Supper, Villa de Ábalos, Spain

While staying overnight at the Hotel Villa de Ábalos, I highly recommend eating supper there. When you make your reservation, be sure to let them know you would like to dine as well. It is a truly home-cooked, Spanish meal. The menu changes with the seasons and the availability of fresh ingredients. Here is the carta as provided during my visit:

Menu for supper at Hotel Villa de Ábalos.

Menu for supper at Hotel Villa de Ábalos.

These little gems were presented to start the meal:

A little something to start the meal at Hotel Villa de Ábalos, Spain.

A little something to start the meal at Hotel Villa de Ábalos, Spain.

The two appetizers were creative and delicious. The first was a leeks and spinach terrine that you see in the next photo:

Leek and spinach terrine appetizer at Hotel Villa de Ábalos, Spain.

Leek and spinach terrine appetizer at Hotel Villa de Ábalos, Spain.

The other appetizer was a sautéed vegetable medley that I was so anxious to eat, I forgot to snap a photo. But, next came the entrée, and what a fantastic one it was. Slowly cooked oxtail then removed from the bone and placed inside a sort of dumpling with a very nice sauce, as you see in the next photo:

Oxtail presented inside a dumpling for supper at Hotel Villa de Ábalos.

Oxtail presented inside a dumpling for supper at Hotel Villa de Ábalos.

This incredible meal was finished with a warm almond cake and vanilla ice-cream that truly hit the spot:

Warm almond cake with vanilla ice-cream at Hotel Villa de Ábalos.

Warm almond cake with vanilla ice-cream at Hotel Villa de Ábalos.

All this was served in a pleasant dining room you see here:

Dining room at Hotel Villa de Ábalos, Spain.

Dining room at Hotel Villa de Ábalos, Spain.

I would also like to mention the owner of this fine hotel makes his own wine, which is very good, especially the white. A bottle with dinner or afterwards is a great addition to the meal. Here’s a photo of the bottle:

Preferred wine at Hotel Villa de Ábalos.

Preferred wine at Hotel Villa de Ábalos.

When traveling, be sure to enjoy the local cuisine as much as possible.

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Classic Diner (January 2014)

The Classic Diner in Malvern, PA, USA, is a favorite stop of mine. Breakfast and lunch here is a delicious feast at a reasonable price with great service. Make sure you are HUNGRY before you get here because the portions are large. I might also add, they use the best ingredients. So let’s start healthy, with a spinach salad that you see here:

Classic Diner (Malvern, PA) spinach salad.

Classic Diner (Malvern, PA) spinach salad.

That’s a beautiful salad, no doubt about it. And dig the lox on the side with capers, eh? Nice. For those who really need to fill up, try the cheeseburger with a side of onion rings that you see next:

Cheeseburger with a side of onion rings at the Classic Diner, Malvern, PA, USA.

Cheeseburger with a side of onion rings at the Classic Diner, Malvern, PA, USA.

That, my friends, is one good burger. The onion rings… crispy and sweet, the way you like them. Again, service is exceptional here and prices are reasonable. Be advised, the place gets BUSY, so go slightly off peak breakfast and lunch times. Enjoy every meal.

Screaming Eagle, Aruba, (Dec 2013)

I’ve posted about Screaming Eagle restaurant before, but it’s been quite a while. Last night, I enjoyed a very good meal there, complete with excellent service and ambiance. This is an upscale place, located along Aruba’s Eagle Beach, close to the “low-rise” area. Seating is both indoor and outside. Take your pick and enjoy. Let’s get to the food. This little plate was served as a “gift of the chef.”

"Gift of the Chef" plate served at Screaming Eagle, Aruba.

“Gift of the Chef” plate served at Screaming Eagle, Aruba.

All bits of goodness on there, including cheese shaved into the shapes of flowers, a touch of orange, piece of walnut, a delicious “mayonnaise” and tiny circle of brioche. Flavors blended perfectly with subtlety that hinted of good things to come. Next came a pair of appetizers including a “truffle spaghetti” that you see below. (It included serano ham and a poached egg.)

Truffle spaghetti with serano ham and a poached egg.

Truffle spaghetti with serano ham and a poached egg.

Again, flavor here was off the chart, the combination working together in ways one might not expect. Then there was a Caribbean salad that included all the greens and goodness I need to have several times a day. Check it out:

Caribbean Salad at Screaming Eagle, Aruba.

Caribbean Salad at Screaming Eagle, Aruba.

The chef dresses the salad in the kitchen, adding the right amount without overpowering the ingredients. Thus, you get to taste it all, which is the point, right? Moving on to entrees, let’s first look at the simple chicken and vegetables:

Chicken and vegetables at Screaming Eagle, Aruba.

Chicken and vegetables at Screaming Eagle, Aruba.

Standard fare here, prepared the way I like it with lots of crispy contrasts. Now for the exotic. The next dish was a special for the week. Here’s grilled kangaroo with apricot chutney:

Grilled Kangaroo with apricot chutney at Screaming Eagle, Aruba.

Grilled Kangaroo with apricot chutney at Screaming Eagle, Aruba.

That’s a zany dish with unique flavor that those with a adventuresome taste buds will have to sample for themselves to get the full effect. Finally, we selected a traditional Dutch Christmas desert of almond flavored cake with ice cream that you see in the final photo:

Dessert at Screaming Eagle, Aruba, December 2013.

Dessert at Screaming Eagle, Aruba, December 2013.

One very, very good meal here in a pleasant setting with attentive service. I found it worth every penny and will be back again to try some other dishes.

In-Flight Choices

Several months ago, American Airlines sent me a pleasant email, declaring I could select my entree for the upcoming flight. What a pleasant surprise! Normally, you watch the stewardess roll the cart past your seat, hoping you’ll get your choice. Not a huge issue, but then again, customer satisfaction matters in a competitive industry. So, giving a passenger the opportunity to have his preference means happy days. Of course, there are only two choices, which is fine with me. After all, we’re on an airplane, not in a swanky restaurant. On recent flights, I went with the egg option for breakfast that you see in the next photo:

Breakfast on American Airlines flight from PHL to MIA.

Breakfast on American Airlines flight from PHL to MIA.

The decal on the side even had my name on it. Makes a guy feel important. Food was simple and tasty, again for onboard an airplane. Lunch on the next flight you see below:

Lunch on American Airlines flight from MIA to AUA.

Lunch on American Airlines flight from MIA to AUA.

The novelty item here was the pretzel stick you see in the upper left of the frame. That salad was also very fresh, and I do like my greens with most meals. I very much like the fact that American Airlines gives me this choice. It may seem like a small thing, but it matters because it shows the airline is thinking about ways to make things better. Thanks for a friendly and safe flight.