Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘Modernismo’ Category

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.

img_9209

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.

img_0280

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?)

 

 

img_9236

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.

Read Full Post »

Saturday, May 16th, 2015

Waking up bright and early on my first morning in Galicia (bright and early for me on the first day overseas is actually 10:00 a.m.!), I had a list of things to do before grabbing my rental car and heading out to meet my friend José from Turismo Verde de Galicia (Turvegal) in another part of Galicia.

The first order of business was to get a Spanish SIM card.  In general, one can get by just fine using wi-fi (pronounced “wee-fee“) in Spain, as it is readily available in most bars/cafés and hotels (just ask nicely for the ¨clave¨ or password), and even at the airport.  However, since I was going to be walking alone for at least 87 miles through some unpopulated areas, and traveling by myself across the length of Galicia, I wanted to have data on my phone to be able to be in touch at all times.

Having never changed a SIM card in a phone, I was a bit apprehensive about the process.  But after some internet research on the process in general, and specifically in Spain, of the main service providers in Galicia, I landed on Orange as having good coverage in the areas I’d be walking and a decent plan, price-wise (Vodafone and Movistar are two other popular companies in Galicia).  As it happened, the Orange store was right across the pedestrian street (Calle Real) from where I planned to have breakfast (which may or may not have contributed to the decision).  Since it was after 10 a.m. by the time I got over there, data came before churros.  A very nice lady at the Orange store patiently explained their process and plans and hooked me up with a Spanish SIM card (and a Spanish telephone number) with 2 GB of data for €20, which included a €15 ‘credit’ that went against the small charges I incurred when making phone calls.  In the end, I re-upped for another 2 GB when mine ran out about 4 days before the end of my trip (in Padrón), where I paid another €11 to get 2 GB added.  In all, it cost me €31 for two full weeks of being online whenever and wherever I wanted.  If you were following along with me on Instagram during this trip, the posts from the middle of the forest were actually posted from the middle of the forest.  For me, it was a great deal.  I still have the SIM card, so when I return to Galicia I can pay online (www.orange.es) in advance for some data and be able to be online as soon as I arrive.  With Orange, my SIM card remains good for 12 months from the last re-charge.  When it was time to switch the Spanish SIM for my US SIM on the flight out of Spain, I was at first at a loss since I wasn´t traveling with a paper clip (the tool used at the phone store to eject the SIM).  After a bit of pondering, I came up with the solution … the post from one of my stud earrings!  Worked like a charm and when I landed in the US, I was back on Verizon like normal.

All connected, I was finally ready for my favorite Spanish breakfast:  Churros con Chocolate!

Two iconic places! Bonilla a la Vista to feed the body and Sargadelos to feed the soul – such beautiful things!

 

But wait!  What’s this?  The Sargadelos store is right next door and already open?  Why, yes … maybe I could pop in for a quick browse.  Sargadelos is a Galician ceramics manufacturer that deserves a whole post of its own (I’ll get to it, I promise).  In the meantime, check out the storefront and some of the pendants).

Sargadelos – all manner of ceramics from jewelry to coffee / tea sets, serving dishes, whole sets of china, lamps, you name it and they probably make it. Amazing quality and beauty.


Sargadelos – a classic!

 

I already had the one in the middle, second from the top, that I purchased last year on the English Route. These are all meant to ward against something specific. Mine wards against “Those who make work more difficult than it needs be.” I love it!

 

These are from another line. The animal motifs scare me a bit!

 


Finally! Seated at Bonilla a la Vista!

If you’ve never had Spanish hot chocolate, just imagine making homemade chocolate pudding and pouring yourself a cup of the hot mixture before it sets up.  That’s it.  Thick, rich and chocolaty.  And just begging to have hot fresh churros dunked into it.  Is this starting to sound dirty??  It’s an experience, I’ll tell you!

At Bonilla a la Vista, you order how many churros you want to accompany your chocolate.  This day, I chose 4.  On a previous visit I ordered 3 and left wanting more.  This was perfect!  All of the energy I needed to keep going in my action packed day.

Ahhhhh …. churros con chocolate!

