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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, papercitymag.com


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)


5/14/2019

Casa Bigote & Chef Fernando Hermoso (and His Retired Brother Paco), Sanlúcar de Barrameda (Cádiz), Andalucía: Another Five Dali Melting Watch Award for Chef Hermoso and His Crew, Bar Bigote, Casa Bigote Restaurant and Unparalleled Ambience


* * * * *
 All photographs by Gerry Dawes©2019.  No publication without written permission and payment considerations. Gerrydawes@aol.com


Chef Fernando Hermoso in his kitchen at Bar Bigote, Casa Bigote, Bajo de Guía, Sanlúcar de Barrameda (Cádiz).


 Fernando Hermoso´s Brother Paco, the now-retired co-owner of Casa Bigote, shows Kay Balun how to peel one of their prized langostinos de Sanlúcar prawns at Bar Bigote. 
   
Persistence of Memory* (Salvador Dalí) Five Melting Watch Rating

 Casa Bigote
Sanlúcar de Barrameda (Andalucía)

 

"Across the alleyway, in the restaurant’s upstairs dining room overlooking the Guadalquivir, he serves his justly famous langostinos de Sanlúcar (prawns steamed or grilled with sea salt). Or have the rape a la marinera (monkfish with saffron sauce) or raya a la naranja agría (skate in bitter Seville orange sauce) while gazing out at the Coto Doñana, one of the world’s great bird reserves, where researchers believe they may have found the buried ruins of Atlantis." Dinner, $70. 10 Bajo de Guía, Sanlúcar de Barrameda, Cádiz, Andalucía; 34-956/362-696. -- Gerry Dawes From my article Spain's Best Undiscovered Restaurants, Departures, May 2011

 

Chef Joel Ehrlich (r, now of Absinthe in San Francisco), Javier Hidalgo of Bodegas Hidalgo La Gitana and Chef Ryan McIlwraith (Executive Chef Absinthe Group, San Francisco, drinking manzanilla La Gitana on the balcony at legendary Casa Bigote in  Sanlúcar de Barrameda.  Photo by Gerry Dawes©2014 / gerrydawes@aol.com / Facebook / Twitter / Pinterest.  Canon G15 / Canon f/1.8 – f/2.8 5X 24-140mm IS USM.

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The best place for drinking sherry on Bajo de Guía beach is Casa Bigote Bar, where the tapas and Manzanilla are legendary.  Authentic, raffish and utterly captivating, the original building is an old-time fishermen’s tavern crammed with bullfight posters and decades’ worth of oddities dragged in by local fleets’ nets (Roman amphoras, a whale’s jaw, blowfish, etc.). Chef Fernando Hermoso, who began cooking on fishing boats, serves only local fish and shellfish from the Guadalquivir River—where Columbus and Magellan (and Juan Sebastián Elkano, who actually finished the trip, since Magellan was killed in the Phillipines) began their historic voyages—and the Atlantic Ocean. His huevo marinero, a sublime monkfish-and-shrimp dish served bubbling hot with a fresh egg cracked on top, is a culinary epiphany.
 

Fundación Puerta de America, Legua Cero (League Zero):  Here from Bajo de Guía beach on the Guadalquiver River at Sanlúcar de Barrameda and steps from Casa Bigote is where Magellanes (Magellan) started the first circumnavigation of the planet with five ships.  After he was killed in the Phillipines, Juan Sebastián Elkano, from Getaria (outside San Sebastián) completed the journey nearly three years later with just one ship and 21 remaining crew members.


Plaque commemorating the circumnavigation of the globe voyage of Magellan and Juan Sebastián Elkano in la Plaza de San Roque in Sanlúcar de Barrameda.


Kay Balun at one of the most exclusive chef´s tables in the world, the kitchen chef from which Chef Fernando Bigote sends out food to the lower dining room of Casa Bigote Restaurant, just a few steps across the alleyway from Bar Bigote (he sends food to Bar Bigote through the door on the side of the bar to the right).  


Authentic, raffish and utterly captivating, the original Bar Bigote building is an old-time fishermen’s tavern, as the sign outside says: "Auténtico Taberna Marinera."







Chef Fernando Hermoso´s huevo a la marinera, a sublime monkfish-and-shrimp dish served bubbling hot with a fresh egg cracked on top, is a culinary epiphany.  Hermoso began his culinary career as a cook on fishing boats.
 

Chef-owner Fernando Hermoso, my great friend for nearly 50 years, usually stations us here at Casa Bigote´s kitchen bar, we put our stuff on the beer keg below Kay in the corner and are treated to a dazzling array of some of the planet´s greatest seafood, and Manzanilla de Sanlúcar, the dishes like these heads-on, deep-fried langostinos de Sanlúcar (prized, very expensive local prawns) fired by the maestro Fernando himself, who also keeps are Manzanilla glasses full (except Kay doesn´t like dry Sherries, so Fernando gives her the local white wine). 



