Some news from Spain LXXXII

So on a rainy cloudy day in my neck of the woods and 19C or about 65F and a much better sunny 29C or 84F in my Madrid! Let me tell you some news of my beloved  Spain!

Let’s start with something we love to do and I will again next month! Neighborhood bars and taverns are reborn with more quality and atmosphere than ever before. The best in my opinion to go out of the ordinary in Madrid.

El 5 de Tirso. Fans of Madrid tapas and typical dishes and stews of the capital will find their place in El 5 de Tirso. Plaza Tirso de Molina, 5.

The La Embajada de Embajadores.  Around a large bar full of stools and an area of ​​low tables, revolves the life of this  place. It is the typical bar where you are going to have a beer with a good tapa after visiting El Rastro. But it is also the perfect place to go to pick up portions or dine informally.  Calle Embajadores, 66

Gran Clavel . It is a wine bar, a food house of the 21C and a vermutería (vermouth bar). An all in one that was born with the aim of vindicating Madrid’s culture in a single space. That is why its essence has been materialized jointly through dishes, snacks and drinks. Because Gran Clavel is a cañí (by the glass cool place) site and its menu is a must for all those who love gastronomy. Gran Vía, 11

La Botijeria In the heart of the Madrid of the Austrias and located in one of the oldest buildings of Madrid housing (17C), is La Botijería. Its tasca concept is based on two pillars: good wine and tapas to share. Hence, its menu, castiza (local Madrid persons) but with a modern turn, is made and thought based on rations. Plaza Conde de  Barajas, 2.

Already mentioned in my blog but it is worth commenting again. The Summer Festival of San Lorenzo de El Escorial, scenario Clece (stage), has as a theme the literature, through versioned premiere works by Lorca, Cervantes and Sophocles, in addition to those presented by contemporaries Elvira Lindo and Jesús Ruiz Mantilla. Madama Butterfly (July 25 and 27) has the leading role of the soprano Ainhoa Arteta, in the famous character of Cio-Cio San. Puccini’s dramatic opera, about the geisha in love with an American sailor, moves in this version of director Emilio López until 1940, in the middle of World War II, with Giuseppe Finzi at the head of the Verum Symphony Orchestra and produced by the Palau de les Arts of Valencia. Also,

Yo, Farinelli, El Capón (August 7) is a musical monologue, the fruit of the union of artistic-literary talents. Inspired by the novel by Jesús Ruiz Mantilla, it is directed by Manuel Gutiérrez Aragón, on his return to the theater, and features the Baroque orchestra Forma Antiqua. The actor Miguel Rellán and the countertenor Carlos Mena put voice to the famous castrato favorite of Felipe V and Fernando VI, who introduced the great opera in Spain and stayed more than 20 years at the service of the Spanish court.

More info on the Festival of San Lorenzo de El Escorial here:

Some wonderful arts to see in Madrid this summer!

La Corona de Margaritas or the crown of daisies: A large family father, Maurice Denis included his children in his work in a recurrent manner. In this case, the girl is inspired by her daughter Bernadette. The mottled that is seen in both the dress of the girl and the girl respond to the years in which Denis made use of stippling, a common feature with Édouard Vuillard, with whom he shared a studio. As for the wreath of daisies that gives title to the work, it is another frequent motif in Denis’ painting. In fact, there are similarities between this work and others such as Figures in a Spring Landscape (1897) or Virgin Spring (1899). Maurice Denis 1905-1906 at the Thyssen-Bomemisza National Museum, Paseo del Prado, 8. More info here:

Las Floreras or the flower girls: A contemporary flower offering, framed in a mountain landscape reminiscent of the Sierra de Gredos, where Goya spent two summers working for the infant Don Luis, is the scene represented by the painter in this canvas, also known as La Primavera (spring) . As explained from the Prado museum, the tapestry resulting from this cardboard was part of those that would be used to decorate the dining room of El Pardo Palace. It was foreseen that the series included a total of 13 tapestries, all of them dedicated to the four seasons of the year and to other country scenes, described as paintings of jocular and pleasant subjects. However, the death of Charles III in 1788 prevented the tapestries from finally hanging on the site that had been thought for them. Francisco de Goya, 1786; Prado National Museum at Calle de Ruiz de Alarcon, 23. More info here:

