I love Spain. I love its history, its ancient towns, its art, its culture, its architecture, and its wine. But above all, I love its food. The only thing they usually can’t make decently are salads which, among other defects, always contain an animal product.
Two weeks ago I visited Andalucía and I had to try some of the restaurants featured in Spain, on the road again, the culinary travel show through Spain in which Mario Batali, Gwyneth Paltrow, Mark Bitman, and Claudia Basols embarked. Last year I tried some of the restaurants they visited in Cataluña and Valencia, which were great and a topic for a future blog.
The quality of the restaurants they visited in Granada was more mixed. At El Rincón de la Aurora at the Albaycín, the old and charming city of Granada, I had a great (room temperature) appetizer of fava beans with olive oil and jamón serrano, which was as good as at Casa Pepe in Barcelona. I then had a Plato Alpujareño, which is a huge dish consisting of a grilled pork solomillo (tenderloin), longaniza (a type of sausage), morcilla (blood sausage), jamón serrano, a fried egg, and patatas a lo pobre (baked potato slices with green and red peppers, onion, and a little bit of white vinegar). I confess I substituted more longaniza for the morcilla, which I’ve never had the guts (mood?) to eat. It was pretty good and really filling.
The food at Mirador de Morayma, the other Spain-on-the-road-again restaurant, was not that good. The restaurant sits in the slopes of the Albaycín and features great views of La Alhambra, the moorish palaces. Like at El Rincón de la Aurora, they had pretty good fava beans with olive oil and jamón serrano and it was equally tasty. A lubina al limón (sea bass with a lemon sauce), however, was bland. Fortunately, I accompanied with a good bottle of Alhambra Reserva 1925, the best beer I tried in the region.
In Marbella, on the coast of Andalucía, I had the best meal at the fisher’s dock in a restaurant called La Taberna del Puerto. The pulpos (octopus) a la Gallega, thinly sliced with olive oil, paprika, and coarse salt, where exquisite. And so were the grilled shrimp.