Fish in Spain, Wedding Cake in California, and More (Food Memories of 2011, No. 31)

Every day in December, I'm writing a short post about some food memory from 2011, mostly to be more thankful for all the great food and drink I've been lucky enough to have this year. 

2011 gave me plenty to be thankful for. In January, I started a new job where I feel more appreciated for my talent and the kind of hard work that I do than anywhere else I have worked. Sure, I've succeeded at jobs before, but I this particular environment fits better than any other. I get to write every single day. People care what I think. My boss values my ability to write as well as the content. I learn all the time, constantly. And the neighborhood where my office is located is sublime. It's lunch heaven. 

March brought a trip to Barcelona and Valencia, with more than one amazing Spanish restaurant experience.

Skewered morcilla and roasted vegetables,
 Valencia, Spain.
This summer, I started bicycle-commuting, a highlight of May, June, July, August, and September. Riding a few miles every day also increases the appetite, which I don't mind one bit.

Fish and fish and fish, Vigo, Spain.
In August, two friends got married in Vigo, Spain, prompting another trip to one of my favorite countries. Vigo, the largest fishing port in the world, served up more fresh seafood than I have ever eaten before in just a few short days. This trip occurred right at the end of the month, when Hurricane Irene tumbled through New York, thankfully not causing any damage whatsoever where I live. But the storm left us trapped in Spain, in our connecting city of Madrid, for two days with free accommodation and meals. The free food turned out to be a double-edged sword, as the very first meal Boyfriend and I ate left us doubled-over for nearly 24 hours. We rallied the following day, though, and spun through Madrid to make the most of our time there.

September, more wedding bells beckoned us to a long weekend in the Russian River Valley in California. Rather than seafood galore, this reception was filled with from-the-heart goodies: a homemade wedding cake and a very special keg of local beer that we literally cannot get in New York.

2011 was a year of visitors, too, although it seems like since moving back to New York, every year brings dozens of guests. I love it. I love that people will come from the west coast of the U.S. as well as Europe to visit. The flight from California to New York takes almost as long as the flight from the U.K. to New York.