Shots ’n’ crackers / Chupitos y picos de pan

La versión en español está después de la versión en inglés.

IN PREPARATION FOR OUR ARRIVAL in Spain in July 2011, we rented an apartment in Málaga for the first month or more. We ended up staying only a few days before heading up to Sevilla. There’s a story there, but I won’t be telling that today.

Our first afternoon in Málaga, we found a very pleasant café on a plaza near our apartment. Our Spanish was limited (I could barely get by and San Geraldo could say ‘sí’ — and did, and does — often). Our understanding of Spanish menus, was even more limited. Our server was a charmer and we had a great tapas meal.

We were tired that evening and decided to go back to where we knew we’d be safe. It was hot outside (temps were hovering around 38c/100F) and a different server invited us to come inside where she would turn on the air conditioning. We had another excellent meal and walked up to the bar to pay when we were done. Our server from the afternoon was behind the bar. He recognised us, greeted us like old friends and asked, “¿Quieren chupitos?”

I had no idea what a chupito was but, before I could respond, San Geraldo confidently said, “¡Sí!

“What did you say ‘yes’ to?!?” I asked, knowing he had no clue.

“He asked if we ate the crackers. Chupitos are chips,” he explained. And I said to myself, ‘Oh, I don’t think so.’

A bread basket had arrived along with our meal and included was a bag of a type of crackers we really liked. We opened the bag. Some restaurants charged for the bread and more for the bags of crackers. Some did not. San Geraldo thought we were being asked if we should be charged for the crackers.

Meanwhile, the guy behind the bar had pulled out two shot glasses and a bottle of limoncello (after-dinner liqueur and digestive). I apologised and asked if those were chupitos. The bartender laughed and said (in Spanish), “Yes, what did you think?”

I pointed to a basket filled with bags of the crackers and said SG thought he had been talking about those, to which the bartender responded apologetically by giving us each a bag of crackers. I then had to explain in my stuttery, halting Spanish the entire exchange. The waiter thought we were hilarious.

We had the chupitos (after-dinner drinks; well, I had both; SG hates limoncello). Although we still really like those crackers, we always forget what they’re called. I think the most commonly used names are picos de pan and regañas, depending on their shape.

The picos de pan at the top of this page are what we enjoyed with our anniversary dinner last week. Our friend Tynan says they are precisely what you get when you mix flour with water — and nothing else. He says the picos have no taste; I say it’s Tynan.

As you can see from the photos below, we’ve had a lot of experience with chupitos these nine years (including Halloween chupitos at Mesón Salvador). And, yes, you can even have a chupito gin and tonic or a chupito margarita.


EN PREPARACIÓN PARA NUESTRA LLEGADA a España en julio de 2011, alquilamos un piso en Málaga durante el primer mes o más. Terminamos quedándonos solo unos días antes de dirigirnos a Sevilla. Hay una historia ahí, pero no la contaré hoy.

Nuestra primera tarde en Málaga, encontramos un café muy agradable en una plaza cerca de nuestro piso. Nuestro español era limitado (apenas podía arreglármelas y San Geraldo podía decir “sí” — y lo hacía, y lo hace, a menudo). Nuestro conocimiento de los menús en español era aún más limitado. Nuestro camarero era un encanto y tuvimos una gran comida de tapas en la terraza.

Estábamos cansados ​​esa noche y decidimos volver a donde sabíamos que estaríamos a salvo. Hacía calor afuera (las temperaturas rondaban los 38c / 100F) y una camarera diferente nos invitó a entrar donde ella encendía el aire acondicionado. Tuvimos otra comida excelente y caminamos hasta el bar para pagar cuando terminamos. El camarero de la tarde estaba detrás de la barra. Nos reconoció, nos saludó como viejos amigos y preguntó: “¿Quieren chupitos?”

No tenía idea de lo que era un tiro pero, antes de que pudiera responder, San Geraldo dijo con seguridad: “¡Sí!”

¿A qué dijiste ‘sí’?!?” le pregunté, sabiendo que no tenía ni idea.

“Preguntó si nos comimos las galletas. Los chupitos significa ‘crackers’ [galletas]”, le expliqué. Y me dije a mí mismo: ‘Oh, no lo creo’.

Una canasta de pan había llegado junto con nuestra comida e incluía una bolsa de un tipo de galletas que realmente nos gustó. Abrimos la bolsa. Algunos restaurantes cobraron por el pan y más por las bolsas de galletas. Algunos no lo hicieron. San Geraldo pensó que nos estaban preguntando si debían cobrarnos por las galletas.

