gayle

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After knowing each other “virtually” for years I was very excited to finally meet fellow tapas tour pioneer Gayle @GranadaTapasTours in person. She was in town visiting with family but took time out to meet up for a lunchtime tapeo. Like me, Gayle began her tapas tours in Granada back when food tours were still a novelty, so we have a lot in common in that sense and spent a fair bit of time “talking shop”. And of course we also have a lot of mutual acquaintances. But we also just chatted about this and that and I think I’ve met my match when it comes to someone who loves talking as much as I do. 🙂 Hoping to meet up again soon in Granada.

 

cata hedonia

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[click on image to enlarge]

Last night I was invited to a wine tasting and tapas pairing at newly opened Hedonia Tapas & Brasas. The tasting was led by my friend, wine expert, journalist and author Javier Compás. It was a real treat to watch Javier in action, and as the wines were all new to me, I also learned a lot from his casual and informative presentation. The food pairings were all very good, and it was a nice introduction to a new tapas bar. Great to see some of the local foodie gang too. Thanks for a lovely evening Hedonia and Javier!

valentine’s day dinner at la cochera

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click on image to enlarge

Last night’s fabulous Valentine’s Day dinner at La Cochera del Abuelo. Many thanks to our hosts Cinta Romero and Estela Coll, and to chef Francisco Jiménez. It was a magical and delicious evening.

The Menu…

  • Foe micuit with lacquered mango and beef reduction
  • Presa Ibérica carpaccio with rocket in black garlic vinaigrette
  • Cream of roasted pumpkin, apple tatín, crispy onion
  • Hake in prawn batter with rum and raisin alioli
  • Aged beef tenderloin, mushroom mille-feuille, potato purée
  • Chocolate coulant with passionfruit

valentine’s day

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Many people are cynical about Valentine’s Day, calling it Hallmark Day or Interflora Day, and they roll their eyes at restaurants and their special “romantic” menus for couples. I can see how it’s easy to mock this kind of “commercially enforced romance”, but like everything (for example… Christmas!) it’s all about how you feel. I’ve personally never felt much either way about this particular day, but then this happened.

While walking to a Valentine’s Day dinner I had been invited to (not romantic, just with friends) I saw this man and his beautiful dog sitting in Plaza San Lorenzo, so I stopped to take a photo. The dog heard me and turned, and then the man turned, so we started talking. I heard about how he came to have this dog, about his leg pain, his smoking habit, and a few other personal tidbits. Then he looked up at the clock on the church and said his wife would be just getting off work so he had to get home. He said he had prepared a special Valentine’s meal for her and had also got her a gift. And I thought … this is the true meaning of Valentine’s Day.  🙂

tic tac

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Compared to a PET scan a CAT scan (or in Spanish a TAC) is a piece of cake. The prep is basically the same, just don’t eat from the evening before. Though in this case they asked me to drink a litre of water an hour before the CAT, but that is WAY EASIER than prepping for a Colonscopy. The main difference is that a PET takes about half an hour inside the machine WITHOUT MOVING (and of course when they tell you NOT TO MOVE you suddenly get a leg cramp or a nose itch). The CAT is mere moments in the machine, so easier, though both scans require that a substance be injected prior to the test.

As always, the main issue I have with these various injections is lucking out with a nurse who can FIND A VEIN. It ain’t easy. Apparently I have very fine veins which are difficult to locate and, to make matters worse, they also “roll” when the needle is stuck in, making it very hard to hit the target. Often they go for the easier option – THE HAND – because you can at least see a couple of veins there. But my right hand was still bruised and swollen from the colonoscopy nurse, who used it to inject a sedative last week, and the left hand wasn’t giving any clues as to where my veins might be. Eventually my very kind nurse today found a vein in my left arm to inject the contrast stuff… after that the scan itself only took five minutes. The nurse also wrapped my “needle wound arm” very tightly with tape – I mean really tightly – and I asked if that was necessary (because it kinda hurt). And she said – “well, I don’t want you to end up with a huge bruise like you have on your hand now”.  And she was right. A few hours later there is no bruise on my inner arm, yet my hand is still bruised and tender a week later.

Peter very kindly came to the hospital with me for my 8.45 am appointment, and once the test was over we decided that we should find a nice place for breakfast. There was an option to taxi to the centre of town and start looking from there, but I really just wanted to walk. And so we started walking and suddenly it came to me that I had to have a breakfast bagel at Otto Café!!! Which was just over an hour away – or 9000 Fitbit steps – from the hospital. But dammit, we did it.

After that I did a bit of shopping at the market, and now I am home making a killer chicken garum masala (most of which will end up in the freezer for later). And all the while I am hoping all is well. I didn’t sleep a wink last night, other than a short period when I dreamt that they found all kinds of cancer in me after my tests. My next oncology appointment is February 26th, but I am hoping Isabel will be able to let me know my CAT results before then. Waiting is hell.

winter sherry chicken

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You can tell it’s winter because I don’t normally cook like this for myself. Though in fact this made about three meals, the best being a garlicky chicken sandwich on a crusty roll, with a bit of soy mayo and crispy greens on top. And of course a generous glass of fino sherry was added to the sauce while cooking. Maybe I should start writing my own sherry cookbook?

jueves de cata

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The Corte Inglés Gourmet Experience and Probando Wines have put together a series of “jueves de cata” wine tastings, and the first one was this beautiful selection from Bodegas Diez Mérito. While all the sherries were outstanding, the VORS Fino Imperial amontillado totally blew me away. It was a very relaxed event, led by Fran León, and was followed by a sampling of sushi from Sushi Spot Corner, which we didn’t stay for. But hoping to catch the next tasting!