The sound of castanets and Flamenco guitar riffs echo through the streets. I see a momentary flash of a beautiful figure in a black dress sauntering towards, and then she’s gone. Carmen? Is that you again? It seems that every time I eat Spanish tapas and drink sangria she appears. That unattainable Spanish hard body has been haunting my subconscious ever since I first laid eyes on her in a bar in Valencia. There I was, the gringo in the corner of the Spanish nightclub sipping my first sangria. Carmen crossed the room towards me, took my glass and downed it, then led me onto the dance floor. She wrapped on leg around my hip and I melted. The filthy suggestions she breathed heavily into my ear in her native tongue sent my mind skitso. Carmen sent me for one last round of sangria. When I eagerly returned she had vanished. To this day I don’t know if she was real or a hallucination brought on by a sangria overdose. That is why I make sangria now. Perhaps Carmen will return or, at the very least, I can turn the woman I serve it to into Carmen…for the night. Read the rest of this entry »
Barcelona in the later summer is a guaranteed whirlwind for the weary traveler with a backpack. Flamenco guitars serenade beauties in the balconies above and capture the heart of even the biggest hater. I remember one thing with absolute clarity: the quality of the food and women are top notch. Black designer mini dresses flapping behind Vespas. Plates piled high with raw shellfish and overflowing bowls of the best rice I had ever tasted. One night after a sangria or three and a plate full of OYSTERS, I found myself being led to a discotequa by a Nigerian Dr. Dre wannabe I befriended at a coffee shop. My evening soundtrack became hip hop beats to Catalan** lyrics. I don’t speak a word. My 3rd grade level Spanish was all I had to flirt with a Barcelona pure-bred hottie. She awarded me an A for effort and danced with me out in a plaza off Las Ramblas. We were good to go back to my place until she found out I was at a hostel sharing a room with three strangers. She vanished into the nearest cab leaving me bummed out with blue balls. So I cheered myself up with a perfect consolation prize: a plate of Spanish rice. I suppose that it was almost as good as spanking a Spaniard.
**In Barcelona, they speak Catalan, a derivation of Spanish that is a bitch to learn.
Total time: approximately 30 minutes
Projected cost: $5
Drinking Buddy: Depends what you serve with it. Tequila, beer or sangria if you are feeling especially Spanish
1. 1 cup of white rice
2. 2 cups of chicken broth
3. 1 dash of salt
4. ¼ cup of olive oil
5. 1 handful of chopped cilantro
6. 2 garlic cloves chopped finely
7. 1 tomato chopped coarsely
8. 1 onion chopped coarsely
9. 1 red bell pepper chopped coarsely
10. 1 small carrot chopped or grated coarsely
Toast the rice first by heating up the oil in a pan on medium heat and cook until they brown, stirring occasionally (approx 5 minutes). Throw in the garlic and cook another minute. Throw in the rest of the veggies: cilantro, tomato, onion, bell pepper and carrot and cook them down with the toasty rice (approx 5 minutes).
Pour in the chicken stock and salt it up a bit. Crank the heat up until the stalk begins to boil, then turn the heat down super low and simmer until the rice absorbs the stock (approx 20 minutes). You officially have some spectacular spanking Spanish rice to serve with something equally outstanding like ORANGASMIC CATFISH, FISHY PINK TACOS or MOLE. Go get those chicas and hombres!