Out on the new & improved Tasting Triana Tour…
you never know what you’ll see.
A bit like when you see bullheads in a bar, you can always spot an inauthentic travel piece on Sevilla that talks about all the “spit and sawdust” bars here, with napkins strewn all over the floor. I’ve lived here for over 23 years and the very few bars in the centre that used to put down sawdust have long since stopped this practice. But every now and then you find one. This was taken at Taberna Azahar, a bar I’ve been planning to go to for ages (mostly for the name, truth be told). It’s up in the Macarena barrio, not a place I frequent very often. Anyhow, although they still put down sawdust, there are little bins throughout the bar for paper napkins.
Curious though… does anyone know of any other “spit and sawdust” places in Sevilla?
Met up with the fabulous Victor (@welovemalaga) who happened to be in town for the day. Victor is not only my very dear friend but is also my biz partner with We Love Tapas (he runs the Málaga branch). And as we had both spent time in Galicia this summer we decided to “relive” those moments at El Rincón Gallego del Pulpo, a local bar that was long overdue a visit.
Great visit, great brainstorming session, along with great food and (imho) the best beer in Spain, Estrella Galicia. As a result, lots of new stuff being planned for both branches of We Love Tapas. Stay tuned!
After first meeting Seanna Yee (aka @sherrysips) last year when she visited Sevilla, I was thrilled to hear she’d be back in Jerez for an extended visit this month. You may recall that I popped over to Jerez for the day a couple of weeks ago to visit Seanna and friends, and we made plans for her to come back to Sevilla for a day.
And what a day it was, packed full of sherry, great tapas, meeting friends, cuddling cats… we even watched a sherry film El Misterio del Palo Cortado while taking a break here at Casa Az. Just like last time Seanna was a hit with the cats and she even made this short video of marvellous Morcilla at play.
So great to see you again, my dear friend and “sherry sister”. Hasta pronto! xx
Today I got to meet up again with Sarah, who is back in Sevilla for a short visit. We were housemates back in 2004 but haven’t seen each other since then. So this afternoon we met up for a lunchtime tapeo and it was LOVELY. It was like we’d just seen each other yesterday. Non-stop chat, lots of nice food and wine… and rediscovering how much we still have in common. So nice.
This makes me SO SAD, because I have so many memories tied up in this place. Although this wasn’t the original Horno San Buenaventura (that one is over on calle Carlos Cañal) this was the one I first knew and kind of “grew up” in when I first came to Sevilla 24 years ago, where I made friends with the staff and was treated like family. It was where I’d go for coffee and tostada on my way to teach English classes in the morning, where I’d set up meetings (my first “office”) and frankly, where they had the best damn coffee in town.
I have to say I haven’t been there much since I moved over to the Alfalfa barrio (though there is also an Horno San Buenaventura there) and this location did seem to be sliding a bit and looking a wee bit shabby. But it’s like saying goodbye to an old friend. And there’s been too much of this lately, for various reasons. Landmark cherished shops and bars closing down. Sad.
Had a great day out in Jerez, meeting up again with Seanna @sherrysips (who I met for the first time in person last year) and visiting my favourite bodega Urium. I also finally got to meet Erik @thewhiskykiwi and Laura @laurawburgess, who were in Sevilla a few months ago, but I was hit with a random 24-hour bug and ended up giving them a “remote” tapas tour via my iPhone from bed.
This time we all met up at Urium and were once again hosted by fab father & daughter team Alonso and Rocío. During our sherry tasting we were regaled by Alonso’s wonderful stories, we were fed and sung to, and we even ended up doing a bit of karaoke. Don’t ask. It’s known as the URIUM EFFECT.
Santiago de Compostela is very photogenic, as you can see. You can either click on the collage above to see a bigger version of it, or see the single images below. So many nice memories…
Most of the time I was out on my own in Santiago de Compostela I opted for a couple of complimentary tapas here and there, but I also had some “proper meals” (not tapas) that were very enjoyable. The only problem for me when dining alone is that I am so used to sharing plates – over the years I’ve developed a kind of food ADD and lose interest after the first couple of bites. But these places (like everywhere else I went in Santiago) were recommended by Anna & Jorge @thekilomeaters and, as always, they were spot on.
