So I’m sitting in the aeropuerto in Madrid, after a weeeeek of gustation, and what a feeling! There’s something about the food in Europe, some kind of je ne sais quoi, it just makes you feel simpatico. Maybe the quality of ingredients, the simplicity in preparation, the lack of additives and pesticides, and unnatural chemicals. I don’t know, but I like it. There’s the clean air, the ample opportunity to walk your dinner away, sauntering down a small, quaint and curious street that leads who knows where. Who knows what it is, but I like it. Did I say that I liked it? It’s goood.
So we started with the tapas. They can be found everywhere, from the uptown restaurants to the unassuming little bars where the value can be great if you shop around. Here’s six little baby cephalopods grilled on a stick.
Also marinated anchovies and smoked ham from acorn fed pigs. They know about pig meat in Spain. We found squid, fish, and pig at Arysol in the Plaza del Sol in Madrid.
How bout some olives and capers?
Any one for some Foie Gras, which is equally as good as any I’ve had in the south of France? Yes, please…
Or, on the other end of the scale, the ham (those Spanish guys love their ham) and chorizo tapas from Villa Del Pescalado. This little hole in the wall is a great deal.
Then, there’s the restaurants. Again there’s quite a range. We sampled the whole gamut.
There was El Durero, Specialties del Castalanos. An authentic Spanish restaurant with comidas tipical.
I had to try the white bean soup with blood sausage and chorizo.
And also the rabbit in tomato sauce.
This place has got a great value meal. (Nothing like Mackie D’s) You get an app, a main entrée, a dessert (flan) and a small bottle of wine for around 10 euros. And it’s soooo cool to not have to look at a wine list. The stuff is good enough to say, “Red”.
Breakfast tipical is bacon (very good bacon, I might add. Those Spanish guys do like their pig meat) eggs, bread, fresh
orange juice, and café.
I have not seen oranges like this since I was a kid, growing up in central Florida. In Seville, all the streets are lined with orange trees. Automatic orange squeezers everywhere. Then there’s the seafood restaurants. Spain is a big peninsula with lots of shoreline, and the variety is grande. This is the window of Tres Encinas, advertising all the delicacies inside. Of course octopus is every where. That u-g-l-y, you ain’t got no alibi is an angler fish. He sits on the bottom and “fishes” with a lure attached to his head, guiding the unsuspecting little guys close enough to scarf em up in his gi-mongous, cavern of a mouth. I had a little angler, as well as barnacles. The “neck” is the edible part. You wriggle the skin away from the shell, leaving the muscle which you nibble. YUMM! This place also had some great recipes like avocado and apples with shrimp on a kind of 1000 island dressing.
Or the smoked salmon salad with shrimp and asparagus. Eeeeeuuuuu. Melt in your mouth. Of course they had ham. Man, I have never seen so much ham in my life! And for dessert… flan caramel with a fresh baked cookie, mango sorbet, and berries. There’s always room for flan.
Here’s a plate from the Bodega Gongora Bares in Seville. Langostines, cockles, two kinds of shrimps and razor clams and little necks too.
Then it was off to Gibraltar. The country is really spectacular in the south.
Just west of Gibraltar we got this incredible view of Africa – way off in the distance.
The only way to follow this is…WITH DINNER! More razor clams and paella. Oh yes, and flan. There’s always room for flan.
Oh, did I mention the ham????? I gotta say the people of Espana really dig a pig leg. Ham or bacon for breakfast, ham and cheese for lunch, chops for dinner, and a few slices of ham at the tapas bar for a midnight snack. In Madrid there is the Casa del 5Js – a restaurant specializing in one brand of ham. Or the craziest, over the top, Museo del Jamon.
(The Museum of Ham, Mam)
Ham R Us, Y’all. Not to be heavy hamded, but dezs guys like their HAM. All in all, a very good feed. Next time I’m riding a bike.