. The first was a rose and then two white wines. 

Ivan wanted to go to a shot bar, but there was a long line to get in.  I guess it’s popular if there’s a long line.  We didn’t feel like waiting very long, so we walked around the Gothic quarter to find a bar.  Ivan wanted to try some vermouth since they had some on the tapas tour. 

We ended up at a bar called Mirilla.  Everybody each got a vermouth. 

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I thought it was really strong like a port and I didn’t like the taste.  Ivan got me a white wine.  I was pretty drunk at this point. 

It was really warm in the back room at the bar.  We finished our drinks and walked back to the apartment.

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90’s Boat Party

Ivan was already up on June 9, 2012 when I woke up at 11:30 am.  The girls were still sleeping since they were still jetlagged.

Ivan and I used the internet and I worked on the blog. 

It was an overcast day, we were hoping it would clear up later on. We went into town to find lunch.  Ivan thought we should eat at Café Mambo since the prices were reasonable….much more reasonable then what they charge at dinner anyway.

We got a great table right near the rocks and the water.  Ivan and I shared a salmon salad and a goats cheese salad. 

Lil Dave got a banana and chicken sandwich.  We all shared the very tasty disco fries with aioli.  The food was delicious, and the view was perfect!

We went shopping in town for souvenirs and clothes.  Noelle got a tank top with Ibiza on it.

We decided to do a touristy thing, and so went to get the ‘San Antonio Express’ train . After boarding and notices that the 4 of us made up half the passengers (I guess their marketing manager needs to find a new job! ) we set off. The train toured around the villages and we saw the beautiful views of Ibiza.  Lots of greenery and trees. 

Our guide was hilarious.  He would say jokes and even do his own voices (people and animals).  He had many funny props as well.  I think he was the funniest guide on a tour and we’ve been on LOTS of tours. 

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Not only was the guide funny, but he was able to be funny in Spanish and German also as there were some of those nationalities on board!  We got to see a couple of vineyards, then we stopped at a restaurant for a free drink.  Ivan, Noelle and I got a sangria.  Lil Dave and Charisse got a Sprite.  Our guide had a big fake wheel and was driving with it. 

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This tour is great since you get to see the beauty of Ibiza.  Ivan thinks they should advertise the tour as a comedy tour, then it would bring the people in.  It should be a lot busier than it is.  You HAVE to go on this tour if you’re ever in Ibiza!!

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We walked around more.  I bought a postcard.  I asked for stamps and was told that I could get them at the tobacco store.  Charisse found a tank top.  I got some cute British flag shorts with spikes on it. 

We walked to the port for the speed boat tour with Blade Runner.  Ivan, Charisse, Noelle and I had our clothes on since we didn’t know we would be doing this tour.  Ivan moved things around so we could do this tour today rather than another day.

The group were told to hold on tight to the handlebars in front of us and to plant our feet firmly on the boat.  The guide told us that if we stand up, we could hit a break and that person would fall and probably hit the boat and go into the water.  If this was to occur, we would point and laugh at the person, so this would let the guide know where that person is at all times – then they would go rescue him or her. 

The boat went super fast in the water with the driver stopping and doing sharp turns to get us wet. 

We stopped at an island which is the 3rd most magnetic point in the world called Es Vedrà.  A guy was exiled from Ibiza, so he lived there.  All he had was a few goats which he used for cheese and milk.  He must have had help if he was making cheese.  The guy went to the highest point on the island and killed himself.  Nobody knows why, maybe he was depressed or the funniest theory is that he had his way with the goats and felt guilty and killed himself.  Lots of women flocked to the island because if you touch the rocks it helps you fall in love.  We drove up to a cave of the island and got the opportunity to touch the rock.  Our British guide said that if will help you find love, stay in love or just get laid.  So, of course everybody touched the rock – some of the British guys a few times.

We were really, really wet from all the water.  I was a bit cold. 

The boat headed to Café Mambo for the sunset.  We were given a can of beer.  The guide told us girls that if we wanted sangria, he had some in the back.  The boat stopped so we could see the sunset and swim if we wanted to.

We drank sangria and chilled out.  Ivan and Noelle went in the water.  I was already cold, I didn’t want to get even colder by jumping in the water.  Ivan said it was warm in the water at first, but when the sun went down it got colder. 

The sunset was quite lovely. 

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There’s always a lots of people on the rocks in front of Café Mambo and Café del Mar, sitting at Mambo and at Café del Mar.  The crowd clapped when the sun went down.  I find this amusing since the sun does it every day – it just looks better here in Ibiza.  I bet the sun loves setting here since he gets applause.  Too bad we’d have to wait for an encore the next day.

We drove back to the port.  The boat ride was taped while we were on the boat.  Charisse, Noelle and I ran to the bathroom across the street at a bar.  Ivan was checking out the video.

We really wanted to get out of our clothes, but it would have meant getting a cab to the hotel and then walking back.  Ivan thought we should just go to dinner now. 

We walked to Stephan and sat on the sidewalk.  There’s a deal where you can get a paella and a glass of sangria for 16 Euros. 

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Ivan, Charisse and I ordered the seafood paella while Noelle got the black ink paella.  Lil Dave made a special request and got a banana paella.  The paella was so very tasty again.

The group headed back to hotel for a long 2 hour nap.  We went out at 1:40 am with our swimsuits under our clothes – well Ivan had his swim shorts on.

