w r i n k l e d
ADVENTURES IN TRAVEL, WRITING AND AGING GRACEFULLY
Right after Halloween, we filed into the car and drove an hour to Casares for a brilliant lunch at the lovely Venta Garcia - a shining oasis in the middle of the Andalusian desert. It’s a smart little restaurant with gorgeous farm views and a hip outdoor bar serving tasty cocktails. It was such a welcome departure from the gas station tabernas with their plastic chairs and beer only menus. Isoo was dying to bird the Sierra Crestlellina, but due to Chris’ insistence on spontaneity, we couldn’t find the trail head and ended up hiking to the Casares’ castle ruins instead. Isoo lucked out and found a cluster of swallows nesting on the side of the cliff. The views were gorgeous and renewed our waning love for Pueblo Blancos and Southern Spain.
Swallows nesting on the cliffside.
View from the top of town.
The ruins of Casares Castle.
Lunch mates at Casares.
WHERE WE ATE:
Great views and halfway between Ronda and Marbella, it gets it's fair share of expats and Brits. The staff is very welcoming, the food is good, the views and ambiance are even better. Not necessarily fancy, but it feels like a treat. The steak is the best thing on the menu (skip the Andalusian special).
A couple of days later we were packed once again, driving the 2.5 hours to Granada to see the Alhambra. The day of our departure, the temperature dropped dramatically. Fall had finally reached Cortes and that morning I had to frantically unpack the last suitcase with our heavy clothes and jackets. Trying on my long shirts and pants, I looked into the mirror, something I had not done in the months during this trip as rural life doesn’t require much dressing up. I was surprised by what I saw: The streak of white hair at the part longer and wider, the furrows between the brows deeper, the bags under my eyes more prominent. As I sat in the car, twisting and turning our way to Granada, it dawned on me that I was standing at the threshold of what I would look like for the next 20 years. It was an early shade, no doubt, but nonetheless, she was there, devoid of 20-something blush, the one the kids will one day refer to as “mom when she was young.” I couldn’t help, but wonder who this reflection was hinting at.
The last time we were at the Alhambra, we’d only been married 5 years. We were still childless and so deeply mired in wanderlust that we wondered if we would ever have kids. We had been traveling for almost three months when we finally got to Granada. By then our funds were already so thin we could only afford a crummy one star hotel just off the Plaza Nueva. But we didn’t need much; we were happy to eat jamon sandwich after jamon sandwich, making do with a park bench and a patch of sunlight as our amusement. Soon after we ran out of cash and returned to Chicago. Nine months later, Isoo was born.
The visit to the Alhambra this time with the kids was pretty much the same as our first. We toured the Palacios Nazaries, strolled the Generalife, marveled at the upright hedges, balanced atop the ruins of the ancient bath. We even took the same pictures, posing one hand on the hip, the other on the hedge. It was like things had never changed. I felt, inside, that I had never changed. The same wanderlust. Feeling very much the young woman who wanted nothing more than to see the world.
Isoo trying to bird along the hedges of the Alhambra.
Exploring the amazing architecture of Palacios Nazaries. (They make you wear your backpacks backwards so you don't accidentally scratch the walls).
The fountains that feed the gorgeous gardens.
This little patch of ceiling is made up of 5,000 pieces. Seriously.
I know you are having a hard time trying to figure out which one is now and which was taken 13 years ago. But I swear, I still feel the same on the inside.
That night we decided to acclimate the children to Spanish time and kept them up late for a proper 10pm dinner at La Botilleria. Ha! Truth is we just got really lost, couldn’t find a place to eat and the kids ended up falling asleep in their desserts. The next day, after a groggy morning, we took a cab ride to the top of Mirador San Nicolas and then wound our way down the Albyzan, hugging the river and stopping to take pictures along the cobblestoned Carrera del Darro before picking up Moroccan sweets on Calle Caldereria Nueva.
Oona gets a quick castanets lesson at Mirador San Nicolas.
Walking the teensy streets of the Albyzan.
Trying to convince me to buy her a traditional Moroccan drum. What? I was born yesterday?
Getting a taste of Morocco on Calle Caldereria Nueva: Beautiful almond birds nests above and Horns of Gazelles (Isoo's favorite) below. Oona biting into a chocolate tart.
