LOGRONO, Spain -- In the Rioja, we ask winemaker Juan Carlos Artadi where to go on and around Logroño's Caille del Laurel – a foodie heaven of a street with nothing but tapas bars. Technically, we're in the region for a wine conference, but this is the place that gets my blood racing.
"First, go to Bar Soriano and get mushrooms à la plancha," he says.
It's a shoebox of a place with a mushroom-shaped sign hanging out front, thousands of those useless Spanish napkins littering the floor, three men behind the bar and a heavenly smell.
"Some mushrooms?" I say tentatively, looking for a menu.
"Vamos!" he calls to the man at the griddle, confirming there is no menu. Soriano is a one trick pony I could ride all day.
Moments later, two tiny towers of hollowed-out button mushrooms arrive, undersides facing heaven, cupping their own juices and one tiny shrimp.
"How do you eat them?"
The bartender smiles the gentle smile he must give to all the rookies and motions that we should push the toothpick that holds them together down through the bottom, turning the whole thing into something of a mushroom Push-Up Pop, allowing you to eat them one by one and finish with the juice-soaked bread. Rrrrowww!!!
We're off to a good start...
Bar Soriano MAP
Travesia Laurel 2
+34 941 22 88 07
Globe travel correspondent Joe Ray writes his own blog, Eating The Motherland and contributes to the English language version of Simon Says! the French food and lifestyle blog run by French food critic Francois Simon.
Photo by Joe Ray for The Boston Globe