Monday, April 4, 2011

Eating Our Way Through Valencia

I love to be crafty but deep down I'm a foodie at heart. When my hubby suggested I accompany him on a business trip to Spain I have to admit my first thought was...WHAT CAN I EAT THERE???

Ironically due to the logistics of travel and time change we ate very little. Spain-time was 5 hours ahead of our normal time so we ended up sleeping-in until about 10am/11am each day (heaven for this mama of two!). We started our days with our run so by the time we were ready to eat it was around 2pm. Those familiar with Spain know that EVERYTHING closes everyday from about 2pm-5pm for siesta. This caught us off guard the first day, but we found a cute little corner Bocadillo shop that stayed opened all day. As an added bonus they also carried Coca-Cola Light, bottled water and beer...the trifecta of beverages.

Please join me on our culinary tour...

Our first stop is room service. After missing lunch our first day we decided we needed a little wine and cheese before dinner. This was my first encounter with Manchego Cheese. It is the most wonderful cheese ever and to my pleasure was served all over Spain.
They also gave us this wonderful tomato jam. OMG so good! I've already found a canning recipe and added it to the garden plans. It would be fab-u-lous on top of goat cheese.
And the Vino Tinto...oh the Vino Tinto! The best part of being on vacation without the children and not having to drive anywhere is that I could drink wonderful wine at every meal!
They also grow their own olives in Spain so they had wonderful olive oil. We got these cut little bottles every time we ordered room service. I hoarded them and ended up with a few in my luggage on the way home.
Our first night in Spain was the last night of a huge two week festival (more about that later this week). We found this cute little outdoor cafe for dinner. I had Paella with chicken and Nate had a few different tapas plates. The paella itself doesn't look very appealing being all yellow, but trust me, it tasted wonderful.
(Check in later this week for the explanation as to why there is duck at the table) 
This is me in front of our sandwich shop. We seriously would have been very hungry each day if they had decided to close for siesta!
One of the greatest things about the restaurants in Valencia was that most of them had outdoor seating. The weather was so perfect and it was a great opportunity to people watch.

On our second night I had these wonderful eggs, with potatoes, roasted garlic and Iberian ham.

***a pause to discuss Iberian ham. It is like little slices of heaven. Put it together with the Manchego Cheese and vino tinto and you have a meal that I can live off of (and I did!). The closest thing I can compare it to is the Italian ham prosciutto. From my investigation it is very expensive to import so you rarely find it in the United States...such sad news!

My husband had chicken kabobs and roasted veggies. I was lucky to get a few bites of his too!
I decided to switch things up and have a glass pitcher of Sangria
Our hotel had a great courtyard where we could sit outside and have drinks. They always served drinks with potato chips and roasted almonds. Lucky for me the hubby is allergic to nuts so I didn't have to share!
We finally got our act together by the end of the week and made it in time for lunch! Another dish of paella for me and lasagna and potato chips (What? With lasagna???) for the hubby.

I decided to stay true to myself and have my "usual" glass of vino tinto.
For dinner that night I found the perfect meal! Wheat bread, olives, manchego cheese, Iberian ham and tomatoes...oh, and a side of papas fritas. It was a nice light dinner...I had big plans for dessert!

Nate traveled further east and had Chicken Tikka Masala.

And now for dessert...
So let me start by saying that I'm not a huge fan of chocolate. I know, weird and unnatural. Apparently in Spain all bets are off because I couldn't get enough of their hot chocolate. We were introduced to the Valor Chocolateria by one of the hubby's co-workers who used to live in Spain. We thought we'd check it out. On our first (yes, we went there more than once) night there I chose their hot chocolate sampler. First, when it comes to hot chocolate Spain does it right. It's not the watered down, soupy powdered mix we have here, it's thick, warm, gooey goodness. They give you the little warm glasses of goodness with a tiny little spoon. It's more dainty that way.
The sampler included (from left to right) 75% cacou chocolate, white chocolate, spicy cold chocolate and milk chocolate.

The second (if we were not leaving the next day I'm sure there would be a third and fourth time) night I chose the hot chocolate and churro combo. It didn't disappoint!
Poor hubby and his allergies had to settle for a cappuccino.
Our last few days were spent at the beach. The weather was AWFUL and most of the restaurants were closed because of it, but we were able to find one close to the hotel that was open. Yes, another paella dish but I saved the best for last! The hubby was a little freaked out that the heads were still on the shrimp, but the taste was a-ma-zing! (Please ignore my crazy was a blustery day!)

It was an amazing 6 days of delicious food. I had a very happy belly (and an unhappy scale to prove it!) and I'm still having dreams about the chocolate!


1 comment:

  1. Amazing!

    FYI, there is a place that I frequent called Goose the Market. It is on Alabama Street. You can get your fill of Serrano Jamon and Manchego!