So, a very dear friend is going to be in Lisbon and Porto very soon. For me it would be heaven to take him out to a great dinner and enjoy his company in one of these great cities. I think the last time we saw each other we went to a Gypsy Kings concert in Phoenix Arizona. A very, very long time ago. Nonetheless he still feels like family to me and I am seriously bummed that when he is in Portugal, where I spend half my time, I will be off working somewhere in Andalucia. So, this is for you Andy. I hope you have an awesome time and I wish I could be with you! I know you are staying at a hotel in Sintra so why not enjoy an afternoon taking the tram to from Sintra to Praia das Maçãs. The tramline opened in 1904 and runs for 7 miles from Sintra down to the beach.
There is an awesome restaurant called Búzio where we had a seafood rice and a perfect salad to go with it. I like rice dishes in Portugal more than anywhere else. My favorite is Arroz de Tamboril which is a soupy rice dish made with monkfish and shrimp. It is almost always flavored with cilantro which is what makes it perfect.
You can take the tram down to the beach and have a nice walk, enjoy a great lunch and then take the tram back to Sintra for a coffee and a great Portuguese pastry like a pastel de fejião, a queijada or a pastel de laranja. You can eat 4 different pastries a day while you are there because there are so many to try.
You can be a nerd like I am and pose with the tram. Enjoy!!!!
If there is one place in Granada that has never let me down, it is Cayao. We were lucky enough to stumble upon this gem when we moved into our second to last neighborhood. It was love at first sight and we continue to be faithful through the years. The tapas and specialty dishes are based on local cuisine, homemade, and always delightful. The owner and son of a bullfighter, Mariano, treats his clients like close family. I’ve brought groups, family and many friends here and everyone has always enjoyed every minute and morsel.
It is best to arrive early to Cayao to enjoy a tapa of their fantastic rice with alioli. But if you don’t the replacements are just as good if not better. On my last trip before Christmas with my partner in crime we were lucky enough to be in time for the rice. Our palates were also blessed with the best Tortilla Española in Granada slathered in Salmorejo ( a thick tomato, garlic puree) and accompanied by a cabbage salad dressed with oil, vinegar and pomegranate seeds. Our last tapas surprise were small sauteed potato cakes topped with spinach with raisins and pine nuts and served with a perfect Manchego cheese. Thanks Mariano.
The regular menu at Cayao is filled with wonderful options that include Salt Cod with fried garlic, fondue, and Iberian pork cheeks in a Pedro Jimenez sauce that is out of this world. One of our standard favorites is their special Pisto (vegetable stew) which they prepare heavy on the zucchini and garnished with fried slices of bread or “picatostes”. It is pretty much impossible to go wrong. They also offer a different daily dish which varies from lentils to a Gypsy stew made of white beans, garbanzos and many pork surprises.
For me Cayao is a mixture bar/museum. I love to wander around and look at the bullfighting posters, newspaper articles and amazing artifacts that are hanging on the walls. One of my favorites is a menu from 1957 that posts the prices for Tapas in pesetas. They prices range from 4 to 20 pesetas which nowadays works out to approximately 2 – 12 cents. Wow.
Cayao is a must visit in Granada. If there is a Cheers for me in Spain, this is it. Happy New Year!!!