Tuesday, June 26, 2007
On Sunday afternoon my Chevy Malibu (aka Paloma) passed the 100,000 mile mark as I drove into Chicago to meet up with a small group of good friends for a delectable dinner of tapas at Café Ba-ba-Reeba in Lincoln Park. As Todd aptly described it, we experienced a touch of gastronomic ADD as plate after plate arrived at the table with some new fragrant and flavorful dish to delight our senses. We enjoyed some tapas that were familiar to me, such as tortilla espanola, patatas aioli, queso de cabra, and datiles con tocino (which are melt-in-your-mouth-just-give-me-a-minute-to-savor-this dates wrapped in bacon that if you ever see on a menu you should not hesitate about ordering, trust me) and some new, among which my favorites were the ensalada de pollo al currri, pan con tomate y jamon serrano, and salmon a la plancha con ensalada de couscous tostaba. We ate and ate and ate, talked, listened, and laughed, all while sipping from our colorful glasses of fruity sangria. As we lingered at the table, enjoying cute little desserts and the strains of flamenco guitar, dancing, and clapping floating in from the next room, among the flavors of Spanish cuisine I tasted the ease and repose that is inherent in the leisurely meals of Europe. It took me back to my days in Spain, made me so grateful for the incredible blessings of the present and the people I am privileged to claim as friends--both around that table and around the world--, and gave me a sense of bright-eyed hope for what the next year might hold. Happy Birthday, indeed.