Sushi 101 at La Fresca

Sea weed wraps? Check!
Sushi rice? Check!
Veggies? Check!
Soy Sauce? Check!
Salmon, tuna, octopus? Che–Wait, octopus?!

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Welcome to Spanish Sushi 101 at La Fresca Bar in Madrid.

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I have to be honest here. The first time I ever tried sushi was hardly a year ago. In the good old days, I was a notoriously picky eater until I studied abroad in Asia and it was there that suddenly spaghetti with tomato sauce wasn’t so scary anymore. But even so, my picky habits linger and I tend to assume I won’t like things, and consequently, never try them until I’m forced to. So last year when some Spanish friends drug me to sushi night, I tried a couple of rolls, and, like most things, I kind of, sort of, liked it.

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La Fresca Bar is one of the only restaurants that we somewhat frequent in Madrid.

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They serve outstanding white wine with generous tapa portions and they have the friendliest staff that I’ve encountered in Spain. When the chef, Alex, mentioned he offers cooking classes, we knew we had to try it out. Plus, he mentioned something about unlimited drinks…

The class began in the empty restaurant around 6:45 on a Tuesday evening. Once we all had wine in hand and our aprons wrapped tight, Alex started his priceless lesson in gastronomy.

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While Alex prepared the rice, cut the vegetables and fish, and made the guacamole, he gave simple instructions and tips for doing it ourselves, cracked endless jokes, and patiently answered all of our questions.

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Has anyone else ever seen a mango cut like that? Genius.

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Once the prep was finished (Alex did all of the hard work for us!), he carefully and flawlessly created the first roll while we intently watched.

la-fresca-cooking-class-madridThen, we were each given a sushi mat and sea weed wraps and tried to mimic his methods. It was messy, sure, but I had no idea it was so simple!

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We wet our hands in a bowl of water, scooped out a handful of rice and pressed it into the bottom three-quarters of the sea weed wrap.

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Then we took whatever filling we wanted–mango, carrot, cream cheese, avocado, wasabi, celery, salmon, octopus, tuna–and arranged it on the rice.

Next, the most difficult but key step, was carefully rolling the concoction with the bamboo mat to make a perfect roll.

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Last came the chopping and embellishing, my favorite step! There was enough for all eight of us to make two to three rolls each, giving us plenty of opportunities to experiment with the filling, the embellishments, and our techniques.

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We all enjoyed observing one another’s methods and creativity. As it turns out, there is really no wrong way to make sushi! Oh, and the best part? Once we finished, we ate it all, accompanied by new friends and that tasty white wine I mentioned earlier.

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Alex’s cooking philosophy combines tastes of different cultures by using a variety of ingredients, techniques, and traditions from around the world, and this is thoroughly proven through La Fresca’s diverse menu and cooking classes.

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We had such a great experience getting our hands dirty and this is definitely something I would love to do again. I’m typically a mess in the kitchen (plus I’m spoiled by a live-in chef/boyfriend), but this class gave me the confidence and eagerness to try my hand at cooking more often! Every single time I’ve left this restaurant, I’ve gone home with a smile on my face, and this occasion was no exception.

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La Fresca features different dishes in its cooking classes twice a month. The class costs 50 euros and includes unlimited drinks and you get to eat what you cook!

For more information, visit www.lafrescabar.com or www.facebook.com/frescabarr.

La Fresca Bar
Calle de Vergara 14
Madrid, Spain
Phone: 91 593 63 18

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Many thanks to La Fresca for hosting me! And although I was invited as a guest, all opinions are my own.

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