WHAT WE DID:
Order tickets at least a couple of weeks in advance and get there early to snag parking. The food is rubbish so eat first and wear good shoes to take in the extensive grounds. A more rewarding visit if you purchase a book and do your research first. The gift shop has a great selection of English language guidebooks.
WHERE WE ATE:
We searched out many other too crowded restaurants first. Sometimes you don't get what you want, but you do get what you need: A quiet, warm table where we could sit down, friendly-service and huge portions. Done.
Practically the entire menu consists of fried fish. Hell yeah! Also, very conveniently located off Plaza Nueva. And the place is sleek and the staff is very nice. You get free fried sardines with your beer order and the racione portions are HUGE. So yes, go here.
WHERE WE STAYED:
Gran Hotel Luna de Granada
OK, I booked this totally inconveniently located hotel because (wait for it...) it had a pool. The world's tiniest most freezing pool. They also don't provide blankets. When I called to request some, they said they don't put blankets on the bed in Spain. What? Oh, and the 19-year old bartender came over to ask Oona, "How do you like your hot chocolate? We didn't have any chocolate so I put Nutella in your milk. Good, right?" No, not really. Thank God, she doesn't have a nut allergy.
By the time we made it back home, we’d already decided that there was too much out there to see to waste any more time hanging out in dinky Cortes. Yes, we’d paid for the month, but we’d seen everything we wanted in the vicinity. Frankly, our stay in Cortes nearly sucked the love of Spain out of me. Despite weeks of shopping the same markets, Chris playing in the men’s soccer league, and greeting every passerby and shopkeeper with a cheerful “buenos dias”, the locals were uninterested in sharing in even the most basic rituals of polite interaction. We cheerfully carried baby buggies up stairs, held doors for the elderly, waited patiently for the butcher to serve us last. We smiled at grubby children, passed out candy, went to the local ham and Halloween festivals, busted out (and self-mocked) every ounce of our terrible Spanish. Yet the server at the local restaurant still groaned inwardly upon our arrival, the thought bubble reading: “Oh not these fools again, with their terrible Spanish and weird questions. They are just not worth the trouble.” It was abundantly clear why the expats were such at close group. The locals had no interest in befriending outsiders. When I’d asked Ikuko if she had many Spanish friends, she said, “Oh yes,” to which Alex quickly corrected, “There is a difference between knowing people and being their friend.”
We called Saul, packed our bags and quickly sketched out a new itinerary. Before we left, we had one last lovely supper in Casares, where Jesus, the owner of Venta Garcia, sent us on our journey with a bottle of wine.
Last photo on the patio. Chris and I found Cortes depressing, but the kids enjoyed the slow pace and freedom to walk themselves to the supermercado and the candy lady. Despite being unfamiliar with the language, currency and town, they both did great. Everyone loved the house. Isoo, especially will miss vulture spotting over breakfast.
By the time we rolled into Seville, we were ready to stretch our legs and headed straight for Plaza de Espana to ride bikes around Maria Luisa Park. It was a beautiful Sunday afternoon and the park was crowded with well-heeded Spanish families enjoying the perfect weather. It was not uncommon to see an 8-seat bike trolley packed with peddling uncles, aunts, parents, grandparents and a pair of tiny tots eating cotton candy perched up front. Afterwards they would gather under the kiosks, tables pulled together to enjoy a mid-day cerveza while the kids chased pigeons. It was a lovely treat just to see people, families especially and kids playing in the sun. With so much of our trip in the countryside (Ireland and Cortes), we’ve been fairly isolated, and with the local children busy at school, Oona especially has missed seeing kids around.
Isoo was itching to steer the bike despite the rule that you had to be 16. The bike is very heavy, the park was super crowded, and Isoo loves to drive fast and loose so it made perfectly good sense to hand over the wheel. He couldn't resist photobombing Oona.
Balloon hawkers in Plaza de Espana. Dora and Spongebob say "hi".
Plaza de Espana - how did I not remember this?????
Yes, there are still rowboats. And lots of fan sellers. You half expect Princess Leia to show up.
After the bike ride, we picnicked in the park and walked around the Plaza. Although Chris and I had been to Seville before (and loved it), our memories of the city were at best vague. But this time, I will undoubtedly remember the Metropol Parasol, a massive wooden structure consisting of six mushroom shaped parasols. Designed by German architect Jurgen Mayer-Hermann, the project took six years to complete and cost 100 million dollars (twice the anticipated budget). The views were stunning and the kids had a great time running up and down the ramps while Chris and I took photographs and drank terrible mojitos on the terrace.
