Txakolina, Madrid (2104)

That wonderful street with tapas bars shoulder to shoulder! Of course, I’m talking about Calle Cava Baja. There you’ll find Txakolina, a place worth the effort, and there is some effort because it gets crowded.

Txakolina, Madrid.

Txakolina, Madrid.

This is a pintxoteca, meaning the items are a bit larger than tapas. Here’s a look at the delicious offerings on the counter:

Pinxtos at Txakolina, Madrid.

Pintxos at Txakolina, Madrid.

They serve these bits of goodness with small glasses of wine and beer. Here’s a close up of two:

Pintxos at Txakolina, Madrid.

Pintxos at Txakolina, Madrid.

As mentioned, this place gets crowded and noisy, but so do most of the taparias. That’s part of the fun. And the food is fantastic. So make sure this one is on the list for your tapas crawl in Madrid. Enjoy every meal. Go slow.

A Meal in the Country, Spain

Many of the small hotels I like have their own restaurants, most of which are outstanding. Sometimes, given the location, I prefer to eat at the hotel rather than drive into town for a meal. Such was the case at Quinta de San Amaro in Meaño, Spain. Here you can dine inside or out. We decided to sit outside. Soon enough, the waitress brought this starter which got our taste buds excited.

Starter at Quinta de San Amaro, Meaño, Spain.

Starter at Quinta de San Amaro, Meaño, Spain.

Then we enjoyed a very typical dish of grilled vegetables.

Grilled vegetables at Quinta de San Amaro, Meaño, Spain.

Grilled vegetables at Quinta de San Amaro, Meaño, Spain.

Then there were two entrees, one a whole fish fresh from the sea:

Whole fish at at Quinta de San Amaro, Meaño, Spain.

Whole fish at at Quinta de San Amaro, Meaño, Spain.

There was also some nicely cooked pork loin:

Pork loin at at Quinta de San Amaro, Meaño, Spain.

Pork loin at at Quinta de San Amaro, Meaño, Spain.

As with every meal in Spain, why not enjoy a bottle of wine! In this case, another local albariño was the perfect fit with the meal.

Albariño at at Quinta de San Amaro, Meaño, Spain.

Albariño at at Quinta de San Amaro, Meaño, Spain.

This was a very relaxing and leisurely meal, enjoyed outside within just a few yards of the vineyards. One of the joys of traveling is to take your time. Don’t rush it.

Lunch in Haro, Spain

After checking into my hotel in the village of Ábalos, we drove a short distance west to the town of Haro, Spain. Here the various wineries operate tasting rooms and gift shops. The town itself is worth a stroll, which we did, ending at a little bar for lunch.

Bar/restaurant Madrid in the town of Haro, Spain.

Bar/restaurant Madrid in the town of Haro, Spain.

Inside, we found the usual bar with various tapas under the glass.

Interior of bar/restaurant Madrid in the town of Haro, Spain.

Interior of bar/restaurant Madrid in the town of Haro, Spain.

We sat at one of those round tables you see on the left of the photo above. And here’s a look at just a few of the tapas we enjoyed:

Various tapas at bar/restaurant Madrid in Haro, Spain.

Various tapas at bar/restaurant Madrid in Haro, Spain.

There were several more rounds of tapas, including this batch:

More tapas at bar/restaurant Madrid, in Haro, Spain.

More tapas at bar/restaurant Madrid, in Haro, Spain.

This was another great local meal, the kind that I prefer. I only had a few minutes to chat with the lady operating the place. Next time, I plan on lingering longer to learn some Spanish and experience the local scene a little more.

 

La Porta (restaurant, 2014)

La Porta is a new find for me, a little place in the Philadelphia suburbs that I wish I had stumbled into sooner. The restaurant has a Media, PA address, and is located on Route 352 on the way to Edgemont. Not hard to find and exploring is half the fun. So, let’s talk about the food. Well, started with a couple of appetizers, one being this portabello mushroom topped with a fried egg that was a creative and tasty treat. Take a look:

"Portafoglio"… a crispy portobello mushroom with fried egge, sharp provolone, and caper butter.

“Portafoglio”… a crispy portobello mushroom with fried egge, sharp provolone, and caper butter.

Also had a delicious and varied chop salad with all my favorite ingredients including golden raisins, almonds, and more! Here it is:

Chopped salad with all the good stuff at La Porta, Media, PA.

Chopped salad with all the good stuff at La Porta, Media, PA.

Greens are good for you. Eat them often! Next we enjoyed a couple of entrees, one being this salmon over various greens:

Salmon over arugula and radicchio at La Porta.

Salmon over arugula and radicchio at La Porta.

Yes, that salmon was cooked perfectly. Then there was a pizza, which had to be tried because this place is known for pizza. Take a look:

Pizza special at La Porta, Media, PA.

Pizza special at La Porta, Media, PA.

This pizza was a special. It included caramelized onions, some exotic cheeses, and a great sauce. AND, it was baked to absolute perfection with just a touch of char on the bottom. Really, some of the best pizza I’ve had in a decade. Here’s the menu for a look at the selections and prices:

Current menu (spring 2014) at La Porta, Media, PA.

Current menu (spring 2014) at La Porta, Media, PA.

La Porta is worth your visit. Service is good, wine selection plentiful, and the food terrific. If you’re in the area, give it a try, or make the journey. Enjoy every meal!