Jan 31, 2011
After a lazy morning, I got up and put together breakfast in bed for us. I’d brought along cereal, blueberries, almond milk, orange juice, and cut up fruit using my pocketknife for a fruit salad. See – you can eat gourmet on the road without spending 18 bucks on a hotel buffet. Well, close to gourmet. But if you’re on a budget, skipping those pricey breakfasts can really save the bank.
We started out the day at the Museum of Nature & Science, where they were featuring Dinosaurs Unearthed. They had a few life-sized replicas and mostly smaller scale models, but all were animatronics that were activated by motion sensors. Poorly. My feeble attempts to get them to move in time for my video were met by Kat’s mocking laughter. That being said, the exhibit had some pretty up-to-minute research that I, who’s been obsessed with dinos since I was a pup, hadn’t heard. And it was pretty dern cool to see a t-rex covered in fur.
Famished from pretending to run from hairy carnivorous dinos, we set off to recharge with wine and cheese. A quick Google search of the area yielded Si Tapas, a two-bed bungalow-turned-bistro with good eats and a $2 happy hour menu that gave us the opportunity to splurge sin mucho dinero.
And splurge we did. Creamy and tangy Alcachofas al limon (sautéed artichokes in lemon cream sauce), Esparragos verdes salteados (fresh green asparagus sautéed with Idiazabal cheese), Tortilla Espanola (Spanish potato omelette, Montaditos con Crema de Cabrales (toasted bread with mind-melting Crema de Cabrales cheese), and more.
That Cabrales cheese justified the whole trip there; we could have bathed in it. The menu told us, “This cheese is a treasure item in Spain. The milk comes from herbs of goats that must be raised in the reaches of Northern Spain. Farmers place the cheese in caves where the humidity is 90%. They leave them for six months to age. This blue cheese has a tangy sharp taste.”
Honestly I was surprised to read that last part; there weren’t many typical aspects of bleu – no blue veins, and it wasn’t sharp or moldy-tasting, despite the fact that it had its own character and appeal. Closer to a brie with hints of gorgonzola without the punch associated with that family of cheese.
After some downtown ambling, we wound up the evening at Lumi, an Ikea-clad empanada emporium that was the most “black shirt and Lucky jeans” type of place we’d yet been. Opting for dessert, we split orders of mango mousse, chocolate empanadas, and chrysanthemum flower tea.
The mousse had the flavor of mango, but tasted like somebody accidentally spilled three times too much sugar into it. It was even too sweet for me, and I think that’s the first time I’ve ever claimed that.
The tea was good, but nothing special. The empanadas, however, were perfect. Fried golden, filled with oozing dark chocolate, and drizzled with even more melted chocolate and powdered sugar; they made the trip. Three came to an order; I could have gotten two more plates worth.
A fine, food-filled day.