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Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Leftover Rice Salad

It looks like spring has finally sprung here in Strasbourg! This little branch was trying to sneak in my dining room window today...

In celebration of the coming of spring, most of my groceries this week were fruits and veggies, and I was inspired to make a salad with leftovers from the last couple nights' dinners and some of those veggies I bought today. I have to confess that I tend to let food go to waste more than I'd like. I always save that little bit of leftover rice, pasta, half of tomato, etc., but then forget about it. I'm working at trying to be more creative in how I use those leftovers up, and between that and the promise of spring, I thought that a salad would be the perfect vehicle for the leftovers in my fridge--namely a little brown rice (from Joie de Vivre's Moroccan Minestrone--a later post), a half of a rosemary balsamic chicken breast, and a small handful of arugula.

The result was a very yummy and filling cold rice salad to which I added a handful of cherry tomatoes, chopped red bell peppers, and a simple homemade honey mustard dressing (equal parts Dijon mustard, honey and red wine vinegar with a pinch of salt and pepper mixed with olive oil to taste). I think that maybe next time I'd add some sliced green onions (if I have any on hand), but I'm definitely making this again. It would be especially good as a lunch to pack for work once I return in the summer...


Monday, March 30, 2009

Balsamic Red Onion Salad

I am a salad lover, plain and simple. I almost always have a salad on the dinner table, and lately I've been trying out new salad combos because my husband gets tired of lettuce and tomato every night. (The truth is that I do too, but I'm sometimes just too lazy to do anything else...) The other day I realized that I hardly ever post anything about the salads I make, and now that summer is just around the corner, I need to limber up for prime salad season!

I came across this salad by Ina Garten a couple of years ago and try to make it as often as possible. It's very simple, but elegant, and has great flavor. My daughter will pick out the onions...and leave the lettuce on the plate! (I think I must have the strangest two year old out there--she loves onions in any shape or form.) The onions turn out sweet and have a little bit of a pickled taste which works nicely with the fresh shallot and lettuce.

I've adjusted the original recipe a little, but mostly in quantity. Ina's recipe calls for red leaf lettuce, but I find that too limp for a good salad, so I go for a heftier green leaf or romaine.

Balsamic Red Onion Salad
adapted from Ina Garten
Text-Only Version

1 large red onion, cut in half and sliced about 1/4 inch thick
balsamic vinegar
olive oil (about 1/4 cup + 1/3 cup)
1 small shallot, minced
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1/8 cup red wine vinegar
Green leaf or Romaine lettuce (enough to fill your salad bowl)

Place the sliced onions on a baking sheet and toss with a generous amount of balsamic vinegar and olive oil (about the same amount of each). Season generously with salt and pepper. Bake at 375 degrees F for about 12-15 minutes until the onions are softened and the vinegar has caramelized. Remove from oven and toss with another tablespoon or so of balsamic vinegar. (I try to get this done at least 15 minutes before I want to serve the salad to give the onions time to cool.)

For the dressing, whisk together the shallot, mustard, red wine vinegar, salt and pepper in a small bowl. While whisking, add about 1/3 cup olive oil until emulsified. (You may need to add a little more olive oil--taste after about 1/3 of a cup and add more if needed.)

Add the onions and dressing to the lettuce and toss.


Sunday, March 29, 2009

My Daughter and Her Purse...for ChefE

So, ChefE wondered in the comments section of my last post where the picture of my daughter and her coin purse was. I thought about posting it in the previous post, and then just plain forgot about it! So here's a twofer. The first is Sophie with her coin purse (which she's very proud of). The second is a picture of her copying a picture taken of her mommy with the same piece of cheese. Since she's much cuter than I am, you'll only see her version of the take... ;-)


A Little Taste of Sweden

When we left for Sweden last week, I had visions of Swedish food dancing in my head, but as it turns out, Swedish food is hard to come by in Stockholm. The first couple of days we were there, we searched for typical Swedish restaurants, but to no avail. Apparently, lasagna is now a Swedish food because it was everywhere! (And the piece I had at a little cafe was pretty good...)

