6 March: part 2
We decided, therefore, to regroup at a restaurant we've been to before: El Rinconcillo, which we were able to find easily enough, thanks to Red's pretty good sense of direction. I'm shit at that stuff! However, as is often the case with great eateries (often, but not always; more on that later), it was rammed. So we left there and headed instead in the general direction of the Casa de Pilatos, figuring that we could eat at somewhere that took our fancy en route.
And that's what we did, having found a cool little tapas bar called Taberna Peregil, which was showing religious processions on a loop on the small TV above the doorway (see pic, above). We ordered a grilled cheese on toast with caramelized onions to share, followed by Iberico sausage for me and salted tuna to share. Red had some water, while I drank beer, which I chased with a Manzanilla sherry. It all came to just shy of €20 -- and payment of the bill resulted in the ringing of a large bell and a "Vaya con Dios!" as we left -- excellent!
The Casa de Pilatos is just a couple of minutes' walk from the tapas bar, but since it was 4pm when we arrived, it seemed a touch late to go in, given that it closes at 6pm, so we wandered slowly back towards Santa Cruz, debating where to eat that evening and the next day. Yes, we like to eat when on holiday!
When you walk a city all day long, instead of jumping in cabs or on buses, you really see it properly. And Seville is one of those cities that is just filled with amazing sights everywhere. Even some of the entrance ways to hotels are picture-worthy! Once back in "the Cruz", as we don't call it, we visited Los Gallos, a flamenco club, to book tickets for the following night, and then we hit up the hotel for a bit of a break. It was now about 6pm, and the T-shirt I'd tried washing and drying that morning was still wet and still stinky.
We decided, after not too long in the room, that we'd take a walk to see if a certain Argentine restaurant that we had visited last time was still open. I'd eaten the most amazing burger there, and we'd got chatting to the waitress, who was Sicilian. Sadly, it seemed to have changed hands. Damn, I was really jonesing for an awesome burger. Instead we went to what might quickly be becoming our fave tapas bar, Casa Placido, with its hams hanging from the ceiling, just around the corner from the hotel. We just wanted to take the edge off the hunger a bit, rather than have dinner proper, so we had a couple of tapas of huevos a la flamenca. So good!
And then we returned once again to the hotel to get changed and ready to go out to dinner at Mesón Casa Luciano, on the other side of the river. Since this is quite a walk, we had the hotel receptionist call to make sure it was still in business and open tonight. Success! We always fear Luciano's might go out of business because it's almost always empty, and yet it serves the most incredible food, as long as you are feeling fully carnivorous. We have seen other people in there, but rarely. And when the locals do turn up, it's usually very late. And tourists rarely seem to venture there, since it's not in many guidebooks, it seems.
We got there at 9:35pm, and it was empty, just as we might have predicted. But the same two waiting staff were on hand -- an older dude and a woman -- neither of whom seem to speak any English. But this has always been part of the huge amount of fun of Luciano's: struggling to understand what each other means. This time, we'd taken some Spanish lessons for a few months in advance of our trip, and we were better prepared all round, but it was still crazy trying to communicate.
We ordered a salad to start, followed by a steak each and a portion of chips to share. I ordered a beer to start; Red, a water; and we had a half-bottle of Ramón Bilbao Tempranillo Crianza to share. I went to the butchery counter at the back of the restaurant to choose our steaks. I love that! While we were waiting, they brought us some complimentary chorizo and bread. Mmmm....
The food, as ever here, was just awesome. The steaks were cooked "a punto", I think the Spanish was, meaning "properly", and not well done or any other bastardization some folks inflict upon their steak to rid it of blood, flavour, and tenderness. This was great, melt-in-the-mouth meat.
Too full to tackle a dessert, I was -- again, as ever -- offered a shot of pacharán to finish, which I happily accepted. Such a lovely liqueur... By this time, it was about 11:15pm, and still the place is empty. Why?! It's Saturday night -- this place should be heaving. During the course of dinner, the door did open and someone stuck a head inside. They didn't look round far enough to see us. Not that it mattered; I suspect they decided it must be shite because it was empty. Bad decision, amigo.
Walking back to the hotel, we went via the Plaza de Santa Cruz and spent 10 minutes or so in the company of one of the neighbourhood cats. We know the streets are in safe hands with this one on patrol!
And just a bit further on, we stopped in Lope de Rueda at midnight to celebrate the start of my birthday with a kiss. Of course, it's still another hour until my birthday in the UK, so on returning to the hotel (the courtyard of which is shown below), we had to stay up a bit longer just to get it right.