Mijas Mini Day Trip
It’s hard to believe that a week ago today I was sitting in the pretty white coastal village of Mijas enjoying an impromptu tapas tour led by my friend and culinary hero Janet Mendel. This is a story that actually began about twenty years ago, shortly after arriving in Sevilla, when I was given Janet’s Cooking In Spain as a birthday present (you should see the state of it now). Many years later I connected with Janet on Facebook after I was given a copy of her Tapas: a Bite of Spain and since then we’ve been trying to meet up during my trips to Málaga. The “catch” was always that I would somehow have to find time to get out to Mijas, where Janet has lived for over 40 years now… somehow it just never happened.
We did finally meet in person when Janet came to Sevilla this past September to attend the Andalucía Sabor International Fine Food Exhibition and we spent a very enjoyable couple of days at the conference and also doing as many tapeos as we could possibly fit in. Which were many.
And which also led to me taking this photo on the right. I never would have thought twenty years ago that twenty years later Janet Mendel would be sitting in my living room signing my battered and well used copy of her wonderful cookbook. Isn’t that fabulous?
Getting back to last Saturday… I suddenly found myself staying a day longer in Málaga than I’d originally planned and, because my friend and Málaga expert Victor (upon hearing of my change in plans), suddenly said to me “hey, let’s go to Mijas!”… well, we went to Mijas!
Happily Janet was happy to drop everything and meet us at her favourite local “breakfast bar” Café Bar Porra, where we immediately tucked into a lovely plate of jamón Ibérico accompanied by some nicely chilled manzanilla. A perfect start to any tapeo. Both Victor and I enjoyed having someone else be the “guide” for a change – and what a guide! Next Janet took us to the beautiful Museo del Vinos where I was thrilled to find my favourite white wine Botani (local dry moscatel). We were brought some fabulous “spicy” olive oil with bread for dipping, and a bit of cheese, and then we ordered some lightly grilled scallops. Heaven.
Our last stop was a more modern style “gastrobar” called Bodega El Placer. Here the tapas were a bit hit and miss. Some just had too much going on, like they didn’t know when to stop with the sauces and other squirty stuff all over the plates. My favourite tapas were the more simple ones: the squid ink croquetas and the most perfectly fried egg I’d seen in quite awhile, served with hot crispy potato straws and bits of jamón.
Far too soon it was time for us to get back to Málaga so I could get back to Sevilla in time for a previously booked Sevilla Tapas Tour at 8 pm. In the end Victor did get me to the station in time to change my clothes and freshen up a bit before getting on the train. Upon arriving in Sevilla I pretty much hit the ground running with just half an hour to get to my tapas tour meeting point. Was that all just a week ago? It feels like just yesterday and also like an eternity ago all at once. How does that work?
Thanks so much for a lovely day in Mijas, Janet. And thanks for making it happen, Victor. Hope to see you both again very very soon.
You can read Janet’s blog post about our tapeo here: Time out for Tapas