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Old 03-09-2018, 01:44 PM   #1
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Eating My Way Through Spain

As promised, I am posting some food photos from my vacation in Spain.

First, I have to say this is one of the best value trips I have ever taken. The flight over was very reasonably priced at under $500/ticket, and the food so far has been inexpensive, yet excellent. My travelling companion for this trip is Ex-Mrs. K. We're still divorced and living under separate roofs, but still enjoy each other's company enough to travel and do things together.

Unfortunately, due to bad weather blowing through Minnesota on departure day, our first flight was delayed and I never did make it to Paris for the 24-hour layover I had originally planned. The worst part was sitting on a plane for 7.5 hours without food due to mechanical problems. But all of that is water (or snow) under the bridge and we finally arrived in Barcelona, where I rented a car to drive up into Aragon, Rioja, and the Basque Autonomous Region.

The first stop was in the ancient Roman city of Zaragoza (the name comes from a short form of the name Caesar Augustus, "Zar Agosto"), a city of about 650,000 people, and the capitol of the province of Aragon.



We booked a tour with a local guide named Jorge, a young man who went to school at Oxford, and an amateur chef. He turned out to have a wealth of knowledge of local wines. There are four wine regions in Aragon and we had a sampling from each region. At this point it was somewhat late and we weren't terribly hungry so we mainly had tapas just to tide us over.

The tapas in Zaragoza were hit or miss. We had ham and cheese filled croquettes, which were awesome. We also had some of the local Jamón Ibérico (ham from pigs that subsist on a diet of primarily acorns). This is truly melt-in-your-mouth kind of stuff.





As for the "miss" part of hit-or-miss, I ate one tapa that consisted of a salty anchovy with chocolate and cream cheese. In fairness, it wasn't completely terrible - there was something about it that was just kind of weird. These are three ingredients that should never share the same plate, let alone the same little piece of bread.



Tomorrow, I will write about the Rioja wine region and our first stop in Basque Country.

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Old 03-09-2018, 02:19 PM   #2
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Have fun, it looks way warmer there then here ( looks at the snow).
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Old 03-09-2018, 02:21 PM   #3
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I am so envious, so envious, God must forgive me.....please God forgive me. You are on a trip of a lifetime. Enjoy. Thank you for sharing this with us.
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Old 03-09-2018, 03:41 PM   #4
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Thanks for taking us with you Steve...love the first report.!
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Old 03-09-2018, 03:44 PM   #5
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Love that picture of the hanging hams. Reminds me of the market in Florence, Italy, which had a stall with dozens of prosciutto legs. Amazing.
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Old 03-09-2018, 03:53 PM   #6
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A wonderful start... Thank you for taking us along..

Ross
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Old 03-09-2018, 05:36 PM   #7
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Oooh, nice, Steve! Will have to add Spain to my bucket list!!
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Old 03-09-2018, 05:50 PM   #8
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Keep us posted. I've been to Spain twice, for a total of about six weeks. It will be interesting to see how many places you go to that I went to.

I ate very well in Barcelona.

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Old 03-09-2018, 07:22 PM   #9
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Spain eats pork....lots of it. They are masters of pork.
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Old 03-09-2018, 07:52 PM   #10
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Nice!
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Old 03-09-2018, 08:44 PM   #11
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Thanks Steve!!!
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Old 03-09-2018, 09:45 PM   #12
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Thanks for checking in and sharing your trip with us, Steve!

I think my fave (so far) is the night time street scene. I couldn't stop looking at it. So beautiful, well lit, and clean. Other than a couple of minor travel glitches, sounds like you're having a wonderful time! Just have to say....awesome that you and the ex-Mrs. are enjoying this trip together.

Looking forward to more pics!
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Old 03-10-2018, 01:34 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by caseydog View Post
Keep us posted. I've been to Spain twice, for a total of about six weeks. It will be interesting to see how many places you go to that I went to.

I ate very well in Barcelona.

CD
This is my second time in Spain. The first time was during the first Gulf War in the early 1990s, when I was here as a civilian contractor with the Dept of Defense. I spent something like 9 weeks in Europe then, mostly Spain and Italy.

The group I was with was fortunate in that we had our own driver, and I was able to see a lot of Spain on days off. I visited mostly in Madrid and places south of Madrid - Toledo, Seville, Cadiz, Jerez.

This trip I wanted to focus on places I missed the first time, especially Barcelona. I would also love to make a third trip at some point to visit the northern coastal areas.
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Old 03-10-2018, 01:51 AM   #14
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Before I get into the food porn, let me first tell you a little about our friend Silvia. We first met Silvia 9 years ago when she came to stay with us as an exchange student. She was 17 at the time, very shy, and knew little English. Since then, she has gotten a degree from Oxford in England, and works as a nurse in the Basque city of Vitoria-Gasteiz. More on that later.

She is also completely fluent in English now, so although we've known her for some time, it was so refreshing to actually sit down with her and be able to communicate - something we couldn't do well when she stayed with us.



We met Silvia's parents for the first time on this trip, too. They are very nice people and arranged an exclusive private tour in the village of Haro at Bodega La Rioja Alta, a top Spanish winery. For me, as someone who loves wine and makes it as a hobby, that was awesome. Afterwards, we went and ate lunch at a Basque restaurant where I got to try many things I've never had before. Again, more on that later.

Here is Roberto and Miren, XMK and myself.

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Old 03-10-2018, 01:58 AM   #15
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Thanks for popping in and giving us a peek into your vacation, Steve. The scenery is beautiful, the food looks and sounds delicious*, and it sounds like you and Mrs. X-K are having a great time. Now, off DC and go have more fun!

*Except for that chocolate-covered anchovy. All yours!
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Old 03-10-2018, 03:18 AM   #16
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A few photos from San Sebastian

We have been in the Basque coastal town of San Sebastian for the past couple of days, and although it's been somewhat cloudy and gloomy, it's still beautiful. The only thing that separates our hotel from the La Concha beach is a busy boardwalk.

A few photos of San Sebastian:





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Old 03-10-2018, 03:35 AM   #17
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Food Porn, Part Uno

One thing I've found here is that the food is very reasonably priced. Lunch, for many, is the main meal of the day. In fact, the word for lunch is la comida, which simply means "the meal." Our lunch yesterday was $36 per person for a three course meal, which included a bottle of wine and coffee. By the way, I am indulging in a few carbs on this trip.

First course. I had Risotto with squid ink (amazingly good!), and XMK had grilled artichokes.





Second course. I had Bacalao (salt cod) with roasted red pepper puree. XMK had the Duck Confit.





Dessert. I had Gateau Basco (Basque Cake) and XMK had a bread pudding soaked in Bailey's Irish Cream.





Off to have some fun for now! I'll post more later.
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Old 03-10-2018, 08:01 AM   #18
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Wonderful food photos...

Off topic (sorry, not sorry)... Its really refreshing to put a face with some who post on this fine forum..

Ross
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Old 03-10-2018, 04:14 PM   #19
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Looking forward to seeing more pictures!

In May we will go to Barcelona so looking for good info on wines you like.
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Old 03-10-2018, 05:17 PM   #20
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Wow, gorgeous looking food and scenery!
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