Yolk’s Breakfast Restaurant and Commissary

IMG_9120

Manmosa – P49 HayFever Saison, fresh squeezed orange juice

After exams ended, I met up with my Barca buddies K and U for brunch. I suggested we go try Yolk’s Breakfast Restaurant and Commissary. They have a food truck, but they also recently opened a restaurant near Knight and East Hastings. It was a far drive for me, but definitely worth it! We waited roughly 10 minutes and were given a seat. The restaurant is actually fairly large compared to many other breakfast spots. They don’t take reservations, like many of the popular breakfast restaurants. Our server was friendly and checked up on us once in a while. We first started off with some drinks. I went for the Manmosa, which came with a glass of freshly squeezed orange juice and a bottle of beer. I was a bit skeptical of mixing beer and orange juice together, but it turned out great! It’s supposed to be the manly version of a manmosa, but I could care less! A bit of alcohol to start our day off!

IMG_9121

Mimosa – sparkling wine, freshly squeezed orange juice

U got the girly version and chose the Mimosa. It comes in a skinnier glass and is already premixed with sparkling wine and orange juice. She said it was pretty good!

IMG_9122

Yolk’s Caesar – Bacon infused East Van Vodka, Clamato juice, freshly grated horseradish, Worcestershire, Tabasco, lime, celery shrub

K got the Yolk’s Caesar. Very typical and nothing too fancy with the play on ingredients.

IMG_9123

Hand Carved Honey Ham on truffle-lemon hashbrowns and English Bangers

For food, Yolk’s is famous for their Poached Free-Range Egg Sandwiches. Their menu has a cute design for this item, and it guides you through the options for this dish. You can choose the topping, whether you want two eggs or one, english muffin, hashbrowns or gluten-free buns, a sauce or cheese, and any additional sides. K got the Hand Carved Honey Ham, which came with fresh spinach & Yolk’s made Dijon. He also got two eggs and double everything. He chose the truffle-lemon hashbrowns instead which cost an additional $1.50. He had the double smoked bacon last time which he said he preferred. Other than the eggs, he also got the English Bangers which were perfectly grilled sausages. He said they were delicious!

IMG_9126

Chicken & Waffles – organic fried chicken, Belgian waffles, chicken gravy & pure Canadian maple syrup

U didn’t go for the eggs, but rather their Chicken & Waffles. Yolk’s has a fairly simple menu, hence probably why they can execute good dishes. The chicken & waffles is also one of their famous dishes and it consists of organic fried chicken between two Belgian waffles. It also comes with a chicken gravy, but we all agreed it didn’t taste like gravy and was very bland. U said that the chicken and waffles, however, were very delicious! The chicken was moist and flavourful.

IMG_9124

Poached Free-Range Egg SandwichesPortobello Mushroom on truffle-lemon hashbrowns

For myself, I also went for the Poached Free-Range Egg Sandwiches. I chose the third option which is Portobello Mushroom. It came with an aioli sauce and fresh arugula. Just like K, I chose two eggs and double everything and had my eggs on truffle-lemon hashbrowns by adding $1.50. I also chose the real hollandaise as my sauce. Cutting into the eggs, they were perfectly poached with the yolks running out. It doesn’t look like too much on the plate, but I was beyond full by the end of the meal. There’s plenty of hash and they were seasoned well! The option for two eggs and double everything comes to around $10.75. Since we substituted for hashbrowns instead of the English muffin, the total cost was $12.25.

IMG_9125

Overall, I highly recommend Yolk’s for a breakfast spot. I know some people wait an hour for this, which I probably wouldn’t, but since I only waited 10-15 minutes, I really didn’t find it too bad. Plus, they have great drinks and the portion sizes of food are just right. A pretty reasonable priced breakfast. Only downside is how far it is for me!

Yolk's Breakfast Restaurant and Commissary on Urbanspoon

Bella Gelateria – Hot Chocolate Festival

IMG_8884

Bella Gelateria has always been one of my favourite gelato shops. It’s pricey, but their handmade gelatos are always worth it. For the Hot Chocolate Festival this year, they offered a “Hot ChocolatO.” It essentially meant that the hot chocolate were flavoured by a ‘gBar’, which is a frozen gelato on a popsicle stick. We chose the Black Magic, which comes with a Black Seasame & Matcha Green Tea gBar and a 85% & White Hot Chocolate.

