So excited that my long-time Flamenco & Tapas Tour partners – the fabulous Museo del Baile Flamenco – have updated and upgraded their Momentos Flamencos show to include an extra dancer and singer. It adds not only more dancing, but more colour and passion. I mean, it was always wonderful, but now…? You really need to see this.
So yeah, I know I’ve been complaining about how HOT it is here, and how we can only somewhat cool down the living room in this house. Then yesterday, on the longest – and also hottest – day of of the year, the gas water heater conked out. And while you might think it’s quite nice to take a cool shower after coming in from a power walk (and it is) it’s another thing not to be able to take a proper shower in the morning with at least warm water. Not to mention we’re now boiling water to do the washing up. And still no word on when this will be repaired…
I’ve tried, I really have. But basically every encounter with my landlords over the past year or so has ended up being an incredibly stressful exercise in frustration. From the beginning they didn’t seem inclined to do basic repairs, but the first real confrontation started with the now infamous “split scenario” which began here and ended up becoming a full-on disaster here. Later on they refused to replace the (very old!) oven after the door fell off, telling me to buy new one and then “take it with you when you leave”. Nice. Presumably I shouldn’t let the door hit me on the way out. Other reasonable requests for repairs have also gone ignored.
I’m so sorry now I ever agreed to the “quick fix” split solution as they have used this against me ever since … “but it’s what you wanted Shawn!”. Well, no. It wasn’t. And they know that. I had actually wanted the option of a split in the living room so I didn’t have to always heat/cool the entire apartment. I didn’t foresee that agreeing to the split last summer would mean they would take this as not having to repair or replace the central system, which died in July. Blah blah… it kept going on.
Later on I signed a new contract for a year, at a higher rent, thinking that it would at least give me time to find somewhere else. But when things started heating up here (+45º!) it meant that we were reduced to living in two rooms as the inadequate split just barely keeps the living room below 28º even when left on all day. This means that Peter can’t even be in his room upstairs for more than 5 minutes, and now has to sleep on the sofa. And my room next to the living room is also an oven. So I tried one last ditch attempt to set things right here. I arranged a meeting with the landlords, myself and Peter… and a bilingual friend who would help make sure that nothing got “lost in translation”. But in the end this didn’t help, because two days later I received notice that I would be getting the heave-ho after the present contract runs out in February. You see, the landlords seem to think they could be getting LOTS MORE MONEY from this property. They even spoke about AirBnB-ing it. Boy are they in for a surprise.
And so… I am once again house hunting. Luckily I have a few months to find somewhere that I hope will feel like home. But already seeing places with – for example – that bathroom up there, gives me hope. That bathroom is twice the size of the dark and cramped “under the stairs” room I’ve put up with for 6.5 years.
Meanwhile, the hot water heater stopped working yesterday. Oh joy. Still waiting to hear if that is going to be repaired…
Remember when I met Tim @clinchpics earlier this month? Well, turns out his friend Elaine also runs workshops at the same fabulous place – Finca Buenvino – in the beautiful Aracena mountains. So while she was in Sevilla this week we met up a couple of times. First was taking in the whole Corpus Christi thang, as usual before the actual procession starts. We walked the route, then went for brekkie, and afterwards watched some of the procession before heading home.
Later that same evening Elaine joined me on a tapas tour, with two other couples, and it was great fun. She has such great energy and is smart, sassy and well-travelled. We really had a great time together. The good news is that Elaine has fallen in love with Sevilla and is working on a plan to live here at least a few months a year… so we may end up being neighbours!
I’ve only missed Corpus here four times in 24 years: once when I was in Granada, another time when I was in Lisbon, then London in 2015, and *that other time* when I was too sick on chemo to go out. Since my first ever Corpus I have followed the advice of my friend (and one of my first English students here) Agustín, who told me the best part of Corpus here is getting up super early and walking the rosemary and flower petal strewn procession route before the procession starts (and everything gets trampled underfoot).
