Monday, November 25, 2013

Tap... Tap... Tapas!

One of the surprises on this trip was Valencia. I hadn't really done much research into it and other than a vague notion of its place in European history my knowledge of its attractions was scanty.  Given the cost of WiFi on the cruise ship attempts to find out the wonders it was to present proved to be expensive so we relied on the information distributed by the good people at Azamara.  Fortunately it was enough to provide suggestions of a few of the highlights of what proved to be a wonderful city.

I'm currently working on two posts about some quirky little things I found there.  Now that I have better - and free - Internet access it will be easier to do a big of digging to find out more about several of the things that intrigued me there.

Normally I like to see what Lonely Plant and Trip Adviser suggest when planning to eat in a city but as those options proved unavailable we trusted to the kitchen gods to lead us to a good place.  It was a Saturday and the area around the Plaza Real and Mercado was awash with locals and tourists.  As we left the Llotja de la Seda (Silk Market) Laurent suggested that we get away from the crowds so we detoured down a small side street and stumbled upon El Rall (website in Spanish only).  We noticed that two of the senior officers from the cruise ship were at a terrace table (a good sign???) and that there was shade, an interesting tapas menu and available tables.

The Placa in front of the two buildings that make up El Rall serves as a pleasant tree
shaded terrace. Just far enough away from the noise and bustle of the Mercato and tourist
central. Local families having their Saturday lunch was a sign this was a good place to eat.
As our meal progressed we noticed local families taking tables near us - including a large family gathering of some 16 people celebrating the Pater Familias's birthday. Laurent mentioned that it was wonderful to see kids (5-10 year olds) eating black rice, squid and other "exotic" dishes as though this were normal fare - and for them it probably was. Watching the families - and a young courting couple - to the background music of a jazz guitarist seated on a nearby stone bench only added to the entertainment and pleasure of the afternoon.

Comments that appear in several reviews of the restaurant in Trip Adviser mentioned the "slow service" and in truth it was a little on the leisurely side but as we were in no hurry and the food, the wine and the atmosphere were good so we couldn't consider it a problem.

The last time Sidd had tapas was in Amsterdam and he was eager to see
if the "real" stuff measured up.  The meatballs certainly did and the
tomatoey sauce was yummy when sopped up with that crusty bread.

The boar stew wasn't something that Sidd thought he'd like but when he saw
the youngsters at the table next to us dig into theirs' he figured he'd give it a try. 
He wasn't all that fond of it so I had to do the honours.  Fortunately I love boar!

The cod and potato croquettes were a little more to his taste but he would have liked
the outside a bit crispier - some crunch is always good.

When there's ham on the menu Sidd always has to doff his cap to Cecilia and have a slice or two
in her honour.  And when its been cured for 38 months it has that special deep flavour.  Porcine heaven!

My mango sorbet, though good, was of little interest to our Sidd; particularly
when there's cheesecake on offer. The homemade marmalade topping hit his
sweet tooth at just the right angle.  Laurent approved of it too!
After a fine array of tapas and a very nice Spanish red - boy do they do fine fully bodied reds - cafe con leche and a complimentary digestif it was time to head back to the boat. Another day in Valencia would have been more than welcome but all it means is that there will be things to see the next time!

November 25 - 1947: Red Scare: The "Hollywood Ten" are blacklisted by Hollywood movie studios.
Enhanced by Zemanta


Ur-spo said...

when I lived in Chicago, there was a tapas place most lovely indeed. I would do almost anything to have again their goat cheese in tomato sauce.

Debra She Who Seeks said...

Sidd has a very discerning palate, I must say.

Harpers Keeper said...

Sidd eats well. I am more than a little jealous.