Barcelona on 14th Reviews – Should you go? Find out here!

14th street in Washington DC has become a Foodie heaven.  Restaurants, wine bars and cafes have sprung up everywhere.  You could find everything from Dutch food to French, Italian and Chinese but there was no actual good tapas.  There are two popular tapas restaurants in the Logan Circle area but nothing that was OMG good that you needed to go back and have again.  When I saw a new Spanish restaurant open I was very skeptical and when I looked for Barcelona on 14th reviews, and didn’t find any, so I figured lets give it a shot and be the first to give honest reviews of Barcelona restaurant on 14th street in Washington DC.

Best tapas restaurant in DC, Barcelona on 14th!

If you can’t tell from the header, this place was amazing!  Barcelona on 14th street is the best tapas restaurant in Washington DC!  Based in Connecticut, they brought down their Managers and Servers to train the locals on how to provide everything from knowledge on how to cook, serve and when to serve your food as well as how to eat, prepare and order tapas the right way.  The drink selection at Barcelona on 14th street was incredible and they helped us pick an amazing sweet syrup and bourbon cocktail that was a perfect match for our tastes and all of the food.  The Sangria with San Germain was amazing, but didn’t even compare to the bourbon drink.  If you go to Barcelona restaurant on 14th, you have to try it!

Next was the food.

baby brussel sprouts and bacon tapas

baby brussel sprouts and bacon tapas

We started with the brussel sprouts and bacon for an appetizer.  There wasn’t enough salt, but the slab bacon chunks more than made up for it when you scoop them up from the bottom and eat them with the baby brussel sprouts.  They definitely could have used more salt on it for flavor and everyone at our table and the other people I talked to agreed.  They were absolutely amazing, but would have been better if they used that extra bit.  Next we had three more appetizers come out and then another round before dessert.

albondigas at Barcelona on 14th (Spanish meatballs)

albondigas at Barcelona on 14th (Spanish meatballs)

Albondigas (which is my favorite tapas from when I lived in Madrid) or spanish meatballs with a tangy sauce.  A tortilla Espana which they chose to serve hot instead of cold and with a scoop of sour cream and chives.  We also had an amazing Lobster and rice dish.  The Lobster and rice dish tasted like spaghettios for adults, however it was actually really good so don’t let it discourage you from ordering.  The lobster was cooked perfectly and the rice was crispy and amazing.
Because the menu never got old, we ended up stuffing ourselves with orders of ham croquets and finished with one of the best Churros and Chocolate that I have ever had.  I do have to warn you, the bread is amazing and when you don’t want to let the sauces go to waste, it can fill you up fast.  Save room because every plate you order is amazing and you won’t want to lose your appetite.

Everything we ate and drank at Barcelona on 14th was amazing.  I highly recommend going and it isn’t over priced.  If you’re looking for Barcelona on 14th reviews and find any but amazing quality and comments, ignore them and go.  You would have to be insane to give bad reviews for Barcelona on 14th in Washington DC.  Thank you all for reading and if you want to share your favorite dishes or plates from Barcelona restaurant in DC, feel free to leave a comment.

Three Olives Lemon Lime Cocktails – Thanks Nick Dellavella

The other weekend I went to Philadelphia to get away from DC for a while.  Not to mention to have a few pretzels and hit one of my favorite showtunes nights in the country.  During my trip I ended up meeting someone named Nick Dellavella who is a Rep. for Three Olives Vodka.  Now if you know me you know that I never stray from my Absolute Raspberry and soda water, but with enough pressure, Nick convinced me to try the brand new Three Olives Lemon Lime “The Dewd” Vodka.  Surprisingly enough, I ended up loving it.  Not only can you make a ton of Three Olives Cocktail Recipes out of The Dewd Vodka, but just like with Absolute, I woke up without a hangover.  Not only did I feel great in the morning, but the vodka goes down very smooth, especially the flavored.

The nice thing about the flavored Three Olives Vodkas is that the flavors are so strong that they are almost like a cordial instead of a liquor.  You could actually put them on the rocks and they become a mixed drink on their own.  Unfortunately for them, and Nick Dellavella, the Foodie in me has to take over and create my own drinks out of the Three Olives Vodka flavors.  So here are a few fun cocktail recipes for the Three Olives “The Dewd” Lemon Lime Vodka.