IMG_8885

The pairing also came with a slice of Banana Bread. You could actually taste the richness of the chocolate in the drink, and apparently you are supposed to stir your gelato in your drink, but I ate it on its own. I loved the sesame in the gbar, although I found that it overpowered the matcha flavour. Again, the gelato was extremely smooth. The banana bread was also a very nice treat to go with the drink. It’s made by a local called Erin Ireland, and it consists of roasted macadamia nuts, Callebaut milk chocolate, olive oil and organic bananas. All this was for $7.50, which is decent considering the amount of hot chocolate you get and the extra treats on the side.

Bella Gelateria Handcrafted Gelato on Urbanspoon

The Nags Head – London

IMG_8584

My last night in London was bittersweet. It meant leaving Europe after 4 months, but at the same time, I was so excited to see my friends and family again. A must for shopaholics is to visit Oxford Street in London. It’s a street just full of shopping, including my personal favourites – Selfriges and Topshop. Selfriges has huge sales after Boxing Day too!

IMG_8586

Since it was my last night, K and E said we might as well get the most out of it. After dropping A and C back at the hotel, we took the Tube back to Covent Garden. Covent Garden is near the Soho area, so there’s a variety of pubs and cafes. It’s also where the huge market and Royal Opera House is located around. We found The Nags Head just a block away from the Tube, so we quickly seated ourselves. We’re not huge drinkers, so K and I just got an Apple Cider which was on tap. Really good and crisp.

IMG_8588

K was also in this total British pie mode after trying Pieminister, so she insisted we needed to get another pie. We went for the Chicken & Ham Pie this time, since she was really looking for something along the lines of a chicken pot pie. This came with peas, carrots and gravy. It was also supposed to come with potatoes, but they ran out, so we were given fries instead. The pie was flaky and fully filled with juicy chicken and a delicious sauce. Very good for pub food!

Overall, The Nags Head was a nice bar with average prices and a very convenient location. The interior was all wooden, giving it a traditional British pub feel. Service was average given that at most bars, you need to seat yourself anyways. The bartenders were pretty nice to us even though we weren’t sure what to order and took the time to explain to us. You’ll also find a mix of both locals and tourists here.

And that ends my posts for Europe. I am so grateful for this experience, and am happy to say that I’ve discovered some new cuisines and dishes that I am now craving for. Until next time! Now back to Vancouver we go!

Traveling in Vienna – Christmas Markets and Palaces

IMG_7908

From Prague to Vienna, we took a bus called Student Agency that took around 5 hours. Flying in and out of  Vienna is extremely pricey, so it seems that most travelers on a budget commute by bus. Student Agency was the cheapest bus out there and it was also one of the best bus I’ve been on! They had tons of movies to watch, free wi-fi, and even a cup of complimentary hot chocolate or coffee. Our bus did require us to switch to a different bus when we got to Brno, a city in Czech. The next bus wasn’t as fancy, but it was only another 1-2 hours, so we just slept it off. After dinner with K’s friends that night, they took us to the Vienna Christmas Market. Once again, there are multiple markets all around the city, but the most significant one is at Rathausplatz. It’s also where Vienna’s Town Hall is located. A gorgeous building both in the day and night. Here, the parks are decorated with lights and I feel like it was the nicest market I visited during my trip in Europe.

IMG_7906

You’ll find that Mulled Wine or “Gluwein” stalls all over the market. It’s super popular in Vienna and they have a huge variety of flavours for their punches too.

IMG_7907

I went for the original Gluwein, but I didn’t like it as much as my friends’ flavoured punches. The fruitier ones tasted much better. You pay a deposit and get it in a nice mug which you can keep if you don’t want your deposit back. Otherwise, just return your mug and you can get your deposit back. Other than drinks, there were a variety of food and arts and crafts.

