No alarm mornings are the best and on vacation, we really enjoy not using alarms unless we need to catch a train or plane. We were up mid-morning and off to Noviembre for breakfast again this morning. Along with our second mind-blowing orange juice and espresso, Matt ordered an avocado and queso fresco tostada while I ordered ham and Swiss.
After breakfast, we walked to the Mercado Central de Atarazanas, Malaga’s open air market. I’d never been in such a magical place. For some people, it’s Disney. For me, it’s places like this. Awe inspiring vegetable stands, fresh fish, dried fruit, nuts, olives, cheese, bread, and amazing meats. I couldn’t take it all in. In the vegetable section we saw fresh picked asparagus, gorgeous mangoes, and more varieties of mushrooms than I knew existed. The fish section was…it was…there are no words…jaw dropping. Monkfish, razor clams, langostines, red snapper, periwinkles, cockles, and so much more! We were most excited to see two little bars where you could grab a stool and have fresh fish or shellfish cooked for you to enjoy. We will be back. Transitioning into the meat and cheese section, we saw manchego, tetilla, Gorgonzola, goat heads, whole rabbits, chicken, beef, pork, and horse. The assortment of jamón was incredible and sliced to order. We walked out empty handed, but agreed on two things. One, we will come back tomorrow and pick up some items for the train to Sevilla. Two, next time we visit Malaga we will rent an apartment so we can buy and cook some of these lovely ingredients!
Still in a state of euphoria from the market, Matt asked if I wanted to climb Castillo de Gibralfaro. I said “yes”. Soon, very soon, I would realize he had tricked me in my state of weakness.
Although absolutely breathtaking once you finally reach the top, you should know that this is a hike. It took us about 30-45 minutes to get to the top, where we realized we could have taken a taxi instead of the hike. However, the various views of Malaga, the port, the greenery, and the bull ring as you go higher and higher are all part of the experience.
Entry is 2.10 euro per person, which is cheap and completely worth the views. But, if you don’t want to spend the cash, visit on Sundays after 2pm when your visit is free.
We wandered and wandered, sat for a bit, and took in the amazing panorama of Malaga. In the picture below, you can see a central square with a monument in the middle. This is where we would eventually have lunch later in the day. El Riad is pretty close to this, but figuring out an exact location…for me at least…is impossible.
Getting back down the hill is quick, very quick compared to the jaunt up. At the bottom after ten minutes of descent, we were hungry.
We ended up in Plaza de la Merced at La Plaza around 2:30pm. We ordered six tapas plus dessert for lunch. 1) Falafel with Cumin and Honey Yogurt, 2) Chicken and Rosemary Skewers with Aioli, 3) Braised Beef with Mashed Potatoes, 4) Potato Wedges with Pesto Mayonnaise, 5) Caramelized Onion and Goat Cheese Tart, 6) Garlic Mushrooms, and for dessert we ordered Sticky Toffee Cake and an Almond Pear Tart. Along with three beers and two espressos, the total was 38 euro (about $45).
Our favorite tapa was the Caramelized Onion and Goat Cheese Tart. The rest of the meal was just ok. The maitre d’ was from the United Kingdom and spoke excellent Spanish. He was, for us, a little overbearing…polite, but a little much. During our lunch, we noticed a number of English speaking tourists and realized that was their niche. They made the tourists feel comfortable in this Spanish tapas restaurant, with mediocre food. It would be our only visit to La Plaza.
Back to El Riad for our afternoon siesta. We could get used to this.
Per another recommendation from our hosts at El Riad, we walked to Tapadaki, an Asian Spanish fusion restaurant, for dinner. Sadly, Tapadaki closed its doors a few months ago, which is a shame because they had a few really wonderful and unique dishes which we were lucky enough to try. On this particular evening, our first dinner at Tapadaki, we ordered 6 tapas.
First was a cold tomato soup which reminded us a lot of gazpacho. It came with two Jamón Iberico Parmesan croutons. These were cool. Essentially, it was Parmesan baked and cut into a circle, then wrapped around the Jamón Iberico. Second was tuna tartare served atop guacamole and topped with a crisp wonton triangle. Third were some awesome pot stickers with hints of orange and clove. Fourth were the unagi nigiri…because we love unagi. Fifth, and definitely a favorite, were the grilled octopus tentacles served with smoked mashed potatoes and lime peanut sauce. The octopus was amazingly tender, some of the best we’ve ever tasted. And that combined with the unusual taste of smoked mashed potatoes took it over the top. Sixth, and in tight competition with the octopus, were the oxtail taquitos served dipped into a potato and truffle foam.
A few minutes walk back to El Riad and a very nice night of sleep. Aaaah.