Let me tell you about my recent trip to Las Vegas. It was my first time there and it ended up being such an unforgettable experience. For many, an unforgettable experience in Las Vegas might mean winning some money or seeing a live show, but I did neither of those things. I did not even touch a single slot machine even though we passed many casinos while exploring the hotels. I have never seen so many casinos and slot machines in my whole life! So, you might be asking: “What did you do in Vegas?”
First, I should explain the reason for the trip. My husband’s cousin and her two friends were celebrating their birthdays this month. They decided to celebrate this year by going to Vegas. Lucky for me, they invited me to come along. Going to Vegas for the first time with these three ladies was so much fun! We had a great time exploring hotels, walking, shopping and eating. I was in awe of all the hotels’ artistic decors and dazzling structures. The fountain shows and the bright lights of the Vegas strip at night were sights to behold.
While in Vegas, I was able to taste some food for the first time. This food experience was made possible by the brother of one the ladies. He is one of the chefs at Julian Serrano’s Tapas restaurant and was our guide while in Vegas. Because of him, I was able to try foie gras for the first time. I was also able to try imported Spanish serrano ham as well as imported Spanish “pata negra”, the most delicious ham in the world. I was able to try their popular mixed paella which consists of lobster, mussels, shrimp, chicken, Spanish pork chorizo and vegetables. The highlight was when I was able to go behind the scenes, in their kitchen and watched the chef make paella. It was indeed an experience I will never forget. While at Tapas, my friends and I were also able to try three of their popular desserts; churros, bunuelos de viento (white chocolate filled fritters) and my favorite torrija. Torrijas are basically slices of bread soaked in milk or wine with honey and spices, coated with beaten egg and then fried. It is similar to French toast. While French toast is served at breakfast, torrijas are typical desserts during Lent and Holy Week in Spain. I loved this dessert so much, I tried to recreate it at home so my family can try it. In this recipe, I used Italian loaf because of its dense crumb which helped keep the bread’s consistency even after getting soaked. The loaf was sliced into 1-inch diagonal pieces and then soaked in the cinnamon flavored milk for an hour. Afterwards, the slices of bread were dipped in beaten eggs and then fried until golden brown. The result was toast that was crispy on the outside and soft and smooth on the inside. Torrijas can be served sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar but my favorite way of eating it is with ice cream and roasted macadamia nuts and drizzled with caramel sauce, just like the way I first tasted them at Tapas. Enjoy!
Note: This post is based on my opinion and personal experience. I did not get paid for this post.
Torrija (Spanish Toast)
- 1 day old Italian loaf or any loaf of bread
- 4 cups whole milk
- 3 tbsp sugar or honey
- 1 stick cinnamon
- 4 eggs
- Vegetable oil for frying
- Sugar and cinnamon for sprinkling (optional)
- Vanilla ice cream (optional)
- Slice loaf of bread into 1-inch diagonal slices. Arrange them on a shallow dish. Set aside.
- Pour milk in a saucepan with sugar and the cinnamon stick and bring to a boil. Turn off the heat the moment it starts to boil and let stand for 5 minutes.
- Discard the cinnamon and then pour the milk over the bread. Let the bread soak in the milk mixture for an hour.
- Beat the eggs in a shallow dish. Set aside.
- Heat enough oil to come ½ inch up the sides of a large frying pan over medium high heat. With a large spatula (the bread will be overly soft), carefully coat slices of bread one at a time with the beaten eggs.
- Fry the slices in the preheated pan until golden brown, about 2-3 minutes per side. Drain toasts on plates lined with paper towels.
- Serve sprinkled with sugar and cinnamon or with vanilla ice cream.