Tapa Thursdays: My Most Memorable Spanish Meal

I squinted, trying to make out the words on the menu as the sunlight reflected off the bay near Mogán, a small port on the southern end of Gran Canaria island.

Enrique gave me a quick tsk and a shake of the head as he signaled the waiter over effortlessly. As if they’ve previously spoken, a mug of cold beer was slammed down on the table in front of me. We toasted, giggling as the clinking of the glasses caused a bit of beer to splash onto my wrist and over the basket of bread we’d been brought.

We were at Restaurant El Faro, an unassuming snack bar shaped like a lighthouse. Wide white umbrellas shielded us from the sun, though the heat of midday irritates our pink skin, covered in sea salt from a morning spent on a nearby beach. The waves lapped gently at the rocks, causing the nearby sailboats to bob up and down. Fisherman passed close to our table, giving us a quick salute with their long fishing poles on their way to the wharf. I wondered if their catch would end up on someone’s plate tomorrow.

I picked up the menu again, but Enrique snatched it from my hands, calling out an order to the waiter without even glancing at the specials of the day. One parillada of grilled shellfish, a plate of hot baby potatoes accompanied with spicy mojo picón sauce and a fresh mixed salad. For once, I was on his turf, and I let him make the decisions.

The small potatoes, called arrugás for their crispy skin, arrived first, drizzled with rock salt and olive oil. I watched Enrique peel off the jacket and dunk it into the mojo picón, a spicy sauce typical to the island, and did the same. The dish was simple – paprika, garlic and cumin – but tasted fresh and local. The large stone slab of seafood didn’t disappoint, either. The breeze from off of the port ruffled Enrique’s hair as he spoon-fed me the last bit of potato.

We doused the enormous prawns, crab legs, fried calamari and fried baby squid in lemon, each eagerly squeezing the last drops onto the plate. As a Midwesterner, I was shocked to find that I actually liked almost anything from the sea, so I went about mopping up the remains with a hunk of bread, satisfied both in body and spirit.
It was one of those meals where we didn’t exchange many words – we focused on our food, at stealing clandestine glances at the other. Enrique congratulated me on learning to peel shrimp with my hands as he’s showed me on our fourth date, and I kicked him gently under the table, mouth so full of the plump, grilled meat that I couldn’t speak to counter his teasing.

I can’t recall how much the bill was or who paid, but I will always remember the shade of pink that Enrique’s nose had turned, what he was wearing, and breathing a sigh of relief knowing that I really did love him, that they weren’t wasted words simply because I was merely having fun.

This is my entrance to the Trujillo Villas Food Blogging Competition. Trujillo Villas are a collection of luxury accommodation in the beautiful region of the same name, famous for its castle and for being the home of several conquistadores. For more on the region and their stunning offers, follow them on twitter, @trujillovillas.

Have you ever been to Trujillo? What are your recs for eating and visiting? And what’s your favorite Spanish meal?

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About Cat Gaa

As a beef-loving Chicago girl living amongst pigs, bullfighters, and a whole lotta canis, Cat Gaa writes about expat life in Seville, Spain. When not cavorting with adorable Spanish grandpas or struggling with Spanish prepositions, she works in higher education at an American university in Madrid and freelances with other publications, like Rough Guides and The Spain Scoop.


  1. Great post, Cat! – I too have fond memories of eating in Mogan. As for Trujillo. You know that it is a favourite place of mine to visit, and it’s only an hour from here. I thoroughly recommend seeing the castle and the Santa Maria church – although just strolling through the streets gives you plenty to look at! For food: Anywhere on the main square for authentic, local cuisine – there are many restaurants, all of hem good (imho). For something a bit ‘fancier’, we love the restaurant in the NH hotel which has views over the main square or go ‘all out’ in the Parador (you just HAVE to see the dining room!!
    Good luck in the competition!

    • Sunshine and Siestas says:

      I’ve not been to Trujillo, and it’s always right off the A-5 and tempting! Regardless, will definitely be checking out the city.

  2. It’s a very interesting prompt, and I liked your answer. Sometimes a simple meal with the person you love is much better than a super-fancy restaurant.
    Kaley [Y Mucho Más] recently posted..Understanding a Language in StagesMy Profile

  3. Loved this. I’m staying with a friends family in Paradas this weekend and just finished a huge lunch like only a mama sevillana could make and this post still somehow managed to make my mouth water! Now I’m dreaming of a seaside seafood feast!
    Julia recently posted..segovia is for loversMy Profile

  4. Oh YUM. You’ve got me!
    wanderingeducators recently posted..Shy Feet: Short Stories Inspired by TravelMy Profile

  5. Good luck in the competition!
    Bethaney – Flashpacker Family recently posted..Bidding for Business Class – List of Airlines That Allow Bidding for a Business Class UpgradeMy Profile

  6. Lol, nice post. I really like the look of the lighthouse. looks fab. I wish we had places like that in the uk. Hope the competition went well for you!

  7. I’ve just dribbled on my keyboard – not very ladylike!
    I love seafood… especially when temed papas arrugadas con mojo. Oh and puntillas too! Yummy! That’s one of things I really miss from living in the Canaries.
    Elle recently posted..Summerlands Poolside BarMy Profile

  8. Great post, love to read you blog !

  9. I love it when a meal is an experience, like this one. The food sounds great, btw.
    Terry at Overnight New York recently posted..Yotel New York: On Your BikesMy Profile

  10. Yuuuuuuuuuuuummmmmmm!
    Lillie – @WorldLillie recently posted..Kayaking: A Great Way to Tour a River City Like Boston!My Profile

  11. What a gorgeous spot for a restaurant. I really look for where and how the restaurant looks and what kind of an experience I’m going to get. And being on the water starts it off right.
    Marina K. Villatoro recently posted..Don’t Know What to do in Guatemala – How about Going to a Race Track?My Profile

  12. Hey, Cat, so glad you enjoyed our cuisine. And that you went local on the food front. Looks like you were rewarded for your efforts.
    Gran Canaria Local recently posted..Finca de OsorioMy Profile

  13. That prawn looks very delicious.Love it.
    Gabi (The Nomadic Family) recently posted..How Do You Deal With South East Asia Heat? Crawling Out and Back Into Hell Heat- PP, Cambodia (part four)My Profile

  14. Ok, this family loves prawns, but we still can’t get used to seeing the entire thing on the plate. The little legs and eyes creep me out. I like to just see the meat. LOL You will have to teach us your master “peeling” skills sometime. Let us know if you are ever in Costa Tropical.
    Heidi @WagonersAbroad recently posted..Our First eBook Launch! – Live In SpainMy Profile


  1. […] GC-1 though the mountains to Puerto Mogan. The seaside village sidles up to a small port and beach, perfect for our lunch stop. We strolled through the streets, avoiding the shade and popping into boutiques.  That […]

  2. […] see Trujillo later this year, thanks to winning a contest through Trujillo Villas for writing about my most memorable meal in […]

  3. […] graciously provided by Trujillo Villas for winning their Food Blogging contest with a post about my most memorable Spanish meal. All opinions are my own. Bookings at the Artists Studio start at £110 per night, and […]

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