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The Night I Drove to Spain (in 15 Minutes)

I don’t know about you, but when I’m not traveling, I’m pretty much homesick for all the places I’ve been. Food and culture in the US pale in comparison to my watercolor memories.

But I’m fortunate enough to live in a city (San Diego) that has some pretty authentic global cuisine, including Spanish fare at Cafe Sevilla.

Travel Pros, Unite!

I’m a part of a meetup group called Travel Massive, a global organization that connects people who either work in travel (bloggers, travel agents) or who are simply enthusiastic about travel. We get to do all kinds of awesome things in and around San Diego, like visit wineries and check out hidden gems. This month, our destination was Spain…conveniently located 15 minutes from my house!

The plan was to taste a selection of tapas and specialty cocktails, and then head downstairs to the nightclub for dance lessons.

Authentic Spanish Cuisine in San Diego


If you’ve visited Spain, you know that tapas (shareable small plates) are usually pretty damn good. I’d forgotten how amazing Spanish cuisine is, since it’s been eight years since I visited Barcelona. Our group tried:

  1. Bocadillo Platter (Selection of Spanish artisan cheeses and imported charcuterie)

  2. Datiles Rellenos

  3. Ahi Tuna Tartare Crudo

  4. Chicken Pinchos de Pollo

  5. Brussels Sprouts a la Barcelona

  6. Paella Valenciana

For me, the Brussels sprouts were my favorite, thanks to the sumptuous garlicky aioli they were nestled in. The dates (datiles) were also a favorite of the table: they were stuffed with blue cheese and wrapped with crispy bacon, then drizzled with apple cider. And you can never go wrong with a plate of Spanish cheese and cured meats!

cafe sevilla

Unfortunately, I couldn’t have the paella because I’m allergic to some of the shellfish in it (and I used to love a good paella!). But it looked gorgeous.

While you’d think that you’d still be hungry after a few appetizers, I was perfectly sated; not too much and not too little.

We also sampled some craft cocktails, all well-created with quality ingredients:

  1. Barbacoa (Tequila infused with pineapple & Serrano peppers, lime)

  2. Summer in Rio (Cachaca Rum, Demerara tropical syrup, lime)

  3. Oaxacan Flower (Mezcal, Aperol, lime, St Germain, Rose Water)

My favorite was Summer in Rio. I’m not a big mezcal fan. You either love it or hate it, as they say.

Onto Dancing!

sevilla nightclub

A handful of us stayed after the meal and presentation to take advantage of the free dance lessons in the downstairs nightclub. I was apprehensive because I don’t consider myself a good dancer, but the setup was perfect for even someone with two left feet.

Throughout the week, Sevilla Nightclub offers salsa or bachata lessons followed by an evening of practicing your skills on the dance floor.

We made two lines; men on one side and women on the other. I thought there would be far more females, but it was pretty equally balanced. What I didn’t realize is that not everyone taking the lesson was a beginner. So it was kind of nice to dance with one bumbling man and then move on to a professional. You get a better feel for different people’s dance styles.

bachata dancing

We’d practice a few moves then switch partners, then add onto the sequence. I have to say: after an hour, I felt pretty good with my skills! At least until a not-newbie asked me to dance and went off the script from what I’d learned! I have never been good at following a man’s lead in dancing (kind of a metaphor for my personality in general!) so that made it a little challenging.

Still, it was a total blast, and I’d do it again in a heartbeat!

A big thanks to Travel Massive San Diego for organizing the event, and to Cafe Sevilla for showing us such a wonderful time!

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