Last May, we took a trip to Spain to experience the culture and the food. To me, Spainish food is the symbol for innovation and passion, allow one to freely embrace one of best pleasure of enjoyments that life has to offer. THE place that I had to visit was San Sebastian which is known as the “Temple of Spanish Cooking”.
A beautiful town by the sea, San Sebastian holds about 500 bars that compete to create the best Tapas. Follow the sugguests of fellow travelers, we did the “tapas crawl” which is bascially bar hopping whole day long! Our eyes were filled with amazingly looking tapas nicely displayed on the bar tables. Where to even start!
Each of the bars has their own specialties. But my favorite places after trying dozens of them are Bar Zeruko and A Fuego Negro. Both are more on the contempary and innovative side and certainly distinguish themselves from others.
You know the place is good once you walk in and see all the eye-catching displays. Bar Zeruko was that place.
Foir Gras covered with Pistachio…
A Fuego Negro does things slightly differently. No displays but provides tasting menu to wow your senses. Everything was so unexpected and had a twist. Even though I was pretty full by the time we got there, I still ate up all the 5 tasting courses and was thinking – life is indeed good!
Aside from Tapas Bars, my kind of places to always try are pastry shops. I didn’t research too much on them but would just go into each one I came across. Barrenetxe showed up several times on our way around the town and they indeed do a great job with those sweets.
This one looks a lot like pastel de nata!
Next stop was Barcelona. It was the most beautiful city I visited so far. Even the air was filled with the vibrancy of art. From food perspetive, still awed by the haute cusine in San Sebastian, however, did not give me too much surprises. But still, it is a food centric city with a lot to offer.
The most fun visit was at Mercat de la Boqueria . The lively market was packed with gourmet foods.
The restaurant we picked for dinner was call Comerc24 by chef Carles Abellan which is supposed to be one of the most talked about new restaurants in town. It certainly provides a very interesting and unique dinning experience but kind of fell short of expectation. The presentations are very fun and they love using stones as a serving tool which got laughed at by my husband the whole evening. But I do give them the credit for thinking outside of the plate 🙂
Did you notice the stones?
Barcelona has countless museums and they even got one just for Chocolate. Who could believe that all these cute sculptures are made with sweet coco!
Moving on to Madrid!
I have to admit that my expection was really low because after San Sebastian and Barcelona, how can a politics oriented city compete with either one of them? I was wrong. Oh man, do they know how to enjoy food from another angle! Even though an inland city, Madrid is the best place in Spain to enjoy seafood (note that I did not say cheap though). Counter-intuitive, right? But I was convinced after the first plate upon arrival. Fresh and simplely prepared, yet most delicious. Particularly those barnacles, you’ve got to try.
One of the most unforgettable dining was at El Club Allard . Each dish was mind blowing to me. Just look at this first taste teaser. The sauce in the little bowl is a dipping sauce for the greeting card! Yes, the card was made with food. I could not believe my ears when the waitress told us to eat it and she had to repeat it several times until I said “what? really?”
If you like chocolate, you will enjoy an afternoon visit to chocolatería de San Ginés. Who knew the best way to enjoy Churros is to dip it into a cup of rich hot Chocolate!
The churros were the best fried ones I’ve ever had. It almost had this pinenuts aroma which makes me wonder if that was the secret ingredient. This is on my to-do list to test out.
To end the day even sweeter, we walked cross almost half of the town to find this chocolate boutique shop that was recommended by other food lovers – Cacao Sampaka. It was very chic and tastefully decorated. I hardly wanted to leave ….
All in all, a must country to visit for your food experience and I would love to go back again soon!