Archive for the Valladolid Category

Valladolid – around Plaça Mayor

Posted in Castilla y Leon, Plaça Mayor, Spain, Valladolid with tags , , on February 21, 2014 by gannet39

The main tapas area in town is around Plaça Mayor, especially in the streets to the west of the square, especially around Calle Correos.

Vinotinto (Intermediate B+), 4 Calle Camana, off Calle Correos, Tel. 983 342 291

Recommended by the Michelin and Eyewitness guides, this is a well-reputed place with modern woody decor and a mainly meat based menu.

You can sit at the scant tables outside but will definitely need to reserve first. I preferred to stand at the bar or at the large wooden table in the centre of the lofty room.

The grill makes the atmosphere a bit smoky but it’s nice to watch your food being prepared. Service is dour to the extreme, as is often the case in Castilla, but I did force one or two smiles out of the old guys after a couple of visits.

I couldn’t afford many of the better racion options so stuck instead to the cheaper tapas and pinchos for around €2.50.

20130622_223439The Tostada Jamon was good (B+) but the highlight for me was the Morcilla smeared onto toast which was more moist and flavoursome than in other places (A).

20130622_225739I also liked the Criollo, a thick Argentinian sausage sliced up and served with bread for mopping up the pool of pimenton-laced fat left on the plate.

20130622_224412The Pincho de Cordero (skewer of lamb) was pretty satisfying too though (B) I wasn’t keen on the bread.

20130624_221759I tried glasses of red Ribeira Joven and rose Cigales here which were both fine (B) but the Toro Crianza, their ‘wine of the week’ as displayed on their blackboard, was my favourite (B+) and a snip at only €1.50.

I came back here twice for the Morcilla and Criollo because I liked them so much.

They have a sister bar called Vinotinto Joven over the road, staffed by equally dour but younger staff and with a more radical menu. I stopped in to try it but after being ignored for a several minutes, decided to call it a night. The staff in both places could definitely use a few lessons in customer service.

La Pequena Villa (Intermediate B), 5 Placa Mayor but seems as if it’s on Calle Pasión

Another Michelin guide sticker on the window and also a favourite of the local teacher I was working with. I thought it was just ok but perhaps I could have made better choices.

The saltcod and spinach Croqueta de Bacalao was great (A), just wish I’d ordered another.

20130625_221149The half racion of sausage and skinny chips, or Pincho de Salsicha y Patas Fritas,  was nice too although they didn’t look quite as good as those served to the bloke next to me that I’d copied (B-).

20130625_215451The half racion of Boletus y Huevo seemed like a good choice given the local reputation for mushrooms but I wasn’t that keen on their rubbery texture or the combination with stirred in semi raw egg (C).

20130625_220752The glasses of Verdejo and Ribeira (Vegantigua) I had were fine but unremarkable (B).

Total cost, a reasonable €18.70. Definitely a place to try again.


Lechazo in Valladolid

Posted in Castilla y Leon, Spain, Valladolid on February 19, 2014 by gannet39

20130624_215947Valladolid (pronounced buy-a-doll-ith, stress on the last syllable) is the capital of its own province and one of the major towns in Leon, in the province of Castilla y Leon, and the twentieth largest urban area in Spain.

Very little of the ancient town remains but the Plaça Mayor (see next post) has the distinction of being the model for the squares of the same name in Madrid and Salamanca, and as such it represents a major contribution to Spanish urban planning.

20130624_231143In terms of gastronomy, Valladolid is to suckling lamb (lechazo) what nearby Segovia is to suckling pig (cochinillo). Lechazo de Castilla y Leon has it’s own IGP and producers must meet strict criteria in order to be able to use the name. Meat in general is very good here, although seafood plays a prominent part in the diet too. Mushrooms of various kinds are also a speciality, as well as sheep’s cheeses.

The city is surrounded by four major wine growing regions; Ribera del Duero, Rueda (famous for Verdejo), Toro and Cigales.

I couldn’t really come here and not try the suckling lamb so, following a stroll among the peacocks and statues of Campo Grande Park, I went to…

La Pedriza (B+), 10 Calle Colmenares Tel. 983 397 951. open on Sunday.

This is the lesser-known sister restaurant of El Figon de Recoletes, one of the best asadors in town, but it was closed that day and I was the only customer here on a Sunday evening! (Sunday lunch is when locals would be more likely to eat out). No good for people watching but it meant that I got good personal service from the kindly waiters here. This was good because I’d gone without lunch to prepare myself for a hefty meal here.

20130623_204148I warmed up with a generous portion of local Morcilla. It was perfectly fine but nothing special (B).

20130623_205209For the main event, a whole eighth of Lechazo Asado, which is more than enough for one. The lamb had been roasted in a special wood-fired clay oven, rather like a pizza oven, at the front of house and in a scorching hot earthenware dish with a cup of water poured over it. The result was three large beautifully cooked chunks of lamb, one with a solitary kidney still attached, swimming in salty oil and juices. An absolutely awesome meat experience (A).

20130623_204428Such good meat absolutely demanded a top quality red so I went with the waiter’s indication of Mauro, a Temprenillo/Syrah blend for €34 which did a fine job  (A).

20130623_205012Traditionally lamb is eaten just with a simple Ensalada, here made with top quality tomatoes, lettuce and onions (why aren’t our ‘Spanish’ onions as white and tasty as these?), which was great (A-) but served ready dressed and salted and swimming in the requisite pool of water (both pet hates of  mine), as is usually the case in Spain, hence the minus.

I upsized with a large plate of tasty pale chips on the side (A).

20130623_213544And finally a slab of Tarta de Hojaldre de la Casa y Crema, or flaky puff pastry with vanilla cream (B), a shot of local firewater and a bowl of unnecessary sweet buns.

20130623_220207Once this done, I finished off the perfect meal in the bar with a balloon of Independencia brandy, a new one to me, and not bad at all (B+).

Total cost, €80.35, which is a lot, but you have to do these things sometimes.

Here is a link to a list of  top asadors in Castilla y Leon.

I stayed at the Hotel Juan de Austria at 108 Paseo de Zorrilla. The rooms are modern, the staff helpful and the breakfast is pretty comprehensive but it’s a fair walk to town (2o mins). There’s a bar downstairs where you can sit outside on the wide pavement.

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