So this happened while I was away in Madrid last week – Sevilla’s first ever street-food event, #StreetFoodAndalucia by @AndalucíaPopUp, which was held on the roof terrace of the Oasis Backpacker Hostel @OasisHostels. In my opinion Sevilla has probably the best bar-food (ie tapas scene) of any city in the world, and it’s great to see good quality “street food” from kiosks and trucks finally coming of age here, starting with the recent arrival of Sevillas first food truck La Cayejera @lacayejera.
Anyhow, since I couldn’t be there my friend Peter Tatford @SVQconcierge said he would stop by and have a look (and he even took these photos!). I’m told that, although modest in scale – the rooftop venue itself was a bit limited in space – the event was well attended, and got quite buzzy. And the four participants all did a great job of preparing everything from sushi to burgers at their stalls and keeping everybody well-fed. Looking forward to attending the next one. Here is a video of the event, and there’s even a small cameo by Peter about half-way through.
Thanks to Cayetano Gómez, the slightly mad (in a good way!) creative force behind the quirkily kitsch Puratasca in Triana, Sevilla now has its first food truck. It’s been Cayetano’s dream – obsession? – for some time now to bring street food culture to the streets of Sevilla. Many may ask why bother as there are bars on pretty much every street and street corner as it is… but I think this idea has wheels (sorry!) if only to offer actual street-style food to the people of Sevilla.
La Cayejera (a play on words: Cayetano/Callejera) is a third-hand purchase that has been fitted out with a gas kitchen, and electrics that run off a separate generator. It’s an eye-catching bright blue truck festooned with cute catch phrases and also necessary info about what the concept is all about. There are 12 locations around Sevilla that will be chosen weekly, for either lunch or dinner, and these will be announced at the beginning of each week on the La Cayejera Facebook page and on Twitter. As well as the weekly schedule, La Cayejera is also available for private parties and events, which I think is a fantastic idea and one that is going to become very successful.
co-owners Rafa and Cayetano in front of La Cayejera
I had been invited to Vinoble in Jerez de la Frontera, which meant having to stay over at least one night. I had told a friend that I was looking for somewhere “cheap & cheerful” where I could lay my head for a few hours – I knew I wouldn’t be spending much time wherever I stayed. And The Nuevo Hotel turned out to be perfect. At 25€ for an individual room with a single bed you obviously wouldn’t be expecting the Ritz, but I was very pleasantly surprised at my cheerful clean room and comfy bed, with a balcony that opened onto a small side street. My room was on the first floor of the two-storey hotel, and I was happy there was a lift as I was still on crutches due to a recent accident. The bathroom was small but serviceable, with a small bathtub and shower.
Nuevo Hotel is centrally located just off the Plaza de Arenal, near the Alcázar, and is about a 10-15 minute walk from the train station. There are plenty of good tapas bars nearby and it felt like a nice cosy neighbourhood. Breakfast at the hotel is 5€, served in a big bright dining area on the main floor, but I’m always happier going out to find a small bar. There are a couple of charming common areas and excellent WiFi connection throughout the hotel. The hotel staff were welcoming, friendly and helpful. I would definitely stay again.
Calle Caballeros, 23
Jerez de la Frontera
Tel 956 33 16 00
It was definitely not your average Tuesday morning. I had been invited (along with a few journalists, bloggers, photographers and friends) to a “ronqueo”, the skilled cutting of an almadraba tuna. The almadraba (Arabic for “the place of striking or beating”) is an age-old technique for catching blue fin tuna that continues to the present day. Every year during the tuna migration from the Atlantic to the Mediterranean (May-June), mazes of nets are set, creating a channel of nets which direct the tunas to a larger “floor net” which is then raised to the surface, enclosing and capturing the tunas.
La Azotea had arranged to have a tuna delivered to their Jesús del Gran Poder location to give us a demonstration of the traditional cutting art know as as the “ronqueo” – the name comes from the rasping sound made when the knife cuts through the spine (from Spanish “roncar”- to snore). The 233 kilo tuna arrived and, with some difficulty, was transferred from the truck to the restaurant, which had been stripped of all tables and chairs and had a protective layer of plastic covering the floor. The master cutter then wasted no time in getting down to work.
