Best Meal in Spain so Far

Before DonQui continues his tale of car woes, he would like to talk about something more pleasant, namely food.

meal1
Spanish meals and meal times are quite different from what DonQui is used to. As he already observed in The Importance of Breakfast, in Spain this is barely more than caffeine and a snack. The big meal of the day is lunch, usually from 2-4pm. This is a little later than DonQui is used to but as he rarely has much lunch at home anyway, waiting an extra hour for a substantial multi-course meal is no great hardship.

meal2

The evening meal is even later with restaurants rarely serving food before 9pm. Usually this is lighter fare such as a few tapas with drinks. Once he got into the rhythm of it, and made the long leisurely lunch his main food focus of the day, DonQui found the Spanish meal times quite satisfying.

The food on offer in Seville was universally good and excellent value for money. Even in the fairly obvious tourist haunts the prices were reasonable, atmosphere excellent and the quality high. Some were better than others but DonQui never had a bad meal there.meal3

Without a doubt DonQui’s most outstanding dining experience in Seville was at the Puerta Osario Restrobar. It was evening, it was raining and the Puerta Osario was just around the corner from the apartment he was staying at. He had not looked it up on TripAdvisor nor checked out their reputation anywhere else in advance. His choice was based on the simple practicality of not wanting to go very far on a rainy evening. And what a fabulous choice it was too.
Food service began at 9:00 pm. DonQui had arrived a bit earlier and was content to sip a fine glass of red wine while he waited and have a look at the blackboards which displayed the food and drink on offer.

He and Duchess ordered 3 tapas which arrived one after the other, each one for sharing:

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mushroom risotto which was exquisite…

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chicken skewers with oriental vegetables which was equally good — as you can see they were mostly eaten before DonQui got around to taking a photo…

wild boar
and wild boar filet on a bed of sliced potatoes which was to die for!
The boar meat was succulent, tender and juicy. Deep red in colour it had a rich taste without being gamey. Most of the ‘wild’ boar one gets in the UK is farmed and as a result is relatively pale and more like pork. Proper wild boar which has been roaming the forests of Spain like this one, is closer to beef and venison. The dish was mane-curlingly good and after three such excellent small dishes DonQui was feeling satisfied but not bloated. He had just enough room to finish things off with a shared chocolate mouse with a gorgeous raspberry concoction underneath.

desert
The atmosphere was understatedly cool, with a friendly unobtrusive vibe. All of this for a very modest price.
Worth going to Seville for!

DonQui Recommends:

Puerta Osario Restrobar for exquisite haut cuisine tapas in the evening. During the day it is a great café where one can come to have a drink, read, write or chat with friends. It is also open for coffee in the morning.

Carmen’s lovely apartment just around the corner available on Airbnb

Seville

So what did DonQui get up to in Seville? Well, the usual tourist stuff…

Alcazar

He visited the Real Alcázar and was amazed at the incredibly fine Moorish architecture

gardens

…and the maze of gardens with their fountains, pools and wide variety of plants. He could have spent all day there but after a while his feet began to hurt and he felt in need to a drink.

Sangria

A glass of sangria did the job rather well

gates

Then he went inside the huge cathedral and saw that the gates to heaven were apparently closed for the moment.
altar gold
He also considered the huge amount of stolen Inca gold that it had taken to decorate the altar and .wondered how many donkeys it had taken to carry it all away.

cc tomb

And he saw Christopher Columbus’ final resting place, after a journey that took the explorer’s bones from Seville to Santo Domingo, then to Cuba and finally back to Seville again.

roof top

He climbed to the top of the Giralda tower (once a minaret of a Mosque) and looked out at the city below him.

bells

His head rang along with the bells as they chimed the quarter hour and DonQui was rather glad that he had not found himself in the bell tower at 12 noon.

carriage

In the afternoon Duchess fancied a horse drawn carriage ride around the town. Horses tend to take on a rather superior attitude towards donkeys so DonQui thought it a rather fine idea to sit back in comfort while letting a snooty horse do all the work for a change.

santa cruz

Later he wandered around the winding lanes of the Santa Cruz area, had a glass of wine or two and a few tapas before heading home.

waiter

it was a bit touristy but it was atmospheric too and without any of the kitsch and tackiness that is all to often prevalent in such places. The prices of food and drink were very reasonable and the quality high.

The Importance of Breakfast

Breakfast is very important to DonQui. Almost as soon as he wakes he is thinking about what he wants to eat. If he goes too long without breakfast — say more than 20 minutes after waking — then Mr Grumpy shows up and DonQui is really not worth knowing at all.
His favourite breakfast is without a doubt buttermilk pancakes with blueberries, crispy bacon, lashings of butter, and swimming in proper maple syrup — none of the artificial stuff thank you very much!

