Postcard from Zaragoza, Spain: Seductive scallops and marisquerias

Above: Zamburinas at Marisqueria Tony

Faithful making the long Camino de Santiago pilgrimage crossing from France through Spain, perhaps a 500-mile hike, wanted to return with a souvenir as proof of the arduous journey afoot. A shell found commonly on the Galician coast just beyond the route’s destination of Santiago de Compostela became that evidence, a variegated or calico sea scallop, zamburina.

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Biannual Roundup: A stilled keyboard and passport-less boulevardiers

Above: Who knows what happened to the Candy King’s secret recipe for pecan pralines that filled this box a century ago?

Although no comments indicate followers suffer from withdrawal as my blog has remained silent the past two months, surely you have missed posts a little?

During the past 12 months, Alamobsessive posts continue to attract interest, as do ghosts and updates from our wanderings. Particularly pleased that readers seem to enjoy some of the side stories – “Candy King” and “Rabbit Holes” – gleaned from the pages of An Ostrich-Plumed Hat, and Yes, She Shot Him Dead.

The 1911 filming of “The Immortal Alamo” at Hot Wells Resort was among the high points of San Antonio’s efforts to become an industry star.
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Postcard from Toulouse, France: Cheese, pastries and menus fluent in French flavor

Above, traditional cassoulet at Le Pyreneen

Parts of numerous animals star in the most famous regional dish of Toulouse – cassoulet. A traditional cassoulet often includes pork loin, pork belly, sausage, neck and breast of lamb and duck confit. All are simmered with white beans for hours and finished off under a flame to give the top a tasty, caramelized char.

We decided if we were going to dive into the dish to do it somewhere well-established, an institution, and chose Le Pyreneen. The brasserie opened in 1925 but appears older and set-ready to serve in a period film with little tinkering. The Mister’s dish was indeed meaty, savory and destination-worthy, but I must confess I opted for seafood and was not disappointed. One thing I did learn on this trip was that I do like duck confit, which is cooked ahead of time and preserved in duck fat until ready to use. We encountered it in numerous dishes and always found it tender and juicy.

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