So what to do? Our guide book wasn't very helpful. We were staying in an apartment, so we couldn't ask the concierge. (By the way, if you're ever traveling in Europe and will be in a city for more than a few days, the most economical and sometimes even more convenient option is to rent a vacation apartment. Many of these are located in prime spots, but for much less than what you'd pay at a hotel. And you get the added perk of being able to experience grocery shopping and markets in that city...) We finally ended up at a bookshop specializing in books about Sweden (looking for a copy of Pippi Longstocking for our daughter), and I asked the shopkeepers where we could get a typical Swedish lunch without breaking the bank and that would be two-year-old friendly. The looked at me and asked, "You don't want lasagna?" Nope. They mentioned that typical Swedish food could be found in the fancy restaurants, but not usually in regular ol' eateries. But then they said that we should try the restaurant in the Coin Museum next door. The Coin Museum??? But we tried it, and we ended up getting Swedish food for a decent price! (And the waiter loved our daughter, so gave her a little coin purse with chocolate coins in it...bonus!)

As soon as we sat down, we were served this little bulgur wheat (we think) salad with cucumbers, olives, sundried tomatoes and red onions with a very light vinaigrette dressing. We noticed that everyone in the restaurant received this salad immediately. I loved it and wished that I had had a huge bowl of it!

My husband and I both ordered the Wallenbergare (the most Swedish-sounding plate on the menu). It apparently is a traditional dish named after the Wallenberg family** and consists of a ground veal or beef patty (ours was veal and was oven roasted) with potatoes, peas, and lingonberry sauce. It's usually served with a cream sauce or butter. Ours had butter. The entire dish was tasty and one that I may try at home sometime, but the most surprising element were the peas. They came mashed and cold, but were as tasty as could be! Cold mashed peas will make a definite appearance on our summer dinner table...

The children's menu of choice in Stockholm was pancakes. They seemed to be almost-crepe thin and are usually served with a berry sauce and whipped cream. What kid wouldn't love that?!

And one final note on Swedish cuisine--they have their own version of the cinnamon roll. We're used to ours lathered with a cream cheese frosting, but they do theirs without. My husband went out on my birthday morning and got me a cinnamon roll and flowers, and I enjoyed both immensely! The cinnamon roll was rich with cinnamon, and I'm pretty sure that I tasted a hint of cardamom. Mmmm...

**The Wallenberg family is one of the wealthiest families in Sweden and according to Wikipedia, controls about 1/3 of the Swedish GNP. Raoul Wallenberg, one of the more famous of the family members, was a diplomat during WWII and was responsible for saving up to tens of thousands of Jews in Hungary by giving anyone who applied Swedish passports. There is a goosebump-raising account of his courageous actions on Wikipedia for quick reading if you're interested, but I'm sure there are some great books out there too...

There was a very nice memorial to Raoul Wallenberg near the harbor. It consisted of a sphere with his name on it linked to the synagogue (about a block away) by railway tracks. Very moving:


Saturday, March 28, 2009


I've finally joined the 21st century and Twitter! I'd love to follow you if I'm not already, so please let me know if you are a Twitterer...

And if you'd like to follow me, click on the button below.


Back from Stockholm

I am back from my little vacation to Stockholm! We had a great time (which included my birthday), but unfortunately, I got a little stomach bug on the last day we were there, so haven't been feeling up to blogging. Just thought I'd give you a couple of pictures of our trip:

My birthday "cakes" (bought at a local market):

And a yummy discovery of gooseberry pear cider (low alcohol):

I'll get back to the blog soon. Lots of stuff to do...including trying to find a babysitter so I can attend President Obama's town hall meeting here in Strasbourg on Friday! Woohoo! (Now keep your fingers crossed I can find someone who isn't going who wants to watch my two year old almost all day.)


Thursday, March 19, 2009

See You in a Few Days...

Well, the best-laid plans of mice and men...I meant to pre-write some posts and schedule them to be posted over the next few days while I'm out of town, but the first round of the NCAA basketball tournament has distracted me. (I am a die-hard UNC fan.) So, since I didn't plan well, I'll be out of commission for the next few days while we spend part of our spring break (and my birthday) in Stockholm, Sweden. Neither my husband nor I have been there before (a rare occurence), and we're super-excited, but an internet connection is doubtful, so I'm leaving the laptop at home for a true vacation.

See you next week!


Wednesday, March 18, 2009

A Night Out: Au Crocodile in Strasbourg, France

My husband and I celebrated our 5th wedding anniversary in January, and although we were in Spain on vacation, we didn't really get to celebrate the day of because 1) we had our two-year-old daughter with us and didn't have a babysitter and 2) my husband came down with the flu that day. We decided to wait until the new group of college students arrived to go out so that we'd have a babysitter, and we finally made it out two months later!

