españa, friday day 3: bodega san francisco.

This was probably my favorite meal of the week. For a lot of reasons, the first one being that we'd just walked 3.5km up a fucking mountain for over an hour and we were dying of thirst. El Capitan had been singing the praises of this refreshing summer drink for a day or two, it's called tinto de verano (ehhhh, "red wine of summer" according to my Spanish), and it's basically red wine and carbonated lemonade.

Which you wouldn't think to put together, would you. I wouldn't, at least, but then again you know I don't like to think. Anyway the version we tried the day before had been, according to El Capitan, "not fizzy enough" and "possibly store-bought" (vs homemade). To me they were just unspectacular. The version pictured above, however, was pretty spectacular, light years away from the previous day's example, perfectly refreshing and just a great idea for a drink (apparently it's not necessarily as simple as red wine + carbonated lemon drink, let's go to our foreign correspondent Zora O'Neill for a Special Report).

Then the food started coming out. After spending the previous two lunches demonstrating how little I knew about Real Spanish Food, I was no longer in charge of ordering things, and well thank goodness for that. Above is a €1.50 pincho de camaron, which was the first truly great thing I'd eaten in Spain and was, like the drinks, just about perfect. Lightly grilled shrimp with great local olive oil, salt, and a squeeze of lemon. Simple and unbeatable.

Also pictured: something that was supposed to be croquetas de setas (wild mushroom croquettes), but the Captain's finely honed vegetarian palate quickly detected an essence of pork. The next time the waiter came by she (interestingly) didn't mention it, but instead asked if we could have a plate of sauteed setas, and the waiter frowned at the croquettes: "Those were supposed to be croquetas de setas weren't they". The Captain wiggled her eyebrows and said yis and a look of horror flashed over the waiter's face before he dashed off to get the non-porky croquettes.

This is a serranito, a €1 multi-pork sandwich with both serrano ham and a very thin piece of "pork steak", along with a padrón pepper and a piece of tomato. Simple and good, though both versions I tried benefited greatly from a generous splash of olive oil.

This is a lot of things. From left: another €1 pork sandwich that I can't remember the name of; a tortilla de bacalao, super; the plate of sauteed setas, great; the missing croquetas de setas.

Ensalade russe. El Capitan said I had to try this because it's on every menu. It is totally my kind of thing, but I was kind of saving my last bit of space for this:

Masita de chorizo. Another strong candidate for my favorite bite of the trip: it's a chorizoburger, invented a few towns over in Setenil. Pretty much just a fresh chorizo sausage made into a patty, fried, and served on a soft bun. €1.

Then, the walk home, back through the town and straight down the mountain this time, no dramatic scenery, just another 3.5km downhill, heading for Casa Mimosa and la siesta.

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