For one reason or another, I don’t go much to my birth place, but when I do, I never miss the “vermouth hour” before lunch. I don’t mean that one has to drink vermouth necessarily; I mean the fact of having an aperitif. Where do I go? Obviously, around Molinero area. A classic, and in the centre of town. There are not many bars around there 7-8 but you have to go to a few of them!
You arrange to meet at 1,30pm in Molinero, (this place is also a good place for morning coffee and in the afternoon you will find men sorting out the world or done up women just out of the hairdresser), although since they renewed it is not quite the same…. You order a “clarete” (rose wine from Cigales) and bit of Spanish omelet (it is absolutely delicious!, although their mussels are also very special).
When you finish you go to the bar next door, La Gamba (The prawn), here, the speciality are battered prawns. This is a tiny bar, which name is really Mª de Molina. You don’t even need to go in, you order drinks through the small window outside. Everybody hangs out in the street, even in the winter with temperatures below 0ºC. There isn’t a terrace as such, not even chairs, we all stand up. We order another glass of wine and a prawn, you eat it straight away -although it is burning but we can´t wait… it looks delicious and inviting! Before we finish it, we shout to Jose, the owner, and order a second one. Once you finish your wine you go next door, to another tiny bar, El Angelillo. Another wine or small caña. They bring you a plate of pork crackling, incredibly yummy!.. With all this cholesterol panic and diets nobody eats this anymore….
Now it is when you come to think “thank God the wines are small, otherwise we could not go on”. When done here, we cross over and go to El Suizo, this one does have a terrace but it is best inside, at the bar. You are constantly bumping into people that you know…. I don’t know what to order now… I fancy everything (even if it means not having lunch as such…), we fancy the tuna empanadas, ham & cheese canapé, prawn and egg pincho…. We order the last wine and a selection of pinchos. This place hasn’t changed since my student days, same owners; all tapas are as good as they were, without fancy bits, they are loyal to their origins… The same with the waiters, although now the new generations are there too and one thinks “how great that they carry on with the family business!” Going to these places is going back to my student days.
Now you know where to go for aperitif before lunch when you visit my hometown, Valladolid!