I mentioned to my parents in December that we really wanted to try Au Crocodile here in Strasbourg (a Michelin two-star restaurant), but that I wasn't sure we would go because it was just a little out of our price range. Right before they left, my parents gave us our anniversary gift--a stack of crisp Euros to only be used at Au Crocodile. (Thanks, Mom and Dad!) I made the reservation, set up a babysitter, and off we went to celebrate our January anniversary on St. Patrick's Day!

We started off the evening with a little Alsatian crémant. Crémant is basically champagne or sparkling wine, but since the EU has restrictions on what can be called "champagne" (it has to come from the Champagne region), the Alsatians call theirs "crémant." Because Alsatian crémant is made from the sweeter Alsatian grapes, it tends to be a little sweeter than a typical champagne, and is a traditional way to start out a meal here.

Our meal began with two amuse bouches. The first was a shrimp served with an avocado cream and a lemony whipped cream. Now, I do not eat seafood or fish because I just don't like it. (And, yes, I've tried my fair share of very fresh, very diverse types of fish and seafood.) I'm happy to try new things, and since this was just a little bite, I tried it. I think that for a seafood lover, this would have been great. Me? The shrimp was fine (which is a big step up from spitting it out into my napkin, which is what I normally do with seafood), but the creams were wonderful! The avocado cream was so smooth and had a hint of red pepper in there. And I could have eaten a whole bowlful of the lemon whipped cream!

The second amuse bouche was a little cup of "forgotten" vegetable soup. I could definitely taste the potato in there, and there were little tiny bits of smoked ham, but we couldn't figure out the other "forgotten" vegetables. Either way, it was tasty! And my husband commented, "I could eat a whole plateful of the ham just by itself!"

We started out with the "Foie de Canard landais grillé, Compotée de Coing et Pommes, Jus aux Agrumes," roughly translated as "Landes grilled duck foie with a quince and apple compote and citrus jus." (Served with an Alsatian Pinot Gris.) This is only the second time I've had duck foie, and both times I've really enjoyed it. But again, the standout in this dish were the accompaniments. I had to stop myself from licking the juices off the place after I had finished the foie.

For the main dish, my husband ordered the "Bar de Ligne rôti, Purée de Potimarron, Sauce au Pinot noir, Soyeux de Moelle," or "Roasted line-caught bass with a potimarron (Hokkaido squash) purée and pinot noir sauce." (I'm not exactly sure what the translation for "soyeux de moelle" is...sorry!) (Served with an Alsatian Riesling.) I tasted all but the fish. The potimarron purée was buttery and smooth, and although the sauce was too fishy for my taste, seemed like it would work well with the fish itself. My husband is still talking about this fish today: "That fish last night was tasty."

I ordered the "Filet de Bœuf (origine France), Béarnaise à la Ceccina, Frites maison et Chou de Bruxelles," or "Filet mignon with a Ceccina béarnaise, homemade fries and brussel sprouts." (Served with an Alsatian Pinot Noir.) The plating on this dish was a little whimsical with the tiny brussel sprouts made to look like peas in a pod. The filet was cooked to perfection, and although a little heavy, the peppery béarnaise was divine (another lick the plate moment!). The "fries" were lightly crusted in salt, which gave them a little extra crunch.

When we had savored every last bite of our main dishes, we moved on to the cheese course, which consisted of "Tomme de Savoie et Gelée au Piment d'Espelette (Espelette pepper gelée) and Fourme d'Ambert et Confiture épicée de Poires (spiced pear chutney)." Now, again I tried something that I don't normally eat--a moldy cheese. Blue cheese tend to be a little too strong for me, and I've never liked any that I've tried. But this one broke the mold (pun intended!). I could have eaten an entire round of the Fourme d'Ambert, especially with the perfectly spiced pear chutney. The Tomme de Savoie was nutty and buttery and paired well with the pepper gelée.

Finally, on to the desserts, which were probably our least favorite parts of the meal, although still good. We received a pre-dessert amuse bouche of raspberry panna cotta. I really enjoyed the raspberry layer at the top (and there was a nice little surprise of a liquor-soaked cherry at the bottom), but the panna cotta itself was a little grainy and tasted a little to me like European-style yogurt. Again, it tasted good, but wasn't spectacular. (As a side note, this was the only dish served on a plate that was not white or clear. I'm not really sure why, but I definitely noticed this as it was being served.)

Along with the panna cotta, we received a plate of mignardises, which were fun, light and tasty.

