Saturday, March 15, 2008
Hi everyone! I'm back, well rested and recharged. Well, recharged anyway. I'm still on Spain time, which is actually convenient since I'm still working the 3am shift at work. I've never been so awake at 2am!
I'm going to show you my trip in segments. Today: food. My next post will probably be shopping. I've arranged all the photos by topic--but still don't have every single one on there. I hope to finish sometime today. I've posted a Flickr photo set specifically of the food in Sevilla HERE.
It's always strange to eat in a foreign country. I mean...shockingly, the food in Mexico does NOT taste like Taco Bell. Or even your local "authentic" Mexican margarita joint.
The weirdness of things is even more pronounced in Europe. I haven't been to Asia or Africa yet, but I imagine it's the next step beyond that even. It's the difference in how things are stored, flavored and prepared. Milk comes in a box on a shelf in the grocery store, not refrigerated (Although, my mom says it's packaged at a safe high heat, I'm still skeptical.) In Sevilla, Spain, massive quantities of pork--specifically Jamon--is cured in salt and served with everything. I didn't see a Jamon flavored ice cream, but I'm pretty sure it's not out of the question.
Then there's the curious lack of flavor in some dishes. We had Tortilla Espanol (over to the left, here--supposed to be a Spanish omelette. Not so much. It was more like potatoes, eggs, and pastry sliced in pie shapes with out much flavor and with a sandy sort of texture. I like all of those ingredients separately, but without any spices or flavoring, well, it's something my boyfriend might really love.
Overall, we ate pretty cheaply. Which I think translates to greasy. The dollar is so high ($1.50 to 1 Euro) that a 15 Euro meal is actually a $22.50 meal. And I think we all agreed that we would rather do more things or buy more souveniers than spend buck on food. Think about it: if people were visiting the U.S. and eating cheaply, it would probably be greasy also.
The best food we had were the tapas at night. Spinach with olive oil, bacon and pine nuts; croquettes with spinach and jamon; slices of cheese with crusty bread; chicken skewers and who knows what else. Always with the Jamon (like Spanish proccuitto) As my sister Lauren said: "I was pretty much over the jamon on the first day." And it's EVERYWHERE and extremely fatty. I guess it's a bacon lover's paradise.
According to Lauren's direct orders, we tried to stay with the typical Spanish eating schedule: midday meal at 3pm (during siesta) evening snacks or tapas at 8pm, and full meal at 10pm. We never made it to the full meal. We ordered lots of tapas, then had ice cream or churros later in the evening.
My favorite food, besides the helado (ice cream) and churros (long loopy donuts dipped in creamy dark melted chocolate), was the lunch we had the last day. We had walked across the Isabel bridge and through the Triana neighborhood, when crossing the next bridge to the south, we spied the Rio Grande restaurant and decided to give it a whirl. We sat in the shade overlooking the river, and I took a chance and ordered fish. I love fish, but I had a bad experience with it in Barcelona last year that ended with me not eating but instead drinking too much wine and being hammered at noon.
This seabass was excellent. Not what I had imagined, it was broken into nuggets, soaked in a lemony herby sauce and fried. Everything fried, always. Served with shoe string red and green peppers on the side. Pretty darn good.
Please go to the flickr group to see the other pics. We had a couple of lovely picnics and the pastries were really amazing!!