Isoo hates being photographed, but I couldn't resist this shot in the elevator of the Metropol Parasol. He even looks appropriately dressed for the space-aged mirrors.
After the Parasol, we walked Barrio Santa Cruz, winding around the little cobbled-stone streets to La Casa del Flamenco, a tiny courtyard where we saw our first flamenco show. There were four performers in all: the tall, stoic flamenco guitarist; the short, soulful singer who looked like he’s just come off a bender; a young male dancer with the tiniest butt I’ve ever seen; and a solid, tough looking woman in her mid 50s. All of them were fantastic, the woman especially, who literally stomped out an amazing performance. The kids were riveted, fascinated by the moany, emotional singing, the nimble guitar playing and the impassioned dancing. I had tried to convince Oona to take a flamenco dance class with me, but she had declined. The show changed her mind, but alas, it was too late for a booking.
The next morning we went back to the old town to squeeze in a quick lunch at Bodega Santa Cruz with all of the other tourists and locals in Seville. A note about tapas bars. While the idea of standing at a crowded bar throwing back tiny glasses of beer and chatting over small plates of food speared with toothpicks may appeal to adults, the kids really, really hated it. They were too short to see over the bar, didn’t like the mayonnaisey food, and could never find a place to stand without being in the way. They desperately wanted to sit down at a proper table and eat an entrée with a fork and knife, napkin in their laps. Frankly, if we never see another jamon bocadillo again we would be alright.
A last look at Seville Catedral.
WHAT WE DID:
Plaza de Espana/Maria Luisa Park
This square is actually a beautiful semi-circle on the edge of Maria Luisa Park. Flanked by two towers, gorgeous tile work, a series of bridges and a little man-made pond to paddle boats across. The park also offers bike rentals, several playgrounds and a pond filled with overfed ducks. Fun for the whole family.
Seville, wonderful as it is, doesn't have an Alhambra. The Parasol really seals the deal in keeping the city memorable. In my opinion the fantastic architecture, stunning views and the little basement museum are worth the steep construction costs.
The world's largest Gothic cathedral and third largest church in the world. Incredibly ornate and breathtaking in scale. I saw a group of teenage Sevillian boys meet up for a Friday night outing in front of the church. I mean, how lucky are they to have this amazing landmark in their city? To think, the kids at home meet up at the Cinemark or 7-Eleven.
La Casa del Flamenco
No one wanted to go to this show, but me so I searched long and hard for one that would hold everyone's attention. This it did! The performances were so impassioned and intense and there was no way you could fall asleep amidst all the stomping. The one hour length and intimate stage also added to the focus.
WHERE WE ATE:
Osteria L'Oca Giuliva
Best Italian food we had on the trip so far. Rome, you'll have to bring it! Great location in the Barrio Santa Cruz, cute room, hardworking, though very harried staff. Sort of pricey, but worth the cost.
Bodega Santa Cruz
Everyone, and I mean, everyone, goes here. Overflowing with locals, tourists, families, etc. But I didn't really get it. The tapas were just fine. And the place is desperate for more seating. Service was absolutely unhelpful and indifferent. Or maybe I'm just saying this because by week three, I was really, really sick of tapas.
WHERE WE STAYED:
Apartamentos Tempa Museo
Hmm, another swimming pool fiasco (actually, a large, unheated rooftop hot tub). If you're booking for a pool, views, a quiet night's sleep or roomy bedrooms, don't bother. But the location is good, at $100 for a fully-outfitted 3 bedroom apartment the price is exceptional, and the staff is very nice. You could do better, but it was everything we needed for our quick visit. http://www.apartamentostempamuseo.com
After a jam-packed 36 hours in Seville, we were back in the car headed for Madrid. We arrived an hour and a half later than expected, waylayed by GPS malfunction and parking garage woes. I have to say, of all the discomforts of travel – language barrier and long sleepless flights included, the one that causes Chris the most stress is navigating the streets and parking spots of big cities. Madrid had to be the worst. We booked a last minute apartment in a bustling pedestrian area, which meant that we couldn’t park near the apartment and had to drag five suitcases and three backpacks several blocks through downtown Madrid in the dark. Chris, desperate to get out of the car, drove into what he thought was the closest parking lot, only to learn upon entry, that it was a long walk to the apartment. We immediately circled around and headed for the exit, assuming that there would no parking fee. Of course, we got to the exit only to learn we had to pay 10 cents. Chris inserted cash. No dice. He inserted his credit card. Nothing. The little arm still would not go up. He pressed the talk button and the speaker crackled to life with a man hollering in very fast, animated Spanish. By then there was a long que, annoyed Spaniards honking their horn, cursing the stupid Americans who had trapped them in a downtown parking garage during rush hour. A nice gentleman in the car behind us finally came over to help, translating the staticy instructions and directing the long line of cars in a backwards parade, and then sent us to the pay box in the back of the building.