Kudos again for tio Pepe! Another recognition. The International Wine Challenge  is celebrated in London and gathers the best references from all over the world competing to become the best wine in the world. In the 36th edition, its jury, made up of professionals from the sector, has valued the quality and uniqueness of an enological marvel of Jerez that has achieved this recognition for the first time in its history. This award places it as the Best Wine of the World for 2019.  This very old amontillado, which shows the ability of the Palomino Fino to age with elegance and nobility. It comes from just one of the six boots that remain, for 53 years, in La Constancia Solera González Byass Museum awaiting its moment to dazzle the world. The result is Tío Pepe Cuatro Palmas, a clean and bright Jerez wine that has an intense mahogany color with amber reflections. The nose is complex, deep and awakens aromas of antique furniture, cedar, lacquers and varnishes. His mouth is strong, very dry, direct and wild, ending in a stunning final reflection of the perfect balance between acidity and old age. Tuna and salted meats, very old cheeses or the contrast of a pure cocoa are highly recommended experiences to accompany this legendary wine. More info here:

And the official Gonzalez Byass bodega:

Beers to get at the supermarket! And we will load up in our trip next month  ,these are to look for !  Cruzcampo Andalusian Pale Ale 4,6% 1 euro (33 cl.). Manila de San Miguel  4,2% 1,05 euros (33 cl.), and  Mahou Barrica 12 Meses  7% 2,95 euros (33 cl.). these are supermarket prices on bottles of 33 cl. Tercios!

One major event to celebrate worldwide indeed! The commemoration of the V centenary of the first round the world sail. The naval school ship, Juan Sebastián Elcano, traces the same route that the fleet of Fernando de Magallanes made 500 years ago, to now do studies of ocean pollution by microplastics, films, documentaries, shows and a great exhibition, The longest trip, which will open the Kings in Seville on September 12.  The story of the 247 men who, five centuries ago, left the port of Seville towards the unknown. Of the 247 crew that departed on August 10, 1519 with the sail boats Trinidad, San Antonio, Concepción, Victoria and Santiago , they only returned to Spain 34. By nationality, Spaniards were 147 of the original crew, 29 Portuguese and 27 Italians, while the rest came from several European countries: Germany, England, Greece … Almost half of the Spaniards were Andalusians, 21% were Viscaya, 6% were from Burgos and 5% from Gipuzkoa.!!! More info here:

And now a popular dish with many implications I have given the leyend of it before in my blog from the fisherman of Valencia and now what not to do with a Paella , a dish that we enjoy at lunch. The quintessential Valencian recipe and one of the most popular dishes  but not the most of the Spanish tradition raises as many passions as heated discussions about how to prepare, what are the canonical ingredients and what is the proper way to taste it. These are the most common mistakes we should avoid.

The socarrat or overdone effect is an exceptional complement and should never be missing. That’s right: when you do not know how to burn. First the look: it’s dry, it smokes but it’s water, it’s not burning. After the listen: when drying and begin to toast you can hear the crackle of the rice with the fat, it is toasting. And finally, the smell: you have to remove it before you smell it burning!.

Not eating paella at night because it is indigestible well a dish of paella brings a heavy digestion because the oil with which it was made was reheated or even burned.  Do not eat it freshly made: You have to eat it immediately. The closer you are to its preparation, the better!  Calling paellera to the paella container when  is the word for both the container  and the content the same.  To spend a lot on seafood and little on rice But we forget that a paella is, in essence, a plate of rice!.

White wine is the best paella accompaniment: In the case of paella, although a young or dry white wine will always perfectly accompany a paella of fish, seafood and vegetables, a semi dry and cool rosé will harmonize very well also the rices of this type and also those that take meat. These can taste better with a corpulent rosé with a merlot base. Red wines with fish or seafood  are not usually advisable because the iodine they contain adds a metallic note.

