Was that the best $19 ...including tip and wine...I've ever spent on food at Bar Europa last night? It's gotta be close. This is a tiny, out of the way tapas joint that not only serves original, creative tapas, but also, and unlike most places that slap whatever it on the plate and are done with it, at B.E. the food is nicely presented and creatively plated. This wouldn't really matter if the food wasn't anything special, but this is the best food that I've had here, and I'd like to think I've taken a relatively large sampling of tapas skills around town, and the Europa chefs have huge game. I started with a nice piece of lightly fried fish and a roasted piquillo pepper that was a perfect starter, and with my ice cold glass of rosato was so good. Then on to a roquefort crepe that was rich, intense, but not too heavy even with the bechamel on top (or maybe I'm just becoming numb to these things!). Not knowing where to go from there, but knowing I had to make at least one more stop on their menu, I managed, I thought, with many hand gestures and indecipherable combination of Spanish and English, to ask the patron what he would have off of his tapas list. He kind of looked at me, looked at the list, then walked off. Assuming that some sort of communication had taken place, I ordered another glass of rosé from the barman and hoped for the best. I knew I was halfway there when he brought a new knife and fork. And then he brought the plate, set it down, muttered "Bacalao" and walked off. Holy mother of salt cod was this good! Resting in a pool of the freshest olive oil, with a puree of what I'm guessing was apricot with capers and pearl onions scattered about, this was heaven! Mixing a bite of everything together, the flavors melded and exploded on my palate. This was serious, world class flavor combining, absolutely top notch. And yet this one plate cost just a smidge over four bucks! Awesome stuff, and I'm going back today to try a couple of other items that I couldn't get after last night. The pictures are in the order consumed.
* Fish w/Piquillo Pepper
* Roquefort Crepe
Up this morning, had a terrific, refreshing two hour morning walk to check out Santiago Calatrava's famous bridge here, the Puente del Alamillo. I love Calatrava's design/architectural work (http://www.calatrava.com/), and this was an early work of his for the 1992 World's Fair, an event that actually bankrupted the city. But hey, check out that infrastructure! Calatrava's work to me is so light and lyrical. If Spain isn't in your upcoming travel plans, you can actually see a footbridge he designed for the city of Redding, California of all places. Somehow they raised money to hire him to do it. I've walked it, and it's beautiful. Kind of a mini-version of the Alamillo. Memo to those who are planning the new Sellwood Bridge...aim higher!
So I walk along the river, where guys are lined up along the riverbank fishing for these small, 6" or 7" fish with these 30' long poles...talk about overkill! It must be the thing to do though, because these guys had their rigs, chairs, and buckets of bait balls they'd throw in the water to attract the fish. It was pretty interesting. Anyway, I got to the bridge, walked across taking a couple of pictures along the way. And then then when I got to the other side...are you ready for this...I WALKED BACK!! Um, maybe you had to be there.......
A couple more random images.....
A really cute tapas place a few blocks from my hotel, run by two super nice women, where I had my morning cafe con leche and tostada de queso y mie...basically melted cheese on toast w/ honey, on the way back from my walk......delicious!
Me at same cafe.....loving life!
Ah, Seville...cultural and historical center of Spain, where old hair bands go to die!
I know what you're thinking, but just because I went in Starbucks yesterday doesn't mean I've hit rock bottom! Now maybe if it was Taco Bell...............
Back with more scintillating news later!