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In El Centro

29 Sep

Locals told us about an old grocery store in the El Centro neighborhood, called Casa Moreno. Down an alley near Plaza Nuevo we found it and an older Sevilla.

Big smiles from the owners who encouraged us, in Spanish, to sit at the counter with enthusiastic sign language of welcome. It reminded me of the little Italian markets in East Utica when I was a kid, the men drinking espresso, the old women dressed in black, clustered for their morning gossip.

One by one a single toaster oven produced all of the fresh tostadas, a breakfast sandwich of Iberian ham and local cheese on a soft roll. The cafe con leche was dark, bitter and, uncharacteristically ample.

As we were using sad Spanish to order, a sweet man came over to help us explaining what was the best. His wife got a big kick out of this. So did we.

The owner greeted everyone with a smile, a kiss or a handshake. Suits, heels, shorts and house dresses really didn’t matter. The walls are covered in bullfighting posters, holy pictures and religious icons. And on top of the layers were handwritten postcards and small white paper notes from customers stuck to the walls with scotch tape.

Our top three experiences in Sevilla; watching Andalusian horses run, going to a bullfight at the Maestranza bullring last night and having breakfast at Cafe Moreno. Home on Monday.

We’ll be in Cuenca, Ecuador next January through March. Hope to see you there.