Awad – Ghazir

Awad is an ice cream shop that I am glad I stepped into. Recently, I have been hearing how good it is, so I decided it was time to try it for myself. I am used to another Arabic ice cream parlor after many years of tasting other places, and I thought this would just be another disappointment. On the contrary, it was really really good; since yesterday I have eaten half a kilogram of ice cream from Awad by myself. I am not joking. This is not a joking matter. It is great ice cream with a very affordable price tag. What I loved most about it, other than its taste of course, is the texture. It is firm (I like to bite into my ice cream), and it tries to withstand the summer heat as much as it can. I am also glad that they have the traditional old-fashioned cones that are crunchy and brittle as an option, in addition to the newer hard and sugary ones. It is especially delicious when the ice cream creeps into the curves of the cone, and you get the ice cream and cone mixture in one mouthful. The milk flavor and crunch combination leaves your taste buds longing for more. This ice cream place is definitely worth its own stand-alone post.

Emotions – Achrafieh

I travel from one province to another, within Lebanon, to get to EMOTIONS Artisan Patissier & Glacier. When I arrive, I know that Mr. Gaby Bustros will be there in the kitchen perfecting his creations. When I first saw the triangular tart, I was intrigued to try the constituents of this rebel among its mostly circular species. I was not disappointed. The tart with the mixture of berries is sublime; the freshness of the berries with their bed of creme patissiere complement each other perfectly. The crumble of the tart border is the ideal vessel to hold them in, while being delicate in itself. If you wish to satisfy your darker desires, you would need to venture into the underworld of the chocolate tart. It is quite the opposite of its berry friend; within the triangular crunch of a border, there is more chocolate awaiting inside. The different textures of chocolate come together in intense decadence; the biscuit meets the ganache and oozing goodness seeps through the top subtly cracked chocolate layer. Ok, it is time to leave the world of tarts, and showcase the Tahitian vanilla eclair. It is fragile and light, yet rich and creamy, and the hardened caramel threads wonderfully break underneath your teeth. I think this eclair might be my favorite piece, but then again why put pressure on myself to choose a favorite. One of the times I went to Emotions, I was lucky enough to taste a sample of a chocolate macaron in the making; the crust parted to reveal delicious chocolate filling inside. Now, let us proceed to the other section of delicacies at Emotions; their ice cream. I love how the flavors contained in the 1L transparent tubs are described with handwritten labels. The cubes are filled with ice cream made from the finest ingredients. The sorbet of berries has fruit tidbits in it, which make the flavor more pronounced and lets the freshness shine through. As for the coconut ice cream, it is also made from fresh coconut with a subtle hint of Malibu rum and a touch of toasted coconut shavings. Whether it is pastry or ice cream, Emotions really satisfies my sweet cravings. I can not wait to meet more of their flawless confections.

Bits and Pieces – Spain

Behold the second compilation…

 

Eyescream and Friends – Barcelona: This cute shop made its debut in Barcelona and it is now expanding to other parts of the world. They have a variety of flavors and a diverse amount of toppings you can choose from. I would not walk far distances to find it again, but if it happens to be nearby I would have another taste.

 

Granja M. Viader – Barcelona: This place is special because stepping into it is as if you are wandering into the page of a history book. It has existed since 1870 and the eatery has been passed down through the same family for 5 generations! I love how the painted tiles on the floor have even become pale in some places and how old-fashioned the whole feel of the cafe is. Also, do not miss out on tasting the famous Cacaolat drink they created in 1933. I have already been there twice; if I go to Barcelona for a third time, I will definitely try their dense hot chocolate.

 

La Flauta – Barcelona: In my last trip to Barcelona, this was my first encounter with tapas. I tried several other places after that, but this remained my favorite among the ones I went to. From their patatas bravas to their multi-textured chocolate dessert; it was all delicious. I would want to go there again, and to visit the whole area in Barcelona where La Flauta is located in as well.

 

Thai Barcelona Royal Cuisine Restaurant – Barcelona: This restaurant had a pleasant ambiance, great service, and flavorful food. For a person who likes Thai cuisine, it will do the trick.