Sunday, October 26, 2014

The Lubina of Malaga

Given as I am to calling the last palate pleaser the “best I have ever had” how many things within a given half year can actually be the best in my long, long life? And that all three of these overhyped phenomena were from Spain within the last seven months is just a little ridiculous. The alleged world beaters by the way are Zumo de Naranja at Casa Antonia in Gaucin, Lomo de Buey at El Churrasco in Cordoba and Lubina at La Cechalote in Malaga. Loosely translated they're OJ, steak and sea bass. Quiz to follow.

In the post two weeks ago I extolled the glories of fresh fish, an entry prompted by my stroll through the fish stalls of the old port in Marseille. And, though I have been mightily distracted by today’s jaunt along the color rich High Road from Santa Fe to Taos, the tale of the Lubina of Malaga must be told.
Early in the evening of my one night in Malaga I walked along the shore as dusk fell over the playa. Hordes of walkers, runners and cyclists lent an urban vitality to the balmy waterfront as I searched for just the right place for fresh from the sea pescado. I saw half a dozen palapas with open fires each adjacent to beckoning restaurants along the beach. The glowing pits told me that fish cooked the old fashioned way was in the forecast. I was not unhappy.

I drug it as long as I could but along about 9:30pm I picked La Cechalote empty or not. Well not exactly empty. There was a couple and their three year old. Seventy three and I have the eating schedule of a toddler.

I told the waiter that I wanted a whole fish, sardines and ceviche and would start with a Cava. He brought an icy tray with the fish of the day. Most had prices of around 15 Euros while two including the Lubina had the letters TP in the price column. I figured that this was something like our term “Market Price” but threw caution to the wind and ordered the bass. I am in the thrall of all things bass. He suggested tapas of the little swimmers and the ceviche.

That was a $40 fish and worth every centavo. It was, after all, the best fish in the world. The sardines from the adjoining stick were a close second. Fresh is best and fresh over a roaring wood fire is an eleven on a scale of 1-10.

After dinner drink priceless.


Sunday, October 19, 2014

Pretty and Sweet

Back in the sixties my boss Irv Robbins, the co-founder of Baskin-Robbins, said of the competition that, “All ice cream is good. It’s all sweet and cold.” Then he went on to tell us why our ice cream was better than the rest.  Fall foliage photography is a lot like ice cream. It’s all pretty and sweet.

Photographing fall color isn’t exactly my bag. It’s easy enough to get a pretty autumn picture but something else entirely to extract one that’s special. Neither of these lovelies make that claim but pretty for its own sake isn’t exactly a sin and I’ve got these postcards to prove it.
Autumn colors in every direction. The Taos Plateau in my rearview mirror.

Gathering storm from El Salto

Sangre de Cristo translates to Blood of Christ. It’s the name Spanish explorer Antonio Valverde y Cosio gave the mountain range that rises above Taos way back in 1719.

I’d always imagined that a lonely conquistador came up with the moniker when the rugged mountains blushed with alpenglow one evening centuries ago but I hadn’t seen the actual phenomenon till last week. If Tony saw anything like this his appellation was right on the money.

Sangre de Cristo foothills bathed in red from Casa Immel

Red sky at night from Casa Immel

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Fresher than fresh


Later I’ll make your mouths water with tales of fresh caught Lubina cooked over an open fire in Malaga and we’ll revisit the best steak in the world in Cordoba.  But first a word about the fresh.

On the next to last morning of my trip I scampered around the Vielle Port of Marseille trying to fill time before my 11am check-out. So with low expectations and one foot on the airplane I was stoked to wind things up with the highly aesthetic and very briny fish market at the foot of the port. The smallish operation of maybe twenty fish mongers showed me just why the seafood I’d eaten in Spain and in France was so sweet, so mild and oh so good for me.

It doesn't get fresher than this.

Sunday, October 05, 2014

I'll have one of each

Prosperity and poverty in Madrid

In movies this might be called a teaser or a trailer. I’ve picked one photograph from each place I visited the last five weeks. They're all are here because they speak to me in some fashion. This isn't a travelogue. That may come later. Some are photojournalistic. Others are more artful, even abstract. Some, like the one above, make a social comment. That one tears me up.
Agave and dew, Gaucin
What the well dressed merchant will wear, Avignon
Cassis at 10pm
Doll shop, Simiane la Rotonde, France
A dude taking a picture of a dude taking a picture, Arles
What I need after that Mezquita place is ice cream, Cordoba
The castle, Les Barroux, France
A runner on the malecon, Malaga

The highly stylized one train from another, the plains of Spain
Fleet of foot in Girona, Spain
The Alcazar, Seville
On the road to Ronda, Spain
The Roman Theatre, Orange, France
Cookie seller, Monieux, France
Man and man's best friend, Barcelona

Letting it all hangout, the Barceloneta neighborhood of Barcelona

Colors of the Drome, Sederon, France

That’ll about do it. This will either tease what’s to come or make you cry, “No mas!”

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Then this happened

Just after turning left toward Ronda on my meandering way to Gaucin I caught a glimpse of an abandoned farm. I know what you’re thinking. Here we go again with another decaying and decrepit something or other. And you don’t mean me.

I drove on as I am prone to do when I’m nearing the barn when the new and better me prevailed and I actually turned around and went back. In a light drizzle with threatening skies the rotting old hacienda was pretty charismatic. Here’s what I first saw followed by the old abode shot through my rain pelted windshield. File this one under the distinctive image you find after you have the “money shot” in the can.


The more inventive second image expresses what I felt in that moment.


Saturday, September 27, 2014

This just in

Big thanks to the folks who responded to my plea.  Wrenching wasn’t it?

You've answered the musical question, “Do people want to read as much as I write?” The tally was 90% for doing what I do how I do it with a couple of folks wondering if readers have the attention span to crawl through the words to get to the photographs.  Hey, nobody told me to stop.

So I’m going where the spirit dictates and taking you with me, sometimes concise and other times elaborate.

Outside Bar Baco

Inside Bar Baco

Salmon, Artichoke and Anchovy Salad at Bar Baco

Plaza Mayor and every twenty something in Seville

Plaza Santa Marta in front of my sweet Hotel Seville at 10:30 in the PM

The photographs have nothing whatsoever to do with word count and this isn't even my regular post.  It's just because.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Natural Fenosa

Being in the throes of travel and with the logistics of same taking more time than I'd like this post will be light on copy. Besides I’m not sure the writing is proving that fruitful. I could use some feedback. It's been suggested by someone close to me that people don't want to wade through a lot of palaver.  They just want photographs. I've proffered that idea to some subscribers who say otherwise.

Now I thought that the last two posts were pretty strong and they were a continuation of last year's internment camp series which was the subject of much discussion. This time nada, zip and zilch. I even lost a subscriber, just the second in seven years. What gives?

As I waited this morning to get a taxi to Sants station for my high speed train to Madrid I walked over to the zoomy high rise next door and got these exotic geometrics.

No extra charge for con trails.