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samting Sep 21st, 2006 09:27 AM

Eating right away from home
Seems often difficult to get the foods we need when we are travelling. Example, seems in Spain and Portugal, fresh veggies are not a part of the tradition, with the exception of breakfast, which often includes fresh tomatoes and greens. I get terribly 'blocked' when we are away for extended periods and must resort to 'fiber' tablets. A heavy mid day meal seems to be the tradition, lots of meat (which I don't eat), starch and bread, topped by a heavy desert...Since we don't see too many fat people, it must be the main meal of the day. When we finally got to a "sofitil' hotel in Switzerland after an extended tour, we went to the salad bar and just ODed on salad stuff. Anyone else comment.

steviegene Sep 21st, 2006 09:31 AM

thanks, TMI.

blackduff Sep 21st, 2006 10:08 AM

I'm not sure where you went in Spain but I always had salads. There were bags of green tomatoes in the salads too.

Cucumbers are found all of the time for meals. Zuchinis are in plenty in the Spanish regime.

I guess if you're eating in hotels, you might find it different but try meals in the small restaurants. How about bell peppers (cooked and served in olive oil and maybe some garlic). This is found in many bars and restaurants.

Portugal was the same, when I visited to Lisbon. Lots of veggies.

So check a bit more. I don't normally search for meat. I like fish and in Andlousia region it's plentiful and tasty.

Heavy deserts are not too often in Spanish restaurants. Quite often I have fresh squeezed orange juice for desert. Another common desert is a melon cubed. Portugal has the best melons I've ever eaten and munched this for breakfast, lunch and supper time. Sometimes it was the starter and other times it was for the desert.

I don't know if there are salad bars in Spain but certainly the salads are available. Yummmmm! Sliced tomatoes with onions, olive oil and Jerez vinegar. Yummmmmm Again.


alanRow Sep 21st, 2006 10:16 AM

What you don't get is mixed salads - ie more than 2 different salad items on a plate.

Personally I tend to eat healthier when on holiday

Christina Sep 21st, 2006 10:23 AM

I agree the vegetable options were not as great in Spain as some other places, but I had some. I never was served salad at breakfast there, and never saw it, so I guess we were in different places.

Whether the midday meal is heavy for locals or not, I'm not sure (some of that may be in the old days, not current days when people are working in offices), but I don't eat that way so wouldn't eat one anyway. You can order what you want. I never had a heavy mid-day meal because I didn't want one. No one can force heavy desserts down your throat, you know, you have to buy it. I really did not like some of the heavy fried fish stuff I tried in Seville because it was a specialty or local custom, and at one of the recommended restaurants. yech, it was awful and I did feel sick after that meal.

It's pretty easy to get spinach with pine nuts in Spain, it's very common, and I would have that as a side dish frequently.

PrincessOfPenguins Sep 21st, 2006 11:03 AM

I've never had a problem getting vegetables with restaurant meals in Portugal or Spain. One thing you could do is stop by a green grocer and buy salad or spinach, wash it in the sink in your hotel room, and eat it right there. If you're desperate for roughage ;-)

LoveItaly Sep 21st, 2006 11:06 AM

Doesn't Spain have fresh fruit that one can have for desert? Or Farmer's Markets or grocery stores that sell fresh fruit? I have never been to Spain but I would think fresh fruit would be available.

norween Sep 21st, 2006 11:17 AM

I'm a bit surprised as i always get a lot of vegetables in Spain : tomatoes, egg plants, fennel, beans, peppers (chili), chicory, cucumbers... in traditionl dishes, not to mention fruits
And lots of seafood

suze Sep 21st, 2006 11:18 AM

I don't know Spain, but in Mexico I visit the supermercado or farmers market for extra fruits and vegetables.

mes2525 Sep 21st, 2006 11:33 AM

I remember having salads in Spain but I did not eat in hotels. Gazpacho is available all over Spain and it consists of tomatoes, cucumbers and peppers. I think the food in Europe in general is healthier, less refined, and more whole grain oriented than U.S.

Chele60 Sep 21st, 2006 11:48 AM

Some restaurants in Spain will have a mixed salad on the menu, though not all the veggies will be fresh. One night the salad I ordered came with asparagus that was so overcooked I couldn't eat it. But still, there were some fresh veggies.

But, yeah, by and large, I found too that most dishes came sans vegetables. Unless I could somehow order them separately. And I wasn't always conveniently near a market. While in Madrid, we did make use of the grocery portion of Corte Ingles to stock up on fruits in our hotel room, though. That was something else I missed while in Spain!

samting Sep 21st, 2006 01:05 PM

Yes, I love gazphaco and there are veggies for sale, but when we ordered an 'ensalada mixta" somewhere in Spain, we got enough salad for an army; evidentally it is considred a main dish, at least at that restaurant. I have not been to Spain for al least 8 years, but have been to Portugal regularly. The idea of a 'side salad' isn't (or wasn't ) popular then. Seems it was Chorros and choclate for breakfast, a huge meal around 2.p.m., a siesta, then tapas, or snacks around 9 p.m. Is that still the case?

annabelle2 Sep 21st, 2006 03:08 PM

I found that when I ate with my local friend last year in Madrid (either with his family or at a restaurant) we tended to eat meat (lots of jamon) and fish or shellfish more than vegies, as you mention. Oh, and beans (there's some good fiber for you).

But after a few days of letting him order what he thought would be good, I had to chime in for salad. So, every meal, I think, I was able to order a good, big (always enough for both of us) fresh salad. I also ordered gazpacho as much as possible, and other vegetables when I saw something interesting on the menu.

I have to agree, after coming from Italy, where I it seemed some type of local spring vegetable was on every menu, I had to look through the menu a little more in detail to get my fill of vegetables in Spain.

But disagree about dessert -- fruit seemed to always be on the menu, along with the usual flan...

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