Each morning I’ve been enjoying a bountiful breakfast to get me energized for the rigors of the day.
My medium-boiled eggs have been made even more cutesy with the discovery of our kitchen’s very own eggcup.
MASTER CRUMBLE balances out the adorable with a ferocious blend of muesli, dried fruits, and assorted seeds. I munch it with unsweetened yogurt and a daub of honey. Also pictured: my daily massive dose of caffeine, piping fresh from our cafetera.
Today I set out on the final errand of the Fulbright orientation trifecta (acquire a phone, snag a piso, apply for a bank account). Emily’s had excellent luck with the Banesto that the Fulbright office uses, which is a bit far from home but seems worth it to me for the convenience – they already know who we are and what peculiar difficulties we present. Once I begin speaking with a representative, I get to sit back and let her do all the worrying, which she does for the better part of an hour. In the end, though, I do get an official account, and further manage to deposit my very first Fulbright stipend. Yes, friends, I am flirting perilously with Adulthood.
In celebration, I decide to seek out the Asian market about which Heather, last year’s Fulbright ETA at José Luis Sampedro, has kindly tipped me off. I remember her wording it as being “underneath” Plaza España, but I don’t quite buy it, and first doy un paseo around the large square. No Asian market appears, just plenty of tourists milling conspicuously. After completing the circuit, I break down and ask a guy, who directs me to descend. Eh? Seemingly from nowhere, a flight of stairs plunges into the space beneath the fountains. I spelunk.
My pupils adjust to survey a dimly-lit corridor, lined by – sure enough – stores filled with Asian goodies. There’s a restaurant here as well, which Heather has strongly recommended as having extraordinarily superior dumplings. Undeterred by wafting scents of scallions and soy sauce, I beeline for the grocery section.
Rice noodles! Coconut milk! Sauces galore! I ought to have snapped a photo or three, but was too busy giddily filling my basket with curry paste. I am singlehandedly going to fill Arganzuela with spicy goodness.
See here a minor selection of my haul, crowned, naturally, by the essential Sriracha sauce.
After dropping off the goods, including three hefty bags of rice (jasmine, sushi, and sticky!), Em and I check out the produce housed below Mercadona. Many minor merchants have set up shop here, and you wander from jamón to huevos to melocotones, selecting what entices and paying as you go. We pick up various fruits plus eggplant, carrot, and chicken marked for immediate consumption in curry form.
Despite slight tribulations involving the insanely powerful induction stove, lunch comes out markedly riquisimo. The fresh basil adds a lovely toque of class.