Posts Tagged by new haven

Barcelona Wine Bar: A Taste of Spain in Connecticut

I don’t know about you, but I often look at a menu and want to order ALL THE THINGS!  And while I would enjoy every bite that would just cost a bloody fortune.  Enter tapas.  It’s the perfect way to enjoy multiple things at a restaurant, but in smaller more affordable portions.  My favorite place to get tapas?  Barcelona Wine Bar.

Barcelona-Wine1

Barcelona has six locations in Connecticut (I have been to five of them!), one in in Brookline, MA and one in Altanta, GA. The first restaurant opened in 1996 in South Norwalk where the owners set out to bring the bold flavors and rustic elegance of Spain here to Connecticut.  The food is simple, yet extremely flavorful.  While many dishes feature products directly from Spain and the Mediterranean region, the menu often changes to feature local and seasonal products from the surrounding area.  You know how I love to eat local!

All of the Barcelona restaurants have a different feel to them and I think I enjoy the location in New Haven the best.  This is partly because it’s close to my home, but mainly because I love all of the natural elements that are brought into the space, along with the open kitchen behind the bar.  It would be super cool if they created a chef’s counter where guests can enjoy a longer meal and interact with the chef’s.  Hint hint Barcelona.

My most recent visit to Barcelona in New Haven was with my mom when she came to visit a few weeks ago.  We went straight here after I picked her up from the airport and had an incredible meal.  We started with a few cocktails (of course!) and decided to try the Summer St. Sling, which is Chamomile Infused Tito’s Vodka, Fresh Pink Grapefruit & Lemon Juices, and Bitter Truth Grapefruit Bitters.  I’m actually surprised I ordered this because I’m not a huge grapefruit fan, but I am a big Tito’s Vodka fan so I went with it…delicious!

Summer St Sling

Summer St. Sling

Barcelona has a great cocktail menu.  Everything is extremely innovative and all of the juices are hand-squeezed.  I love creativity on a cocktail menu.

Wines by the Glass & Cocktail Menu

Wines by the Glass & Cocktail Menu

The menu is pretty extensive and it usually takes quite a bit of discussion to decide what to get. The waitstaff typically recommends 5-6 tapas dishes per person.  It might not seem like a lot of food when the small plates start arriving, but trust me, you will be full.  And if you’re not, they are happy to put in additional orders throughout the meal.

Barcelona-Menu1

Barcelona-Menu2

Besides tapas, there is an extensive meat & cheese selection, a few entree-sized dishes, and a variety of sharing options.  On this visit, we stuck with the tapas, but I’ll touch upon the Mixed Grill later…it’s like meat heaven!  Here’s what we decided on:

Beet Salad with Toasted Walnuts & Valdeon Cheese

Beet Salad with Toasted Walnuts & Valdeon Cheese

Mushrooms & Herbed Goat Cheese with Balsamic Reduction

Mushrooms & Herbed Goat Cheese with a Balsamic Reduction

Scallop Pinxto with Pancetta & Mushrooms

Scallop Pinxto with Pancetta & Mushrooms

Asparagus a la Plancha with a Garlic Vinaigrette Grilled Hanger Steak with a Black Truffle Vinaigrette

Asparagus a la Plancha with a Garlic Vinaigrette
Grilled Hanger Steak with a Black Truffle Vinaigrette

Grilled Quail with Kale and Local Garlic Scapes

Grilled Quail with Kale and Local Garlic Scapes

Are you drooling yet??  It’s was hard to pick a favorite dish here, but the Grilled Hanger Steak is always one of my top choices.  That Black Truffle Vinaigrette is to die for.  This was the first time I’ve tried quail and I have to say that I thoroughly enjoyed it!  The dish actually came with a complimentary glass of sherry that paired very nicely.  I don’t know much about sherry and according to Barcelona, not many people do either.  So they are offering sherry pairings with a few of their dishes to showcase some of their favorites.  Pretty cool!  

We also ordered a couple glasses of wine during the meal (it is a wine bar after all!), red for me and white for mom, and enjoyed some of their uh-mazing bread that is perfect for soaking up all of the delicious sauces.  I actually restrained myself from the bread this time (shocking!) but I know how good it is…Mom confirmed.

