May – Favourite Moments – The Perfect Red Shoes, City Views, Incredible Sushi and Budget Champagne

Another 31 days in the bag. We did it friends.

Welcome to May’s favourite moments, of which there are a lot. Mayments, for want of a better term. Sounds funny if you say it out loud though. Did you just say it out loud? I did. Made me sound like the freakin’ QUEEN.

So, May. Just like every other month of my life ever, you’ll find a plethora of food, coffee and dranks. I discovered some new places, bought some fun things (treat yo’ self) had some great nights tapas-hopping and dining with good company; and let me tell you, Granada isn’t showing any signs of cooling off.
It’s well and truly summer, where day-drinking is actively encouraged (get out into that day) barbecues are a dietary staple (yes, yes, YES) and hay fever is rife. Those pesky pollen parasites love nothing more than to irritate the living bejaysus out of your sinus cavities.

May was definitely good to me, and on the very last day I managed to get my email subscriptions working again, THANK THE HEAVENS! I’m so glad it’s fixed, as nothing went out for this post and the next few after. So welcome back those who missed my sporadic presence in their inbox (Hi MOM!) You can sleep easy now friends. It was touch and go there for a while but the worst is over.

As for Mayments, let’s go.

A quiet Sunday afternoon walk down to Paseo de los Tristes was how I started May. I sat with a coffee, my Kindle and The Alhambra for company.

Looking for tapa of tortilla in Granada without having to order? Vega has the best. It’s not the most common tapa in the city, so you know where to go! The owner is from Madrid (and a lovely guy to boot) and loves the tapa himself. Eggs, potato and onion – a winning combo. Bonus points for the little pots of salmorejo (a cold tomato, oil and bread based soup served with ham and boiled egg on top) on the side.

A few afternoons were spent reading and people watching in the corner of this Granada institution, Gran Café Bib Rambla. Perfect for coffee, churros and ice-cream. You’ll find many locals here, at the tables outside. I love the dark wood and light fixtures.

Mango cactus earrings. I dig these. So much so that I already posted this image on my Instagram. They’re enough accessory that you don’t need anything else, if you don’t feel like it. They’re summery and they go with everything.

A dreamy little secret plaza my Dad and I found near my apartment, at the back of a bar. Tranquil, colourful and well kempt.

A bird’s-eye view of one of the seven wonders of the world*, Fugazzeta. Bubbly, bronzed cheese pockets and all. This pic, like a couple of others (obvious to the naked eye!) were taken with an iPhone 5 so it’s not the clearest; but you get the idea. I’ve mentioned the beauty of this pizza in my previous post and Instagram. It’s worth the hype. I recently discovered a place in Granada that delivers that very pizza. It’s not the exact same in that the base is thin and not thick and focaccia like, but it’s a damn close second. Thank you, Pizzeria San Miguel Bajo.
*Ok, so I may have lied. Like a tiny bit. But they should add an extra wonder for this little slice of nirvana.

 The colours of Guadix, and there are many. Guadix is a town not far from Granada, with it’s own little quirk. Many people here live in caves. Actual caves. They’re extremely cave/house-proud too! Guadix is home to not only cave houses (more images on these below) but cave churches, a beautiful cathedral and has featured in Clint Eastwood’s A Fistful of Dollars and the third Indiana Jones film, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.  A lovely town, well worth a visit.

A tapa of battered mozzarella wrapped in courgette and later tuna takaki at cava and champagne bar, Pinot Noir. They do an offer here with a glass of champagne and oysters, if it takes your fancy.
A snippet of the lobby at The Alhambra Palace Hotel. A stunning spot with beautiful attention to detail in every corner, and a view of the city thats unparalleled. Magical, elegant and stylish.

Flowers that brightened my mood on the walk to Nevada Shopping, Granada’s new (gigantic) mall. The walk from my apartment to Nevada is mostly high-rise buildings, a part of the city you only catch a glimpse of when you’re coming off the motorway. The flowers were cheerful and unexpected.

The inside (and outside!) of a lovely little cave house in Guadix. The town is so aesthetically pleasing, like a moving postcard. The caves were refreshingly cool inside, and I adored the kitchen. Above is an image of more houses built into the caves in the distance. I mean, how do they get their post? Are letters addressed by cave (or cueva in Spanish) 1, 2, or 3?

Another stellar May purchase. Red suede round toe mid heel shoes. I love them! A steal from Bershka at only €19.99.

A bull, his festive bandana, and lots of legs just aching to be sliced into slivers of jamón at Bodegas Castañeda. This traditional tapas bar (home to all the classics) is at the foot of the Albayzin, so it might go unnoticed among the style of places there, but it’s a gem.
Crisp local Granada wine, mini-burger and quail egg tapas at El Conde with Julie and Siamac of Concierge99.
Guadix Cathedral in all its glory. Open 10.30 – 14.30 and then from 16.30 – 18.30 Monday to Saturday. Sunday and public holiday hours differ. Admission ranges from €2.50 – €5.Above are some shots from an amazing meal in Jaén. My Dad and I took a drive up while he was visiting for the week, and the day was dull, rainy, sticky and altogether pretty gross. We also arrived right in the middle of siesta time, and both of us were pretty hungry, too lazy to walk in the rain and go hunting for somewhere open. So before we explored the town, we went to the top of El Corte Inglés for something to eat.

