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In 2019, again ranked in the Top 50 Gastronomy Blogs and Websites for Gastronomists & Gastronomes in 2019 by Feedspot. (Last Updated Oct 23, 2019)

"The Best Gastronomy blogs selected from thousands of Food blogs, Culture blogs and Food Science blogs in our index using search and social metrics. We’ve carefully selected these websites because they are actively working to educate, inspire, and empower their readers with frequent updates and high-quality information.

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

Gerry 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 customized gastronomy, wine and cultural tours to Spain. Frequency about 2 posts per week."






"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)


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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10/25/2019

The Where's Curtas? Chronicles: Traveling in Spain Intimidating Unsuspecting Folks Into Posing with John Curtas's Eating Las Vegas


* * * * *
All photographs by Gerry Dawes©2019.  For permission to reproduce, e-mail me at gerrydawes@aol.com.

I caught Mari Carmen Onrubia de Esquivias, one of the loveliest women in Sevilla, in her kitchen perusing Eating Las Vegas by John Curtas, Oct. 21, 2019.


 John Curtas's Eating Las Vegas about to be sucked into a jet engine, along with my computer bag, at NYC's JFK Airport, October 5, 2019.

The John Curtas Eating Las Vegas chronicles in Spain, during which I hassled, threatened, cajoled and charmed some of Spain's top chefs, a professional ham cutter, a food writer, Hans Christian Andersen (well, his statue in Málaga*) and other unsuspecting victims to pose with Curtas's book. *Others refused, including Pablo Picasso, whose grown-man statue sits in a plaza in front of his natal home (except Picasso never came here after he was 20.) 


And, because of security, I was never able to approach Antonio Banderas, who does live in Málaga. He seemed friendly enough at first, but when he saw it was Curtas's book, his bodyguards closed ranks. 

First I accosted numerous people at the stellar gastronomic conference San Sebastián Gastronomika 2019.  A few good friends like Barcelona star chef Carles Abellan, star chef María José San Román Pérez, Carrasco Guijuelo President Atanasio Carrasco (#FranciscoCarrasco) and Carrasco Guijuelo Cortador de Jamones Pedro Seco Sanchez indulged me. Others such as anchovy fileter Maria Ucin and fishermen Carlos Castillo and Jon Andonegi (who threatened to strangle me and demonstrated with a fish how he was going to do it) just shook their heads a and moved on, which was fortunate because it saved me having to run around the country with a book with dried fish guts on it.
 
 
Barcelona star chef Carles Abellan
 

  
 Star chef María José San Román Pérez and Carrasco Guijuelo President Atanasio Carrasco. 


 
Carrasco Guijuelo Cortador de Jamones Pedro Seco Sánchez at San Sebastián Gastronomika 2019. 


 Anchovy fileter María Ucín.


 Jon Andonegi, Basque fisherman.


 Fishermen Carlos Castillo: "Come one step closer with that book and I will net you." 



After enduring threats of bodily harm and loss of social standing, I decided to cool it until I got to the magical town of Chinchón (50 kms. southeast of Madrid) and gave retired Madrid Fusión Co'Director Esmeralda Capel enough wine to get her to pose with Curtas´s book.




Our companions on this trip, Michael Whiteman of Joseph Baum & Michael Whiteman Restaurants Consultants and his wife cookbook author Rozanne Gold, hugging at the famous windmills and castle on the hill above the town of Consuegra, La Mancha, did not hear me because of the wind when I asked them to let Curtas's book come between them.  



In la Mancha at Puerto Lapice, I found Don Quixote at an inn guarding is armor and I asked him to pose with Eating Las Vegas.  He replied, "No f-ing way!"  First off, can't you see I am guarding my armor, and secondly, "What?  You think I am crazy?  I wouldn't be caught dead guarding my armor with that thing in my hands.  What would Cervantes say?"

At Castillo de Canena in Canena (Jaén), where we were invited by the owners of Castillo de Canena Extra Virgen Olive Oils to stay overnight, seeing the animal skins on the floor, I deduced that the owner had guns, so I declined to ask them to pose with Curtas´s book. 



I did ask my long-time dear friend Gabriela Llamas G. Amezúa, a cookbook author and Spanish gastronomy expert, to pose with the book, but she told me that I would have to give her a lot more of Eugenio Merino's Viña Catajarros Cigales Rosado for her to pose with Eating Las Vegas and I only brought four bottles. 



After two nuns in the wonderful Andalucian town of Úbeda told me that they were not in the habit of posing with books from Sin Cities like Las Vegas, I continued research for my upcoming tours of Sephardic Spain, but could not find any ancient Jews willing to pose with the book either, but I did spill some of the molasses on the book from the Sephardic-inspired berenjenas con queso fresco y miel de caña, eggplant layered with fresh cheese and topped with molasses, but I wiped it off. 

 Berenjenas con queso fresco y miel de caña, eggplant layered with fresh cheese and topped with molasses, a Sephardic-inspired recipe, Restaurante el Seco, Úbeda (Jaén), Spain, October 11, 2019.


  
In Granada, Kay Balun and I attended a flamenco performance at Jardines Zoraya (not in the caves of Sacromonte) and, by spending 20 Euros on her Flamenco disc Una Gaditana en Bollywood, I induced Flamenco singer María del Mar Fernández to pose with Eating Las Vegas. (Curtas, you owe me 20 Euros, but I will send you the disc, plus shipping.) 



However, I was unsuccessful in getting Flamenco dancer Agustín Barajas at Jardines Zoraya to pose with the book.  After the performance he slipped into disguise and claimed he was not a Flamenco dancer.   



