Tapa One 5:15
Only at 5 do the tapas joints even open, and then mainly just for quick beverages at the bar on the way home. (Exception: the places open all afternoon for the tourists, who oblige by being the only people vertical from about 2 to 5.) I'm in the corner of one place, working on a wine. The tapas menu goes, Cold: shrimp salad, seasoned roe, roasted pepper tuna, seasoned fried, Spanish omelette. Hot: meatballs, tuna onion, beef stew, veal sauce. 3 bucks per tapa, 4+ to share, 7 for a full plate. I'll stick with the wine for now.
Tapa Two, 6:15
I pull in to La Cruz Blanca and order a sherry (Jerez being sherry capital of Andalusia) and two tapas, the stilton blue cheese with honey and nuts, and croquettes made with the ingredients of stew, as the awkward translation has it. The sherry, dry, is served chilled. Wow! The croquettes are deep fried battered fishy mix served with potato chips. Tasty enough but ho-hum microwaved.
Digression #1: I remember Fred Wah telling me about working as an underling in his dad's café in Nelson years ago. When they ran out of something, Fred had to run down the alley to the next Chinese café to get it, which went on all the time. I saw the same thing in Tangier, where why have tea-making equipment--though how much equipment does it take--when the guy next door who's got it can just run the tea over. Anyway, when the blue cheese was slow to turn up, I imagined somebody running in the alley, though there are no alleys here. The Stilton never did show up. I must have screwed up the Spanish/English blend of my order.
Here's to my friend Brenda Schmidt who, after I'd reported my amazement four years ago at being sure I knew which direction I was walking and finding myself 180 degrees wrong, said "Get a compass!" Which I've done. Thanks to Brenda, I know to turn right when I leave the bar now, or is it left?
Tapa 3, 7:15
In this joint, green olives are served free. That's old-style tapa fare. For me, these are olives #50-60 in my lifetime, the most recent 55 of them in the last two months. With a few groceries I picked up while trying to stall until 7:00, the bare beginning of the daily tapa season (not counting the noon tapas), that'll do me for tonight. I did happen across a couple of busy shopping streets filled with locals, families doing their shopping. No tapas joints on those streets. In other words, I think, once the family outing is done, the serious evening eating begins.
I'll be back at my hotel, signing off.