IMG_7938

The next day, we went to tackle all the major tourist sites. However, one of our friends were a huge Sigmund Freud fan since she took a few psychology classes, so we ended up going to the Sigmund Freud Museum first. He’s basically the founder of psychoanalysis, and although I didn’t know much about him, the museum was pretty interesting. You get an audio player to listen to while walking around the museum. Freud had lived there, but there really isn’t much of his furniture left now and it really looks more like a museum. I would advise people who are into psychology and such to visit if they have time. It takes around 2 hours. Then we began to hit up the typical tourist spots. Here is the Austrian Parliament Building, which is huge and spectacular! basically around this area, you’ll find a bunch of other important buildings. We had a look at the Museumsquartier, where there’s a bunch of modern art museums.

IMG_7952

Then we came to Hofburg Palace, which used to house the Hasburg dynasty and rulers of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Today, it’s where President of Austria lives. The only problem was that by the time we got here, it started to snow! And quite heavily too! It was our first snowfall in Europe, but seriously, we just wanted to hide indoors. We weren’t dressed for this weather!

IMG_7953

It took us forever to find food! Most places were packed with people since everyone wanted to wait for the snow to stop. We finally found this tiny mall on Mariahilfer Strasse called Gerngross. Inside, we found this restaurant called Brandauer with reasonably priced food. We found a seat and warmed up. I got the Ribs with Fries and they were so good! I felt like I was back in America eating that greasy food. It wasn’t even that greasy. Each rib had tons of meat on it too and it was roasted to perfection. It came with two dips too, which were perfect for the wedge-cut fries. After lunch, the snow stopped and we went to Karlsplatz, which is a square where the Karlskirche (St. Charles’ Church) is located. Also a must see!

IMG_7959

After that, we met up with K’s friends again, and they took us to see the  Belvedere Palace. Again, it’s a Baroque style palace  and was built for Prince Eugene of Savoy. Today, it’s a museum with art from the Middle Ages to today. K went in to see the collection, but the rest of us weren’t too into art, so we ended up taking a look at the Christmas Market which was just outside the building. It was a much smaller scale market, and I wouldn’t come here just for the market. The palace was really pretty at night though! The girls and I also ended up heading to the Schonbrunn Palace since it was our last night. It’s the former imperial summer residence and is known as one of the most important cultural monuments in Austria. However, we didn’t find that the Schonbrunn Palace looked as nice as the Belvedere! It was a bit more simple compared to the Belvedere. We didn’t pay to go inside, but there was again another Christmas Market! This one was much larger than Belvedere and had quite a lot of food. Not bad!

IMG_7962

We then met back up with the rest of the group, and they took us to Vapiano. It’s actually a German restaurant chain, but the largest restaurant is in Vienna! It’s a self-serve restaurant with Italian food like pasta and pizza. They make the food when you order which is really cool. I wish I took a picture of it. So what happens is when you walk in, they give you a little card. You find your own seat, then you go ahead and walk up to to kitchen to line up. There’s a pizza line and a pasta line. When it’s your turn, you scan your card on this machine and tell the chef what type of pasta you want, what sauce, and whether you want other toppings. Then the chef literally starts to cook it in front of you! Pasta doesn’t take long to cook, so you have your food ready in less than 5 minutes! You can add on drinks or other sides. Here, I got the Pesto Penne, which was quite delicious! Affordable pricing, and the quality wasn’t bad. They claim to have fresh pasta and such. I don’t think it’s the best pasta I’ve had, but definitely pretty good for what you pay. When you leave, you just give the cashier your card, and it’ll show how much you need to pay! Definitely a cool concept and the interior doesn’t even feel like a cafeteria! It looks pretty upscale!

IMG_7964

At night, K went out to party with his friends. The girls and I wanted to have an easy night and we headed back to our hostel. We stayed at Hostel Ruthensteiner. It wasn’t our first choice and wasn’t exactly the cheapest, but everything else was booked up during that time! Always book early! Anyways, the hostel was fine and service was friendly. Definitely wasn’t the nicest one we’ve stayed at and it was also our first time where we had to share a bathroom with the rest of the floor. It’s fine when you’re the first one up in the morning, but once it’s the evening, the bathroom is a mess… Well we survived, and honestly I can say, it wasn’t as bad as it could’ve been. Also at our hostel had a mini bar where many students and travelers hung out. The girls and I went to the bar and got some Punch! It was much cheaper than the market, and we actually thought it tasted better! And that ended our night. The next day, we would begin our adventure to Budapest!

