La Matandeta – Take Two!

Monday, September 9, 2013

            The weather forecast was right off target again.  Instead of rain we have sun.  Oh, well.  That’s just the way it goes.  I managed to get a haircut this morning and that means I will look absolutely ravishing at the CIVAC meeting tonight.  There is no theme for this evening, so we will just hang out and swap stories and tricks.

            Saturday we went to see GREASE at The Olympic Theater.  The show opened on Friday and I managed to snag a couple of seats in the sixth row for the 9:30 performance.  In Spanish theaters matiness take place at 6:00 and there was a matinee on Saturday.  That means that the cast had all of an hour’s rest before they were onstage again.  I do not know how they were able to expend so much energy during the performance we saw.  Adrenalin can only take you so far,

            We took our seats some fifteen minutes before the curtain rose on the first act.  The actor who plays Vince Fontaine was spinning records in his mini-studio.  It was a good mood setter.  We got to listen to Elvis, Buddy Holly, Jackie Wilson, The Everly Brothers and Doris Day! 

            It was close to midnight when the curtain rang down.  The Spanish have learned how to do musical comedy and the actors are well versed in how to sing and dance.  The voices were strong, the dancing impressive and the on-stage orchestra was more than up to its task.  The only problem I had with the performance was the songs that, for the most part, are instantly forgettable.  I understand they are supposed to reflect the era, but, be that as it may, they are mostly forgettable.  Having attended musical since I was thirteen I have high expectations.

            Sunday Brian invited us to join him, his brother, Steve, and his sister-in-law, Beth for a paella.  Our destination was La Matandeta, which is about six or seven miles outside of Valencia in the general region of the Albufera.  This was to be our second visit, having been there for Ofelia’s birthday celebration last year. Brian came by at 1:45 to pick us up and at 2:15 we were seated on the terrace studying our menus.

            Brian had ordered a paella ahead of time and so we studied the list of appetizers.  We ended up choosing a dish composed of tomatoes, mackerel and onions, a salad composed of lettuces, smoked fish and an “ice cream” that melts and becomes the dressing for the salad and, finally, octopus cooked over a wood fire. Our main dish was a paella de señoret, which is a seafood paella in which all shells have been removed from the seafood so you do not have to dirty your hand attacking the shellfish.  For dessert we split the brownie and ice cream and a very tasty cake whose name escapes me at the moment.

            When we entered Dolores addressed Brian by name even though this was only his third visit.  She also recalled that I was the guy who made the napkin roses. After dessert I excused myself from the table and went indoors, ordered a coffee and proceeded to craft a couple of flowers, a butterfly, a poodle and a frog for Elena who was our waitress.

            Shortly thereafter everyone else came inside and I did a little bit of magic for our group.  When we left the restaurant we drove to the lake that is part and parcel of the Albufera and is one of the sources for the irrigation channels that are the lifeline for the rice paddies.  Our visit was brief and we returned to the car and made the brief journey back to Valencia.  We were so full from our lunch experience that we didn’t even think about what was for supper.  We read for a while and headed for bed around midnight.

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