Lemon, Lime and Lychee Martini. 

The Triple L isn’t only fun to say, but it is absolutely delicious.  Take a few ounces of Three Olives Lemon Lime Dude Vodka and shake it over ice.  Now pour it in a chilled martini glass and place a little bit of cane sugar in the bottom…if you want it sweeter.  Now, take some lychee nectar or juice your own lychees and squirt about one or two tablespoons worth into the martini.  (You can also put the lychee juice or nectar in the shaker if you don’t want a leveled drink).  And now top it with a lime twist and you have a fun and leechy, lemon and lime martini.

Cherry Lime Bombs. 

This one is fun for parties.  What you do is soak cherries, without the pits so no one chips a tooth, in the raspberry vodka of your choice in a cup or a bowl.  Then take lime wedges and put them in a glass or bowl and soak them in the Three Olives Lemon Lime Vodka.  Let the cherries and limes soak in the vodka for about 24 hours in the refrigerator and then about 20 minutes before your party get ready to lay them out and prep them.

Set the lime wedge facing up and take a little plastic sword, wooden cocktail umbrella or something else fun and pierce the cherry through the middle and make it so that it sits on top of the lime.  You may want to put a warning sign above the fruit that says toxic, but these little sweet and sour treats are sure to kick in to even the most seasoned drinker.  You can also use them for Margaritas and Mojitos as alcoholic garnishes.

The Three Olives Lemon Lime Mojito.

This is actually very simple.  Take your standard Mojito recipe with mint leaves, lime juice, etc… except instead of rum you can use the Three Olives Lemon Lime The Dewd Vodka.  If you need it a little more sour, squeeze an extra fresh lime into the drink.  It tastes fabulous and depending on the rum that you had used, it may be lower in calories.  This is one of my new favorite Three Olives The Dewd Vodka recipes.

Thank you again to Nick Dellavella for introducing me to this new Vodka brand that I probably never would have tried before.  Three Olives is very lucky to have him on their team and I am happy to have a new vodka to turn to if the bar doesn’t have Absolute.  Thank you again for reading.

Dear Philadelphia, you lose. With love Stueben’s of Denver

Stueben's of Denver

Stueben's of Denver

Philadelphia is a city I love.  There is amazing food like soft pretzels and some great NYC styled pizza shops.  Until today I prized one little store that I am obsessed with for the famous Philly Cheesteak.  Unfortunately for them, from now on when I think of cheessteaks, only one place will come to mind, Stueben’s in Denver Colorado.  (This is one of the places that you could see on Diners, Drive ins and Dives).

Stueben’s is a little dinner styled restaurant with a fabulous bar full of fresh vegetables, herbs and fruits for the drinks.  A great look and extremely friendly staff and more importantly, creative and intelligent food at very reasonable prices.  I did find it disappointing that what was recommended to me was a cheesesteak when I asked for the most popular or famous dish, especially when there are so many creative things on the menu, but this cheesesteak put all others to shame.   So here was my meal and here is my own variation on one incredible side that you have to try if you are ever at Stueben’s in Denver Colorado.

Stueben's Moscow Mule

Stueben's Moscow Mule

I sat down at the bar and you are immediately drawn to the ambiance of this dinner.  It has a classic 1970’s diner feel with a modern and country western styled twist.  I knew that I instantly had to try a drink and the only thing that would work is their world famous Moscow Mule in a tin or brass cup.  I don’t normally like ginger beer or some of the other ingredients, but on a hot Denver day, this drink is light, thirst quenching and perfect.  As I was enjoying this delicious drink, the bartender came over and helped me pick out some food.  I ended up with the cheesesteak with everything on it and a side of crispy brusslesprouts. The cheesesteak was amazing like I said, but the real winner were these amazing, salty and crispy baby cabbages flash fried to perfection.

Stueben's Crispy Brusselsprouts

Stueben's Crispy Brusselsprouts

Not only were they great on their own because of the salt they sprinkled on them, but when paired with a red pepper aoili, you absolutely cannot go wrong.  The problem with me eating out though is that I always want to steal the recipe and make it my own.  So as I am going crazy over these delicious crispy brusselsprouts, I instantly came up with my own variations.  Here is the Stueban’s of Denver recipe and how I would change it.

