Double Happiness / Doble Felicidad

La versión español está después de la versión inglés.

SAN GERALDO HAS a second-cousin from Norway (yes, another one) who usually spends several weeks every year in Southern Spain, in Torrox, a pueblo blanco (white village). Her name is Vårin. We try to get together when one of her daughters comes to visit. Tuesday, we drove the 55 minutes to Torrox where we were served another one of Vårin’s typically delicious Norwegian/Spanish lunches.

As is common in Andalucia’s pueblos blancos, the streets are steep. In Torrox, it’s difficult to find any level ground at all. Most streets, like Vårin’s, are nothing more than stairways.

During our first visit, we watched a 127-year-old man (OK, maybe that’s an exaggeration) trot up one series of steps after another, leaving us in the dust. Vårin, at 81, goes up and down the streets like that 127-year-old. As her daughter Berit said, “My mother’s a goat.”

The weather was beautiful for our drive to Torrox, but midway through lunch there was a sudden downpour (with thunder and lightning… very, very frightening) that turned the streets into waterfalls. It rained a bit during our drive home and San Geraldo then said, “There should be a rainbow.” He looked in the rearview mirror and there it was. And not just one. We had double happiness.

NOTE: Click the images to double YOUR happiness.


SAN GERALDO TIENE una prima segunda de Noruega (sí, otra) que generalmente pasa varias semanas cada año en el sur de España, en Torrox, un pueblo blanco. Ella se llama Vårin. Intentamos reunirnos cuando una de las hijas de Vårin viene de visita. El martes, conducimos los 55 minutos hasta Torrox, donde nos sirvieron otro de los almuerzos típicamente deliciosos noruegos/españoles de Vårin.

Como es común en los pueblos blancos de Andalucía, las calles son empinadas. En Torrox, es difícil encontrar un terreno nivelado. La mayoría de las calles, como la calle de Vårin, no son más que escaleras.

Durante nuestra primera visita, vimos a un hombre de 127 años (OK, tal vez eso es una exageración) trotar una serie de pasos tras otro, dejándonos en el polvo. Vårin, a los 81, sube y baja las calles como ese hombre de 127 años. Como dijo su hija Berit: “Mi madre es una cabra”.

El clima era hermoso para nuestro viaje a Torrox, pero a la mitad del almuerzo hubo un chaparrón repentino que convirtió las calles en cascadas. Llovió un poco durante nuestro viaje a casa y San Geraldo dijo: “Debería haber un arcoíris”. Miró por el espejo retrovisor y allí estaba. Y no solo uno. Teníamos doble felicidad.

NOTA: Haz clic en las imagenes para doblar tu felicidad.

Hey Ya Paella

La versión español está después de la versión inglés.

ONE DAY LAST week after morning coffee, José, the owner of Mesón Salvador, asked me if I liked paella. I told him I loved it. “And Jerry?” “I would guess he loves it, too,” I said. “OK, pick a day next week and we’ll make you paella.” San Geraldo was thrilled. It turns out he had never had paella. It usually serves a minimum of two people and it’s not a dish you want to order in any old restaurant. The only way it’s good is if it’s made fresh to-order.

There seemed to be quite a bit of excitement in the week since the plan was made. Our reservation was confirmed a few times by a few different staff. Adrián, who usually writes our reservations as “Mitchell Dakota” (Mitchell for me, obviously, and Dakota for San Geraldo), this time used our first and middle names. But fast forward to today at 2:30. We arrived, were greeted with hugs, and moments later our paella was placed on the table. Chef David is truly a wonder. When we finally emptied the pan, the bill arrived. You can see it below.

JOSÉ HAS TWO FAVORITE English expressions. One is: “Oh My God I Can’t Believe It.” The other is: “The Best In The World.” My sentiments exactly.


UN DÍA LA semana pasada después del café de la mañana, José, el dueño de Mesón Salvador, me preguntó si me gustaba la paella. Le dije que me encantaba. “Y Jerry?” “Supongo que él también lo ama”, dije. “Bueno, elige un día la próxima semana y te haremos paella”. San Geraldo estaba emocionado. Resulta que nunca había tenido paella. Por lo general, sirve un mínimo de dos personas y no es un plato que desee ordenar en solo ningún restaurante. La única forma de hacerlo es si se prepara de nuevo.

Parecía haber un poco de emoción en la semana desde que se hizo el plan. Nuestra reserva fue confirmada varias veces. Adrián, quien usualmente escribe nuestras reservas como “Mitchell Dakota” (Mitchell para mí, obviamente, y Dakota para San Geraldo), esta vez usó nuestro primer y segundo nombres. Pero avancemos hasta hoy a las 2:30. Llegamos, nos saludaron con abrazos y, momentos después, pusimos nuestra paella sobre la mesa. Chef David es realmente una maravilla. Cuando finalmente vaciamos la sartén, llegó la cuenta. Puedes verlo abajo.

JOSÉ TIENE DOS EXPRESIONES favoritos en inglés. Uno es: “Oh My God I Can’t Believe It” (Dis Mio No Puedo Creer). El otro es: “The Best In The World” (Lo Mejor Del Mundo). Mis sentimientos son exactos.

My middle name is Scott, but I now prefer Scoot. San Geraldo’s is Ray, “Rey” in Spanish means “king.” It makes more sense.
Mi segundo nombre es Scott, pero ahora prefiero a Scoot. San Geraldo es Ray, pero “Rey” tiene más sentido.
“Thank you for existing,” wrote Jose.


Fifteen Tapas

It seems a day out on the town, any town, is not complete without us stumbling upon a really great restaurant. After Mariposario de Benalmádena (Benalmádena’s Butterfly Park, see two previous posts), we continued another 5 minutes into Benalmádena Pueblo (the old village). Having only been there once before (click here for my first visit), I was familiar with only one little cafe, so we parked the car and began to head downhill through town.

It was a quiet and gloriously sunny winter day already past 2:00, which meant even the stores that might be open this time of year were closed for siesta. We thought, before settling down to lunch, we’d check out Plaza de España, a charming historic plaza. There were a couple of nice-looking restaurants. We chose the second one we came to, Restaurante Plaza.

It was warm enough in the sun to enjoy a meal out on the terrace, but the cloud of cigarette smoke hovering all around decided us to head inside. We headed up some stairs to a room with terraced windows that looked out onto another street. Service was a pleasure and the menu was varied and unusual. We each chose our own three tapas and we were definitely not disappointed.


Numbers in another language can sometimes cause confusion. San Geraldo ordered his tapas by number. Cuatro (Four), Once (Eleven), and Diez y Cinco (supposed to be, but not, Fifteen). Since he was pointing to the items as he ordered, the waiter nodded and took down the information. When Judy ordered, she followed San Geraldo’s lead and requested Diez y Cinco. The waiter was a bit further away. He hesitated and looked at me. I said she didn’t want both Diez y Cinco (Ten and Five), she wanted Quince (Fifteen). The waiter laughed. San Geraldo laughed. And Judy said, “Well, that’s what I get for following Jerry’s lead!”