Freiraum – Vienna

IMG_7902

Next stop was Vienna! K had friends on exchange here, so they took us to Freiraum. It’s a very casual bar/ restaurant on a busy street called Mariahilfer Straße. Pretty noisy too but the atmosphere is fun. For non-smokers, it’s good to keep in mind that in Vienna, you’re allowed to smoke inside restaurants, although they have designated areas. Even though there’s a non-smoking area, the smoke really just travels over. The restaurant was packed, so we ended up sitting in the smoking area. Not ideal, but being in Europe for so long, I’ve sort of gotten used to the smell.

IMG_7899

Zwettler Beer

We ordered the Zwettler Beer since apparently it’s the most common Austrian beer. For some reason, I think the server heard us wrong, and he brought us a variation of the typical Zwettler beer. It had a taste of lemon and wasn’t very fizzy. It didn’t even taste like beer…

IMG_7900

Freiraum Schmarren

I was way too hungry to wait for dinner, so I had ate some kebabs before arriving at dinner. So instead of having an entree, I ended up going for an Austrian dessert. On the menu, it’s called a kipferlschmarren. I think it’s more often known as the Kaiserschmarren or just the Schmarrn. Schmarrn means shredded pancake and Kaiser is named after one of the Austrian emperors who enjoyed this pancake. Basically they were pieces of fluffy pancake mixed with caramelized walnuts and apples. It was topped with a bit of icing sugar and came with a side of homemade applesauce. I actually really enjoyed this! No need to fuss with cutting up the pancake into smaller pieces and the toppings worked really well together. It didn’t taste too sweet, which can happen with maple syrup. It’s a very common dessert in Austria, so I recommend trying this!

Bits and Pieces of Amsterdam

IMG_7216

During my visit in Amsterdam, I also snacked on some food that I think are worth mentioning. After the Burger Bar, we walked a few steps and smelt some freshly baked goods! It was coming out of the Metropolitan, which offers a variety of pastries and sweets, including waffles, ice cream, and chocolate.

IMG_7215

For myself, I chose this Chocolate Crispy Ball. It wasn’t something I had seen before, so I decided to give it a try. It’s sort of like corn flakes but coated with chocolate and all stuck together. Not bad, but it got a little too sweet after a while!

IMG_7249

Then, another night we were wandering the streets and ended up in Chinatown. We were starving and M suddenly disappeared into Nam Kee. Nam Kee specializes in Chinese BBQ meats, and the ironic thing is that I usually hate it when my mom buys this back in Vancouver.

IMG_7301

However, a few of us girls decided to share a box of mixed meat and the weirdest thing was I thought it was so delicious! I guess when you don’t eat something for 3 months, it tastes really good to you. I used to eat this pretty much every week when my mom was lazy to cook and I just got sick of it… And never had I thought soy sauce on rice could be so delicious… The meats were lean and you got a lot for the price you paid for. Nam Kee also has 2 other restaurants in Amsterdam, one of which we visited on a different night. However, I didn’t’ think the other restaurant was as good as this one. Or perhaps I was just really hungry and standing on the street eating this take out box was so satisfying…

IMG_7252

Duvel beer is a Belgian beer owned by a Flemish family. It’s a strong golden pale ale, which M said was really good. Although it is supposed to be a little bitter, I found it quite easy to drink. I enjoy my beers to be light and easy to drink.

