A place that was suggested by my good friend Jim Bradbury. A world heritage site. In Bordeaux on the right bank more known for merlot than the cabs of Paulliac. Beautiful medieval city with ramparts and a cathedral begun by the vilage namesake St. Emilion. You could spend a lifetime here. Got the courage to try my broken French where I could and was pleased when I got no snickers. Very romantic place, small intimate cafe’s and wine shops everywhere. Bought some bottles and tried everything from viognier to aged Armagnac. Streets all cobblestone and tough on the sole but hell it’s a religious village. Besides the right bank wines , St. Emilion is known for it’s macarons. Delicious! Drove to Chateau Lynch Bages, tasting several young vintages and a 2004 which was a prelude to the fab 2005′s. Had lunch in the Chateau’s restaurant, shopped and drove back to St. Emilion. Dinner and good night Gracie. Next day a train ride through the vineyards and a mid way stop for more tasting. Are you drunk yet? We followed that with a lunch of tipico mussel’s in white wine, baguette and the topper a pizza of sliced duck and foie gra. Gotta tell you, the pizza was to die for. Suck it up PETA!
What a place! Trying to get close to the old town with all the bars was concessions at a Laker game. What a scene with food to match, just hurling an order out there, but you can spend the whole night eating and eating. No PETA members here. Foie gras, calamari, gambas, sidra and small Galician peppers and jamon serrano, so much food so little time. The next night was the World Series of food. ARZAK, man what a place! Elegance without the stuffiness, great service pace, remember the word pace. Isn’t eating like sex? The foreplay, the nuance, the rush and the enjoyment of something you love! And it was over too soon. Elena Arzak, wonderful lady recently the top women chef in Europe touching tables and adding to the nights magic. I have heard that others did not enjoy as such but can we paint the same picture every night? Left with a feeling of newness and surprise. Next day France and St. Emilion.
Wine tasting and tour at Bodegas Riojanas, Sr. Pablo Orio took us through their facilities, nice man professor of agriculture and onoligist. Modern bodega good wine much of which does not get to New Mexico. Tempranillos were full bodied total meat eaters delight, very nice Verdejo with good but not overwhelming citrus. Good wine for hot summer evenings. Rose a bit on the sweet side but color and finish were smooth. After tour we headed to Elciego, a small village where we stopped for a late lunch at Marques de Riscal and the new hotel designed by Frank Gehry, sort of modern Dali with great service and view of the cathedral, vineyards and blooming roses. Great food and Buddist quiet. Service and layout are first class not to be missed. Later in the evening I attempted to draw money from an ATM in Laguardia when the unsuspected bank , probably ETA funded ate my card. Back to the phones to cancel card. Next…. San Sebastian.
A classic Castilian city. Hotel right on the Plaza Mayor with gong bells every hour and half hour late into the night revenge for my act of abandoned catholic faith. Some guy playing a trumpet kept Virginia up till 3 am. Dinner at Meson del Candido, roast lamb, bottle of Muga and way to quick service. Spanish fast food or was Real Madrid on TV? Roman aquaduct still a marvel. Virginia who has a fetish for castles convinced us to visit the one based on Disneyland. Very cool with crossbows and armour and view which only Royalty can command. Climed 150 steps to the tower and just about bought it. On to Rioja.
Sunday in Madrid. In our room at 10 am, into shorts and down to San Gines for churros and chocolate. Delish. City busy, today going to the Rostro where the jugglers and the clowns all made love to you. Circa Rolling Stones. Stop at tiny busy bar for negra ham and a glass of sangria. Place packed moved on to hotel. Feeling the effects of voyage, back to hotel nap and back to drinks on the patio and delicious paella at la Barraca. Back to hotel patio for a small glass of Pedro Ximenez sweet sherry . Pleasant conversation with our friend David and compliments to my wife by the proprietor of the restaurant. It’s one o’clock and I haven’t seen this hour since my addled music days.
Welcome to my world. Bienvenidos.
This will be a mixture of musings, opinion and just plain onions on the world and my world as I see it. Political comment, guru supermarket comments and humor prolific and sad.
I will be bloging on our trip to Spain and France at the end of May into the middle of June. A wondrous experience of food, wine, historic influence and joy. Que viva Espana.
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