travel throwback : san sebastian, spain

Last winter, I fell in love. It was the kind of love that made you stop, stare and ask yourself “is this real life?!”. It was the type of town characterised by the simplicity of living. Upon driving into San Sebastian, you’d feel a little awkward riding a car on the road and seeing everyone else (locals & tourists alike) biking, walking or running to their destinations whether it be to work, the local market or the beach. It was that kind of town. No frills, just beautiful in it’s natural state.

I fell in love with the people, the culture, the food (okay, fine, maybe mostly the food). Who wouldn’t?! San Sebastian is one of the gastronomical capitals of the world. For those who are ready to splurge, take your pick with the countless Michelin Starred restaurants. If you’re feeling more of the adventurous side, take your pick with any small alley and I assure you, you will find a hole-in-the-wall that’ll leave you salivating for more. San Sebastian is every enthusiastic eater’s dream.

The perimeters of “la playa”, as they would say, is lined by a boardwalk where locals and tourists eat & drink their day away as they watch the sunset. The town’s shops close mid-day since everyone in Spain needs their daily dose of “siesta”. At night,  everyone is up & about ready to eat and drink yet again. Alley ways will lead you to even skinnier alley ways that take you to all the best hole-in-the-walls to get your “pintxos” fix. In the basque country, tapas are called “pintxos”.

Squid ink calamari in A Fuego Negro
Squid ink calamari in A Fuego Negro

Every week, the city hosts a local event called “Pintxo y Vino”. This event is held in a different neighbourhood each week. It is the happiest hour I have ever witnessed. During the time span of this event, you can get one pinxto and an alcoholic beverage of your choice for less than 6 euros. Every bar changes the rules up a little but basically, you always end up with a pretty sweet deal.

Uni custard & goat cheese topped on foie gras at Zeruko
Uni custard & goat cheese topped on foie gras at Zeruko
Traditional cheesecake at La Vina
Traditional cheesecake at La Vina

My family & I visited during the end of September to early October. Locals say the ber months are an ideal time to visit as opposed to the earlier months of the year which is considered to be their rainy season. We stayed for four days and throughout our stay, the sky was the prettiest shade of blue I have ever seen. I kid you not.


Eating, drinking and sleeping (or as they say siesta) all day repetitively is certainly my kind of vacay.

It was an incredibly fun and memorable family trip that I would definitely do a thousand times over. I’m pretty sure we went home with empty wallets but it was definitely well worth it as we went home with our hearts full (and tummies!).

xx Andrea

mat(chia) pudding

Every morning, I leisurely walk to my neighborhood coffee shop, sit down, read the paper and have a cup of my daily cortado- one part espresso, one part steamed milk, just the way I like it. 

That’s what I would say if someone asked me how I’d like to spend my mornings. Sadly, that is not the case.

In the city that never sleeps (because everyone is basically over-caffeinated), coffee shops are flocked to like temples. Double espressos, macchiatos, cortados, draft lattes (yes, lattes on tap now exist), nitro cold brews- the options of getting in on that caffeine buzz are ENDLESS.

Want to know what else is endless? The LINES in these coffee shops. And as Kimberly “Sweet Brown” Wilkins once said, ain’t nobody got time for that.

I could not agree more, Sweet Brown. So here’s a recipe that doesn’t make you wait in line, lets you sleep in a little longer and treats you with a good caffeine kick. Yep, sounds like a sweetheart to me.

Mat(chia) Pudding 

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Serves 2

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup chia seeds
  • 1 cup almond milk/full-fat coconut milk
  • 1 tbsp. honey (adjust sweetness to your liking)
  • 2 tsp. matcha green tea powder (if you aren’t feeling too adventurous, 1 tsp. will do!)
  • 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract

Directions

  1. In a mason jar or small container, mix chia seeds, your preference of milk, your preference of sweetener, matcha powder and vanilla extract. Tip: Make sure chia seeds are well incorporated to the mixture in order for it to gel well. A little jar shaking won’t hurt.
  2. Let it sit in overnight.
  3. Remove from fridge, top with fresh fruits, granola, nuts, etc and enjoy!

