Bon dia from a foodie’s paradise. 

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I am sitting in the small dining room of La Pubilla, just outside of a market in Gracia, Barcelona. The walls are lined with books like Larousse Gastronomic, The French Laundry, and La Livre de la Tripe. It’s 10am, and the place is packed with people having breakfast, drinking wine and espresso. Young people with newborn babies, couples of every age, and solo diners like me reading and writing. 

The menu is entirely in Catalan, so anything I had figured out from Spanish thus far was pretty useless, but the nicest waitress just translated it all for me:

Omelettes of the day with tomato bread, sausages with vegetables, pigs trotters served 4 ways, fried cod served 4 ways.

I just had the bacalla truita amb pa amb tomaquet. Divine. Zucchini and cod in a Spanish tortilla, with grilled bread rubbed with tomatoes and doused in olive oil. With cafe con leche, just 4 euros. I am kind of freaking out with how amazing that just was.

But now I see the Bacalla amb Romesco I Esparrecs Verds.  Fried cod with green asparagus and Romesco. Why didn’t I get that? Well, it’s the last day of vacation. Maybe I’ll just wait here until I get hungry again. 

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8 kilometer {Marbella to Puerto Banus}

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We’re fairly simple people. While we like treat ourselves to good food and wine every now and again, we don’t have a lot of nice things. You know, like nice cars or expensive jewelry or yachts. So our walk from Marbella to Puerto Banus was a total trip. Because we saw all of that stuff. A lot of it.

We started by exploring the old town of Marbella, which was absolutely charming.

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There I experienced my first cafe con leche…

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…and churros y chocolate.

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Stop. Just stop.

Then our walk. The walk is spectacular, about 8 kilometers along a path on the beach.  Past mansions and exclusive beach clubs and the beautiful Mediterranean. It was really just a great way to see a piece of the Costa del Sol.

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And we made it to Puerto Banos, which is so picturesque.

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Most of the pictures have yachts in them, because, well, the place is just silly with yachts.

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So we took one back to Marbella. Kidding, a ferry, which was just perfect after our long walk!

The Long Journey to Marbella, Spain

It took us a looooong time to get here. That’s figuratively in the its-been-years-since-we’ve-REALLY-been-alone-together (much less in a foreign country) sense. And literally, in that it took us 3 flights and nearly 18 hours of travel to go from the DC area to the coast of Spain.

Despite the long travel, there were quite a few highlights:

British Airways was fantastic, our flight attendant James was a prince. And the chicken curry dinner we ate on the plane was no slouch either.

When we flew into Madrid for a stop all we could see for miles and miles and miles–sorry, I mean kilometers and kilometers and kilometers–were these olive trees. It was spectacular and alien and fantastic all at the same time.

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And when we arrived at the Marriott Vacation Club Resort in Marbella finally, after such a long day, we were treated to a lovely bottle of wine that we enjoyed on our terrace.

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FYI, we’re staying at the resort in Marbella as a generous gift from my in-laws, so I have not been compensated for anything I am or am going to say about this place while I’m here!

In the short time we’ve been here we’ve already managed to have a couple of amazing meals. For lunch, among other things, these clams in olive oil, lots and lots of garlic, thinly sliced cured ham, and fresh tomatoes. Heaven and I will be making them when we return to the states immediately. Ok, and lunch was like at 2pm…

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…so for our “snack” at 6pm, we bought some provisions from the local market and enjoyed them on our terrace with a bottle of Riserva Ribera del Duero.

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Wine from this region is prevalent here, and I am going to drink as much of it as I can while here.  This was a recommendation from TJ, the sommelier at Volt, months ago and you just don’t ignore recommendations from people like that! It’s harder to find in the states but not impossible. If you can find it, grab it. Deep and rich and earthy, it’s unbelievable with a big meaty meal. I imagine it would be really great with a grilled beef or pork dish. It was probably a bit much for happy hour, but whatever, we’re on vacation! And as long as it took us to get here, we deserve it!

Cheers!

Seeking lost marbles in Spain

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“Mommy, I can’t find my marbles. Did you lose them? Are you going to Spain to get some more marbles?” That’s my exceedingly intuitive son. Yes dear, your mommy and daddy are going to Spain to replace our lost marbles.

Nearly 2 whole weeks without the kids. IN SPAIN!

It’s just the hubs and I being adults and exploring places that are completely new to us. We’ve been so in the weeds with daily life, especially in the past couple of years with 2 young children, stressful jobs, long commutes, and a masters program and a blog to boot! To say a break is sorely needed is an understatement.

This is us looking excited and nervous at the same time just before we boarded our first flight (British Airways, by the way. Heaven).

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Despite that this is well deserved, it’s hard to shake the anxiety about being so far away from the kids for so long. We’ve never done anything like this! Did we forget something? What if something goes wrong? Will they think we’ve abandoned them? …with their grandparents who are taking theme to baseball games, aquariums, science museums, the beach…..hmmm, I wonder if they’ll want us to come back?

But still, it’s hard to shake the nervousness that we’ve missed something. And despite the kids attempts to drive me completely insane in the days (weeks, years) leading up to this, I’m going to miss those little boogers.

Meanwhile, I’m going to enjoy some amazing food, wine, culture, and the company of that guy sitting next to me that I’ve hardly seen in 2 years.

Now, excuse me while I look up the phrase for: yes please, I’d like some more.

Pork and Pinot Night

pinot noirA couple of years ago Dan and I took a vacation to Portland, Oregon. It was our first extended time away from Nicholas–he was with the grandparents–and we pretended like we were adults again. We went out to dinner, sometimes even after 8pm!, went wine tasting, and visited with friends until the wee hours of the night. The whole time talking about how much Nicholas would love it and how much we wanted to take him there. So much for being kid-free!

We had the best food guide in the world while we were there (thank you Joel!), and ate at some of the most amazing places.

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Our friend Joel and his amazing food truck: Slow and Low

Not one of which have I ever seen featured in Food and Wine. Some of the highlights include:

Olympic Provisions–order everything on the menu…we did
Slow and Low–pork gone gourmet, just the way it should be
The Red Fox–the world’s best burger. Made better when chased with a bacon wrapped hot dog topped with jalapeno salsa.

In honor of that amazing trip, and because pork loins were on sale last week, we had an impromptu Pork and Pinot dinner party. Roasting the pork couldn’t be easier even when you’re entertaining kids and guests. And we broke out one of our “reserve” bottles from our pilgrimage to Willamette Valley to really dial up the fun.

Menu:pork roast complete

Rosemary Crusted, Garlic Stuffed Pork Loin
Roasted Red, Yukon, and Purple Potatoes
Roasted Fall Vegetables 

Wine: Oregon Pinot Noir

So, if you’re looking for an alternative to turkey this weekend, or just want an excuse to bring friends together this holiday season, put on a Pork and Pinot party!