Barcelona – 4/5 Day Vacation

No Uber or Lyft in Barcelona. Use the app mytaxi instead. Supposedly Hailo also works there, but I’ve tested mytaxi and it’s definitely available. UPDATE: we never used the app. There are taxis everywhere, just make sure they take cards before you get in, but cash is fine.

Avoid getting scammed tips – tl;dr – Trust no one, help no one

Drinking in public is illegal




Head to La Boqueria on Las Ramblas for all the food –

  • Best time is in the morning
  • They do accept credit cards, but I’m sure cash is appreciated. Remember to get a receipt
  • Lots of professional pickpockets here. Be extra careful and avoid letting people bump into you(super crowded though) and don’t touch your pocket where your wallet or valuables are.
  • Stands at the front more expensive
  • Several top market recommendations:
    • bacallà salat (dried salted cod)– usually comes in an esqueixada, a tomato, onion and black-olive salad with frisée lettuce
    • percebes (goose-necked barnacles) – much loved across Spain, these look like witch fingers and are eaten with a garlic and parsley sauce.
    • calçots (a cross between a leek and an onion), which are chargrilled and the insides eaten as a messy whole
    • Fresh fruit juice – 1-2 euro each
    • El Pinotxo, just to the right of the entrance
    • MUST FIND – Head down the centre of the market to just behind the fish sections. You will find a small stall manned by an Italian man with a wood fired oven selling pizzas by the slice – a favourite of El Bulli’s founder Ferran Adria
    • Get cone of Cheese & Iberico Ham from Mas Gourmets
    • Wine shop on the north side
    • Seafood is cooked in front of you

Walk around Las Ramblas

Walk around Gothic Quarter

Rooftop Balinese Bar – Live music

Other cool bars –

UPDATE: Dry Martini Bar – coworker says is number 4 best bar in the world –

  • Calle Aribau, 162-166, 08036

UPDATE: Majestic Hotel – Great rooftop bar with panormaric view of the whole city

        – Passeig de Gràcia, 68





Hop on hop off tour –


  • Casa Batllo – 10:30
  • La Sagrada – 1:30 then Nativity Tower at 2



Head back to hotel

Cooking class

  • MEETING POINT Barcelona Cooking
  • La Rambla, 58, ppal 2. Barcelona, Spain 08002
  • (+34) 931.191.986

Erotic Museum(until 11:30) –

  • 3 minute walk




Montserrat and Cava tour? (10 hours) – leaves at 8:30AM, back around 7

  • There are other options for cava tours that are closer or shorter, but Montserrat looks awesome
    • UPDATE: This tour was so awesome
  • Central Barcelona, near Via Laietana
  • Explore Catalunya office. Palau de la Musica, 1, 08003.
  • Tour departs from the Explore Catalunya office located directly opposite the ticket office/outdoor cafe of the Palau de la Musica, off Via Laietana.
  • Your local contact is Explore Catalunya on +34 93 269 11 54

Dinner at 7 Portes – plenty of space and time

Cocktail/Jazz club –

Magic Fountain of Montjuic – show is only friday/sat 9-10:30



Flax and Kale for lunch with Ana’s cousin

Museums: Natural Science, History, History of Catalunya

Montjuic Castle: 10-8PM


Highly rated must sees:

  1. Walk down Las Ramblas*
  2. Food Market on Las Ramblas – La Boqueria*
  3. La Sagrada Familia* (blue bus tour) – buy tickets online ahead of time
  4. Picasso Museum*
  5. Port de Barcelona
  6. Placa del Rei
  7. Parc de Montjuic*
  8. Olympic Stadium (red bus tour)
  9. Casa Mila/La Pedrera*- definitely go onto the roof of the building
  10. Casa Battlo* – at least walk by even if you don’t have time to go inside (red/blue bus tour)
  11. Esglesia de Sant Marc*
  12. Parc Guell* – One of the best sites to see (blue bus tour)
  13. Casa Museu Gaudi* – at least walk by for some photos
  14. Miguel del Port
  15. Parc de Ciutadella* (red bus tour)
  16. Walk through the Gothic Quarter* – see their version of the bridge of sighs
  17. Jardins de Laribal
  18. Jardins de Teatre Grec

Restaurant:  Restaurant 7 Portes,


Eat: paella, croquetas, seafood and of course churros y chocolate


Other ideas:

Chocolate museum-


London to do list

Tower of London

Harry Potter Tour

Borough Market – 8 southwark st – Slow-roast kid from Gourmet Goat, salt beef bagels from Nana Fanny’s and Thai coconut puddings from Khanom Krok.

Piccadilly Circus/Leceister square/soho/chinatown/Buckingham Palace

Brasserie Zédel – french – carrots rapées and coq au vin.

