One of my favorite things about traveling is trying local foods. My last day in Malaga, Spain, I went out with a few members of the art team for lunch. I’d spent time with them in a work setting when I help with registration for art auctions on board, but I hadn’t spent much time with them socially. Although we were a diverse group, consisting of 2 Americans, a Kiwi, a South African, and a Hungarian, we all were in the mood for the same thing… tapas!
We walked to a strip of restaurants and shops along a marina about halfway between the cruise terminal and the city center. The restaurants all had outdoor seating shaded by white umbrellas. It was a beautiful area! We stopped at a Spanish restaurant advertising free Wi-Fi. Three of us ordered a pitcher of sangria to share, and took a chance by ordering a tapas sampler. There wasn’t as much variety in the sampler as I would’ve liked, but it was very tasty. I had sardines, tortilla de patata, an octopus salad, tuna salad, and a potato and olive salad.
A week later, in Madeira, Portugal, I was told I had to try steak on a stone. I set out with a large group of friends to find a good restaurant. We chose a restaurant on the water about 10 minutes from the port. They served steak, steak with bacon, chicken, pork, tuna, or prawns on the stone, as well as a full menu.
Our servers, upon learning we worked on the ship, brought us all shot sized samples of their signature cocktail. I’m not actually sure what was in it, but it tasted so good, I ordered a full sized drink. Since “steak on a stone” was what people had been raving about, I ordered just that.
Our meal came with baskets of garlic bread, that may be the best bread I’ve ever tasted, and plates of fries, or “chips” as my English friends call them. The highlight of the meal, however, was the steak itself.
I was brought a platter with a hot stone and 3 pieces of raw steak. On the side, there was a sauce of garlic and olive oil, a bacon aioli, and a creamy tomato sauce. The steak was seasoned with raw sea salt. It cooked almost instantly on the hot stone, and melted in my mouth! I ate every bite I was served, because it all tasted so good!
The restaurant became the crew spot. By the time we left, there were 6 tables of people from the cruise division. We all agreed that although lunch was expensive, we’d be back next time we stop in Madeira!
I’m looking forward to trying more exciting foods in the remaining month and a half of this contract!