Restaurants in Madrid: Bar Tomate

Bar TomateBT PicMonkey Collage

  • Address: Calle de Fernando El Santo, 26, 28046 Madrid
  • Atmosphere: Warm, mood lighting.  It has a ¨library¨feel with bookshelves and lamps made out of book pages, as you can see in the picture above.  Trendy, but not overly fancy.  I thought they had the music on too loudly, but we were seated under a speaker.
  • Type of food:  A mix of pizza, meats, fishes, pastas, rices, etc.  HERE is the menu.
  • What we ordered:  The tortilla as an appetizer (since it´s apparently award winning!), the hamburger with mushroom sauce and fries, and charcoal grilled rice with artichokes and prawns.  The tortilla was really, really good (in my opinion!) since it was only partially cooked on the inside, which is how I like it.  The burger was amazing.  It didn´t look like much at first since it´s just a burger on a plate with a cream sauce covering it, but I would have just drank a bowl of that sauce if I could have.  It came with a small piece of bread that was hiding under the burger.  The rice was good, but not my favorite.  Too fishy for my taste and super salty.  I liked the artichokes a lot, though.
  • Other recommendations:  I know a lot of people that have been to this restaurant.  The crispy duck salad, fajitas, and pasta dishes were all recommended.
  • Tips:  Make a reservation.  The restaurant is large, but it was completely full.
  • Would I recommend it?:  Yes, absolutely.
  • Would I go back?:  Yes.

Rating: 9.5/10 for food, 8/10 for atmosphere (music too loud)


My Weekend in Photos


IMG_3694Strolling through Lavapiés on Saturday morning

IMG_3695Saturday morning flowers in Tirso de Molina

IMG_3696Everyone was out and about

IMG_3698I saw a traditional Spanish wedding!!  Look at those hats!

IMG_3706Salsa // bachata // kizomba festival in Plaza de la Cebada

IMG_3708With beers and….tomatoes

IMG_3715My main squeeze

IMG_3724And then I worked out for 20 whoooole minutes

01-©-olga-planasBar Tomate with my other main squeeze

IMG_3729Hanging out in the grass with Annie and Kristen

IMG_3732A long walk home

IMG_3734Dinner at Perrachica

IMG_3738Fried eggplant with honey and hummus

IMG_3705Have a great week!!

Restaurants in Madrid: El Patio del Fisgon

El Patio de Fisgon

Patio PicMonkey Collage

  • Address:  Calle de Don Ramon de la Cruz, 26, 28001 Madrid
  • Atmosphere: The restaurant was quite small, but interesting design and not too crowded.  It was hot, though.  Originally, they put us at a table in the center with the waiters walking back and forth, but we asked to move when it cleared a bit.
  • Type of food:  Modern?  Normal?  with an italian influence?  They have pizzas, meats, fishes, salads, pasta, rice, eggs, desserts, etc.
  • What we had: Fajitas del salmon and Pizza boletus trufado (mushroom pizza with truffel oil).  Both were good, but not amazing.  The fajitas were different and the pizza had a good flavor (if you like mushrooms…), but I thought they used too much truffle oil, which made it overly greasy.
  • Would I go back?:  No
  • Would I recommend it to others?:  No.  It was fine, but there are better places.

Rating:  6.5/10 for atmosphere, 7.5/10 for food.

Say What 3

I did a few of these ¨Say What¨posts in the beginning of the year, when the things that my students would say would shock me.

I´m more used to them now, but this one was too good not to write…

While teaching the kids about the future tense using ´I will´and ´I´m going to´….


Me:  I want everyone to tell me one thing you are GOING TO do this summer.

Student 1:  I´m going to go to the beach…

Student 2: I´m going to go swimming…

etc., etc.

Last student in the group, with a huge smile on his face:  I´m going to f**k my sister!


After some clarification and laughter on my part, we determined that he meant to say ¨I am going to bother my sister (or annoy my sister)¨.

My dad suggested that maybe it was a bad translation, but a bad translation of the verb molestar would be ¨I am going to molest my sister¨

Not sure which is worse…

Lately Photodump


I am so happy to finally be on here and I know you´re just oh so happy, as well.  I have been trying to udate at various points during the week, but between a laptop that was probably one of the first models ever created that runs like it has 1000 viruses, a tablet that autocorrects all of my words to other words, and a phone that is impossible to write from, getting on here has been close to impossible.  I actually wrote most of a post from that soviet union computer, but none of it saved.  Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.

