Category Archives: tapas

The Purple Pig – Chicago

The Purple Pig is one of the most hyped and highly rated restaurants in Chicago.

The location is hard to beat.. right on the Magnificent Mile! They don’t take reservations and lineups are usually 2 hours during peak dining hours… so we went there for a late lunch at 3pm… and no lineup!

The restaurant is a gastropub that specializes in cheese, swine and wine.. We were seated at the communal table and we got real close to the adjacent diners.  Mom got nearly whacked in the face many times!

Pork Fried Almonds with Rosemary & Garlic… nothing special.. tasted like regular almonds but with rosemary and garlic…


Deviled Egg with Arugula & Capers

a close up.. this is made by draining out the yolk, mixing it with cheese, and stuffing it back into the egg… it’s a pretty interesting concept.. but doesn’t taste spectacular…

Milk Braised Pork Shoulder with Mashed Potatoes…the meat was tender but it was EXTREMELY SALTY…even when paired with the mashed potatoes

Chicken Thigh Kebabs, Fried Smashed Potatoes & Tzatziki.. nothing special.. the chicken skin was slightly burned…

The Purple Pig is seriously over hyped.. there’s not a single dish that is outstanding…


The Purple Pig

500 N Michigan Ave  Chicago, IL 60611, United States
+1 312-464-1744


Casa Rubio – Cordoba, Spain

We went to Cordoba to visit the Mezquita, a former Visigothic Christian church turned mosque and which is now a Catholic Cathedral!

<inside the Mezquita>

After visiting the Mezquita, our guide recommended Casa Rubo.. which is a Michelin Guide – recommended restaurant!



huevo con pisto (fried egg with vegetables)…  the vegetables are like the veggies from minestrone soup…

grilled squid

japuta adobo (fried marinated fish)…. we didn’t like this dish because the batter was so thick and the fish was tasteless..

rabo toro (braised oxtail with potatoes)… Cordoba is in a region of Spain called Andalusia and oxtail is a specialty in their cuisine.  The oxtail is marinated and then cooked till the meat falls off the bone! Delicious!

Casa Rubio

C/ Puerta de Almodóvar, 3
14003 Cordoba, Spain
957 420 853

Bilbao-Berria – Barcelona, Spain

The highlight of our trip was watching Barça take on Napoli for the Joan Gamper Trophy at Camp Nou!

The atmosphere at the game was electrifying! Most of the 90,000 seats were filled …people wore Barça jerseys.. trumpets were blasting..endless body waves.. everyone singing along to the Barça song…

And Barça won 5-0! After the game, we had a late dinner (11:30pm) at Bilbao-Berria.

I passed by it a couple times before and it always seemed to be packed… so we decided to give it a try (and most other places were closed)..

clockwise from top: imitation crab with roe; BBQ chicken; shrimp; egg, pepper and anchovy

anchovy, pepper, onion and olive

the chocolate drizzled creme puff was ok.. the dark chocolate ball had a ganache filling inside!


Bilbao Berria 

Plaça Nova 3, El Barri Gòtic
Tel: + 34 933 170 124
open till midnight

Ciudad Condal – Barcelona, Spain

It was Sunday night and even those restaurants which are opened in August are mostly closed.  We decided to try Ciudad Condal, of the same family as Cervecería Catalana.  It’s due to the success of Ciudad Condal that Cervecería Catalana was opened.

This place was also packed when we arrived!

Unlike the sleek modern interior design of Cervecería Catalana, Ciudad Condal’s design is more rustic and homey.

more potato bravas! I’m totally addicted!

huevos cabreaos…this is even better than potato bravas!  Poached eggs and spicy mayo on top of fried potato sticks! The potato sticks are like Hickory Sticks (my favourite childhood snack!) but minus the BBQ flavour!  You mix everything together and you get a delicious gooey crunchy bite!

grilled mushrooms and asparagus… quite tasty but a bit salty..

fried calamari… not good.. tasteless and has a thick batter

mini hamburger with cheese and sweetened onions… the onions were too sweet!

grilled prawns… they were smaller than El Quim’s but it tasted fresh and sweet!

croquette..this was was fried in a batch of used oil… and it was overfried too….


Crema catalana… they included walnut cookies too!

The food’s the same quality at both places but the service was better at Cervecería Catalana.  Another difference is that Cervecería Catalana has a hipper and more local clientele while Ciudad Condal seems to serve more tourists.


Ciudad Condal

Rambla de Catalunya, 18
Barcelona, Spain
933 181 997

Euskal Etxea – Barcelona, Spain

It was Sunday and the Picasso Museum has free admission every Sunday after 3pm! We decided to have a late lunch before going because just a few door down from the museum is Euskal Etxea.

Euskal Etxea was one of the first places to introduce the tapas culture in Barcelona and it serves Basque food.. so it’s called pinxtos instead of tapas.

