Rabas and Bravas

Rabas y Bravas
Rabas y Bravas

Deep fried food.  Before moving to Spain this was something I ate occasionally in a bar or to cure a hangover.  In Spain however, fried food disguises itself in a way that almost makes it seem healthy.  And, according to many a Spaniard, if it is prepared correctly it is healthy indeed.  You may try to avoid it, try to minimize, but it is always there and always delicious.  Even after 17 years I still haven’t taken up the tradition of deep frying in my own home.  I prefer to leave the dirty work to someone else and enjoy my “fritanga” sitting on a beach or a pleasant terrace.  The smell of my neighbor’s fried fish wafting into my open windows three times a week is as close as I need to be.

Two years ago we discovered a great campground in a national park on the Northern coast of Spain in the region of Cantabria.  From the campground you can walk down to an extensive beach, Oyambre, that allows amazing views of the “Picos de Europa”, a spectacular mountain range.  Last year we discovered a great little restaurant still open in the off season where we enjoyed a menu of the day that included a pinto bean stew and an excellent tuna with onions or atún encebollado, typical along this coast.  When we returned this year in August, the main beach restaurant or “chiringuito” as we would call it here was open.  El Pájaro Amarillo as it is called has beautiful views of the beach from its extensive terrace.  We were looking to eat something “light” on our first afternoon at the beach.  Since my daughter is a huge fan of fried calamares we decided to order “rabas” .  They are basically deep fried squid cut to be straight instead of rings.  We also ordered a “ración” of patatas bravas ( fried potatoes in a spicy sauce).  The fried squid in Cantabria is one of the most tender and delicious that I have had in the country (and my daughter eats it everywhere possible).  But, the patatas bravas were unbelievable.  This is a typical tapa served all over the country in many different ways.  Like my daughter with fired squid, I try to taste all varieties of patatas bravas throughout the country.  What usually varies the most is the sauce.  These were actually patatas mixtas which includes both the spicy tomato sauce and an alioli or garlic mayonnaise.  Both of the sauces were so delicious that we dipped both the potatoes and the squid into the sauce.  YUM!!!  The alioli held enough garlic to ward off the flu for 5 years and the brava sauce was actually SPICY!!!  Something very unusual in Spain.  We returned the next day and ordered the exact same simple meal without one regret.  The beach is beautiful and the mixture of sand, sun and fried yumminess makes it all the more worth the visit!!!

Bonito Encebollado


We’moon

When I lived in the States I used to give myself a New Year’s present each year.  It was the We’moon Astrological Datebook filled with beautiful artwork, poetry and all types of amazing moon love.  In Flagstaff I would trudge through the snow and ice up to my favorite book store to get my new copy each year.  Then I would cross the street to the best coffee shop in the history of coffee shops and order a nice soy latte and an almond danish and dig into my new We’moon. If I was really lucky, the snow would be falling on South Beaver Street and all would be bliss.

New Moon

Well, cheers to the New Year.  I can’t say that my New Year’s Eve was the most exciting to be had but it was enjoyable, relaxing and more or less healthy.  Luna and I and a dear friend enjoyed our leftover homemade seafood ravioli’s with spicy vodka sauce. Of course Luna preferred her ravioli’s with truffle oil and Parmesan cheese. Luna and I ate our mandatory 12 grapes at about 8 o’clock with our friend making the chimes of the clock and then Luna was asleep by 8:30 and my friend went out with the “normal people”.  My partner is out of town working and I kindly turned down all invites by friends.  There was something soothing about starting the New Year  on my couch with a glass of Cava and a movie.  And as an insightful friend said, “you are not a loser, you are a cool Mom”.  So this is how Luna and I began 2011, relaxed, happy, and together.

There will be a New Moon on the 4th of January along with a partial Solar Eclipse.  So said this will bring us good fortune and happiness.  More than anything I hope it will bring some necessary change in the world. For me personally I could definitely use some inspiration and good fortune.  Last summer I promised myself I would finally start my book about great Spanish food and hidden restaurant treasures.  Needless to say I have done plenty of research in the past 16 years but I need to get it together.  So, this blog I am hoping will help me along a bit.  Little by little I plan to share my research along with other experiences of my life here in beautiful Southern Spain.

Happy New Year and Happy New Moon!