by Jennifer Salvador Greenheart Travel Program Manager
Living in Spain was one of the greatest experiences of my life and, without a doubt, the most life changing. By the time I returned home, I could speak a new language, had met my future husband, and had fallen in love with a country—and my passion for patatas bravas was in full swing!
My first time ordering at a Spanish restaurant from a Spanish menu was an experience I will cherish and laugh about forever. I sat down at a beautiful restaurant in the port of Castellon and began browsing the menu barely understanding a single word. Then, suddenly, I saw it—sopa marinera! I thought “It must be some kind of soup with an Italian-style marinara sauce…sounds familiar—perfect!”
I sat waiting and anticipating my yummy lunch and was so excited to see my waiter returning to the table with a big bowl of steaming hot soup. He sat the bowl down in front of me, and as I looked down…I found something staring back at me. A Godzilla-size prawn with huge black eyeballs laid there, in a seafood broth…yum? As I sipped my broth careful to avoid getting involved at all with the prawn, I wondered if all food would be this way in Spain.
As I found out later that year, I could not have been more wrong! As my time in Spain flew by, my love affair with Spanish foods grew and grew just as quickly. I learned the joys of tapas and Spanish wine, which in Spain are as important as the conversations and three hour meals that form around them.
If I had to pick one tapa, I’d say that, by far, patatas bravas are my favorite. They are basically fried potatoes with a spicy, aioli sauce. Paella is also a safe bet. This awesome rice and seafood dish is wonderful to share over dinner with friends and family and is even more amazing when enjoyed right by the Mediterranean coast. It doesn’t get much fresher than that!