Not that I really have anything important to say, and as my mom pointed out, all I talk about is food.  So let´s keep that theme going, shall we?  I´m going to also throw in some pictures from the sunny days we have been having here that I am abslutely loving. It´s actually 80* and sunny today, but I´m sitting in the public library computer room with a group of people that smell like they haven´t bathed in awhile.  There is even a sign on the wall ¨reminding¨people of their personal hygiene.  Gross..

I guess I´ll back up about a week…

I got my hair relaxed!  Again!

From the beginning…IMG_3561

Midway…IMG_3562 IMG_3563

To the end..IMG_3566

Of course it´s not as straight anymore, but I am very happy.

The following day (last Saturday), I went with mi amiga Ashley and her coworkers to hang out at the San Isidro festival.  Who is San Isidro? you ask?  Well…I have no idea.  But there was a lot of food and drinking and music in his honor.IMG_3590IMG_3577And I even got the chance to hold a stranger´s baby!!!  IMG_3584He was thrilled.

Sunday, I did lots of things solo.  Went to Starbucks to study, went for a long walk…IMG_3600#balconygoals

Made some sort of chicken/broccoli/pepper stir-fry with rice noodles and a soy-ginger sauce….IMG_3614

Went for a run as the sun was setting…IMG_3611And felt incredibly fast (for me).  I don´t know why!!  My runs have been slow lately, but I felt like I was sprinting.

Probably because my body knew there would be a ton of bread and cheese in my future…IMG_3628Ashley and I spent a few hours hanging out in El Retiro on Monday, since I only worked 1 hour.  The temperature was perfect, but that baguette and cheese were even more perfect.  Rest assured, we ate EVERYTHING.IMG_3631IMG_3637

I felt full for HOURS after all of that, so the next day, I balanced it out with a biiiig salad…IMG_3641

And on Thursday afternoon, I went for a run through the park…IMG_3657

Look!!!  I am Spanish!!!IMG_3672IMG_3681White shoes with dark pants!  Never thought it would happen.

Other than that, I have been spending un monton de tiempo outside.IMG_3678 IMG_3688 IMG_3687If I ever complain about my life, smack me.

Drinks…. :)IMG_3685

Y ya esta.  Life is so good, and only getting better.  My next post won´t be about food, mom.  (But the one after that will be…!)IMG_3552

Have a happy weekend!!!



Food Lately…Eaten and Made

I have a complete back-up of IMPORTANT photos that I have been wanting to share, which have been stranded in my phone library.  They have finally been freed to my gmail account and now this here lil blog.

Here we go…

Food I have made recently:

Bread, Bread, more bread, and muffinsIMG_3236 IMG_3506 IMG_3505 IMG_3507IMG_3292 IMG_3298 IMG_3304

All are best served with peanut butter or cream cheese.  The muffins are banana-oatmeal and the bread is regular white bread.  I have been having limited success with getting it to rise, but I seem to enjoy my bread heavy as a rock, so no pasa nada.  I also made yogurt banana bread and yogurt white bread because I bought some ¨fat free Greek yogurt¨ that tasted like complete shit so I put it in some bread.  Worked out nicely.  Sorry for saying shit, dad.  Sorry for saying it twice. :)  I have a full freezer of bread, but it won´t stop me from making more…this weekend.

Broccoli-Mushroom-Chicken Stir-fryIMG_3233

This was just a mix of sauteed onions, mushrooms, broccoli with some ginger and garlic and then cooked chicken that had been rolled in flour.  The sauce was soy sauce, a little vinegar, giner and garlic.

SALADS #foreverIMG_3283Spinach // kale //beets // strawberries // cucumber // cilantro // turkey

IMG_3287Spinach // kale // cilantro // feta cheese // carrots // beets // cucumber // turkey

IMG_3441Baby green mix // corn // cherry tomatoes // carrots // mushrooms // cucumber // turkey // O&V



The photographer of the above photo may be fired… The pizza was white crust with mozzerrella, tomatoe and pesto.  So good.


This one was regular cheese and veggie!!

SushiIMG_3471Made with help :)


Random Dinners and MealsIMG_3217Sweet potato covered with sauteed peppers and onions and chicken and greek yogurt and mushrooms and tomatoes and hot sauce and cilantro!!

IMG_3278Egg salad made with hummus and a side of sauteed veggies with tahini.

IMG_3272Turkey roll-ups!  Turkey with Laughing cow cheese, tomato and arugula.  A good snack!

IMG_3459Like aarroz a la cubana, but not really.  Oatmeal with cheese, a fried egg, tomato sauce, and some corn!


Weekend Breakfast FavoriteIMG_3482Aforementioned banana bread.  Half with cream cheese, half with pb.  And cafe.