My husband ordered the "Surprise chocolatée de Profiteroles à la Glace Vanille" (Vanilla Ice Cream Profiterole Chocolate Surprise). When it first arrived, it looked nothing like this--the profiteroles were actually contained in a beautiful gold-brushed chocolate sphere. Before we could take a picture, or even comment on it, for that matter, the waitress spooned a hot chocolate sauce over the top, melting the top half of the sphere, and creating this. It was a great effect, but my husband wasn't totally impressed by the overall flavor. He said it was good, but not great.

My dessert was better than his, I think. I ordered the "Gratin de Poire Williams et Croustillant au Praliné" (Williams Pear gratin and crispy praline). The praline wasn't really crispy and didn't really taste like praline, but was still good. It tasted more like a very thin layer of sweet pancake baked on top. The pears were good, but there could have been a stronger pear flavor to it.

Mine was also served with a little scoop of vanilla ice cream, which was delicious. It was only slightly sweetened, so the cream was really the star of this dish.

We ended our meal with tea (for me), coffee (for my husband) and truffles. The truffles were tasty, but after such a large meal, we couldn't eat too many.

We weren't told what these were, but the dark ones were definitely a dark chocolate. The white ones tasted, for lack of a better comparison, vaguely like the middle of a Cadsbury egg (but better in flavor and in truffle form). This actually makes it sound disgusting, but it was really quite tasty. The jelly-like ones were some sort of apple gelée.

Overall it was a great experience, and as my husband put it, not necessarily the best meal of our lives, but all put together, a wonderful experience and a well-cooked, balanced menu. The service was great (except for a short lapse in drink service right around dessert time), the food was excellent, and the atmosphere, although strangely decorated for a special EU-themed menu, subdued and intimate. A perfect dinner for a late anniversary celebration.


Monday, March 16, 2009

Mystery Food: Soleil au miel

This dessert-like food is a complete mystery to me. I know the name it goes by in both French and in Arabic in the Tunisian couscous restaurant around the corner: "soleil au miel" and "zelebaia." But I still don't know what they are! When I did a google search for both of those terms, the only results were found on the restaurant's (Saladin City) website.

I had tried the brighter yellow piece once before in Paris, but failed to ask what it was. Today, I had one of the brighter yellow pieces for dessert after couscous, and asked what it was, but knowing the name only confirmed the single thing I knew about it...it contains honey. But let me warn you: this is not a dessert for those shy of sweetness. I could only finish about half of this little morsel (and I have a serious sweet tooth). It looks as if it's made like a funnel cake, but not with batter. The outside is a crisp sweet shell that holds a dripping honey syrup. The darker version is more cakelike, but also crispy and filled with the same honey syrup.

I'd love to know exactly what this is...so if you know, please share!


Sunday, March 15, 2009

Taste-Off: Chicken Piccata

One of my favorite Italian dishes is chicken piccata with angel hair pasta. I love the light tangy sauce with the delicate noodles, and for this picky chicken eater, the scaloppine is usually so tender that I forget I'm eating chicken. I vowed to try to make chicken piccata this year, and I have.

I found the first recipe over at the Food Network courtesy of Giada de Laurentiis. Our entire family really liked the flavor, but the sauce turned out really brown and ugly, and truth be told, it used just a little too much fat for my liking (6 whopping Tablespoons of butter and 5 Tablespoons of olive oil).

My husband loved it, and I made it several times until I came across another recipe that looked lighter at Cookography. Right away I saw several basic differences in the recipe, including a lot less fat (1 Tablespoon of oil and 4 Tablespoons of butter less to be exact) and the addition of some shallot and prosciutto to the sauce. You can just see the difference in color and texture of the sauce below:

I think I actually liked Cookography's version better.* It felt less heavy and I loved the saltiness and texture that the prosciutto added. My husband thinks he liked Giada's version better, but is willing to go with the lighter version to be healthier and because the taste is close to Giada's. Either way, Cookography's version tastes great and is just plain prettier, and so has made it into our regular meal rotation. Next time, though I think I'll added a few artichoke hearts to the mix...

*I made a couple of minor changes: pounded the chicken thin before cooking and used extra virgin olive oil instead of vegetable oil.

**Just out of curiosity, I decided to plug the recipes into Calorie Count's Recipe Analysis program to see how they compared. (I knew both would be high in calories and fat, but we don't eat it that often to be really worried about it.) As expected, Giada's was higher in calories (by only 100 or so), but much higher in fat content (not that Cookography is going to win any low-fat cooking awards on this one!). I used extra virgin olive oil instead of vegetable oil, and it lowers the saturated fat percentage by 5 percentage points.

