Good morning everyone. After spending a few days in Athens (post 1 and post 2) and a few days in Crete (post 1 and post 2), we headed to Malta for a week. My girlfriend has relatives in Malta, so her family showed us around and treated us to several dinners and an amazing feast. All of the things I will show you are available to the public and accessible via public transportation. If you are in Malta for a few days, I highly recommend getting a 7 day bus pass for 21 Euros. If you pay as you ride, each ride is 1.5 to 3 Euros, so if you make a few round trip bus rides, the 7 day pass pays for itself very quickly. The bus network goes all over the country and runs relatively on time.
The first stop in Malta was to Valletta, the fortified city near the coast. Valletta had lots of shops, restaurant, and history.
I guess it’s time for a true confession. I’m a coffee snob. And when I travel, I have a passion for supporting local roasters and coffee houses. Let’s just say I’ve BEAN Around the World and I’m feeling like now is the time to start sharing the love… and caffeine, one city at a time. Recently, I had a wonderful holiday in Madrid, Spain. And though it was hard to tear myself away from the incredible pinchos and rioja, I did explore the coffee houses, and I’m glad I did. I drank plenty of coffee, talked with baristas, and I’ve got lots to share with you. Let’s open the TWG cafe society doors and talk coffee, Madrid style. If you haven’t had a chance to read Madrid coffee part one and part two, I suggest you do because they offer in-depth explanations of the general coffee scene and talk about how people in Madrid typically drink coffee. And of course, I give you my best recommendations for where to drink coffee! Continue reading
Have you ever gotten a tip about a place you were about to visit that just didn’t make sense? I have. And it taught me a great travel lesson. When someone gives me tips about a place I’m visiting, I’ll always ask them, “When was the last time you were there?” I just prefer tips to be as recent as possible. So having recently returned from a really wonderful time in Madrid, Spain, I’ve got a variety of tips I’m hoping you’ll enjoying knowing about.
Of course, we start with food. Here’s a fun question for you. Do you like to throw your napkins on the floor after you use them? Then I’ve got a restaurant in Madrid to recommend! And not just because of the napkin routine :) Orio is a Basque style tapas bar in the Chueca area of Madrid. If you’ve never tried classic pintxos, you must! Orio is fun, delicious, and a great value. The fresh oysters may have been some of the best I’ve ever had. Don’t be shy about asking questions because the staff is warm and welcoming. And don’t forget to throw your napkins on the floor!
Pintxos at Orio in Madrid, Spain. Image source: http://gruposagardi.com/en/restaurant/orio-gastronomia-vasca/
Good morning from Athens, Greece (or as the Greeks would say “Καλημέρα από Αθήνα, Ελλάδα). I am writing to you from the InterContinental Athenaeum Athens (35,000 IHG points/night). If you are heading to Athens, Greece, I highly recommend the Athens Small-Group Culinary Walking Tour, where you walk around the city, lead by a local, English-speaking tour guide and try some of the best, most authentic Greek food in the world.
I am not going to cover everything we saw, ate, smelled or learned on the tour, but here some of my favorite photos. Our tour guide handed us a piece of paper showing us which foods we would be experiencing on this tour (I will reference names and restaurants throughout the post). At the beginning of the tour, we stopped by a local street vendor selling Koulouri, the “Greek breakfast” that is a round piece of bread covered in sesame seeds. You can find Koulouri all around Athens, at any time of day, and the price is only 0.5 Euros. I ate a few of these around Athens :)
It’s always a treat to try some famous higher end restaurants when you travel. I’ll admit to not always taking the opportunity to do this. And of course “famous” can mean a lot of different things. When I say “famous” I mean restaurants that are run by well-known local chefs who usually I’ve never heard of. Famous can also mean that the locals eat here and absolutely rave about it and may not have any association with a local chef celebrity at all. In Portugal, I had the opportunity to try four restaurants that I’ve been meaning to tell you about. I also contribute my favorite of all the gelato places!
Do you enjoy ceviche? If so, A Cevicheria in the Principe Real area of Lisbon is a must. I spent quite a bit of time both in Principe Real as well as walking through the area to get to other neighborhoods, so I passed this place a few times and didn’t realize what it was. The menu is dedicated to South American cuisine, especially Peruvian tapas and Ceviche. It’s the creation of Portuguese Chef Kiko Martins.
Cevicheria Cornbread Starter