San Geraldo and the Flower Children


Speaking Spanish appears to be the least of San Geraldo’s problems when it comes to living in Spain. Let me be clear. San Geraldo is exceptionally intelligent. During his professional years, he could comfortably and successfully speak before audiences large and small on a variety of subjects — organizational management; professional style; the past, present, and future of technology. He was interesting, inspiring, and entertaining — a natural. It’s amazing that someone who gets his mords wixed words mixed so often can in actuality be such a good speaker and charming conversationalist.

The other day, San Geraldo said he was tired of making salads and needed a day off. As, we tried to decide where to go for lunch, San Geraldo suggested either “Casa Marta for frapchinni” or “Flower Power for chicken and steak.” Other than “chicken and steak,” not much was correct in his suggestions.

Casa Marta is the little restaurant known to everyone else as Café Santa Marta. Frapchinni’s real name is “Flamenquín.” But, no matter what you call Café Santa Marta, we have found it to be an unfriendly place. We can get flamenquín all over town and San Geraldo has successfully prepared it at home. (Although, as far as we know, Café Santa Marta serves the only flamenquín that looks like an enormous — deep-fried — penis.)


Flower Power is known to everyone else as the restaurant Los Niños de Flor (which translates to The Flower Children). But, as I mentioned, “chicken and steak” were correct. Those are the two dishes (steak in whiskey sauce, chicken in green sauce) we order every time we go to Los Niños de Flor because San Geraldo is a creature of habit. Good and bad habit. He has referred to the restaurant as Flower Power, Flower Kids, Sons of Flor, Flor’s Kids, Niños Power. Everything but Los Niños de Flor, which, by the way, is one of the friendliest places in town.


Last night when I was cleaning up after dinner, San Geraldo referred to twist-ties (from food-storage bags) as “those clicker things.”

Before we decided to move to Spain, when we were still living in Irvine and San Geraldo wanted desperately out of his career once and for all, he suggested he could perhaps turn his daily coffee habit at the local chain cafés Peet’s and Starbuck’s into a career.

“I know,” he announced, “I could be a barrister!”*

*For my Spanish friends, a barrister is a lawyer. A barista is a person who makes coffee (mostly).

Author: Moving with Mitchell

From Brooklyn, New York; to North Massapequa; back to Brooklyn; Brockport, New York; back to Brooklyn... To Boston, Massachusetts, where I met Jerry... To Marina del Rey, California; Washington, DC; New Haven and Guilford, Connecticut; San Diego, San Francisco, Palm Springs, and Santa Barbara, California; Las Vegas, Nevada; Irvine, California; Sevilla, Spain. And Fuengirola, Málaga..

26 thoughts on “San Geraldo and the Flower Children”

  1. Ye gods Sir, I believe that the only socially acceptable response to being served a Café Santa Marta "penis" would be to faint or swoon. Is one supposed to eat it or to hit people over the head with it?

    1. Jane and Lance:
      We haven't had one of those pork monsters for a very long time. It's what we were hoping for last week. We walked over there, were greeted coldly (as if we hadn't been there several dozen times already — and as if they didn't want any customers), and then ignored for 20 minutes. That's consistently been the routine. This time, we got up and left and said they didn't deserve our business. They don't appear to treat anyone any better. So, we'll have mini flamenquíns at Dos de Mayo instead, where everyone is always warmly welcomed.

  2. It sounds like you have a lot of wonderful places to eat. Why bother with one that's not friendly? I have shunned restaurants for the same reason. Even when they aren't busy, they leave you waiting for service and that is not cool! I love your little hippie doll. I've been wondering–where did the term "Hippie" originate? Do you know?

    1. Ms. Sparrow:
      You're so right about the wonderful places. We have to have been to "Casa Marta" a few dozen times in the past year. We have been greeted with a smile twice by one staff-member. Other than that, they act as if they've never seen us before and we have to beg for service. Everyplace else is so unbelievably friendly, gracious, and welcoming. What's the point?!?

      As for "hippie," I once looked it up. All I found was it (and "hipster") comes from the words "hip" and "hep." No one seemed to know for sure where "hip" and "hep" came from, except that they first appeared in the dictionary in the early 1900s!

  3. That really does look like an enormous deep fried penis. It's even dripping. I may have to borrow this photo, OK?

    It's a shame that Cafe Santa Marta isn't friendly. I'm glad though that you've found so many other friendly places to frequent.

    1. Victor:
      Feel free to share the photo. Just credit my blog if you post it. Thanks!

      I didn't even notice the dripping cheese until I snapped the picture. Kind of graphic. It's actually delicious (the flamenquín!!!)… Dos de Mayo serves the same dish in "minis." They are a bit larger than chicken McNuggets but so much better.

      As for the unfriendly Santa Marta, it IS a shame. Everyplace else we go here, we are treated so well. At Los Niños de Flor, the owner shakes our hands when we arrive, and all the staff call out to us. The contrast is amazing.

  4. Especially loved your post today… just this morning I was explaining to Bill about San Geraldos "malaprops" and how I'll probably embarrass myself terribly in a few months. Heck… I do that now… but then I can do it in 2 languages. I'm looking forward to SO MANY wonderful places to eat… I'll reword that… SO MANY places to eat wonderful food.

    1. Odd Essay:
      Oh, I embarrass myself daily! Lucky for me, there's no one to write about it!

      I can't wait for you and Bill to experience the food here… and especially Catalina Casa de Comidas!

  5. Mitch, I love how you bring your posts 'together' every time!! This was hilarious! Even if it was at San Geraldo's expense! I've been told that I can do that on occasion….
    Love that 'Flower Child' from your sister.

    1. Jim:
      It seems to be almost always at San Geraldo's expense. He is my punch line!

      I remember the day and place my sister gave me that little flower child. It's now even more meaningful to me. Can't believe how long I've had it.

    1. Stephen:
      I used to love to laugh at San Geraldo's mangling of the English language. It's even more entertaining now that there are two languages for him to mangle. Sometimes, he'll say things in English to our Spanish friends (and Norwegian family) and I have to say, "Don't learn that. That's only correct in Jerrynglish."

  6. I am constantly amazed – a bit jealous – how well Europeans appreciate and eat splendid food. Here, it is junk and 'fuel' and ate quickly or (worse) while working. SEnsible people – Europeans.

  7. It must be fun living in Spain. A real culture Shock
    I found it hard to adjust from State to state,
    as Florida/Maine. Getting cold here,
    Does it get cold in Spain? Bet the seafood is great.

    1. Yvonne:
      No culture shock for us, interestingly. I think I'd have a harder time going from Maine to Florida! Cold is relative. Here in Sevilla in winter (January) it can be below 40F when we wake up (but that's not the norm) in the morning. But the coldest days usually get up to mid-50s (and mid-60s is normal). Northern Spain gets colder in winter (as well as the mountain areas in Southern Spain). The seafood is incredible. The produce is the best I've ever had. Have I mentioned how much I love it here?

  8. Hee hee hee! Hey, my hubby's a barrister.

    I had to Google that giant deep-fried penis thing. In the photo it looks like it belonged to an elephant. But it sounds very tasty indeed!

    1. Knatolee (which came out Knateloo the first time I typed it… I kind of like it!):
      Are you sure you're husband hasn't been confused all these years. I've been told he's really a barista.
      Flamenquín (aka, deep-fried penis) is delicious!

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