mooninspain

Food, Travel , Life and more Food in Spain

Archive for the tag “beach”

toes in the sand, shrimp in my hand……

peeling shrimp, big hands and little hands

Some of my favorite tapas are on the coast of Granada.  Since it is still around 90 degrees everyday here, I have the beach on my mind constantly.  In any of the beach restaurants or “chiringuitos”  you can sit down at a table with your feet in the sand, order a beer (or whatever it is you desire), and enjoy a wonderful tapa.  Fresh fish and seafood are the norm here.  I love when I am surprised with a small plate of  grilled shrimp or fried, marinated dogfish.

I remember my first couple years in Granada when we would take the bus down to the beach for the day.  There was something  liberating about enjoying a  cold drink with a free tapa of fried squid and then jumping into the Mediterranean sea merely 5 feet away.  My excitement about this has not faded a bit in the past 16 years. Swim, tapa, swim, sun, tapa, swim, tapa, sun, swim…………ahhhhhhhhh!!

Migas con Sardinas

During the summer months the “chiringuitos” set up an open fire to grill the fresh sardines.  We call them “sardinas al espeto”, sardines on a skewer.  For most of my life I thought I hated sardines (?).  Little did I know about the delicate flavor of these healthy fish.  I prefer the smaller sardines to the larger ones.  The larger ones tend to be oilier and have a stronger flavor.  A favorite tapa here is “migas”  or sauteed breadcrumbs and garlic, topped with grilled sardines.  Sometimes a bit of melon is thrown in. Delicious!

The end of the day……….

Sunset in Cantarrijan

packing up...........


My favorite time to be on the beach is at the end of the day when the sun has just barely set in the distance.  I love the sluggish manner that the families pack up to go home almost with regret or “sin ganas”, without desire.  The end of summer, the shortening of days.  After surviving some of the hottest days of the year, we were met yesterday by clouds on the beach.  Last night the air smelled of cool rain followed by a nice morning breeze.  It was cleansing, but if it were up to me I would extend summer just one month more.  I tend to spend the hottest of the Spanish summer working and then as soon as possible we go straight north to enjoy a bit of cooler air.  Avoiding the Southern beaches in the summer has become a habit.  Too many people, too expensive, too many umbrellas on the beach, and difficult to find an empty bit of sand on any beach.  However, in early fall all of this disappears and the beaches are left wide open to enjoy.  The water has a perfect temperature and the sun still warms enough of your body to enjoy the full day.

The coast of Granada tends to be filled with local people.  The beaches have pebbles instead of sand which at times can be a bit agonizing for the feet but I prefer to look at it as reflexology.  The service in restaurants tend to be typical “estilo granadino” with a bit of grouchiness thrown in with your fried fish.  But for me, it is simply home.  Once you cringe over the pebbly entrance, the water is cool, deep and so salty  that there isn’t a need to move a limb to float.  I can swim for hours.  Over the years I have fallen in love with many secret coves in Granada.  Even on a day where we have little time to go hiking and driving about, in 35 minutes we can be on a beautiful, relaxing beach.  The food comes next…………

view of beach and buckets as we enjoy lunch with our feet in the sand.....

view of beach and buckets as we enjoy lunch with our feet in the sand.....

our favorite restaurant and a stork.......

our favorite restaurant and a stork......

Rabas and Bravas

Rabas y Bravas

Rabas y Bravas

Deep fried food.  Before moving to Spain this was something I ate occasionally in a bar or to cure a hangover.  In Spain however, fried food disguises itself in a way that almost makes it seem healthy.  And, according to many a Spaniard, if it is prepared correctly it is healthy indeed.  You may try to avoid it, try to minimize, but it is always there and always delicious.  Even after 17 years I still haven’t taken up the tradition of deep frying in my own home.  I prefer to leave the dirty work to someone else and enjoy my “fritanga” sitting on a beach or a pleasant terrace.  The smell of my neighbor’s fried fish wafting into my open windows three times a week is as close as I need to be.

Two years ago we discovered a great campground in a national park on the Northern coast of Spain in the region of Cantabria.  From the campground you can walk down to an extensive beach, Oyambre, that allows amazing views of the “Picos de Europa”, a spectacular mountain range.  Last year we discovered a great little restaurant still open in the off season where we enjoyed a menu of the day that included a pinto bean stew and an excellent tuna with onions or atún encebollado, typical along this coast.  When we returned this year in August, the main beach restaurant or “chiringuito” as we would call it here was open.  El Pájaro Amarillo as it is called has beautiful views of the beach from its extensive terrace.  We were looking to eat something “light” on our first afternoon at the beach.  Since my daughter is a huge fan of fried calamares we decided to order “rabas” .  They are basically deep fried squid cut to be straight instead of rings.  We also ordered a “ración” of patatas bravas ( fried potatoes in a spicy sauce).  The fried squid in Cantabria is one of the most tender and delicious that I have had in the country (and my daughter eats it everywhere possible).  But, the patatas bravas were unbelievable.  This is a typical tapa served all over the country in many different ways.  Like my daughter with fired squid, I try to taste all varieties of patatas bravas throughout the country.  What usually varies the most is the sauce.  These were actually patatas mixtas which includes both the spicy tomato sauce and an alioli or garlic mayonnaise.  Both of the sauces were so delicious that we dipped both the potatoes and the squid into the sauce.  YUM!!!  The alioli held enough garlic to ward off the flu for 5 years and the brava sauce was actually SPICY!!!  Something very unusual in Spain.  We returned the next day and ordered the exact same simple meal without one regret.  The beach is beautiful and the mixture of sand, sun and fried yumminess makes it all the more worth the visit!!!

Bonito Encebollado


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