By the time we got to the apartment we were famished. We dropped our bags in a heap and headed out to walk the 20 minutes to a Korean restaurant I had read about online. We were all so happy to be freed from the car, in the crisp night air, the street bustling with people. I nearly jumped for joy when we had to stop at a cross walk, so grateful to be in a big city again.
We arrived at the empty Dimibang restaurant just as it started to rain. Pin-quiet and devoid of music, we felt suddenly loud and clumsy as we shrugged off our damp jackets and pulled out chairs, even more so when I tried to bust out my Korean to order our dinner. But the Korean owner made us feel welcome: friendly, forgiving of both my horrible Spanish and Korean, bringing us extra food, free desserts and fawning over the children. Dinner was fantastic. We were all happily cozy and sated, but I was surprised by how deeply it felt familiar. Not only was I comforted by the language and the tastes and smells, but I was surprised by my eagerness to connect with this woman, and she to me. During our dinner she told me her story: In Korea, she had married a famous martial arts expert with whom she toured the world. While in Madrid, they decided to divorce. Despite knowing no Spanish, she and their two daughters ended up staying in Madrid. That was 36 years ago. Spain is her home now, even though she wishes her girls could speak Korean. I told her I immigrated to the States 31 years ago and can barely speak Korean myself. We are a generation apart, living on different continents, and yet, I felt I knew her. There is a short hand, a feeling specific to immigrants who share not just a home country, but a home country once removed. None of us wanted to leave and on our way out, Isoo asked, “Can we come back tomorrow?”
Dimibang got a thumbs up from everyone. If you're in Madrid, please go!
We only had one full day in Madrid, so we packed it in. Chris and I went back to the Prado, promising the kids some great art. Isoo was entranced by Hieronymus Bosch’s Garden of Earthly Delights and Joachim Patinir’s Landscape with Charon Crossing the River Styx. Oona’s favorite was Velazquez’s Las Meninas. We might make art lovers out of them yet! After our full morning at the museum, we walked to Chocolateria San Gines for their world famous hot chocolate and churros. The place smelled of the heavenly intersection of hot oil and chocolate. How do you make a great thing even better? Douse it in powdered sugar. Properly buzzed we ducked out of the rain and hopped a cab to Santiago Bernabeu Stadium for a tour of Real Madrid’s home turf. Chris was pretty grumpy when he learned that the cab ride and entrance fee totaled nearly a $100. “We’re not even watching a real game!” he groused. But the tour ended up being really cool, filled with high-tech imagery of player stats, a walk through the massive trophy room, a glimpse of the locker room, VIP seats, press room and of course a run through the player’s tunnel onto the pitch. The kids loved it and even I got a little choked up over the club’s long and prestigious history and sense of honor.
Perfect way to spend a wet, rainy morning in Madrid - exploring the masterpieces at the Prado.
San Gines is famous for its churros and hot chocolate. Just ask Javier Bardem and Joan Collins.
Isoo was appalled that one cup of hot chocolate came with 6 churros. We couldn't eat more than a handful between us. We definitely need to stay in Madrid longer and work up our churros stamina.
Drying the pitch at Santiago Bernabeu Stadium.
Just a handful of the HUNDREDS of Real Madrid trophies on display.
In the locker room. Isoo really wanted to sit on the bench at Ronaldo's locker and soak up a bit of his winning sweat.
The coaches seats of the player's den. Explaining their hopes for the season on the Press Room.
This kind of thing always gets to me. I can never get through a sports movie without bawling.
Hoping to coax Chris out of his sour mood, we stopped the cab at the first swanky cocktail bar we could find. Ana la Santa was the home of the only good martini I’ve had on this entire trip. The kids made themselves at home over the chess board and Chris and I sat in a banquette pretending we had babysitters and drinking the last of our day’s budget.
