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Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Spain- Fish and more Fish...

If you love eating fish, then Costa Del Sol, the Sun Coast of Spain, is a fantastic place to visit. I'm very fortunate to have parents who have retired here- in a wonderful village local at the foot of the Benahavis community.
I've been coming here for about 5 years, and each time, we eat at some wonderful little places. This time I thought I'd share my eating experiences (one of my passions) with my other passion (photography).
Restaurante El Abreuadero, is very typical of the beach bars along the south coast in terms of setup and food. This one is located on the wonderful promenade in San Pedro, a typical Spanish town unlike the glam and glitz of Marbella. The restaurant is right by the beach and there are tons of room for the kids to run around safely.
The food is pretty standard in terms of items you get at beach bars- much like toasted Ravioli in St Louis. Starters for us consisted of 2 salads- a veggie lettuce number with beets, corn, onions, olives, and peppers doused in olive oil and lemon juice. Everything was fresh, crisp and loaded with flavor. No need to drown it in Ranch dressing. The second was a stewed red pepper salad in olive oil. Olive are the main cash crop in Andalucia so everything is cooked or presented in olive oil. Spanish olive oil is amazing- flavorful and light unlike Greek oil which has a very strong after taste.The main meal consisted of mostly fish- all local and all fresh. By fresh I mean caught within 24 hours off the coast of where we were eating. Again, the items are pretty typical of most places. It should be noted this is not tapas type items. That is a whole different set up. For this meal we had chicken grilled on skewers seasoned with lemon juice and olive oil (LJOO). LJOO is the standard seasoning and it works so well- a clean crisp flavor. The Rasado fish is a chunkier meatier fish caught in the Med and fried in this case. This is my personal favorite.
Another favorite is fried baby Anchoives or Boquerones. They are a delightful crunchy fish with a zesty flavor. Bones are not an issue. This is a classic Analucia coast dish.
The final set involved Calamares which was tasty. The chewiness factor was just right. We also had a very salty grilled Sardines. These are not my favorite. You have to work too hard to get the bones off the meat and the saltiness overpowers the fish taste.
To end there is the usual ice cream or creme caramel items. But the real treat is always the strong Cafe Con Leche- strong coffee with warm milk. Good stuff at anytime of day.
I am looking forward to trying some new dishes this summer as I explore the real Andalucia dishes.
All these images were taken with my 85mm 1.8, Canon 5D. This is one of my favorite lenses mostly because of the speed. When shooting at dusk, the larger aperture really helps. I also wanted to get the dishes as they were being handed around- so getting hands in the shot was an important. I thought it would give the images a more realistic feel as opposed to the staged shot you see in Sauce magazine.

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