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Archive for the ‘Camino – English Route’ Category

UPDATE: In late July 2018 the restaurant moved to a new location at Rúa Espartero 77 (map).

While O Camiño do Inglés is no longer directly on the path of the Camino Inglés, it is only 350 meters away (a 5 minute walk) from the previous location on Rúa San Francisco, where it had operated since 2012. The new location is just two blocks up from the stone marker that indicates the beginning of the English Route of the Camino de Santiago. It continues to be an ingredient driven, seafood focused restaurant whose menu changes daily based upon what’s fresh and in season at the market.

The original location on Rúa San Francisco has been converted by Chef/Owner Dani López into Josefa’s Bara more casual tapas bar done up in a slightly throwback style to a time when Galician grandmothers prepared comfort food for their families. Pilgrims on the camino, or anyone visiting Ferrol, should find this a comfortable spot to enjoy a drink and some delicious tapas.

Originally published post below:

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One of the many Camino-themed pieces of art that decorates O Camiño do Inglés restaurant in Ferrol, Galicia.

Both arms of the Camino Inglés - the route originates in A Coruña and Ferrol, Galicia.

The lime green line indicates the English Route of the Camino de Santiago from Ferrol to Santiago de Compostela.

When people think of the Camino de Santiago (The Way of St. James) they often first think of the long 800 kilometer (500 mile) trail that marches westward across all of northern Spain from the Pyrenees Mountains to the tomb of Saint James in Santiago de Compostela. That route, the “French Route”, is certainly the most well-known, but there are many other roads to Santiago de Compostela. One of them is the English Route, which begins in Ferrol, Galicia. It’s the shortest of the “official” Camino routes measuring just 118 kilometers (73 miles).

“The English Route” in Spanish is La Ruta ç. In Galician it translates as O Camiño do Inglés. The restaurant O Camiño do Inglés is located on Rúa San Francisco directly on the Camino route as it leaves the port of Ferrol and meanders through the town along the Ría de Ferrol before heading off into the forests and small towns on the 5 days to walk to Santiago de Compostela.

The map here shows the route from Ferrol (the lime green line), but the English Route also has an arm that originates in the beautiful city of A Coruña (the light blue line). The two paths diverge near a small historic place called Hospital de Bruma – where an actual pilgrim’s hospital operated until the 1500s. The route is full of historic significance in addition to being a tranquil stroll between charming small towns, tiny aldeas (villages), rolling hills, farmland, and forested mountains.

During my very first visit to Galicia in 2014 one of the highlights of my visit to Ferrol was dining at O Camiño do Inglés on the eve of setting out to walk my very first Camino (that visit is recapped in a previous blog post). I returned again to dine here in 2016. It wasn’t until 2017, during my third visit, that I was finally able to enjoy a full tasting menu. That’s what we’ll be talking about in this blog post.

Chef Dani López tells us all about the menu.

Because the menu changes frequently to represent what’s seasonal and fresh in the local markets, a large black chalkboard is brought to the table in lieu of a printed menu. Chef Daniel López walked us through the menu items and offered to put together a shareable tasting menu to show off the best the restaurant had to offer.

I opted for the wine pairings, while my dining companion selected a few options by the glass, starting with an organic Vermouth, Amillo Vermut Reserva Jerezano. Our waiter brought a tasty bowl of olives from the Galician province of Ourense as the first wine pairing was poured – a Manzanilla from Andalucía: Entusiastica by Bodega Delgado Zuletan.

San Martiño al corte en adobo (Sliced San Martiño in adobo)

Local San Martiño fish (John Dory in English) sliced and served crudo style (raw) in adobo seasoning. Adobo, a spice blend of paprika and cumin, is quite common in Andalucía and was perfectly balanced in this dish. It goes without saying that the fish was super fresh; we loved the clean flavor and excellent texture. It paired perfectly with the Andalusian Manzanilla.

Xurelo, escabeche, boniato (Mackerel, sweet and sour sauce, sweet potato)

Mackerel naturally has a strong flavor so the intense escabeche sauce (made with roasted soy here) matched the intensity of the oven roasted fish. Creamy sweet potato and tangy green onions went together nicely and balanced the entire dish.

