Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Spain Eats

I have been shamefully absent in the food-blogging world for a while now... busy with work, life, and some traveling too. I was lucky enough to have a conference in the beautiful Basque region of Spain, in a beach side town called San Sebastian. Afterwords, I did some traveling with my sister, to Barcelona and Seville, and then stopped in to the UK, where she lives. It was an amazing trip; Spain is a beautiful country!!

My favorite food item on the trip? It's a toss up between these beautiful white asparagus, which were all over the place in San Sebastian, and..... mango sorbet. Hey, I'm predictable. Gelatarias were all over the place, and when it comes to mango, I'm a sucker. But, Fruitarias - fruit & veg stands, like the one below, were also a great find. As for the rest, well.... I can't exactly say Spain was a mecca of vegetarian- let alone vegan- options. It was a challenge. Read on for more, as well as a few completely food-unrelated Spain pics.

Olives & bevvies in Seville, Spain

Here's my food experience while traveling in Spain:
The Spanish certainly love their olive oil. They take olive oil to a whole new level. There were even canisters of it on our breakfast table (? ) I had an amazing white bean and asparagus soup, and there was probably about a 1/4 cup of olive oil plopped right in the center and drizzled around. My sauteed vegetables were swimming in it. Don't get me wrong, I love me some olive oil, but veggies drowning in it? Not my thing.

In general, I felt like most of the places we went to really didn't know how to do or offer vegetarian or vegan as a main course. There were some exceptions, but mainly veggies were sides only, and were treated as such. I think it's a little sad how common it is for people to not really know how to let vegetables shine, or how they are thought of as an afterthought.....However, when I was in San Sebastian, I was pleasantly surprised at how accommodating the restaurants were to my veggie ways. It may be that we just picked the wrong spots in Barcelona and Seville, but then again, we did not see much variety in vegetarian options.

I did have to laugh, when we were eating dinner one night in Seville. At the table next to us: a French couple. Our waiter: a stiff guy. I told him I was vegetarian (again, forget vegan, they never would have understood that) and he made a grumbling noise, shrugged, and said, "Well, there's not much." A few minutes later, he plopped down 2 complimentary  amuse-bouche plates, little toasts with some round pale thing on top and drizzled with a sauce, without any explanation. I called him back to ask what it was.... and he pointed to the side of his stomach. Liver. "Ah", I said- "so- animal?" He shrugged and smiled: Ci. I am fairly certain that when he then went over to the French couple next to us to take their order, they laughed at the silly vegetarian, and the waiter said something to the extent of "I tolerate it." Silly meat eaters. Luckily, I was able to pick out a salad and some veggies (drowning in olive oil, of course, but not bad otherwise!) Plus, the view was incredible at the restaraunt, so who cares about the food?!

Cathedral in Seville, Spain
Other trip highlights:

Gaudi's La Sagrada Familia in Barcelona
Gaudi's Park Guell in Barcelona

Amazing tiles everywhere

The Royal Alcazar in Seville
The Plaza de Espana in Seville

So, I can't really say food was a highlight of my trip to Spain (I did get a killer curry in England, though!) But there was so much else to wonder at, I didn't mind at all: Amazing Gaudi buildings in Barcelona, including the absolutely unique and breathtaking La Sagrada Familia and Park Guell, beautiful tile work and balconies all over Barcelona and Seville, and the Royal Alcazar and Plaza de Espana in Seville. It was an awesome trip, and I was blown away by so much of what I saw. I absolutely love traveling and seeing new spots! And I loved how the Spanish seemed to take the time to just enjoy life- making time for tapas with friends, taking things at a slower pace.

A great trip, but I was happy when I made it home.... where vegan and vegetarian is completely normal ;-)


  1. Lucky you getting to go to a conference in Spain! Sounds like you managed to see a lot of the sights, but too bad about the food - usually the food should be a highlight of a trip! I visited Barcelona a few years ago and I wasn't vegetarian yet but my sister was...I remember having a hard time finding places to eat too. We did go to this cool vegan cafe/juice bar called Juicy Jones for lunch though: http://www.happycow.net/reviews.php?id=1108

    1. thanks for the link! I should have used apps or something to help us find places.... but we were too entranced by everything we were seeing ;)


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