Friday, June 15, 2007
What a perfect food day....I stumbled across the most perfect tapas restaurant early this afternoon and found myself in food heaven. Usually the tapas here are sort of unfresh looking and just sitting in a few metal containers underneath a glass. They are often uninspiring meatballs, chicken, and the like and are the same in most restaurants. But Taverna de la Reina's bar had a two tier lengthy display case of creative tapas all on slices of french bread. I ended up having six tapas, and each was wonderful. One had cream smeared on it with roasted apples, walnuts, and a drizzle of honey. Another tapa was simple with just cheese and a meat that reminded me of pepperoni (could it be salami?). A businessman recommended I try another, which had a red sauce on one side and some sort of creamy like cheese on the other. And another had a slab of a different sort of soft cheese, a pinneaple wedge, raisins, and maybe some honey. It was the perfect lunch. Oh, I almost forgot...the waitress was pleasant (still not good service by American standards but not rude), and unfortunately that is the exception and not the rule here.
Afterwards I wondered around the old city of Valencia, and it was so hot that ice cream seemed appropriate. And the spot I found to have it allowed me to do the two flavors in one scoop thing, which is always extra fun, so I tried white chocolate and dulce de leche. Delicious.
When I returned to the guesthouse the owner was cooking up a storm. He had said he was making paella, but I had gotten the idea it was for dinner. Alas, it was for our 3:30 feeding....or lunch. The paella was delicious with rice, odd beans, rabbit, and chicken. He served it in the pan he cooked it in, which is the largest pan I have ever seen in someone's home. The pan sat in the center of the table, and we were instructed to just dig in. So no plates. Communal eating, I suppose. I sat beside an older Irish guy who swore at least once in every sentence. It was so....tacky. The words sort of lost their effect when he used the "f word" every other sentence. I used to swear a lot, and it made me wonder if I sounded that class-less when I did so. Regardless it was interesting to hear about his life and his plans to move here because of the economic boom and construction going on in Ireland. After paella, Miguel served slices of pinneaple and coffee (I still cannot believe I am drinking coffee even if it is more milk that actual coffee...I feel so grown up!).
This morning I took a long walk to the famous museum sort of complex here. The stroll there was through a gorgeous park with a bike trail. Once I got to the museum I realized I was not in the mood to go in, but the outside of the place was worth the walk. Plus no one could figure out how to enter this place. Several people asked me, and I could tell a lot more were trying to find an entrance. Weird.
One odd thing about Valencia is that I have never seen so many flies in my life. And these flies are sort of domesticated or something, meaning you can jerk and they will not fly away. One just sat on my water bottle last night until I finally killed it. Weird. Tomorrow I am on to Madrid where I can hopefully do some shopping and find some fun gifts for people since I have only bought one thing to date!
p.s. I am grateful for having so much to look forward to.