Barcelona-Wine

Barclona-Bread

Now a meal like this wouldn’t be complete without dessert and some coffee, right?  

Gluten-Free Chocolate Cake with Mounds Ice Cream & Raspberry Coulis

Gluten-Free Chocolate Cake with Mounds Ice Cream & Raspberry Coulis

Cafe con Leche & Espresso

Cafe con Leche & Espresso

After all that, you pretty much had to roll us out of there.  Such a great meal with a wide variety of flavors…right up my alley!  To say I indulged is an understatement…

Now remember that Mixed Grill I mentioned earlier?  If you’re a fan of meat, this is something you must try.  I was here with a friend a few months ago, who also likes to eat Paleo most of the time, and we shared the Barcelona Mixed Grill…meat heaven!  Perfect with one or two of the vegetable tapas.

Barcelona Mixed Grill NY Strip, Chicken, Pork Chop & Sausage

Barcelona Mixed Grill
NY Strip, Chicken, Pork Chop & Sausage

I’m lucky to have one of these locations about 10 minutes from home, but the various locations are spread out across Fairfield County and there is one up in West Hartford.  If you get a chance to stop by and enjoy a glass of wine and some small plate, do it!  You won’t be sorry 🙂

Have you been to one of the Barcelona locations?  What do you think about tapas?

 

A Visit From Mom

Mom-SarahMy mom and I weren’t always close.  To say I was a difficult teenager is an understatement.  Seriously…I don’t know how she dealt with me.  Thankfully she forgave me for all my craziness and by my early 20s we were (and still are) best friends. She currently lives in South Carolina so we don’t get to see each other that often, but it’s always fun when we get to spend time together!

This past weekend she came to visit for a few days and we jam packed our days with good food and good fun!  After picking her up from the airport on Thursday, we headed to New Haven and had a fabulous Spanish tapas dinner at Barcelona.

Barcelona-Food1

Barcelona-Food2

Friday was a lazy day.  We spent some time relaxing around the house, getting work done and Mom got in some good cuddle time with Cleo.  Neala wanted nothing to do with it.

Mom-Cleo

We all went out for froyo, which Mom had never had before (crazy…I know! ), and found this seriously cute shop in Milford called Most Naturally.  The store specializes in natural, organic and local items such as clothing, jewelry and home goods.  They have the CUTEST stuff!  We both went a little jewelry crazy 🙂

Most-Naturally-Jewelry

Saturday I took Mom to her first yoga class and she LOVED it! She’s an avid horseback rider and has been looking for other ways to supplement her riding.  I thought this would be perfect for her and I’m so glad she found it beneficial.  Later that day we went to something called Taste of New Haven.  These are historical walking tours of various different neighborhoods with stops at various restaurants and food shops along the way.  It was SO FUN!  We went on the Canal Quarter tour and I learned so much about this unique area.  And the food…YUM!  We stopped at 7 different places over the four hours of the tour and I can’t wait to do another one.  Expect a full review soon.

TasteofNewHaven-Kuma

Sarah-Barry-Mom-Zafra

Sunday was quite the adventure.  We said goodbye to B and set off to Eastern Connecticut for a fun girls day.  We met up with my Mom’s friend Judy from Massachusetts who I’ve known my entire life at the MGM Grand at Foxwoods where we would be spending the night.  We headed off to the seriously cute town of Stonington for lunch at the Dog Watch Cafe.  Lunch was great, but the highlight was definitely the table of pirates that came in.  

DogWatchCafe-Pirates

Stonington is right on the water and is an incredibly quaint New England town.  B doesn’t know it yet, but I am definitely dragging him back there for a day trip.  

Stonington

After driving through town a bit, we decided to go check out one of the local vineyards.  We decided on Maugle Sierra Vineyards and I fell in love with it as soon as we pulled in the driveway.  It was very rustic looking and the views were gorgeous.  We went into the tasting room and decided to try the tasting of all 8 of their wines.  The wine was anything to write home about, but the experience was great.  Every Sunday they have live music beginning at 3pm and a local lobster truck comes by for some good eats.  A ton of people showed up for this and it looked like a great way to spend a Sunday evening.