Out to EatIMG_3478Chai-spiced lattes with NO coffee!!  Grrr.

IMG_3500Quesadillas after giving blood.  Again, this photographer should be fired, right??? :)


Since I am typing this from the library computer like it´s 1995, I need to finish this up now since my session will end in T-minus 2 minutes and 5 seconds.  I´ll update soon, don´t you worry!!!


Friday Five: Five Things I Miss About the U.S.- Food Edition

People sometimes ask me if I miss the United States.  Actually, people ask me this a lot…especially my students.  In all honesty, I don´t particularly miss the United States.  I miss my family.  I miss some of the people and places that make my life comfortable, but the U.S. as a whole?  Not really.  I am happy here, in Madrid, in Spain.  I wish my family (and Teddy!  And maybe even Misu!) could be here and then it would be perfect.  I don´t need my house, or my (parent´s) cars, or my neighborhood.  For me, home is where my family is, not in a specific place.

But despite all that, there are certain things that I miss about the United States.  This is Europe, so 99% of the things that I want can be found.  I used to describe Madrid as the U.S. on steroids because Europe seems to have EVERYTHING (and more).  But there is still that 1%…1% of THINGS that Spain just doesn´t have (or it´s not easy to find…looking at you, natural peanut butter and steel cut oats!!), plus certain customs that are just strange here when it comes to food.

Five Food Things I Miss About the United States

1 // Big

Espresso is great…it´s strong, it´s quick, it gets the job done.  But I 100% miss BIG coffees and how normal it is to carry a to-go cup around.  Sure, they have ¨cafe americano¨, but it’s not the same.  And you can get coffee to-go, but it´s more like boiling hot espresso in a styrofoam cup with a lid that doesn´t fit.  Maybe we should take time to sit down and enjoy our coffees instead of being in a rush yada yada yada, but I truly miss big, strong, American coffee.  Hey, Starbucks…knew ya were good for something.

2 // Brunch.cq5dam.web.400.300

I have never been one of those brunch all weekend, every weekend with the girls kind-of-girls, but that doesn´t mean that I don´t enjoy it!  I am generally happier, hungrier, and more alert in the morning, so brunch is the perfect meal.BRUNCH  I especially love making brunch with my family (or friends! or whoever!)BRUNCH3But, unfortunately, brunch just isn´t a thing here.  Lots of restaurants offer brunch, but it´s a tourist thing and not part of the culture.  And…the restaurants don´t really REALLY get it.  One restaurant was offering ¨ladies brunch!¨–on a Sunday night…

3 // Trader Joe´s.  Obviously.


Spain has Aldi, so maybe they will get Trader Joe´s one day.  But I doubt it…I can´t see the Trader Joe´s business model and product line doing particularly well in this country.  But hey!  They would have at least one loyal customer!

4 //  Mama´s cooking.foods

This one does not need to be explained, but suffice it to say that I have been compiling a list of foods my mom needs to make when I go home.  I started telling her some of them yesterday and she said ´oh my!  I need to get started now!!!´Yeah, you do, woman!  Kidding, kidding.

5 // Iced coffee. img22l

Two coffees in one post!  But this is different than the first.  Spain just does NOT know what iced coffee is (except SB and Dunkin).  If you ask for an ´iced coffee´, they will pour boiling hot espresso over ice cubes that will melt in a second and leave you with watery espresso.  The worst.

Other things I miss- reasonably priced nut butters (15 Euros for a small almond butter…are you OUT OF YOUR MIND?!), steel cut oats, liquid egg whites, spaghetti squash


Restaurants in Madrid: Mama Campo

This restaurant wasn´t on my radar, but I ended up here and I´m glad I did!  The food was good, the restaurant wasn´t too big or too small, and I enjoyed myself.  They also have a ¨cantina¨and ¨tienda¨, but I didn´t see either.

Mama CampoRestaurante-en-Madrid-LlorensDurán

  • Address: Calle de Trafalgar, 22, 28010 Madrid
  • Atmosphere: Clean, bright, open
  • Type of food:  This is hard to answer since their menu is not online, but they have a variety of foods!  The items were ¨different¨or ¨creative¨, but everything sounded great.  The menu is not especially long, which I liked.
  • What I ordered:  Their menu is not posted online (I know…what is this? 1980?), but I tried two things.  The first was a cream-potato-mushroom SOMETHING that was really, really tasty.  it was almost like a creamy mushroom soup that was perfect for dipping bread.  The other dish was lamb, which came with a bit of hummus.  Emphasis on the ¨bit¨.  I am usually not a lamb person (just because it is not a common meat and is sometimes gamey), but this was really good!  Tasted like beef to me and these days, I love beef.

