Thursday, 8 December 2011

La Laurel

I've just been asked a very interesting question: 'What's your favourite street in the world?'

Until I moved to Logroño, I'd probably have been tempted to say something clichéd like La Rambla in Barcelona or the Champs Elysées in Paris, but now I have a proper answer: La Calle Del Laurel.

This street, or the 'Senda de Los Elephantes' as it's colloquially known, is the perfect place to go with friends to chat, eat and drink. Its 16 metres are jam packed full of pincho bars, each of which specialises in a different kind of ABSOLUTELY DECLICIOUS food. There are too many bars to tell you about them all, but Blanco y Negro and Bar Soriano deserve a special mention. The former does a pincho of melted goats' cheese, ham and rasperry jam on fresh bread, and the latter's specialty is champiñones smothered in garlic butter. Yum.
You really have to try these to appreciate how good they are.   Let's just say that the owner  has been selling them like hot cakes for over 30 years.

But it's not only because of the food that I love this street. It's one of the first places I came when I moved here and it me feel like I'd truly arrived in Spain. Not gimmicky, touristy Spain, full of overpriced sangria and bravas, but a place where I could get the full cultural experience.

La Laurel by night.  In my mind, the reason referred to as 'The Elephant
Trail'  is because you'll probably be as big as one by the time
you've finished eating in all the bars!  However, a Spanish friend reliably
informs me it's because 'coger una trompa' (literally 'to catch a trunk')
means to get hammered!

The street at night buzzes with energy and is full of people of all ages (including children – it's still slightly strange for me to see infants toddling around bars at midnight!) out for a good time. Unlike in Scotland, this doesn't mean getting outrageously drunk and stumbling home when you can't handle any more – it means savouring your food and your glass of wine and enjoying the company that you're in.

Great company and some of Soriano's famous mushrooms!
Also, since Logroño is such a small city, I almost always meet someone I know as I wander along this wonderful pincho trail. I'd never have imagined this would be the case when I first set foot in Laurel two months ago, knowing no-one and only capable of ordering food through the universal language of  pointing...

I'm not the only fan of this great street,
one of its bars has a place where people
can leave a photo in homage to it!
Many have obliged...
I will surely join them when I have a passport photo to hand,
but for the moment, a picture of me in front of the board will have to suffice!
              Anyone who's interested can find a guide to the street here:
(Yes, that's correct, La Laurel even has its own website)


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