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

"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

4/07/2022

Sevilla: Breakfast at Bar Plata and A Remarkable Walk From El Arco de la Macarena to the Cathedral Featuring a Half Dozen Mudéjar-and-Gothic Churches Built on the Sites of Former Mosques in the 14th Century Part One

 

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Part One: The Beginning

Bar Plata and El Arco de la Macarena

 

 
Photograph from Chapter Three Sevilla: Arrival in Spain from page 29 of Sunset in a Glass: Adventures of a Food and Wine Road Warrior in Spain Volume I Enhanced Photography Edition by Gerry Dawes©2021, Photo by Gerry Dawes©1968.

 
Among many historic, fascinating and enriching walks in the old quarters of Sevilla, the walk along what was the old Roman calzada or roadway, the cardo máximo, or main north-south street in any Roman city, entering the city from the North is one of the most rewarding.  Entering through El Arco de la Macarena, once a gate in the ancient Roman walls then a major entrance to the city under the Moorish-Berber  rule, when the gate was 12th century Islamic architecture (later rebuilt in the 18th century in a classical style).  
 
El Arco de la Macarena, one of the remaining ancient gates left in Sevilla and one of the most important because it leads to the revered La Basilica de la Macarena.  But since in modern times it is off the main routes leading into Sevilla, it is unlikely that any foreigner in 1968 would enter Sevilla this way for the first time, although since the post-Islamic period, it has been the traditional entry point for the kings and queens of Spain on their ceremonial first visits to Sevilla. This was my very first photograph of Sevilla. Note the traffic jam of bicycles, motorbikes, small trucks and cars and a donkey pulling a cart. 
 

 
El Arco de la Macarena, June 2021.

 
Gerry Dawes on his first day in Sevilla in 1968 with the Cathedral of Sevilla in the background. 
Photo by Tom Sims.


Road Warrior Gerry Dawes at El Arco de la Macarena June 20, 2021.
I did not arrive or leave in that black car behind me.  Photograph by Kathleen Balun©2021.
 
I recommend you begin this exploration of historic Sevilla with breakfast at Bar Plata, which looks out on the ancient remains of the northern section of the walls that once encircled Sevilla, El Arco de la Macarena and la Basilica de la Macarena.  Appropriately, the owner is a woman who is even named Macarena (shown below with Gerry Dawes).

Gerry Dawes and Macarena, the owner of Bar Plata in front of the splendid mural on the back wall the restaurant.  Photo by Kathleen Balun. 
 
 
The splendid azulejos (tiles) mural at Bar Plata showing the old northern walls of Sevilla and el Arco de la Macarena, originally built by the Carthaginians, then the Romans, then a series of Islamic occupiers of Spain and after the mid-13th century, the Castilian Christian reconquistadores
 


Breakfast at Bar Plata, Sevilla.
Mollete (bun) with tomate, aceite de oliva y jamón, café con leche, fresh-squeezed zumo de naranja and gazpacho with ice cubes and a cucumber slice. 
 
Also available at Bar Plata are porras, a thicker type of churro. 

 

Bar Plata opened in 1909.  It is situated on the corner of the end of the Vía de la Plata, the old Roman silver road--parts of which can still be seen in Extremadura and other parts of western Spain--that ran from Sevilla through Extremadura and Castilla y León to Asturias.  On the day I first entered Sevilla in 1968, the bus dropped Tom Sims and me alongside the Bar Plata.

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(Available at Amazon, Despana (NYC), LaTienda.com, La Boca Restaurant (Santa Fe, NM) and at Kitchen Arts & Letters bookstore (NYC). 
 
Comments are welcome and encouraged.
 
Text and photographs copyright by Gerry Dawes©2021.  Using photographs without crediting Gerry Dawes©2021 on Facebook.  Publication without my written permission is not authorized.
 
Help Support Gerry Dawes's Spain & Its Content

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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  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

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


 
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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