Cafe TPT – cantonese

Bi Bim Bap – soho – 7 pounds

Balls and company – soho

Crosstown donuts

Hoppers – sri lanken/south indian – soho

Kati Roll – soho – indian

Melt Room -soho – grilled cheeses



Lantana Cafe Fitzrovia  – aussie – awesome

Kin – chai tea latte – good food and vegan

Cafe Deco – real food

Bea’s cake boutique – wednesday afternoon. get a Duffin

Good enough college

Nando’s the Brunswick – afro-poruguese – chicken

Denise’s restaurant – french


Patisserie Valerie tea

Gymkhana – Indian food restaurant in London. Michelin star rated chef.



Duck and Waffle

Holy Trinity list (Crazy Rich Asians book):

Mandarin Kitchen – lobster noodles

Four Seasons on Gerrard – roast duck

Royal China on Baker Street – dim sum

*Paris – monsieur bleu – palais de tokyo restaurant

Minneapolis/Twin Cities to do list

Minnesota State Fair
Walker Art Center
Guthrie Theater
Minneapolis Institute of Art
Minneapolis Sculpture Garden
Minnehaha Park – waterfall
Weisman Art Museum
Target Field
Mill City Museum
American Swedish Institute
Stone Arch Bridge
Beer Dabbler Winter Carnival – February 8th
Loppet Ski Festival -February 3-5; has Surly Beer Garden and Food Trucks
Prince’s Paisley Park
Valleyfair – rollercoasters
Skyline minigolf at Walker Art – before 9/25. Thursday evenings
Room Escape Games
Indeed Brewing Company
Fulton Brewery Company
Boom Island Brewing company
Norseman Distillery – cocktail lab
Mill City Famers Market
Magical History Tour – segway
Taste Twin Cities Food Tours

Izzy’s ice cream

Sebastian ice cream
Bar Lurcat
Copper Pot Indian
Hi-Lo Diner – brunch
Shuang Cheng – chinese in Dinkytown
Smack Shack
Shout House Dueling Pianos
Psycho Suzi’s Motor Lounge
Betty Danger’s Country Club
Dakota Jazz Club
Bunkers Music Bar and Grill – Joe
Up-Down Minneapolis
Parlour – cocktails
Constantine – cocktails
Clubhouse Jager – carl, anna; outdoor patio
Sociable Ciderwerks
Dangerous Man Brewing
Como Park Zoo and conservatory
Science Museum
State Fairgrounds
Minnesota History Center
James J Hill House
Summit Ave – houses
CHS Field – baseball
Grand ave
Como Lakeside Pavilion
Fitzgerald Theater
Rice Park – ice skating
St.Paul Farmers Market
The Strip Club Meat and Fish – cocktail
WA Frost – outdoor bar
Tongue in Cheek – brunch deal $25
The Salt Cellar
Fasika Ethiopian Restaurant
St paul winter carnival
La grolla

Summit ave walking tour



This is how to make Taiwanese style zhongzi. This is my grandma’s recipe. Follow these instructions exactly and they’ll taste amazing.

Makes 30 zhongzi

Prep time: 37 hours

Cook time: 1.5 hours


  • 60 bamboo leaves
  • 5 lbs superior short grain rice (glutinous rice)
  • 5 shallots
  • 2 cups of small dried shrimp
  • 2 lbs pork belly
  • 1 lbs lean pork shoulder
  • 18 Japanese flower mushrooms
  • High quality soy sauce
  • High quality thick soy sauce
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • String – 3 bundles with 12 strings per “loop”
  • One 1″ thick stick – at least 3 feet long

Preparation steps:

Active time: 4-5 hours

  1. (Day 1) Soak the bamboo leaves for 24 hours in the sink.

    Bamboo leaves
    Bamboo leaves
  2. Create 3 loops of string with 12 ends per loop. Each end should be about 1 foot long and is for 1 zhongzi. The loops go on the stick.

    Looped strings
    Looped strings
  3. (Day 2 – First 4 hours) After 24 hours, scrub each leaf’s side in the sink with one stroke using a sponge and soapy water. After washing, rinse the leaves and transfer to a large pan or pot.

    Cleaning leaves
    Cleaning leaves
  4. Dip each leaf into boiling water for only a few seconds to soften them up. Do not dip too long otherwise the flavor leeches out. Two are needed per zhongzi. Lay them flat and put something heavy and flat on the whole pile, like a cutting board, or else they’ll curl.

    Dipped leaves
    Dipped leaves
  5. Soak the mushrooms in a bowl of water and 1 tablespoon of Japanese cooking wine for 2 hours

    Soaked mushrooms
    Soaked mushrooms
  6. Soak the dried shrimp in a bowl of water and 1 tablespoon of Japanese cooking wine for 2 hours

    Soaked mini shrimp
    Soaked mini shrimp
  7. Peel the shallots and wash them quickly. Mince them into 1 cm x 1 cm pieces. Spread them out and let them air dry for an hour.
    Mince shallots
    Mince shallots

    Minced shallots
    Minced shallots
  8. Rinse the pork belly and pork shoulder then pat them dry. Cut the chunks into pieces about the size of a baby carrot as shown in the pictures. Put these chunks into a mixing bowl.
    1. Note: First cut against the muscle fiber direction when making the larger cut. Then when cutting the pieces into smaller pieces, cut with the muscle fiber direction as shown in the picture.
      Cleaned pork
      Cleaned pork
      Cut direction
      Cut direction
      Pork chunk size
      Pork chunk size

  9. Mix in 1 teaspoon of salt, 1 teaspoon of pepper, and 3 tablespoons of soy sauce and massage them into the pork well. Set aside.
  10. Test the readiness of the mushrooms by squeezing them. They’re ready when they’re the consistency of a sponge.
  11. Remove the mushroom stem then cut the stem in half. Set the cap halves aside.

