Showing posts with label tapas. Show all posts
Showing posts with label tapas. Show all posts

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Tapas: A Taste of Madrid

madrid2011 010After filling our days with on-foot explorations, we couldn’t stay awake long enough to try out  Madrid’s Midnight dining hour but then we wouldn’t have had room for it after conducting our regular tapeo.
Tapeo, the early evening stroll between tapas bars for glasses of Spanish wine and tapas, for which the stroll is named,  is intended to provide sustenance until dinner – but we made it dinner.
madrid2011 023 At home we’d call these small plates’ appetizers’. In Madrid they were tapas, or canapes, a slice of bread with a tasty, cheese, meat or seafood topping, and larger servings of each being called  a ‘racion’.
We’d studied up on this practice of cheap eats  by reading advice of  foodies who had gone before us; learning the wine servings were small – allowing for a half dozen stops before feeling its impact – and tips for tapa-eating etiquette like ‘throwing used napkins on the floor and keeping toothpicks to show the bartender how much you’ve consumed.”
We quickly learned don’t believe everything you read. Savvy shop owners poured large glasses of wine as pictured (which I think they’ve learned keeps you eating there longer). And they’ve gotten tired of cleaning up dirty napkins – as every place we visited had strategically placed garbage cans at the bar.
The food was good – but it wasn’t always cheap eats by any means. Part of that impact of the U.S. dollars’ weakness to Spain’s currency, the Euro).  The rate of exchange was  1-Euro=$1.45US.
Too late we learned that Manchego, their famous cheese is about as high priced as is their famous Iberico acorn-fed ham.
madrid2011 001 Our first night out we each had two glasses of wine, a shared a ‘tortilla’ – a thick open faced omelette stuffed with potatoes --and then ordered a cheese and ham plate (both are pictured here).
Our bill was $27-euros or about $43US.madrid2011 002
At one place we tried the 2-euro ($3.20) tapa of the day and received a toothpick on which two bite-sized green peppers were wrapped in an  anchovy.  The most economical was the canape – most of which were $2.50-euro, depending on the topping chosen.
madrid2011 029
Note:  If these make your mouth water, just wait until I tell you about Celebrity’s Gourmet Galley. . . and then I’ll give you an update on D2G, our Diet to Go. . .

Sunday, May 29, 2011

The Midnight Hour

The midnight hour. 
It has a nice literary ring to it, doesn’t it?

But it's not something I’d given much thought, until I read a  post on the  Baltimore Sun’s web blog a few weeks before our departure, written by John E. McIntyre, that pondered the questions:

Does midnight belong to the day that is ending or does it belong to the day that is beginning?  Or does the fact that a digital clock reads 00:00 at precisely midnight, mean it  is neither?

And what does that have to do with travel?

Well, quite a bit. Take midnight in Spain. It's dinner time there. Unlike our Kirkland lives where the middle of the night is when you wake up and take a 'trip to the bathroom'. 

That presented a challenge: would we dine at midnight or at least at the respectable dinner time of 10 p.m. or later? Answer: no.  We tried, but couldn't last that long.

In fact, we thought we were doing well to still be tapeo-ing (making the rounds of tapa bars) at 8 or 9 in the evening. And after eating tapas then, we really didn't have room for a real multi-course meal.
(And that plan of mine to search for flamenco's duende - that Spanish show of 'soul'  fell through when I couldn't make it until the 1 a.m. showtime).

There is no escaping the impact of travel on time.

We leaped forward three hours when we landed in Florida and then eased ourselves into new time zones an hour at a time - six times - as our ship crossed the Atlantic. We jumped back an hour when we flew to London and then moved head an hour when the Eurostar whisked us to Paris. The next day we gained two hours when we went to Iceland and another seven hours when we landed in Seattle. No wonder we couldn't remember the date, let alone the day.

Back home during our first night in Kirkland, I woke at 1 a.m. -  no, not for a potty run.  I was hungry! By my tummy time I'd 'missed' breakfast and it was nearly time for lunch.

Dang, if only it had happened in Madrid!

Note: Click on the 'flamenco' above for a taste of flamenco on YouTube.


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