Trenzado by Suertes del Marqués from Tenerife is a white wine blend of Listán Blanco and Vidueño grapes described as an interesting wine that goes well with vegetables, particularly with the corn that was featured in the next dish.

Buey de mar, maíz, espinacas (Crab, corn, spinach)

Not a photogenic dish, but we really enjoyed digging into this enormous pile of sweet shredded crab meat over spinach sautéed with garlic. I’m still not sure which was more luxurious, the crab or the velvety corn soup that enveloped it.

Another bottle from Bodega Delgado Zuleta, this time a sherry, Monteagudo Palo Cortado, to accompany the house’s current signature dish – “Zorza” de albacore.

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Zorza (cruda) de albacore, patata, pimiento, huevo (Raw marinated albacore tune, potato, pepper, egg)

Zorza is actually a marinated pork dish, but the version here at O Camiño do Inglés is an inventive play on zorza, if it were an Asian dish that landed in the northwestern coast of Spain.  This “zorza” was made from white tuna, fried potatoes and Padrón peppers in a sweet and savory sauce made of paprika oil, sweet chili, sesame oil, soy, and vinegar. Sprinkles of egg yolk, green onion, and sesame seeds are the perfect addition. The fish really stands up to these bold flavors; it’s no wonder this is one of the signature dishes here.

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2016 Alma d’ Mar Albariño from Bodegas Albamar in the Rías Baixas wine region.

Merluza Casa Marcelo (Hake Casa Marcelo style)

Chef Dani previously worked at the Michelin-starred Casa Marcelo in Santiago de Compostela and openly admits to being inspired by one of the dishes there. He executes it in his own style, which is opposite of the version at Casa Marcelo. Perfectly cooked tender moist hake fish sits atop a pepper pil pil sauce with a tangy caldo de limón (lemon broth) over top.

Crisp and delicious, this 2016 Muros Antiguos by Anselmo Mendes is a Portuguese vinho verde wine from the area just south of the Rías Baixas made of Loureiro grapes that paired wonderfully with the Salmonete course.

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Salmonete, endibias, estragón (Red mullet, endive, tarragon)

“This is a very French dish” Chef Dani announced when he brought this plate to the table. Fish fantasies came true with this excellent Galician product prepared with international inspiration. The smooth, buttery tarragon sauce was very French, indeed, and a bit unexpected and extremely delicious with the firm, gently cooked ocean fish.

As we chatted about wine with the sommelier, he made a last minute switch to this 1993 Viña Gravonia from Lopez de Heredia, an inspired pairing for the final savory dish of the meal.

Lentejas, foie, calabaza (Lentils, foie gras, pumpkin)

As we were deciding on the meal, Chef indicated he would send out 6 fish courses and one meat course. When it came time to serve it, he amended his statement to say that the final course was a meat dish, “kind of”.  I understood what he meant as soon as I tasted the dish. Lentils with pumpkin and marinated red onion topped with chunks of foie gras that quickly melted into the already rich broth. Lentils as a main meat course sounds sort of unassuming, but this was a truly fabulous dish.

For dessert wines, we sampled a Pedro Jimenez (tased like we were sipping liquid dried figs and grapes); and a Guitian late harvest Godello.

Arroz con leche a nuestra manera (rice pudding our way)

We enjoyed this complex-flavored, excellent version of traditional rice pudding with hints of cinnamon stick, vanilla bean, and brûlée-d sugar on top.

Kit-Kat de Te Matcha – Another international dish – this time a tasty dessert inspired by the Japanese version Matcha tea Kit-Kat. White chocolate cold cream was the anchor of the dish with a lovely green te matcha sauce, crumbled sable cookie and almonds.

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la felicidad es el camino, no el destino” (happiness is the journey, not the destination)

One entire wall of the dining room is decorated in a sweeping mural that ends with the sentiment that “happiness is the journey, not the destination”. That is something that pilgrims discover while on the Camino de Santiago, and it’s so apt that it is also experienced here at O Camiño do Inglés.