We were about to sit in the café when we saw a quiet restaurant at the back, which ended up being a fantastic choice. The food, drinks, service and views were wonderful, an unexpected treat.
I ordered the baked goat’s cheese salad with pine nuts (and bacon!) and afterward had an incredibly rich and equally as filling rabo de toro (braised oxtail) and enjoyed every moment, including our tapa of creamy ajo blanco (a rich soup made with garlic, almonds, bread, olive oil and sherry vinegar) served with warm crusty bread. One of the most memorable meals I’ve had in a while.
A view of Jaén from Castillo de Santa Catalina, a beautiful Medieval castle overlooking the town.Abandoned roses outside Castillo de Santa Catalina, Jaén.
Ah, Guadix. The town that keeps on giving. Such a lovely colourful place, brimming with personality. The horse-drawn cart takes you up to the caves (or you can take the train from outside the cathedral every 20 minutes) which gave me the opportunity to snap these two guys. The flowers were outside the house I mentioned above.
Breakfasting and working in the best way, with coffee from La Finca and a selection of mouthwatering empanadas from Panaderia San Matías. They have so many types, it’s my mission to try them all. Right now my favourite is the calzone.

More ‘treat yo’self’ purchases. I used to hate Spanish ham. I know, super weird. When I lived in Salamanca, we went to the supermarket when we first moved there, and the smell of the legs turned me off for a really long time. Now I love it, but bellota (acorn-fed) ham is my favourite. The taste, texture and colour is unbelievably good…worth every penny. I bought this pack for about €18.50, along with a bottle of red (Torre Celeste is one I don’t see often but always enjoy) the best combination. Ribera del Duero, you just can’t beat it.
Dazzling views of beautiful Granada, from the balcony of The Alhambra Palace Hotel. The city is sure to break anyone’s heart.
Living in Spain, sometimes you miss Cadbury’s chocolate, condiments, crisps or cereals you enjoy back home. Irish and English expats are spoiled here in Granada because we have Dealz. To my delight/detriment the shop were selling all their Easter chocolate in a 2 for 1 deal, and among Cadbury’s you could get Galaxy stuff, like these golden eggs.  It’s on Camino de Ronda, and it’s open on Sundays. Also worth visiting to stock up on cheap toiletries, batteries and kitchenware. Four glasses for €1.50 is pretty hard to pass up.
Saturday morning coffee and a stroll with a picture that can only be described as developed. Don’t you think it looks like a touristy pic from the 80s or early 90s? The coffee however is definitely from this decade. Look at those hip flat white swirls! Shoutout to the cathedral in the background, my forever-favourite Granada landmark.This delicious Veuve Monsigny Brut champagne is THE BOMB. And the best part? It’s only €19.99 a bottle. It won an award back in 2013, and when I could find it I would stock up. Then for Christmas 2016 it won again (you go, Aldi! SLAY) and it became a little harder to lay hands on. So I was only pure delighted when I recently found loads of bottles in Aldi in Swords. Oh Aldi, my love for you never wanes. Go now if you love champagne (who doesn’t) and stock up on this sweet nectar while the going is good! You’ll probably see me there, filling my arms with as many as I can carry.
Lidl do a €19.99 bottle too, called Comte de Sennval, but it’s not a patch on Monsigny. Sorry Lidl! I love you for many other things, like your fantastic bakery and your amazing Secret Garden event a few years ago that was exceptional.
I recently went to J2 Sushi in Swords (formerly Essence Bistro) and enjoyed it thoroughly. The service was excellent, we sat in the window which was lovely and bright, and the food was top notch. The miso soup was comforting and nourishing, the edamame beans smooth and creamy (if that makes sense for beans) It seemed to me like they were boiled in some kind of stock, a really nice touch to set the humble edamame apart from the rest.
The sushi, sashimi and udon noodles were all fresh and full of flavour. You can really taste the quality of ingredients used, and the care in every dish. What’s more, the food and drinks menu are both incredibly cheap. There’s a 2 for €10 cocktail offer too. I couldn’t recommend J2 Sushi more!

A Dublin sunset in the back garden of my parent’s house. Granada sunsets, Dublin sunsets; it’s great to have the best of both worlds.

Hotel Parador de Jaén, a stunningly beautiful hotel where no expense has been spared in restoration and design. The hotel is part of the Santa Catalina castle, overlooking the city. Just look at that ceiling! And on the walls you’ll find beautiful paintings and tapestries. A ‘parador‘ is a specific name given to luxury hotels in Spain that are located in an historic building.

Many of my favourites all in one place (especially chorizo a la sidra) at Bodegas Castañeda. All that’s missing is morcilla.

Mornings working at Wild Food (how beautiful is their website?) a veee handsome looking cafe at the new Marquis Issabel Hotel here in Granada. The menu is perfect for the health conscious and there’s so much to choose from – teas, coffees, juices, smoothies, protein smoothies, egg dishes, avocado toast, salads…you get the idea. What’s shameful is that I have yet to try the food, I tend to go right after I’ve already eaten breakfast. Next time for definite. I mean, I’m only hurting myself here.
Their internet is good and fast, and they open the big double doors to let in the summer breezes. The perfect temporary office. I couldn’t resist taking a shot of the moss covered menus and lush green ceiling overgrowth (even if they are fake.)

And that concludes many moments or Mayments.

Happy no work Monday/June Bank Holiday!

♥ ♥ ♥