The Best Meal in Ubud

I know... we've been back from our honeymoon for 3 months and I am JUST getting around to talking about the cultural heart of Bali, Ubud. Our last and favorite stop on the 'moon. As I started writing our travel guide to Ubud, I felt that this particular restaurant deserved a post of its own! If you want to have your socks knocked off from an unexpected meal in Ubud, then look no further than Laramona. We had been in Ubud for 5 days and our last night we stumbled upon this little gem and it was too good not to share with you. We had great food throughout our stay don't get me wrong - I still dream about the black pumpkin ravioli with truffle oil from Kismet, the soy-braised wagyu at Bridges, or the the best slice of margarita pizza worthy of an Italian pizzeria at warung Città Ovest, but nothing compared to this quirky, innovative, secluded gem. 

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First off, you have to order the red sangria our of a glass jar. With a ladle to serve yourself into teacups I might add. So good - and oddly satisfying to drink booze out of a teacup! Pinkies up of course. They also have fun cocktails with names like Limp Biscus and the Rum DMC. 

I have to mention, the restaurant doesn't have A/C so it was really warm in there - but they have fans going and I promise it's worth it! A group of girls walked in as we were eating and immediately left because they said it was too hot - they don't know what they missed!  Just cool off with more Sangria, eh?! Especially in April, Bali is very hot with high humidity so I lived in lightweight clothing while we were there. I love airy jumpsuits and rompers for warm weather - plus they aren't constrictive so you can eat more... :) My favorite one I'm wearing during our dinner is BCBG from a few years ago, but I linked a similar one below!

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With quirky artwork all of the walls and a mix of great records on rotation playing in the background this place screams character and above all, they crank out DELICIOUS food!

What we had:
- Blue cheese mushroom bruschetta - one of the best starters I've had, EVER. 
- Seaweed tempura crisps with salsa
- Grilled chorizo
- Risotto de Tokio- Mushroom risotto with more truffle oil. YESSS
- And the dish of all dishes, the LARAMONA Platter. A glorious spread of miso hummus, tzatziki, baba ganoush, roasted garlic,  olives &  feta, and so many other yummy things all slopped up with fried bread. 

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Hats off to these guys!! I hope you go see them if you're ever in Ubud!

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Must-Visit Tapas Spot in Portland // Ataula

Can you imagine a world where it's acceptable to go home every day and take a nap? Or a place where the sangria flows freely and the Jamón ibérico aplenty? Where you can eat patatas bravas for breakfast, lunch, and dinner with no judgement? That my friends, would be Spain. 

After visiting several spots in Spain, there's still so much of the country that I want to see with Thomas. On our bucket list is to go wine tasting in La Rioja; Eat our way through San Sebastian, which has more Michelin stars per capita than anywhere else in the world; and throw tomatoes in Buñol at the  famous La Tomatina Festival! But until then, we've found our little slice of Spanish heaven in our neighborhood at Ataula

Tucked away on a side street off of 23rd Ave and Thurman, lies what feels like Northwest Portland's best kept secret. Ataula's whole essence is characterized by how eating and drinking should be celebrated with friends and family - which is exactly the kind of place that I want to be on a date-night, or any other night for that matter. Cristina Baez and chef Jose Chesa bring a 'Portland vibe' by utilizing the Pacific Northwest's seasonal goodies and creating dishes inspired by Catalunya and other regions of Spain.  Sharing multiple 'small plates' so we can try a little of everything is my jam and at Ataula, you can't go wrong. 

On our most recent date night we started off with sangria of course. Then the plethora of jaw-droppingly good tapas started coming to the table. We had cured salmon toasts, the best Jamón ibérico de Bellota, octopus carpaccio, more sangria, bacalao, steak tartare, wine, langoustine, more wine, and THE BEST DESSERT EVER. It's a house made puff pastry, stuffed with house custard and dusted with sugar and spices. Do yourself a favor and order it no matter how full you are.  

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First we started with Sangria because duh, why wouldn't you?! Thomas got the classic red sangria and I got a spicy seasonal sangria which was incredible. 

ATAULA MONTADITO
House cured salmon, mascarpone yogurt, black truffle honey, coca bread

Next we devoured the house special, Jamón ibérico de Bellota. "de Bellota" means acorn fed. 

Also pictured above and below is the pulpo carpaccio, made from thinly sliced octopus.

Above- Bacalao - a dried salted cod which was AMAZING. I've had bacalao in Norway, so it was neat to see the Spanish version. 

TARTARE
Beef tartare, smoked piquillo ketchup, egg yolk puree with chili spiced potato chips

The best langoustine I've ever had. I can't even tell you everything that was on it now, but it was incredible. If you go to Ataula and they have any type of langoustine on the menu I suggest that you get it!

The picture speaks for itself! SO GOOOOOD.