Wednesday, July 18, 2012

17.07.12: Luke's 28th

Last night, we celebrated Luke's 28th birthday! We've quickly adapted to the typical Spanish time and had dinner reservations at 9:45! Sounds crazy, but since it stays light until nearly 10:30, we stay up later (but also rise later), and were relatively late diners in the the first place, it was a pretty natural change. We met at our apartment when Luke got off work, and he opened his gifts before we walked over to El Paraguas (The Umbrella) for dinner.

Like I mentioned before, I found one of Luke's gifts on Sunday at the Rastro.  He always loves and has wanted a picture of the Virgin Mary and Baby Jesus, and I just happened to see one at the market that was the most beautiful colors. A little bit of impulse and a few negotiations later, I had purchased Luke's first birthday gift! We are thinking that it will go in the entry way above the red table in our apartment and then probably in our dining room when we make it back to Lake Highlands. I also got him a leather bag that he wanted to carry his laptop and papers to and from work (because a backpack just didn't look right with those new, nice suits), a cool potted house plant and a six-pack of cool Scottish beer since anything but Spanish beer is not widely available around here.  (He actually got these the night before his birthday, so he had something to open when the clock struck midnight but was enjoying the Imperial IPA as he opened gifts!)

Dinner was at El Paraguas, and it was all we had hoped for. Before our appetizer (la entrada), they brought us a tiny sampling of their gazpacho, which was really tasty and a nice little touch. We had croquettes de fabes for an appetizer. Croquettes are a typical Spanish food that you'll find frequently in a lot of tapas bars. They're basically fried balls of gooey, creamy potatoes and are sometimes filled with jamon, fish, etc.  The ones we ordered were filled with fabes, which is a large white bean. (Jones Family: Think about the white bean soup from Monte Ne, roll it in a doughy shell and fry it. How could it not be good?) They didn't disappoint.  Luke had all of his and then some. Next we had a stir-fry type dish of green veggies and mushrooms ("setas") followed by our main course.  Fresh calamari (in their black ink!) with rice for Luke and merluza (a flaky, white fish) with apple compote for me.  Everything was very good. It sounds like a ton of food, but everything comes in relatively small portions.  In fact, I think that if you were to do the "menu" option that is offered at a lot of places, you each get 4-5 courses. We shared the first 2 courses and were still stuffed by the time our main dishes arrived.We left satisfied and happy; a couple kilograms heavier, but a few Euros lighter so it all balanced out.  Vale la pena. (It was worth it.)
Dinner at El Paraguas. July 17, 2012.
We finished the night with a Skype call to Luke's dad and mama since they're the reason we all have this great guy in our lives in the first place. Happy birthday, Lukie! And many more....

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