Spanish food is perfect for us. You have to forget the fact that we aren’t late night girls. We don’t need to go our for a full, multi-course meal. Karen and I can survive on tapas and raciones. These little plates (appetizers, if you like) are available pretty much all afternoon and late into the night. Eating this way allows us to sample many different tastes without any big commitment.
Tapas are a speciality in the region of Andalucia. We only have to stroll down the street from ‘our’ house in Alhaurin el Grande to find a wide selection of bars, cafes, and restaurants. On this bright, sunny day, we choose a table outside, the perfect ring-side seat for people watching. Scanning the menu (la carta), we spot sardinas fritas. We’ve never tried fried sardines, so what the heck!
These fresh-from-the-sea sardines are butterflied, perfectly seasoned, lightly coated, and fried to golden brown perfection. They need only a squeeze of lemon. Better than we could have imagined. So simple, but so delicious.
Just as we were finishing our meal, the clouds came and it started to sprinkle. We took our wine inside to finish. The bar top’s refrigerated display case held a selection of cheeses, olives, fish, and things neither of us recognized. All waiting to be served cold or to be cooked to order.
Another iconic image at the end of the bar: great legs of jamón ibérico ready to be sliced wafer thin and served with fresh bread or, possibly, a chunk of sharp, manchego cheese.
Tapas, raciones, appetizers, or nibbles, whatever you want to call them, there are many new flavours and textures waiting for us. Anything in particular that we must try? We’re up for the challenge!