¡Que delicioso!

Just when I thought I knew it all when it comes to the kitchen – my mom went to culinary school after all and has taught me well – I learned something new, and pretty handy at that!

Today we went to Foodie Cádiz, a kitchen located on la Calle San Germán, to learn how to cook tapas. There were three chefs helping us this evening, and one of them asked us what the first thing a chef does, which, of course, is to wash their hands. After doing so we each received a black apron and gathered around the kitchen island for the group photo. Then we proceeded to dive into the world of Spanish cuisine.

We stood in a circle around the large island and went through the Spanish names for each of the ingredients of each of the tapas on the menu, which consisted of empanadillas de pista, dobladillo de caballa, tortilla de patatas, pan con tomate y jamón, and sorbete de frutos rojos. There were also, of course, ingredients to make sangria.

The chefs began explaining how to cut each vegetable, handing the task off to a willing participant after each explanation, until we were all peeling, cutting, or whisking away. There were eggs to crack and whisk, potatoes to peel and cut, tomatoes, zucchini, and eggplant, oh my!

And my handy new trick? Do you know how tomato skins are so hard to cut, and the inside so soft, that when you do finally break through you make a big mess? Well, if you take a chef’s knife and puncture the tomato skin with the notch in the knife where the blade meets the handle? Easy as pie. It cuts smooth as butter after that.

Soon, while veggies were being sautéed by some of us, others began to prep the dishes. First came the dobladillos de caballa, which consisted of mackerel, arugula, cherry-sized green-and-red tomatoes, and a mustard mayonnaise sauce, on a small flour tortilla. An assembly line was formed, one person dabbing the mayonnaise onto the tortilla, passing it on to the person who had the mackerel, who then passed it on to the person with the arugula, and finally to the person with the halved tomatoes, who plated the tapas.

The second dish to be plated was the pan con tomate y jamón, or bread with tomato and ham. One of us would cut up a baguette (of which there were three in total), then two of us would each take one piece and brushing it with a tomato purée and then plating two pieces per dish. Next another would pour some olive oil over the tomato purée, and finally cured ham was folded on top of the bread (and cheese placed on the bread instead of ham for the vegetarian in our group).

When the veggies had finished sautéing, four of us took to the task of making the empanadillas de pista, a kind of dumpling-esque tapa with the veggie filling. Pre-made circles of thin dough (like gyoza wrappers but with wheat) were filled with veggies and then folded over into semi-circles. The two sides of the dough were then pressed together gently with a fork, and the empanadillas were put onto a pan and coated in egg.

Next we set up our dining space. We tool out three tables and set out paper mats, napkins, and silverware, and then brought chairs over. Finally, it was time to eat. We each got up and grabbed a plate of dobladillo de caballa and a plate of pan con tomate y jamón, as well as a glass of sangria. One of the chefs asked how many of us would like to try the gazpacho she had made for us, and many of us did.

Now, when you saw that tortilla de patatas was on the menu, did you think we were going to be eating flour or corn tortilla wrappers filled with potatoes? That’s probably what I would have thought before I came here, to Cádiz. Fun fact: a tortilla española is actually eggs whisked and cooked over a stovetop. Thus, our tortilla de patatas was simply whisked eggs poured over cut up potatoes and baked in the oven. Simple, but tasty. Then the empanadillas came out of the oven and we each were served two to try. After mostly everyone had finished their food, out came the sorbete de frutos rojos, or the “red-fruit sorbet,” topped with a cookie.

Finally the night came to an end. We all said a big thank you to our hosts, and took our leave. What a night…¡Que delicioso!

(photo credit: Jacqueline Cochrane)


Foodie Cádiz’s website:


Foundations of Spain

Today you will join me on a trip to Cádiz’s past. We will travel first to la Plaza de la Catedral to visit the famous Cathedral, and later we will find ourselves in el Torre Tavira


First, the Cathedral. We enter and receive audio devices that will guide us through the Cathedral. We visit first the Chapel of the Assumption, the first of the pictures shown below. Next is the Saint Sebastian Chapel. We notice then the beautiful high ceilings. We then walk to the center of the Cathedral, and view the impressive High Altar.

You see the entrance to the Crypt and we decide to descend into the dim light of the underground space. We observe tombs and other artifacts and learn their history from the audio tour.

Emerging from the Crypt, we continue our path around the Cathedral, stopping by the Saint Tomas of Villanova Chapel, the San Servatius Chapel, and the Chapel of the Relics/the Chapel of the Tabernacle where we keep quiet, as silence is mandatory.

We also view the Saint Germain Chapel, The Corpus Christi Monstrance, made entirely of silver, and the Saint Joseph Chapel, where we learn about the restoration of the Crucifix.

We then enter the Sacristy, where we view relics of the past, as well as a hand washing station with a Latin inscription. Finally, we look at the Chapel of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus.

Exiting the Cathedral, we make our way to the Cathedral tower, and make the climb up the spiral ramp to the top. At the very end of the ramp we ascend a spiral staircase, and what a view! The tan and white buildings and the gorgeous blue ocean lie before us. We then notice the three bells of the bell tower, and suddenly a loud pang sounds from one of the bells, startling us. Once we have had our fill of the beautiful scene, we return to the ground.


Next on our agenda is el Torre Tavira. We walk there from the Cathedral and purchase tickets for a visit to the camera obscura, in the Torre Tavira. We climb with our tour guide up to the level where we view the picture. Our guide explains to us that a camera obscura, or a pinhole camera, gives a picture in real-time, made by light reflecting off of a mirror which projects the scene onto a blank screen.

Our guide turns off the lights and opens the window to the mirror, letting the light in through the opening in the ceiling and revealing a panorama of Cádiz. Our guide turns the device in a circle, and we see all of Cádiz, North to South and back again. Our guide explains that raising or lowering the platform with the screen on it puts into focus different distances.

We are given a virtual tour of the city, from the Cathedral to the Gran Teatro Falla, from the Castillo de Santa Catalina to the Punta Candelaria, and from the Mercado Central to the old vineyard. We learn interesting facts, such as the different types of towers in Cádiz, and why there are so many (to see when ships were arriving with goods to sell). We are told that there is only one natural road out of Cádiz, and that without it the city would be an island.


Thank you for accompanying me on our trip today! I had a great time and I hope you did too. My stay here in Cádiz thus far has been one of the most wonderful experiences of my life. It is still early in my stay, but already I have learned so much. Aside from practicing my Spanish I have practiced living with another culture and getting accustomed to the customs of the people of Spain: greetings, foods and eating at different times in the day, and so much more, things that are all foreign to me. I have learned about the rich history of the Iberian Peninsula and how this formed the Spanish nation as we know it today.

But there is still much to practice, learn, and experience, and so the journey continues…