Sunday, March 14, 2010

The Tapas Phenom and nightlife in Granada

particular entry will deal more with the idea behind tapas rather than the food. The food bit I'll comment on later.
Anyway, what are tapas?
Tapas, are simply put, the Spanish equivalent to tacos.
Meaning that in its most basic, simplistic definition, a tapa is a piece of bread that you put stuff on it.
However, they take on a whole different social situation here.
On two fronts.
On the first, it's such a small meal that you could eat five-six times a day and it'd be the equivalent of a three-meal day back home, key difference being that food over here tends to be healthier and people walk more, etc.
The other front is that you tapear is synonymous with bar-hopping here. An idea like that would not fly at all in the United States for two reasons, the drinking issue (where a majority of people absolutely positively completely need to drink) and because the portions are small.
So, what happens on any given night in Granada?
You leave your house, your piso as it is called over here, at about ten or so. You meet up with your friends somewhere, then head to a place that sells tapas, which is about 95% of the food establishments here. You order a beer and the beer comes with a tapa, sometimes it's cook's choice, sometimes you pick your own.
Then, you go to another tapa place.
Then, you go to another tapa place.
Then, you go to another tapa place.
Then you could hit up a bar or club.
Then you go home. At six or seven in the morning.

I got to experience that last night with my two awesome roommates here. We left home at about ten p.m., more or less. I of course, was dressed...respectable. Better than I've looked in some, most, or maybe all cases.
We hit up three tapa bars, stopping for a caña (a beer) at Ithaca, La Quintana, and La Pajuana. At Ithaca we had the most delicious lime-cured lightly breaded chicken tapas, at La Quintana we had...I don't know what it was, but it was not as good as the previous place. It had some pretty interesting microbrews that were in a red bottle and had CHICKS ON SPEED on it.
Then at La Pajuana, we had a hamburger-tapa that was DELICIOUS. I mean, nothing like Ernie's, of course, but if I ever see a Southmost-style burger in this corner of the world, I would probably die.
Following that, we hit up a cocktail bar, then two nightclubs, stopping and staying from 4 a.m. onwards at one particular one called El Principe. It had guys on stilts walking around and dancing, and a violinist that was...trippy.
Then we got home at seven, and three hours later I was awake, getting ready to go to the Alhambra.

Some interesting things about last night:
1. Dark shirts are not common in nightclubs at all. Spaniard men go about in bright colors. I am not joking.
2. Whiskey and water is an old man's drink here.
3. Toronjas do not exist in Spain, which kinda made me look dumb to one of the cocktail bar's bartenders because I asked for a paloma.

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