Pancakes

French toast (well soaked before cooking) is a close second, tied with scrambled eggs on toast, both with crispy bacon. And DonQui also quite enjoys a full English every once in a while with fried egg (on toast) back bacon, sausage, mushrooms, tomatoes, beans and maybe black pudding.
Of course he would be a very large donkey indeed if he ate this sort of thing every day, so on a regular basis he is quite happy with his own muesli mixture (with blueberries) or maybe a bowl of porridge on a cold winter’s day.

Image DonQui’s dismay, therefore, when he heard that the Spanish don’t really do breakfast. At best he could expect a cup of coffee and maybe a piece of toast or something similarly dull and uninteresting.

breakfast 1
Around the corner from where he was staying in Seville there was a small café/bakery called Cupcakes and Go which billed itself in an unusual multilingual style as

slogan

Here he waited with some trepidation to see if a Spanish breakfast was really as dull as it sounded.
His spirits rose when he saw what came. It may not have been pancakes and maple syrup but it actually looked rather good. Fresh squeezed orange juice, toasted rolls with olive oil and tomato pulp and superb café con leche would see him through to lunch without too much hardship after all.

breakfast 2

DonQui Recommends

Cupcakes and Go for great coffee, toast, croissants and, yes, cup cakes too. They also have a small selection of ice-cream All for very reasonable prices.

Midnight Ice Cream

Rayas

DonQui is rather fond of ice cream, especially coffee flavour. Imagine his delight when he found Rayas (Calle Almirante Apodaca, 1, Seville) open until midnight. And most excellent ice cream it was too — amongst the best he had ever tasted.

Some time ago an Italian gave DonQui a tip. If you want to know if the ice cream on sale is made with all natural ingredients have a look to see if they have banana flavour. It the banana ice cream is grey then it is made with real fruit as banana turns grey when oxidised. If the banana ice cream is yellow then it is made with artificial ingredients or preservatives and it is a safe bet that the same is true for other flavours.

ice cream

Sure enough Rayas’ banana (platano in Spanish – front and centre) is grey and therefore DonQui knew that they used natural, fresh ingredients.

While on the subject of bananas, if you peel and cut them up for later use, a bit of lemon juice will prevent them from turning grey. The same applies for other fruits like pears and apples.

On to Seville

It is a bit crowded in here DonQui thinks to himself while wondering at the propensity of humans to squeeze themselves into very small places.

fly to Seville

He is flying from Barcelona to Seville on Vueling Airlines. They are a budget airline apparently. As a creature who likes his comfort DonQui does not like the sound of that. First Class is the style he wishes to become accustomed to.

premium traveller

Fortunately he has a little black card which gives him free access to airport lounges. Earlier, when he showed it to the nice lady at the desk he suddenly became a ‘premium traveller.’ DonQui was very pleased that the humans treated him as special rather than herding him around the terminal like any ordinary donkey. With the help of a glass of cava even forgot for a moment that he would soon be flying on a budget airline.

The flight actually wasn’t bad and 90 minutes later DonQui is in Seville with plenty of time to explore and have a drink or two before tucking into tapas. First impressions are favourable: interesting narrow streets with something new to see around every corner.

seville street 2

More importantly there seem to be lots of tempting bars and restaurants.

Seville street 1

A beer or two later at the rather pleasant Milagritos Restaurant in sight of the cathedral, DonQui saw a sign advertising local flamingos at 21:00. This rather puzzled him. It was not clear whether they were on the menu or on show. Either way DonQui decided he needed to find out.

Milagritos

Duchess told him that he was a silly donkey and that flamingos and flamencos were not in any way related. Neither were on the menu but one was on show. And a very impressive show it was too.

flamenco1

It could have been cheesy and overly touristy but instead it was a very intimate performance delivered with great passion and emotion. The evening included 3 tapas per person for €15 and the food was good if not truly excellent. DonQui particularly liked the chicken with ceps (a type of mushroom), the pork in sweet wine sauce and chicken paella were also very good.

flamenco3

After the meal DonQui was offered a brandy on the house. It was a very nice gesture even if it did taste of toffee and old straw with a bouquet that reminded him of his stable back home.

brandy

All in all a very good night out.

DonQui Recommends:

Milagritos Restaurant (Alemanes 35, Seville) for its excellent location, friendly staff and wonderful flamenco. Despite the prime tourist area the prices were reasonable and there was a wide variety of descent tapas on offer.

Priority Pass is definitely worth having if you can get one free with your bank account or with some other incentive. It lets you into lounges worldwide even if traveling on cheap fares and budget airlines. Whether it is worth the full list price of £250 (prices vary according to country) is another matter altogether.