azahar gourmet getaways

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Back in August 2013 I started my first Instagram account and called it @azahar, which as many of you know, has been my internet handle for a dozen years or more. Back then I didn’t actually think I’d end up using Instagram that much, which is why I opted for my “personal” name, rather than my “biz” name of Sevilla Tapas. Then last year I created a couple other Instagram accounts, @sevillatapas and @sevillatapastours, which were basically redirect accounts, because many people would refer to me on Instagram as @sevillatapas, since that original Instagram account had indeed become mostly about food & wine (and occasional cats pics).

Then in February 2016 I swapped names, taking @sevillatapas for my original Instagram account. But what to do with the @azahar name? One I personally identify with – in fact all of my blogs and webites have the word azahar in them somewhere. I didn’t want to stop using it, or worse, lose it. Well, as I was also starting on a new project – Azahar Gourmet Getaways – at the time, I decided to start using the newly renamed @azahar Instagram to promote that project, and so far it’s been working out nicely. I won’t start separate Twitter or Facebook pages for this project (yet) and, for the moment, it is simply being offered as a one of my Sevilla Tapas Tour options, even though it’s not specifically Sevilla-based. The focus is more on travel and cuisine throughout Andalucía.

Anyhow, hope to see you all on the @azahar Instagram too!  🙂

houseguest prep

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One of the good things about having someone come to stay in your home is that it gives you a push to CLEAN THE PLACE UP. I mean, Casa Az is generally tidy and basic cleaning is done on a regular basis, but this week is all about getting some extra spring cleaning stuff done before leaving for London on Friday.

As both Peter and I will be gone for a few days the lovely Ania has offered to come and stay with the cats. She’s actually really looking forward to it. As Ania travels so much she can’t have cats of her own – and she LOVES cats. So this will give not only give her a Gato Getaway, but also a chance to stay in the centre of town for a change. It’s win-win for everybody, including the cats.

Right, got to wash the balcony windows now…

premios fogones

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So remember last year when I won the Premio Fogones for Difusión Gastronómica? Well, this year I was invited to attend the ceremony and the swish reception afterwards but… had to work! I had a tapas tour booked before I knew about the awards and, well, this is what I do. And it somehow seemed fitting that the reason I couldn’t attend was because I was out doing what got me the award last year in the first place. Anyhoo… I decided to stop by after saying goodnight to my guests to see if the party was still going. And it was!

Well, as soon as I walked in the door I was bear-hugged by Antonio Cruz (left) who was clearly still on cloud 9 after having won the Best Front of House award for Becerrita Restaurant (that’s Jesús Becerra beside him). I couldn’t think of anyone more deserving, as Antonio has devoted his life to this often difficult work, and I have never seen him be anything but super professional as well as naturally friendly and helpful.

My “heir” Javier Compás proudly shows off his award, as I (also proudly) retire to the position of Premios Fogones emeriti. Although I was sorry to miss the event, I really did have a great tapas tour, leaving four lovely people totally in love with Sevilla’s food and wine. But I was glad that I was able to pop in briefly on my way home (albiet underdressed for the occasion) to say hi and congratulate the friends that were still there. Nice night.

ania sevillana

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I met the lovely Ania @ania_marchlik a few years ago in Las Teresas, and so it seemed fitting that while we were out celebrating her 10th Anniversary of living in Sevilla that we would end up there. Though we started off the day’s celebrations revisiting another spot with fond memories for both of us – the Corral de Conde – a “patio de vecinos” where Ania and her friend María once hosted a Peirogy Party in the fabulous courtyeard there. Then we stopped off at another of Ania’s favourite places, Taberna Quitapenas, before heading for a sumptuous lunch across the street at La Quinta.

Before and After (no more wine… oh hey! cava!)

It was after lunch that we found ourselves at Las Teresas, sitting at the very spot where we first met. We had a nice chat with Rafael, enjoyed some of his perfectly sliced jamón and then, as so often happens, we ended up at The Office (AKA La Azotea) for a Penúltima.

TUG-O-JAMÓN – yep, kinda drunk at this point

Ania has gone from acquaintance to work colleague (she is also part of my fab We Love Tapas team) to cherished friend. I can always count on her honesty and discretion and, besides that, we always have so much fun together. So happy we met.

LA PENÚLTIMA!

leftovers

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So you know, been trying to stick to (mostly) low-carb options recently, and decided to make one of my favourite salads: wilted spinach, feta, garlicky bacon, chopped hard-boiled egg. Then I ended up with too much so turned the “leftovers” into an amazing omelette for flatmate Peter. Now and then, living with me has its advantages.  😉

online shopping

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For many years I have enjoyed online shopping for things like books and DVDs from Amazon, underwear from M&S and, more recently, things like Mephisto sandals and Kipling bags. But it was only a couple of weeks ago that I discovered the joys of online supermarket shopping. Today was my second supermarket online order at El Corte Inglés and I have to say I AM HOOKED.

I think what put me off online supermarket shopping is that I actually quite enjoy going to the supermarket – and the markets – myself. And I didn’t like the idea of someone else choosing my meat or veggies. But then I realized – duh – that I could just have them do the heavy lifting stuff. Which, living on the second floor without a lift, is extremely handy. So from now on things like cat sand, cat food, wine, water, olive oil, toilet paper, cleaning products… it’s all going to be brought to my house by nice burly men who are actually capable of hoisting all that stuff upstairs. Winning!