Sunday, December 4, 2011
In spite of the fact that it is Sunday and most stores are usually closed on Sundays, many stores will be open today because there are two holidays this upcoming week on Tuesday and Thursday. That means that a lot of people will take Monday off to have a four-day weekend and then there are those who will take Friday off and enjoy their four-day weekend at the end of next week. We plan to take a walk this morning over to Carrefour to do some exploring over there.
Yesterday Susan went shopping for boots and I took advantage of her absence to do some cardio at the gym. When you add in the trip to and from the gym I got in a good hour’s worth of cardio. When I got home I worked on the blog and a little after 2:00 Susan called to tell me that she had found a pair of boots and to ask me if I wanted to join her at Refugio for lunch. We agreed to meet in fifteen minutes.
It turns out that Refugio is the most recommended restaurant in Valencia having entered first place last week. Here is a link to the restaurant with some newsy articles and some shots of the interior. It is a small restaurant and between its two rooms has space for forty-five diners. When we entered there were two empty tables. We were told that we could sit at either one and we chose the one further from the wall and sat down. They did have a menu of the day and Susan and I chose the same appetizer and entrée. We started with a salad that in addition to the lettuce, cucumber, tomato, carrots and sprouts hid a surprising number of chopped nuts that gave the salad a nice crunch. Our entrée was a tuna loin steak that was the thickest piece of tuna I have ever seen and had a bit of heat to it. It was accompanied by a modest serving of soba noodles. The tune went well with the bottle of Albariño that we had ordered. For dessert Susan ordered the vanilla ice cream and I chose the brownie. We combined the two and had a most tasty dessert. We finished our meal with a coffee, paid our bill and headed back home.
We spent a lazy afternoon and around 6:30 we got dressed up because we would be attending a guitar concert in the Instituto Luis Vives auditorium. The concert was to begin at 7:30 and was sponsored by Los Amigos de la Guitarra here in Valencia. On our way Susan took several photos of the decorations that adorn the Mercado Central as well as some of the decorations that the city has hung to celebrate the upcoming holidays.
We reached the auditorium at 7:15 and the President of the organization, as usual, was at the door. We had made the decision to become members of the group and we had brought a completed application with us. For the price of 40 Euros, a discounted price for those over 65, I became a member and that entitles me to attend all the 2012 concerts and, if that weren’t enough of a bargain, I get to bring a guest to every concert and my guest is admitted free. We are looking forward to attending many guitar concerts during the upcoming year.
Tonight’s soloist was the Chilean guitarist, Esteban Espinoza, had recently returned from Granada where he took Second Prize in the annual Andrés Segovia competition. His program featured Latin American composers and we had the pleasure of hearing works by Sánchez and Ginestera, among others. The most ambitious piece was Ginestera’s “Sonata for Guitar” and for me the most melodic was Sánchez’s “Tonada por Despedida”. Here is a video of the composer playing the piece http://www.refugiorestaurante.com/ and here is Espinoza playing the same composition http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d2xno4a0n_s . After the concert we went in search of a bite to eat.
We gave some thought to stopping in at the Taberna de Antonio Manuel, but the first show at the Teatro Olympia had just broken and the Taberna was full to overflowing. We decided to stop at The Ginger Loft in the hopes that we would finally catch up with Santi. The restaurant was quiet, although it would fill up while we were there. Santi was out shopping, but he returned ten minutes after we sat down. I had my usual beer and Santi prepared his Ho, Ho, Ho Cocktail for Susan that was made with an orange vodka base. Mike made us a lovely chicken quesadilla using Manchego cheese. He served it with an aioli sauce and a hot sauce on the side. Delicious! We then tried an interesting fusion dish that could best be described as taquitos filled with chicken satay served with a homemade peanut sauce. Yum! We chatted for a while longer and around 10:30 we headed back home and after such a very busy day we decided to turn in early.