To celebrate my brother in laws birthday a group of us met up at Foxwoods Resort and Casino for some gambling, dinner, and laughs.
In the afternoon we spent our time between the slots, roulette tables, and the bowling alley. I definitely did not win but Greg ended up winning a little more than he came with. In the High Rollers (bowling alley) we got some drinks and food and unfortunately. Whenever we are with a group for drinks or food we end up just splitting the check evenly. Lately, I have noticed an upswing in staff asking if we would like separate checks. That definitely wasn't the case at High Rollers. When others in our party asked for a separate check our server had to double check with her manager if that would be okay.
After drinks, we gambled a bit more and made a dinner reservation at Vue 24 for 8:30 pm. A few minutes before our reservation 5 of us met up at the correct elevator and ventured upstairs. The restaurant has a casual elegance to it and we were welcomed to our table. We all ordered a starter, entree, and dessert but I'll only speak to my meal. My start was the Foie Gras. The sear on the foie gras was perfect, the french toast was a large portion, and the blueberry compote wasn't overly sweet. My entree was the Pacific Halibut. This dish was scrumptious! The fish was cooked perfectly and the charred tomato sauce along with the crab meat was an amazing combination of flavors. For dessert, I chose the bananas foster tart. The dessert was good but I was hoping for a bit more punch of passion fruit flavor.
After dinner, we decided to make the long drive home but others stayed a bit longer to test their luck. All in all, it was a fun outing with friends and family
We were quite taken by the juxtapose sides of Barcelona. On one hand it is a beautiful historic city where you walk next to a wall built in the Roman era and on the other hand you go into a restaurant that is creating some of the most innovative dishes today. Barcelona is a must visit city for anyone who loves history, art, architecture, amazing food, and friendly people.
I'm sad to say that this is my last post about our inspiring week in Barcelona. In the next few days you'll be able to download our free 2019 Barcelona City Guide.
New spots in Boston MA
Traveling in 2019 to:
Road Trip with stops in Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Georgia, and Florida
Bar Harbor, ME
Royal Caribbean Anthem of the Seas Cruise
On Friday evening, we first came across the festivities when we ran into The Laias (Giant figurines) by accident after dinner. We followed along for a little while marveling at the unique giants and the loving attention given to the figurines, the performers wearing and dancing with the figurines, as well as the musicians.
The next morning we ventured to Passeig del Born for Trobada de gegantons infantils. This event was a parade of the Laias as well as figurines and musicians from multiple schools around Barcelona. It was absolutely lovely watching the children's creations as well as the children happily playing music, dancing, and waving to the crowds.
Valentine's Day may not be a big deal in Barcelona but we still enjoyed an amazing dinner and each other's company. The minute reservations became available we reserved our table at the two Michelin star restaurant Disfrutar. Disfrutar also happens to be the number 18 restaurant on the World's 50 Best list. The night of our reservation we checked in and had our coats stored for us. The staff showed us through the restaurant and one of the owners welcomed us inside. Not to compare them to Enigma but both restaurants have this special touch and it was appreciated.
Our table for two had a view of the entire restaurant. The decor is bright, airy, and has the relaxed feel of being on the coast of the Mediterranean. From the sommelier to the servers, to the restroom staff everyone was friendly, helpful, and had a smile on their face. Throughout our meal I appreciated how the staff orchestrated delivering plates as well as removing plates. I don't know if other's would have noticed or if they would have been annoyed but I was happy to see the staff waiting nearby and using slight motions to ask for help, and always two servers at a time.
To start our meal I enjoyed a glass of Cava while Greg tried a glass of red vermouth. Rather than over ordering by enjoying a wine pairing we selected a bottle of El Bandito Cortez 2014. For our meal, we decided to go with the Disfrutar Classic. Our meal was filled with bold flavors, hot dishes, cold dishes, and a variety of textures.
A few standouts from this meal were the frozen passion fruit ladyfinger (bright, cool, and sweet), the black cauliflower with coconut lime bechamel (deep cauliflower flavor with a bright touch), hare and foie gras bonbons (unique, flavorful, and great texture), and the chocolate peppers with oil and salt (creamy, sweet, chocolaty, and a touch of heat).
I loved this meal but it contained a lot of dairy (I took several Lactaid pills throughout the meal). Our meal was delicious and offered a few surprises but it felt heavy and we ended the meal feeling on the full side. I definitely need a nice walk back to our hotel after this meal.
I completely understand all of the accolades that Disfrutar has received. The level of service, quality of ingredients, and bold flavor combinations are all outstanding. Disfrutar is another must visit restaurant!
