A shot of rice pudding / Un chupito de arroz con leche

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

LAST NIGHT AT 9, WE met Tynan and Elena at Mesón Salvador. I’m sorry I didn’t get photos of the laughter, silliness, and story telling. I did manage to grab two poor shots of Sergio as he paused at our table. He offered his elbow to the camera for some safe … affection.

Lolo and Cuñado were there as well to make us all happy (clearly that’s the only reason they work). Cuñado means brother-in-law. His real name is David and he’s Sergio’s brother-in-law. But Chef David is in the kitchen, so everyone, not just Sergio, calls him Cuñado to avoid confusion.

At the end of the evening, Sergio brought us chupitos (after dinner drinks) that looked like nothing more than shots of milk. And when we told him so, he said that’s what they were, but insisted we drink them because milk was good for digestion. We figured he was up to something, so we took a sip. It reminded us all of something (not milk so much) but we couldn’t place it. Cinnamon and spice… Delicious. He made us take a few guesses and then told us: Rice pudding liqueur. So good that it tasted like more.

I would have had dessert and coffee but no one would join me and I wasn’t going to do it alone — despite the fact that San Geraldo still hasn’t baked that chocolate cake (today, he says). Elena and Tynan both had to get up for work and, besides, I had to phone the Kid Brother.

I arrived home at the scheduled time and his roommate Chris answered after nine rings. He had been dozing in front of the television. The Kid Brother was right there. I asked, “Were you dozing, too?” “No, I’m awake!” “Well, then why’d you make Chris get up to answer the phone?” “He can do it.” Oh, that explains it.

I forgot to ask the Kid Brother if he received any mail. My friend Susan and I both send him a card or letter regularly. Before we hung up, he said, “I got a second letter from her.”

I didn’t know what he was talking about. I thought there were some official letters going to him. “A letter?” I asked.

“Yeah. It’s the second one.”

“From who?”

“You know who!” (The Kid Brother doesn’t say proper names.)

“Oh, wait. From Susan?!?”

“That’s right!”

“Oh, that’s great. She’ll be so happy to know another one finally got there.”

“Tell her to send a picture.”

“A picture? Oh, because it was a letter and not a postcard?”

“That’s right. But it’s OK.”

“Well, you know she had it custom printed with your name.”

“I know. It’s not easy to read.”

“Her handwriting?”

“It’s OK. And it’s apartment 2E!”

“Oh, no. Did she write the wrong apartment?”

“No.”

“Well, what did she write?”

“2E.”

“So, then the address and apartment number were correct?”

“Yeah!”

As always, it was clear as mud.

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LA NOCHE PASADA A LAS 9, conocimos a Tynan y Elena en Mesón Salvador. Lo siento, no obtuve fotos de la risa, la tontería, y la narración de historias. Me las arreglé para tomar dos fotos pobres de Sergio mientras se detenía en nuestra mesa. Le ofreció su codo a la cámara por algo seguro … afecto.

Lolo y Cuñado también estuvieron allí para hacernos felices a todos (claramente esa es la única razón por la que trabajan). El verdadero nombre de Cuñado es David y es cuñado de Sergio. Pero el chef David está en la cocina, por lo que todos, no solo Sergio, lo llaman Cuñado para evitar confusiones.

Sergio nos trajo chupitos que no parecían más que tragos de leche. Y cuando se lo dijimos, dijo que eso era lo que eran, pero insistió en que los bebiéramos porque la leche era buena para la digestión. Supusimos que estaba haciendo algo, así que tomamos un sorbo. Nos recordó a todos algo (no tanta leche) pero no pudimos ubicarlo. Canela y especias … Delicioso. Nos hizo hacer algunas conjeturas y luego nos dijo: licor de arroz con leche. Tan bueno que sabía a más.

Yo habría tomado postre y café, pero nadie se uniría a mí y no iba a hacerlo solo, a pesar de que San Geraldo todavía no ha horneado esa tarta de chocolate (hoy, él dice). Elena y Tynan tuvieron que levantarse para trabajar y, además, tuve que llamar a El Hermanito.

Llegué a casa a la hora programada y su compañero de cuarto Chris respondió después de nueve timbres. Había estado dormitando frente a la televisión. El Hermanito estaba cerca. Le pregunté: “¿También dormitabas?” “¡No, estoy despierto!” “Bueno, entonces ¿por qué hiciste que Chris se levantara para contestar el teléfono?” “Él puede hacerlo.” Oh, eso lo explica.

Olvidé preguntarle al Kid Brother si recibió algún correo. Mi amiga Susan y yo le enviamos una tarjeta o carta regularmente. Antes de colgar, “Recibí una segunda carta de ella”.

No sabía de qué estaba hablando. Pensé que le iban a enviar algunas cartas oficiales. “¿Una carta?” Yo pregunté.

“Si. Es el segundo”.

“¿De quien?”

“¡Sabes quién!” (El Kid Brother no dice nombres propios).

“Oh, espera. ¿De Susan?”

“¡Así es!”

“Oh eso es genial. Ella estará muy feliz de saber que finalmente otro llegó”.

“Dile que envíe una foto”.

“¿Una foto? ¿Oh, porque era una carta y no una postal?”

“Así es. Pero está bien.”

“Bueno, sabes que ella lo imprimió con tu nombre”.

“Lo sé. No es fácil de leer”.

“¿Su letra?”

“Está bien. ¡Y es el apartamento 2E!”

“Oh no. ¿Escribió ella el apartamento equivocado?”

“No.”

“¿Qué escribió ella?”

“2E”.

“Entonces, ¿la dirección y el número de apartamento eran correctos?”

“¡Si!”

Como siempre, estaba claro como el barro.

