Monday, March 18, 2019

Cadiz Part 1 - Food Tour

The tour copied from AirBnB Experiences

About your host
I am local from Cádiz. After eight years living abroad and working in tourism, I am back in my lovely hometown. Passionate about sharing local experiences, food and stories about this wonderful city.

Contact host

What we’ll do
Discover the main central market, the best place to learn about local products. You will participate in the whole process of market shopping like a local, visiting the stands and interacting with the vendors. 

Enjoy an unique gastronomy experience visiting a traditional andalusian tavern and a typical tapas-bar, where you can taste the amazing gaditanian gastronomy: Local charcuterie, sliced pork belly, cheese, marinated tomatoes, crispy shrimp fritters, marinated potatoes, cured salted tuna… 

Walk through the narrow streets of the old town, where you will find a beautiful architecture and an invaluable cultural legacy. We will finish our experience visiting the Cádiz that very few tourists have the chance to see.

I will try all my best to give you a taste of the local Cádiz lifestyle that makes this city stand out from the rest of Spain.

What else you should know
-Total distance covered: 2.7 km
-Experience not adapted for vegans or vegetarians.
-Transportation to Cadiz not included. Trains running every hour from Seville (90 min trip) and Jerez (45 min trip).

What I’ll provide
Local tavern + Tapas bar 
Sliced pork belly, cheese, marinated tomatoes, crispy shrimp fritters, cured salted tuna, marinated potatoes, banderillas...
3 drinks 
I will recommend you the best drinks in each stop: Local vermouth, Sherry wines, special types of Manzanilla...
Central Market 
Olive tasting, including different type of olives...

The following was written by Ernesto, Food Eaten

Hi hi! Here you have a list with all the food you tried during the food experience:

MARKET -Morcilla de arroz: Blood sausage with rice or blood pudding with rice. -Chicharrones: Fried pork belly -Olives: Verdial & Gordal -Marinated carrots with cumin, bay laurel, vinegar, garlic and olive oil.
Cockles and Mussels
The pink in the middle is sea snake, if disturbed will bite in the water.

Sword fish head
Snacks in the market as mentioned above
TABERNA CASA MANTECA -Chicharrones especiales: Roasted pork belly with salt, garlic and fennel. Sliced and with some lemon juice and salt on top. -Mojama: Salt-cured tuna. -Queso payoyo: Goat cheese from Grazalema (Cádiz mountains), with asparagus jam -Marinated tomatoes from Conil with olive oil, oregano, cumin and salt.

Ernesto and Gerd from Sweden, her husband is Urban
EL FARO DE CÁDIZ -Tortillitas de camarones: Shrimp fritters -Papas aliñás: Potato salad made with boiled potatoes, olive oil, parsley and onion. -Habichuelas aliñadas: Marinate edible beans with smoked salmon, onion, parsley and olive oil.
Tortillitas de camarones, I've had these before and didn't care much for them, but these were delicious!
To end the tour we had coffee and treat at his workplace which is a club, event venue and shared working space for young entrepreneurs, gem of a building the general public does not usually have access to. The treat was bread fried in honey, a typical dessert from the region.

Ceiling of the building
Beautiful carving, style of the Alcazar the website of the building.

Some trivia Ernesto told us: 

Cooking, the basics used in most recipes are olive oil, vinegar, garlic, onion, cumin, salt, pepper, oregano.

He told us how to prepare the foods at the market and to shop when the cruise ships are not in, Ernesto printed out a schedule from the port website and takes his grandmother there when ships aren’t in to avoid the crowds. Also he shops about 1:30 before closing at 2 pm to get deep discounts on still fresh fish.

Cadiz being a port city was prepared for war so they mounted many canons which were not used so now they use them on street corners to protect the edges of the buildings from traffic.

Never eat on the main street, always go around a corner for a more authentic and cheaper experience, something I'd known but had forgotten.

There is a license for 15 people per year to take care of the stray cats at a plaza in the city, couple of them we saw wandering around looked nourished and healthy.

Dogs have to be cleaned up after, poop scooped, pee washed with mixture of water and detergent or owners risk 300 Euros fee.

We walked through the Franco inspired buildings neighbourhood which were austere and plain. Then through the neighbourhood with merchants grand houses, high alcoved windows, showing the family had high ceilings, an indicative of the time that they had money.