Date of third visit: October 18, 2017
Date of second visit: September 22, 2016
Date of first visit: June 10, 2014


O Camiño do Inglés
Rúa San Francisco, 17, 15401 Ferrol, A Coruña (map)
+34 981 721 765

Website: www.ocaminodoingles.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ocamino.doingles/
Instagram: www.instagram.com/ocaminodoingles

English spoken: YES

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Date of visit: Friday, September 23, 2016

 

La Casa Barrié – photo taken from the English Route of the Camino de Santiago that passes directly in front. Home to Bido Restaurante.

The city of A Coruña is known for having beautiful architecture and some absolutely gorgeous stately historical buildings. One of the grande dames of the Corunese cityscape is La Casa Barrié (Barrié House), built in 1916. Unique in both size and design, it occupies a large city block near the Plaza de Vigo and is built in an “eclectic” style, which is to say a mixture of different architectural styles (Classic, Baroque, and Modernist). It is within this building that Bido Restaurante is located, right on the English Route of the Camino de Santiago on one of the main thoroughfares that leads into the old part of the city.

Beginning in August of this year, social media in A Coruña started buzzing about a new restaurant set to open in late September by Chef Juan Crujeiras, founder and co-proprietor of Michelin-starred A Estación Restaurante in Cambre, Galicia. Since I was fortunate enough to have visited A Estación twice last year and enjoyed both visits immensely, I was really hoping to be able to dine at Bido during my September trip to Galicia. Alas, it wasn’t to be … the restaurant’s opening was three days after I was scheduled to leave A Coruña. When Chef Crujeiras ever so kindly invited me over to Bido for a sneak peek of the restaurant a few days before the actual opening, I was absolutely delighted to accept!

The name Bido comes from bidueiro, the Galician word for “birch”, as in the tree. The restaurant’s unique logo incorporates a graphic interpretation of a birch leaf (note the blocks that form straight line of the letter “B”, top of the letter “I” and the corners of the “D” in BIDO, below), and also makes reference to the intricate patterns often seen in the old fashioned hydraulic (cement) tile floors of which Chef Crujeiras is quite fond.

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When I arrived early on a Friday afternoon the team at Bido was buzzing about working to finalize all of the last minute details since the restaurant was actually opening in just a few more days. Table settings weren’t yet laid down, but there was already an inviting comfort to the refined airy space. Personalized with birch branches, leather chairs, and natural golden tones, the architecturally impressive interior brings a sense of nature and the outdoors into this city restaurant. While the setting at Bido is a bit more elegant than at her sister restaurant in Cambre, the atmosphere is less formal. There are no tablecloths, for example, and one can sit at the comfortable bar to enjoy a beverage and a bite to eat.

Sipping on a glass of wine at one of the comfortable high tops near the window with a lovely view out onto Calle Marcial de Adalid. Note the birch leaf motif from the logo repeats in the awning.

Bido Restaurante serves contemporary Galician cuisine in quite the same style as the dishes that are served at A Estación. A unique feature of Bido’s menu is that the main courses are all served as media raciónes (half portions), so that guests may try multiple items. As a matter of fact, several of the dishes listed in Bido’s menu are quite similar to dishes we enjoyed at A Estación and, from all accounts, they are executed with the same high level of quality.

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The current version of the menu (menu photos courtesy of Chef Crujeiras):

Para Empezar, Picar O Compartir (To start, Nibble, or Share)
Entrantes (Starters)
Principales (Main Dishes)
Y de postre qué hay? (What’s for dessert?)

 

 

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Well, I did get to try something of the food during the visit to Bido – a seafood croqueta! It was delicious!

Bido takes full advantage of the beautiful well-stocked bar that dominates the front of the restaurant with a specialty cocktail program that covers a great many of the classics. In addition to the cocktails and spirits, they offer a by-the-glass selection of unique and interesting higher end wines. Normally wines of this level are only available by the bottle, particularly in A Coruña, so this is a unique feature allowing guests to sample wines that might not otherwise be found by the glass.

