Monday, January 4, 2010

Eating the mysteries of Valencia - Traditional Wine & Fabulous Dining

Meet Santa Companya, I would call this restaurant the Saint of the Palate. 800 wines from around the world, all served by the glass!!!!! This lovely rouge picture is the best garnacha I've ever tasted. Alto Moncayo 2006 is smooth as a baby bottom, great red fruit and vanilla to entice you further.

The owner of Santa Companya won top sommelier of Spain, so he knows how to treat a wine lover right.
Truly great, crisp albarino from Pazo Pineiro de Lusco.

The highlights of the menu were a satisfying pumpkin soup with bacon and olive oil.

A desert tomato with tuna and, of course, olive oil.

A savory dish of seafood laden paella.

Tempura battered scallops with basil oil.

Santa Companya
Roteros, 21
El Carme Region of Valencia, Spain
Tel 96 392 22 59

5/5 Valencia, mouth watering

Fideua - Valencian Seafood Noodle Paella

Want comfort food? Here it is, big time. Especially, eaten on a beach in Valencia. Here's a paella tip from a Valencian native - make sure that the paella is not precooked and microwaved for you... they should make it fresh for you! It is made for a minimum of 2 people and should be cooked on a vine wood brazier. Details here...

Here's an excellent recipe...

The one we had on the beach was of the microwaved variety and was still good. Please go to Fideua de Gandia if you want the real stuff in Valencia.

For amazing rice paella in Barcelona go to Porto del Refugio. Address is Carrer del Judici, 4, 08003 Barcelona, Spain. It's in Barcelonetta

3/5 Valencia
... ho hum, this day I didn't go to the right places to eat, but the beach was marvelous, 26 C in November!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Cooked fresh right before your eyes. I love Spain

My favourite restaurant + bar in all of Europe = Pinotxo Bar, Barcelona, Spain.

The bar is nestled in Boqueta Market in the heart of the city. Can't get any fresher than that. Sip some cava with your fresh grilled fish or steak, wowza! Try the chickpea dish it's spectacular.

5/5 for Barca! Nothing tops it so far.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

The markets of Lyon... Canada is jealous

The sheer variety of cheese, meat, mushrooms, olives, fruit and seafood is astounding.. all outside, in November. In a cool little market square, city planners take note, this is a very desirable situation.

Food in Scotland... is actually good.

Cream tea on the Royal Mile in Edinburgh....
Black tea, thick cream and fluffy scones, you can't lose.

At the Lilac Restaurant in Edinburgh...

This last one, I ate before I remembered to take a photo, it was soooo good. A fennel tart with spices and onions.

3.5/5 not half bad.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Valencia, Spain - Canada loves your tapas bars

My Spanish is entertainingly, very limited. After arriving in Valencia(pronounced Balenthia, thank you very much), we had sought out a recommended wine and tapas bar called the name.

Me- ¿Tienes una otra recommendaccion para vino?

Nice Waiter- ¿Mas Blanco?

Me- Tinta y, no. Tinto o blanco, cualquiera.

Nice Waiter- (Laughter insues)
If you didn't understand this...don't worry, I didn't much either.

I, actually, love it when they laugh at my pigeon Spanish. I like being funny even if unintentionally.

The star dishes of the night...
1. Patatas con slas piquante y aioli. Simple and satisfying.
2. Lacon de cerdo (pork shoulder) con anise seed paste, served cold. I have never tasted anything like it.

For the wine nerds out there...
1. Valmiñor, Rias Baixas, Albariño
Lovely, fresh, yet complex golden white wine. Pinapple, honey, lemon and a bit of minerality. Great with green olives, cuts any rich foods. ie. the patatas above

2. Basa, Rueda, Verdejo, Viura y Sauvignon Blanc
Big nose on this fruity bombshell. Less complex than the Valmiñor, but still a great patio sipper. Pinapple, lemon dominate.

3. Al Muvedre, Alicante
I wanted this one to be since it is from a region near to Valencia. I love mouvedre, usually, but this wine disappointed. Great nose of earth and cinnamon, but the bottom dropped out with a flat palette.

4. Dehesa Gago, Toro, Tinta de Toro
This one is big. It reminded me of a cali zin, but with a gorgeous old world flare to boot. Mild tannins made this ready and easy to drink. Strawberry jam, caramel, cloves... ok I love it already. Add a dusty desert sage not to the mix... cigar and bitter lemon finish!!!!

What a fabulous evening. Tintofino had a great atmosphere; melow music, warm lighting and you can find it in a section of the older town on a tiny winding walkway, Calle Corregeria 38 if you are ever looking. At under 3 Euro a glass, this wine bar was sensational.

4/5 Valencia, solid food and wine selection at a really cool location

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Rolling with the Punches in Burgundy - Wine country

I could spend a month in Burgundy, driving up and down the dusty line of vines from Chablis to Beaujolais with the Cote d´Or in between. I only had a day, and of course the wineries outside of Beaune were all preparing for a great wine festival on the weekend so most of the tasting rooms were closed. When travelling, you have to go with the flow. Roll with the punches and often you will find if you roll and don´t resist that you end up in a better place anyway. And here it is....

The town of Beaune is tiny and really pretty. Wandering about we found a bounty of cellars which stock many of the standout wines of Bourgogne(Burgandy) for you to taste.

For 10 Euro at Marche aux Vins, we tasted a fabulous Pouilley-Fuisse, Merasault, Pommard, George St.Nuit... the list goes on. You pour your own tasting in their cellars which was fabulous. You get to wander around on your own, but there is a sommelier about if you have any questions. November was a perfect time to visit, we were the only people there. Great place to really start to understand Burgundy if you are new to their wines. Pinot noir dominates and refined chardonnay for their whites; the range that these simple two grapes stretch will blow your mind.
Merasault; rich and buttery with great acidity and pear notes.
Pouilley-Fuisse; clean and crisp fruit with an astonishing mineral bite.