Thursday, August 25, 2011

Arcos de la Frontera Day Trip

Right now we are diligently working to unpack our household goods (that were delivered yesterday - hooray!).  Ok, actually we just took a siesta and will be heading out to dinner with friends in a little bit.  Hey, we're easily distracted by food and cocktails immersing ourselves in Spanish culture.

Anyway, before we head out for dinner and tinto, we figured we would post some pictures from a day trip we took several weekends ago to Arcos de la Frontera.  Arcos is a quick drive from Puerto and is a typical "pueblo blanco."  It normally takes about 45 minutes to get there, but we made an impromptu stop which we will blog about luego.  So, after our Garmin-navigated country drive, we arrived in Arcos.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Nuevo Subway?

by Meghann

Yesterday, I went to Jerez de la Frontera (a larger city to the north of Puerto) with a new amigo, E. Jerez is about 15 miles away and quick Mini-trip (E. has one too, just like all the cool kids.) I haven't braved driving any farther than base yet, plus we only have uno vehicle at this point, so Graham and I have been doing most of our errands together.

This was a good ol' fashioned girls-only shopping trip though, since Graham was working and E's husband is back in the US (insert some comment about typical Navy wives here). The great thing about going to the mall is that it is pretty much the same in most of the countries that I have spent some tiempo (and money) in. We checked out shoes, there were summer sales, new fall clothes were in, I bought some make-up at Sephora. The only noticeable differences were having to calculate the euro-to-dollar exchange and the fact that my chatter with sales people is limited to "gracias" "vale" and "buenos dias."

Of course, after all that strolling and witty banter, we needed some comida. We discussed our options, and decided to hit 100 Montaditos in the food court. A "montadito" is a small sandwich, and true to the nombre, there are 100 on the menu, ranging from $1.50 to $3 a piece. (Wasn't it nice of me to do the exchange rate for you?) We picked out 7 to share, including a 4 queso (couldn't resist it!), salmon and brie, and barbecue with guacamole. The montaditos came with potato chips, but we also ordered french fries, which included 4 different dipping sauces, and a plate of olives. I'm not saying this meal wins any awards in the nutrition department (the sodium content may be the reason that we had to buy bottles of water when we hit Ikea after lunch), but it was quick, satisfying, and much more of a "real" meal than what's offered at the typical fast food place.

So, it was a bit of coincidence when I got home and another friend here in Spain had posted an article (you can read it here) about 100 Montaditos' plan to expand in the US (they already have locations in Miami). 100 Montaditos franchises are more of a "fast casual" restaurant (like the ever-so delicioso Chipotle) and I loved being able to eat several small sandwiches instead of committing to a single selection. Side note: My food commitment issues may be why I have so much amor for tapas. Why have one dinner when you can have multiple ones? Am I the only one that has trouble deciding on one entree? And what do you think Freud would have to say about that? Moving on...

What's your opinion? Do you think 100 Montaditos can rival that New World favorite, Subway? Can pequeno Spanish sandwiches take down the $5 dolla (make you holla?) foot long? Did you just get that ridiculous jingle stuck in your head?


Did I mention they serve cerveza? 100 Montaditos for the win!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Thirsty Jueves! Tinto de Verano edition

In celebration of our air-conditioning being fixed (woohoo!) and that it's almost the fin de semana, we are going to dedicate this blog post to a muy popular Spanish bebida.

If you said sangria, you are wrong. While delicious (and nutritious?), sangria is considered to be somewhat of a tourist drink and locals are rarely seen ordering it. Frankly, we don't quite understand this - Meghann has an unabashed amor for all things blue crab and Graham would never turn down Carolina barbecue. But that's okay, because the Spanish have come up with an equally delicioso and much easier to make drink.

Tinto de Verano! Which literally translates to "red wine of summer." Vino tinto = red wine and verano = summer.

It can be ordered out at most bars and restaurantes, either by the glass or pitcher.

It can even be bought ready-made from the local tienda, but it's so easy to make there is no reason to not DIY this drink.

Here's what you need:

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Southern Spain at 120 kilometres por hora

Lo siento. It's been too long. We're sure you thought we were being lazy bloggers, busy going to the playa, eating tapas, drinking cervezas, taking siestas - which we were, not going to lie. But the real problem was that we had a serious lapse in internet connectivity. (Consequently, the post to be titled "Viva Vodafone" has been cancelled.) We are now up and running and able to keep contact with the outside mundo (and all of you wonderful people).

Also in related news, we now have a US telephone numero. Gracias, MagicJack. So, if you want to give us a ring, let us know and we'll send you our number. We wouldn't flatter ourselves by thinking anyone besides our amigos and familia reads this blog, but putting our number on the interwebs just seems like a pretty terrible idea (adios, creepsters!).

Before you get too excited about our triumph over Spanish technology, we should disclose that the A/C unit in the main part of our casa is broken and it is muy caliente - or in the words of Nelly - "Hot in Herre."

So, we threw together this pequeno blog post with pictures from our Madrid-to-Jerez drive, while we sit on the couch and drink agua fria (cervezas). Enjoy!

Meghann took pictures while Graham drove and Chloe took a siesta. (Obligatory car mirror self-portrait.)