A note about the budget. This Spring, while Chris was still gainfully employed, we managed to prepay for housing in Ireland, Portugal, Spain, Morocco and Rome. This has allowed for us to use the entire $250 daily allowance on food, entertainment and local transportation, which was certainly more than we’d needed for Ireland and Cortes, and enough to cover the occasional resort splurge. But as we added the fast travel Spain portion at the last minute, we were, for the first time, feeling the pinch of having to pay for housing out of our per diem, something we considered while carting our bucket of KFC fried chicken home in the rain.
How to make a modest dinner memorable? Eat it while rubbernecking a Hunger Games premiere! We came home and opened our balcony doors to find that Finnick from Mockingjay was arriving for the Madrid showing. Oona and I camped out at the window, watching the crowds gather and then stayed up late viewing the first installment on my laptop.
What are the chances that you rent an apartment in Madrid at the last minute and it just so happens that your kid's favorite movie series premieres in the plaza right outside? Talk about dumb luck! Oona was just a tiny bit excited.
The next day we finally got a break from the rain so decided to run the kids in the park before piling back into the car. Chris and I had previously been to the Retiro, so I suggested we try out Madrid Rio, a 10-kilometer park running along the newly revitalized riverside. Of course we got hideously lost and then couldn’t for the life of us figure out how to work the parking meters. (Who the heck would have guessed that you had to input your license plate number into the ticket box?) We had lost nearly the entire morning driving around and when we finally got to the park we were disappointed to find that the advertised 11 play spaces were already a bit run down and so distantly spaced that we spent more time walking from one to the other than actually playing. But it did its job - sufficiently wearing us out in time to get back into the car for the nearly 7 hour drive to Porto, Portugal.
Top: The cool tunnels of Madrid Rio.
Bottom: One of several play spaces in Madrid Rio. This and the slides were Oona's favorites.
WHERE WE STAYED:
We booked a last minute two bedroom apartment on Airbnb. Super clean. Little kitchenette, dining/living, modern bath, two balconies, and great size bedrooms. The location was wonderful and lots of great shops, transportation and dining options nearby. Oona's only negative: "The art in the bedrooms are totally inappropriate!" (see below).
WHAT WE DID:
Museo del Prado
What is there to say? It's the freaking Prado! How many days do you have to spend here? Raphael, Fra Angelico, Hieronymous Bosch, Tintoretto, Caravaggio, Rubens, Goya, Velazques, Ribera and so many more. Bring a pillow and get comfy.
Santiago Bernabeu Stadium
I like watching my 11-year old play soccer and no one else, but this was pretty cool. Your soccer nuts will love it.
Madrid Rio Park
Dear Madrid Rio,
There is no good information on the internet about where to find you, where the play spaces are located and where to eat. Really, get it together. You are a major city that just invested a shitload of money in a huge revitalization project. Figure out how to promote the park and then stay on top of maintenance. Plus, some public bathrooms would be nice. Also, maybe invest in some bike rentals so we don't have to walk all 10-kilometers to see the park.
P.S. Even your URL is ridiculous. Get on it.
WHERE WE ATE:
While not the best bulbogi I've ever had, everything else comes pretty close. The service and flavors are right on. Mom couldn't have done better.
Chocolateria San Gines
The hot chocolate was not chocolatey enough. #morewhitepeopleproblems #andi'mnotevenwhite
Ana la Santa
We couldn't find anything we wanted to eat on the menu, but the room is so spacious, comfortable and hip in a casual way that we didn't care. Plus the cocktails are great and the service is friendly. And they have a chessboard!
By the time we got to Bilbao, Chris had officially lost his mind and was so frustrated with the Googlemaps lady’s poor direction giving that he ended up mistaking sidewalk for street and literally drove around a pedestrian plaza convinced it was a parking spot. After the 7 hour drive Chris was in no mood for my and the kids’ teasing. We ditched the car at the wonderful Melia Bilbao and walked across town to Artxanda, a restaurant I had seen on the A Year to Think blog. Watch this and tell me you wouldn’t go.
Sadly, it sucked. Oona actually cried when her steak came to the table raw for the second time. I couldn’t get past a couple of bites of my dinner. We were in such a foul mood that despite the gorgeous walk home along the river, Chris and I got into a huge fight and went to bed hungry and angry. I love the excitement of fast travel, but it definitely increases the stress level. With only so much time at each location the stakes are high to get it right.
