Rain Rain Go Away! – September 24, 2009

Tuesday night’s showers turned into Wednesday’s rain.  It was a good morning to stay at home, spend time on the computer and catch up on our reading.  Susan is currently reading RUN by Ann Patchett and I am reading Richard Russo’s EMPIRE FALLS.  The rain had abated by 2:00 PM so we ventured forth in search of a place to have lunch.  We decided on a small restaurant called Aries that is literally three minutes away from the house.

We opted for the menu del día and we both made the same choices – paella as our first course and swordfish and grilled vegetables for our main course.  Susan opted for melon as her dessert and I decided to have flan.  After coffee, we were offered a chupito, a shot of what we call an after dinner liqueur, in this case moscatel.  Let me hasten to add that this moscatel is different than the muscatel that usually occupies a brown bag in the hands of loiterers outside your local supermarket.  Since the rain has started up again, we lingered over our drink.  The scene inside was amazing.

Aries probably has, at most, twenty tables.  The restaurant is staffed by five people.  There is one person doing the cooking, one person washing the pots and pans and dishes, a woman tending the bar, a gentleman who is the waiter for all twenty tables and a second woman who assists him by taking the occasional order and delivering a few of the dishes to the appropriate table.  So, in sum, we have one waiter servicing twenty tables who not only delivers the food promptly, but also has time to chat briefly and joke with all his customers.  To make matters more interesting, the kitchen is incredibly small.  In smaller restaurants it measures 9X12, and yet it is capable of turning out a multiplicity of dishes.  In the case of Aries, one had a choice of six different starters and four entrees.  Additionally, some clients were ordering off the menu.  It is truly another world here when you compare it with the realities of a Los Angeles restaurant with its usual indifferent service by unconscious waiters.

The rain persisted until the late afternoon, but by 7:30 it had stopped again.  We decided to go in search of a movie and we ended up deciding on a Spanish film called “Gordos.”  I will not go into details, but it was not very enjoyable on a number of levels.  However, for me, even a bad Spanish movie is a good experience in that it offers me the opportunity to listen to Spanish for ninety minutes or more and that always proves helpful in improving both my comprehension and my vocabulary.

More rain had fallen while we were in the theater, so we carefully navigated around the puddles as we made our way home.  Since we had consumed a tapa or two before the movie our supper consisted of a glass of wine and a nibble.  Then, for the first time in a week, we were in bed before midnight.

An interior shot of the FNAC store in Valencia.  FNAC is a French chain.

An interior shot of the FNAC store in Valencia. FNAC is a French chain.

The main entrance to the Central Market

The main entrance to the Central Market

A notions shop in a circular plaza near the Mercado Central

A notions shop in a circular plaza near the Mercado Central

A finicky customer at La Frutería Ros

A finicky customer at La Frutería Ros

One of the more striking buildings in the center of town

One of the more striking buildings in the center of town

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