Monday, June 1, 2015

Ronda: I'll Never Stop Saying Maria

Our first day in Ronda, I asked someone at our hotel (Enfrente Arte) for some lunch recommendations. After she mapped out several places, I asked where the locals go. "Ah," she said, and then marked two areas of town, west and east. We were planning to walk east through the oldest part of town, so we set a place called Casa Maria as our goal. It was outside the old city walls, which meant it was outside the usual touristed areas. We never would have ended up there on our own.

PLAZA RUEDO ALAMEDA.

Casa Maria is a simple-looking place along a street bordering the expansive Plaza Ruedo Alameda. There were tables out on the plaza and just a few tall tables inside the narrow bar/restaurant specializing in tapas. We were welcomed warmly and, after we ordered our drinks, the owner asked if we would like to try "un poco de todo," a little of everything. We agreed and began our trip to Spanish tapas heaven.

We went through bread, vegetables, and cheese courses and, although a meat course was about to be prepared, we stopped after the seafood because we simply had no more room.

I've done the best I can to describe the different dishes (which, remember, is the same as cooking in my world). Click the images to make your mouth water. Then get to Ronda, if only to check out Casa Maria.

TOMATO, GARLIC, SALT... AND STUFF.
ARTICHOKE,  HAM... AND STUFF.
(I DON'T THINK I'VE EVER HAD ARTICHOKE THIS DELICIOUS.)
ASPARAGUS, SALT, OLIVE OIL...  AMAZING.
FRIED GOAT CHEESE, STRAWBERRY MARMALADE.
WE THOUGHT WE WERE DONE...
BACALAO (COD) PEPPERS, TOMATO, ONIONS...
(I LOVE BACALAO. THIS WAS THE BEST I'VE EVER HAD.)
SCALLOPS IN A SORT OF BECHUMEL... I THINK.
THE CHARMING AND TALENTED FAMILY... WITH THEIR OWN LABEL.
JUDY OUT FRONT AFTER LUNCH...
WITH OUR GIFT BOTTLE OF WINE!


[Casa] Maria, say it soft and it's almost like praying.

22 comments:

  1. That is how I like to eat. What terrific and tasty fun.

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    1. Andrew:
      Amazing that there was not one single dish I didn't love.

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  2. I lost my 1st comment, so suffice it to say ~~ TAPAS FOREVER!!!

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    1. Ron:
      You couldn't have said it any better!

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  3. Sounds and looks heavenly! Again, I am envious. As remote as we are, we don't get out much and the local cuisine tends toward rice and beans or beans and rice (they are different) with stewed chicken - OK now and then, but it gets old quickly. But we had a fun day out with friends last week and had some delicious "small plates" with snapper ceviche, shrimp croquettes, smoked mackerel, chicken liver pate - and the most marvelous ginger caipirinha.

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    1. Wilma:
      We are so blessed with options here wherever we go. Rice and beans, however... not easy to find. Ginger caipirinha would make up for a lot!

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  4. I would have definitely chosen Casa Maria...if only for the name. And a complimentary bottle of wine!

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    1. Linda:
      The restaurant was named for the daughter Maria (in tank top). She is so warm and wonderful. We gave the bottle to our neighbour Maria as part of a thank-you for taking care of the cats. It seemed fitting.

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  5. Casa Maria food looks mouth watering - and free wine! You can't beat that.

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    1. Cheapchick:
      And all that food and drinks only cost the equivalent of about $30 for the three of us. Amazing!

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  6. As we Italians say, "La Dolce Vita"

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    1. Frank:
      As we Spaniards (AND Italians) say. Si!

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  7. Wonderful opportunity a bottle of wine

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    1. Gosia:
      A great place to visit on your next trip to Spain.

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  8. A little of this, and a little of that....all adds up to a delicious meal!!
    Looks like it was a great outing, Mitchell.

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    1. Jim:
      We agreed Casa Maria alone was worth the entire trip to Ronda. Next time, we'll have to have room for the meat course.

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  9. Replies
    1. Michael:
      Phenomenal. I love these kinds of surprises.

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  10. Mitchell, this looks delicious, no wonder you'll never stop saying Maria!

    Funny but true: One of the Great Scot's cousins, who now lives in Ireland, spent the week in and around Fuengirola... she even took her grandson to the Bioparc. One of her photos of the Bioparc's sign was virtually identical to yours!

    I'm so humming 'Small World' right now.

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    1. Jacqueline:
      If I start humming "Small World," I might snap. So I'll stick with "Maria." I'll bet I passed the Great Scot's cousin on the street!

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  11. Again I am amazed at the food quality discrepancy. This all is what we call 'gourmet' while you all have it as every day eating. Lucky !

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    1. Spo:
      It still amazes me, too. The best meals we've had have been at these little, un-prepossessing places. Pure joy.

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