I have been to Spain twice before, once at age 23, once at 27. This time was different. This time around, while traveling with my very good friend, Jen, I truly got to enjoy Spain. Over the years, I've learned how to accept myself and body for what it is, allowing me to finally truly enjoy all types of food, without labels of carb-free, gluten-free, etc.
Years ago, you would never catch me eating ice cream and then later in the day, a cheese plate, but those two experiences ended up being two of my best memories of this trip. Sure, I did eat a ton of salads and worked out most days, as I do promote BALANCE. Acceptance will always be a continuous journey, but the road sure does taste better with some pan con tomate.
I've decided to share some highlights of my meals in Barcelona, Seville, Jerez, with a special appearance from Lisbon, Portugal, which I was able to visit for four glorious hours during a long lay over. Special thanks to my amiga for allowing me to take countless pictures of food before she was "allowed" to eat it.
Tortilla Espanola is a MUST. It is a traditional spanish omelette, made with fried potatoes and onions. The one below was eaten at 10:30 pm upon arrival to Barcelona at Cu Cut, a great restaurant in the Eixample neighborhood.
"Let's go have a meal!"
On our first full day in Barcelona, we wandered the streets and sights for 10 miles. That night, we wanted a meal. We found La Polpa. To start, I had vegetables with Romesco sauce, followed by sweet and sour grilled salmon with fried tofu mixed with eggplant. Jen started with marinated octopus with mashed potatoes, and then moved on to swordfish with tomatoes, jam, dried black olives and crunchy kale. The Rose was too sweet but we had it anyway. Jen's quote, "The wine didn't marry well with my food."
If there is hummus, I will find it.
After a few days of eating typical spanish fare, we were craving some vegetarian food. Our favorite spots, Angelika's Kitchen and Souen were thousands of miles away, but we found Teresa Carles, right near the beginning of Las Ramblas.
We started by dipping fried chickpea critters & pita into sweet potato hummus, chickpea hummus and smoked eggplant hummus. We then "made our own salads", which consisted of more than 10 ingredients each. I highly recommend Teresa Carles if you're craving fresh healthy food.
We absolutely love Milk Away, a tiny juice bar on a Seville side street. We returned a few times and took pictures.
When it's 95 blazing degrees, Abuela is the spot. The ice cream put us in an incredible mood for some good wandering, leading us to Alcazar for hours & hours.
For better or for worse, tuna is everywhere.
Confession: hotel breakfast buffets really do it for me.
If you listen to me only once in your life, please let it lead you to Maestro Marcelino.
During an extremely hot afternoon, on a winding side street in Seville, Jen found Maestro Marcelino. She stood with her head pressed up against the window, saying, "we are coming here, we are coming here." That night, we did just that.
It is a tiny place, with only four tables. The walls are lined with all types of meat, canned fish and variety of olive oils and dips. The waiter must have thought we were nuts, as we were acting extremely excited about our cured meat plate, smoked salmon on flatbread, membrillo & cheese on another flat bread, along with a decorative cheese plate with jelly & raisins. There was also some green olives and crunchy bread dipped in olive oil. It was a really amazing experience, recommended to all who would like a true celebration in their mouth.
Italian food in Seville! We were literally waiting at the door when La Gallina Bianca opened at 8:30 pm. Jen was thrilled with her prosciutto & ricotta pizza, while I got to pour honey all over a rocket lettuce, ricotta cheese, pine nut and orange salad. Balsamic covered shrimp then followed.
For a farm to table experience in Seville, La Bartola is a must! We sat at the bar and had quite the food party. Two words: beet sauce.
Four hours in Lisbon
First stop was a fresh limonada stand in the Bairro Alto neighborhood. Second stop, birthday lunch with mushroom crostini, tuna with veggies and sea bass with hummus & bok choy. Fourth stop, an artisanal chocolate shop, where we bought chocolate covered coffee and various other delicious blends.
Things that make me wonder...
What is this peculiar orange sauce? Sadly, this may have been the worst thing I've ever bitten into. Slimy cod and secret sauce isn't for me. Don't even get me started about the flaky white bread and potato chips.
Why is melted chocolate & coconut in a mug with a side of Baileys the best combination ever? #thankyouhotelbar
Whose baby is this and why is he on a water bottle?
What is better than sipping Cava on a hot summer day in Seville?
Why is it good to go, but also so good to return? Especially when you return after 18 hours of traveling, to blow out some 32nd birthday candles on some chocolate fudge, all while wearing your pajamas.