Giada's piccata:

Cookography's piccata:


Friday, March 13, 2009

Teatime: Lemon-Chamomile Shortbread

For today's student dessert and tea, I let my husband choose the dessert. He's a huge fan of shortbread, but I don't usually like it because it's too buttery in taste. (I know, I know...I'm sure there are a lot of jaws dropping out there! I like to use it sometimes as a fat to cook in, but I just don't really like the flavor.) And guess what he chose? Shortbread.

Granted, I made this last semester for the previous study abroad group and liked it, but it probably wouldn't have been my first choice. Luckily, this recipe from Real Simple adds two of my favorite flavors: tea and lemon. It's an easy recipe with few ingredients, and the final product has a light and bright flavor.

I baked this batch in two round cake pans and then cut wedges, but I think the suggestion in the original recipe--cutting triangles--would provide a nicer presentation. Also, the "batter" will be very crumbly, so don't worry when it really doesn't turn into a dough or batter.

Lemon-Chamomile Shortbread
from Real Simple
Text-Only Version
Yield: Makes 18 cookies

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
Grated zest from 1 lemon
1 teaspoon loose chamomile tea
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

Heat oven to 325° F. Combine the butter, sugar, and salt in a mixer and beat until light and fluffy. Blend in the lemon zest, loose tea, and flour until smooth. Press into an 8-inch square cake pan. Bake 30 minutes or just until the shortbread begins to turn golden. Cut into 9 squares, then cut each square into 2 triangles. Cool completely on a wire rack. Remove the shortbread cookies from the pan.


Thursday, March 12, 2009

Dealing with Stolen Material

I haven't posted anything in the last couple of days because I've been dealing with a person who has decided to create an automatic RSS feed into his blog of food blogs around the blogosphere without attribution. I actually stumbled across one of my own posts through a trackback in another blog's comments section, and it took a couple of days to track the guy down and take care of the issue because his email address was bogus and his web server was difficult to track down. Little did he know that one of my superpowers is that I can find almost anything on the web... ;-)

It was quite disconcerting to see my post on someone else's blog, I can tell you! So now, I'm adding a footer to all of my posts to avoid these problems in the future. I was going to encourage you all to check out his blog to make sure that you weren't on it, but I think I convinced him to take it down because it's not there anymore.

His excuse? He "didn't know" it was copyright infringement. Right.

If you are not reading this post in a feed reader or at http://mindysmouthful.blogspot.com, then the site you are reading is illegally publishing copyrighted material. Contact me at mindysmouthful (AT) gmail (DOT) com. All recipes, text and photographs in this post are the original creations and property of the author unless otherwise noted.
© 2008-2009 Mindy's Mouthful


Monday, March 9, 2009

Experimenting "en Papillote" Style

Last week, I tried a completely new technique--en papillote. I was inspired by Cynthia Furey over at Furey & the Feast when I saw how simple it seemed to do...and I'm always looking for a new chicken recipe! Since this was the first time I've ever "en papilloted," I decided to follow her recipe almost to the tee, but of course, I always I have to change it just a little bit. Nothing major here, but I reduced the amount of olive oil because it seemed like a lot and used some frozen basil since that's what I had on hand. I also didn't tie the packets, but cut the paper into large heart shapes and folded the edges. Her method probably keeps the juices from leaking as mine did a little, but I just don't have the patience to dig out the string...

The result was a flavorful, moist piece of chicken that I served alongside some couscous cooked in chicken stock and mixed with parsley...all the better to soak up those yummy juices!

Chicken en Papillote with Basil and Cherry Tomotoes
slightly adapted from Furey & the Feast
Text-Only Version

3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
Salt and pepper
3 Tbl olive oil
1 medium onion, sliced
3 garlic cloves, sliced
6 Tbl white wine
15 cherry tomatoes (red and yellow), halved
3-6 tsp chopped or chiffonade basil (leaves or frozen)

Parchment paper, cut into three large hearts

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Place one chicken breast into each parchment paper hearts. Salt and pepper to taste. Drizzle each with 1 Tbl olive oil. Add 1/3 of the onion, garlic, tomatoes, garlic, and 1-2 tsp chopped basil onto the top of each breast. Drizzle with each with 2 Tbl of wine.