IMG_7255

Our hostel had a bunch of coupons for activities in Amsterdam, and one that caught our eyes was the XtraCold Ice Bar. Honestly, we were all quite disappointed in this. It cost around 16 euros and to make things worse, S and I had split up from the group. We also got a bit lost trying to find the bar, and by the time we got there, we were told that we only had 15 minutes left of the “experience”. When we bought our tickets, we had “reserved” a time for the experience… Apparently, the whole experience only lasts around 50 minutes. We asked if we should still go in, and the guy at the till said it was up to us, but that we wouldn’t be getting the full experience. Since we didn’t want to split up from the group, we quickly got put into these parka jackets and gloves that were supposed to keep us warm. They also gave us some 3D glasses. When we got in, all our friends were freezing. Apparently the experience was watching some penguin cartoon show… which I definitely did not understand for the last 15 minutes. The ice room was extremely small with “fake glass”. I’m pretty sure it’s not real but more like clear plastic since I took off my gloves and touched it. They also did not have enough seats, so many people ended up having to stand in the back for the entire show. They have a mini bar in there with one bartender and you receive 2 complimentary shots in these ice shot glasses. Honestly, I did not think it was worth our money and our friends were freezing for the whole hour and said we hadn’t missed out much and would’ve rather came in late so they didn’t have to suffer the cold. They also didn’t allow photography inside, but only with their camera which of course, you needed to pay for the photos after. Outside of the room, there is an actual bar with more normal temperatures, and I thought the setting seemed pretty nice. I’m pretty sure the drinks were really expensive though, and it seemed more like a tourist attraction since the bar was pretty much empty.

IMG_7256

On a different morning, we got up early and went to look for some breakfast. And…we ended up at a Donair shop and ordered some chicken nuggets and fries. The chicken nuggets actually reminded me of Mcnuggets and they were extremely crispy on the outside. The fries were also quite different from American and Spanish fries. They were very crisp, and my friends said they were Belgian fries. Belgian fries are fried twice, hence they are much crispier.

IMG_7258

During our sightseeing, we found the famous I am Amsterdam sign!

IMG_7276

Another cool attraction we discovered was the Amsterdam Cheese Museum. It’s not exactly a museum because it’s more like a cheese shop. Inside, they have literally all types of cheese. Cheese with flavours such as truffles, pesto, sun-dried tomatoes, sausage and much more. My favourite was the pesto cheese and the hickory cheese which literally tasted like sausage! The shop is quite small, but it’s filled with such a large variety of cheese, and almost every type of cheese has samples for you to try. The staff are also really friendly and don’t really force you to buy anything. I wish I took some cheese back, but my backpack traveling really limited how much space I had… Downstairs, there is an extremely mini museum. They have a few boards with some cheese history, and then they have outfits and props like traditional Dutch wear and clogs for you to dress up in to take pictures. Other than that, it’s really more of a cheese shop than a museum. Worth checking out if you’re a cheese lover and won’t take up too much of your time!

Els Quatre Gats – Barcelona

IMG_6971

Els Quatre Gats means “The Four Cats” in Catalan. You’ll sometimes see that it’s short termed as 4 Gats. This restaurant has a lot of history! It started as a hostel, then became a cabaret, a pub, and finally a restaurant. It’s been open since 1897! There is supposed to be a lot of art and architecture history behind the building and it’s actually well known because this was the spot where Picasso used to come very often.

IMG_6950

Inside, the place is colourful and there is a small section of tables near the entrance with the bar behind.

IMG_6953

If you continue walking in, you’ll find that the restaurant is actually quite large. There’s also an old piano on the side, and it seems like there are jazz nights here.

IMG_6952

The restaurant is filled with art pieces, and Picasso actually had his first exhibition here. I love how there’s two seater tables at the top balcony. It sort of looks unstable, but people still sit up there today. I could only imagine Picasso sitting there sipping a cup of coffee and finding art inspiration.

IMG_6951

This is the menu. The title page for the menu is actually made by Picasso. Pretty neat! Anyways, the prices at 4 Gats is quite pricey and not for everyday meals. However, they offer a menu of the day with 3 courses during lunch time for around 16 euros. It’s much more expensive than typical menu of the days, but the restaurant is almost a famous tourist spot, and the setting is close to fine dining. So it’s quite reasonable.

IMG_6954

Bread

Of course, we ordered the lunch menu, since most entrees on their own were the same price. The set came with a bread roll for each of us.