And now for a walk back through the old part of town, and on my way to the Riazor fútbol (soccer) stadium to get a ticket for Sunday’s big match against Levante!

The Obelisk

 

Map of A Coruna

 

Riazor Beach – looking in the direction of the Torre de Hercules

 

Riazor Beach – looking in the direction of Estadio Riazor!

I had checked online a few weeks before to confirm the ticket booth hours on Saturday, so imagine my surprise and extreme disappointment at seeing the sign (below) that the ticket booth was closed. My plan was to leave Coruña shortly after purchasing my ticket so I could return on Sunday just in time for the game (with ticket in hand!). Needless to say, this unexpected closure threw a big wrench into that plan!

I met a very nice couple in the parking lot who offered to use their season ticket status to get me a ticket, but the ticket booths (even the one dedicated for season ticket holders) were all closed. It was an extremely lovely gesture on their part, just one of many examples of wonderful people I met on this trip.


All was not lost. Since I had some time, I went around to the DéporTienda – team shop! Had to get all equiped for the big game tomorrow!

Mural on Estadio Riazor

 

Dépor swag – Forza Dépor!

 

Spanking new Dépor tshirt and scarf.  You’ll be seeing more of these in the future!

Next on the agenda was to visit the Museo de Belas Artes for the wonderful exhibit “O Primeiro Picasso”, which documented Pablo Picasso’s time in A Coruña during his formative years of 9 – 13 years old.  It was extremely interesting both from the perspective of seeing some of Picasso’s earliest works (including homework and a note from a teacher) but also seeing what the city was like at that time (1891 – 1895).  Excellent exhibit.  And because it was the weekend of Galicia’s Dia Das Letras holiday, admission was free (thanks, Xunta de Galicia!).

Excellent exhibit!

 

Beautiful museum – Museo Belas Artes

 

There is another museum in Coruña in the house where Picasso actually lived, which I did not visit this time: Casa Museo Picasso.

A blog I follow via Instagram, Mis Lutier, had mentioned this quaint cafe, Miss Maruja.  It was located just around the corner from the museum, so a perfect spot to get a bite of lunch.

Miss Maruja – A Coruña

 

As you can see, I’m delighted by this sentiment: “The first 40 years of childhood are the most difficult” … how true!

 

Lunch: A toasted slice of really good Galician bread topped with melted cheese and jamón serrano. Perfect!

 

View of Riazor beach and stadium on the walk back to the hotel.

 

Modernismo / Art Nouveau buildings in the old town. In varying states of disrepair …

 

This stately place is in excellent repair.

 

Back again through the Obelisco Plaza, right around the corner from my hotel, and across from the Jardines de Méndez Nuñez.

 

So, one last stop at Hotel Lois to gather my things, and to lament to the fellow checking me out of the hotel about my bad luck with the fútbol tickets.  Naturally, he and one of the restaurant patrons were convinced that the poor American lady just didn’t understand where to go. I produced the photo above showing the posted notice, and they were also stymied that tickets weren’t being sold the day before the last home game of the season (not to mention that it was a key game in determining the team’s relegation status!).  Nonetheless, they wished me luck getting a ticket the following day and I was off by taxi to the airport to pick up my Avis rental car:

Fiat 500! Ready to roll!

 

And so I was off to Vila de Cruces to meet up with José of Turismo Verde de Galicia as the Saturday adventure continued!

Bonilla a la Vista
Calle Real, 54, A Coruña, Spain

Miss Maruja
Calle Zalaeta 20, A Coruña, Spain

Sargadelos
Calle Real, 56, A Coruña, Spain

Orange
Calle Real, 63, A Coruña, Spain

Turismo Verde de Galicia
www.facebook.com/TurismoVerdedeGalicia.Turvegal
www.paseargalicia.com
www.twitter.com/turvegal
www.instagram.com/turvegal

Read Full Post »

So, where did we leave off?  I must apologize, dear reader, for the long (long!) delay in returning to the blog to tell you how my trip to Galicia in May 2015 went.  I really left you hanging there, and I am sorry!  So, I’m going to do a day-by-day recap starting now.  I’ll date the entries with the actual date being discussed so there’s less confusion.  Enjoy!!