Below, Chef Crujeiras poses with one of the bottles being sampled on the afternoon of my visit and with yours truly (MyLifeOnVacation) for an Instagram post.

In a recent interview on the local Galician culinary radio program Come e Fala, Chef Crujeiras expressed his excitement about this new project and commented that Bido’s opening has exceeded his expectations. With a passionate and devoted team on board (including Manual Otero, the charming maître d’ – head waiter, from A Estación who was featured in this interesting article earlier this year), this new outpost has been established in fine form. While A Estación remains as highly regarded as ever, the arrival of Bido is an absolute boon to A Coruña’s dining scene.


Bido Restaurante
Marcial  de Adalid 2, A Coruña, Spain (map)
+34 881 92 28 47

Website: www.bidorestaurante.es
Facebook: www.facebook.com/bido-restaurante
Bido Instagram: www.instagram.com/bidorestaurante
Chef Crujeiras Instagram:  www.instagram.com/crujeiras


Come e Fala Radio Program – September 9, 2016 episode featuring Chef Crujeiras

A Coruña’s Modernist Route (Ruta Modernista) – For more information on the beautiful historical modernist buildings in A Coruña , see the Coruña Turismo site – available here in English.

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If there’s one thing that Americans know about Spain it’s that “the rain in Spain falls mainly on the plain”, which comes from the musical (and movie) My Fair Lady.  But when I walked the Camino de Santiago’s English Route from Ferrol to Santiago de Compostela in June 2014 one of the first things I learned was that the rain in Spain doesn’t fall mainly on the plain, it falls in Galicia!  Galicia, through which the last 100 kilometers of any route of the Camino passes, is known for lush green hillsides, thanks to copious amounts of rain.  It’s absolutely beautiful, but can be very (very) wet.

Which only makes it even more of a miracle that we had 10 (ten!)  sunny days as we made our way slowly to Santiago.  It did rain in Coruña and Ferrol as I visited those charming cities before the walk.

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Some people call A Coruña “la ciudad gris”, the grey city. I think I see why…

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Rainy pedestrian street in A Coruña.

To be honest, I have no photo of the rainy afternoon in Ferrol because I took a nap and slept right through it.

But then, TEN sunny of days of walking!

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Just look at that sun shining on the town square in Betanzos!

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Sunny overpass outside of Betanzos.

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A sunny day makes you appreciate a shady forest path.

And so our arrival into Santiago was also bright and sunny.

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Sunshine! Rays of sunshine!

Well, our rain-free streak ended that evening in Santiago when it absolutely DOWNPOURED!  Everyone took shelter in cafes and stores, except those who were entranced by the ferocity of the deluge (like me) and perhaps took photos (also like me).

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Just look at that downpour!

But the funny thing is that the rain could not dampen our spirits (pun intended), at all.  We had such a fun night enjoying our last evening together, having a lot of laughs, getting silly with maybe a bit too much wine (or was that just me?), and reminiscing over the week’s walk.

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Having a good laugh despite the rain.

And so, as I prepare to return to Galicia to walk the Camino again, I’m now working on putting together my rain gear (which includes trying to figure out how to strap an open umbrella to my backpack …. yeah, that’s a work in progress!).  While I’m doing that, and when I get to Galicia, I’ll be sure to keep in mind the famous phrase that they have there: “E si chove, que chova!” And if it rains, let it rain!

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In June 2014, I made my way to Ferrol (Galicia), Spain in order to embark on my very first Camino – on the English Route (Ruta Inglés) of the Camino de Santiago. There are two ‘official’ starting points of the Camino Ingles, one in A Coruña and the other in Ferrol. Most opt to begin in Ferrol, as the distance to Santiago de Compostela (118 kilometers) is enough to qualify to receive a Compostela certificate upon arrival (on foot) to Santiago.

My first afternoon was spent exploring Ferrol on the Modernist Route of gorgeous buildings using a very handy map found in the lobby of my hotel:

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This one is for rent!

