A Little Bit of Spain in Iowa Meets New York


It's been months since I met Diana Bauman of A Little Bit of Spain in Iowa but I can still remember the intense sparkle of enthusiasm that radiated from her eyes upon our meeting. It's always a neat experience when the worlds of virtual and tangible collide. In early February, she and her husband, Gabe, visited New York City when she won the opportunity to participate in the Electrolux Cake Decorating Contest to raise money for ovarian cancer research. And even though I was dazed from a long international flight, I was only excited to meet her.


Diana embodies the spirit of Fresh Local and Best, supporting local and sustainable farmers in Iowa, choosing organic and natural whenever possible, and making almost everything from scratch. Why? The answer is very simple: because she can! And she's very good at showing us how we can too.


Amid a passionate conversation of local and sustainable food in New York, where I live, and Iowa, where Diana lives, we headed out into the Big Apple's expansive restaurant scene. First, we headed to Bar Jamón, a Spanish tapas bar in Gramercy.


With the first sight of jamón on the slicer, our stomachs grumbled, and we jumped to quickly claim a few freshly vacated seats in the over-filled and dimly lit bar.


Bar Jamón offers an extensive menu of creative tapas, along with an impressive portfolio of recommended Spanish wines, which enticed our curiosity. The only problem we encountered on the list was deciding which one to choose.


In place of wine, Gabe went for a gratifying bottle of Spanish beer, and the Hudson Valley pork embutidos ($18), which is a variety of small pork dishes including Serrano jamón, pate, a small lightly dressed salad topped with bits of crisp fried pork rind, and sliced toasted bread accompanied with a sauce made of farm fresh lard, all served on a wide cutting board.


Diana ordered a roasted beet salad ($8) stacked with goat cheese and tender sliced greens, which she enjoyed.


Can you guess what the above picture is? I ordered a marinated calamari salad ($9) that was refreshing with sun-dried tomatoes, soft lemon notes, olive oil and herbs integrated among a pile of fresh tender calamari. This is one of my favorite dishes at Bar Jamón.


And because that was meant only be an appetizer, we headed to my favorite ramen house, Ippudo's in the East Village for dinner.

If you're visiting New York, there are a few must try foods that I recommend, one is the pork bun either at Ippudo's or Momofuku. I personally am biased toward the one at Ippudo's, because the steamed bread enveloping the tender slice of Berkshire pork belly has this amazing pillowy texture that seamlessly dissipates upon carnivorous bite.


Typically there is a one to two hour wait to be seated, which can be agonizing and confusing to outsiders.  Fortunately, we were seated immediately. I'm not making this up, New Yorkers wait this long to order a steaming bowl of noodles that is notoriously affiliated as the staple for poor college students. Only this bowl is filled with noodles that are fresh and firm, and brimming with a rich umami driven broth. Depending on what you order, each serving can be accompanied by a generous succulent piece of Berkshire pork, green onion and lots of other goodies. 


By the end of the evening we were all satiated and I was beat, my internal clock still ticking on the Mediterrannean time zone. I was glad to be able to meet Diana and Gabe in the flesh, two people who are as kind, genuine and interesting in person as they appear on the blog. When you have a chance, please visit Diana's lovely and informative blog, A Little Bit of Spain in Iowa.

61 comments:

momgateway said...

What an exciting time to meet someone of the same mind. Thanks for sharing.

Sara said...

I'm dying to go to NYC and hang out (and dine!) with you!! Great choices. Looks amazing!

Denise said...

Thanks for sharing!! I remember when that trip happened...a great opportunity for food bloggers!

Can you believe I've never been to NYC!!! When younger, I never had much of a desire...seems I always end up in tropical or subtropical locations (Hawaii & now Florida). I did make it to Europe back in college..that was an amazing experience.

Now that I am really into food/dining & cooking and I really seem to meet great people from NYC...I can't wait to get there. Not to mention it seems like practically every movie is made there ;) One day I will make it up for a visit!

Stella said...

Hi Christine, I hope you get some good rest soon, and I visit Diana sometimes-I like that she grows a lot of her own food.

Kim said...

You and Diana look radiant in the picture and you can definitely tell you had a wonderful time. I have always wanted to go to a tapas bar, but sadly we don't have any (that I know of) here in KY. Looks like a tasty time:D

Kathleen said...

I' starving and wish I had about a dozen of those pork buns right now!

Chow and Chatter said...

perfect place for sweet Diana hope to meet her as well one day!

Simply Life said...

what a great time and 2 of my favorite blogs- I'd be there to be in both your fan clubs :)

Cool Lassi(e) said...

Those pork buns are making me go weak in the knee. I so want those pillows..ahem buns..hey look so good!

T.W. Barritt at Culinary Types said...

I must try this place! What fun to make the visit with a kindred spirit!

alison said...

wonderful meeting,nice people,good food!lucky you!

Trissa said...

You are such a great host Christine! No wonder everyone likes to catch up with you when they visit New york!

Belinda @zomppa said...

Those pork buns sure are good!!!!!!!!

Meena said...

good to get to know diana...wonderful of you to feature other gr8 bloggers! the pic u asked about...looks like a kind of salad...looks as fab as the other food!

MaryMoh said...

Beautiful post. I can imagine the beautiful, electric atmosphere when 2 passionate bloggers meet!!

Sarah @ Mum In Bloom said...

How exciting for you both :) Its always a little strange when you meet someone you've only known in the virtual world but with the common bond of good food you can't go wrong. Thanks for sharing this visit with us.

Gloria said...

Absolutely nice post and pics!! Love them. aaah! Christine I hope some day go to New York,If I make sure I call you!! you are lovely, thanks by sharing, gloria

Joanne said...

