Monday, December 7, 2015

Burgos, Spain - A Day in Burgos

On a recent trip to Northern Spain we spent the day in Burgos, best known for its dramatic cathedral. We began the day by walking around the outdoor market, which sells handcrafted items as well as lots of yummy things to eat. After a tour of the gothic style Roman Catholic cathedral, we stopped at Valor for a late breakfast of churros and hot chocolate: a fried dough pastry that gets dipped directly into the rich chocolate sauce.

While nosing in and out of the shops around the main square we caught some sort of medieval parade.

Around lunchtime the streets fill to the brim with people out for their daily dose of pintxos: those small snacks the Basque region are famous for, similar to tapas. Instead of hopping in and out of each bar for a sampling, we decided to stay in one spot and sample all of the pintxos at Meson Los Herreros

It is a place the locals come to and the variety (over 60 different kinds) and combinations of pintxos are really quite incredible. Aside from what is on view at the bar, you can also order hot pintxos, like potato croquettes or tortilla.

I highly recommend a day trip to Burgos if you happen to be in the area. It is a lovely walkable city and foodies won't be disappointed.

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Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Bilbao, Spain - Pintxos Tour

On a recent trip to the Basque region of Northern Spain, I spent the day eating my way through Bilbao. Aside from the Guggenheim Museum, Bilbao is famous for its pintxos bars. Pintxos are small snacks usually served on bread and pierced with a cocktail stick. Pintxos are a great way to try many different flavors and food combinations, which is exactly what we did at each stop. 

We began in the Old Town (Casco Viejo) at Victor Montes in Plaza Nueva, widely known as the Harry's Bar of Bilbao. You can eat inside at the bar, in the restaurant, or outside in the piazza. I love the black and gold old-world facade of their building.

Also located in a corner of Plaza Nueva is Zuga. This is a popular tiny little spot that focuses on more inventive pintxos. Among the highlights are goat’s cheese with manzanilla sherry, dried fruit vinaigrette and honey; liver with red fruits and Modena vinegar.

One of my favorites that we visited was La Vina Del Ensanche, just off the main shopping street. This large restaurant has outside seating, a restaurant and a long bar (carved from a single tree). The oldest bar in the city (1927), this wood-paneled spot is famous for its ham and chorizo. There is even a shop attached to it so you can buy some of their products to take home.

Our last stop of the day was a bar that serves only oysters called El Puertito (Poza Lizentziatuaren Kalea, 22). There are dozens of different varieties you can choose from, many of them local, which we paired with some delicious champagne. This is a must-visit for serious oyster lovers!

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Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Oslo, Norway - Vigeland Sculpture Park

The Vigeland Park in Oslo is the world's largest sculpture park by one single artist. It features over 200 works by Gustav Vigeland in bronze, granite and wrought iron. With more than one million visitors each year, it is one of Oslo's most visited tourist attractions. The bronze statue of the little Angry Boy (shown below) is among the most famous sculptures in the park. Notice his shiny left hand: this is due to so many tourists who wish to be photographed while holding his hand.

This park is a beautiful place to spend a few hours wandering around and admiring the artwork.

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