Beijing: a foodie’s heaven and a tale of two restaurants

When making a culinary trip to Beijing, hutongs are a must – there are many foodie finds among the traditional courtyards. However, if there are more of you or if you are travelling with young children (or even just want a roomier sit-down environment), give Ju Qi (局气) or Jing Wei Zhai (京味斋) a go. Ju Qi, named after a Beijingese word for having poise … Continue reading Beijing: a foodie’s heaven and a tale of two restaurants

Madrid: a culinary city break

When I told friends that the city break in Madrid was quite a culinary one, they said that, well, every time I go on holiday it ends up being a culinary trip! But what better than food to tell you the story of the place you are visiting? Out of all the curiosities travelling might trigger, this one is undoubtedly the most satisfying. Knowing what people eat is like entering into their everyday life, inside their habits, their most familiar thoughts. At Blender and Basil we represent two of the most traditional cuisines in the world, where eating is so important that every life event is discussed or celebrated around the table: decisions and compromises, promises and arguments, hellos and good byes. In Spain, too, it goes just like that, so I did my best to taste some of the most traditional dishes in the country.

La Daniela

Can you have a whole banquet inside a croqueta? At La Daniela I learned you can. We visited this wonderful restaurant at our arrival in Madrid and on an empty stomach. Once sat at the bar and chatting away with the most pleasant waiter, we definitely got carried away with the orders. Croquetas de Cocido, Croquetas de Jamon, Callos (tripe), Salmorejo soup with aubergines, Russian salad and, on the house, Ropa Vieja (another Cocido derivate dish). The highlights of our quite extensive menu were definitely the Croquetas de Cocido and Callos. Both rich on the palate and heavy on the stomach, these dishes are very representative of the city. The former, a derivate dish of the cocido madrileño, in croquetas the heart of all cocido tastes mixed with beshamel sauce. The latter can be a tricky one to get right, as tripes are very fat: but this one had just the right mixture of elements to make it irresistible. Just like their personelle, who made us feel at home and let us stay a little later after closing time to chat away and finish our vino.

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