Rating:  10/10 for atmoshphere and 9/10 for food!  Would recommend it if you´re looking for something a bit different!




Restaurants in Madrid: Bar Galleta

Oooooh, how I had been wanting to go to Bar Galleta ever since I saw it the first night I went to Amargo.  It´s always full with no walk-ins available, so I was one happy camper to be able to check it out last week!  And it did not disappoint!!

Bar GalletaCarlosMoreno+4

  • Address: Corredera Baja de San Pablo 3, Malasaña, Madrid 228004
  • Atmosphere:  Really nice!  Warm lighting, simple design, not too crowded and not too loud.  And!  Not too hot!!  Very important!  I guess you could call this design ¨modern hipster¨?  Ha
  • Type of Food:  Modern?  Seafood and meat and some pasta.  HERE is the menu.
  • What I ordered:  Tacos mexicanos de bacalao rebozado con guacamole, cilantro, y pico de gallo (cod mexican tacos) AND lomo de buey con papas a la huancaina (beef tenderloin with potatoes).  Both were delicious and are recommended.  The beef was a little bit fatty for my taste, but I am so beef-starved that I didn´t mind.  I really liked the tacos, but did not love that they were fried.  The restaurant brings bread with a trio of dips- some sort of olive tapenad, a crushed tomato spread, and cheese dip.
  • My date: Perfect.
  • Recommendation:  Make a reservation well in advance!  You won´t get a table without it.  And if you want to be near the window, request it at the time of the reservation.

Rating: 9/10 for food (fatty meat) and 9.5/10 for atmosphere (could be a litttttllllle cooler in there)


Alicante and Where I´ve Been

*Edited to add photos from my phone!!!+

Hi!  How are you?!  I have been MIA over here for a couple weeks since I SURGED THE MOTHERBOARD ON MY COMPUTER like a big dummie.  All I wanted to do was upload some (important, obviously) pictures to my computer so I could keep all of you folks up to date on the things I´m eating and the strange things I see during my day to day (since I know you care)…so anyway, I plugged in my s/itty charger and *poof*…motherboard dead, computer DEAD, dreams of having a blog- dead.  Not really, but writing here is close to impossible.  I´m typing this post from the library and click-clacking away on their ancient computers and it´s nearly 1000* F in here FOR SURE.  You really should feel special that I am putting myself through this.  Also, I fully expect this entire post to be full of typos because this computer is in Spanish so every single word I have typed is underlined in red.  Even ´Spanish´is underlined.

Anywhoooo….like the title suggests, I went to Alicante last weekend with Annie and Kristen since we had a long weekend!  And it was perfect and so much fun!DSC_0037

Alicante is on the Mediterranean and the water was blue-green, clear, and COLD.  We stayed in a little airbnb on the beach that was absolutely perfect for us.  While it wasn´t actually in downtown Alicante, it was as close to the beach as you can get, so it was great.  And it was clean!  Only a few ants…DSC_0002

I bet that pool is awesome in the summer.  We did not test it out.DSC_0111

We spent the first day in and out since the rain was off and on, unfortunately.  We had some lunch, did a little shopping, and spent some time on the beach.IMG_3313  The rain came through eventually, but it cleared up so we headed into town for drinks and dinner and photos, obviously.IMG_3330 IMG_3324IMG_3320 IMG_3322  We had drinks at a little tourist stop and then walked for a bit before deciding to eat at a Turkish place.  Thus hummus called to us…and ended up not being that great!  But the other food was fantastic.IMG_3333 IMG_3334 (1)

And then crashed hard that night.  DSC_0102

The second day started with a delicious breakfast!IMG_3336 (1)

We ventured to Benidorm (another beach…known for it´s ´skyscrapers´.  Haha….not exactly skyscrapers) BUT the beach was AMAZING!IMG_3341 …and completely full of old people! And boobs!  haha.  Benidorm had a lot more people than our beach, which made it feel more like a beach town.  I think between where we stayed and Benidorm, Benidorm was nicer so go there.IMG_3374 IMG_3376 IMG_3343 (2)

That night, we showered and had dinner locally.IMG_3407This was the view outside of the apartment^^

Then bed.

On our final day, we got up early to make the most of the day…DSC_0035IMG_3432IMG_3414

And the day was perfect.  Sunny, warm, good book, good friends, and hilarious conversations.

DSC_0070 DSC_0080 DSC_0069

I left with a slight tan and an insane amount of excitement for this summer!!!DSC_0103