CTWineTrail-MaugleSierra

We headed back to Foxwoods to relax a bit and get ready for dinner at craftsteak.  Whoa…what an incredible dinner!  Pork belly, local beets, ribeye, spinach, carrots, mushrooms…you name it, we ate it!  Such a memorable dinner 🙂

craftsteak

Craftsteak- Mom-Judy-Sarah

After dinner we headed over to Comix for a night of laughs.  There were 4 comedians for their One Night Stand…2 were good, 2 were not so good.  Still got a bunch of great belly laughs in, which I always enjoy.

Comix

We then made our way back to the casino where Mom and Judy tried their hand at some of the slots and I proceed to have one too many martinis.  What a seriously fun night!       

Foxwoods-Slots

Mom-Judy-Sarah

The next morning we all slept late made our way to breakfast.  We said goodbye to Judy and Mom and I headed north to the airport.  The time flew by while she was here and I can’t believe her visit has come and gone so quickly.  It’s probably because we were having so much fun!  I’m so lucky to have a great Mom who I can share these moments with…until next time 🙂

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Sunday Funday: 7/28/13

Crazy by seriously RAD week around here!  My Mom is visiting from South Carolina and it’s the first time I’ve seen her in about 7 months…yowza!  So we’ve been spending a lot of time just hanging out and catching up…oh and eating really good food 🙂

So this week I…

Went on a really fun food tour of New Haven!

Taste-of-New-Haven-Zafra

Sarah-Barry-Mom-Zafra

Found some words of wisdom from Beeker on Instagram.

Poured chalk all over myself.

Chalkmonster

Can’t get enough of this pup getting showered in goodies.

Or this fatty trying to get through the door.

Fat-Cat

Or this guy…what?!?!

Enjoy the rest of you’re weekend!

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Yoga with Cats and the Infinite AppleTV Photo

It is HOT here in Connecticut.  The heat index was 103 in New Haven when I got home, so the sled pushes that were scheduled at CFM tonight were not happening in my book.  Instead, I decided to come home and do some yoga.  My legs were still sore from Monday’s lunge steps (those things are no joke!) and the stretching was definitely needed.

Let's do this!

Let’s do this!

So here’s my problem with doing yoga at home.  Cats.  I LOVE my cats…they are basically my children and anyone who has met them knows they are spoiled rotten.  But this doesn’t come in handy when you’re trying to relax and get some yoga in!  Cleo and Neala find it fascinating when I’m on the floor.  They feel the need to walk through my legs, roll around, you name it!  

Oh hi Mom, can I do yoga with you?

Oh hi Mom, can I do yoga with you?

Yeah it makes getting into Warrior II or cobra pose a little awkward when there is a cat on your mat…

Just chillin'

Just chillin’

Cleo also joined us for yoga, but it took a lot out of him and he took a nap right quick…complete with drool.

Droola

Droola

When I’m doing yoga at home I use the Yoda Studio app on my phone.  It’s pretty cool because you can either customize your practice or use one of their pre-defined classes. The instructions are very clear and easy to follow.

Yoga_Studio_App

I’ve made a few of my own classes and also used some ove the pre-made ones and each time I’ve followed them on the small screen of my phone.  Well tonight I noticed that I could watch it on my Apple TV…say what?!?  Apparently there is a mirroring feature on AirPlay so I could view the entire practice on my TV…awesome!

AppleTV_Airplay

But here’s the cooler thing about mirroring with your phone… infinite photos!  

And it goes on and on and on and on...

And it goes on and on and on and on…

Yes, I’m a nerd and I got a total kick out of this!  I finished my yoga class on the much bigger screen and now I’m super psyched about being able to have this option.  So even though I didn’t get my usual kick ass Thursday CrossFit workout in, I had a night of balance and fun with my cats.   Honestly, it doesn’t get much better than that 🙂 

How do you change up your exercise routine in extreme heat?  Do your cats love yoga like mine do? 

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