Displayed throughout the bar are all sorts of bread with toppings on top, held together by a toothpick. You get a plate and just pick whatever catches your eye! You don’t need to pay yet cause when you’re done, the waiter will count your toothpicks and total up the amount.

1st round (clockwise from top): jamón serrano; anchovy, pepper and some thing mixed with mayo; smoked salmon; imitation crab with mayo

I forgot what these were…

grilled squid… it just came out of the kitchen and the servers went around asking if we wanted something hot from the kitchen!

the anchovy, pepper and some thing mixed with mayo bread and imitation crab with mayo were so good we had to get seconds!

and thirds!

I like this type of self-serve tapas bar cause it’s more laid back and there was a huge variety of different bread! We kept on eating and eating and ended up with 24 toothpicks! Each toothpick is 1.8 euros and the bill came up to nearly 40 euros!  However, dad was grumbling afterwards that this was such an expensive meal and all he ate was bread!


Euskal Etxea

Placeta de Montcada, 1-3 (Barcelona).
Tel: 933 300 303

Cervecería Catalana – Barcelona, Spain

After lunch at El Quim, we had a siesta and then headed to Park Güell.

Park Güell was designed by Antoni Gaudí and it’s like I’ve entered into a land of fairytales!

a gingerbread house-looking building…

By the time we left the park, it was already 8pm and we were already really hungry. We headed to L’Exiample (only 2 metro stops away!) for dinner at Cervecería Catalana.

We got there around 8:30pm and the place was packed!!! There were no empty seats at the bar and the waiting list for a table in the restaurant was at least half an hour!  We found a seat at the bar and were too hungry to wait for more seats, so we ordered some tapas to start.  Thankfully soon after, we got a table!

potato bravas….. mmm.. I like this more than french fries and ketchup!

pan con tomate…. my least favourite pan con tomate in all of Spain… the bread wasn’t even tomato-y….

deep fried cheese with nuts… a really interesting texture combination! tasty!

deep-fried baby squid… these seem to be the frozen kind.. nothing special..

chicken wrap….

grilled shrimps…. again, it’s the frozen kind..

mini hot dogs….nothing special..

some sandwich that was forgettable…

fried sardines…these sardines were meaty and didn’t have the fishy taste..

Crema catalana… this is the Spanish crème brûlée! yummm!

If I haven’t been to Paco Meralgo /Tapaç 24, then I would say the food’s pretty good here.  But because I had tapas and seafood of a higher quality at those two places, I wasn’t impressed with the quality of the tapas dish at Cervecería Catalana.  Price-wise, this was more economical.. we came out stuffed and only paid 70 euros for 4 people.


Cervecería Catalana

08013 Barcelona, Spain
932 160 368

Alta Taberna Paco Meralgo – Barcelona, Spain

For dinner the 2nd night, we went to Paco Meralgo, considered by foodies as the best tapas bar in Barcelona.  The only other tapas bar that is also considered “the best” is Cal Pep, but it’s closed in August.

We made a reservation on so the four of us got a table.

There’s also a smoking and non-smoking section which are separated by the open kitchen.

Gazpacho in a glass…. this is the most watery gazpacho I had in Spain.. I don’t know if they diluted it so it’s more like a drink?  But this was very refreshing!

pa amb tomaquet (pan con tomate in Catalan)… this was very tomato-y and crispy!

grilled aubergine and anchovy on bread

potato bravas…so good cause this version wasn’t that spicy! We ordered 2 plates!

chicken and ham & fish and seafood croquettes.. thin batter and lot of filling!

deep fried baby squid…. the squid was flavourful but since the squid is so fresh, I would prefer just grilling it.

zucchini flower stuffed with mozzarella cheese… we didn’t mean to order this but this tasted pretty good… with the melty cheese!

chucks of garlic-fried fillet…  12 euros for 6 tiny chunks of beef is expensive but it was sooooooo delicious! The beef was cooked medium-rare so it was extremely tender and the garlic taste simply made the dish a knock-out.

Small squid ‘a la llauna’… I prefer baby squids but the standout of this dish are the chickpeas. I usually pick out the chickpeas but these were so soft and flavourful that I ate them all!

steamed mussels…once again, the mussels were so fresh, there’s no need for seasoning!

Fresh anchovies in batter… we thought that it would be salty but it wasn’t! so yummy and meaty!

fried prawns in batter.. 12 euros for 6! expensive! The batter was very thin and the prawns were so fresh and sweet.

‘Bomba’, big spicy meat ball.. it’s like croquettes…

Paco Meralgo serves high-quality tapas and fresh seafood and its price certainly reflects that.


Alta Taberna Paco Meralgo

C/ Muntaner, 171
08036 Barcelona, Spain
934 309 02