I did a review of Ernesto's tour and he received top marks, well deserved. He was both professional and fun!

Part 2 coming up, Ernesto did most of the writing of this post, I'll be writing the next.

Salud, or Cheers, Bev and Lexi Cat

Sunday, March 17, 2019

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Happy St. Patrick's Day to you! 

A bit about my Grandfather who I received Irish citizenship from. He worked at the Guinness brewery as a young man and rode a bike to work. His tires would be frequently pierced by the women in the plant with their hat pins because he was quite the rogue. I don’t know what date he moved to Canada or much in-between but he farmed in Brentwood Bay and then moved to a bungalow that my father built for him and my Nan and Pop as we called them. He would watch soap operas in the basement of the home in the afternoons and drink a dram of scotch. It was a very great pleasure to know him in my childhood, to have him in my life, and I wonder what he would have thought of me getting my Irish citizenship. Whit/Bruce and I did visit the relatives in Ireland a few years ago and had a wonderful time with them. One cousin was an almost duplicate of my father right down to mannerisms but he had a wife that talked more than he did, much like my parents. We saw learned more of the history of the family and they were very welcoming to us. 

Just this for now but this last week Lexi and I spent six days in the city of Cadiz. I did a food tour which was great and explored the city. It was a really good change of pace and only an hour and a half by train south of Sevilla. So you know what my next blog entry will be about, maybe two. 

Cheers, Bev and Lexi Cat

Thursday, February 28, 2019

Visits and Inept but Determined Pickpocket!

One Sunday Ryan and Angela came over and Ryan made, and taught me to make, red Thai curry, Angela brought and cooked up some gyoza, and brought mango sherbet she had made for desert. Mucho Yummy!

I met Rocio outside Ryan and Angela's, her day to clean there, she stuck an earbud in my ear and we "waltzed" up the stairs singing to Sevilliano music, what a lady! Then Pepe drove us to the town of Mairena del Aljarafe about 20 minutes outside Sevilla to a cafe run by Mariela called Alquimista (Alchemist) Coffee Lab. 

She roasts coffee beans there for other cafes and themselves and explained the process to us, with humour and a beautiful smile.

Breakfast was great with different offerings than many cafes.
Poached egg on avocado spread.
The green is pistachio ice cream, the plunger is filled with Maple syrup which Mariela said the Spaniards don't know about and she ends up throwing the expensive stuff out.
Pepe enjoying, it was quite cool with a breeze, hence the hood.
Mariela had lived in the States for some time so perhaps her ideas came from there. The cafe’s location is behind a strip mall, you really have to know about it to find it. It was very busy there though and not a weekend. 
Peach blossoms
We walked through a large nursery next to the cafe. Angela said it was like walking through a garden, sunken areas in patterns for potted plants were both practical and visually appealing. 
Sunken in the indented concrete
Gives you an idea of size, the warehouse was just as big.
There were two employees with Downs Syndrome and there was a children’s play area, humanitarian thinking on the company’s part.
Unusual blue flower, lily? it came in a pot so think it's real...
Ali and Andy were here in Sevilla for a week. They were here a couple of years ago. They both blog but Ali does so more frequently at You may remember we met them first in Freiburg when they lived there. Anyway we met up for lunch, with Pepe, Ryan and Angela at Al Aljibe, always a "treat" place for us to go. Then we went for Gelato next door at Freskura, deemed by Ryan and Angela as the best in the city. 

Pepe installed the TV on the wall, he was professional about the process, measuring, testing and measuring again before actual installation, it’s not something you want to have to repair. Big Thank you's to Pepe and to Ivan who helped me buy it, team project.

I met Ali and Andy again on Sunday and we lunched at Kakura, my (Ivan's introduction) favourite Japanese restaurant. They came back to the flat with me to see the apartment but didn’t stay long, Andy had work to complete since they leave Tuesday. 

Heard clip clop of horses hooves which is quite common here, usually a carriage, but the other day it sounded louder and I peered out my window to find six mounted cops on horses. Like I’ve said before, just never know what you’ll see around here, or experience, read on.