Pay a fortune for a dish in a restaurant (no matter how good it is). The paella must be accessible to almost everyone, because paella was never a luxury dish, it was a dish that was made with the ingredients of the garden, more accessible and every day. The average ticket for the diner goes out for 30 or 32 euros, in other places it is 40 and in other 25. Stick to the average and you will find very good ones in Madrid.

Falling into the controversy of the ingredients: the Valencian paella consists of 10 very specific ingredients: large white beans, tomato, flat green beans, chicken, rabbit, salt, olive oil, rice, water and saffron. What comes out of there may be paella, but not Valencian paella. The one with seafood and fish etc is call a Marinera or marine paella and other words to mix and match. The original is a Valencian Paella ok.

Another mistake is to insist so much that the grain has to be loose that in the end we are short of cooking. The key is to know the grain origin, how long it takes to cook and how much liquid is able to absorb without going over. To underestimate the value of the fire when the only way to do it was with orange wood; the grill impresses the final dish with aromas that cannot be achieved with more modern cooking methods. So, if you can, paella with firewood. And better still if tasted outdoors.! There you go now go for it!!! Paella (para ella pa’ella= for her ;see my post on the history). Others take it from a variation in the Valencian language meaning frying pan!

More history and recipes of the Paella in Spanish here:

An anecdote and history that I was able to see on site in my beloved Florida USA and from beloved Spain!

The cloister of the ancient monastery of Sacramenia province of Segovia now  in North Miami Beach Florida!!! The cloister of the Ancient Spanish Monastery, whose origins go back almost nine centuries, is located on the outskirts of the very young city of  North Miami Beach , founded in 1926 and renamed as today in 1931.

The medieval cloister, together with the refectory and the chapter house, was part of the Cistercian monastery of Nuestra Señora Reina de los Ángeles (Our Lady Queen of Angels), located in the Segovian town of Sacramenia, which began to be built in 1133 and was completed eight years later. in 1141. After the canonization in 1174 of Saint Bernard of Clairvaux, it was renamed in honor of this influential French saint. For almost seven centuries, the monastery was inhabited by Cistercian monks, until in the 19C, with the confiscation of Mendizábal (Spain anticlerical minister), was sold and converted into a warehouse, barn and stable.

William Randolph Hearst, the great tycoon of the American press who inspired “Citizen Kane” to Orson Welles, noticed it and acquired the cloister, the refectory and the chapter house with the intention of taking it to one of his mansions in California. To this end, its walls, arches, statues were dismantled stone by stone Each piece of the new Hearst acquisition was packaged in a total of 11,000 wooden boxes padded with hay and numbered for later identification. They were then transported by ship across the Atlantic to the United States.  Meanwhile, Hearst’s financial problems led him to let go of his Spanish caprice and sell it at auction. However, the stones of the dismantled monastery remained buried in a warehouse in Brooklyn ,New York city for 26 years.

It was in 1953, a year after Hearst’s death, when two entrepreneurs turned their eyes to the thousands of forgotten pieces of the old monastery and bought them to create a new tourist attraction in flourishing Miami. The complexity of the reconstruction meant that the operation was invested for 19 months and what today would be equivalent to 20 million dollars. It was a matter of recomposing the greatest puzzle in history, as Time magazine pointed out at the time. In 1964, Colonel Robert Pentland Jr., a multi-millionaire philanthropist, bought the old cloister and gave it as a gift to the Episcopal Diocese of Florida. Located in the town of North Miami Beach, about 25 km (12 mi) north of Miami, exactly at 16711 West Dixie Highway, North Miami Beach, FL,  the ancient Spanish  monastery is now one of the most picturesque attractions in a county marked by hedonistic beach and luxury tourism. You can visit it, and it has as well kept for religious function, with masses in English and Spanish. But, in addition, it is a coveted framework for the celebration of weddings, birthdays and social receptions of various kinds. In addition, it is rented to host photo shoots, video clip recordings and even scenes from Hollywood movies, such as the music and dance performance starring Catherine Zeta Jones in “The Rock Age” (2012). The official webpage is here:

There you go another dandy from Spain, everything under the sun and it goes beyond its borders to the world. Enjoy Spain!

And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!


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