But we were in the original, surrounded by pottery and paella pans and food that made me feel like we had walked back in time to the two and a half years when my parents and I lived just outside Madrid.
If you’re going to time travel, flipping back to the land of tapas and bullfights and staying up late and taking a siesta every day is not a bad way to do it.
We browsed, and as I was paying for my purchase, I looked over at the store’s front window. Although we’d been hiking around downtown Seattle in rainy, gray weather, there was enough light that some leggy seedlings tilted toward the glass from a flat of dirt plugs.
“What are you growing?” I asked the man ringing me up.
“Padrón peppers,” he said, naming the small green peppers that are sometimes hot, sometimes not. I like to think of eating them as playing a game of mouth roulette. “We always bring some in, but we like to grow some of them ourselves.”
I haven’t checked with the local outposts of this small chain to see if they grow their own padrón peppers there, but I will have to do so as pepper season approaches. Fried up in olive oil and salt, they’re fantastic with beer, which is helpful for cooling down the capsaicin when you lose the roulette game.
Or, as some might say, when you win.
Just a few more thoughts on the magic (Note: That’s seasonal magic…so you might have to wait a couple months…) that is the padrón pepper: