The June 2016 Málaga Getaway wasn’t all tearing around town, as I also got to enjoy some lovely chillax time at Casa de los Principes. I especially loved the mornings there and also when the late afternoon sun came through the windows. But well, okay, most of the time I was tearing around. Had a biz meeting Friday morning and then on Friday evening and Saturday lunchtime I met up with other friends I hadn’t seen yet. Checked out two new eating establishments: Aire Gastrobar (meh) and Brunchit Organic (good). Also, there was a fair bit of walking, though I didn’t make it out to Pedregalejos this time. I almost ended up staying over the weekend, but then decided to come home, thinking that perhaps I’d pop back down for another short stay late-July. And maybe even fit in the two day-trips with Victor that we’d originally planned to do. We shall see..
It was almost two years ago that my pal Antonio Carrasco, who I met while he was working at La Azotea in Sevilla, told me he was moving to Málaga to start a new job at Restaurante Amador, which belongs to the the splendid hotel Villa Guadalupe. And he said once he was settled in I HAD to come and see him at the restaurant. And I said – hey great! – because of course I am ALWAYS in Málaga so of course we’d be seeing each other again very soon. Ahem…
So this visit I was determined to finally visit the restaurant and, as Victor had already been up to see the place, and had also met Antonio, we decided to make a date and go together. You see, part of the reason I hadn’t gone earlier is that Villa Guadalupe is located up on a mountain way the heck out of the centre of town, so you do need a car to get there. But let me tell you right now… it’s worth it.
I mean, obviously it’s a “special occasion” type of place, though the prices aren’t prohibitive. The food, the wines, the view… all make for a superb night out. Antonio had come up with a personalised tasting menu for us, including some smaller versions of dishes on the regular menu and one spectacular special of the day. I’ll be writing a proper review over on Azahar Tapas soon, but I think you get the idea from the photos.
Here are Victor and Antonio – bless Antonio’s heart that he got in a bottle of Botani just for me as it’s not on their wine list. He also recommended a couple of other wines to pair with certain dishes, which were simply perfect. It was a fabulous evening and the only “downer” was that I had had my heart set on getting down to the beach to see the bonfires of San Juan, but after the Antequera Adventure ealier that day, and this amazing meal at Amador, there was simply no energy left. Instead we watched the midnight fireworks from our privileged viewing spot overlooking the city and harbour and enjoyed a nightcap before heading home. Thank you Antonio! xx
When I first made plans for this Málaga Getaway a few months ago, the idea was to take a couple of day trips with Victor (in his NEW CAR) to visit friends in Alhaurín de la Torre and Colmenar. It turned out I couldn’t have chosen a worse week as both friends were up to their eyeballs in work, so we came up with a Plan B, which was to visit Antequera and introduce Victor to the delights of Charo Carmona’s Arte de Cozina. But first Victor wanted to show me the stone monolith dolmens and the amazing rock formations of El Torcal. All went well until we got to El Torcal and Victor asked if I wanted to do the shorter “low effort” trail. “C’mon”, he said. “It’s easy”, he said. So like a fool I said “Okay!” and off we went.
Turns out it’s easy if you’re a mountain goat. Or Victor. Or at least NOT an overweight 59-year-old woman prone to tachycardia with arthritic knees and twice-sprained dodgy ankles. It also would’ve helped if Victor had warned me about proper footwear, if it wasn’t mid-day under a blazing sun (34º), and if we’d brought some water with us. The 45-minute trek ended up taking just over an hour – the thing was that by the time I realised just how impossible this was going to be for me it would have been just as long going back as keeping on. Duh. Also, I’m very stubborn, so I refused to give up. But every step of the way (seriously EVERY step) I kept envisioning another swollen sprained ankle and me having to be air-lifted out of the place by helicopter. Because there really was no path to speak of, just seemingly endless clambering up and down the rocks. I tell you, I was so happy to see the Fin de Senderos (end of trail) sign, and that cold beer was the best I’d ever had in my lilfe. And, once it was over, I was really glad we’d done it.
