Monday, January 23, 2012


I just returned from my trip to Switzerland, the South of France, and London. Took a few days to readjust and to get back into the thick of things. Right now, I'm in the midst of application upon applications, in an effort to feed my bank account once again. In the meantime, I wanted to get back in touch with my readers, and pour my thoughts onto the screen again. It's good to be back!


Life after the office was a relief. There was an immediate sense that things were going to be okay, and that the decision to leave was invariably the right one. I had no regrets (and still don't). I was ready to move on. So I pack my bags and left for Spain for three weeks. I left my job on the Friday, and was on the plane Monday. I had no idea what kind of an influence the gastronomic culture there would have on me and my future, but I wanted to experience something new.

I was determined to eat my way through most of Spain:
BarcelonaGranada > SevilleBilbaoSaint-Sébastien > Madrid

A friend of mine who lived and worked in Spain with his wife kindly took me in for the week while I was in Barcelona. This was one of those places where I've read about, and knew it had a superb food scene. Ferran's experimental laboratory was situation in the Las Ramblas district after all. We had a chance to visit Tickets, an Adria joint-effort operation. Think of it like an upscale cocktail/tapas bar, with the expected modern twist.

Saint-Sébastien was arguably the highlight of the journey. It was unlike just about anywhere else in Spain, with an unwavering hold onto its Basque traditions, language, and customs. "Calimocho" became "kalimoxo" and "tapas" became "pintxos". A slight adjustment, but as I'm told, the Basque dialect was very different than Castillian Spanish. After settling into our hotel, we decided to head out to the old town for a bite to eat. We asked for the more local "tinto de verano" rather than the sangria that most tourists opt for. Tinto is the local drink of red wine mixed with either lemon Fanta, orange Fanta, or Sprite/7-Up, rather than a cocktail of random fruits found in sangria. Many don't know the difference, but you score at least a little more respect from your drinking buddies if you stay away from the more touristic sangria. Each pintxos bar has its own speciality, and its not recommended that you stay in one for the entire night. Instead, locals bar hop, ordering a glass of wine and eating only what is best at one, before moving on to another. Rinse and repeat.

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