To fold the paper, start at the rounded end and fold a small piece over. Continue to do this, overlapping each fold, until you reach the point. Fold the point under the packet. Place the packets on a rimmed baking sheet and place in the oven for 35-40 minutes or until the thermometer placed inside the chicken reads 165 degrees F.

Cut the paper open and serve.


Sunday, March 8, 2009

Chocolate Berry Torte

The Europeans are very fond of their stacked tortes. I've seen the layered delicacies all over France, Germany, and Austria (where the most famous tortes are the Sacher Torte, the Linzer Torte and the Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte--or Black Forest Cake). Since it's such a common dessert, you can find the cakes already made and cut for you in almost any grocery store in Germany. I was intrigued by these pre-made cakes and wondered if I could come up with some fillings for a cake to serve to students. I had some leftover frozen mixed berries from the Chocolate Valentino and learned how to make a yummy whipped cream for the same recipe, so I thought that I'd make a variation of those toppings to fill the cake.

The result? A tasty, light, and impressive looking cake! Now I'll have to find a good recipe to make the actual cake itself for when I return the the States!

Chocolate Berry Torte
Text-Only Version

3 (or more) thin yellow cake layers (about 1/2 inch thick each)

2 cups mixed frozen or fresh berries
1/4 cup sugar
1 Tbl cornstarch
1 Tbl orange juice

1 1/2-2 cups cold heavy whipping cream
1 1/2 tsp powdered sugar
1/8 cup granulated sugar (or more if you like a sweeter whipped cream)
1 1/2-2 Tbl cocoa powder

A square or two of dark chocolate for garnish
Fresh berries for garnish

Make your cakes if you are making them from scratch, and once they're cooled, cut them to create 1/2 inch disks. I used a pre-made 10-inch cake, but if you're making your own, use a recipe that will make a dryer cake as the fillings will soak in.

While the cakes are baking, make the berry filling. Heat the berries, 1/4 cup sugar, cornstarch and orange juice in a pan over medium heat until thickened, about 5 minutes. Pour into a bowl and smash the berries roughly with a fork. Let cool.

When the cakes and the berry filling have cooled, make the whipped cream. Beat the cream and the powdered sugar in a cold bowl until soft peaks form. Add the granulated sugar and the cocoa and beat a little more. Taste to for sweetness and add more sugar and/or cocoa to taste. The whipped cream will feel a little gritty now because of the granulated sugar, but the sugar will dissolve once on the cake.

Place the first cake layer on a large platter. Spread half of the berry mixture on the cake with a large spoon or spatula. It will be a very thin layer, but should cover the entire layer. Then layer on about 1/3 of the chocolate whipped cream. Place the second cake layer on top and repeat with the rest of the berry mixture and 1/3 of the chocolate whipped cream. Place the last layer on top and spread the rest of the whipped cream on top. Grate some dark chocolate over the top and place some berries on top as garnish. (If using very juicy berries, wait until you serve the cake to garnish.) Refrigerate for at least a few hours up to overnight and serve. (I served this cake after only a couple of hours of refrigeration and it was fine, but really tasted great the next day.)

My husband's verdict: "This would be impressive to take to a potluck. It's better than I've had in some bakeries and cafes." High praise from someone who has lived entire years in Vienna and France.


Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Berlin, City of...Burritos?

We visited the beautiful city of Berlin last weekend, and a friend (and former student) of ours who lives outside of the city knows how much I love my Mexican food. I haven't had any good Mexican food in eight long months because I've found it's just not worth it to try in Europe. The biggest problem is cheese--it's hard to find the right cheeses to go with Mexican food here, and Emmentaler just doesn't cut it. Even homemade Mexican is difficult; my mom brought me several cans of green enchilada sauce at Christmas, but when I made the enchiladas with Gouda, it just didn't taste right.

So back to Berlin...Katie told me about a place where you can get "real burritos," and so we tried it. And guess what? They were "real California burritos!" Woohoo! So, if you're ever in Berlin and are craving one of those good ol' gigantic burritos from home, go to D0lores on Rosa-Luxemburg Strasse near Alexanderplatz! (And make sure to try their "lemonades." That day they had lime/cinnamon and strawberry/tamarind lemonades. Mmmmm...)

My burrito had lime-flavored chicken, "Spanish" rice, pinto beans, real monterey jack cheese!, sour cream, guacamole, pico de gallo, and lettuce, all on a real flour tortilla...yum!

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