I can’t believe it; it has been a month since I’ve posted. Vacations really do throw you out of the routine, I guess. That’s the point though right? Gives you a first hand look at all the silly things you’ve made a habit (not that blogging is silly) and take up the important ones again. Although I can’t say I’ve done that. I have taken up the gym again since returning, so always a good habit there. However, writing, here and elsewhere, has been a bit sparse. I have done a lot of photo editing, primarily my trip photos and have some hanging up in my studio! So here it goes with my first post about Spain.
Spain in the summer is hot, hot, HOT! I also didn’t care one bit (why care about those things when in Spain). With hot and humid weather, there were plenty of ways to cool down with a delicious beverage morning, noon, and night. Okay, so in the morning I still got a hot cup of café con leche paired with a flaky croissant. Yes, the coffee is better over there and served up with milk gives it almost a caramel flavor. You can get your espresso served over ice which I did partake in a couple of afternoons for a pick me up, ordered as café con hielo.
The significant other’s breakfast tradition was a bikini served with freshly squeezed orange juice. Before I get into the greatness that is the orange juice, let me first explain the bikini. The bikini is essentially a grilled cheese sandwich with ham. Pork being one of the things that my guy can’t pass up, it was a no-brainer. Now for the juice. Orange juice is served in virtually every establishment I walked into. Behind the bars of restaurants is a juicer pumping out ultra-perfect cups of orange juice that taste like–you guessed it–ORANGES! “Well of course it tasted like oranges,” you say. However, here in the United States, our orange juice is orange flavored sugar. Served room temperature, this juice reminded me of biting into the warm oranges of my childhood and the tangerines my cuzzie and I used to steal from the neighbor’s yard.
Fruit was an obvious importance to the cuisine. At La Boqueria, fresh fruit smoothies are sold as a refreshing treat or a nice way to tie you over until the next meal.
Even the architecture was inspired:
Before leaving for the trip, a friend of mine had suggested that I duck into the Starbucks in the Gothic Quarter. If for nothing else, the lovely ceiling and mosaic floor.
Fruit with alcohol? Yes. Sangria was an easy find served in two variations typically: wine or champagne. For the first night in Barcelona, we celebrated with a pitcher of champagne sangria. It was delightfully refreshing and again not too sweet at all.
My favorite find had was the clara. It was introduced to me by my new friends and locals to the area.
Having ordered it several times over the course of a couple of days, I was able to try different mixtures, not one being quite as good as the first. Clara is a beer based beverage that is mixed with lemon soda. The result is a very light and refreshing drink for those not looking to get hammered.
After having the recipe explained to me, I was determined to recreate it stateside. I tracked down Estrella (beer) at BevMo, however a good Mexico beer would serve well too. There is even a gluten-free option interestingly enough. The trickier part of the recipe was to track down a suitable lemon soda. Squirt was suggested however, something about the usual suspects seemed too sugary and not enough lemony. Best bet? Sparkling lemonade from Trader Joe’s. You can adjust the proportions however this is how I like it:
~ 3 parts Estrella Lager
~ 1 part French Market Sparkling Lemonade
~ served always in a glass