We had some bank business to resolve, so were back in Sevilla Tuesday through Thursday. San Geraldo (my prince) decided we deserved the royal treatment, so he booked us a room at a recently opened hotel in a former private palace. Wednesday night, we dined at a brand new restaurant in another former palace.
The hotel (Ateneo) is in our old neighbourhood and just opened in December.
Catalina was my favourite restaurant when we lived in Sevilla. Now, they’re both my favourite. If you’re ever in Sevilla, I encourage you to check out La Quinta (and Catalina Casa de Comidas). Beautiful places, comfortable and welcoming, exceptional and unusual food, and surprisingly affordable.
(Click any image to make it grander.)
THE ‘STOOP’ OF THE PALACE.
HOTEL BRUNCH, WHICH INCLUDED SPANISH SHERRIES,
CHAMPAGNE, AND TO-ORDER DISHES.
THE CENTRAL COURTYARD. (THIS AND THE NEXT PHOTO ARE FROM THE WEB.)
OUR ROOM. FINALLY, A BED WIDE ENOUGH FOR THE TWO OF US. (THEY’VE ADDED A LOT OF ANCIENT ARTWORK TO THE WALLS.)
Thirty-four years ago today, I met San Geraldo. At that time, I didn’t know he was a saint. Nor did I know he was descended from an actual saint (King Ferdinand III), and from a multitude of kings and queens (Eleanor of Aquitaine, for one).
To tell the truth, especially in our first months together, if anyone had told me “Jerry” was I saint, I would have laughed. Well, OK, if anyone now misses my sense of irony in these saintly references, I still laugh. However, I did immediately know somehow that whatever his flaws (and there are so few), he would be worth every minute we would spend together. If you haven’t been keeping up, click here for our history.
HALFWAY THERE (HERE?).
SEVENTEEN YEARS AGO IN BERGEN NORWAY.
We’re supposed to be at Sandpiper’s Restaurant in Fuengirola tonight celebrating our 34th anniversary in the company of our wonderful friends. But, since the Dowager Duchess had other ideas (not within her control) about where we should be for the summer, we’re spending a quiet evening in her apartment (while she continues to make strides at Rehab). San Geraldo will cook dinner (pesto chicken and pasta) and I will gladly clean up the mess he makes in the kitchen.
I’m hoping to get back to reading and writing more regularly. Meanwhile, all my attention tonight will be focused on San Geraldo… with gratitude for these 34 years of love and adventure (and punchlines).
The Plaza de España was built in 1928 as part of the Ibero-American Exposition World’s Fair of 1929, which opened, unfortunately, just in time for the Great Depression. (Click any photo for a great inflation.)
Since I’ve written about the plaza several times, I thought I’d give you some different views. Of course, our visit (or at least mine) had to begin with San Geraldo’s great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-grandfather King Ferdinand III (that’s 22-greats if you didn’t feel like counting).
SAN GERALDO’S 22-GREATS-GRANDFATHER, KING FERDINAND III. (A SAINT, LIKE HIS GREATS-GRANDSON, BUT NOT UNTIL HE HAD BEEN DEAD 419 YEARS.)
Ring-necked parakeets are common in Southern Spain, but I’ve never had a good photo opportunity. They flit from one tree to another in a blur of noisy green. Then they hide out among the palm fronds. This time, a group of parakeets were very cooperative on our visit to the Plaza de España. they sat perfectly sun-lit on a nearby lamp post.
“SELF-PORTRAIT WITH TILES”
And, finally, the bubbles. I could have spent an entire day viewing the plaza — in every direction — through the bubbles, but we had a parade to catch (click here).
For someone who doesn’t cook, I sure do a lot of writing about food. If I’m not careful, I might soon start dicing and slicing (although that’s highly unlikely).
The other night, San Geraldo and I decided we needed a bit of a pick-me-up, so we took a walk over to our favorite restaurant, Catalina (Casa de Comidas), where we had another perfect meal and some tender loving care.
As usual, we started with Chef Gonzalo’s special creation “rollitos.” Another dish we usually order is a rich, dark risotto. And we like to try at least one new dish from the daily specials. This time, Albert, manager and charmer originally from Barcelona — (as opposed to my friend Albert who doesn’t work at Catalina, so is just a charmer originally from Sweden) — told us about an artichoke special that sounded delicious. Artichokes — lightly battered, delicately spiced, and lightly fried — with a side of mayonnaise and curry sauces. It was kind of like tempura (which I love), only different… and oh so much more interesting.
PASSING PLAZA DE LA ENCARNACIÓN ON OUR WAY TO CATALINA CASA DE COMIDAS. SAN GERALDO REMOVED LAYERS AS WE WALKED.
ALCACHOFAS (ARTICHOKES) BY GONZALO.
ANOTHER “BEST I’VE EVER HAD”!
SOME DIE-HARDS STILL ENJOYED PATIO DINING DESPITE “FRIGID” 11C/52F NIGHT-TIME TEMP. SANDRA SERVING. SHE WANTS ORDER FORMS FOR US WITH ROLLITOS PRE-PRINTED.
We stayed so long, we closed the place. A couple of veritable party animals. By the time we walked home, all the Christmas lights had been turned off in town. We’ll be back there on the 21st. They’re hosting an evening of music, dancing, and more good food. I’ll have to get a new photo of Chef Gonzalo. He’s grown a beard, but he says it’s only temporary. He told me, “Now you and I look alike.” I told him, “In my dreams.”
THE VIEW FROM THE BALCONY THIS EVENING. SWEET DREAMS.
Jerry cooked another maravilloso Spanish dinner Monday night. It was his latest success from the pages of “The New Spanish Table” (page 359), called Canelons D’Espinacs — Cannelloni with Spinach, Raisins, and Pine Nuts.
There were a multitude of steps and a very considerable mess was made to produce this meal. So, I joined Jerry in the kitchen to wash up and keep things manageable as he worked.
JERRY APOLOGIZES FOR THE PRESENTATION.
THERE’S A LITTLE PROBLEM WITH TEMPERATURE REGULATION IN OUR OVEN.
While I washed, I told Jerry how much I’ve been enjoying our meals at home and I that I don’t mind clean-up at all now that we’re not working. He agreed, saying he finds the cooking very relaxing now. I told him I couldn’t believe all the work involved in preparing this particular meal.
Jerry commented, “This one is actually very easy. Just a lot of organizing.”
To which I responded in the voice of Johnny, the Señor Wences character, “Easy for you, deefeecult for me.”
I used to love watching Señor Wences and his ‘friends’ when they made their regular appearances on “The Ed Sullivan Show.” It seems especially appropriate now that we’re living in Spain.