Wednesday, March 25, 2009


Life at Penn can be very stressful; every day just seems to whizz by! Perhaps that’s why I enjoyed the leisurely pace of life in Spain, while I was there over spring break. Its not that people are lazy, or just spend three hours of the day snoozing during ‘siesta’- there’s just no rush. I discovered that the term “siesta” encompasses relaxing in the park, spending time with family, and more importantly, eating and cooking. Lunchtime can span three hours, usually 2pm-5pm, and after people have digested their food, they hit the bars a few hours later for drinks- and tapas. Many tapas restaurants I have visited in Philly just serve different variations of toppings on bread; the true Spanish tapas experience is however very different. Just to give you a taste, here are a few of the tapas that really stood out!

tapas, like this plate of huevos revueltos con jamon, represent a different way of eating as well as a different way of life
photo by Karuna Meda

Huevos revueltos con jamon
This rather hodge-podge of ingredients consists of scrambled egg, potatoes and Serrano ham. You can eat it with or without bread, either way, the simple combination of the blandness of the eggs and the spicy succulence of the ham is heavenly.

Patatas bravas
This was a standard at most of my tapas adventures, and one of the few vegetarian options on the menu. Cubes of potatoes are fried to a perfect crisp, and served with a spicy tomato sauce.

Pulpo a la Gallega
This is octopus cooked in Galician style, meaning it is boiled or grilled as opposed to fried. Even though I’ve eaten calamari, I was still surprised by the texture; I never realized how effective the crispy dough is in concealing the rubbery feeling of the octopus. Nevertheless, the octopus, if cooked just right, soaks up the olive oil, sweet Spanish paprika, and garlic. Divine.

Tortilla de patatas
A very typical dish of Spain, this is essentially a potato omelet. Potatoes and onions are fried in oil, and then raw beaten eggs are added, and fried to make almost a fluffy quiche like omelet, using a special utensil called "vuelve-tortillas". Eaten hot or cold, tortilla de patatas is probably the most popular in Spain.

Don't forget, tapas cannot even be called as such without drinks. One can choose from beer, wine, Sangria, and good old soft drinks. I truly miss the evenings where we just ate and drank, not to stuff our face with food and get drunk, but to take part in a cultural activity that the Spanish have immense respect for - savoring a meal.

No comments:

Post a Comment


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...