Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Boqueria in DC

In the old Penang spot, Boqueria, a NYC tapas restaurant offshoot opened up this spring on M and 19th Street NW. They did a wonderful renovation, with the decor and atmosphere much lighter and brighter than the former Malaysian restaurant. The brightness made is seem a lot more open and brighter.
 Charcuterie and sangria bar in the middle.
 Cojonuda ($4)
Fried quail eggs and chorizo on toast. A little difficult to eat gracefully but nice.
 Patatas Bravas ($8)
I love potatoes of any sort and needed to see how these stood up to the version at Jaleo. Good, with roasted aoili all over the potatoes and spicy salsa brava.
 Bombas de la Barceloneta ($9)
Beef and potato croquetts with salsa brava and aoili sauce. Perfectly fried.
 Pan con Tomate ($5)
Grilled bread rubbed with garlic and tomato. Perfect composition, would recommend.
 Tortilla Espanola ($6)
Potato, onion and egg traditional Spanish omelet. I loved it, although the rest were less enthusiastic.
 Salteado de Setas ($9)
Wild mushrooms with manchego cheese and thyme. Very earthy.
Bunuelos de Bacaloa ($9)
Salt cod and potato fritters. These were light and fluffy with the requisite salty cod flavor.
Perhaps we ordered a few too many potato-dishes, and probably should have ordered one fewer dishes. Great place to join friends and share some tapas with wine or sangria. The staff was knowledgeable and unobtrusive, although I bet at non-lunch times they push alcohol sales more. Definitely more expensive per dish than Jaleo, and the lunch menu is quite limited, but the execution was solid on all of our choices.

Brushing off the Cooking at Home Skills

After a full week of breakfast buffets and restaurants, it was great to get back into the kitchen at home. Here are a sampling of what we've been eating. We went from winter and spring weather in Norway to the dead of summer in DC, so I'm trying to lighten up our dinners a bit.
 Panzanella (Bread salad)
 Cast-iron skillet roasted chicken
 Turkey meatloaf with sriracha-ketchup, green beans with rayu and salad. 
 Weekend Vegetarian Brunch (plus smoked salmon plate)
Bon Appetit has a fantastic white bean ragout recipe this month, plus broccoli-mushroom fritatta, brie and apples, salad, chickpea salad, avocado crostini and watermelon-feta-red onion salad.
 Celebrating Memorial Day Weekend with some homemade burgers and grilled jalapenos.
 Super refreshing summer salad of strawberries, watermelon, feta. red onion and balsamic.
Pesto Orecchietti Pasta with sundried tomatoes, peas and parmigiana cheese.
Pan-roasted cajun spiced salmon with mixed greens and broccoli.
A little umeboshi wakame on top of the broccoli was magic.

Back in the USA: Overwood Brunch

We're safely back in the USA, where smiles are free and brunch does not cost an arm and a leg. For our first meal after we returned, we headed out to Overwood in Old Town. Overwood is owned by the same people as Faccia Luna and Boulevard Woodgrill in Clarendon, which was one of my favorite haunts for years when I lived in Arlington. 
 Spicy Bloody Mary with random crustacean garnish.
 Fabulous Eggs Chesapeake 
aka crabcake on an English muffin topped with a poached egg an hollandaise sauce.
 Fruit with granola to share.
Blueberry Pancakes for my sweet husband.
For the life of me, I cannot make decent pancakes. At least Overwood's not super far away for when he's craving some.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Back in Bergen, Norway

