February 25, 2016

A Taste of Spain

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This past February break, I was fortunate enough to wine and dine in the beautiful country of Spain. Most of the meals I enjoyed were prepared tapas style or as small plates, so I thought it would only be fitting to give my reviews, comments and criticisms in bite-sized portions.

Like most trips, it’s best to focus on the positive, so I will be throwing my favorites your way, and if you would like to hear more about my trip (or more importantly, the food), do not be afraid to reach out via my contact at the bottom of the page. So without further delay, I invite mis amigos nuevos to the land of Pau Gasol and Rafael Nadal (who people claim I have an uncanny resemblance to). Sit back, enjoy and maybe bookmark the page if you have a trip to Barcelona or Seville in your future.

Dinner in Barcelona

Sensi Tapas: If you are looking for a place with awesome food and a lot of college students speaking English before a night out, this place is for you.

Dishes:

  • Burrata with Three Tomato Textures: This could have been the best individual dish I had on the trip. The first texture was served normally sliced, the second as a sweet paste with a very smooth texture, similar to molasses, and the third sun-dried. The portion was plentiful and the cheese was incredibly moist, fresh and delicious.
  • Seared Tuna with Celery Confit and Vodka Lime Foam: Another solid dish. Not sure how fast I’ll run back to order it again due to how many other items they had on the menu. The presentation was the best part of this dish, and the vodka lime foam was not as exciting as one would think.
  • Roasted Pork Ribs with Teriyaki Sauce and Honey: Another one of my favorite dishes. The ribs were actually sliced thin with no bone and served with an apple and ginger purée. If I learned anything on this trip, it’s that Spain does not mess around with its pork.
  • Seafood Paella: This was probably the largest portion of food I received over the trip. After a long trans-Atlantic flight, this was the part of my culinary experience when I realized: wait, I’m actually in Spain. Fresh seafood served over piping hot Spanish rice- más, por favor.

Dinner in Barcelona

Paco Meralgo: Another awesome meal of eating outside my comfort zone. This was also the first night I realized that buying high-quality Spanish wine by the bottle is pretty cheap.

  • Rabbit with Garlic and Parsley: The meat was incredibly tender and served on the bone, which was a bit annoying to dig into, but nonetheless delicious.
  • Tuna Tartare: Now this is what I’m talking about: a giant hunk of tuna, sautéed in a soy sauce. The fish tasted incredibly fresh, and the portion was monstrous.
  • Grilled Cuttlefish: This tasted almost identical to squid, so was right up my alley. Another nice portion, easy to cut, and even better with a bit of fresh lemon squeezed on top.

Brunch in Barcelona

Brunch and Cake: I would not describe myself as “basic,” but this was the one time on the trip when I felt compelled to take out my phone to snap a picture of my meal. The fact that this restaurant — a perfect place to eat outside on a sunny day ­— has its own Instagram page speaks to how awesome its presentation is.

  • Chicken Super Sandwich: This was exactly as described. It was essentially seasoned chicken salad served on a massive pretzel roll, smothered in avocado, over a bed over chips with guacamole. The chips were accompanied with arugula and sliced strawberries.
  • Red Velvet Cake: Though barely able to finish the sandwich, I was coaxed into ordering a this. It turned out to be unreal. The cake was so moist and rich, with a decadent cream cheese frosting. This was the brunch place I’ve been to in a long time — I wish one existed in New York.

 

Dinner in Seville

San Marco: This restaurant was really nice and is actually located in what was formerly an Arab Bath House. It looked incredibly upscale, with white tablecloths and formally dressed waiters, but it was actually very reasonably priced. This could have been the only “real” meal I had on my trip — and by “real,” I mean one with full-sized portions. It was nice to be able to commit to just one item as my main course. If I had been in Spain longer (cough cough, anyone who is studying there), this would be my go-to place. When Mom and Dad are in town visiting, or you just need an excuse to go out, San Marco is your place.

  • Tomato Mozzarella and Gazpacho: I ordered these for starters. The tomato mozzarella was a really nice portion, in addition to a huge bowl of gazpacho (a lot of tomato going on here, I know). Both were refreshing, and got me ready for my main entrée.
  • Lasagne Verde: This was a traditional lasagna prepared with green pasta.

One practical word of advice for those trying to secure a fast, free meal: DO NOT — I repeat, DO NOT — eat the oranges off the trees in Seville. They look incredibly delicious and ripe, but apparently they are only used for marmalade. They are really tart and the acid will actually sting your lips and gums.

One more sentimental word of advice is that it does not matter so much what you eat, but rather who your company is while eating it.

Best,
Ian “Zagat” Sigalow
ims48@cornell.edu

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