At Cafe de Altamira, across from the market, I opted for the set lunch (13€), which is something I don’t often do, mostly because I don’t “do” desserts, but the two dishes on offer that day sounded so good I decided to go for it. The starter was an unusual take on the traditional Galician empanada, this one made with crispy wonton pastry and filled with baby sardines and sautéed onions. Main course was grilled mackerel with puréed marinated potatoes. I did try the dessert – lemon meringue “pie” in a jar – way too sweet in my opinion (even though I don’t “do” desserts, I can appreciate a good one). But overall it was a lovely lunch and front of house manager and sommelier Alex took excellent care of me.
The afternoon I was about to get thrown out of my AirBnB apartment (though I didn’t know it at the time) I stopped by Horta D’Obradoiro for some lunch, and I’m really glad I did. Not only was it an amazing lunch, but it lingered as a pleasant memory when things took an unpleasant turn later on in the day. When I arrived at the restaurant I introduced myself to co-owner Kike (blue shirt) who immediately took me on a tour of the place and then sat me at a very cosy table near a window looking out onto the patio. I tried two dishes, first a playful (and delicious) take on the traditional fritura mixta. This was followed by sous vide pork ribs with bourbon sauce. The latter was so massive that I ended up asking if I could take half of it home with me (I still had a fridge then). Great food at very reasonable prices, and very good service too.
My last night in town I really just wanted a snack, so stopped in at hipsterish A Moa to try their tapas menu. I started with octopus croquettes, which were super smooth, creamy… and super bland. Couldn’t really taste any pulpo. Then I thought I’d try the zorza, a dish I’d had during my first meal in Santiago. But rather than the subtle “prueba de chorizo” experience I’d enjoyed at Deulpo this just tasted like already cured chorizo that had been taken out of its casing and fried up. Not bad, but well, chorizo. Perhaps the restaurant menu here is more exciting, but at least they did have some tapas on offer.
Overall the food in Santiago was very good. I liked the complimentary tapas, but missed the option of being able to order tapas, rather than larger plates. Next time I will have to visit with a travel (and dining) companion.
Lugo was our destination on my final full day in Galicia, a day trip suggested by Anna and Jorge @thekilomeaters after vetoing my request to go down to Rías Baixas country (home of albariño wines). I was told that this was the worst time of year to visit that area as it is virtually swamped with tourists and I would not get a genuine experience of the place. And well, when given expert advice it is always wise to take it, so off we went to Lugo.
Probably the most distinctive thing about this provincial capital is that the old centre is surrounded by over two kilometres of Roman wall. You can also walk along the top of this wall (which we did) getting some excellent views of the city. Later we walked to the Plaza Mayor and visited the Cathedral. Then it was suddenly Beer O’clock and off we went to quench our thirst and try some complimentary tapas.
complimentary tapas in Lugo
We started off at a very traditional bar Las Cinco Vigas where not only could we choose a complimentary tapa, they also kept passing around a tray of pinchos… you could effectively fill up on these but we had to move on. Next stop was Mesón de Antonio, a classic restaurant. I’m not sure what is normally given out here with your drinks as, thanks to being with Anna & Jorge, we were given the VIP treatment and an array of tasty dishes arrived at our table for us to sample, along with a complimentary bottle of godello wine.
Mesón de Alberto
We made a couple more tapa stops after this, and along the way met local resident León the cat, who was out for a walk with his flatmate. She had the huge beast out on a harness and leash, which had got tangled up in his front legs, so we stopped to help her de-tangle the gentle giant.
León and flatmate
It was a lovely day out, soaking up sun and culture and sampling some delicious food and wine. And plans were made for a return Galicia Getaway next May, optimum time for a visit to Rías Baixas. Can’t wait!