Monday, January 30, 2012

Monday's music: Skalariak - Ningún valor

It's monday! After a great weekend I want to start the week with this ska band from Navarra, Skalariak, that can be more or less translated as "The ones that makes Ska". This is one of the first bands I listened to out of the radio formulas (first one was Negu Gorriak). I remember one day at school when a friend brought me a cd of Skalariak so I could copy it in a cassette -yep, today some dumbasses in the government consider that piracy- and I started to read the lyrics in the school, imagining how would the music sound, so impacient I was. That was the second LP they released, called Klub Ska, the first one was named after the band, Skalariak, and the track I am posting is precisely from that first cd.

I like a lot this song, I think the lyric is just brilliant. It's a good song to listen to when you are down, to make you remember that positive and negative things on life are just balanced and it's not possible to have one without the other.
When things go wrong we tend to compare them with the good moments, but that good moments are so valuable because of the bad ones, without bad moments good time would mean nothing.
I woke up today with this song in my head, I don't know exactly why because I am having a great moment at the time, but anyway, here it is.

I hope you enjoy this song as much as I have over the years.

You have the original Spanish lyric in the video comment, I post here a translation I made myself so might be that is not such a great translation:

Skalariak - No value at all

One, two, three, four!

Is in these moments when I lost my time
that I remember the good times
my tired mind dilutes, I wake up,
my body falls firmly on the chair

Real madness is our company
a lot of excitment as well as pain
because without sadness in this life
happiness would have no value at all

would have no value (x7)
no value at all

I try to say so many silly things
and try to forget the past time
minutes saying what I shouldn't
and then I regret as I analized what we talked

I let my hand go on to calm my soul
I write some lines remembering your warm
because without loneliness in this life
your company would have no value at all

would have no value (x7)
no value at all

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Tapas and pintxos, small introduction to Spanish bar food

A lot of times when I introduce myself to someone and I say I come from Spain people relate it to "tapas". It's very common to face someone smiling and saying "oh, yeah! I like a lot tapas!". Me too, I like them a lot but let me tell you two things, one is that tapas is not what you think tapas is, and two, tapas are not so common is Spain as you might think.

First point is about what tapas is and what tapas has been sold by "Spanish" restaurants all around the world, here we have the problem. A 'tapa' is just a piece of food that the waiter gives to you under these circumstances: because he wants, it is free and you didn't ask for it. If these three things do not apply all at once you are not eating a tapa. A tapa normally (not always but most of times) is something simple, meaning easy to cook. But some people that have opened restaurants abroad has seen money on the name so they call their restaurants "tapas bar" following an evil plan to confuse everyone. I think nobody has ever gone to a "tapas bar" and got the food for free, right? So they are not tapas places.

Second point is about "tapa's influence area". I come from Basque Country and I must say that I have never seen tapas there, nor in the surrounding regions. Tapas is more a southern thing, starting from Madrid to the south, except some lucky cities in the north that are also use to them, like León. Taking into account that it's not common in all southern bars to give tapas, I would say that it is not such a common thing, even if it is so famous.

Some tapas we got in our last visit to Madrid

When you order some food in the bar to eat just there while drinking a beer or a wine, that's called "ración", but doesn't sound so glamorous, which is probably the reason why restaurants abroad are not called "bar de raciones" that would be much more accurate. And in Basque Country we have special piece of food in our bars, the "Pintxo".

Pintxo is a small piece of food, normally you can eat it in one or two bites and in general is more complex than the tapas, but you have to pay for it. It's very impressive entering a bar in San Sebastian or Bilbao and seeing the bar full of dishes with pintxos. You can see what I mean in this video from Erreka tavern, a bar I used to go when I lived in Bilbao:

Oh, that's wonderful!! As a disclaimer, in that bar they had an offer of bottle of wine and 6 pintxos for 12 or 15 euros I think it was, I cannot remember (good sign, by the way).

This is a pintxo I did for a dinner with friends, it's a fried potato with gulas (kind of mashed fish) and fried quail egg. Delicious.

So that's what we are used to in Basque Country, this post is kind of an introduction to the next one, where I will post the pintxos we did the other day with my friends in the "First Jagerteam's Pintxos Championship", as a spoiler I will say... I didn't win :)