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Big Sur - Hiking Andrew Molera State Park

One of the great delights of living in the Bay Area is the proximity to the natural beauty of California and it's hard to beat the stunning drive down Highway One to Big Sur. This is certainly one of the iconic American road trips, but for me the joy of being in the area is getting out of your car and hitting a trail, so you can be "in" the landscape rather than just looking at it from the asphalt. 

Tapas in Seville

It is well worth spending some time researching where and how to eat in Seville. There is great food, but it helps to know where to find it and how to order it. Hint, there's a tip for a fab website below! It's useful to know that tapas may be served only in a section of the restaurant and that some tables may require you to order "medios" or "racions". What....??? Yes, that was our question too. A tapas is a small plate, a medio a half portion and a racion a full portion. All those Europeans complaining about the sizes of US portions clearly haven't been paying attention in Spain! The picture you see below is a tapa, imagine the racion!

In some places, including Grenada and Ubeda, tapas came free with any drinks you ordered and were therefore not on the menu. Friends of ours raved about this, after all who doesn't like free food? But I eat more than I drink and I want to chose what I'm going to eat. I found that the medios were so much larger that they didn't allow for the same variety that the tapas menus offered and which I preferred. For this reason we loved Seville where the tapas menus where plentiful and delicious. We enjoyed the cheese and cured meats at the traditional places but we particularly liked the modern tapas which were elegant and engaging.

You can see some pictures below from a wonderful lunch at Azotea on Calle Santiago. We were advised to arrive by 1pm and sure enough the place was packed very soon thereafter.

This was one of our favorite dishes, solomillo or pork tenderloin. The pork in Andulusia was spectacular unlike any other pork I have eaten. Jamon Iberico ir worth looking for and worth ordering. Free range and fed on a diet of acorn the Bellota pork is particularly extraordinary. As you can see this looks more like beef than any pork I've ever eaten. It was tender and flavorful and just looking at it makes me want to get back on a plane and leave for Seville immediately!

We also ate dinner outside at the Vineria San Telmo, not far from our hotel and had a wonderful meal of gourmet tapas. Unfortunately my pictures were a little blurry. I loved the black squid ink spaghetti with garlic and a seared scallop. I can't remember what the phyllo parcel was below but it was delicious! In the evening you'll need a reservation as they seemed to be turning a lot of people away.

Tip: Shawn Hennessey's wonderful blog is the place to research where to go for tapas in Seville, she very generously reviews lots of restaurants, with fabulous picture and shares it all on her site. The blog has a useful page of food translations which is great to download and she also leads Tapas tours. She also has an active twitter page, in fact a bit too active for me because she tweeted right through our tour!

The Spanish eat late, some of the restaurants we visited didn't open till 9pm.

Comments said…
Thanks for the mention and glad to see you also enjoyed the other tapas bar recommendations. But I didn't realise my tweeting was too much - I'll be sure to tone it down on future tours!

Agree with you about Granada tapas - I also prefer to choose my food. I was there again recently and noticed that drink prices there are much higher than in Sevilla, so in effect the tapas aren't "free" but are included in the price.

(the phyllo pastry had stewed bulltail inside)