So excited that my long-time Flamenco & Tapas Tour partners – the fabulous Museo del Baile Flamenco – have updated and upgraded their Momentos Flamencos show to include an extra dancer and singer. It adds not only more dancing, but more colour and passion. I mean, it was always wonderful, but now…? You really need to see this.
I’ve been doing sherry tastings at various venues over the past few years, but recently I found a great place – and a great “biz partner” – that allows me to start offering them on a regular basis. But why stop there? To wit, I am now offering late afternoon sherry tastings and also regional wine tastings, perfectly paired with tasty tapas. Check em out…
El Loco Sibarita is, in effect, the “nom de chef” of Miguel de Pablos, and I met up with him at his “pop-up” dining experience via my friend Fourat, to sample some of his traditional, yet unique, cooking.
For Miguel (formerly of the El Loco Sibarta restaurant near the Alameda) it’s all about the quality of the ingredients, and he’s actually a bit crazy about that – hence his name.
The four courses we enjoyed (there would have been five, but in the end we didn’t make it to dessert – too stuffed!) were certainly a tribute to his choices. So too were the accompaniments – Miguel’s own signature sourdough bread with quality olive oil, an excellent palo cortado sherry from González Byass, and a pair of red wines (Botas de Barro) with perfect earthy taste and smooth textures.
The space on this occasion was at Cobertura Photo gallery in El Arenal, which was both spacious and cosy, with lots of light and high ceilings. A very pleasant ambiance.
And so to our meal, taken at a leisurely pace through the course of the afternoon as Miguel prepared and cooked our food in the small open kitchen area next to us. First up was a simple salad of tomate rosa wedges garnished with sweet onion, marinated in olive oil and herbs that was a perfect start and exemplar of the importance of quality products. It was followed by a tortilla in the Galician style – softer and less dense than the traditional Andalucian version. Next a fish dish – fresh grilled cod with spring onions and a pimentón sauce, which was as good as any I’ve ever had. Finale was a pan-roasted 45-day aged beef that was succulent and full of flavour.
Miguel’s sourdough bread, made fresh daily, and served with quality olive oils.
- Beautiful tomates rosas, simply dressed with olive oil and salt.
- Tortilla al whisky with lots of lovely garlic.
- Grilled hake with pimentón, spring onions and garlic.
- Fresh lettuce leaves (lightly dressed) to accompany the meat course.
Loved these reds by “Dirty Boots”. My favourite was the Jumilla grape. We also tried old vine Garnacha.Main course: 45 day aged beef from Lyon France. OMG. Exquisite.
chef Miguel de Pablos
Miguel and I are quite excited about working together in the future. It really is a top quality private dining experience with many options. If you live in Sevilla you will soon be able to see his upcoming events on Facebook, which include the full-on seasonal menu experience we had, as well as “tapas nights” and Miguel’s “in search of the perfect hamburger” quest, which includes a starter, a FULL-ON burger with up to 5 extra ingredients, 3 drinks and homemade dessert. I am so doing the burger one next time…
I first met fellow sherry educator (and professional venenciadora) Fabiola Bonke @spanjetotaal a couple of years ago at a casual sherry tasting held at Bodegas Faustino Gonzalez @cruzviejajerez in Jerez, which had been organized by my friend Tomoko @tomokotours. Fabiola is Dutch, but her parents are both Spanish, and she has become the most important sherry expert in Holland. Awhile back she got in touch saying she was going to be in Jerez for the Copa Jerez finals and would be staying overnight in Sevilla on the way.
So I recommended a couple of nice reasonably priced hotels and she chose one that is literally a stone’s throw from my house. And so just after she arrived and got settled in I picked Fabiola up for a sherry-based Tapeo Extremo. Our first stop was Las Teresas, my favourite place for both ambiance and jamón Ibérico de Bellota. They also have some excellent sherries.
After that we carried on to two more bars – Bodeguita Romero and La Cata Ciega, sampling amazing sherries and tasting delicious tapas. And all the while talking talking talking… what a lovely evening. And the good news is that we will be meeting up again in Jerez because I am also going to be at Copa Jerez. Yay!
Juan, me & William
It’s been quite a week for meeting up with people, either for the first time or after a long time. William @madguide1 fits into the second category. We first knew each other via social media as he is a Spain expert for the very famous Rick Steves global tours. Then one fine day we had time to meet up while he was in Sevilla… that was a few years ago. Then I saw on Instagram that William was back in town this week with a tour group, he promised me that FOR SURE when he was back in September that he’d make time to meet up.
Later that same day I was having lunch with my dear friend Juan Tarquini @jmtalexeew, at his fabulous Vineria San Telmo, when a guy sits down at the table next to us. Suddenly I hear… SHAWN??? Heh, it was William. He was there to meet two other mutual friends, María and José who, along with their partner Victor, run the excellent Taller Andaluz de Cocina cooking school. I mean, what are the odds? I love when stuff like this happens. 🙂
William, José & María
Yet another online friend I’ve “virtually” known for years. Although Tim @clinchpics has passed through Sevilla many times en route to his photography workshops at Finca Buenvino in the beautiful Aracena mountains, this time he decided to stop off for a couple of days and take in the sights. And so, after meeting up for a quick manzanilla at Las Teresas, we headed over to La Sal for lunch. And WHAT a lunch it was…
La Sal specializes in all things tuna (the original family-run restaurant is in Zahara de los Atunes) and as we are in the almadraba season – the annual sustainable tuna catch off the coast of Cádiz – it seemed like the perfect time to revisit the Sevilla location. Seriously, it was one of the most spectacular meals I’ve had in quite awhile, starting off with marinated sardines on toast, followed by tuna loin cured in pork fat (wow) and a delicious bite of “something tuna” which ingredients now escape me. After that some tuna in tempura with bonito flakes (delish) and a “bento box” of six delightful tuna bites. Finally we opted for the tuna morillo (collar) baked in salt and served with Japanese style noodles. You can watch Antonio serving it here…
The wine and conversation flowed and it felt like I’d known Tim forever. And as so often happens we stopped for a post-lunch Penúltima (or three) at La Azotea (aka The Office). Then it was time for me to get home, and so I left Tim with a tapas bar Plan of Action for the evening, feeling happy to have met a new friend and kindred spirit.