And I did not even ask the star female flamenco dancer, Raquel Heredia La Repompa, to let me photograph her holding the book, because I don´t like rejection and being laughed at.  



Poet Federico del Sagrado Corazón de Jesús García Lorca, known as Federico García Lorca, was unavailable since the Fascists assasinated him and dumped him in an unmarked grave outside of Granada during the Civil War, which is what Fascists do to gay people and poets.



In Málaga, on my birthday, October 15, I got Hans Christian Andersen to pose with Eating Las Vegas by John Curtas in la Plaza de la Marina.  At first, Mr. Andersen was cooperative, but soon he said he wouldn´t sit still much longer with Curtas´s book.  




I tried to get other unsuspecting victims to pose with Curtas's book, including Pablo Picasso (I even put my reassuring hand on his knee and Kay whispered sweet somethings in his ear, but he would not hear it).  

 
And I was never able to approach Antonio Banderas, who lives in Málaga and is a partner in the sprawling classic El Pimpi tapas restaurant.  Even though he was busy with the opening of the new Alameda theatre in Málaga´s SoHo art district and when he saw it was Curtas's book, his bodyguards closed ranks.  



Despite her opening strenuous protests and after giving me a WTF-is-this look, Janet Mendel, author of Cooking in Spain and more than half a dozen more books on Spanish cuisine and my friend of nearly 50 years, I convinced her* and she let me photograph her with Eating Las Vegas by John Curtas at my birthday lunch at Balneario Carmen in Málaga, Oct. 15, 2019.   

(*I am one charming sonofabitch and Charm is far preferable to handcuffing the intended victim, since once handcuffed, they can’t hold Curtas’s Eating Las Vegas, except between their teeth, which is awkward, unflatteringly and looks like they are being forced to promote the book under extreme duress.  Note that I have left out photos of those attempts.)


  Bohemian-Austrian poet Rainer Maria Rilke in the gardens of the Hotel Victoria, Ronda.


Ernest Hemingway, Ronda.



Orson Welles, Ronda.


 
  The late great Ronda Maestro, my old friend Antonio Ordoñez in Ronda.

 
 Antonio's father Cayetano Ordoñez “El Niño de la Palma” (model for the matador Pedro Romero in Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises.

In Ronda, on October 16, I approached Bohemian-Austrian poet Rainer Maria Rilke, Ernest Hemingway, Orson Welles, the great Ronda Maestro, my old friend Antonio Ordoñez and his father Cayetano Ordoñez “El Niño de la Palma” (model for the matador Pedro Romero in Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises), but none of them seemed moved by Eating Las Vegas to arise from their siestas.  I was tempted to approach one of Ronda’s period costumed bandolero enactors, but I was afraid that he might not try to steal the book. 

 Javier Hidalgo on the phone calling his lawyer about where it would be legal for him to be photographed with Eating Las Vegas, while I use his venencia cane to draw and pour sherry for his wife Paula Infiesta.

And, in Sanlúcar de Barrameda, my soul town, the town where God was born, well, some places are sacred, plus I could not get my dear friend Javier Hidalgo to put down his venencia cane, from which he was pouring repeated samples of his stellar line of Manzanilla sherries.  Javier is also a jockey who trains and races horses in the spectacular carreras de caballos (horse races) that are run on Bajo de Guía beach in August and, while training a young horse a few months ago, he got tossed off the horse and broke his hip.  I really did not feel that I could ask a man who had spent several weeks in hospital to sign Curtas´s book.

 Roman Emperor Trajano, born in Itálica, just outside Sevilla.

 Roman Emperor Adriano, born in Itálica, just outside Sevilla.

At Itálica, the Roman city just outside Sevilla, neither Emperor Adrian or Trajan, both of whom were born there, showed any interest in posing with Curtas´s book, but Trajan did muse about how I might like to be fed to the lions in the nearby arena.  

 
Finally, in Sevilla, we were staying at the home of my Sevillano friends of half a century and I caught Mari Carmen Onrubia de Esquivias, one of the loveliest women in Sevilla, in her kitchen perusing Eating Las Vegas by John Curtas, Oct. 21, 2019.  She does not speak or read English, so she had no idea of what she was reading, so I snapped a picture, the last in my series of photographs of Eating Las Vegas in Spain.


 John Curtas (center) with a pair of Communist paella floggers, Jeffrey Weiss (left) and Paras Shah (right) of Valencia Gold (Paella For The People) in Las Vegas sending me their greetings as I head for Spain without them!

Postscript:  To John Curtas, yes I am fully aware that you are not worthy.
 
* * * * *
  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.

_____________________________________________________________________________________ 

In 2019, again ranked in the Top 50 Gastronomy Blogs and Websites for Gastronomists & Gastronomes in 2019 by Feedspot. (Last Updated Oct 23, 2019)

"The Best Gastronomy blogs selected from thousands of Food blogs, Culture blogs and Food Science blogs in our index using search and social metrics. We’ve carefully selected these websites because they are actively working to educate, inspire, and empower their readers with frequent updates and high-quality information.

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

 Gastronomy Blogs
 About Gerry Dawes

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. 

In December, 2009, Dawes was awarded the Food Arts Silver Spoon Award in a profile written by José Andrés

". . .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.
 
Experience Spain With Gerry Dawes: Customized Culinary, Wine & Cultural Trips to Spain & Travel Consulting on Spain  

Gerry Dawes can be reached at  gerrydawes@aol.com; Alternate e-mail (use only if your e-mail to AOL is rejected): gerrydawes@gmail.com

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