After all of that touring around, my next search was for Churros con Chocolate. Luckily, I found them just a few steps away from my hotel.
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The following day, I finally made it down to the port to look for the official starting point of the Ruta Inglés, where people for hundreds of years may have come by boat from England to walk the Camino. It was a picture perfect day with beautiful views of a working port.
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And mere steps away was the highlight of the day: lunch at O Camiño Do Inglés (Rúa San Francisco 17).
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The staff was so friendly, and so patiently explained the whole menu to me.

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Starting with olives and albariño.

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tapa: mini bocata de raxo (little roasted pork sandwich)

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I had seen this online and knew I had to have it: Verduras a la parrilla, huevo, salmorejo, y aceite de chorizo (grilled veg, egg, tomato/bread puree, chorizo oil). Just as incredible as it looks! That egg!

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They said this was their signature dish – alitas de pollo, crema de patata, y cebolla carmelizada (boneless chicken wings, potato purée and carmalized onion). Wow, incredibly rich and delicious.

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Obligatory Camino decór

After the fabulous lunch, I was then officially on the Camino route …. where you just follow the shells all the way to Santiago!
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It’s no surprise to anyone who knows me that I love to travel. At work I have quite a reputation for somehow being able to squeeze more vacations into our allotted time off than practically anyone else I know. And it’s not just that I enjoy getting out of the office to see the world, but it’s that these trips truly do shape our lives. They change us. We have the opportunity to get our of our ordinary routine and to experience something else, something new and often completely different. To meet different people. To eat different food. To experience different cultures. And, ultimately, to bring that all home and apply the lessons that we have learned to improve our lives at home.

While I have been traveling internationally for many years now, it’s the trip that I took last year to Spain, my 5th visit to that beautiful country, that truly became the journey of a lifetime. On that trip in June 2014, I walked the Camino de Santiago. The English Route is one path to Santiago de Compostela that begins in Ferrol. We walked a short 118 km (73 miles) over 11 days. The group I walked with was called the “Caracoles” (snails), since most people walk the same route in just 5 days. We had 11 days of beautiful sunny weather in Galicia, in the northwestern corner of Spain, that is notorious for rainy days (which result in some beautifully verdant green hills). Along the way, I fell in love with Galicia and with walking meditatively, learned a lot about myself, and set myself on a new course. I’ve thought of Spain each and every day since my return from the Camino Ingles and during the past 10 months have spent a lot of time planning and training for my return trip in May 2015. This time I’ll be walking the Portuguese Route to Santiago de Compostela from Tui, which is located right on the Spain / Portugal border.

Off we go!  Starting the Camino de Santiago - Ruta Ingles - in Ferrol.  Hotel lobby.

Off we go! Starting the Camino de Santiago – Ruta Ingles. Ferrol, Spain. Hotel lobby. June 11, 2014.

11 days later we arrive in Santiago de Compostela!  Aside from Bob and me, the rest of the group is from South Africa, hence the flag.

11 days later we arrive in Santiago de Compostela! Aside from Bob and me, the rest of the group is from South Africa, hence the flag. June 21, 2014.

And in the Cathedral, we were presented with our Compostelas.  Our hearts swelled!  The front row seat to the botafumeiro swinging was absolutely magical.

And in the Cathedral, we were presented with our Compostelas. Our hearts swelled! The front row seat to the botafumeiro swinging was absolutely magical. June 21, 2014.

As I prepare for my return trip to Spain and the Camino de Santiago, I can’t help but frequently reflect on the change that has taken place over the past 10 months. This photo comparison illustrates one aspect of that change:

Left is June 2014, the first day (first mile!) of the Camino de Santiago English Route.  Right is 10 months later, April 2015, as I prepare to return to Spain for another Camino!

Left is June 2014, the first day (first mile!) of the Camino de Santiago English Route. Right is 10 months later, April 2015, as I prepare to return to Spain for another Camino!

I’ll be posting about the trip here, as well as on my Instagam (mylifeonvacation) and Twitter (@mylifeonvacatio). I would love for you to follow along! If you have any specific questions, please leave a comment!

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