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A Class Project on Bars: Only in Spain

This week in our intensive Spanish course, we were assigned a group project unlike any I had ever experienced before. Our assignment was to visit three bars in a designated neighborhood of Granada, get drinks and tapas, and create an oral presentation to be completed on the penultimate day of class. How fun, right? So, my three group partners and I dutifully went out for tapas on a Thursday night.

Our chosen neighborhood was that which surrounds Camino de Ronda, one of the most prominent streets in Granada. We were to go to three different bars or cafes, order some drinks and food, and ask our waiters about the recipes and ingredients.

 La Macetilla

The first café we visited was The Macetilla, one of my favorite places for tapas in the city. This restaurant is full of quirky dishes. After ordering some drinks, the waiter brought out a plate with an amazing tostada dish on it: pork loin seasoned simply with salt, pepper, and olive oil, cooked to perfect tenderness on top of a piece of toast.
 The tapa with delicious pork on
toast with olives on the side.

We also ordered a few more substantial dishes to try. The sheep cheese was absolutely to die for as it was so rich and tasted amazing with the dried cranberries and almonds that came along with it. The next plate we tried was a bit more…interesting. At random, we picked a macetilla (like the name of the restaurant) off the menu and ordered it on a whim.
 The macetilla of mango,
jam, and anchovies

The concoction we received was unlike anything I had ever eaten. At first, it looked like a mountain of mangoes with strawberry jam. Upon closer inspection, we discovered that hidden in the mound was a sort of patty of cream cheese. The dish was delicious until we finally ventured to the inner depths of the volcano – and found anchovies! Though anchovies can be a delicious delicacy on their own, their flavor was very shocking when mixed with the sweetness of the mango, jam, and cream cheese. Though this is certainly not my favorite thing I have eaten in Granada, I was glad to try something so diverse and surprising.
 Fish and taboulleh on toast tapa

We then proceeded to visit another bar-café right down the street; honestly, these little restaurants seem to be everywhere in this city. There, we bought another set of drinks and were quickly served a very delicious tapa consisting of toast, fish, and tabbouleh.

On top of it all was some type of sweet vinegar that tied the flavors together with flair. At this café, we also ordered a hummus plate and were pleasantly surprised by the sweet and (bell) peppery flavor of the hummus. It wasn’t like the garlicky hummus I have had in the U.S. at all, and I loved it!

 The bell pepper hummus
and some pita chips
 The American-themed diner and bar

Finally, we were wandering down Camino de Ronda and happened upon an American-themed diner and bar! We decided that we had to stop and check it out – after all, it is a bar in the neighborhood! Besides, Mexican and pizza restaurants are as much a part of American culture as burger joints. The walls of the diner were covered with murals of American icons like Elvis and Marilyn Monroe, and the menu even had some classic diner food like chicken nuggets and burgers, though all with a distinct Spanish flair manifested with the use of spices and sauces.

We also had patatas bravas here, a very popular Spanish dish of fried potatoes. Unlike most patatas bravas, though, these were drizzled with barbecue sauce – a very American touch in my opinion.

 Patatas Bravas with mayonnaise
and barbecue sauce

Compared to the many group projects I have done in the past, this is definitely one of the most fun - and delicious - I have ever had to complete.
 My group and I having a great time!

Eve Olson is the Fall 2015 CEA MOJO Blogger in Granada, Spain. She is currently a Junior at the University of Utah.

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