gastronomía cordobés


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cordoba-foodThis Córdoba Getaway was a delicious mix of revisiting well-known and well-loved places and discovering a few “new” spots too (well, new for me). By what turned out to be a lucky chance, two of the places I had planned on revisiting were closed, so we ended up changing our Thursday lunch booking at La Regadera to Wednesday and I set about looking for somewhere else to go. Then it hit me – who better to ask about good places to eat than one of my favourite Cordobés chefs?

So although it felt a bit cheeky, I sent chef Adrian from La Regadera a Twitter DM asking if he could recommend somewhere nice, and that’s how we ended up the next day in a barrio of Córdoba I’d never been in before (San Lorenzo) having a spectacular lunch at a bar I’d never heard of – La Cuchara de San Lorenzo. Luckily we were averaging about 20,000 steps a day (according to FitBit) to compensate somewhat.

Looking forward to a quick trip back with Janet Mendel when Noor reopens in the spring.

seeing the sites


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cordoba-sites-1No matter how many times you see the Mezquita in Córdoba it will always – ALWAYS – take your breath away. Obviously this little square pic doesn’t do it justice, but really no photo will ever do so. It’s been a few years since I’ve been inside (last time I think was with Craig & Susan?) and I loved it all over again.

cordoba-sites-2A new experience for me was a morning visit to the Mahidat al-Zahra, which has only been open to the public since 2009. It is the site of a city built outside Córdoba around 950 BC for the Moorish king (Caliph), which only lasted about 80 years. The only down side to the visit was that we weren’t told until we arrived at the site by bus that the Salón of Abd-ar-Rahman III (ie The Main Attraction) was closed for repairs. Still, it was a nice walk around on a beautiful blue morning.

hotel soho boutique capuchinos


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cordoba-getaway-hotelThis was a totally last minute booking after a quick look on google… and I couldn’t have been luckier. Especially as I found out up on arrival that the Hotel Soho Boutique Capuchinos has only been open four months (!!!). A great location for me as it’s just a 10-15 minute walk to/from the train station, which makes it easy with the suitcase.

Not quite as central as other places I’ve stayed in Córdoba, but to be honest, I preferred the proximity to the train station, and even appreciated the walks to and from the centre (about 15 minutes), which were uphill (well, more upslope) on the way back. So got all those extra Fitbit steps in to help counteract the delicious food and drink we enjoyed. More on that later. And there will be a proper hotel review later on Azahar Travels.


michelin star birthday lunch


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abantalAfter years of “meaning to go” to Abantal, Sevilla’s only Michelin star restaurant, I decided that my 60th birthday was a good excuse for a decadent splash out meal. I’ve known chef Julio for many years, and even worked with him on the Turismo Sevilla tapas app, so I was looking forward to finally trying out his place.

We did the tasting menu  – descriptions are below, and you can click on the photo above to enlarge the image…

  • razor clam with cauliflower cream on fried wonton
  • garlic soup with egg yolk and seta foam
  • quisquilla (prawn) carpaccio with seaweed and artichoke pilpil
  • red tuna galette, orange escabeche, cucumber granita and mint foam
  • seasonal mushrooms, sopa morisca purée, truffled egg yolk, onion bizcocho
  • confit cod with spinach and garbanzo purées
  • presa Ibérica with truffled pumpkin cream, grapefruit, lime
  • passionfruit creme with mint granita and chocolate
  • orange wine zabayon, torta de aceite, mandarin, cinnamon

This was my second Michelin experience. The first was pretty much a disaster at the JC García Restaurant in Málaga, also a 1-star like Abantal. This time the experience was actually quite pleasant, with excellent service. But the food was somehow lacking. Nothing was terrible (as at JCG) but nothing was exceptional either. Still, it was a lovely afternoon and a very nice birthday present – thank you Peter!