It takes time for companies to grow

300x210One of the things I have been thinking a lot about is the pace at which companies grow.   I am involved in companies at the very beginning.   Super early stage so there are few employees, revenue is just starting to get into gear, even the path to growth is not exactly secure.  On the other hand I do get to see companies that are very mature and the different issues that comes with getting a business to become huge.  There are so many components that have to work from the management, to the investors (board), to the leadership etc, etc.

Sometimes companies get to a place where we all know that they could become 75% bigger but for a slew of reasons they just can’t get there.  Becoming a multi-million dollar company is a long hard path.  There are a few here and there that just become success stories over night but they are few and far between.  We all read about them and unfortunately many of them seem to be the norm but they are so far from it.

I have watched more than a handful of companies that I am involved with start to grow.  The team is in place, the revenue model is working, the company grows month to month.  The next step is far from cruise control but more about constant pushing, prodding, molding and hitting the milestones.  It is very different from the anxieties of early stage growth.

Seeing the companies I have been working with start to move into this next stage of their business is insanely rewarding and exciting.  I couldn’t be happier for all of them.  My involvement will change as they grow up but that is a good thing.  New eyes, new money, new milestones.  These things take time and as always more time than you think.

The journey ends

eiffeltowerWe ended our month long trip in Paris by going to the top of the Peninsula Hotel.  The hotel went through a $575m renovation and has reopened its doors to quite the fanfare.  At the top there is a restaurant that resembles a glassed in jewel box.  Looming over the restaurant is the Eiffel Tower.   It is magnificent.  We just had drinks on the terrace where the ladies get white cashmere shawls for their shoulders if they get a little cold.  We sipped on our drinks, took in the views and reminisced about our last month of travel.

It has been an amazing journey on so many levels.  We spent 24/7 together for the past month and it was really great.  It reminded me of our cross country trip post-college and our honeymoon.  The wandering duo.  We are able to keep the Wilson company going regardless of where we are. We did not attend meetings, we did not do phone calls ( unless need be and there were a few of those ) but we both closed on several deals, did a few real estate transactions and kept up.  It is pretty amazing that you can basically do anything from anywhere just at a different pace.  The pace is what was important.

Some places we went to I can’t imagine ever returning to while others we will most definitely go back to such as Provence, the Bordeaux region and San Sebastian.  Some good hotels and some ok hotels.  I have wanted to build and open a hotel for years.  Trust me I know what would be the perfect hotel at this point down to how the robes are hung, how the soap is wrapped and how the coffee is made.

Getting back to reality will probably be as always where I just hit the ground running but there is no question that our heads have changed.  I can’t quite put my finger on it but it has.  Certainly being in an empty house with all the kids off in their own lives shifts everything yet that is just one component.  I am feeling really good about our stage of life and am so glad we took a month off to get there.

ollieWhen we returned the first thing I did was whip up about 20 dozen chocolate chip cookies and bake a brisket for 12 hours.  We were getting up the next morning for parents weekend and the day called for a picnic on the hill.  I prepared the picnic that night and the next morning.  Not only did we see Emily and Josh but Jessica was up there the day before and left Ollie for us to take home.  Jessica took Ollie for the past month.  That was huge.  We picked him up, had a picnic, saw the kids, drove back to the city, attempted to get back on NYC time, dealt with mail for the past month and made dinner to have Jessica over.

On one hand it seems like we never left but there is no doubt that we did.

another day in Paris

We have been coming to Paris pretty consistently every year if not a few times a year since we lived here with the family for an entire month in July 2008.  It was an incredible summer and was in many ways transformative in regards to the entire families love for Paris but also it took our love of travel to a different level.  What we have noticed as we are walking around Paris is the change of some of the neighborhoods.   The Marais has spread just like Soho did in the late 80’s.  The 6th has more art museums than it ever did before.  It is interesting to see cities grow and change which is something I enjoy doing in NY.