Then it was off to Antequera for lunch, and although arriving as a sweat-soaked bedraggled mess hadn’t been my intention, it was great to see Charo again. We opted for snacks at her Arte de Tapas next door instead of the full restaurant experience next door (since we were going to be having a full restaurant experience in the evening at Restaurante Amador). Everything was great – the croquetas, morcilla with mango, fried rabbit ribs – but that unassuming looking tapa (lower middle photo) is worth taking a trip to Antequera for. It’s lomo de orza, or cooked pork loin that’s been preserved in pork fat inside large clay urns (orzas). It was served over confit potatoes on toast and each bite was heaven.
Finally it was time to go home, rest up a bit, and get ready for our evening out. By now my hair couldn’t have looked any worse so we drove back to Málaga with the top down and I managed to get this great shot of Victor driving with the Peña de los Enamorados in the background. An amazing day.
Remember that lunch I mentioned with Victor and Andrew? We went to El Merendero, located right on Malagueta beach in the landmark Antonio Martín building. After having been abandoned for many years it was transformed into La Moraga by superchef Dani García in 2010, which was then bought by another group that continued to run it as La Moraga, but without the same spirit. Recently the space was taken over by Grupo Gorki, which has transported three of its restaurants from the city centre to the beach: El Tres, Bao and El Merendero. I’d been to El Merendero for tapas at the bar, but this was the first time trying out the restaurant.
As you can see, it wasn’t half bad! What you see up there is Málaga sausage tartare, crispy fried lemon boquerones, artichokes topped with jamón and chopped egg, and – the star dish – tuna parpatana au jus with soufflé potatoes.
After lunch we stopped for a penúltima on the rooftop of recently opened Roommate Valeria. A perfect afternoon with dear friends.
The latest Málaga Getaway got off to an amazing start yesterday when I walked out of the train station and saw the amazing Victor waiting for me outside with his trusty steed Rocinante, ready to whisk me away – top down of course – to the fabulous Casa de los Principes (my new nickname for Thane & Bob Prince’s Málaga apartment). After that we had a quick snack at Atarazanas market and I went off to do a bit of shopping and unpack.
I didn’t realise until I got here how much I really need a break, even just these few days. A “real holiday” probably would have felt too stressful, but here in Málaga I feel at home and things feel both familiar and different. Have really missed the sea air! Anyhow, heading out now for lunch with Victor and Andrew, so gotta run! xx
Casa de los Principes
So remember when, about a year and a half ago, I went to Antequera and stayed at the Parador Hotel? Well, that was also when I finally got to meet Ángela & Mikel, the foodie couple behind Pollo y Ensalada. Aside from doing a tapeo with them I also joined them for a memorable tasting menu lunch at Arte de Cozina. And today we did it again in Málaga, trying out the new El Tres location at Malagueta Beach.
And it was WOW. We loved every bite (except maybe the fried artichokes that didn’t taste of artichokes). But everything else was exceptional. Just one amazing thing after another. More on that later over on Azahar Tapas. It was a lovely afternoon, catching up, chatting, with great food and wine. Afterwards we caught the sunset at the port (yes, it was a four-hour lunch) and then parted ways. Looking forward to seeing them again soon in Antequera, and maybe even in the Basque Country, where Mikel is from.
I met Ann Larson a couple of years ago and we hit it off. But you know, she lives in fucking Yunquera, beyond Ronda, so never knew if we would manage to get together again. Then Ann got cancer. And it turned out she liked talking to me about all that shit, because (you know!) I don’t talk shit about that shit. So we became good friends, but only saw each other again today in Málaga. This is us after 4 glasses of Botani – really the only time I can be convinced to do a selfie. Check out Anne’s fabulous line of natural beauty and skin care products that she makes herself, called Lujos. You know you want some.
As you can see, yesterday was a very busy day. Aldara and I hit the ground running after arriving in Málaga just before 2 pm, dropping our bags off at my “temporary home” in order to get to Café Bar Atarazanas before it closed. Then we stopped in at a couple of other tapas bars before meeting up with my friend Andrew for a quick visit. Later that evening we went to a couple more of my favourite tapas bars. But to put it all into perspective… Aldara and I shared 5 tapas for lunch, and then shared 4 tapas for dinner. Not masses of food, but it was a serious Málaga “tasting menu” with tasty bites of this and that. As for that brownie you see up there… nothing to do with me.