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"My good friend Gerry Dawes, the unbridled Spanish food and wine enthusiast cum expert whose writing, photography, and countless crisscrossings of the peninsula have done the most to introduce Americans—and especially American food professionals—to my country's culinary life." -- Chef-restaurateur-humanitarian José Andrés of José Andrés ThinkFoodGroup, Nobel Peace Prize Nominee and Oscar Presenter 2019

"Trust me everyone, I have traveled with this man, if Gerry Dawes tells you to eat somewhere it's like Bourdain, believe it!!" - - Chef Mark Kiffin, The Compound Restaurant, Canyon Road, Santa Fe, New Mexico.

“Spain wouldn’t be as known to Americans without the stories Gerry tells and writes.” - - Superstar Catalan Chef Ferran Adrià, elBulli

"But, for Gerry, Spain is more than just the Adriàs and (Juan Mari and Elena) Arzaks. He has connected with all manner of people working at every level and in every corner of Spain. I’m always amazed at this reach. You can step into a restaurant in the smallest town in Spain, and it turns out they know Gerry somehow. I remember one rainy night in Madrid during the 2003 Madrid Fusión congress. I wanted to go to my favorite place for patatas bravas, the ultimate tapa. But Gerry had another place in mind, and I didn’t know about it. But Gerry is always right. The potatoes at his place were amazing.” - - Chef-restaurateur-humanitarian José Andrés, Nobel Peace Prize Nominee and Oscar Presenter 2019; Chef-partner of Mercado Little Spain at Hudson Yards, New York 2019

"Gerry Dawes loves Spain, and he loves Spanish wines. And the man knows whereof he speaks. The country bestowed upon him its prestigious Premio Nacional de Gastronomia (National Gastronomy Award) in 2003, and here’s what James A. Michener said about him in Iberia: SpanishTravels and Reflections: “In his nearly thirty years of wandering the back roads of Spain, Gerry Dawes has built up a much stronger bank of experiences than I had to rely on when I started writing Iberia … His adventures far exceeded mine in both width and depth … ” I first reached out to Dawes when I was planning a culinary journey to Barcelona, Rioja, and the Basque region of Spain, in 2011. I found his website and began reading, and have been learning from him ever since. Then, when I was preparing to stage at Arzak, in 2012, Dawes offered me some sound advice: learn Basque. He is opinionated – “You must decide whether you love wine or carpentry. If you want wood in your wine, suck on a toothpick as you drink your vino.” – he lives life with passion, and he respects wine and the men and woman who make it. Here’s to Gerry!" - - The Original Drinker: Spanish Wine Master Loves a $15.99 Rosado, Hates Wood and Always Avoids Wine Bars, James Brock, Paper City,

Food Arts Silver Spoon Award to Gerry Dawes

 Premio Nacional de Gastronomía - - James Beard Foundation Nomination (Best Wine Writing)
Premio Periodistíco Cava

Gerry Dawes's Article Medieval Riches of El Cid's City (About Burgos, Spain)
Front Page, The New York Times Sunday Travel Section

 About Blog Author Gerry Dawes, Premio Nacional de Gastronomía (National Gastronomy Award)

Gerry Dawes at Marisquería Rafa in Madrid.
Photo by John Sconzo, Docsconz: Musings on Food & Life 

Custom-designed Wine, Food, Cultural and Photographic Tours of Spain Organized and Led by Gerry Dawes and Spanish Itinerary Planning

7 Days, 7 Nights: Beyond Paella, A Video Culinary, Wine & Travel Adventure in Valencia & Alicante with Gerry Dawes & Special Guests

If you enjoy these blog posts, please consider a contribution to help me continue the work of gathering all this great information and these photographs for Gerry Dawes's Insider's Guide to Spanish Food, Wine, Culture and Travel. Contributions of $5 and up will be greatly appreciated. Contributions of $100 or more will be acknowledged on the blog.

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Madrid's Barrio de Las Letras (Literary Quarter): Miguel de Cervantes & Lope de Vega with Glimpses of Quevedo, Calderón de la Barca, Lorca and Hemingway

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Image of Cervantes (1547-1616) in tiles on the Taberna del León de Oro (Golden [Age] Lion Tavern) front in the Literary Quarter of Madrid. Photograph by Gerry Dawes©2011. Contact

An easily walkable area roughly bounded by the Paseo del Prado to the east and the Plaza Santa Ana to the West is a fascinating place to stroll and go tapas hopping.  Along the way, visitors will see plenty of reminders of the great 17th-century Golden Age literary lights: the immortal author of Don Quixote (Edith Grossman's translation of Don Quixote is fabulous), Miguel de Cervantes; Spain's Shakespeare equivalent Lope de Vega;  Spanish poet Francisco de Quevedo, his arch rival the Baroque poet Luís de Góngora and poet-dramatist Pedro Calderón de la Barca.

(Double click on images to see a larger version of this slide show on Picasa.)

And in the lively Plaza Santa Ana, there is a charming statue of Federico Garcia Lorca, a monument to Calderón de la Barca  and echoes of Ernest Hemingway in such places as the Cerveceria Alemana, the bullfight bar where he used to hangout

Cervecería Alemana, once a major bullfight aficionados bar--still frequented by many foreign aficionados.
Famous as an Ernest Hemingway hangout.  Photograph by Gerry Dawes©2011. Contact

Detail of the Lorca statue in La Plaza Santa Ana in Madrid's Literary Quarter. The great martyred poet, Federico del Sagrado Corazón de Jesús García Lorca-- better known as García Lorca--was murdered by right-wing forces in Granada at the beginning of the Spanish Civil War. Photograph by Gerry Dawes©2011. Contact

There are also a Cerveceria Cervantes,  a Hostal Cervantes, a Lope de Vega restaurant and a Hotel Lope de Vega (my home-away-from-home hotel in Madrid).  A wild and crazy tapas bar called Los Gatos with a really camp treatment of Goya's Maja Desnuda (Naked Maja; note the relatively recent addition of a padlock over a strategic area of her anatomy). Warning: Have a beer in this place, have a look at all the kitsch decor and avoid being trapped into expensive, not particularly good tapas).

Middle room of Los Gatos in the Literary Quarter of Madrid with statues of Black jazz musicians, a photo of the great bullfighter Curro Romero and a reproduction of Francisco de Goya's La Maja Desnuda (The Naked Maja), now with a padlock over a sensitive portion of her anatomy (see later photo of the painting the way it used to be in this very touristy, incredibly funky tapas bar).  Photograph by Gerry Dawes©2011. Contact

More links to Miguel de Cervantes and Don Quixote:

Miguel de Cervantes. Don Quijote

1 comment:

  1. Can't wait to show this to Lloyd Heroff, Mr. Dawes!


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