Tarkarí – The Best Restaurant in Colindres

December 08, 2014 By: erik Category: Colindres, Food, Photos, Spain, Travel

TarKaríDue to a lucky bit of childlessness this weekend, my wife and I were finally able to try the best restaurant in town, which opened less than a year ago, I think. It’s a place called Tarkarí. The name comes from an Indian curry, the chef is Venezuelan, but the food is Italian, although perhaps the chef might prefer the word “fusion”. The logo proclaims “gastroart”, and the logo looks like it was drawn by my one year old son; how delightfully pretentious! The chef explained to me that the vegetable curry called tarkari was introduced to the Caribbean during British occupation, eventually made its way from the islands to Venezuela, and somewhere along the way baby goat was added to make the, now typical, Venezuelan dish called tarkarí de chivo. Perhaps it’s this cultural culinary fusion that lead the chef to name his restaurant after it. Plus, it’s a pretty cool word.
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Donkey Sunday

December 03, 2014 By: erik Category: Parenting, Photos, Spain, Travel

Cantabrian CowOne Sunday in early November, at around 2am (so colloquially still “Saturday night”), I mentioned, over the loud thump-thump of the salsa music, to our friend Agustín that my family and I would like to come up to his mountain garden with him some time to see his newborn donkey…perhaps tomorrow? He gave me the reasonable response of, “Dude, you’ve gotta give me more notice,” which I accepted humbly. But then, the following morning, I get a text message from him saying that he is up on the mountain and if we’d like to head out there, we’re welcome. It takes us just shy of an hour (possibly a record!) to muster the troops, and soon we’re in the car.
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Cueva del Valle – Rasines, Cantabria

October 27, 2014 By: erik Category: Photos, Spain, Travel, Videos

Dad! Can I keep it?After an exhausting Saturday caring for the kids and doing housework, we decided we really needed to get out of the house on the unusually warm, sunny late October Sunday. Searching through some Cantabrian tourism websites, my wife found Cueva del Valle, in nearby Rasines (which I’ve decided to pronounce “raisins” because it’s funny). The place is called a Paleolithic Park, because evidence of human cave occupants has been dated to over 9,000 years ago. To help you grok that number, that’s temporally as far away from Ancient Egypt as Ancient Egypt is from us. Grok, incidentally, was one of the cave’s more notorious occupants back then.
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Ampuero 2014

September 10, 2014 By: erik Category: Bulls, Family, Offspring, Photos, Spain, Travel

Ampuero 2014This past weekend we went to the annual festival in Ampuero. The best way to describe it is that it’s a mini-San-Fermín, the enormous annual festival in Pamplona known worldwide for its encierro (running of the bulls). San Fermín is seven days long, and the festival in Ampuero is only three days, but they do have a running of the bulls and they do party for all 72 hours for those three days. There is also a well respected dress code of wearing all white with a red scarf and optional other red accessories. The Ampuero festival is perhaps slightly more kid-friendly than the one in Pamplona. It’s also not as overrun by foreign tourists, which might make it closer to the San Fermín that Hemingway fell in love with. It might make a good destination for some cheap holidays in Spain. We had a great time, going out until the wee hours on Friday and Saturday night, and then going to the bull run on Sunday.
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Condado de la Mota – Mogro

August 31, 2014 By: erik Category: Food, Spain, Travel

Condado de la Mota, MogroOn Sunday morning, our last weekend day before our children return from summer vacation, my wife and I realized we had total freedom to do whatever we wished. As we were contemplating our options, my stomach rumbled, so I picked up an iPad and went to Mule Carajonero, far and away the best food blog in Cantabria, to check out potential restaurants we could experience. When I marveled aloud at how many “We’ve eaten at” posts there – roughly 750, 610 of them in Cantabria – my wife came over to look. One of them immediately popped out because she’d read an article recently – probably this one – and had stored the name “Condado de la Mota” on a mental restaurant todo list. We liked what we saw, so I called them up to make a reservation.
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Comillas – Día del Indiano

August 30, 2014 By: erik Category: Photos, Spain, Travel

Mojito and PostcardOn our final weekend before our children come home from summer vacation with their grandparents, my wife and I decided we should take full advantage of our kidlessness and do some traveling tourism around Cantabria. We discovered this excellent website that details upcoming events in the region, and we decided to drive an hour to the west to a town called Comillas to see their annual Día del Indiano festival. We visited Comillas eight long years ago to scout out potential wedding venues, but we have not been back.
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Dougall’s – Local Cantabrian Beer

April 26, 2014 By: erik Category: Photos, Spain

DouGall's Beers: Think Globally, Drink LocallyI discovered this brewery two years ago, and I’ve been keeping an eye out for it, but it wasn’t until yesterday that I noticed it in the local Lupa supermarket chain. Some googling tells me that the brewery was started by an Englishman, named Andrew Dougall, around eight years go. The brewery is based out of a little town called Liérganes, only about a half hour away from me.
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Return to Restaurante Solana – Michelin Star Dining in Cantabria

June 22, 2013 By: erik Category: Food, Partying, Photos, Spain, Wine

Coconut and pineapple ravioli with passionfruitWhen our friends Simon and Paola were visiting last week from Brussels, we wanted to show off our local cuisine. As you can see from Simon’s blog, they are fine dining hobbyists, taking advantage of their location in Brussels to try as many Michelin Star restaurants as they can. After I visited them and they took me out to one of Brussels’ finest establishments, the fine dining bug bit me as well. It really is a fun experience.

After I visited them in October, I took my wife out to our local Michelin Star establishment, Restaurante Solana, and we were wowed, especially my wife, who had been dubious about the whole thing. So naturally we wanted to take Simon and Paola to Restaurante Solana to show off what Cantabria has to offer.
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Morning in Limpias

April 02, 2013 By: erik Category: Family, Photos, Spain, Travel

Kayak TiltshiftTwo and a half years ago, we drove the seven minutes to the town of Limpias and very much enjoyed a walk along the river. I remember thinking at the time, “I should bring my parents here.” And last weekend, I did. The sky was clear and the sun was warming the cool spring air, and we decided to walk along the water in Limpias.

Limpias is positioned by where the Asón River begins to open up before spilling into the sea in Colindres, and Limpias still has a lot of artillery guarding the river entrance, presumably from the Spanish Civil War.
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Maidens of Laredo

March 19, 2013 By: erik Category: Art, Photos, Spain, Travel

Maidens of Laredo (cropped)I’m a big fan of clever street art, such as this mural, in nearby Santoña, that spans three buildings. The medieval Old Town section of nearby Laredo is both the most happening social zone of the town, and also the most derelict crumbling part, full of abandoned, disintegrating buildings. Just last month one of them blew over. So there are plenty of abandoned houses with boarded up windows. A year or two ago, some interesting paintings began appearing on some of the doors and windows of the Old Town, depicting women inside the houses looking out. More than once, I’ve done a double-take when walking by, because they seem so real.
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