So… I loved this place. One of Madrid’s coolest new cocktail bars. Even though I’m not so big on cocktails, or alcoholic drinks other than wine. But during my last Madrid Getaway I ended up stopping in here two days in a row, early evening, for a cocktail. And it was lovely. Great ambiance, friendly staff, tasty drinks… looking forward to the opening party of their sister bar here in Sevilla in the Mercer Hotel.
Taberna La Manzanilla is a special place I always visit when I’m in Cádiz. And this last trip I had an extra reason to do so after having tasted their amontillado fino at Alabaster in Madrid, when co-owner Fran gave us a taste of it from his “secret stash”. So it was fun to tell (Manzanilla owner) Pepe this story and show him the photo. Oh, and the amontillado fino is fabulous.
Stayed for the first time at Hotel Convento in Cádiz and, faulty shower door issues aside, we really enjoyed it. Located a short walk from the train station, it’s also close to lots of bars, central squares, and the Cathedral. The courtyard is stunning, and our room was quite spacious, clean and comfortable.
Full review coming soon on Azahar Spain.
From new discoveries (thanks to Pilar & Antonio) to revisiting old favourites, as you can see, it was a very FULL three days. But my favourite foodie moment was meeting Paco, who’s been running the Mini Bar in Cádiz for 45 years. It’s impossible to spend money here, the seafood is fast, fab and fresh, with friendly service and nice wines too.
New reviews and updates will (hopefully) be up on Azahar Tapas soon.
Looking up at the Cathedral from the square. From being either high above the city to being on the beach at low tide, I went from giddy to almost giddier, but it was all very enjoyable, and I got LOTS of extra FitBit steps in 😉Looking out from the clock tower – very windy (eek!)
Looking down from Tavira Tower
Looking out at the sparkly sea from La Caleta beachLooking at the sea from the San Sebastián Castle.
You can’t see them but there were some (crazy) people out there, walking along the bits of land still above water at low tide, on a very blustery day.
View from La Caleta beach at low tide
For years I’ve been bumping into Pilar and Juan Antonio at various food & wine events around Sevilla, and we always say we will meet up sometime in Cádiz. Pilar has a food blog called Túbal Aquaviva and is originally from Sevilla, but has been living in Cádiz since 1992, after she and Juan Antonio got married. Above is the only photo you’ll see of all of us… it turns out that Pilar is just as camera shy as I am.
Anyhow, when Peter and I first arrived in Cádiz for the final Birthday Getaway, after dropping off the luggage at our hotel, we made a beeline to the central market (really, my favourite food market in Spain) and Pilar met us there for Beer O’clock. I originally thought we were just going to have a nice beer and a chat, but Pilar had bigger and better plans for us. We were about to be taken on a Tapeo Extremo, with some cool cultural bits thrown in along the way. First stop was to visit the old salazones (fish salting plant), the remains of which are to be found in an obscure side street. Later we were shown where to find the also not-very-well-known Oratorio de las Cuevas, which have original Goya frescos in the upper chapel. And by then it was time for some refreshment, so we made our way over to Salicornia to properly start our tapeo.
Here are Peter and Juan Antonio at Salicornia – the latter arrived shortly after us bearing some fillets of fresh salmon he’d picked up at the market for lunch at home, having not been fully informed about our Tapeo. So after we’d tried some delicious dishes off the menu (butterfish ceviche, boletus and truffle rice, presa Ibérica carpaccio) chef Juan Höhr Herrera made us some amazing fresh tuna tartare with Asian spices and wasabe from Antonio’s “catch of the day”.
Another place on Pilar’s list for us to visit was La Curiosidad de Mauro, recently moved from the original location in Puerto Real. But before that we had to stop in at what turned out to be one of my favourite “discoveries” of the entire trip, a tiny hole-in-the-wall fish place called the Mini Bar. Here we met Paco, who’s been serving up super fresh no-nonsense fish dishes for 45 years. Seriously, you can’t spend money there. But as we had other other fish to fry (so to speak) we just shared a ración of fritos variados and were on our way. Mauro’s was also very good, but after the last two spots, which seemed much more relaxed and natural, we felt a bit like we were obliged to like the food… I dunno, it was a bit too “gastro-bar” for me.
We finished up (as one always must when in Cádiz) at the fabulously OTT Café Royalty, for their famous picatostes, which go perfectly with either coffee, cava or cocktails. Just to be sure, we had all three. The picatostes are a bit like a very thick French toast, dusted with icing sugar. Delish.
At this point we were joined by Ania @ania_marchlik but that’s another story… 😉
It was a great day, and it was so lovely that Pilar and Antonio took such good care of us. Gracias amigos! xx
Every since I first experienced David Muñoz’s Street XO in Madrid in the summer of 2014 I’ve been wanting to go back. In fact, I did try going back with Jo when I was in Madrid this past summer, but we got there too late and they had already closed off the queue. We ended up next door at the fabulous Cascabel instead, which wasn’t a bad “consolation prize” at all, but it still wasn’t StreetXO. So during this Madrid Getaway Peter and I made sure that we got there early, just before they opened for lunch service, and before long we were happily ensconced at the bar, ready for the show to begin.
Since my 2014 visit, StreetXO has moved to bigger digs, upstairs at the Corte Inglés Gourmet Experience in calle Serrano, a space it shares with two other Michelin-star chef ventures: Cascabel by Roberto Ruiz and Rocambolesc by Jordi Roca. The set up is more or less the same as at the original Callo location, but the horseshoe bar is about three times as large, and there are also a few tables along the side. The menu is similar with a few of the old favourites still available (pig ear dumplings, steamed “club sandwich”, pork belly and smoked mussel in lettuce leaves). The dumplings were a must, and after that we tried two new dishes: presa Ibérca a la robata and Korean wonton lasagna.
Service was impeccable, but I did miss the presence of chef Jhonny, who is now manning the flames at the new StreetXO location in London. Can’t wait to go back again.
My second favourite train station in Spain (after the prettily tiled Jerez station) is Atocha in Madrid, with its fabulous tropical gardens under a soaring arched ceiling. We arrived in town at 12.30, with just enough time for a quick beer before getting to our apartment in Plaza Angel.
So of course we also had to have a famous calamar butty at Bar El Brilliante, across the street from Atocha. It was Peter’s first time there and he loved it. Then we headed off to the apartment.
It was in a great location, very clean and quiet. Only one bedroom, but the sofa bed was comfy enough for the two nights Peter was there. So we were off to a good start on this year’s first Madrid Getaway.
This 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.