Some people go to Cordoba to soak in the Moorish-influenced architecture. Well, we did check some out. Here's my attempt at an arty night scene in this idyllic resort town.
But sight seeing is merely of secondary interest. My best mate and I go to seek out the weird and wonderful - snails Spanish-style!
Forget the half a dozen plump, juicy garlic laden morsels you'd find in your garden variety French escagot. In Spain, it's truly garden variety - a plate of innumerable (ok we counted nearly two hundred) tiny garden variety snails, boiled and served with crusty bread! And it was tasty! Not to mention fun to try to extract the little buggers whole before popping them down. Talk about playing with your food!
He's making a run for it!!
A picture says a thousand words, so here are a couple thousand for you to gag upon.
In Madrid, there is a fantastic chain of outlets collectively called the Museo del Jamon. Not a museum, but a place of countless legs of jamon hanging from the walls.
It's a cantina style joint really, with very congenial fellows behind the counter. Here we are enjoying the local beer.
One of the fun things about this place is that you chuck all your crap on the ground when you're done with it. Whether it's the papery inedible stuff that's wrapped around your slices of chorizo, or your used paper napkins. Just chuck it.
Here's a pictorial demonstration of what you do ...
And let's not forget the jamon! Many different varieties to choose from. The house variety is delicious enough already, but if you're ever in Madrid, you need to try the "jabugo". The black footed free range iberico pig that roams the forests and feeds on acorns. Bloody expensive, but when you chew a mouthful and wash it down with a decent crianza, it tastes like candy!
A delightful meal in one of London's grand old-school hotels, with a Michelin star to boot. Lots of f#@$*ng soup in every dish, I must say (sorry I couldn't resist).
This was part of the 2007 International Festival of Melvo - my birthday dinner with good friends in London.
To celebrate the occasion (and the fact that the wowsers had passed a law to ban smoking indoors from 1 January 2008), I lit up a 1973 Romeo & Juliet Churchill in the cigar bar at Claridge's, the last one they had in stock. It was an exquisitely smooth, creamy smoke. The decades had seen all the ammonic harshness dissipate, and yet its flavour was complex, with subtle layer upon layer of nuts and spices.
A mix-up between the Veuve La Grande Dame (which was out of stock) and the La Grande Dame Rose meant that my mates Simo and Nathan ordered two 150 quid bottles (thinking they were only 70 or 80 pounds each). I think their respective missuses were very cross for a while ...
(Note: Gordon Ramsay at Claridge's lost its Michelin star in 2010)