mario&me

Anniversary Dinner at Madrid’s Teatro Real

Madrid’s Teatro Real Restaurant was the perfect place for Mario and me to celebrate our first wedding anniversary. Elegant, glamorous, and ethereally silent, this restaurant is located on the second floor of the royal theater and is itself decidedly royal.

The Teatro Real, or Royal Theater, was originally built in 1850 in front of the royal palace. It served as the city’s opera house and housed the Madrid Royal Conservatory until 1925. There were several periods of reconstruction, but the theater opened for good again 1997. It hosts opera, concerts, and ballet and is home to the Madrid Symphony Orchestra and Choir. Its many halls are decorated with works of art from the Prado and Reina Sofia museums.

Teatro Real Salón Naranja

The Salón Naranja is decorated with the portraits of Juan Carlos and Sofía

To enter the restaurant, you must walk through a few different salones, or rooms, all of which hhae a color theme.

Teatro Real Salón Verde

The restaurant itself is also magnificent. The starry ceiling replicates Madrid’s much-advertised cielo.

Teatro Real Restaurant Madrid

Source: Atrapalo

And although the restaurant has a capacity of 200, we were the only diners for a good hour! We ate early for Spain, at the elderly hour of 9 p.m.

We ordered the menú de degustación, which wasn’t really a tasting menu, but we got a good idea of what the restaurant does well. (Hint: most everything.)

To start we had a taco de salmón, with a bit of mustard and tarragon. I forgot to get a picture!

Teatro Real Restaurant Salmorejo

Next was perhaps my favorite plate of the night, salmorejo cordobés con virutas de jamón ibérico y huevo, salmorejo with shaved ham and egg . Salmorejo is a purée consisting of tomato, bread, oil, garlic, and vinegar, originating from Córdoba, Andalucía. This was breathtakingly good: creamy, tangy, and rich. The ham was obviously Iberian. I couldn’t stop telling Mario that I never wanted this dish to end!

Teatro Real Restaurant Esparragos

Next: espárragos blancos con huevo escalfado y aceite de piñones, white asparagus with poached egg and pine nut oil. There were also salmon eggs, perched atop. The egg itself was not salted, but once you bit into the salmon egg, it let out a perfectly juicy pop! of saltiness. The asparagus itself was perfectly cooked, and didn’t have the sometimes unpleasant texture of canned asparagus, which is a common dish in Spain.

Teatro Real Restaurant Fish

Now for the fish: corvina al horno con mejillones en salsa de coco y lima, oven-baked corvina with mussels in a coconut-lime sauce. The coconut and lime worked perfectly to complement the delicate taste of the corvina, and the onions were caramelized to perfection.

Teatro Real Restaurant Presa Ibérica

This dish was presa ibérica con mojo canario y patatitas confitadas, Iberian pork with Canarian mojo sauce and a caramelized potato.The meat was delicate, tender, and full of flavor, including thyme and sea salt. The mojo sauce went perfectly with the potato and the meat, giving it just a slight kick. After this dish, we were more than full. But there was still dessert …

Teatro Real Restaurant Dessert

Our dessert was light and refreshing, perfect for a hot summer’s day: piña colada en texturas, different textures of piña colada. There were dehydrated bits of sweet pineapple atop coconut cream with a pineapple sorbet underneath. Delicious!

Teatro Real Restaurant Chocolate Truffles

And lastly, just in case weren’t stuffed enough, they served us two decadent dark-chocolate truffles and candied orange peel. The chocolate was to’-die-for good, and the candied orange peel lent it just a hit of tartness and acidity.

All of this came with white wine to start and red to finish. The white was Fray Germán, a Verdejo, and the red was Ribera del Duero, Valdubón. The red was really quite full-bodied and rich, but as red-wine enthusiasts, we found it enjoyable.

Teatro Real Restaunt Couples

Here’s to one great year and many more! It was a meal worth repeating. (Next year, perhaps?)

About these ads

Marrying a Spaniard in 7 Easy Steps

Disclaimer: The word “easy” in the title of this post—take it with a grain of salt. A large grain of salt.

Wedding in Spain

Last year (July 7, 2012, to be exact), I got married in Spain. I got married in Spain to a Spaniard. We celebrated our wedding in a Romanesque church with origins in the eleventh century, the beautiful San Cipriano of Zamora.

