Monthly Archives: June 2013

[Barcelona, Spain] Spanish Cooking Experience

Travel Bound cooking info page :  http://www.travelbar.com/es/activities-in-barcelona/spanish-cooking-class.php

Trip Advisor page:  http://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g187497-d3757398-Reviews-Spanish_Cooking_Experience-Barcelona_Catalonia.html

 

One of the best things that I did on my recent trip to Spain was to sign up for the Spanish Cooking Experience, hosted by Travel Bound tours.  The tour is EUR 22 (approx USD $30) per person which includes food and the cooking experience.  You are first led by the chef to the local traditional market in the central Las Ramblas area.  There, you will get a tour of the market, and the chef will buy some of the ingredients for the paella.  Then, you’ll follow the chef back to the cozy bar and be served with amazing tapas and sangria, all the while waiting/watching the paella to be cooked.  Since paella takes about half an hour to cook, that means you’ll enjoy lots and lots of tapas and sangria.  The sangria never stops flowing!  Just when you think it stops, it’s actually time for you to make your own!  🙂

 

All in all, it’s a great way to spend an evening out with some friends.  Highly recommend it if you’re heading to Barcelona!

 

The Boqueria Market – where you’ll shop for the paella’s ingredients

 

So many different kinds of seafood, some of which makes it into our paella.  ^ ^

 

Different kinds of shrimp

 

Saffron is what makes the paella its golden color.  The market sells the ones from Spain.

 

There are also lots of meat stalls inside the market, which sells assorted meats and hams, including the famous jamon iberico!

 

The sangria that we enjoyed.  It was the never ending jug.  🙂

 

The tapas include toast.  The Spanish tapas way of eating it is to rub the tomato on the toast, then drizzle the toast with a bit of olive oil.  Yum!

 

Cheese, Jamon Iberico and olives.  The Spanish olives were the best I’ve had!

 

Patatas bravas – these were piping hot fried potatoes with a spicy tangy aioli sauce.  So good!  I want to learn how to make it!

 

Pimientos padron – roasted peppers.  These don’t look like much, but they are super delicious!  Simply cooked with olive oil and a bit of sea salt, the peppers are not spicy at all and are a great snack!

 

The big vat of paella is bubbling with all sorts of goodness:  shrimps, mussels, squid, clams, fish stock, chicken, saffron, and of course the paella rice!

 

The finished product:  best paella ever!

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Kang Hodong Baekjeong

3465 W 6th St
Ste 20
Los Angeles, CA 90020
Neighborhood: Koreatown

http://www.yelp.com/biz/kang-hodong-baekjeong-los-angeles

http://www.baekjeong.com

 

Jonathan Gold’s article in the LA Times:  http://articles.latimes.com/2012/nov/10/food/la-fo-gold-20121110

 

This is a BBQ chain straight from Korea.  I was a bit bummed that I didn’t get to try it when I visited Seoul last fall, but lo and behold, the LA branch opened soon after I came back.  I was really excited to try it, when LA Times featured a glowing review soon after the restaurant opened.  The 5 star reviews on Yelp kept stacking up, but so did the wait time (it was around 2 hours for a while since the restaurant does not accept reservations).  Finally, after a few months, the initial craze is starting to dwindle down, so off we went.  Our wait during a Saturday was about 40 minutes.

The entrance to the restaurant is inside the plaza, which does not face the street.  That being said, the little plaza has many restaurants which share the small parking lot, so parking inside the plaza can be challenging.  You’re better off parking on the street, or in one of the nearby paid lots.

Kang Hodong Baekjeong is known for its exceptionally great meats.  Despite that, you pay almost the same as all-you-can-eat places, so it’s a great value.  The restaurant also has really good service — our server was friendly, came by very often, and cooked all of our meats for us.

 

The store front

 

You’ll see this poster board up front — it’s not PSY.  This is Kang Hodong, a Korean comedian, who owns this restaurant chain.

 

The menu

 

The grill at Kang Hodong Baekjeong is different than other K-BBQ places — There is also a moat ring around the grill, which is used to cook the corn with cheese, steam the egg, and grill the veggies.  What ingenuity!

 

Salad – included with your order.  Very fresh!

 

One of the many side dishes — spicy bean sprouts.  Mix it yourself!

 

I think this was mung bean pancake.  Pretty tasty, but I don’t think you can get seconds on this one.

 

Lots of dishes occupy the table — kimchi, radish, salt/pepper, jalapeno dipping sauce, and chilled radish soup.  Like other K-bbq joints, iced barley tea is served complimentary.

 

Lunch box – spicy kimchi rice.  Watch in awe as your server brings the box to the table, then starts shaking it in front of you.  The lunch box is warm at best, but really tasty!  We ordered 2 for our party of 6 and that was enough with our 5 meat orders.  $6.99

 

Our meat orders (from top to bottom):  seared pork belly ($18.99), special pork neck ($21.99), and sliced rib eye ($28.99).  I was going to order the pork butt, but our waiter told me point blank that the pork neck was much better.  And it was.  All of the meats were so good!  The waiter even adjusts heat on the grill for the different meats.

 

Thinly sliced brisket – see the nice marbling?  Yum!!!  Sliced sweet potato and mushrooms also came with our orders.  $18.99

 

Beef tongue – it was really fresh and a little thicker sliced than other K-bbq places.  Nice meaty texture.  $21.99

 

The waiter seared the rib eye and then cut them up into bite-size pieces once they were ready to eat.  Medium and succulent, just the way I like them!

 

Kimchi stew (kimchi jjigae)

Bean stew (doenjang jjigae)

 

Our meal also came with soups (kimchi and bean stew) at the end of the meal.  Both had great flavor, although the bean stew was a tad salty.  Overall, we all loved it.  It lives up to its hype!  We’ll be back.  🙂