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Pro move: If you’re looking for a sweet and more indulgent treat rather than a morning starter, swap matcha powder for cocoa powder instead. Add 2 tbsp. of brewed coffee to enhance the deep chocolate flavor.

And if the additional sleeping in time didn’t convince you enough, here are some fun facts that are most likely to win you over.

Chia seeds are one of the highest sources of omega-3 fatty acids. In addition to this, it helps treat insomnia, reduce nervousness and improve mental focus. Matcha, on the other hand, is packed with antioxidants. One cup of matcha green tea contains 10x more the amount of antioxidants in one cup of regular loose leaf green tea. It also gives you that caffeine kick sans the crash.

Need I say more? This one is definitely a keeper. I swear by it!

xx Andrea

coconut flour pancakes

Breakfast is clearly my favourite meal of the day. Sometimes, I can’t wait to sleep knowing i’m hours away from it. It gets me all excited & fuzzy on the inside and so today, i’m sharing one of my all-time favourite breakfast recipes- coconut flour pancakes!!!! Yes. Coconut-y pillows of happiness drizzled with good ‘ole maple syrup. Ugh, i’m drooling just typing this.

These pancakes are packed with so much fiber and protein that they keep you feeling satiated all throughout the day (definitely not advising you to skip lunch, though).

Coconut flour is basically grounded coconut meat which makes it a gluten-free flour. It is considered to be a low glycemic food making it more susceptible to stabilizing healthy blood sugar levels. In addition to it being diabetic-friendly, it is high in manganese and lauric acid which both help in promoting healthy immune systems.

Coconut Flour Pancakes (GF) 10462927_10206191180637078_826002902816664207_n Serves 1

Ingredients:

  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup coconut flour
  • 1/4 cup nut milk ( I prefer almond milk or if you’re really feeling the coconut-ness of it all, opt for full fat coconut milk)
  • 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • a pinch of salt
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon

Directions

  1. In a medium sized bowl, whisk coconut flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon.
  2. In a separate bowl, beat eggs until frothy. Add in vanilla and nut milk. Tip: Because coconut flour is more fibrous than the usual all-purpose flour, it tends to absorb liquids much faster causing the batter to quickly thicken. Add more liquid if necessary.
  3. Combine dry ingredients to wet ingredients.
  4. On a greased large non-stick skillet, pour 1/4 cup batter at a time on medium high heat and flip until golden. Tip: this should take around 2 minutes on each side.
  5. Top your coconut pancakes with shredded coconut, peanut butter, fruit compote or whatever floats your boat and enjoy!

xx Andrea

hi world

Summer doggy days are upon us and I have been feeling nothing more than just plain… blah. This bloggity blog has been up for around a year now and has never been running but today, on this sizzling summer day and what coincidentally happens to be my day off (thank god), i’ve decided to give it some lovin’- lovin’ a.k.a a “facelift” (customized theme & everythang). I have never been more excited to start sharing some pretty cool things i’ve been up to post-college/culinary school/moving away from home and everything else in between.

This year has been a huge one for me. I’m officially on my 2nd (almost 3rd) year here in New York and fortunately I have been #blessed with the opportunity to work alongside companies & organisations that are closely linked with my personal inclinations and deep rooted passions. Of course, this year hasn’t been all sunshine & giggles. The struggle is real, people. And as cliche as it sounds, it’s true. So stay in school and don’t complain about pre-calculus because computing your taxes and paying for your rent is much more mind-blowing. I promise.

Hopefully, I am able to update this blog as often as possible to keep you entertained with my daily ramblings about my latest food finds, some recipes i’ve been testing out, family travel excursions (fingers crossed for more in the future) and everything else that attracts my vibe- mostly coffee-related to be honest.

But for now, time to do some laundry.

xx Andrea