I got pickpocketed 1.5 times, what? Out walking neighbourhoods I hadn’t been to in a while. There was a fellow walking the same direction, ducking into stores and out again, I thought he was a tourist. He is tall, thin, wore a baseball cap, glasses, side satchel, jeans, light weight coat, all dark in colour. I started to walk through Plaza de la Gavidia, heard a noise behind me turned to find a guy had dropped a lot of change on the road. Then I saw the red glass heart I carry that I had given Bruce. It was my wallet that had fallen out of my purse, “must have jumped”, yeah right… Guy picks up all my change I put it back and thank him!? Then realize my purse is open. The penny didn’t drop, pun intended, until he tried again half a block away. I felt someone behind, pull the purse over my shoulder and it’s open again and the same guy is there. Sevilla is quite a safe city so I am more than shocked, I’m pissed off, as much at myself as the guy. I’ve become complacent, not anymore, I'm reawakened. I did not go straight home, I watched my back and took a detour. LADRON! Angela told me, means THIEF! which I will be yelling at him if I see him again, even though he didn't actually keep anything. 

Above pictures were taken by Ryan, Angela and myself.

Cheers, Bev and Lexi Cat 

Monday, February 11, 2019

Visits to a Palace and Church and food again.

Lebrija Palace, from the brochure: “Built in the 16th century and subsequently remodelled in the 19th century … is not simply a monument to a particular age or artistic style. It’s interior is branded with the life of the lady who once owned it, the Countess of Lebrija.” Casa Palacio de la Condesa de Lebrija

This is a palace that is not hyped very much in Sevilla, many people walk past it and don’t go in. The website is minimal but I was walking past it one day and decided to go in. The main floor has many rooms, mostly mosaic tiled floors and shards of ancient pottery. Cameras are not allowed to be used inside, the outside is not overly beautiful so no pictures, except this one to give you a small glimpse.
The brochure and entry ticket.

Rocio was here on Thursday, as usual, but she was going to church after and invited me to join her. 

We walked just past the Seta’s arm in arm, because that is what you do here, honestly, makes it a bit awkward on a crowded sidewalk though, but felt nice. The apse of the church and working nunnery, held a Sainted nun’s body, or wax facsimile of one in a glass coffin. Many bouquets of fresh flowers surrounded it and people had come to pay their respects. Most churches here have candles to light in memory of a loved one, this church had small pieces of paper to write on and put into a slotted box. It was a solemn and respectful experience for me.
Rocio bought this for me as a memento, it is likely hand stitched, and less than 3 cm.
After we walked around town, through some back alley’s I am getting familiar with and then looked into home decorating shops. Rocio is a touching type of person, she likes to feel the fabrics, likely due to the fact she sews. Then we had a Cruzcampo beer at Casa Santos a bar around the corner from the flat. We used Google translate on my phone to communicate. It was a lovely, interesting outing!

I have run into this issue before when paying a large accommodation bill in Amsterdam. Now again with a much lower bill, less than 2,000.00 Euros twice for accommodations in France for the summer. Banks seem to arbitrarily (well not really, but they apply their rules) to put limits on daily spending. My opinion is it is my account and I should be able to spend as I wish, but they cite security reasons. I am good with security but damn it makes it difficult to pay things sometimes. I’m off to the bank to get it sorted….

Good use of technology, the gas company left a note they had come by to read the meter while I was out. They left a note with a phone number to use WhatsApp, so I made an appointment using the app to have them come back. Not correct, you just use your phone to take a picture of the meter, add your address and it’s done. There is even a “flashlight” in the app to lighten the picture, needed because my meter is in the back of a cupboard. 

I made lunch for Ryan, Angela and Pepe. Served shrimp scampi over fettuccini noodles (which are hard to find here) with asparagus and snow peas, bread, always bread. I’m lucky to have a fresh bread store half a block from the flat which is open on Sunday. I’ve never made shrimp scampi before and hardly ever eaten it in restaurants so I have no clue what put that idea in my head but there it was.
Ryan's picture, Thanks Ryan, Angela and Pepe for coming!
I found canned salmon at El Corte! For those of you from Canada that might not be a big deal, it’s readily available there, but I’ve been looking for a long while and not found it here, or in Freiburg for that matter.