We spent one day in the Marais just going to galleries.  I actually saw in one of them a piece of paper with a map of all of the ones part of an association in the area.  I had never seen that before.  Most of them are open Tues-Sat from 10/11-6/7.   Here are just a few highlights.

galerietempltoGalerie Templon has been a fixture of the Paris art scene for I believe 40 years.  We bought a piece from the gallery at the Pier show this past year so I wanted to stop by and essentially say hello.  They carry more mature artists almost like the Pace does in NYC.  Both of these galleries have galleries across the globe.  The current exhibit in Paris is Anthony Caro, an British sculpture artist who is nearing 80.

jimdineWe also went in the back and saw this piece that will be in the Jim Dine exhibit coming up next.  It is an incredible piece.  This photo does not do it justice.

pharmacieThis is Yves Bélorgey from gallery Xippas.  We love this drawing!  This was a purchase we had to make.

dogs in the living roomFarid Rasulov, Dogs in the Living Room.  A serious installation with fabric everywhere and ceramic white dogs sitting around.

lunchWe shook things up this time and went to Broken Arm for lunch instead of our usual Japanese spot at Marche Enfant Rouges.  This salad was fantastic.  Dorade ceviche with ginger and lemon dressing underneath slices of avocado and small cubes of butternut squash tossed with cilantro.  So good!

gallerie thadesuSome of the gallery spaces are expansive.  Most of them are tucked inside courtyards.  This is at Thaddaeus Ropac.

archThis is at the Topographie de L’art.  This particular exhibit was all about architecture.  We really liked this arch set in the middle of the room.

wim delGalerie Perrotin, Wim Delvoye.  Really conceptual artist.  There were several rooms and this was one of them.

we boughtGalerie Cinema had a Paris/New York exhibit from Cédric Klapisch.  We loved the two of these photos next to each other and picked them up for our collection.  Chambers St subway on the top and Palais Royale on the bottom.

parispieceWe picked this up too from Galerie Photo 12 from the artist Eric de Ville.  We had gone to a few other galleries but these were the highlights.

notredameWe continued to walk back to our hotel.  I had to take a picture of the line of people waiting to get into Notre Dame.  The summer we came for a month we went to see Notre Dame too.  The 5 of us just walked in the front door without even noticing the line.  It wasn’t until that we walked out that we noticed a line all the way around the building.  We got a good laugh out of that.  I am surprised nobody said anything as we all waltzed right in.  Those NYers!

shrimp cevicheFor dinner we went to Semilla.  Very open airy restaurant with a big open kitchen which is always fun to watch the chefs prepare.  We started with a shrimp ceviche.

fig:meatAnd a carpaccio of figs (tis the season) and dried meat on top.  Really creative.

fishFor dinner we had the fish a la plancha with fresh vegetables, tomatoes and white beans.

lambAnd the lamb wrapped in fat and stuffed with a lamb sausage and eggplant caponata with chickpeas on the side.  The food was beautifully prepared.  We strolled home and called it a night.  Exhaustion had set in.

Paris, paris, paris

We got up and basically walked until we dropped.  Mondays in Paris are not as bad as Sundays but many things are closed.  We opted for a shopping day which is always a treat in Paris.  Fred is a trooper and happy to come along.  A full morning of events in and around St. Honore before heading to lunch.

costeThis area is not the easiest to find a good lunch place.  One of the few I do like is at the Hotel Costes where the entire courtyard is filled with tables and very chic people.  Makes for great people watching and the food is quite good too.

omeletteThe key for us right now is simple.  I had poached salmon and spinach on the side.  Fred had this beautiful egg white open faced omelette.

palais royalFred had a call ( yes reality has begun to call ) and I continued to walk down to the Palais Royale where construction still remains for the last few years.  Looking forward to that being complete.

We had dinner that night at an old fave, Le Severo.  Owned by a butcher who opted to open a restaurant.  The steaks a fantastic and so are the frites.  I was shocked that the gentleman helping out that evening spoke a few words of English because the owner only speaks French.  I was prepared with the appropriate saying such as bleu (still breathing) or saignant (rare) on how we like our steak prepared and if we wanted the bavette (skirt steak) or entrecote (rib eye).  The key here is really ordering the steak one degree less than you normally would.

We walked home and could not have been happier.

Leaving the Loire Valley and getting to Paris

chateauWe felt like we should see another Chateau before bolting out of the region.  We went to the town of Blois where the Chateau de Blois sits smack in the middle of town.  This town is not touristy but quite large and beautiful.  If you are doing Chateaus this is the town to pick.