Take the brusselsprouts and flash fry them at 350 degrees in canola oil for 3o seconds.  Then sprinkle or throw them through some salt and serve.  It’s actually just that simple.  The problem for me is that I love something a little bit more, so here is how I would and will be doing it when I get home.

Take the brusselsprouts and flash fry them for 30 seconds with slab bacon chopped into cubes.  Then take it and sprinkle a little bit of coarse grain sea salt over them.  Now, instead of creating a red pepper aioli sause for dipping, I am thinking honey mixed with a little bit of a hot pepper, ancho chile or cayanne would be perfect, and also a bit of apricot preserves.  If you melt them all together you should get a spicey and sweet apricot dipping sauce that would completely taste amazing along side the salty, crispy bacon brusselsprouts.

Stueben's Denver

Stueben's Denver

Stueben's Denver Bar

Stueben's Denver Bar

Stueben’s of Denver Colorado is a must see and must eat if you are ever in Denver.  I highly recommend it!

Battle of the LA Live burgers

If you’re a fan of the bacon cheese burger, there are two places at LA Live! that you can get a delicious meal, Wolfgang Puck and the Yard House. There’s something about traveling and working that makes me hungry for a good ol’ burger. Nothing like a big dose of juicy protein to revitalize the system.

Wolfgang Puck burger at LA Live

Wolfgang Puck burger at LA Live

Yard House burger at LA Live

Yard House burger at LA Live

Despite all the unnecessary vegetables on the plate and the lack of bacon, I prefer the Wolfgang Puck burger (who needs all those pickles???). It was bigger with a more substantial bun and a bit more flavor cooked right into the meat. However, the service at the Yard House was much better. The Yard House bun was nice and soft, almost Wonder Bread squishy which I liked but not with a big burger. Burgers aside, the yard House has much yummier desserts…

Yard House ice cream with freshly baked cookie at LA Live

Yard House ice cream with freshly baked cookie at LA Live

This ice cream sundae was enormous! I didn’t have a bite, I was too busy stuffing fries into my face. Another yummy dessert they serve is a freshly backed brownie with a scoop of ice cream on top. We were too amazed at the size to remember to take a picture.

Regardless of all the noise we land locked folk make about California and sprouts, there is indeed delicious meat to be had in the Golden State.

The Original Pantry Cafe is delicious

Original Pantry CafeAt the end of a long busy week in Los Angeles I was wondering town looking for a good place to grab some breakfast. Just a few blocks up from our hotel we found the Original Pantry Cafe. One of the women I was with remembered hearing it was good food, so we wondered in.

I’m a big fan of the diner. I like basic comfort food with no fancy names and no fancy sauces. I love milk shakes and french fries and I really really love breakfast. Butter, syrup, and some kind of thick, rich carbohydrate to soak it all up really starts my day off (or dinner for that matter) with a big fat encouraging smile.

This is a classic diner atmosphere with classic diner charm. There are photos from a variety of dates along with posters decorating the walls throughout. The Original Pantry Cafe has been open since 1924, “never without a customer” and you can even see years of traffic in a spot by the front door… look at all those layers of flooring!

Original Pantry Cafe floor

There are no printed menus, everything is written on a few boards placed on walls around the restaurant. The food choices are traditional all American foods; bacon, eggs, french toast, sandwiches, etc. I was thrilled to also get a tall glass of perfectly yummy raspberry ice tea. Our server was fantastic, our glasses were never empty and we left delightfully full.

Original Pantry Cafe food

Another aspect I love about this place is the price. It’s only a few blocks up from the Los Angeles Convention center on Figueroa, just up from LA Live!. Most of the places we encountered were over priced with mediocre service. I ordered a plate of french toast with a side of bacon, the server brought me scrambled eggs with cheese at no charge (because eggs sounded good but I forgot to order them and he over heard me), yet my total bill was just under $14.

The photo above includes an omelet and hash browns I was luck enough to sit by but didn’t have the honor of tasting, I heard the happy recipient chewing though.

The Original Pantry Cafe in Los Angeles is truly a hidden gem in plain sight.

Original Pantry Cafe outside sign