I have been a fan of Ferran and Albert Adria for a long time and was crushed when El Bulli closed. I was beyond thrilled when Albert Adria imagined and created a new and unique restaurant group. Our initial goal was to dine at Tickets. I sat online at 6 pm (our time) every day for a week trying for a reservation and ultimately failing. Luckily, we scored a reservation at Enigma restaurant. Over the next couple of months, I read reviews and they were either glowing or showed dislikes. My thought process for dining at Enigma was probably different from most people. I have dined at expensive restaurants and have been beyond disappointed. I love to cook and bake all the time and I'm pretty good at it. When it came to Enigma I was more interested in the skills and Avante Garde approach to food that is rare and special. To me, Enigma is a multi-sensory experience more so than just delicious food. After reserving your spot you receive a unique code and password to enter the restaurant.
On the day of our reservation, we entered our code and password. Walking down the hall we were greeted by the staff, our coats were taken, and we were offered water. To me walking into Enigma felt like stepping into a cave with cool colors, ice, and texture.
Our menu consisted of items we were familiar with, items we weren't familiar with and items I thought I would never try. The thoughtfulness, techniques, and flow of our meal were incredible. I also appreciated how the servers and chefs explained each dish and some of their process (some information was given after you ate the dish). There were a few dishes containing dairy and I ended up taking a few Lactaid pills throughout the evening.
I could not begin to pick out a favorite dish. The combination of textures, depth of flavors, and unique ingredients were truly special. A few standouts for me were the green mandarin Kakigori (bright and fragrant), Barnacle and codium (nice texture and slight sea taste), Pea "calcots" (fresh and true pea taste), the cured Lobster (I'm a New Englander and this was the best bite of lobster I've ever had), and the Autumn salad (who knew I would enjoy Sea Anemone).
With close to 40 creations one would think we'd end up being completely full. I was happily surprised that we were content and not uncomfortable. If you are looking for wonderful service, delicious food, unique ingredients, and a new approach to dining Enigma is a must visit restaurant!
Light, warm, welcoming, special, incredible, artistic, and I could go on and on about the Basilica de la Sagrada Familia. We have been to many cathedrals across the U.S. and Europe and we have never felt so inspired before. We pre-purchased our tickets online and at the entry time found out we had to go around to the back entrance. After going through security (similar to at airports) we picked up our audio guides. Once inside the Basilica did a brief self tour before heading up in the elevator to the Passion Tower. I was expecting a type of terrace once we stepped out of the elevator but the journey down starts immediately. There are close to 400 stairs to walk down but the views and architecture make it enjoyable! Once we were back in the Basilica we continued our tour of this impressive building. We had some extra time later in the week and both agreed a 2nd visit sounded enjoyable so we purchased a couple more tickets online and as my sister says enjoyed the feeling we were being hugged by a rainbow!
When it came time to visit Park Guell we did everything wrong. We had the insane idea to just enjoy the exercise and walk from the Basilica de la Sagrada Familia to Park Guell. This is a 2.1k walk mostly uphill. The weather was 60 degrees which was enjoyable but the sun shone strongly on our backs. Once we arrived at the Park we made our way to the monumental zone thinking we would get in easily at our assigned time. Unfortunately, we found a long and winding line of people with the same assigned time.
During the time in line, I dealt with teenagers behind us almost pushing me out of the way to sit on small boulders along the way. I also had to witness a family from another country allowing their children to try to kick and throw rocks at birds. I'm thankful that my loud gasp, look of horror, and angry face stopped the little boy from throwing his rock and the mother holding her daughter on the other side of her away from the birds. Why do people continue to feel animals are beneath us?
Sadly the nature square is closed right now for repairs and with the crowds, you had to kind of fight for the views. The architecture, Trencadis style art (use of broken tiles meshed together) and natural surroundings were lovely and unique but we didn't end up staying that long.
When looking online at Casa Mila we ended up purchasing tickets to visit during the day and the night. Unfortunately, the night we were supposed to go on a tour Greg had food poisoning. The next morning he was feeling better and able to go on our self-guided tour. We entered Casa Mila and had to go through security but after a large group. The stairs were closed off when we entered so we took the elevator up. Once outside you are met with an architectural playground. Everywhere you look there are unique sculptures, angles, and views and during our visit, it never felt overly crowded. After wandering around for a while we visited the attic. Inside the attic, you will find architecture models and pieces that were used for inspiration.
After the attic, you enter one of the apartments. It was fun to see the time period pieces however it was really hot and crowded so we hurried along. The souvenir shop has a great mix of gifts for yourself, friends, and family!