First the head was removed and it was discovered that the tuna had been killed “Japanese style” with a bolt to the head while still in the water. Then the belly (ventresca) was removed and shortly afterwards we heard the rasping sound of knife against spine. The massive upper and lower loin and tail sections were next to come out and then the cutter went to work on the head, removing the cheeks, mormo, morillo (don’t know how to translate those last two).
Then we were treated to the freshest tuna tataki ever – straight out of the fish and onto the griddle. It was a fascinating experience and, as with jamón cutting, it was easy to see that hand-cutting the tuna in this way is truly an art form. I’m so glad I got a chance to see my first ronqueo. Thanks Juan!
This is pretty much the end of the almadraba season for this year so make sure to get over to La Azotea this week while the fresh tuna lasts.
Jesús del Gran Poder 31
Mateos Gago 8
chefs Jesús and José María with La Azotea owner Juan
A couple of weeks ago I booked a two-bedroom holiday apartment with Urban Living in Málaga for a three-day getaway with friends. I shared the apartment in calle Liborio with one friend (our other two friends were staying at another Urban Living apartment in calle Fajardo). The apartment was located on the third floor with balconies in every room, which gave a lot of light. The beds (one double, two single) were very comfortable and both bedrooms had lots of closet space. The open kitchen was well-equipped and the living room next to it was bright and attractive. The only complaint about the apartment itself was that the bathroom was missing a light over the mirror (there were just wires sticking out of the fixture) and it really needed some shelves – both in the room and in the shower – to put toiletries. In the end we had to leave our things on the floor.
Calle Liborio runs between Larios and Nueva streets, an ideal central location, though it can’t be directly reached by taxi and is a few minutes walk from the main road. The Atarazanas market is nearby, as well as a supermarket, so it’s easy to pick up food and supplies. The Urban Living office is located on the fourth floor of the building, which was convenient for leaving our bags after checking out (my train wasn’t until 7 pm), but checking in was a bit of a fluke. I’d made arrangements for someone to meet me there at 2 pm because I was on crutches at the time, and they forgot – it was just by chance that someone else was in the office when I arrived.
But my main complaint – and it is a big one – is that I had specified before booking that I needed to have an excellent WiFi connection because I had to work that weekend, and I was assured of this. But the connection was very poor. I mentioned this immediately after arriving on Thursday and was told that something would be done to “boost” the connection. By late afternoon Friday nothing had been done and when I called the office nobody was there. Finally someone brought over a router (while we were out) which didn’t work at all, so we went from having a poor connection to none at all. And nobody returned my calls for the rest of the weekend. VERY disappointing. The connection should have been tested before we arrived, as it had been a specific request and had been guaranteed.
Overall it was a pleasant stay, in a nice bright apartment right in the centre of town. But I’d hesitate to book with Urban Living again because of the management issues.
Urban Living Málaga
Calle Liborio García, 1
952 60 22 47
Today the winners of the Toro de Lidia 2014 competition were announced.
- Best Tapa
Macarrón filled with Toro de Lidia tongue and vegetable sofrito
- Best Gourmet Tapa
A tie between:
Stewed Toro de Lidia cheek with “Thai style” with red chillis & coconut milk
Toro de Lidia “false” solomillo over beetroot creme with yucca and yam chips
La Revuelta is Sevilla’s newest multi-functional cultural space. Part art gallery, part bookshop, and venue for wine tastings, literary and cultural events, courses and workshops and much more, it’s the brainchild of local writer, journalist and wine expert Javier Compás. The space is bright, open and welcoming with exposed brick walls and high ceilings. It also has kitchen facilities.
If you live in Sevilla you can become a member for 12€ a month and take advantage of discounts and first options for limited-space events. For visitors it’s a unique spot to check out for books, art and wines. Just off the Plaza del Pan in the first “vuelta” of the serpentine calle Siete Revueltas.
Siete Revueltas, 33
Tel 954 21 08 06
Open: 10.00 – 14.00 / 17.00 – 20.00
Love it or hate it, there’s no denying that Trip Advisor is very important for business, and so I am pleased to announce that my Sevilla Tapas Tours have won the Certificate of Excellence for the second year in a row. Many thanks to everyone who took the time to write their reviews!