This year we got an even earlier start than usual and invited new pal Elaine to join us. And bonus! We actually came across the guys who were strewing the rosemary (a first for me). Although as lovely as always, there were fewer decorated balconies than on previous years, and it was also sad not to have our usual post-walk coffee & toast at the Horno San Buenaventura (which closed all its brances this past year). But as usual, we left while the procession was in full swing, heading home before the HEAT became too much. Here are some pics (and one vid)…
El Loco Sibarita is, in effect, the “nom de chef” of Miguel de Pablos, and I met up with him at his “pop-up” dining experience via my friend Fourat, to sample some of his traditional, yet unique, cooking.
For Miguel (formerly of the El Loco Sibarta restaurant near the Alameda) it’s all about the quality of the ingredients, and he’s actually a bit crazy about that – hence his name.
The four courses we enjoyed (there would have been five, but in the end we didn’t make it to dessert – too stuffed!) were certainly a tribute to his choices. So too were the accompaniments – Miguel’s own signature sourdough bread with quality olive oil, an excellent palo cortado sherry from González Byass, and a pair of red wines (Botas de Barro) with perfect earthy taste and smooth textures.
The space on this occasion was at Cobertura Photo gallery in El Arenal, which was both spacious and cosy, with lots of light and high ceilings. A very pleasant ambiance.
And so to our meal, taken at a leisurely pace through the course of the afternoon as Miguel prepared and cooked our food in the small open kitchen area next to us. First up was a simple salad of tomate rosa wedges garnished with sweet onion, marinated in olive oil and herbs that was a perfect start and exemplar of the importance of quality products. It was followed by a tortilla in the Galician style – softer and less dense than the traditional Andalucian version. Next a fish dish – fresh grilled cod with spring onions and a pimentón sauce, which was as good as any I’ve ever had. Finale was a pan-roasted 45-day aged beef that was succulent and full of flavour.
Miguel’s sourdough bread, made fresh daily, and served with quality olive oils.
- Beautiful tomates rosas, simply dressed with olive oil and salt.
- Tortilla al whisky with lots of lovely garlic.
- Grilled hake with pimentón, spring onions and garlic.
- Fresh lettuce leaves (lightly dressed) to accompany the meat course.
Loved these reds by “Dirty Boots”. My favourite was the Jumilla grape. We also tried old vine Garnacha.Main course: 45 day aged beef from Lyon France. OMG. Exquisite.
chef Miguel de Pablos
Miguel and I are quite excited about working together in the future. It really is a top quality private dining experience with many options. If you live in Sevilla you will soon be able to see his upcoming events on Facebook, which include the full-on seasonal menu experience we had, as well as “tapas nights” and Miguel’s “in search of the perfect hamburger” quest, which includes a starter, a FULL-ON burger with up to 5 extra ingredients, 3 drinks and homemade dessert. I am so doing the burger one next time…
I first met fellow sherry educator (and professional venenciadora) Fabiola Bonke @spanjetotaal a couple of years ago at a casual sherry tasting held at Bodegas Faustino Gonzalez @cruzviejajerez in Jerez, which had been organized by my friend Tomoko @tomokotours. Fabiola is Dutch, but her parents are both Spanish, and she has become the most important sherry expert in Holland. Awhile back she got in touch saying she was going to be in Jerez for the Copa Jerez finals and would be staying overnight in Sevilla on the way.
So I recommended a couple of nice reasonably priced hotels and she chose one that is literally a stone’s throw from my house. And so just after she arrived and got settled in I picked Fabiola up for a sherry-based Tapeo Extremo. Our first stop was Las Teresas, my favourite place for both ambiance and jamón Ibérico de Bellota. They also have some excellent sherries.
After that we carried on to two more bars – Bodeguita Romero and La Cata Ciega, sampling amazing sherries and tasting delicious tapas. And all the while talking talking talking… what a lovely evening. And the good news is that we will be meeting up again in Jerez because I am also going to be at Copa Jerez. Yay!