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Moguer (Huelva)

Moguer is a white-washed pueblo 20 minutes from the larger town of Huelva. If you love poetry, it is the birthplace of one of Spain's finest, Juan Ramón Jiménez and there are two museums in the village dedicated to his life and poetry. The village is palpably unique when compared to other villages in Granada, Almería or Cádiz in both appearance & vibe. 

 
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vino naranja 

From: Condado de Huelva

Not to be confused with the ever-popular orange wine, referring to the color of white wines avec skin maceration, this is a white wine having lived in a solera system for two years (similar to that of Sherry) and finally, infused with orange rind to render an off-dry > medium sweet wine. Not dissimilar to Vermouth, this historic wine is experiencing a resurgence and like the aforementioned elixir, you can find disheartening examples and ones that leave you shocked requesting a second glass. 

 
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el rocío (Huelva) 

Plain and simple. El Rocío is creepy. With dusty, sandy streets, I feel as though I'm walking through a sleepy, Andalusian town from the 1930s (save the touristy stands with chotchkies up the wahzoo in the center plaza). Over a million religious pilgrims flock to El Rocío every year so to get the full effect, avoid the pueblo in July/August. I strongly suggest walking deeper into the village, off the main streets. 

 
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Puro Chup chup

Calle Rabida, 6 | Huelva

Recommended by one of my winemakers, this takes many-a-local ingredient and gives it a serious facelift, infusion Huelva with Asian flare. Fish and seafood galore, however some of the food needs a spritz of acid. Never fear, the sommelier, Fran knows wine well and has a slew of regional and national wines open by the glass, a brilliant way of cruising the food + wine pairing realm. A welcome find amongst a lot of the same 'ol, same 'ol. 

 
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SHERRY BODEGAS 

Jerez de la Frontera | Sanlúcar de Barrameda | Chipiona | El Pto. de Sta. María

Sherry is one of the world's most COMPLEX & COMPLETE wines on planet Earth. Light, refreshing; rich, provoking; healing, whimsical... You get the picture. Stepping foot in the bodegas along with the nightly cries of Flamenco will make you never desire to reach what you thought was home base. Spain never seems the same after leaving the Sherry Triangle. 

Bodegas/coops to consider: Maestro Sierra, La Cigarrera, Emilio Hidalgo, Lustau, Bodegas Grant, Bodegas Tradición, Hidalgo La Gitana, Gutiérrez Colosía, César Florido, and many, many more. 

 
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MERCADO DE ABASTOS

C/ Doña Blanca, 8 | Jerez de la Frontera

Seriously, one of the freshest seafood markets in Spain. Coffee is substituted by southern Spanish hysterical haggling, shouting, and all in drawl in the best way! The guy in the photo is schlepping fresh fish from Sanlúcar, a "pueblo" 25 minutes away. Buy serendipitous & adventurous seafood to cook alongside your over-purchasing of Sherry at a local bodega. 

 
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El tabanco plateros

Calle Algarve, 35 | Jerez de la Frontera

Some of the cleanest food you'll eat in Jerez. Period. They don't have a kitchen but proudly and concisely serve an astute selection of cheeses, embutidos (cured meats) and conserves (peppers, seafood and fish!). 15+ Sherries by the glass = smile on face.

 
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El tabanco san pablo

Calle San Pablo, 12 | Jerez de la Frontera

The food is typical, nothing to go out of your way for, but the atmosphere and service is classic. If you want an archetypal experience, look no further than Tabanco San Pablo. There are too many pictures on the wall, the kitchen usually isn't open till 9p, you order at the bar (no table service) and most of the Sherry is mediocre. There are a few gems so ask - they may let you taste from the small solera in another section of the tabanco. Open since 1934. 

 
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Catedral de Jerez

Plaza Encarnación | Jerez de la Frontera

A spectacle and architecture that's atypical when you compare it to the other famous cathedrals of Spain (Burgos, Salamanca, Zaragoza). With a history dating from the 1200s-1900s, both the exterior and interior are worth taking time for a visit, not to mention viewing the Zurbarán hung behind the alter. 

 
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churros!

In front of Mercado de Abastos | Jerez de la Frontera

Look at this stand. Look closely. The guy on the left has sold out of churros. Both stalls donning red and yellow-awnings sell fried, long, indented dough but there's no question, the man on the left is more cheerful and his churros taste of the joy and time it takes to make a great churro friend in fresh sunflower oil. This is perfect cajoling of crispy meets fluffy dough - sprinkle sugar if you must. Portions are large. Get a chocolate and a cortado to go from the restaurant behind the stand and you'll be dipping your churros, as I do in chocolate first, bite, then sip of cortado, then naked bite, then chocolate-dunked bite. Repeat. 

 
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1987 Bar

Alameda de Hércules, 93 | Sevilla

You. Will. Not. Stop. Dancing. Enter a black hole of music from the 80s with a few musts from the 70s and 90s. Literally a top dance establishment the world over for good vibes, tunes and strong drinks. Gay friendly almost goes without saying. 

 
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Casa de pilatos

Plaza de Pilatos, 1 | Sevilla

This is an convoluted piece of Sevillano history and extremely intricate in its delivery of some of the best preserved pieces of "cuerda seca" tiles along with ancient Roman sculpture and friezes (both originals and exact replicas). Usually free on Monday nights.

 
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birthplace of diego velázquez

C/ Padre Luis María Llop, 4 | Sevilla

There's not much to see, but the energy on this small street is thick and almost mystical. Imagine the streets with sand/dust, the residences being much lower, take a trip back in time as you stand in front of the birthplace of one of the world's most revered artists. A must for art buffs. 

 
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Taberna águilas

Calle Águilas, 10 | Sevilla

I ordered a few things on the menu twice. I went back for a second visit. The food is so well done you get classics without being heavy or clumsy (which is the case for many Spanish traditional dishes). The ajo blanco soup is the smoothest I've ever encountered. The pisto, perfect on a fall day with a fried egg and the spinach with garbanzos is perfectly seasoned and hearty without feeling weighty. There are also perfect inclusions for local wines like a curried chicken. Wash it all down with a Fino Sherry or wine from the region to create perfect balance on the palate. 

 
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CABO DE GATA-NÍJAR NATURAL PARK (Almería)

 

Beautiful beaches; isolated ones if you bring appropriate foot ware for H2O. Can be touristy during the depths of July/August. 

 
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BAR CALAGRANDE

Plaza de Escullos,  La Isleta del Moro | Almería

The place looks a little sketchy on the outside & the inside isn't much better. It does have one my favorite renditions of ajo blanco (chilled white soup w/ garlic + almonds + bread + Sherry vinegar + etc.). Their gazpacho also added a tasty chill to a sweltering day. 

 

ALHAMBRA

C/ Real de la Alhambra | Granada

This 13th century fortress/palace has to be seen to be believed. Stone/wood carving beyond one's imagination in addition to myriad additions throughout the ages creates a bewildering stupor for the senses. The gardens are magical. Usually crowded on weekends.