While I have still not yet properly introduced my favorite city, Valencia, on this blog, here I wanted to take a moment and do a call out to those places around the city which have done a service to expats here who have, at least momentarily, found themselves longing wistfully for their native land, and missing ("echando de menos") certain typical products. Here I've charted out a map of the places that I have come to know where Americans and Brits frequent when looking for a genuine taste of home...
• Hip locales:
Portland Ale House. I also have to say that, in my personal opinion, they have the best burgers in Valencia, and possibly in Spain. For Brits and Irish, the two local pubs (for some inexplicable reason pronounced "paf" by Spaniards) with the most history in Valencia are probably Sally O'Brien, where you're sure to find Valencian Philology students scooting out language partners (it's located not far from the University of Valencia Blasco Ibáñez campus), and Finnegan's, more centrally located. (But I don't pretend to have the pub radar of your standard Brit... maybe one of you reading would have better suggestions?)
|Finnegan's, a typical Irish Pub whose central location on Plaza de la Reina |
makes it a popular hang out for expats and locals
Café En Bàbia a couple of years ago was a revelation. Austin has an old coffee shop culture. (In the U.S., coffee shop culture does not mean Amsterdam, but rather casual, alternative, non-corporate version of Starbucks.) En Bàbia provides a hip, casual atmosphere for hanging out and chatting with friends, including coffee shop 'must haves' like sofas to sit on. DeliKate, which is still comparatively new, provides great food, a fusion of NY-style deli sandwiches with Spanish tapas twists. It also has a nice, causal vibe, and features a Saturday brunch. (Can you get more American than brunch?). A third place which I have been meaning to try, but haven't yet had a chance, is Birra y Blues, an ale house located on La Patacona beach (just north of Malvarrosa), and which one local beer aficionado and blogger swears by.
|For me, this image says it all. The chilled, hip atmosphere at Café En Bàbia will satisfy |
any expat who misses that coffee shop vibe from back home.
|And this image also says it all. It is really hard to find a place like |
Birra y Blues in Spain that microbrews its own beer.
For those of you looking for original language cinema in Valencia, you really have only two options: Babel & Yelmo. Babel is one of the few remaining small movie house style cinemas in Valencia, since Albatros closed down last year (sadness). Yelmo is part of a national chain and does both regular (a.k.a. dubbed) screenings, but also has certain "versión original" (a.k.a. "v.o.") screenings.
• Shopping for expat products:
If you are hunting for some specific products, I can also recommend the following shops. La Petite Planèthé is a great tea shop, centrally located, with hundreds of tea varieties, standard and creative. My wife is a serious fan, and just walking into the shop (with all its glorious smells) is likely to commit you to buying some of the mixes. They also have a very classy policy of giving you a free small sample of any tea of your choice with your purchase... brilliant, because it encourages you to try new flavors and come back for more. I haven't been able to make it there, yet, but the shop's name alone has me convinced that Spainsbury is probably a good place to hunt for all things British food. (Though unfortunately it is a little out of the way, in the pueblo Llíria just northwest of Valencia.)
|La Petite Planèthé, its walls covered with fragrant choices for teas to try|
|KandABooks, located a couple of|
blocks off Plaza de la Reina
And this is just a start. Tomorrow I'll continue this call out, and include some great shops in Mercat Central which us expats thrive on...