We made it back to Bergen in time to see some throngs of Norwegians celebrating Constitution Day. Some many were dressed in an interesting traditional outfit with wool capes. Once again, it was raining, but it didn't stop the celebrations. 
We ended up stopping for lunch at a tourist trap of a Chinese restaurant called Chinese Palace for a late lunch.
Hot and Sour Soup.
Wonton Soup.
Spring Roll.
Fried Rice
For our final meal in Norway, we went to Bryggenloftet restaurant on the Bryggen waterfront. These former warehouses are brightly painted and truly quaint. Our waiter was extremely patient while we perused the menu with a variety of Norwegian specialties including reindeer, elk and bacalao.
Elk appetizer with berry compote.
Happily married.
Mussels in a white wine cream sauce.
Bacalao (salt cod fish) with tomatoes, potatoes and olives.
Wandering through a rainy Bergen night, we ventured out to try an Italian restaurant on Constitution Day. We ended up at Pasta Central AS. Casual place where you order your meal at the bar and tell them your table number, they bring out large plates. Probably the best bargain meal of the trip.
We shared a vibrant salad.
Husband's pasta with mixed seafood and tomato sauce.
Homemade pasta with shrimp and mussels in a white wine sauce.

Det Hansaetic Hotel in Bergen, Norway

We arrived back in Bergen and stayed at the Det Hansaetic Hotel. This picturesque hotel near Bryggen recently underwent a series of renovations. Each room has a different decor, and our room was incredibly large with the best bathroom. The soaking tub was large enough for my husband to fully stretch out in.
Delicious Smoked Salmon
Cold Cuts with Smoked Salmon, Pickled Herring, Shrimp, Cheese.
I loved the bread selection in Norway. 
My husband's breakfast.
Mixed cereals with yogurt
Fabulous cheese, sandwich, scrambled egg and salad is a great way to start the day.
Our Lonely Planet guidebook suggested Pingvinen was a nice neighborhood place with Norwegian specialties. We ordered a fantastic bowl of buttery popcorn, a great snack. We also ordered the salmon sandwiches which had buttery and fluffy scrambled egg alond with fresh vegetables.
Pingvinen Bar's Smoked Salmon Sandwich with Scrambled Egg. 

Alesund to Bergen cruise on MS Trollfjord

We went on a day fjord cruise to Geiranger which was beautiful, but slightly marred by a run-in with a less than friendly elderly Norwegian who yelled at and shoved my husband. A crew member from the cruise stepped in and we escaped to a quieter area of the boat.
We had about 6 hours before we could board the overnight cruise to Bergen. Fortunately the kind hotel staff at the Tron Hotel near the wharf let us sit in the unused lounge until our departure time. 
Aboard the MS Trollfjord we met the first two nice Norwegians during the trip. We had an inner cabin room, but these guys had a larger suite the size of a regular hotel room with a stunning view of the water. 
Breakfast aboard the cruise.
We were the last guests to make it to breakfast, but there was still a wide selection.
Salad and cold cuts with citrus fruit, granola with yogurt.
Meatballs, hot dogs and hard boiled egg.
Cold cuts, cheese, vegetables, fried egg and smoked trout.

Alesund, Norway

Alesund is a quaint city by the ocean. Extremely picturesque, but it felt a little less welcoming than Bergen. We stayed in the First Hotel Atlantica, very modern and with a beautiful view of the water and mountains. I absolutely loved the bathroom, with its deep soaking tub and heated floors.
We stopped in for dinner at Egon, a casual family restaurant. With food like an Applebee's with prices like a higher end steak house, just another mediocre restaurant experience.
Pepper Steak with vegetables, salads and baked potato.
Fries and onion rings with sweet chili mayo sauce.
Salmon with vegetables, salad and baked potato.
Fortunately the breakfast buffet in Alesund was a lovely array. 
Granola with yogurt and fruit.
Vegetables, smoked salmon, pickled herring.
I had a sandwich every morning, with the nicest multigrain bread.
We went to Sjobua, a highly recommended seafood restaurant on Trip Advisor. This was our most expensive meal of the trip, at $300. A beautiful restaurant with excellent service, it was a nice dinner.
Risotto with Seared Scallops
The restaurant decor was lovely, lots of old nautical bits and bobs that added to the atmosphere.
Pan-seared cod with vegetables and mussels.
Creamy potatoes.