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36. Gerry Dawes's Spain: An Insider's Guide to Spanish Food, Wine, Culture and Travel

"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, Nobel Peace Prize Nominee and Oscar Presenter 2019; Chef-partner of Mercado Little Spain at Hudson Yards, New York 2019


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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