IMG_6955

Mineral Water and Red Wine

Then came a glass of mineral water and a bottle of red wine for our table of 5 to share. The wine wasn’t actually too bad. Usually the house wines are watered down and extremely cheap. You get around two glasses each. I liked how the waiters were very professional in the way they poured the wine and how they placed our table setting.

IMG_6956

Paella

Since we had 5 people, we ended up ordering every single item on the menu. They had four choices in each course to choose. We were able to try a bit of everything this way. The first appetizer was Paella. I really enjoyed this! This was probably one of the best paella I had. I hadn’t had a lot of paella in Barcelona just because I wasn’t very fond of it. I could have it once or twice, but I eventually got sick of it, and it’s also not the cheapest dish. This was a seafood and meat paella. Rice was moist, but not too saucy, but at the same time, it wasn’t too dry. The rice was cooked perfectly so it wasn’t too hard or soft. There were shrimps and mussels and a meat I couldn’t really grasp upon what it was. It had a chewy texture, but I loved it! I felt like it was some part of pork. Loved this dish!

IMG_6957

Spinach Lasagna

Another appetizer was the Spinach Lasagna. The lasagna was actually quite a decent sized portion as an appetizer. I could easily get filled up by this and the bread. It was very creamy with a load of cream sauce and tons of spinach. There wasn’t too much cheese to it though, so it wasn’t a very cheesy lasagna. Definitely more of a cream base one.

IMG_6958

Goat Cheese Salad

The Goat Cheese Salad was plated beautifully. I liked how the cheese was made into almost like a terrine, where there was nuts mixed into it. I’m not a huge fan of goat cheese, so I found the cheese to be really strong. My friends really enjoyed it though. The greens were also extremely fresh and crisp.

IMG_6959

Vegetables with Parmesan

I was hesitant about the Vegetables with Parmesan, as it sounded very plain. However, it was plated beautifully again. They stacked the vegetables on top of each other to make a square shape, and topped it with lots of Parmesan. This was then baked I believe. It was a simple dish, but I really enjoyed it! I thought all the flavours worked really well together and I never enjoyed eating vegetables so much!

IMG_6961

Stew Fish with Clams and Potatoes

Now onto the entrees! Again, we tried every item on the menu. I didn’t think the presentation of the Stew Fish looked too appetizing, but then again, it’s a stew. Surprisingly, there was a lot of fish! The sauce was very flavourful, and all the ingredients were soaked in it. Not bad, but wasn’t my favourite.

IMG_6963

Swordfish with Vegetables

Another fish dish was the Swordfish with Vegetables. The swordfish were battered and deep fried. There wasn’t much of a sauce to it other than the vegetable mix with a slightly tangy lime sauce. However, the fish was fresh, so it was really delicious without any real sauce.

IMG_6966

Steak with Baked Potatoes

I thought the Steak was both a hit and a miss. We ordered two dishes of this, and one was cooked perfectly, while I thought the other was a little undercooked. Both dishes were cooked very rare, but one of them was extremely tender while being pink. The other was a bit tough and I almost felt disgusted that I was eating raw meat that was extremely difficult to chew. Let’s comment on the good dish. It was lightly seasoned with salt and topped with some green onions. It was already sliced into strips so it was extremely easy to eat. As for the potatoes, they were baked alright with a generous sauce on top. I found the baked potatoes to be just average.

IMG_6967

Duck with Artichoke

The Duck dish didn’t look too appetizing again, but it was actually quite delicious. The duck was extremely tender and the meat would just fall off easily. I wish the skin was a little crispier. The artichokes were cooked till soft and complemented the dish quite well. A lot of sauce on the dish as well.

IMG_6968

Apple Cake

As for desserts, we ended up only choosing two out of the four, since the other two were a yoghurt or fresh fruit. Didn’t sound too interesting. So instead, we got the Apple Cake. Sadly, it was quite disappointing. The cake was extremely sweet since it had alternating layers of a cream custard. The custard was very similar to the ones they use for Catalan Cream. It was too moist and soggy with the cream, and none of us really enjoyed it. Also, overly sweet!

