Tom & Roberta take on Spain and Portugal 2015 travel blog

Overall our experiences with the restaurants here have been excellent. The wait staff so friendly, any restaurant we visited more than once ended in hugging, kissing and tipping. My personal thought is that all over Spain they take an interest in ensuring tourists are comfortable during their stay. Almost without exception the menus contained hamburgers, pizzas and (are you reading this Ro and Cait??) some kind of pasta with Bolognese. That's right, no matter where I traveled in Spain my comfort foods followed. I did think, however, that there was a definite lack of avocado and tortilla (the corn/flour variety) also not a taco to be found...... I'll be making up for this upon my return.

At this point I'd like to point out some great things about the menus some funny things about the menus, and some "differences" in customs.

1. Olives are plentiful here and while always on the menu as a tapas, can also just appear on your table when you sit.

2. Bread is brought to your table in a basket as soon as you are seated and you are charged for it whether you ate it or not.

3. I don't think I ever got the hang of ordering "tapas" I thought they would be little dishes to share but Tom and I consistently over ordered because the "tapas" plates were huge.

4. To the contrary; we were REALLY good at ordering wine, beer and sangrias.

5. Once your order arrives don't ask for silverware until you have checked under the bread in the bread basket. A knife and fork most likely have been carefully wrapped in a napkin and placed under the bread you weren't going to eat but now have to touch to retrieve your utensils. Coincidence?? I think not...

6. I thought it was really nice that every menu in Barcelona has every item on their menus in 4 languages. 1st in Spanish, 2nd in Catalan, 3rd in English, and lastly in French. (that's right we were ahead of Robes Pierre.......)AND just in case you didn't recognize your language there are little national flags to the left to help you. Well not a U.S.A flag, but the Union Jack, well U.K. IS closer. After Barcelona the Catalan was dropped from the menus so everywhere else had 3 languages. In Torremolinos actually added German to the mix. All in all we really felt the restaurant owners wanted to connect with the tourists.

7. Amusingly every menu we encountered had a typo on the English translation menu, such as "Tunna", "Hot Doc" and "Hamger." Tom and I immediately began playing the "where's the typo" game every time we sat down. I took photo of some.

8. The sandwiches...LOL a lot of them came with a fried egg on it. Hamburgers too for that matter. It was written out on the menu and at least one time I remembered to have them omit the egg but most of the time we forgot. A triple Decker club sandwich with a fried egg is really hard to eat especially because it had a hole cut out of the top piece of bread exposing the yolk.

9. Listen up.... when you see "tortilla" on a Spanish menu it is NOT a corn or flour tortilla!!! It is an egg/artichoke/potato dish and comes in a round patty. You are supposed to eat it with bread or crackers. Very disappointing on the first go around, very much okay after that.

10. Most salads come without dressing but oil and vinegar are provided on the table. Very simple and lovely I thought.

11. Croquettes... little bullets of fun. The can be made with ham, chicken or fish and more I imagine. A very delightful tapas, we ordered them a few times.

12. I really feel like Tom got the short end of the stick where tapas is concerned because I won't eat fish and don't experiment with unknown foods. He had to wait until we got to Seville to even try the Spanish Paella dish because previously to Seville the paella dishes were meant for 2 persons only.

Okay that's it for my gastronomic dissertation......

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