Thursday, March 12, 2009

Back from Spain

My first trip to Spain was only a few years ago and I instantly fell in love with the country, even though now after a second short visit I still only feel like I am barely scratching the surface. I like the comfortable, almost nonchalant blending of old and new, in the architecture, the culture, the food. I like the seemingly endless brigades of older women in Madrid with their sensible shoes, their warm earthtone-colored coats, and their little dogs, constantly in the streets (Mrs. F took to calling them the "Old Lady Army", or "O.L.A."). I like the international, nightclubby feel of Barcelona, all eurotrashy without the bad attitude. And I like the lush green hills of the Basque country, with the barns made of stone that seems to glow golden when it catches any sunlight, and the sheep that must have claws to hang onto the steep hills as they graze. And (of relevance hereto) I love how one of the uniting and unabiding qualities of seemingly all its people is a passion for good food. And how they have the innate understanding that just about everything is better if you put some ham on it, or an egg - or both.

It will take me a couple days to gather my thoughts and get caught up, but there will be reports on tapas crawls in Madrid and San Sebastian, visits to Viridiana and Goizeko Wellington in Madrid, Arzak and Akelare in San Sebastian, Dos Palillos, Cuines Santa Caterina and Paco Meralgo in Barcelona. Some highlights: percebes (goose barnacles) at Goizeko; pintxos in San Sebastian's Barrio Gros; the whole dining experience at Arzak; the cochinillo and the view at Akelare; the navajas (razor clams) at Dos Palillos; and calçots at Cuines Sta. Caterina.

And yes, there will be some food porn. (I did, for a couple of meals, officially become "that douchebag taking pictures of his food"). Want a preview? How about this:

Not your style? OK, how about this:

More to come.


  1. Good to have you back, Frod. I need some more reading material for my breaks at work haha. I think its ok to be that d-bag when youre not in your own country, mainly for the reason of "Who cares? Its not like I'll see these people again any time soon!"

    Looking forward to the food porn.

  2. HAHA Lol at the first picture. Is that cochinillo in #2?

    Ditto to BM, readings been slim lately, can't wait to hear about this trip.

    My spanish craving of the day is flamenquines; did you have any?

  3. BM - thanks. Great trip, good to be back. Aside from all other factors, Mrs. F was about ready to kill me with the camera after a while, so only took pix in a few places.

    dmo - Don't recall seeing flamenquines anywhere. The first picture is from Las Bravas, a tapas bar in Madrid known for - what else - their patatas bravas.

    The second picture is the cochinillo from Akelare in San Sebastian. More on that later.