IMG_6969

Pineapple with Catalan Cream

Lastly, we had the Pineapple with Catalan Cream. We weren’t too sure what to expect, but it ended up to be simply a kebab of pineapples on a skewer stick and topped with tons of Catalan Cream. It was actually quite refreshing! Not the most amazing dessert, but it wasn’t too sweet. A great way to finish our meal.

Overall, I was quite satisfied with Els Quatre Gats. I don’t think it’s a place I would recommend as a must go, but I think it was cool to dine here at least once. You really get that artsy atmosphere and now I can say I’ve dined at the restaurant where Picasso did! Also, service was not as bad as other reviewers have written. I found it a little cold when we first stepped in, but our waiter himself, was extremely funny and friendly. You’ll also find an older crowd here.

Cafe Granja Viader – Barcelona

IMG_6896

Cafe Granja Viader was recommended by my Spanish professor. This cafe has so much history! The family business began in the 1870s and started as a farm. They are also among the first to start the dairy industry in Spain, and they invented Cacaolat, which you will see all over Spain. Cacaolat is basically the Spanish version of our Milk2Go. The cafe is actually located just inside the streets off of La Rambla, so extremely accessible. You’ll find locals eating here with their children, but tourists have also discovered this cafe and has been a popular destination.

IMG_6897

The cafe still has such a vintage feel to it! Very basic furniture with the waiters dressed professionally.

IMG_6898

Painters are hung around the wall. We came just when the second opening time began, and hence we got a seat right away. The cafe closes from around 2-5, abiding to the siesta. Therefore, many of my friends have found it difficult to visit here, or when it’s open, there are usually huge crowds.

IMG_6899

Swiss Hot Chocolate

N had came to visit me in Barcelona, and I decided to take her here after she got off her flight. Another friend had suggested items to order, so I followed. First, we got a Swiss Hot Chocolate. This was basically the Spanish Hot Chocolate, but topped with a huge lump of whipped cream. The whipped cream was actually light and didn’t have that heavy milk taste that cheap processed whipped cream had. You need to realize that the hot chocolate in Spain is literally melted chocolate. It’s so thick! I don’t think they put any milk in it… The whipped cream really helped lighten the hot chocolate and give it a more milky texture.

IMG_6901

Spanish Hot Chocolate

My friend suggested we order just a Spanish Hot Chocolate, and because the Swiss one had so much whipped cream, you could just scoop over half of it onto the one without the cream. This worked out perfectly. When we tried the Spanish Hot Chocolate by itself, we felt it was too heavy. They use dark chocolate, and hence it’s not too sweet. But still, imagine yourself drinking a cup of just melted chocolate… It’s quite something. We both agreed that we wouldn’t be drinking hot chocolate in a while… Extremely rich and smooth though!

IMG_6900

Churros

We also got an order of Churros. The plate came with around 4 looped churros and there was one that was a bit different. It had a lot more sugar on it and had a slight cinnamon taste to it! The churros were fresh and surprisingly not too sweet. I did find that the churros were a little hard for my liking, so I ended up dipping it in the hot chocolate. It was the best way to eat it, especially since it got a little boring just drinking the thick hot chocolate.

IMG_6902

Overall, I was quite satisfied with Granja Viader! It’s a nice place to sip on some hot chocolate and grab a snack. I really felt like I had went back in time and was experiencing the true Catalan way of enjoying tea time.

IMG_6890

To finish off with some Barcelona attractions, I attended the El Clasico 2013! For those who aren’t football fans, like myself, El Clasico is a football match between the Real Madrid and FC Barcelona. The two teams are among the richest and best teams in the world, and Barcelona and Madrid themselves have always been rivalries in football. Also because of other political issues, like independence, the two cities are always heated when they compete. My friends luckily convinced me to attend, and it was the best decision! I’ve never been to any sports game in my life, let alone football being of any interest for me. However, it was so much fun, and the crowds were full of spirit. Never felt so excited watching a game! Camp Nou, the stadium is also the largest football stadium in Europe! It was fully filled and although our seats were almost the last rows, we still had clear vision of the game. And of course, Barcelona won!