Monthly Archives: February 2011

The Oldest Restaurant in the World

Guinness World Record Approved, Sobrino de Botín is the oldest eatery in the world. Serving up traditional Spanish cuisine since 1725, it specializes in cochinillo asado (“roast suckling pig”) and sopa de ajo (an egg, poached in chicken broth, and laced with sherry and garlic). It is said that Francisco Goya worked as a waiter in this very restaurant while trying to get into Madrid’s Royal Academy of Fine Art. Ernest Hemmingway, who frequented many restaurants and bars in the area, also mentions Sobrino de Botín in his novel, The Sun Also Rises. If you would like to enjoy a meal here on your trip to Madrid, make sure you call and make a reservation; they book up fast.

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European Excursion

Travel within Europe is significantly cheaper than travel within the United States. Round trip flights can be found for as little as 20€ and hostels are a great way to minimize spending on sleeping arrangements. I usually use Hostelworld.com. Their site is easy to navigate and their overall ratings are very helpful. If you are planning a European excursion, there are two main methods of travel that are reasonably priced: by air and by train. Depending on how constrained you are on time and how early you are able to book your reservations, cost differences between the Eurorail and flights can vary significantly. When booking my August 2011 trip, a combination of seven flights and two train rides created my month long itinerary within 7 countries. If you aren’t sure exactly where you would like to travel, Skyscanner is a great website to start your research. You can enter your starting destination and choose your final destination as “Everywhere“. It will show you the best deals to multiple places within your desired timeframe. It was my lifesaver when booking all the travel arrangements for the trip you see above.

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I Love that Dirty Water

No matter how long you have been away, Boston always seems hold a special place in people’s hearts. Although the winters can be tough and the streets are crawling with Red Sox, Patriots and Celtics fans, its impossible not to fall in love. This has held true with me. Boston never really leaves a dull moment. Little things like walking down Newbury while avoiding being run over by Louie or being stopped by the one armed push up man on Huntington truly encompass being a Bostonian. And of course you can’t forget this, one of the most screamed out song of all times. Can you guess what it is? (If you don’t know this song click here). Live in the city long enough and you will hear it echo from Fenway, I guarantee it.

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Moulin Chocolat

Happy Valentine’s Day! Whether you have someone special to celebrate with or are rocking the single life like I am, a little dessert always seems appropriate for this love filled day. If you are in Madrid for the holiday there is a French pastry shop called Moulin Chocolat nestled right in the heart of the city. It is full of delicious treats topped with real rose petals and gold leaf. They are perfect as gifts, especially for this romantic day, or as a little treat for yourself. The staff is very friendly and the array of choices makes it nearly impossible to only choose only one.

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Crêpes

A delicious breakfast always sets a good tone for a day. Here is something simple that I picked up to do just that. It is an easy and versatile crêpe recipe. Whether you want savory or sweet, this recipe is a simple way to please your stomach. There are minimal ingredients required: one egg, one cup of flour, one cup of milk and a dash or sugar or salt depending on your fillings. Mix it up, cook it on a skillet over medium heat, and you have crêpes. Fill it with some of your favorite ingredients. Strawberries and bananas, lemon and sugar, or greek yogurt and peaches are some of my favorites.

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Sail Away

As much as I love living in the city sometimes an escape is nice. Many city dwellers encounter this feeling once in a while. For a short fix you can escape within yourself or within the city that is. New York has Central Park, Boston has the Commons and Madrid has Parque Retiro. One of my favorite activities in Parque Retiro are the rentable row boats. It is great to do with family, for a romantic date, or for a picnic with your friends. Don’t worry, you don’t need a captain’s license or skipper skills, just a bit of muscle to row and maybe a dash of coordination. Half of the fun is trying to maneuver your way around without creating a game of bumper boats. It is a slightly harder than you would think.

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Weekly Appreciation: Little Sparks

Last week’s appreciation involved a bit of sunshine and some warm weather; that was nothing short of a tease.With highs of 50ºF (10ºC) to lows of 32ºF (0ºC), it was just cold enough to have to bundle up and walk briskly throughout the streets. Though sometimes cold weather can get me down, a little spark to the day took out the bitterness and chill in the air. I was able to wrap up in my new scarf from El Rastro (compliments of my mother), enjoy a game of sudoku, munch on one of my favorite tapas, sip on an after dinner shot with an edible glass, and sew a button back onto one of my favorite summer dresses in hopes of better weather soon. What little things made your week worth while?

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