La Boca del Lobo in Quito

Jules and I read about this funky place and it sounded fun and close to our hotel so we went to check it out. It’s in Quito’s Mariscal neighborhood, just off the main intersection. Look for the pink and blue lights.

Quito, Ecuador

The interior decor is equally as entertaining with bright colors

Quito, Ecuador

A tree growing up through the middle of the restaurant

Quito, Ecuador

And the main floor tiled with La Virgin

Quito, Ecuador

On every surface

Quito, Ecuador

Boca serves food tapas-style, so every dish we tried was small-ish and shareable. We got the platano tortillas, little fried cakes of plantain with a yogurt sauce.

Quito, Ecuador

I wanted to like these but they didn’t have a lot of seasoning and the sauce was a bit strange.

The empanadas came next and they were our favorite dish of the night.

Quito, Ecuador

We ordered 3 spinach and 3 mushroom and they were all garlicky and incredible.  They’re about 2 bites apiece, which may not be evident in the picture. We loved them so much that we ordered another round.

Next up were roasted mushrooms with a yogurt sauce.

Quito, Ecuador

I liked the flavor but the cooking was somewhat uneven so some of the mushrooms were raw.

The feta fritters were also good but a bit bland.

Quito, Ecuador

Boca’s prices are touristy – tapas dishes cost between $8-14 apiece – and I found the food quality somewhat uneven. I think that Latin American restaurants have a difficult time replicating the flavor profiles of European food and this restaurant is no exception.

However, I loved the atmosphere and the food presentation and it was a fun experience that I’d recommend to anyone who wants an offbeat place to eat in the Mariscal neighborhood.

Food in Spain

It should come as no surprise that the food in Spain made a big impression on me. If that comes as a surprise you are obviously new to this blog, in which case, Welcome!

I’ll miss the breakfast churros

Spain

And the churro makers with windows into their kitchens

Spain

Offset the grease with some fresh squeezed juice. It comes in every imaginable combination

Spain

Tapas, of course. I applaud the American restaurants that offer tapas style food because my ideal dinner includes a few bites of a dozen things instead of a dozen bites of one thing.

SpainChorizo braised in apple cider.

SpainAsparagus grilled with olive oil and salt

Anchovies and basil on grilled bread

And speaking of bread. It’s everywhere. With everything. Grilled and smeared with tomato and garlic

Spain

Delivered fresh every morning in big crates

Spain

Everywhere.

Spain

Eat it with paella

Spain

Alongside things you’ve never seen before

SpainI thought maybe these were Dragon claws, but it turns out they’re gooseneck barnacles.

And if the exotic doesn’t appeal, how about some jamon?

Spain

Because seriously, ham is the only thing you’ll see more of in Spain than bread. It’s even in bars.

Spain

And when you’re all overloaded on salt and grease, cool off with some gelato

SpainThe blue is simply called “Blue ice” so I guess blue is now a flavor.

And speaking of things that are strange, how about this guy

Spain

His gelato is so delicious that he’s eating himself.

Oh Spain, I’m gonna miss you. Creepy gelato guys and all…

Zaragoza

We didn’t intend to stay in Zaragoza but it’s about halfway between Pamplona and Barcelona and we found hotel rooms with no trouble; so, Zaragoza it is!

Notable things in town include the ruins of a Roman theatre built between 11-32AD and used as a performance space for the next 300 years.

And the Basilica de Nuestra Senora del Pilar built around a sighting of Mary in 48AD.

Zaragoza Spain

They’ve remodeled the northern tower and added an elevator and several flights of stairs leading right into the tip top cupola, from which you can see 360 degrees around the city.

Zaragoza SpainLike most cathedrals, this basilica is a mix of architectural influences, including Moorish influenced roof tiles.

We ended the night with tapas (naturalmente)

Zaragoza Spain

And Sangria out of a tapped cask

Zaragoza SpainUnlike most places in Spain, Zaragoza shuts down early. By midnight the streets were empty

The Basilica looked beautiful at night

Zaragoza Spain

Tomorrow: Barcelona.

Pamplona

My favorite Spanish breakfast

Pamplona Spain

Tortilla Espagnole is eggs and potatoes and this one they layered with ham and cheese. They serve it room temperature and I still love it.

Hemingway spent quite a bit of time in Pamplona over the years and we ate breakfast at Cafe Iruna, his hang out place to write and drink. They’ve put a statue of him at his favorite spot at the bar.

Pamplona Spain

We spent most of the day wandering around Pamplona. They have the oldest and most intact citadel in Europe, originally built in 48AD, which they turned into a modern art museum.

Pamplona Spain

Ingenious.

This is the famous street curve in the Running of the Bulls route:

Pamplona Spain

I think the bulls rarely have trouble getting around the bend but the humans have a hard time getting out of their way…

Fancy Town Hall, all dressed up

 

Pamplona Spain

Some tapas

Spain

And helado

Pamplona Spain

And we hit the road. Tonight, Zaragoza.

Pamplona Spain

Pamplona Spain

Corey and Kaitlyn, out.

A taste of Madrid

Breakfast: Cafe con leche and Churros

Madrid Spain

Dip!

Madrid Spain

Madrid architecture runs to buildings with huge brick facades decorated with gorgeous iron balconies and lamp posts surrounding central squares. Hard to photograph.

Madrid Spain

Each square  anchors a neighborhood. Cafes put out tables, street artists perform and the place teems with people at night.

Snack? Straight from the USA?

Madrid Spain

I would love to meet the guy that stacked these cherries.

Don Quixote and Sancho Panza, two of Spain’s favorite sons.

Plaza Espana Madrid

Lunch: wine and tapas

Fried potatoes with aioli and trout roe. SO. GOOD.

Madrid Spain

The Reina Sofia museum houses Picasso’s Guernica, a piece robbed of its impact in reproductions. It’s haunting, disturbing and so powerful. We’re going to try to drive through Guernica on our way north tomorrow so I’ll talk more about it then.

Additionally, Reina Sofia has one of Europe’s largest collections of Modern Art (much more my style than the Prado). I loved this piece, which is a working metronome called Object of Destruction by Man Ray, and the kid who kept trying to figure out how it worked.

Reina Sofia Museum Madrid

And now it’s 7pm.  Time to go home, take a nap and a shower and then come back out at 10pm for dinner. At least, that’s what we’re gonna do!

Remember:

Corey and Kaitlyn, out.

Madrid Spain

Madrid Spain