I bought a TV! Common item in most, dare I say almost all homes, but not in ours. Bruce didn’t like the commercials and I got out of the habit, but I watched a bit of it in Freiburg and thought I was picking up more German. Plus it is background noise which I am now welcoming a bit of. Ivan ordered it for me and we picked it up and walked home with it, along with the mounting bracket because it’s going on a wall. Pepe came over to set it up and will bring his heavy duty drill over to mount it, currently it’s set up  on a cabinet.
New furniture decorated, Lexi approves. Ryan's picture.
We, Lexi and I, are taking a mini-break from Sevilla, not that we need to, but are going to Cadiz for five nights in March. I would have booked end of February but they have a massive carnival in Cadiz, world wide attendants and I am really not fond of crowds. This year it is later than usual Feb 28 - Mar 10, I arrive March 11 which means I may still see some of it since I’m told the party continues into the following week.

After my shower in the morning Lexi frequently comes to have her bath in the tub. She has never been bothered about a bit of water on her fur and I guess it is nice and warm in there.
Note the odd posture, all part of the bath.

Cheers, Bev and bathing Lexi

Sunday, January 20, 2019

Lunches in and out

I met up with Paula, Paul, Ryan and Angela on the Alameda for lunch at El Disparate, at the Corner House Hostel. Company was great, food not as good as other times we’ve been in my opinion. This was the day after the Three Kings Parade which Paula and Paul attended and got pelted with candy. Angela’s solution to this, stand behind someone very much taller than yourself, wouldn’t be hard for me…

After lunch we went back to Parceria mentioned in previous post and had coffee and sweets. The cheesecake there is fabulous served with blueberries and blueberry coulis (sauce). Gil did a couple of demonstrations of making coffee for tasting, one with a cone and filter, which is a common way of making it but the difference here is that the ground coffee is done to maximize the result and the water is weighed to the same end. The real “science experiment” though was done with a gas burner and two beakers. How to describe this? Here is a picture or two… “a thousand words” and all that. 
Water gets heated with the bunsen burner

I got the impression this way of making coffee doesn’t happen often, the owner was videoing it and all were very careful during the process. 
Heat makes the water pass between the two beakers, voila, tasty coffee!

The table we were sitting at, we decided, had a weird vibe. Sugar was spilled, forks dropped off the table more than once, it just seemed strange that these things would happen to us, none of us is overly klutzy. 

The bars around the city were packed with people, families with their dogs. Good day out with friends.

Next day, Gil had the day off so Ryan asked him and Pablo, another friend from Friday night social club to come to our hood to meet for breakfast at Granado, and they did and I did but sat outside, they inside and I didn't look, Ryan, the early morning fellow slept in, so meeting was later but we did. Paulo is from Sevilla but spent quite a while in Amsterdam so he speaks great English with a very unique accent. We talked about Christmas traditions and I hadn’t realized that my “creative” first Christmas tree hadn’t been seen by Ryan and Angela, they arrived after. Here it is

Paul and Paula's blog.

Paula and Paul left a couple of days ago to go to their winter spots in Morocco, (Essaouira (say that twice!) and Fez) I had them and Ryan and Angela over for lunch. We used that grill/fondue contraption. I had bought mushroom filled tortellini, pesto, cherry tomatoes, mozzarella cheese all put onto a bamboo skewer, very colourful, tasty and different. We also had chicken bits, three kinds of cheese, baked carrot, potato and onion, kalamata olives, sweet peppers, cucumbers. I did up devilled eggs but forgot them in the fridge. Angela brought banana bread “on crack” with the added chocolate chips. 

The links are to blog posts from Ryan about their visit with me in September.

Ivan and I went to a furniture store in Santa Cruz barrio. They had some nice pieces but they weren’t “my cup of tea” much of the finishing was that faked aged look which didn’t wash with me (pun intended). But the walk there was good, getting into a neighbourhood I haven’t been to in a long while and then, of course, lunch. We dined at Zelai which Ivan said was the first modern, trendy restaurant in Sevilla. 
Light cod fritters with yummy sauce.
Cappuccino mussels! Their signature dish.

They have now been there for ten years so it’s a milestone in a city with 3000 bars and restaurants. He had never been there when it wasn’t packed with people but it was pretty much empty when we went. In January people have spent their money on gifts or on sales and don't eat out very much. Nice day out, felt like I’d left the city for a day.