We checked out the busy West End street.  It’s filled of young British people walking along the street that has bars and nightclubs.  We sat down at Corner Bar and shared a jug of Sex on the Beach.  It’s so watered down.  They give you free shots when you order a jug.  The shot is green and tastes like Sprite – don’t think there’s a drop of alcohol in it.

I brought our waterproof camera, but I forgot the memory card.. so sadly there are no pictures of the night.

We talked, drank and people watched.  The girls barely wear anything – usually really short shorts that show their butts and a t-shirt.  The guys wear shorts and t-shirts or they just go topless.  This street is the best place to people watch.

At 2:30 am, we headed to Es Paradis for Fiesta Del Agua (Water Party).  Tonight, it was 80’s and 90’s night.  The music was really good.  It was British 80’s and 90’s house music – so Noelle, Charisse and I knew some of the songs….whereas Ivan knew them all!!  The DJ started playing some songs from 00’s as well. 

Later at 4:00 am, the water started coming and Singin’ in the Rain was playing.  The circular dance floor started filling up really fast.  It’s nice that there’s different levels of stairs where you can stand.  At the bottom of the dance floor, it was a pool already.  Everybody was splashing each other.  I found a men’s flip flop.  I was hitting guys on the butt with the flip flop.  The music was really good – lots of great 90’s classics were playing. 

The Water Party is soo fun.  It’s just amazing how fast the dance floor becomes a pool.  Guys will jump into the water which is dangerous since the pool really isn’t that deep.  A few guys were grabbing onto the stage above and dangling.  We didn’t see that much crowd surfing this time.

We were all hungry after dancing for hours.  Ivan spotted a place where we could get a chip butty.  Chip butty is an English thing – chips in a roll.  Ivan and I thought it would come in a cheap roll.  But, the baguette was high quality with chips (french fries) in it.  It was really big and tasted great.

Everybody was satisfied and we walked back to the hotel at 6:10 am.

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Off to Ibiza

Ivan, Lil Dave and I woke up at 9:40 am on July 5, 2012.  We packed everything up and left the Airbnb apartment in Limehouse. We don’t think the lady who owned the house liked us too much – she seemed rather keen to ‘get the door for us’ as we were heading on the way out. I think its because every time she looked in our room it was in a mess- well not messy in our eyes, but messy compared to the rest of their ‘everything has its place’ flat.

On the way to the airport, we went to the Wahaca located in the Westfield mall in Stratford.  Ivan and I shared lots of great Mexican food like broad ben and feta burrito, guacamole and a big salad.  Lil Dave had a banana burrito. It was all really tasty and made a nice change from standard Mexican fare.

We headed to the bus headed for the airport.  We had to wait awhile until the 3 pm bus.  The bus left at 3 pm.  There’s free wi-fi on the bus, but for some reason it stopped working after a few minutes.

At the airport, we had to try to get our luggage to be 15 kg – we only had one suitcase between two of us.  We transferred lots of stuff to our carry-on, but we still had too much.  We ended up paying for the extra weight…..not a good start to our Ibiza vacation…

We boarded the plane and left at 5:20 pm.  Ivan and I didn’t sit by each other since the flight was sold out.  I ended up sitting in between an English guy and a South African guy.  The plane was filled mostly of British people…just like Ibiza really….

I tried to sleep, but I couldn’t for some reason.  I kept reading Now You See Her by James Patterson and Michael Ledwidge.  It’s so good, I couldn’t stop reading it!  I was trying to think of ideas for a book.  I would love to write a book, maybe a detective novel.

I’ve never seen so many people drink on a plane.  Girls were singing and saying ‘Woo Woo’ like people do in nightclubs.  It was a party plane.  Most of the plane clapped when the plane landed.  I’m just glad we didn’t land early or the stupid horse finishing music would play – Ryanair always plays it to congratulate themselves for being on time. 

Our plane arrived at 8:50 pm with Spain being an hour ahead. 

Immigration was easy for the Brits – the officers were looking that their passport was EU and just waved them through without stamping it.  I’m surprised the Spanish were even awake to stamp passports – usually we land in Spain and there’s nobody at the Customs booth.  I had to wait in the No EU line which wasn’t long.  The officer didn’t even say anything to me.  He just took my passport stamped it and then scanned it.  I would have done it the other way around.. but no biggie. 

Ivan already got our luggage so we headed outside to find the bus waiting area.  Unfortunately, the next bus to San Antonio wouldn’t be coming for 30 minutes.  Ivan thought we should take a taxi cab instead.  A guy asked if we were headed to San Antonio as well.  We said yes and he asked if we could share a cab.

So, we got a cab to San Antonio.  The guy was from Tenerife, but he lived in Kent, England.  He was speaking to the cab driver in Spanish, and spoke to him like he was a long lost friend who had lots of catching up to do …oh if only we understood Spanish!

We checked in to our room at Hostal Mari.  It was a basic room with free wi-fi. 

We got ready and then headed out for dinner. 

We walked down West End street which is filled with young people and so many bars.  I saw lots of muscles and scantily clad British girls.

We walked along the water and found Stephan.  I’m sure we’ve been here before.  Ivan and I each got the special of seafood paella with sangria. 

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The paella was lovely!

We walked around Ibiza recognizing all the places from last time like Café Mambo and the square where we watched Spain win the World Cup.  It was lovely night with great weather.  So many girls where really short shorts showing their butt cheeks.  Some shouldn’t be wearing them.  I felt overdressed. 

We headed back to the hotel to get some rest.

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