San Cipriano

Source: Turismo de Zamora

Trying to get married in another culture, with all its requisite paperwork and bureaucracy, makes you realize that planning the actual wedding and reception is a lot easier than trying to get the Spanish government to recognize the legality of your upcoming marriage vows. And so I get emails from readers who are in the same situation as I used to be: they’re dating Spaniards; they want to marry them … but how? How indeed.

So You’re Dating a Spaniard … and now you want to say I do / Sí, quiero in the church.

I Do

To get married in the church, you have to do all the things for the civil ceremony and a few additional ones for the religious part. I’m going to talk about the Catholic church, because … well, that’s my experience and it’s the most common in Spain. A helpful website for both civil and religious ceremonies can be found here. Also, remember that every region in Spain is different, so be sure to ask your local authorities about any special requirements they may have.

1. Get a copy of your birth certificate.

This is first and foremost. But, ojo, it can’t be a vintage birth certificate. It has to have been issued within the past six months, I believe. Silly? Perhaps, but you don’t want to play with their rules.

For Indiana, my home state (go Hoosiers!), I went through Vital Records and ordered two copies because I’m slightly neurotic. Your state is going to be different. They say it takes 46 weeks, but I got it sooner than that. It cost me $10 for the first copy plus a $1.85 identifty-verification fee (and $4 for the additional copy). The “problem” was the shipping. I wasn’t sure whether to insure it or not; in the end, I did. That ended up costing me about $17.

Next you have to get that sucker apostilled. An apostille is an international certification and is comparable to notarization on an international scale. The process for getting an apostille on a document varies from state to state. In Indiana, there’s no fee for the apostille service. I sent in my birth certificate along with the following to the Indiana Secretary of State’s office:

  • an original signature
  • a cover letter with the name of the country (Spain), my phone number, and information as to where the documents had to be sent afterward
  • a postage-paid envelope for them to send it back to me

I hope you are okay with spending some money. Bureaucracy requires paperwork, and paperwork requires money. Yours.

2. Proof of freedom to marry.

So, this document doesn’t exist in the U.S. I know, I know. Whaaaat? How can I be expected to produce a document that doesn’t exist? This will happen in Spain (see: getting your degree recognize by the Spanish government), and you will just have to suck it up and find your way over it, around it, or through it. One of those methods has to work.

In the civil court, you can accomplish by swearing before an American consul. In my case, I did so by swearing in front of my pastor and having him sign a document I found on the Internet. I signed it, and so did he. He stamped it … you know, to make things official-ish and all. Boom, done!

Note: apparently in Madrid, this is different, and the statement has to be made by the parents. What’s with that, Madrid?

3. Baptismal certificate.

We Protestants can be strange. I didn’t get baptized as a baby, because in my denomination this is frowned upon. Instead, I got baptized in my church as an eight year-old. I asked my mom one night before bed, and that was when I got dunked in a lukewarm bathtub in front of 200 blurry strangers. (My vision leaves much to be desired.)

Baptismal Certificate

My baptismal certificate was more like this one … not so official looking

But here in Spain, Catholics like to get all strict about baptismal certificates, and the one I got in Sunday School class wasn’t exactly cutting it. Nevertheless, we somehow convinced the 80-year-old bishop that it was indeed legitimate, and off we were.

US_Embassy_Seal

4. Certificate of consular inscription.

This isn’t hard to do. I just made an appointment with the American embassy in Madrid. I did have to wait a bit, but the process was simple. There is a small fee for the service.

Traductor Jurado

My official translator has two other degrees as well

5. Translate your documents.

Luckily for me, I’ve got a translator for life in Mario. You will need to have your birth certificate, the apostille, baptismal certificate, consular inscription, and proof of freedom to marry translated into Spanish. This must be a legal translation, so you can’t just do it yourself.

6. Application forms.

There are various application forms involved in this process. We filled these out and had them filled out for us. We had to visit the bishopric of Zamora as well as Mario’s dioceses to speak with the bishop and priest of Mario’s district. You could tell that this was a very rare occasion for them, as the paperwork often required us to explain the situation two or three different times in the same meeting.

7. Posting of Banns.

You’re probably asking yourself right now what in the world Banns are. I had the same question. Basically, in Spain, people are required to go through a process called “posting of banns” for a civil ceremony. This is a public declaration of intent to marry. It’s possible that your nearest embassy/consulate can provide a letter saying that this is not required in the U.S. In our case, our names and wedding date were posted outside the door of Mario’s church for weeks before our wedding. You know, just in case someone had an objection to the marriage.