Next day and Ivan has an Ikea gift certificate burning a hole in his pocket so we decide to go. Wrong!!! The line up on the off ramp to the parking lot was long, it’s Saturday, raining and what better thing to do would be to shop the sales at Ikea? Not us! Ivan goes to close to his father’s office, changes the van for the car, more comfortable, then we go to Vanadela to look at furniture I found a credenza and a coffee table which is exactly what I was looking for, no crowds there either. 

Coffee table pictured is too large but they can custom make one for me.

Then we go to Lola’s tennis club, Bernier, for lunch, yummy, more casual than yesterday, but equally good. 
Cloudy day but I liked the palm trees, Lola said they grow fast, these are sixteen years old.

A bit about it, indoor and outdoor restaurant, tennis courts and paddle courts. I'd not known about paddle tennis before, here is a link that explains it well. The club has a Pro shop so I purchased a pair of sneakers! 

Walking on air now, but since I’ve had the old shoes for so long it will take a bit of getting used to. The day certainly turned out differently than planned but we are both flexible about outings.

I've cleared out one of the bedrooms upstairs, made up the bed properly and moved all the left over wood from construction on the elevator to one corner. We hadn't made any changes up there so it was overdue. 

All for now, Cheers Bev and Lexi Cat

Monday, December 31, 2018

Happy New Year 2019!


I’m happy to report Christmas lunch was a success! Ryan and Angela, Pepe and his friend from Barcelona Carine came. I served salmon, mango salad, mashed potatoes, asparagus and Angela did stir fried snow peas. Carine brought chocolates and Pepe’s mom gave Ryan a bottle of  Crema Turron, like Bailey’s but (we all agreed) better. Pepe brought a German Riesling wine. 

Carine met Pepe at an Airbnb conference in San Francisco, they stayed in touch and she has come to visit on her travels around Spain. To fund those travels she is a marionettist, (yes I had to look it up) she has the puppets on strings dancing to music and generally doing funny things. 
It is actually hard work, but she has fun.
She also made the puppets herself and named them Wolfie and Pablina. So, of course, we had to go see her perform on the Alameda. That park is currently stuffed with Christmas stalls and rides for children so it’s a perfect location for Carine to be at. It was great to meet her!
Waving at you!
Happy New Year to you my friends! Bev and Lexi Cat

Monday, December 24, 2018

Merry Christmas from Lexi and I!

Lexi saying Merry Christmas!

Walked with Ryan and Angela to the Feria market to investigate Gil Solby’s restaurant called Parceria next to the market. The cafe is owned by a couple, Gil is the only employee and he’s a barista. So along with our breakfast we got a verbal tour through different kinds of coffee and their tastes and why by Gil. He is a very knowledgeable person about coffee. The cafe uses all sustainable coffees and products, presentation was fantastic and more importantly we were all blown away by the flavours.
Avocado, tomato puree, cheese

It was like going out to a high class restaurant but in a cafe for breakfast, if that makes any sense. It was also like a mini day trip to an area of the city I don’t get to often.

On the way back to our homes from breakfast we saw this.

Same day I met with Paula and Paul at the rooftop space at El Corte Ingles, always a nice spot to be. We had drinks and chatted. You may remember this remark from last year but the mini restaurants there are always changing. It is really a tourist spot, and although I saw people eating there yesterday locals think it is not worth the price. 

Rocio comes over to clean, I sneak a card and a few chocolates into her purse for Feliz Navidad. 

I pull Bruce’s little wheelchair down to the lobby and wait for Ivan to come and pick it and me up, caused me some bodily harm, ouch, toes, when I ran it over them. We took it to Suzanna at Amigo 24, in Triana, where we purchased it. 

Lunch ensued at Bodegon in Los Remedios, neighbourhood next to Triana. Upscale restaurant catering this time of year to Christmas parties, food was good, service also, although it was busy.

After we went for a drink to Princi-Pico to sit under the trees, it is next to the park, has the mini-lemon trees, we’ve been there before but it’s under new management. The owner does something quite smart, has a children’s play area to allow parents to have drinks and a meal with their friends and not have to worry about the little ones. He’s also lowered the price on the menus to attract people from the neighbourhood consisting mostly of young families. 

Mini lemons, Ivan's hand to show perspective.

Feliz Navidad, Merry Christmas, Bev and Lexi Cat, Bruce in spirit.