Spain is one of my favorite countries to take a short, or longer break! It has friendly people, beautiful beaches, a great climate and some great food! In this post I will talk about our latest trip to Spain, about the places we visited, the food we had and I will include a recipe to make a proper Ensalada Mixta ( mixed salad the way the Spanish love it). Enjoy our Spanish road trip!
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Spanish Road Trip
I realize more and more how perfectly our home is located, it is in the south of the Netherlands. From here we drive into Belgium or Germany withing minutes, so exploring Europe is really easy. Last year we decided on Eastern Europe but this year we decided to go back to our beloved Spain again. We briefly considered to go camping at one of our all-time favorite camping sites but quickly agreed on taking a Spanish road trip instead. Now, although we do live very central to travel Europe, It still is a long drive as the picture below shows. But when we close the front door to our house we feel free and relaxed so to us it is no problem to drive far. Please take into consideration that The Netherlands is a really small country so we are not really used to drive long distances like my wonderful readers from the United States are.
If you look at the top left of the picture above you see NLD, that’s where I live, in the south of it. You can tell how close it is to Belgium and Germany. Do you see the strait of Gibraltar? That’s almost how far the most southern part of our Spanish road-trip took us. Driving from our house to the south of Spain, taking the fastest route, is 2.307 kilometers. But we did not take the fastest route because we wanted to visit different places. So we drove a bit further.
Of course Tapas are really famous and by all means you should definitely have some, or a lot. However Spain does have more to offer. Fantastic fresh fish dishes, soft and succulent pork dishes, wonderful goat meat dishes and so on. The first day in Spain we always go for some of the standard tapas served throughout the whole country. This year we had deep fried baby squid, tomato bread with anchovies and of course some gorgeous Jamon Iberico! We had it for lunch as we arrived quite early at Roses, a wonderful town on the south east coast of Spain about 168 km north of Barcelona.
Tapas can be completely different
Although the tapas on the picture above are really good, they are somewhat mainstream and available in most regions of Spain. So on our first evening we wanted to try completely different types of tapas and called in the help of a friend that has been going to Roses for nearly 20 years. Our friend is (much like us) obsessed with great and different food so he was definitely our go-to guy for this. He told us we should give ROM Restaurant a chance. Trusting our friends opinion we went there that night and oh boy where we in for a treat! Right on the boulevard (it actually turned out to be next to our hotel!) you find the terrace and tavern of this amazing restaurant. The restaurant will be situated upstairs I think but at the time we where there it wasn’t open yet. The menu looks simple at first glance but if you look closer you will soon find the hidden gems on it. A whole new tapas world opened its doors to us! Amazing!
Restaurant ROM, Roses Spain
We where over the moon to find this restaurant! A relaxed atmosphere, super friendly waiters and chef Pere Planaguma is one of my new kitchen heroes! Chef Planaguma used to work in a Michelin Star restaurant and although the food he cooks in Restaurant ROM to me is Star Worthy he is not interested in this. In my book he really reinvented Tapas. As you can see above we had a variety of fantastic food. Polenta/Tapioca fried to perfection with a spicy ketchup, tuna tartar with mint, mango, basil and some dill, crispy pork belly with cherries and cheese bread. Are you getting hungry already? I know I am! Well lets go on for a bit then. We also had a terrine of Foie marinated in Garum ( fish sauce), cottage cheese ice-cream with basil tomato and Garum. One of the owners of the restaurant served us rosemary ice-cream with a jelly of shrimp bisque which was not on their menu. OMG so good. Of course we had to try some of their desserts as well. We decided to order two desserts to share, warm raspberries with raspberry sorbet and raspberry mousse and Pina Colada. We had an amazing evening. Chef Planaguma you have 2 Dutch fans for life!
Next stop: Alcoseber
Our next stop was Alcoseber just because we have been coming here for about 15 years and there is something about it we absolutely love. This time it was a bit different because we usually go camping here ( want to know a bit more about this and get a great Paella recipe? click here.) and this was the first time we stayed in a hotel. Now to find a hotel in the center of this wonderful little town was impossible as it was the weekend of the annual Spanish Biker Meeting. The hotels where full. Luckily we know Alcoseber quite well so we found a great place to stay a bit further away from the center. We had a couple of relaxing days at the beach and of course in the town. For the first time in my life I had goat meat and I loved it!
Ok guys, this is getting a very long post and I don’t want to bore you, so I have decided to write another blog post about our road trip and just end this one with the recipe of ensalada mixta like I promised. Ensalada mixta is available throughout Spain and it is always more or less the same. Fresh salad leafs, tomatoes, raw onions, cucumber, tuna and eggs drizzled with a gorgeous but simple dressing. Such a simple yet delicious and refreshing side-dish (or lunch served with a side of fries). If you want a different dressing to go with this salad have a look some gorgeous salad dressings here. But trust me when I tell you this simple dressing works really well. Use good quality ingredients though! I use this olive oil and this vinegar.
The picture above shows you one of the ensaladas mixta I had for lunch, I really enjoyed it. Like I said, it’s fresh, simple and delicious!
Happy Cooking! And please stay tuned for our Spanish Road Trip part 2!
This simple yet delicious salad is so easy to make. Serve as a side dish or with french fries as lunch.
- 2 hard boiled eggs, peeled and cut into quarters
- 200 gram fresh salad leafs , just pick your favorite
- 1/2 cucumber, cleaned and cut into slices
- 2 tomatoes, washed and cut into quarters
- 1/2 red onion, peeled and cut into half rings
- 200 gram canned tuna
- 1 tsp Dijon mustard
- 3 tbsp good quality olive oil
- 1 tbsp good quality white balsamic vinegar
- salt and black pepper to taste
- 1 tsp sugar ( optional)
In a small bowl mix mustard with vinegar until combined. Slowly add olive oil ( keep whisking) until the dressing is nice and thick. Add salt and pepper to taste.
On a large plate ( or two dinner plates) arrange salad leaves. place all the other ingredients on top and drizzle with dressing.
Before you add the sugar taste the dressing first. Some vinegar is more acid than others so you might need it.
I love my salad dressing a little bit on the tangy side so I tend to use a bit more vinegar so if you are like that too, just add some more!