Friday, June 28, 2013

More Fine Spanish Food

Next up was Seville, which we got to via a pleasant train ride from Madrid. Our experience there was mixed, and the best food was at a tapas-oriented restaurant called Azotea that I learned about via Trip Advisor and Yelp. It's owned by a young couple -- she is American and he's Spanish -- and serves up interesting, varied small plates along with well chosen wines and (one of the owner's special niches) a selection of sherries. Here's a shot of our first plate, based around a potato salad.
La Azotea, Seville
After just a couple of days in Seville, we rented a car and drove through the mountains down toward the Costa del Sol, Spain's beach playground on the Mediterranean. Our travel agent had booked us a small, boutique hotel in a hill town about 15 minutes from the seashore city of Marbella. The town is Benahavis and the hotel Amanhavis. This is a Moorish part of Spain and the hotel was quite charmingly decorated in that style. The food was very good there -- the best restaurant in town, so we ate not only our breakfasts there but also all three of our dinners. I didn't take pictures of the food, but here I am peering out the window of our room, overlooking the patio where meals are served.
At Amanhavis Hotel

Seafood appetizer at Amanhavis

One of our favorite meals in this region was lunch by the sea in Marbella, below.

By the sea in Marbella
From there, we drove to Granada for just one night because our travel agent insisted that we MUST see the Alhambra Palace there. And by the way, driving in Spain was hard -- our GPS was not the best, nor was our little Peugeot that wanted to overheat through the mountains, and on top of that, we don't know enough Spanish to read the road signs.
Nonetheless, we enjoyed our hotel overlooking Granada, which had a wide terrace bar where we ate good, seafood based tapas and I had excellent versions of the Americano cocktail (Campari, sweet vermouth and club soda), one of my favorite summer drinks.
For the final leg of the Spanish segment of our trip, we flew from Granada to Barcelona and spent a weekend there. As it turned out, Barcelona was our least favorite place in the whole three weeks trip, which was something of a surprise given how so many people told us they loved it. Oh well. I know many people who don't like Paris, my favorite city in the world. Different strokes!
We had some good food in Barcelona, but the best thing was a GOURMET WALKING TOUR that took us though the market and to many notable sweets shops, bakeries, and historically important cafes.
Here's a "black gin and tonic" served up at the Barcelona restaurant, Attic, which was next door to our hotel and had an enjoyable rooftop terrace.
Cocktails in Barcelona
Next.......the week we spent in southern France. (Although there were plenty of yummy eats in Spain, the fare we had in France was off the charts....)

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