Showing posts with label Spanish tapa bars. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Spanish tapa bars. Show all posts

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

D2G loses to Spain’s Tapa Temptations

Yes, that healthy eating we’ve been touting for the last year – our Diet to Go, or D2G – met its challenge in Spain’s Tapa Temptations.

osuna 021 So we said “Adios” to that eating plan and each night saddled up to a tapas bar to eat our way through several of the small plates that offered a variety of meat, fish and vegetable tidbits; some of the best food we’ve had on our travels.

Potatoes and bread  – those things we’ve bragged about eliminating (or greatly reducing) in our lives this last year, were key ingredients in most of the tapas we ate. And Spain’s famous rice paella couldn’t be missed. . .

When in Spain eat as the Spanish do. . .and we did! In a manner of speaking anyway. Each night we’d wait as long as our American appetites allowed (somewhere around 7 or 7:30) and we’d go in search of a tapas bar. Tapas bars, like restaurants, don’t open their kitchens for hot dishes until 8:30 in most cases, so we’d work our way through cold dishes and wind up the feast with a couple hot dishes.

Tapas are generally inexpensive. So were the many varieties of Spanish wine we quaffed down with them.

Our best tapa dinner was eaten in Osuna, that charming small town outside Sevilla. The restaurant Meson del Duque, (Plaza de la Duquesa, 2, phone 95 481 28 45) had been recommended a couple of times so on our last evening we waited as long our our American appetites allowed and we headed out for what would be the culinary treat of the trip
osuna 020 As usual ‘los Americanos’ (us!) were unfashionably early so we had the place to ourselves. . .which gave us time to visit with Jose, the owner, left, and Paco, the bartender, to his right in this photo.

osuna 018 Since their tapas weren’t on display and we weren’t sure what was available, we asked Jose and Paco to select some plates for us.

They served us a mouthwatering short rib that you could cut with a fork, a fish dish, a pork dish and shrimp with a presentation resembling the horns of bulls in an unbelievably tasty sauce.

osuna 019So good were the tapas that we fell further off the diet wagon and ordered dessert – again their choice. Need I say this chocolate morsel was good?

Our last night in Sevilla we dined at Casa Tomate ( on the 'tapa bar street' of Mateos Gagos 24, phone 954 220 421) and decided to try the combination plate of three hot and three cold tapas; to that we added a half racione (half order) of deep fried calimari. 

As we started to order a salad as well – thinking we’d need a bit more, our waiter politely told us we didn’t need it – we had ordered plenty.  He was right as the tapas plate alone had anchovies, meat balls, veggies, Russian salad and a potato torte (tortilla):

seville 035

If you've been following the blog the last few weeks, I know you are probably thinking, "And then they got on a cruise ship for two weeks and ate some more?"  Yes we did, but I should tell you that we logged some 7 - 10 miles walking each day on land and on the ship either worked out at the gym and walked or did both.

While in Spain we marked the first anniversary of our D2G.  It has been a success despite the eating we did the last few weeks. We weighed in today and Joel weighs five pounds less than he did last year and I am down 13.5 pounds. . .and now that we are home we are back on the D2G way of eating.

Note:  The D2G is based on the Glycemic Load Diet as developed by Seattle doctor, Rob Thompson.  His book of the same title can be purchased from

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Tapas: A Taste of Madrid

madrid2011 010After filling our days with on-foot explorations, we couldn’t stay awake long enough to try out  Madrid’s Midnight dining hour but then we wouldn’t have had room for it after conducting our regular tapeo.
Tapeo, the early evening stroll between tapas bars for glasses of Spanish wine and tapas, for which the stroll is named,  is intended to provide sustenance until dinner – but we made it dinner.
madrid2011 023 At home we’d call these small plates’ appetizers’. In Madrid they were tapas, or canapes, a slice of bread with a tasty, cheese, meat or seafood topping, and larger servings of each being called  a ‘racion’.
We’d studied up on this practice of cheap eats  by reading advice of  foodies who had gone before us; learning the wine servings were small – allowing for a half dozen stops before feeling its impact – and tips for tapa-eating etiquette like ‘throwing used napkins on the floor and keeping toothpicks to show the bartender how much you’ve consumed.”
We quickly learned don’t believe everything you read. Savvy shop owners poured large glasses of wine as pictured (which I think they’ve learned keeps you eating there longer). And they’ve gotten tired of cleaning up dirty napkins – as every place we visited had strategically placed garbage cans at the bar.
The food was good – but it wasn’t always cheap eats by any means. Part of that impact of the U.S. dollars’ weakness to Spain’s currency, the Euro).  The rate of exchange was  1-Euro=$1.45US.
Too late we learned that Manchego, their famous cheese is about as high priced as is their famous Iberico acorn-fed ham.
madrid2011 001 Our first night out we each had two glasses of wine, a shared a ‘tortilla’ – a thick open faced omelette stuffed with potatoes --and then ordered a cheese and ham plate (both are pictured here).
Our bill was $27-euros or about $43US.madrid2011 002
At one place we tried the 2-euro ($3.20) tapa of the day and received a toothpick on which two bite-sized green peppers were wrapped in an  anchovy.  The most economical was the canape – most of which were $2.50-euro, depending on the topping chosen.
madrid2011 029
Note:  If these make your mouth water, just wait until I tell you about Celebrity’s Gourmet Galley. . . and then I’ll give you an update on D2G, our Diet to Go. . .

Sunday, May 22, 2011

A Jolly Good Day in London

Our week in Madrid came to an end Saturday morning and an Easy Jet (one of Europe’s cheapy airlines) flight brought us to London’s Gatwick Airport.  A quick ride on the Gatwick Express train (the airport is 28 miles from London), brought us to town, and a cab ride later, we were at the Chancery Court Hotel.
London 2010 007
Our time in Europe comes to a close this week with  five nights here, (thanks to those Marriott loyalty program points) and an overnight in Paris prior to our Friday flight to Seattle on Iceland Air

Well, we think our time in Europe comes to a close this week. . .but as we watched news reports this afternoon (Sunday, London time) we are advised that the volcano in Iceland has closed both air space and airports. . .so maybe we will have a whole new adventure still ahead. No need to worry about it this far in advance, but it does keep us watching the updates.

We’ve left  Spanish tapa bars behind to explore English pubs for a few days and I’ll be intermixing stories of both. . .stay tuned. . .who knows? The gonzo geezers may have more adventures to tell you about than we thought we would. That's one of the joys of travel.


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