World-renowned chef, author and Emmy winning television personality Anthony Bourdain visits Granada, Spain, in the next episode of "Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown," airing Sunday, September 22, at 9 p.m. ET. Follow the show on Twitter and Facebook.
Granada lies at the foot of the Sierra Nevada mountain range in the southern Spanish region of Andalusia.
The city was the final bastion of the Spanish Moors, before they fell to the Catholic monarchs Ferdinand V and Isabella I in 1492.
"This is where devout Catholicism mixes with surrealism, modernist cuisine with traditional tapas. Christianity and Islam traded places, shared space. And the effects and influences of all those things are right here to see," Anthony Bourdain says.
Yet, there are many parts of Granada's culture that are decidedly Spanish in nature: siestas, bullfighting, Flamenco and, of course, tapas.
According to Bourdain, "You may think you know what a tapa is, like if you’ve had small bites at some fusion hipster bar where they do a whole lot of little plates. Yeah. That ain’t a tapa."
It was a difficult choice: the apple pie or the New York-style cheesecake?
Both sat in front of me, looking succulent on separate plates, on the counter at Liberty Pies & Cakes in Madrid. I pushed my coffee aside to study this opportunity.
We were in the middle of filming a report about Burton Novack, an American expat in Madrid whom you might call an unusual entrepreneur.
In the midst of Spain's economic crisis, he opened a shop two years ago to make and sell American-style pies and cakes.
Unusual because he's an octogenarian. He looks pretty fit. He says he still plays tennis. He certainly still drives because I took a ride in his car from the shop to his office, where I met his large parrot.
For most of us, sitting down to a multi-course dinner prepared by a famed chef is a special occasion. Very special.
But there are some parts of the world where premium food and wine are such essential parts of daily life that it’s not unusual to be treated to such an experience every day - without going broke in the process.
Take San Sebastián, on northern Spain’s Bay of Biscay coast, just 20 kilometers from France.
Known as Donostia in the Basque tongue, the city says it has more Michelin stars (a total of 16) per square meter than any other place in the world.
Read the full story on CNN Travel: "San Sebastian's amazing Michelin street dining"
For dining devotees and fans of innovative cuisine, a reservation at chef Ferran Adria's elBulli restaurant in Roses, Spain is something of a Holy Grail. It's said that there are several million requests annually for the restaurant's 8,000 seats during their dining season - and even those are no longer available.
On July 30th 2011 elBulli - often cited as one of the world's best restaurants - will cease to serve the dining public and instead begin a transformation into a "creativity center" and "think-tank for creative cuisine and gastronomy" which will open in 2014.
For her book The Sorcerer's Apprentices, journalist Lisa Abend spent a season in the kitchen with Adria and his team of chefs and stagiaires to explore and document the dedication, innovation, bravado, sweat and tears it takes to craft the meal of a lifetime.
We spoke with Adria and Abend about process, creativity, fear and what's coming up next.