In an effort to find you the most awesome things to do in Seville, or for that matter, Asia and other corners of the world, we have boldly sacrificed our taste buds, just so we can bring you this review :-). I am delighted to say that this was a complete success. A very unique foodie experience that l would not hesitate to repeat. We had fun, and interacted with a wonderful local hostess. A runaway success!
Truthfully, l had never heard of Withlocals experiences prior to this interaction. It’s a rather unique concept. It is described as a marketplace that connects travelers with locals. Most people nowadays are not content to just go to the same old places, see and do the same old things. They are looking for more authentic experiences. One of the best ways is of course to interact with the locals of a particular place. How to go about it though? You just can’t invite yourself to dinner with a stranger on the street, can you?
This is where Withlocals comes in. They arrange for you to have a meal with a local host who prepares whatever sort of dishes you agree on, be it authentic fare from the region, or like us, a potpourri menu. After being in Seville for a few months now, we welcomed the chance to eat something else, along with tapas of course ;-).
Thanks to Withlocals who arranged our dinner with our hostess Damaris. We had a wonderful evening with her and another diner. We met up at her place at the arranged time. She had thoughtfully made sure to ask if we had any allergies, and to what sort of food we liked. She opened the door to greet us with a huge smile which immediately put us at ease. Her place is in the Seville center so it was not that hard to find. It was on one of those lovely tiny little streets that are the norm in the center.
The table was already set when we got there, and she had put out the appetizers, which was awesome as l was hungry. My eyes lit up at the home made hummus, which l love. It was presented in a Moroccan tagine . It looked and tasted awesome. Let me just show you the menu :-)
Croquetas de setas (Mushroom croquettes) – I almost didn’t have any of these. I am not a big fan of them for some reason. Federico, however dove in with gusto and he insisted that l try it. Boy, am l glad l did. They were fantastic! I forgot to ask if they were home made, l suspect so because of how fresh they tasted.
Tostas de salmorejo y jamon (Ham and puree toast) – They were as good as it sounds. I love anything and everything with ham. This is an Andalusian specialty. The puree is made of tomatoes, oil and garlic etc, and served cold. I admit l only had one piece. I was saving myself for something else..
Hummus y pan de pita casero (Hummus and homemade pita bread) – I love, love hummus! a lot, especially homemade ones. The pita bread were hot as she had just made them. I admit that l ate quite a bit of this.
Tabbouleh – I am so mad at myself because along with this, she had some homemade tabbouleh …and yep! we forgot to take a picture of it. I guess we were so busy stuffing our faces, we didn’t realize it until l was checking out the photos at home. For those unfamiliar with tabbouleh – It is a Lebanese vegetarian dish. It’s made with tomatoes, parsley, onion, mint and bulgur. It is also very delicious. The traditionalists will say it’s not real tabbouleh if it’s not made with bulgur, that it’s just a couscous salad if you substitute with couscous, which looks almost the same. I don’t care. They both taste great. I hadn’t had any for decades. One of my very good friends in college was Lebanese and she used to make it for us… aaahhh… If l didn’t hate cooking so much, l might attempt to make it. Her boyfriend is from Morocco so we had the good stuff, right down to the spices! :-). A good reminder that l need to unpack and start using the tagine pots that we brought back from our trip to Marrakesh.
Revuelto de bacalao y patatas (Cod fish,eggs and potatoes) – This was very tasty, and super fresh. She made it at the moment. By this time, l was super stuffed, but managed to eat my share :-).
Tarta de mousse de limon (Lemon mousse cake) – What can l say? There is always room for dessert!!! It was scrumptious.
I loved the fact that everything was freshly prepared. She also had Cruzcampo beer (the best selling beer of Spain, and is manufactured in Seville), Andalusia wine as well as fresh lemonade and ice cold water for us to drink. The conversation flowed very nicely, and the time passed quickly. We got to make new friends. It served another purpose as we got to practice our Spanish with natives (well, l cheated and mostly spoke English, but Federico spoke in Spanish a lot). On the whole, we really enjoyed this experience. I would definitely recommend Withlocals if you are in Seville, or Barcelona, or Madrid as they are expanding from Asia . They also arrange activities and tours with locals. Nothing like having your own personal guide when you go places. Our hostess herself, did not know about us coming to review the experience, which made it even more authentic.
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What about you? Does Withlocals experience sound like something you would like to try? or are you a stick in the mud that only likes restaurants and familiar places? Nothing wrong with either one of course, but we like a bit of adventure, and this was a nice one.