Spain, A Culinary Road Trip

Spain, A Culinary Road Trip by Mario Batali (with Gwyneth Paltrow) is, quite simply, a wonderful book. I received it as a gift and immediately plunged in, seeking out those Spanish culinary delights that I’ve come to love during my annual treks. Much to my delight, I encountered numerous items that I normally wouldn’t try. However, given the interesting descriptions, I’ve decided the next time I’m in Spain I’ll be expanding my palate.

The book itself may seem like your typical coffee table tome. Don’t be fooled. Sure, the book contains many photographs but they are handsomely integrated with the recipes and text. Batali and Paltrow put the food into cultural context, one of the things I appreciate most about this book. Furthermore, the photos show a bunch of people having a great time. The enthusiasm and love for the people and food of Spain literally leaps off the page. You’ll meet ordinary people as well as famous chefs courtesy of this duo.

Of course, I’m an easy sell in this department. During my many trips to Spain, I’ve come to love the culture. Still, I’ve seen my share of travel, history, and cooking books. This one is among the best. In some ways it brings to life portions of H.V. Morton’s A Stranger in Spain. If you are even remotely interested in the subject, don’t hesitate to plunk down your cash. You will not be disappointed.

Amada Restaurant, Philadelphia

For a fantastic version of tapas, try Amada, a restaurant in Philadelphia. I’ve had many great meals here, both lunch and supper. The service is always outstanding. The wine list very good as well.

Reservations are a must on most evenings, especially at the weekend. The place can be quite crowded, just like those tapas places in Spain. The menu ranges from the thinly sliced ham and manchego cheese to creatively seasoned meats on skewers, to specials like an empanada that my wife wishes was permanently on the menu. Don’t forget the wine! The sangria is tasty, the AlbariƱo’s refreshing, and there are many to choose from. This is a “don’t miss” type of place if you’re in Philadelphia.

Published in: on September 26, 2008 at 7:37 pm  Leave a Comment  
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