Wednesday, March 13, 2024

back at school

 I have been taking an online class this semester with a fabulous professor Nick Davis. The topic is Instant Classics of Contemporary Cinema or some such.... This week we did Oppenheimer with a moderate review of Christopher Nolan's career. I think the only film of his I had seen was Memento which I found extremely disturbing. Some of the other films have been Parasite and Everything Everywhere All At Once and The Fabelmans.... Nine weeks of primary films with secondary parallel films discussed in varying degrees. The final class was be Barbie and Wes Anderson's Asteroid City... It's been very interesting and this professor has been terrific. The last class we did this way was with Professor Jake Smith who taught a wonderfully enlightening class on the history of the recorded music.  I took the photo of a screen in my zoom because I wanted to remember a few of these films which were perhaps much more intellectual work of Nolan than his Batman films but - hey ya gotta pay the rent. 

Up next term a new course from Professor Jake Smith (who we loved a couple of years ago when we took his History of Recorded Music.) The new course is on the development of children's media. 

this course was excellent and here are a few of the films we discussed - 

So it was a good class and worked out well for those of us not in the Central US Time Zone where Northwestern University is located.

a few meals

 A very mixed review of Taberna Alabardero (new to us) restaurant.  The courses shown in the reverse order in the photos also reflect the best to the worst of the dishes. 

We were concerned when we sat down and were told they had no mussels, no oysters, and no lobster. In the opening moments they had decimated their own a la carte menu. (We opted for the tasting menu thinking "let's taste what they have featured and call it a night.")

They didn't have the wine we ordered and offered a sparkling wine from Sevilla that was minimally drinkable. 

Despite this supposedly being an upscale restaurant there were only small paper napkins instead of linens.  However the service was attentive and friendly and aimed to please. 

The starter on the tasting menu was an oyster dish. (Not sure why you'd feature a dish you don't have the ingredients to make....but I am not a chef) We had a substitute dish of a tasty sardine overwhelmed by the red pepper confit (piperade?) on the toast.  The poor sardine was lost on the overall dish.

But just when we were ready to give up on the meal, it was like we were sucked into an alternative universe of fine dining.

Each successive course was an improvement over the last. With cured salmon, a tasty tuna tartare, beautifully prepared Corvina and the suckling pig all being well presented, well seasoned and well cooked (when appropriate). And the meal ended with a terrific dessert course that was in essence a deconstructed tiramisu.  

So not only did the meal become a tale of redemption. It got even better when the bill came and the tasting menus (we hadn't asked the price) turned out to be 38.5€ ($42!!!!) each. 

As mentioned the servers were all very accommodating and welcoming so we were feeling badly for them as they listed all the things they didn't have and then came back with a report that the wine we wanted wasn't available either.... But in the end we left happy overall with the food and very happy with the tasting menu option! 

So while we won't be back next week we will definitely give this place another chance. Great potential..

We went back to Desacato tonight for a second try. Had dinner, some repeated courses and some new ones. Winners tonight - salmon bombóns, tuna tartare toasta, bruleed foie gras, the fabulous carpaccio de solomillo de ternera. Not going on my repeat list the entrecot nor the tuna belly. The mussels almost missed their moment in photographic glory but I caught the last part of the dish before they were gone. Still a winner!

We wanted to like Despensa, but sadly it was a fail on so many levels. It took a half hour to place a drink order. The service was spotty, only one server of three seemed to have a clue about the job they were supposed to do.  The mussels and red tuna tiradito were excellent but the rest of the meal didn't get to the same quality. So - no we won't return to this place despite it being less than a five minute walk from our new home. 

We also have had a few meals at home as I become accustomed to cooking on an induction "hob" LOL. And we are now just a bit over a week before we leave for Valencia for a month's vacation! We still have a lot to do around this place but other than getting bedding and towels for the guest room and bath - nothing is urgent. So, little by little. 

Sunday, March 10, 2024

doorways and details - el arenal

 as promised some new doorways and details from the new neighborhood- El Arenal. 

I'm sure I will have more but that's the latest batch from our new area. El Arenal.