Friday, May 15th, 2015 – Arriving A Coruña

There were some beautiful views on the approach into Coruña:

The square things in the water are shellfish farms. Galicia is absolutey known for its excellent shellfish – mariscos!

 

Towards the top in the middle is the beach at Cabañas, on the Camino Inglés. Towards the bottom are Mugardos and Ares, which I hope to visit the next time.

The wonderful thing about summertime in Galicia is that, compared to where I live in Arizona in the southwestern United States, it remains light out very late. So when my flight arrived around 8pm I knew there would be time to get out and explore a little while on my way to dinner.

I did have a moment of worry (note, not full blown panic, at least!) at the A Coruña (LCG) airport when my suitcase didn’t come out on the carousel with the rest of the bags. It turns out that luggage coming from the United States goes through a different area. I did find it … all by its lonesome on a separate carousel in another room.

Lonely little suitcase, the only arrival from the U.S.

LCG has free wi-fi so I was able to get online while waiting for my bag and send a couple of messages with the news of my arrival.

The ride into Coruña was uneventful, save for an interesting conversation with my Portuguese taxi driver. (Side Note: this was just the first of many interesting and sometimes enlightening conversations with taxi drivers)  Part of this friendly taxi ride conversation was about my visit, where I explained that I was there to walk the Camino. He commented that “anglo saxon” husbands (such as those from Great Britain, the US, Australia, etc.) must be less jealous than Spanish husbands. He could not imagine his wife leaving for 2 weeks to go walking around another country without him. To each his own, we agreed. He was kind enough to point me to the parking garage that I would need a few days later (at the Hotel Blue in Coruña), before dropping me at a different hotel I had selected for my first night.

Passing by the Port of A Coruña on the way into town.

Hotel Lois is located just two doors down on a pedestrian street, Rúa Estrella, located at the start of a long stretch of a really fun part of the old town with lots and lots (and lots!) of restaurants and bars. It is a lively scene on any night of the week with most places spilling out into the streets (pedestrian and non). The hotel was a very comfortable, small, (10 room) establishment above a restaurant of the same name (Restaurante Lois), done in a simple modern style.  My room had a nice little ‘gallery’ room, which is a balcony enclosed by framed glass, typical of the style of buildings in A Coruña.

 

Restaurant & Hotel Lois (black awning) – Restaurant on ground floor, hotel above.

A Coruña is called the “crystal city” due to the ubiquity of this modernist style of building, built in the late 1800’s / early 1900’s.  The view from my room was absolutely lovely.

Typical Coruñese building with framed glass galeries. Beautiful!

On the walk to dinner, I passed through some of the nice squares in the old town.

 

More typical Coruñese façades, and a very nautical themed statue. Trident!

I even saw one of the players from the local soccer team, Deportivo La Coruna (Lucas!), walking through the Obelisk plaza (below).

Obelisk – I have a photo of Lucas too, but it seems kind of stalker-ish to post it.

ah, Art Nouveau!

 

Art Nouveau façade detail

 

Plaza Maria Pita at dusk.

 

Maria Pita, herself

knock, knock

After a wonderful dinner at El Descansillo (that will be another post!), the view in Maria Pita square during the stroll home is perhaps even more beautiful after the sun goes down.

Nighttime Art Nouveau building detail.

See next post for details of my first fabulous meal in Galicia – El Descansillo.  The first of MANY fabulous meals!

 

Read Full Post »

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:

IMG_3601
IMG_3610
IMG_3625
IMG_3618
IMG_3615

IMG_3644

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.
IMG_3606

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.
IMG_3663
IMG_3659

And mere steps away was the highlight of the day: lunch at O Camiño Do Inglés (Rúa San Francisco 17).
IMG_3667

IMG_3671

The staff was so friendly, and so patiently explained the whole menu to me.

IMG_3672

Starting with olives and albariño.

IMG_3674

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

IMG_3677

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!

IMG_3681

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.

IMG_3685

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!
IMG_3647
IMG_3694

Read Full Post »