What happens now?

Well, now you’ll be wanting your residency, right?

Libro de Familia

The libro de familia.

The libro de familia (literally family book), or Spain’s marriage certificate, can be obtained from the civil registry after the wedding takes place.

Get empadronado/a.

Because Mario and I had not yet moved to Madrid, I got empadronada (registered with the census) in Zamora, where we got married. I didn’t do this until after the marriage, but it’s important in order to get your NIE (foreign citizens identification number). Getting registered in Zamora is about 100x easier than in Madrid. That’s why I always advise people to get married in your future spouse’s hometown, if he/she is not from Madrid.

Apply for your NIE.

You can check out the process here. In this case, you are not a student, so you won’t be applying for the same type of NIE as you would have if you were in Spain as a Conversation and Language Assistant or on study abroad. I did this process in Zamora, and like I said earlier, it took much less time than it would have had I done it in Madrid, where foreigners abound and you have to reserve appointments months in advance.

What did I miss? Have you gotten married in Spain or another country? Do you plan to?

Third Culture

photo_thumb.jpg

In our guest room a flag hangs from the wall above the bed. No, not a yellow and red flag; this one is red, white, and blue. You know—the stars and stripes. My dad bought Mario this flag to remind him where he should (eventually) settle down. My dad would like it very much if we moved back to the US, preferably yesterday. It has a prominent place in our home, this flag. Why?

IMG_0514

Vacationing in Sevilla

We live in Spain. We carry out the day-to-day of our lives, of our life, in Spain. We speak in Spanish and eat Spanish food. Yes, we do all this, all this Spanish stuff. We are Spanish.

But though we reside in Spain, we dream about living in the States too. We speak in English and watch American TV shows and movies. I make brownies and cookies and other American dishes. So we are also American.

Valorio en Agosto

In reality, he is Spanish. Born and raised in the heart of Castilla y León, with family roots that go back centuries, Mario is as Spanish as they come. Zamorano, really. His dark hair and eyes betray him. His telltale accent, his pronunciation of the z and c in the true castellano accent, his love for lentejas and  cocido and jamón and tortilla, his concern for his parents never to worry unnecessarily … he is Spanish.

Seth Kaley Cville

He is Spanish, and I am American. I speak English with the typical accent of many modern Americans, an accent that is almost impossible to pinpoint. I don’t worry about my parents worrying. I like basketball much more than football (soccer), and I don’t really enjoy eating a big meal at two o’clock in the afternoon. It still surprises me when children are out past 9 p.m., especially on weeknights.

Spanish American Wedding

Though we feel as Spanish and American as they come, we also love each other and each other’s culture too. So together we make our own culture, a third culture: a Spanish-American culture. We make stupid jokes: “Sweetie foot” (because pie means foot in Spanish) or “Estoy espalda” (literally “I am [a] back”). We eat tortilla for dinner and chocolate-chip cookies for dessert. We watch the Simpsons in Spanish.

We also compromise, just like any other couple, bicultural or not. We decide on the best way to clean the house. We let each other get away with things. We do things that don’t seem logical to us at times, but we do it because it’s important to the other person. I may or may not vacuum an insane amount of times per week.

IMG_0545

Just call us the Spanish-American Institute of Couples.

How to Host Thanksgiving in Spain

Having hosted two Thanksgivings in Spain, I now consider myself an expert, obviously. That’s just how these things go.

IMG_0397[1]

  • Buy a female turkey, una pavita. I had no idea before 2010, but smaller turkeys are tastier

 

IMG_0400[1]

Mario helped too!

  • Have a pinche, a sous chef. Mario’s father, Jesús, was my sous chef, and the best one there could possibly be. He spent the whole morning chopping, cutting, and just generally being helpful. Also, he is totally relaxed. Find one of those.
  • There will be bread. This is Spain, how could there not be?
  • Stand up to the idea of primer plato, segundo plato. Stay steadfast in your American-type meal and have your guests eat everything off the same plate. The horror!

PB270291

IMG_0413[1]

  • Let someone else make the dessert, even if they make it differently than you would. This year, we didn’t have the traditional pumpkin pie; rather, we had a sort of pumpkin cake. No big deal. We ate some pumpkin, okay?!

IMG_0407[1]

  • Drink local wine. Better yet, have another person bring that local wine, especially someone from Toro!

There you go, my recommendations for a Spanish-American Thanksgiving. Go forth, and roast yourself a turkey!