 Chef-owner Fernando Hermoso draining some langostinos de Sanlúcar, the town´s famous prawns at Casa Bigote.

 
 Chocos con cebollas y patatas fritas (squid chunks with caramelized onions and fried potatoes) at Casa Bigote.



 Chef-owner Fernando Bigote of Casa Bigote with his son César, who is the chef in the kitchen at Restaurante Bigote.  Fernando stays in the bar kitchen, where he can see customers who have been his friends for decades. 

Juan Isidro Hermoso (cousin of Chef Fernando), José Manuel Velázquez, José Manuel Vargas and Victor Manuel de los Reyes, Bar Bigote kitchen sous chefs and crew.


 Casa Bigote and Bar Bigote Chef-owner Fernando Hermoso comes out of the kitchen at the end of the shift to pour us some more Manzanilla de Sanlúcar de Barrameda. 

Gerry Dawes and Chef Fernando Hermoso drinking Manzanilla Sherry in Bar Bigote


Kay Balun, Chef Fernando Hermoso and Gerry Dawes photographed by a crew member from via the kitchen window-bar, where Fernando passes finished dishes for the main restaurant Casa Bigote, just steps across an alleyway from Bar Bigote.


 Authentic, raffish and utterly captivating, the original building is an old-time fishermen’s tavern crammed with bullfight posters and decades’ worth of oddities dragged in by local fleets’ nets (Roman amphoras, a whale’s jaw, a blowfish, etc.).  


 









 Gerry Dawes in Bar Bigote in front of a picture (above) of old friend Matador "Pepe" Limeño.
 
 Chef-owner Fernando Bigote of Casa Bigote with his son César, who is the chef in the kitchen at Restaurante Bigote.  Fernando stays in the bar kitchen, where he can see customers who have been his friends for decades. 

Juan Isidro Hermoso (cousin of Chef Fernando), José Manuel Velázquez, José Manuel Vargas and Victor Manuel de los Reyes, Bar Bigote kitchen sous chefs and crew.


Langostinos de Sanlúcar from Casa Bigote with La Gitana manzanilla, in evening light,
Bajo de Guía beach on the Guadalquívir River, Sanlúcar de Barrameda.
Photo by Gerry Dawes©2010 / gerrydawes@aol.com.


  

Sunset in a Glass:  The town of Sanlúcar de Barrameda, in the southern region of Andalucía, is famous for its Sherry, in particular the Manzanilla de Sanlúcar produced by La Gitana, whose owner, Javier Hidalgo, once said, “If you ever have Manzanilla at sunset on Bajo de Guía beach, you will never drink it again without seeing the Sanlúcar sunset in the glass.”



Javier Hidalgo drinking his Bodegas Hidalgo Napoleon Amontillado
as an aperitif before  lunch. Photo by Gerry Dawes©2010 / gerrydawes@aol.com



* * * * *
  Shall deeds of Caesar or Napoleon ring
More true than Don Quixote's vapouring?
Hath winged Pegasus more nobly trod
Than Rocinante stumbling up to God?
 
Poem by Archer M. Huntington inscribed under the Don Quixote on his horse Rocinante bas-relief sculpture by his wife, Anna Vaughn Hyatt Huntington,
in the courtyard of the Hispanic Society of America’s incredible museum at 613 W. 155th Street, New York City.
 _______________________________________________________________________________________
 Gastronomy Blogs

About Gerry Dawes

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


Gerry Dawes is the Producer and Program Host of Gerry Dawes & Friends, a weekly radio progam on Pawling Public Radio in Pawling, New York (streaming live and archived at www.pawlingpublicradio.org and at www.beatofthevalley.com.)

Dawes was awarded Spain's prestigious Premio Nacional de Gastronomía (National Gastronomy Award) in 2003. He writes and speaks frequently on Spanish wine and gastronomy and leads gastronomy, wine and cultural tours to Spain. He was a finalist for the 2001 James Beard Foundation's Journalism Award for Best Magazine Writing on Wine, won The Cava Institute's First Prize for Journalism for his article on cava in 2004, was awarded the CineGourLand “Cinéfilos y Gourmets” (Cinephiles & Gourmets) prize in 2009 in Getxo (Vizcaya) and received the 2009 Association of Food Journalists Second Prize for Best Food Feature in a Magazine for his Food Arts article, a retrospective piece about Catalan star chef, Ferran Adrià. 


". . .That we were the first to introduce American readers to Ferran Adrià in 1997 and have ever since continued to bring you a blow-by-blow narrative of Spain's riveting ferment is chiefly due to our Spanish correspondent, Gerry "Mr. Spain" Dawes, the messianic wine and food journalist raised in Southern Illinois and possessor of a self-accumulated doctorate in the Spanish table. Gerry once again brings us up to the very minute. . ." - - Michael & Ariane Batterberry, Editor-in-Chief/Publisher and Founding Editor/Publisher, Food Arts, October 2009. 
 
Pilot for a reality television series on wine, gastronomy, culture and travel in Spain.
 

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