The next morning things were brighter. After gorging ourselves on the hotel breakfast buffet we walked to the Guggenheim Bilbao. New favorite museum alert! With the exception of the asshole staff that followed my kids around the entire time, I loved everything about the museum. It was absolutely worth the long drive just to see Frank Gehry’s creation and the tidy, well-curated collection. The kids were very excited by Richard Serra’s massive installation of steel curves and canyons (which may have accounted for the extra attention from the staff). Even the tapas in the casual museum cafeteria were pieces of art. The city is just beautiful – amazing public art, glistening river, proud, friendly Catalan people. To think, just 20 years ago the city was strictly industrial, with pollutants from the factories trapped by the mountains so that it settled in the valley, choking the river and making it inhabitable for any fish or water life. Since the opening of the Guggenheim, the city has made huge strides to clean up the river and bolster tourism. Nowadays Bilbao’s primary economy is the service industry. Hortence, an employee of the Melia and life-time resident of the area said the difference is astounding and then boasted that his home town just outside the city is even more beautiful. Clearly it’s an area to which I need to return.
Perfectly gorgeous views of the Guggenheim Bilbao and the river wasted on hangry people.
Anish Kapoor's Tall Tree and the Eye
Louise Bourgeois’ Maman. Checking in at nearly 30 feet tall.
The World's Largest Chia Pet! Jeff Koons' Puppy (yes, the flowers are real).
"Tulips" also by Koons
Richard Serra's sculptures. Wow.
Bilbao Circle by Richard Long.
That night we went to the city’s old town, Casco Viejo for dinner at the remarkable Gyre Toki. Here’s the thing about Spanish food. There are several traditional categories: Tapas, Pintxos, Pinchos. Pintxos are a Basque thing – basically food pierced with a toothpick on toast. To make things confusing, sometimes they aren’t pierced, but definitely served on sliced baguette. Tapas are small snacky portions which accompany your drink order in Granada. They are free, except when they are not, like pretty much anywhere else in Spain. A pincho is like a pintxo except it always consists of meat, bread, toothpick and is free, that is unless you are outside of Salmanca in which case you better cough up the dough. Got it?
Here is my totally unofficial, admittedly ignorant take on the variations: Tapas are small share plates eaten as a snack. Real Spaniards do not eat tapas for dinner. They show up around 9:00, stand at the bar with a beer or glass of wine and absentmindedly pick at one little tapas plate while they talk and then promptly move on. If you show up at 7:30 when the staff is still setting up, order 30 tapas and 2 bottles of wine and inhale every little bite of food like you are starving and need to get the kids to bed pronto, you will reek of America. Don’t do this. Your server will love you, but you will be an embarrassment and fail at adopting to the ways of the Spanairds. Pinxtos are waaaaay more interesting. Beautiful pieces of art constructed on a slab of bread so delicious that you will forgo your low carb diet. Sometimes toothpicked, sometimes not. But you will know the difference because it is way freaking better than a tapas and better yet, not meant to be shared. Racione is a full size dinner portion of one item, to which I say, where is my vegetable and carb? I mean, who can eat just a giant plate of fried sardines for dinner? A half racione is more civilized unless, like me, you keep ordering the full racione because your eyes are bigger than your stomach. Oh dear. It’s a wonder I haven’t gained 100 lbs.
Wait, where was I? Oh yes, Gyre Toki, home of the best pintxos. And hands down my favorite meal in my entire month of Spain.
WHERE WE STAYED:
One of the nicest hotels in which we've stayed. Beautiful spaces, great rooms and wonderful people. Plus it's only 300 feet from the Guggenheim with fantastic river views and loads of parks nearby. The kids loved the tiny, heated pool and Chris got took a great run along the river.
WHAT WE DID:
We spent so much time here there wasn't much left to do anything else. After we got our fill of art, we went next door to the Ona cafe, bought a glass of wine and let the kids go wild in the cool climbing playground while we contemplated the architecture from outside. Perfect day.
WHERE WE ATE:
Go early, walk up to the glass case filled with beautifully crafted pintxos and just point. Or in our case, go late, luck out snagging one of the two tables and have your really cute, English speaking server bring you two of everything. Make sure to get the short ribs and the fried shrimp atop calamari stuffed with spicy sausage on bread.