Mientras tanto, el tipo de detrás de la barra había sacado dos vasos de chupito y una botella de limoncelo (el licor de sobremesa y digestivo). Me disculpé y pregunté si eran chupitos. El se rió y dijo: “Sí, ¿qué pensaste que dije?”

Señalé una canasta llena de bolsas de galletas y dije que SG pensó que había estado hablando de esas, a lo que él respondió dándonos a cada uno una bolsa de galletas. Luego tuve que explicar en mi tartamudeo español todo el intercambio. El camarero pensó que éramos muy divertidos.

Tomamos los chupitos (bueno, yo tenía ambos). Aunque todavía nos gustan mucho esas galletas, siempre olvidamos cómo se llaman. Creo que los nombres más utilizados son picos de pan y regañas, según su forma.

Los picos de pan en la parte superior de esta página son los que disfrutamos con la cena de aniversario la semana pasada. Nuestro amigo Tynan dice que son precisamente lo que obtienes cuando mezclas harina con agua, y nada más. Dice que los picos no tienen gusto; digo que es Tynan.

Como puede ver en las fotos a continuación, hemos tenido mucha experiencia con chupitos estos nueve años (incluidos los chupitos de Halloween en Mesón Salvador). Y sí, incluso puedes tomar un gin tonic chupito o una margarita chupito.

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..

25 thoughts on “Shots ’n’ crackers / Chupitos y picos de pan”

  1. They say immersion is the fastest way to learn a new language. I bet you have a hundred stories of life in two languages. I love limoncello, Jay quit drinking 30+ years ago, so when two glasses arrive at our table, I quickly down my glass and trade glasses with him.

    1. David:
      It’s really kind of Jay and SG to NOT drink (much or at all). More for us. I don’t drink much anymore, so that extra chupito usually make me tipsy. Oh, the comedies we’ve both performed when trying to communicate in Spanish.

    1. Jim:
      Wow. You know I’ll bet it’s very similar to hardtack. I remember that from US Civl War stories.

    1. anne marie:
      SG and I were talking about the crackers one day and Tynan assumed we felt about them the way he did. I enjoy limoncello and it’s good for digestion, which is of course why I’m happy to have one… or two. And they’re free!

  2. I’ve always meant to try limoncello, but never have. So, are you bilingual now in Spanish, or just really fluent?

    1. Debra:
      I would say I’m bilingual but NOT fluent. I think we reverse their meanings. To me bilingual means I can speak both languages effectively. Fluent would mean I’m perfect in Spanish. And, oh I am SO far from perfect in Spanish. Limoncello is one of those things you either love or hate. SG finds it medicinal and hates it. I love it.

    1. wickedhamster:
      The bartenders often have a really good time mixing up delicious works of art. That last was a mix of pionono, brandy, whipped cream, and chocolate sauce. In a tiny shot glass. I can still taste it!

    1. Mistress Maddie:
      Would that one little shot of limoncello do it? We never get more than that. (Although that wouldn’t stop you, I’m sure.) They often poor right at the table; I could imagine you taking the bottle off their hands.

    1. Wilma:
      Yes, lots of good stories and I had no idea we had gone through so many chupitos. Mostly me. Usually SG takes a sip (if anything) and passes it along.

  3. Chupitos! I had no idea. If I’d heard that word I don’t think I’d have guessed it meant after-dinner liqueur. I’m with you — to me it sounds more like a cracker or biscuit.

    I’m glad your waiter had a good sense of humor about the whole thing.

    You moved to Spain in the same month that we moved to London!

    1. Steve:
      I never would have gotten shot from chupito. Interestingly, the verb chupar means to suck! We did and do a lot of laughing with Spanish speakers. Isn’t that funny that we emigrated at the same time! I read your old posts regularly. But I should simply start with the first and work my way to the present.

  4. I love limoncello!! I am impressed that you learned Spanish like you did. I just figured that you knew it before you moved to Spain. I try and study/learn French, but it is slow going when I have no one to speak with!

    1. mcpersonalspace54:
      I studied Spanish from 7th grade through my first year at university. But I rarely used it and then tried to switch to Italian, so my Spanish grew weaker and I forgot most. A lot did come back when I got here, so the learning curve was less steep. But I still wish I were perfectly fluent. I do fine now, but I have a long way to go. And, yes, for me it’s all about having native speakers to converse with.

      1. mcpersonalspace54:
        It DOES make me happy. It never would have happened, at least not at this level, had we not moved here.

    1. Urspo:
      Oh, I’m sorry. I forget that you like teeth, gums, primal ooze, and hypodermics in your liquor.

Please share your thoughts...

%d bloggers like this: