Posted on Instagram by my friend Fernando Huidrobo – it’s too good not to share here too.
Yeah, I know I should know better, but sometimes hopeful optimism takes over. Like yesterday. I was out having lunch with Peter and saw Caesar Salad on the menu, saying it was made with the restaurant’s own char-grilled chicken. Now I know that chicken isn’t a traditional ingredient in this salad, but I also know that this restaurant has a nice char-grill, so what the heck. And well, as I say, I should have known better.
I had even joked with the waiter that I wasn’t actually expecting a proper Caesar salad, saying that in all my years in Sevilla I’d never had a decent one (other than at home). But I was at least hoping for a nice crisp green salad with freshly grilled chicken and a “caesar-ish” dressing. Nope. What arrived was a plate of bagged mixed greens, some tiny hard croutons, parmesan, and chunks of tired chicken tasting of fridge. So as usually happens in these cases, Peter ate it. 😉
Later on I jokingly put a post up on Instagram saying I should give a master class to chefs in Sevilla who offer Caesar salad on their menu, and apparently ruffled some feathers. Suddenly I was “insulting” chefs, blah blah… who did I think I was, etc.
My point is… if you want to offer a mixed green salad with chicken and parmesan on your menu, go right ahead. Just don’t call it a Caesar salad.
They say you can never go home again, or step in the same river twice, or… WHATEVER. This time round it wasn’t me that had changed but the fabulous Maltby Street Market I had fallen in love with last August. That had been a day I was out on my own in London, and somehow the whole market seemed to welcome me, and I spent a few wonderful hours talking with everyone there and even making new friends. So I was eager to relive the experience and made a plan to meet up with my dear friend John @cityjohn.
As it was a very pretty morning Peter and I decided to walk there from Wapping, which takes about an hour, and is a very pleasant walk along the riverside and across Tower Bridge. On our way there another dear friend José @jose_pizarro called me and said that, although pressed for time (he was between trips to Spain), he wanted to at least pop over and say hola, so we also arranged to meet at the market. In the end we all met up at good ol’ Bar Tozino, where we stopped in for a quick manzanilla with John and his friends, and then José also stopped by. Considering José’s crazy schedule, it felt very special that he made the time to come over and we got to catch up a bit.
By this time it was feeling like we should try to get some lunch so, after José left us, we had a look around the market. Which was jammed in every direction. I managed to find my pal Mark @thegayfarmer and we had a nice chat (he also very generously gave me some of his newly harvested evoo). Then John had to leave because his friend was suddenly ill, so it was just me and Peter left, looking around this once charming but now super over-crowded street market and we decided – let’s get outta here!
I mean, by then it was 3 pm and breakfast had been quite awhile ago, and we’d been walking A LOT, so our first necessity was to eat SOMETHING before deciding on what to do next. Luckily José’s tiny and perfect tapas bar in Bermondsey was just around the corner, so we stopped in there for a drink and some of his sublime squid ink croquetas. Thus fortified we ventured out to find some non-Spanish food and I remembered the fabulous Arabica, just outside Borough Market, that had been recommended to me last summer by my friend Thane @thaneprince. And I knew I had to try the muhamarra (roasted red pepper, harissa, toasted walnuts) again. Well, imagine my surprise when we walked in and the barman Emanuel remembered me (!!!). Seriously? I mean, how many people have passed through those doors since last August? And so, feeling very welcome, we had a lovely late afternoon lunch.
After that we did something I had planned on doing last visit but time (and Panic Attacks) got in the way. We walked along the South Bank from London Bridge to Westminster Bridge, then crossed over, making our way past Big Ben, etc and ending up in Covent Garden. By then we seriously needed to sit down and so stopped in at Rules for a drink in their upstairs cocktail bar. Rules is London’s oldest restaurant (and was also featured in Downton Abbey – where the Crawley family dined while “in town”), so what the heck. Perhaps a bit too formal and with too much plush velvet for my taste, but it was an experience. After that we thought a small snack before going home was probably a good idea, so we stopped in at Polpo (across the street from Rules) for a small dish of their delicious pork meatballs. And then we caught the bus home… with front row seats on the upper deck.
the Bar Tozino team
Mark the Gay Farmer – makes fabulous olive oil and pesto too
José Pizarro’s famous squid ink croquetas
THIS. Turkish Muhamarra (roasted red pepper, harissa, toasted walnuts)
Arabica just outside Borough Market
the Globe Theatre
the supports for the old Blackfriar’s rail bridge (new one on the right)
walking past the London Eye
Big Ben and Parliament buildings
wheel closeup with serpents
London Eye – no filter!
drinks at Rules – London’s oldest restaurant
quick snack before heading home – meatballs at Polpo, Covent Garden
upper deck, front seat view
One of the perks of the biz is when I am invited to previews and openings of new bars and restaurants in Sevilla. I was excited to hear the other day that the long-awaited arrival of Cañabota will be realized this coming Monday (October 17th), and I was very lucky to be one of the guests at their fabulous preview lunch. Much more coming up very soon on Sevilla Tapas.
Preview tasting menu: “solid cocktail” of Hidalgo fino, Lustau vermouth with trout roe and orange zest; grilled oysters with toasted butter and artemia; onion crisp topped with larded tuna, onion purée and tuna fat; cod liver salad on mushroom slivers, baby spinach and lettuce, fish emulsion and spicy vinegar; squid ink potato parmentier with cuttlefish roe and chipirón; sea bass with confit black trumpet mushrooms and fish emulsion; lemon meringue “pie” on a crispy biscuit.
Believe it or not, these are two friends that I didn’t meet on Twitter! Juan Manuel and Reyes are the heart and soul of the Vineria San Telmo, one of my favourite tapas bars in Sevilla. And well, that’s how I first met Juan, by being a regular customer. Later when I started my Sevilla Tapas Tours the Vineria became one of the stops (depending on the tour) and we began working together too. Then Reyes, who for years had been responsible for the amazing Vineria desserts, opened her own storefront bakery Gollerías, now my “go to” place if I ever need a cake for a special event. Anyhow, ran into them both at the Vineria the other day and took this photo. Seriously two of the nicest people you could ever meet and I’m very lucky to be able to call them my friends. 🙂