The Daily Diary of a Wandering Restaurateur
Hanging Around the Gelato Stand

Well, that's not the only place we hung out ... but I notice we did make two trips to the gelato stand today. They have a 100% chocolate gelato that is like biting into a bar of the best dark chocolate on the planet. OMG it is addictive. We've paired it with coconut, pistachio, hazelnut and today's big winner: a very intense raspberry. So little time, so many possible combinations. The research will continue.

We ate breakfast on our hotel patio yesterday -- a good value for the price but the service was impossibly slow. So today we just got coffee and pastry from the bakery across the square (gotta love this location!) and called that good enough. We did settle in outside the hotel for another coffee, just to be able to sit back in the wicker chairs, read and watch people for an hour or so.

Margene wanted a break and I had an urge for paella, so we parted ways for awhile and I walked the 20 minutes down the coast to Burriana Beach. On the way I passed Playa Carabeo (the smallest of the lot) and Playa Carabeillo (bigger but almost deserted and with no apparent amenities). But Burriana Beach is the big one, lined with restaurants and shops, covered with enclaves of umbrellas and beach chairs and generally a most happening place.

I came here specifically for the paella at Ayo's. Ayo himself is an institution in these parts and his mission in life seems to be to make mass quantities of the best paella you've ever had and sell you as much as you can eat for a flat six euros! It is a sprawling place with about 100 tables. They light the fire under the paella around noon and it runs until mid-afternoon. It is quite a production to watch and well worth both the walk to get over here and the climb down (and back up!) the long ramp from the top of the cliff.

While I was heavily involved in professional research, Margene was content to load up her camera with bits of the local color ... and why not? It's only pixels! (I won't begin to tell you what our film processing bill for one of these trips used to look like before we went digital!) There were flowers everywhere and some of the tile work was just exquisite! I wish a treatment like that was appropriate for the design of our house.

The temperature was in the mid-70s with a pleasant breeze -- just the perfect day to do nothing.

We have become quite fond of Lizzaran and bemoan the fact that they don't open until 6:30pm each day. We sure could use some good tapas around lunchtime each day (except, of course, when pigging out on paella!) But we were back for a light dinner of Rampas de Calmares (that incredibly tender calamari), the egg/ham/potato combo we first discovered in Ronda, and some beef and pork meatballs that just looked too good to pass up. They also offer pinchos, a self-service sort of tapa from the Basque region where you select your items from a case at the bar and are charged by how many toothpicks you have on the plate when you are done.

One last trip to the gelato stand (at least for today), a short paseo down to the Balcon and back and we headed up to the room -- Margene to read some more and me to work on bringing you these stirring tales of our adventures (or lack of same). Tomorrow I may wax more philosophical about why we were drawn to (or repelled by) particular restaurants.

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