01 August 2005

Jerez part the second...

I have a vicious case of poison head today. So instead of falling deeper into it I'm going to attempt to transcribe some of my notes from May. I'm not editing these at all, so mis-spellings, grammatical failures et al are straight from the notes. Except for the typos.

"Tues 10 May 05
Meson El Alcazar -
Amazing coffee
Amazing ham sandwich
Lovely Manzanilla
Shame about the mouldy chorizo in Graeme's sandwich
We preceded this by a walk around the Cathedral (18th, quite impressive & very cool bell tower)
- Discussed Cadiz & Sanlucar on the coast. Thurs?

Town seems to work @ a slow pace, with the exception of the mopeds.

Alcazar - orginally Muslim fortress circa 12C, then palace of the governors of Jerez. Gardens are stunning, though still under refurbishment - geometric symmetry harkens very much to Muslim influence. Mosque and Baths still intact.

Incredibly peaceful, in spite of the mighty ramparts, or perhaps the enclosure gives security = peace?

Camera Oscura - Amazing panarama - made in Edinburgh

Lunch Tuesday:
Manchego - deliscious
Tio Pepé Casserole - John Dory, shrimp, jamon, garlic, mushrooms, chilli - great 'peasant food' fit for a king.
Graeme - scrambled eggs with wild asparagus, jamon again, incrediblefino towards the end complimented and cleansed.

Patron saint San Dionisio - very amusing.

Time to wander

Wandered into the Barrio. Iglesia (church) Santiago is lovely - pigeon nest on bell tower & brilliant gargoyles are amusingly hideous & the beer at the bar "Meson Bar La Venencia de Santiago" is well chilled. Beggars - 3 so far. Off to Flamenco Centre & (hopefully) Archeology Museum.

Sadly closed (San Mateo district)
We did go by 2 potential Iglesias de San Juan and then through the back streets of Bodegas Domecq which brings us back to the cathedral. Punctuated by a quick fino in the no-mans-land between Domecq & Gonzalez Byass at El Moulino.

Then Bus tour

After bus tour we traced our steps back from last night to fins the sherry shop & Lustau. Bought an Old Amontillado from Don José Maria for 27€ then went to the bar we were scared of last night. Con leche, Tapas Jamon & oloroso consumed & loved! Lustau found, though unsure of the entrance.

*aside - give Graeme credit, far more daring with language than I am*

On the way back we looked through the window of the most amazing deli ever! a hundred pig legs hanging from the ceiling! We didn't go in for fear of never leaving.
*Plaza Silos*
Then, having been tempted last night, Bar Nono on Plaza Arenal. This may be the greatest bar I have ever been in. The bar itself looks like a relic, the floorspace is smaller thean my sitting room & the sherry served is bottled unceremoniously on premises! Massive barrels behind the bar are NOT for decoration. They are haphazardly stacked behind the bar and will be bottled for you on request. A pure distillation of the spirit behind the Ox in Edinurgh, Aikmans in St Andrews, the Wheatsheaf in Brigsteer and any other spit & sawdust in the world. You bring your own food, the owner is helpful and seemingly totally unaware of what a truly spectacular establishment he has, much in the same way those friends of yours whose sweetness & innocence hit your heart at the merest thought of them. It is no more than what it is. And because of that, in my mind, it is greater than the greatest. This is me. While I do love the pretense of the style bars, the luxury of fine dining, the back straightening feel of black tie, it is this that I love the most. A great thing stripped down to its most basic and essential purity. It is elemental. Hydrogen. w/o it the complex compounds would be an impossible thing, as such you rarely see it in its pure form.

All of this waxing lyrical does it a disservice. It is a bar, nothing more & nothing less. The best bar I have found yet. The woman I take here & understands why I love it will marry me. The woman I take here & loves it as I do will stay with me forever or kill me.
Dinner: Bar Juanitos - reputed to be the best tapas in town, it certainly lived up to its rep!
Meat, black pudding & broad bean soom
Chocos Fritos (fried cuttlefish)
Pork loin sausage *
Artichokes in sauce *
Spiny dogfish
Jamon *
Meat Jerez style
Potatos de Jerez
Totally amazing!"

- Well... that was our first day. We were a bit far gone in Nono's while I was writing that. I still feel that way though. Even if I was talking a load of shit.

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