I’m home from our 2 week trip to Spain and while I’m happy to be home there are so many things I enjoyed and remember about our trip. I know my husband is missing his daily siesta and says that’s why he’s going to bed earlier at night. I miss the daily adventure of seeing new places and having those experiences. I miss the beauty of the countryside and the cities, also the friendly people and of course, the food. I told my husband that Spanish food really agrees with me and he said, Patty all good food agrees with you. Nice, but he’s right!
I’ve spent hours organizing my Spain photos and enjoyed eating at home for a change after all the restaurants we tried on our trip. There are so many good things to eat in Andalusia and each region has it’s own specialties. I love to order fresh fish in restaurants because it’s something I don’t generally make for us at home and in Spain, just like a local, I ate seafood everyday on my trip. We also enjoyed tapas and tried to eat a variety that were new to us, like the Andalusian favorite Tortillitas de Camarones -crispy shrimp pancakes-that we discovered and loved for a lunch in Cádiz.
We spent our day in Ronda walking everywhere as we did on most days of our trip so later that evening feeling a little tired after all that exercise we asked our hotel for a dinner recommendation at a place nearby. They suggested we try Carmen la de Ronda, a small place that we noticed earlier in the day on the square behind our hotel. At night from the outside it looks more like a bar than a restaurant with a few empty outside tables, one small table inside with 2 couples having tapas and a few more people eating at the bar. Anyway, it looked like a local spot close to a touristic area and we were happy to have found what turned out to be one of our best meals in Andalusia. We were led upstairs to a nice comfortable small dining room where just one other couple was dining. We ordered a large green salad filled with apples and goat cheese and a plate of creamy hummus topped with warm garlicky shrimp to share. My husband had one of his favorites- a filet mignon ‘solomillo de buey’ and I enjoyed a perfectly cooked piece of fish ‘bacalao con camarones’ -just the right amount after the large first courses we shared.
I love salads and always try to serve a green salad with dinner so I was one happy camper with all the salads I ordered on our trip to Spain. In Granada our hotel recommended we try Oliver in the Plaza Pescaderia behind the big cathedral and that is where I had my favorite salad of the trip. Crisp hearts of romaine topped with olive oil marinated chunks of tuna and roasted strips of red peppers, so simple, fresh and good. We mostly ate our lunches later, around 2pm, along with the locals who all seem to eat dinner late, around 10pm. Anyway, having our lunch later in the afternoon outside in the square we were surrounded by people sharing great food and bottles of wine. The black squid ink paella being shared at the table next to us was a beauty, it was fun to see all the dishes coming out of the kitchen.
It’s hard to say which of all the cities we visited in Andalusia was our favorite eating city but I’ll have to give Estrellas de San Nicolás in Granada and their lobster paella the vote for our favorite meal. We treated ourselves to what felt like a birthday or anniversary dinner in the beautiful dining room complete with a great view of the Alhambra and the city of Granada. The next morning we were up early exploring the city which included a hike up the hill to finally tour the Alhambra which like all of Andalusia had been a dream to visit. I could have spent days exploring and taking pictures of the Alhambra but because so many people visit everyday they keep a strict schedule of the time of your visit including restricting the times you can enter the beautifully restored Nasrid Palace.
While I’m not going to share every detail of this trip I do want to briefly mention our short visit to Seville/Sevilla which is the largest city in Andalusia. We ate the best tapas all over the city (Albarama), visited neighborhood bars (Bar Alfalfa), shopped for (cerámica), attended a flamenco show (Museo Del Baile Flamenco), checked out the Seville Cathedral and the Royal Alcázar, stayed at our favorite hotel (Corral del Rey) and walked, walked (Barrio Santa Cruz). Without hesitation I’m giving Seville my vote for favorite city on the trip.
We also tried traditional Spanish restaurant desserts -like flan, fried custard and churros dipped in chocolate. But isn’t part of vacation stopping in at least one bakery a day to pick up a small bag of something sweet you just can’t resist? Thank goodness I have a good travel companion who helps me eat the bakery treats I love trying on vacation. One afternoon on our trip, also in Cádiz, we polished off a few eye catching scrumptious anise cookies spied through a bakery window that were dripping in honey and while licking our finger tips we completed one of our many walking tours of the cities in Andalusia that we visited.
I have a sentimental recipe to share with you today. I remembered making this mixed nut and dried fruit brittle a few years ago… I found the recipe in a Spanish cookbook given to me by a friend. So, while we didn’t try this brittle in Spain, I wanted to share the recipe today because a small bag of Musician’s Brittle would make a nice nibble for yourself or as a gift to share with a friend and it reminds me of our wonderful trip to Spain.
I’ve never shared this many photos on a blog post and was wondering if I was going to overload the system but it worked just fine, so here there are a ton of pictures from our trip to Andalusia, Spain. We flew from San Francisco to London and onto Málaga where we picked up a rental car. We headed for Marbella where we spent a few nights in the old city. We drove from Marbella to Ronda for a night and then onto Arcos de la Frontera, Jerez and Cádiz. We spent 2 nights in Seville and then headed to Córdoba, Granada and back to Málaga before flying home to SF. Since I visited Madrid and Barcelona about 10 years ago I dreamed of making this trip to the south of Spain. We had such a great experience and I took so many photos of all the spectacular cities we visited. I tried to show a few of the highlights in my photos of our trip to Spain.Fountain in Cadiz
Tapas in Andalusia, SpainWater in Andalusia, SpainMarbella, SpainBullfighting and Ronda, SpainCádiz, SpainArcos de la Frontera, Spain Views and Golf in Arcos de la Frontera
Royal Alcázar of Seville, SpainArab Baths, Arcos de la FronteraAndalusia, Spain
Mosque-Cathedral~the Mezquita of Córdoba, Spain
The Alhambra of Granada, Spain
Adapted from World Food Spain by Bev LeBlanc.
- 2 & 1/2 cups granulated sugar
- 2/3 cup water
- 1/4 teaspoon white vinegar
- Vegetable oil, for greasing the baking sheet
- 2 cups mixed nuts, pecans, almonds, peanuts, walnuts, cashews
- 1/2 cup raisins and dried cranberries
- 1/2 cup trailmix made with dried fruit and nuts
- 1/2 cup pumpkin seeds
- Place the sugar, water and vinegar in a heavy medium large size saucepan, stir to dissolve the sugar, bring to a boil over medium high heat.
- Boil without stirring for about 20-25 minutes or until the caramel reaches at least 350F or turns a deep amber color.
- Meanwhile, generously grease a baking pan and set aside.
- Combine the nuts, dried fruits and pumpkin seeds in a bowl.
- When the sugar mixture is a deep amber color stir in the nut/fruit mixture and quickly pour into the prepared baking pan.
- Spread the mixture evenly on the baking sheet, using a greased rubber spatula and making sure the middle isn't too thick.
- Let the caramel stand for several minutes to cool and set up but not too long because it becomes difficult to cut or break up.
- Invert the entire slab onto a cutting board and cut or break up into pieces.
- Let the brittle cool entirely before wrapping in foil and storing for up to 1 week.
ps. iphone food photos, Andalusia, Spain