Solo in Spain

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So Paris was out and Barcelona in! Last minute change in husband’s schedule not only changed our travel plans but delayed our departure to Barcelona too since husband couldn’t leave for another two days.  Hmmm…but that didn’t mean I couldn’t and without even blinking told him, “No problem. I’ll just meet you there.”  Two days alone to visit famed markets and restaurants – I’ll take it!  Husband, however, wasn’t quite so convinced, envisioning me stalking the dance floor till 4 am instead of a restaurant.  But I soothed his worries. “Don’t worry, babe.  You’re the only dance partner for me.”  So he melted and I packed everything but my desk — Lacroix dresses, light capris, sexy Chloe sandals & chiffon scarves. Okay, so I did toss in one little frock for flamenco dancing, just in case.  And off I went with a straw tote filled with Barcelona tips and a book of phrases I nabbed at the airport. Arriving in a strange new land tends to have something of a tidal wave effect, change & disorientation crashing over you. I love it!  I was hoping a night of tapas hunting would offer me a window into Barcelona life.  These scrumptious appetizers – a national ritual, like futbol, are meant to assuage the appetite and counterbalance the effects of alcohol while socializing, which trust me, does not work. But after a quick siesta I strolled into a lively cafe where I met two lovely French women and soon we were sharing Spanish olives, prawns & warm spider crab with saffron pistils & wild flowers. Sipping Sangria with fresh fruits was the perfect way to end the day (and made the waiter much cuter too).  The girls said au revior, then suddenly returned and invited me dancing.  How could I refuse?  The recession may have put an end to big lunches on expense accounts, but I was ready for a night of frolic and fun. Who would have guessed it would take two French women to teach me the Flamenco? What I needed was someone to teach me the intricate footwork of hiking those cobblestone streets in heels! Where’s a Vespa when you need one?  Let’s just say it was an adventure, but thankfully didn’t break anything.  We ended the evening with anis (a licorice tasting liqueur) and boquerones ( white anchovies in vinegar) in a bar whose name escapes me since I was enjoying it all too much to care.  Although, getting back to the hotel…..well,  there’s a reason they say there’s a surprise on every corner in Barcelona, and I was about to get another one!


  1. Annie Speck

    February 8, 2012 at 5:59 pm

    Ahhhh ~ I can’t wait to go to Barcelona and learn to flamenco!!! You rock food-stalker!! xoxo

  2. Sandie Ward

    February 9, 2012 at 3:19 am

    Annie, It was a magical evening…the food, the dancing, the wonderful two gals I met. We still email and keep in touch….my Flamenco skirt is always ready to fly in the wind!

  3. Laura E. Williams

    February 15, 2012 at 3:47 pm

    Absolutely love Spain and the people, food, drink and surroundings are all wonderful memories that I hope to experience again…thank you for sharing.

  4. Sandie Ward

    February 15, 2012 at 4:11 pm

    Laura, thanks for stopping by. I too fell in love with Spain, can’t wait to go back and explore more in Madrid and Southern Spain. Friend has a home there….so I simply must go.

With an Italian background, she cites her Mother and grandmother ( Mamie ) as the major influence of her love for food.  Yes, homemade pasta hung from the clothesline in the kitchen and rolling 100 meat balls for a holiday dinner was the norm.  Raised in Pennsylvania. she spent time in Atlanta, Georgia and ultimately settled along the stunning coast of Laguna Beach, Ca. Self taught in everything, she learned to appreciate the amazing flavors, scents and uses for exotic herbs and spices and applies her knowledge to cooking today. Despite enjoying other creative endeavors like painting, photography and clothing design, she realized she would never love another career the way she loves all the stories surrounding food.  And it's capturing those stories that has not only become her greatest passion but a culinary drug worth passing around!  After all, food is a shared experience and no one better to share it with than the entire world. And thus the Food Stalker was born, utilizing all that passion and her fearlessness to capture even the most impossible stories. It's one thing to write about food, but far more exciting to actually capture it and all those stories that make every scent come to life.  And once she sets out, there's no stopping her, because no one follows that scent better than her---and no telling where she'll end up next.  

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