This looks like one super delish dinner! And a fantastic night out. I love meeting bloggers. And I obviously need to go to Ippudo's. And Momofuku. Immediately.

Barbara said...

That would have been so much fun! Great food and blogger buddies!

Elizabeth in SLO said...

I might end up visiting Manhattan for a few days at the end of June. You gave me some great ideas!

Divina Pe said...

Great food and great company. I haven't met a food blogger yet. The two of you have developed a great friendship. :)

El said...

How great that you got to meet and spend time together. Thanks for introducing me to her blog. Looks like she has some amazing recipes!

Asha @ FSK said...

Christine! You have to take me out too!! :))) i want to go to Ippudo!

Diana Bauman said...

Christine, you are so great!! You are such a kind and sweet person. Although the first time we met, I honestly felt like we had been friends for years!! Un besote amiga!!

sweetlife said...

what a great meet..love the pork buns..great pic of yall together..looks like so much fun

sweetlife

Debinhawaii said...

Looks like you had a wonderful time and that's two more places I am going to have to try when I get to NYC again. ;-)

HippieMom said...

It is so GREAT to meet bloggers in real life. Thank's for sharing.
xOxO.

nancy at good food matters said...

Oh,I love seeing the food, especially from Bar Jamon--we have nothing to compare in Nashville--such beautiful food. And, your description of the pork bun....mercy!

Penny said...

It looks like you had a great time. I love visiting NYC. My favorite meal was at Otto.

Bellini Valli said...

So much fun to meet up with foodies who are as passionate about food and photography as we are. Thanks for sharing Christine!

Tasty Eats At Home said...

So awesome that the two of you met! And to enjoy one another's company in a place like that? Yum!

A Canadian Foodie said...

That's what it is all about. Meeting in cyberspace and then in the flesh, should the opportunity ever arise... if you find that you have a lot in common through your sites and posts - and it is clear that the two of you do... and you showed her and her husband a lovely evening out. The food sounds divine. Of course, I would rather go to the infamous Momofuku, as well, to compare... but, I am not sure I would ever wait anywhere for 2 hours for a meal. Why don't they take reservations? That really surprises me.
Now, I am off to investigate her site!
:)
Valerie

5 Star Foodie said...

What a fun meetup and delicious eats!

Cinnamon-Girl said...

Such delicious food and even better company! I bet the ramen is worth the wait! My Mom and I were just discussing the fact that there is nowhere to get ramen where we live - and how we should open our own restaurant.

Mari's Cakes said...

Nice picture, great food!

Hola!1

Bridgett said...

It is always fun to meet someone new and share some new experiences as well. Looks like you both enjoyed yourselves.

Mimi said...

Looks like a lot of fun.
Mimi

Bob said...

Glad you had a good time, even if you were still jet lagged. :)

Pam said...

Way to go! It sounds and looks like you had a fabulous time and so good that you got to meet Diana. I'd love to be in NYC now, all the places you mentioned sound amazing. Thanks for the good post! But, farm fresh lard sauce ~ interesting; I can't imagine what that would be like!

The Diva on a Diet said...

What a lovely, happy post! :)

And those Hudson Valley pork embutidos ... swoon!

Beth said...

Looks like a great visit! I'm going to need to hit you up for recommendations for my overnight stay in May!

Juliana said...

Wow, it seems that you had a great time...good for you, and I enjoyed the pictures very much :-)

sophia said...

Those buns. Must enter. My mouth. NOW! Wow!
I love all these foodie adventures and meet-ups you're having. you're living a sweet life! :-)

My Carolina Kitchen said...

How fun to get together with another food blogger. Diana is great and so is her blog.
Sam

Andrea@WellnessNotes said...

I already read Diana's post. Sounds like you guys had a great time!

The Blonde Duck said...

I saw something on Will and Grace once about ordering noodles. I never knew it was such a big deal!

Chubby Chinese Girl said...

awww thats awesome! she's a sweetheart!

Sook said...

That is so neat that you got to meet with Diana. I visit her blog sometimes and love it. :) Thanks for sharing.

tigerfish said...

Yep, to meet a flogger and enjoy those pork buns together must be one of the greatest enjoyments, yea? :)

lostpastremembered said...

How great is that to squire her around NYC! It is wonderful when bloggers unite like that. I'm just having a conversation with a comrade in ENgland for my summer visit. Nothing like an insider!

lostpastremembered said...

How great is that to squire her around NYC! It is wonderful when bloggers unite like that. I'm just having a conversation with a comrade in ENgland for my summer visit. Nothing like an insider!

Lea Ann said...

I would really like to learn how to make those steamy pork buns. I had them once in a restaurant and fell in love. I have a feeling the're not easy. Great post, great photos.

OysterCulture said...

All I can say is I should have waited until after lunch to read this post - you're killing me with the description and the photos. Can't wait to hopefully replicate the culinary fun and exploration when you come to SF.

Heavenly Housewife said...

What a fantastic day out. My favorite part about blogging is meeting really cool people. :D

Joy said...

What a beautiful meeting -- it is always exciting to personally meet a blogger (I have yet to have that experience but that will change this weekend!) New friendships are always enlightening -- you both are blessed to have met each other! :)

tasteofbeirut said...

Grand of you to meeting her despite your jetlag! Sounds like a good time and lots of great food!

Mardi @eatlivetravelwrite said...

What a lovely post Christine! Cannot wait to meet you next month!!!

Chef E said...

I love meeting the blogshere! This flower rocks and I hope you two have a rocking great time!

Cocina Savant said...

This looks like an awesome time. Good eats and good company, perfect time in my book.

Lori Lynn said...

I love stories of food bloggers becoming friends. Sounds like a lovely time.
LL

Danielle said...

That bowl of ramen is seriously divine, as are the pork buns. Will note your recommendations for my visit to New York one day!