I first met Martha @marthakimes when she joined one of my tapas tours as a solo traveller back in November 2014. She then came back on her own last November, which included a memorable evening out with Ania @ania_marchlik at La Azotea (I think that was the night I sold Ania my old iPhone…) and since then Martha decided that Sevilla is where she would like to live when she retires. To wit, this latest trip Martha
dragged invited her husband Joe with her, hoping to get him to fall in love with her adopted city.
It’s quite impressive that Sevilla has won such an honour in Martha’s heart, since she has travelled pretty much everywhere, and has seen many amazing and beautiful places. And yet, this is where she wants to be. You can see how committed she is by the tattoo she had done between her last two visits.
NO8D0 … Sevilla’s official motto
Anyhow, Martha, Joe, Peter and I got together a few times during this visit, and we did our best to convince Joe that this is also where he wants to live when he retires. I hope we succeeded, because it would be great having M & J as neighbours.
Many years ago, on one of my first visits to Córdoba, Peter @SVQconcierge and I happened upon this tiny cul-de-sac alley (that just happened to have a little bar at the end – perfect for Beer O’clock!), which we seemed to only ever find again by chance on subsequent visits. Like this time. Only since we last stumbled upon it the name has been changed (a quick google tells me it was in fact changed in December 2014). What was previously Calleja de Arcos is now Calleja de Salmorejo Cordobés, or Tomato Soup Alley, and comes with a recipe for Córdoba’s famous cold soup. I actually prefer this to the more well-known gazpacho. Originally made with a mortar & pestle, these days using a blender or food processor is more common. Here is the translation…
- 1 kg tomatoes
- 200 grams bread
- 100 grams extra virgin olive oil
- 1 garlic clove
- 10 grams salt
Wash and then mash the tomatoes. Strain to remove the skin and seeds, then mash the pulp again, adding the bread, oil, garlic and salt, and keep blending until smooth. Top with chopped hard boiled egg and bits of jamón Ibérico.
Salmorejo is a part of what I call the Córdobes Holy Trinity of tapas, which also includes flamenquín and berenjenas fritos. We ended up ordering all of these when we were at Taberna El Gallo the other day and – wow! – I have to say that all three were probably the best I’ve had anywhere. The salmorejo was delicious and had a lovely texture, not “over processed”, as if a mortar & pestle had been used. Also a nice touch – the hard boiled whole quail egg. The flamenquín was unlike any I’d had before, simply with pork loin and serrano ham rolled up, breaded and deep fried. Most places add cheese or other fillings, but the waiter at El Gallo told me this was the original version. Last but not least… amazing aubergine/eggplant frites! Crispy fried, tender (not mushy) inside, and – most importantly – no gacky sweet molasses (called miel de caña “cane honey” here) squirted all over them. I love this bar.
I mentioned in yesterday’s post that I went to Córdoba this week to see Roma @artsylife again, after finding out that she was back in Andalucía but wasn’t going to make it to Sevilla this time. This happily coincided with feria, and we spent a great day out together with Peter @SVQconcierge.
I first met Roma when she came on a tapas tour in September 2014, and saw her again when she returned for a second visit to Sevilla in October 2015. During that trip she also became an honourary We Love Tapas team member when she volunteered to be our
victim guest on a practice run of the Oldest Taverns Tour. Good times. Come back soon, Roma! xx
Peter & Roma
Aside from going to the Feria we also did a fair bit of tapearing…
breakfast of champions at Bar Santos
an elegant pre-feria lunch at La Regadera
late night snacks at Taberna El Gallo
the Cordobés holy trinity at Taberna El Gallo:
salmorejo, flamenquín, berenjenas fritas
I met Tim @Biltawulf last year when he and his friend Ed came on a tapas tour with me. Then earlier this year Tim got in touch again – he was planning another trip to Sevilla, this time to celebrate his 40th birthday with four friends from London. I was looking for something different for him, and in the end took them out on Saturday afternoon for a Tasting Triana Tour. But as Tim arrived a day earlier than his friends, we met up on Friday afternoon too and he helped me with some Tapas Research. This turned into an impromptu tapeo, starting with cold beers in the sun before heading to Sahumo (which had a new tapas menu I was keen to try out), with a short detour to La Cata Ciega across the street, as we got there before Sahumo was open.
The next day was the tapas tour and then, after Tim’s friends left early Sunday afternoon, we met up again for yet another impromptu tapeo, this time taking in Casa Morales, Abacería Antigua de San Lorenzo and Eslava, finishing with a birthday cake and cava. Then it was time for Tim to catch his flight home. Looking forward to getting together again, either here or in London. Good ol’ Twitter does it again.
As you can see, the tapas tour was a serious affair. Birthday treats at Eslava.