This week has been amazing for reaffirming that I still have amazing friends, and that it’s still possible to meet new ones. xx
Seriously I don’t even know where to start… it was amazing, a dream come true, an experience I will never forget (and hope to repeat). For the moment I shall leave you with this bucolic pic of the Ibérico pigs snuffling around in the open mountain air, looking for acorns. More to come…
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
This was absolutely the highlight of my Madrid Getaway… FINALLY getting to meet Lee @sheleebeelee! We’ve known each other for years, meeting first (I think) on Twitter, via our mutual pal @raincoaster. Since then we have stayed in touch via Facebook though, for some duh reason, I forgot to get in touch during my summer 2014 Madrid visit. So when I went back last July I was looking forward to getting together. Unfortunately Lee was having some serious health problems, and I wasn’t able to see her.
This time, although still undergoing treatment and recovery, she was well enough to meet up on my final afternoon in Madrid. I popped over to her apartment after checking out of mine, left my bag there and visited for awhile with Lee and the charming Toni (her lovely golden cat). Then I went for a stroll through nearby Antón Martín market before meeting Lee again and going out to Tandem (another spot I didn’t manage to get to last summer).
Lunch, as you can see, was amazing. But the company was even better and the time flew by far too quickly. By 5 pm I was back on the AVE heading home to Sevilla (and an evening tapas tour!), and feeling ever so thankful that the internets had brought Lee and I together. Hope to see you again soon, sister! xx
My first Photohunt entry was on January 3rd 2009 . The theme that week was “hope” and I put up a photo of my battered old daybook turned to January 3rd 2010 with the words “STILL HERE!” written on it. After having just finished a second stint on chemo a few months previously this felt like a very bold thing to do.
Since then I have continued this “tradition of hope” and have posted a similar photo on this date each year. So, as always, here’s hoping that I will still be here next year on this date, and will see this page… and smile just like I did this morning.
… they were gone! But not without one final tapeo, finally setting straight the serious omission of Crackburgers in the Cheeky Pigs vast tapas repertoire.
And of course what tapeo would be complete without a penúltima at one of our usual haunts, the bar at Gourmet Experience?
It was a great Christmas and I loved that these guys came down to spend it with me. Hope to see them again soon. xx
What a wonderful Christmas I’m having! A few months ago Julie & Steve informed me that they had just made plans to come to Sevilla for Christmas, which gave me something to look forward to. We’ve already been out and about this week, and then I planned this mahoosive Christmas Eve dinner, which turned out fabulous (if I say so myself!).
Here is a close up (for Sara) of THOSE confit potatoes from Quality Chop House in London. I have to say they didn’t quite come out the same, but they were pretty damn tasty nevertheless. And I even got some advice from chef Shaun Searly on Twitter, which I thought was very sweet of him.
After dinner I got out the enchanting Robert Sabuda pop up Christmas books sent to me by Jane many years ago and we all sat, well, enchanted, as we read them together. It was such a lovely evening, lots of fab food, wine and chat. Thanks for coming guys! xx
On my last full day in Málaga Peter came down on an early train to spend my final 24 hours in town with me. After checking in at his comfy hostel just around the corner from my place, which was very convenient, we met Victor at the Atarazanas market for a quick beer and a snack before heading out for lunch.
The Hostel Vidamia even came with a resident cat, though Peter told me later that she didn’t sleep with the guests. We had a couple of very nice meals over the weekend (and one decidedly NOT nice one, which also came with a side of chef diva drama) but I’ll talk more about those over on Azahar Tapas.
I had been looking forward all week to visiting the newly opened Museo de Málaga and we finally went after lunch on Saturday… but after a couple of hours visiting just the archaeological exhibit on the second floor my brain was full and my feet were tired. There was no way we would have enjoyed or appreciated the art exhibit after that. Recommend doing this visit in two parts if you can.
The weather wasn’t being very cooperative over the weekend, so we didn’t get around as much as we would have liked. I was already gearing down and ready to go home by this point, so I didn’t mind so much, but I did feel badly for Peter that he didn’t get to go up on the big wheel. Next time.
Yes, ANOTHER Málaga Christmas lunch. This time with Fred & Arpy at a new place called Mixtúrate, with a pleasant fusiony menu including Peruvian and Brazilian influences. After lunch we popped over to Café Bar Estraperlo and lucked out finding both José & Mark there at the same time. Over coffee it transpired that Arpy had a packet of Waitrose mince pies in her bag, so out those came and I got to enjoy my first mince pie in YEARS. Happy.
Later on I wandered up to meet my friend David at Corte Inglés Gourmet Experience as it was the only time during the week we were both free to meet up. I always love my chats with David, he’s so supportive and smart, funny and fun to be with too.
After such a great day out I was happy to go home and have a quiet evening in. I really love this about my Málaga Getaways. I get to feel both on holiday and at home at the same time.