    Sliced mushroom caps
    Sliced mushroom caps
  12. Drain the shrimp and set aside.
  13. Store all prepared ingredients for the cooking steps.
    1. Note: Day 3 steps can be done during Day 2 if you’re motivated enough. If so, start soaking the rice when you start soaking everything else.


Cooking steps:

Time: 9 hours

  1. (Day 3) Soak the superior short grain rice (glutinous rice) for 5 hours.
  2. After soaking is done, rinse the rice until the water is clear. Drain the rice and add in 2 tablespoons of salt and mix it in.

    Rice with salt
    Rice with salt
  3. Fry the shallots on medium heat until they’re brown and start searing. Stir the entire time.

    Cooking shallots
    Cooking shallots
  4. Add the dried shrimp. Fry for 3 minutes while stirring the entire time.
  5. Add the mushroom caps and 2 tablespoons of soy sauce. Fry for 3 minutes while stirring the entire time.

    Cooking shallots, shrimp, and mushrooms
    Cooking shallots, shrimp, and mushrooms
  6. Remove the entire mixture to a separate container. The pan doesn’t have to be perfectly clean.
  7. Increase the heat to high then add in the pork chunks. Cook for 5 minutes while stirring the entire time.

    Cooking pork
    Cooking pork
  8. Once the pork is mostly cooked, add in the other cooked ingredients and reduce heat to 3/4 heat. Add 4 tablespoons of soy sauce and 2 tablespoons of thick soy sauce. Keep stirring and cooking for 3 minutes until everything is well mixed together.

    Cooked ingredients
    Cooked ingredients
  9. Cover and reduce heat to low. Let sit for 7 minutes then remove from heat.

    Covered cooked ingredients
    Covered cooked ingredients


Zhongzi making steps:

Time: 2.5 hours

  1. As stated before, you’ll need 2 leaves per zhongzi. The top (sun) side of the leaf is the rice-facing side. Snip the leaf ends. Follow the pictures to see how to line them up. Proper alignment is crucial for making them well.
    Snipped ends
    Snipped ends

    Proper alignment
    Proper alignment
  2. Add the string loops onto the stick. Place the stick about head height. Sit on a low stool. Put the ingredients on some books or something. Keep your hands dry or at least free from oil. Use chopsticks and a spoon to add stuff.

    Stations and placement
    Stations and placement
  3. Create the leaf pocket by folding it like the picture.

    Folded leaf
    Folded leaf
  4. Add one spoonful of rice and create a divot.

    Rice divot
    Rice divot
  5. Add a mushroom half-cap.

    Mushroom first
    Mushroom first
  6. Add a pork belly piece.

    Pork belly second
    Pork belly second
  7. Add a pork shoulder piece.

    Pork shoulder third
    Pork shoulder third
  8. Add about 2 teaspoons worth of shrimp/shallot mix.

    Add shrimp/shallot mix
    Add shrimp/shallot mix with a spoon
  9. Top off those with rice. Fold the leaf over the top.

    Cover with another spoonful of rice
    Cover with another spoonful of rice
  10. When folding, the packing must be kind of tight or else everything will fall out. It should feel like mochi in terms of tightness.
    Get ready
    Get ready

    Folding time
    Folding time
  11. The leaf over extension part should equal the zhongzi length.

    Leaf fold
    Leaf fold
  12. Make sure to keep your pinky near the fold when using your palm to fold the leave over as a cap. Fold the end of the leaf to the right then tie it up using the string that looped on the stick.
    Pinky up!
    Pinky up!
    Folding step
    Folding step

    Hold the fold down
    Hold the fold down

  13. When tying the zhongzi, grandma recommends an actual knot instead of a quick-release knot. Loop it over twice (open your thumb on the first loop around) and tie it around tight. Make sure to tie over the folded leaf.
    Start high up
    Start high up

    First one down!
    First one down!



Second cooking steps:

Time: 1.5 hours

  1. Boil a large pot of water.
  2. Remove the bundles from the stick.
  3. Add all the bundles into the single pot. Grandma recommends this so that the flavor stays in one pot.
  4. About 45 minutes in, rotate the bundles so that the top one switches with the bottom one.
  5. After 1.5 hours. Remove all bundles and add the loops back onto the stick. Make sure that there’s newspaper or something underneath the bundles since they’ll drip.
  6. Enjoy!

    It's easier with two people (I helped)
    It’s easier with two people (I helped)