SG’s avocado and shrimp.
Aguacate y gambas de SG.
My salmon rose.
Mi rosa de salmon.
Elena’s boquerones (white anchovies).
Tynan’s flamenquín.
SG and I shared a plate of fried cod.
SG y yo compartimos un plato de bacalao frito.

Medieval Love / Amor Medieval

La versión español está después de la versión inglés.

A FEW MONTHS back, our great niece Alice was very excited about her new costume. “I’m going to be a medieval princess,” she told her cousin Natalie. Natalie asked, “What’s medieval?” Alice thought for a moment and explained, “Well, it means she’s kinda good … and kinda evil.”

Well… the only thing evil about last night’s medieval themed Valentine’s dinner at Mesón Salvador was that it was wickedly good. Nothing “kinda” about it. We were joined by friends and, once again, we were so busy enjoying each other’s company that I never got around to ensuring there were photos of us all. At least I managed to remember the food. We finished with Mesón Salvador’s Valentine’s Day Aperol Spritz (Aperol, orange juice, and cava).

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HACE UNOS MESES, nuestra sobrina nieta Alice estaba muy entusiasmada con su nuevo disfraz. “Voy a ser príncipes medievales”, le dijo a su prima Natalie. Natalie preguntó: “¿Qué es medieval?” Alice pensó por un momento y explicó: “Bueno, significa que es un poco buena … y un poco malvada”.

[NOTA: Cuando rompió la palabra “medieval” en dos partes, decidió que “med” significaba “media”. “Evil” en inglés es malvada.]

Bueno … lo único malvada de la cena de San Valentín con temática medieval de anoche en Mesón Salvador fue que fue malvadamente bueno. Nada “un poco” al respecto. Nos acompañaron nuestras amigas y, una vez más, estábamos tan ocupados disfrutando de la compañía del otro que nunca estuve para asegurarme de que hubiera fotos de todos nosotros. De alguna manera logré recordar la comida. Terminamos con Mesón Salvador San Valentín Aperol Spritz (Aperol, jugo de naranja y cava).

With Sir Lolo the Charming.

Con Señor Lolo el Encantador.

San Geraldo and Sir Angel Lancelot
(or maybe it was Merlin).

San Geraldo y Señor Angel Lancelot
(o tal vez él era Merlin).


Wild rice salad.
Roast beef with black spaghetti, green mustard, and radishes.
Roasted bacalao with asparagus and crispy gula (baby eels).
My glasses after I dropped them in my plate.
Mis gafas después de dejarlos caer en mi plato.
Wellington pork tenderloin with mushrooms, chestnut sauce, and Málaga wine
Bread dunked in Coke. At least he shaved and combed his hair.
Pan sumergido en Coca Cola. Al menos se afeitó, se cortó la barba, y se peinó.

SG watching out for
bread-and-gravy thieves.

SG vigilando a los
ladrones de pan y salsa.

Valentine’s heart (raspberry sorbet, chocolate mousse, caramel, and mint)

Golden Helmet Of Mambrino

Our part of Spain is not known for its Mexican food.

San Geraldo and I did, however, find an exceptional chain of (three) Mexican restaurants in Sevilla. Owned by a Mexican man who spent many years in Southern California, Iguanas Ranas serves the same food we remember from our years in California. (Click here to see what we experienced, the bad and the good, in Sevilla.)

We haven’t yet found that in Málaga. There’s a Mexican restaurant here in Fuengirola whose decor inside and out looks, if not authentic, at least stereotypical. So, we finally gave it a try for our friend Elena’s birthday. When we walked in the door, Elena and I both said, “They’re not putting one of those #@^*%^$ hats on my head!”

The restaurant is in an old (expanded) fisherman’s cottage and was surprisingly busy (it seemed so quiet outside). The food was decent although not exactly what we had hoped for. But it will definitely do. Good quality and low prices. The staff were warm, friendly, and noisy. The service was exceptional. One of the waiters insisted on doing what he considered, I think, a Mexican bandito yell. He would sneak up to a table and squeal like something out of a bad Hollywood Western. I didn’t like that, but I did like him. There was a ritual for every event in the restaurant.

ELENA AND SAN GERALDO.

Another waiter, one who didn’t scream, told us each time they did something that it was a tradition in Mexico. When they brought a box to the table and had us all hold hands before running an electrical current through us, he said that was a Mexican tradition also. I’m pretty sure he was making it all up. Note: We did that twice because San Geraldo didn’t feel it the first time!

Anyway, I lightened up. We even allowed them to put the sombreros on our heads. I didn’t once slug the screaming waiter (although I was tempted). We couldn’t help but have a great time.

After the electro shock therapy, I did wonder aloud what would happen if they had a customer with a Pacemaker.

The final “Mexican tradition” was when they served our complementary chupitos (after-dinner drinks). They placed a copper bowl on each of our heads, in turn, and tapped the shot glass against the metal while singing some little ditty or another. For bald men they would place a dish towel on top of the head first. Tynan didn’t know where that dish towel had been, so insisted on doing without.

As a result, I got tapped without protection, too.

THE CUTE WAITER WHO DIDN’T SCREAM…
“BUT, IN MEXICO, THEY DO THIS…”
ABOUT TO GET ZAPPED.
(THAT’S THE SCREAMING WAITER IN PINK).
RESTAURANTE EL PASO.
(SOLIDLY BUILT SO THE NEIGHBORS CAN’T HEAR.)
THE AFTER-DINNER DRINK RITUAL.
A REGULAR?
THE FACE I MADE WHEN THE SCREAMING WAITER SCREAMED.
ELENA CALLS IT MY NEW YORK LOOK.
I OFFER HEARTFELT APOLOGIES TO NEW YORKERS.

And of course a Broadway tune came to mind…