Castro's Panaderia, O Grove 10-2019

In Galicia, empanadas are not the same as what the rest of the world thinks. Here they are large pies essentially, and filled with local ingredients like seafood.

There aren't many bakeries in O Grove, but Castro's seems to have the nod with also all the locals queuing there for their morning bread each day. They probably don't get a lot of tourists, because even the locals seemed amused/surprised to find me there (and speaking some Spanish).

I tried the cockles (berberechos) empanada €12 - a thick buttery pastry with lots of cockles filling the inside. It had good flavour. My only small gripe was it was quite gritty too.

Upon leaving at the end of the trip, I had a mussels (mejillones) €7 to go. Although the local mussels are great, these were slightly less in terms of quality and flavour (obviously used for this purpose) but still good. And not gritty either.

If I'm ever in the area (which is quite unlikely to be honest), I will be back at that bakery.

O Piorno, Santiago de Compostela 10-2019

After arriving into Galicia into the heavy evening rain, a nearby dinner was needed before the drive to O Grove. I was told by a Galician friend that I should stop into Santiago but given the dark and weather it meant that anything more food was probably not going to be fruitful. After finding a random place to park on the street, I looked on Google maps and found a Galician restaurant nearby. It would have to do.

The fresh seafood in the counter was a good sign.

- Homemade croquettes €7.2 - cheese and jamon. Very good;
- Steamed cockles €9.95 - simple flavours;
- Grilled king prawns €10.95 - very flavoursome prawns actually.

It was a good meal and a nice introduction to simple local seafood flavours.

Considering we were going to drive to O Grove for more seafood (and decent meat being more difficult to find), I should have ordered the beef (Rubia Galicia breed). Next time.

Burgermeister, Berlin 09-2019

Before going to the airport, I had time for one final meal. I had walked along the art of the Berlin Wall and it was only a short walk across the river and through a park filled with lots of young males to get there.

The burger place is known for the odd location - an old public toilet block under a road and enclosed by two others. It is known for queues also, but assumably at 7.30pm on a Tuesday, there isn't as much drunk traffic through there.

At the recommendation of Berlin Food Stories, I ordered the Meisterburger €5.3 and also my own choice of chili-cheese fries €4.1. I thought both were good, but neither was fantastic. The patty was cooked through but still soft and charred for flavour. There wasn't much seasoning. The fries in particular were on the expensive side, with no flavour on the meat, weak jalapenos and the gross American-style liquid cheese really isn't to my taste and thick and gluggy. I suppose I just like better quality ingredients overall. 

I'm glad I've tried it, but no need to go back. Not sober at least.

Zazza Kaffehaus, Berlin 09-2019

After eating at Imren, I had some time to kill before going to the airport. I took advantage of finding a cafe which had a powerpoint to recharge my phone. It has a pleasant atmosphere (other than one screaming child), a nice hot chocolate, and a famous rusty car outside. The things in Berlin that make it artistic and cool...

Marafina, Berlin 09-2019

I wanted to try something a little more inspirational in Berlin. Something new for me was finding a Sudanese restaurant. It required a little train journey out to a small place with delightfully artistic decor and delicious food for eat-in or takeaway.

- Chorba adas (red lentil soup with peanuts) €3 - excellent dhal-like soup laced with olive oil and chilli sauce;
- Marafina Spezial Teller (grilled chicken breast fillet, grilled minced beef, falafel, fried goat cheese, fried veggies, salad, eggplant sauce, mich & peanut sauce) €7 - that all-inclusive plate had so many elements and all were good. The falafels were not the best I've had, but still crisp on the outside. The chicken was tender and the salads nice too.

The food was very good all around with heavy similarity to Middle Eastern.

Would definitely return the next time I'm in Berlin.

Monsieur Vuong, Berlin 09-2019

Monsieur Vuong is no longer known to be the best pho in Berlin, that honour goes to the Dong Xuan centre in the far east. However for a convenient one in Mitte, is does alright.

Pho Bo €9.5 for a big bowl. Nice clear soup broth with good flavour. Beef was scrunched up and average. My main issue was they didn't provide any extra herbs, they said everything is in there, and no Sriracha. No Thai Basil even.

Also the cocktail I ordered really had minimal alcohol in it.

Oh well, no matter. I will probably try somewhere different next time.

La Granja del Pollo Asado, Madrid 09-2019

The final lunch in Madrid before leaving was one I wanted paella. Unfortunately nothing was open before 12, which limited the time and effort required to have it. Instead we went for the local roast chicken place, run by Chinese people, but still cooking up a mean roast chicken and some delicious chicken rice also.

€8 for a whole chicken is not bad at all. Not what I would usually go for in Spain, but fast local food when required.