Having sufficiently recovered from a head cold, I decided to start my day with a bit of exercise. Thanks to Dynamic Strength Training, of Eagle Rock, California, we have equipped ourselves with a very effective home gym and know how to use it. It is highly effective and takes very little storage room.
With that done Marty and I decided a good walk was in order. But like most long walks, this one ended at an absolutely delightful restaurant. Pepe had recommended Mercatbar, and it was indeed a fabulous recommendation. It is a very informal restaurant decorated with a “market-like” theme. We opted to order a number of tapas so we could taste a variety of dishes. On one level, the dishes were traditional. However, the presentation and the preparation were anything but traditional. Each was a delicious small work of art. We started with a small loaf of crusty bread served with a small bowl of grated tomato. My favorite was the fried eggplant with honey that was the perfect blend of sweet, crispy and salty stacked “log-cabin” style. The croquet dish was a sampling of 4 different fillings – my favorite being the blue cheese with walnut. The pulpitos were served on a mound of wonderfully flavored potatoes. The boquerones were simple and succulent. The papas brava were sitting in the most flavorful sauce with just the right amount of heat. Of course, I couldn’t resist the “espuma de naranja. Good thing we had a good walk home to work off a bit of what we had consumed.
While Santa is not such a big deal in Spain, Los Reyes Magos are. As we passed a shop on the way to the restaurant, we spotted them making their approach to the window via a rope ladder.