JEANNE d'ARCJeanne d’Arc made Chateau Blois her base of operations in the 1400s.

stairsThere are several buildings.  I thought this outdoor staircase was amazing.  If you think about how many stores, restaurants and homes who have used this circular staircase well perhaps the idea started here.

chateaubuildingHere is one of the buildings.

ceilingThis the ceiling inside that building.

cuisinedebarWe got our fill and drove to Paris.  We dropped off our stuff and immediately went to eat lunch at one of our favorite haunts, Cuisine de Bar.  It was like coming home.  The whole family loves this place.  Simple tartines, a green salad, a glass of wine and honestly you can not go wrong.

It was Sunday and France still sticks to the rule that Sunday is a day for doing nothing so very little is open.  We walked around a bit and went back to our hotel for a little rest.  We are staying at Hotel Bel Ami.  Never stayed here before and kind of sorry we haven’t.  Very happy here.  Great staff, good rooms, great wifi and the location is perfect.

japWe went out for Japanese for dinner.  What a joy.  The restaurant was delicious.  Started with a salad, tuna with caviar and yellowtail carpaccio with yuzu.  I forgot to take pics of the rest of the meal which was just sushi.  It was perfect.

eifWe walked back across the bridge through the Louvre grounds and took this terrible picture of the Eiffel Tower.  Happy to be in Paris.

Next stop Loire Valley

morning bordeauxThe light is just amazing in this region of France.  In Bordeaux the sun is just waking up around 8am.  This is from our window.  Clouds hang so low here that you honestly feel like if you can touch them.  It is beautiful.

store in bordaeuxOn the way out of Bordeaux we stopped in a shop that had everything from everywhere  It was an incredible store.  Really wonderful selection of liquors too.  It was MOUTH in France.

patitisseries in the townOur next stop was the Loire Valley for good wines and castles.  On the way there we stopped in a little town for a quick bite.  Did not look interesting at all but in France you pretty much can not go wrong at any Patisserie.  It was the call.  We had a small quiche, a apple open faced tart, two small pigs in a blanket and decided we should take an eclair for the road.

chteauWe stopped in the town of Amboise to see Chauteau Amboise before getting to our hotel.  Quite the touristy town.  My guess is the chateau is the key to the economic survival of this place.  The more you read about the kings and queens who lived in these chateaus around the 15th century you realize that they were not particularly nice people.  Definitely staying in power was the key to life.

chapel:leonardo di vinciThis chapel is on the premises and Leonardo di Vinci is buried there so that is kind of cool.

We then proceeded to go to our hotel, Domaine des Hauts de Loire.  Finding a really nice place in this area is not so easy.  This is not the answer although it did change hands three months ago so perhaps the new owner will renovate, put in new beds, fix the wifi and I’d even be so bold as to say get a new chef.

loire valleyThe location is about 30 minutes from anything so when we checked in we realized that we would be eating dinner at the restaurant twice.  Hmmm.  The restaurant has a 2 Michelin star.  Here is the thing that we have come to realize about the Michelin star.  The “gastronomic” concept seems to mean that as a chef you can make the plate beautiful, you can use science to create interesting sauces or foams and you can create your own dishes.  That is all a good thing but if it doesn’t taste good why are they getting stars?  Fred and I have decided we would be delighted to take on the role of judging restaurants for stars.  We feel like we would be much more critical than the places we have been to that actually got a star.  The key is supposedly to be delicious food, yes?

When dinner was over and we realized that we would have to eat another meal here and stay another night and we each came to the quick conclusion that we can’t stay here another night here.  I called our place in Paris to see if they could take us the next night.  Phew they could.  For us, being in Paris is like being home so as we wind down we will stay somewhere that we know and love.  Paris here we come.

St. Emilion

We got up in the morning and went back to Rue Notre Dame which we had scurried out of yesterday before the rain fell.  Had breakfast at a small patisserie, read the paper and walked the streets as the store began to open.

notredame in bordeauxThis is why the street is called Notre Dame.

lilyblakeThere is a mix of store from clothing, Lily Blake.

odesignHome stores,  O Design.

antiqueshopsAn abundance of vintage/antique stores.  After we had out fill we drove to St. Emilion to spend the day in one area of the Bordeaux region and try some wine.

st.emilion squareThe town is old and charming mostly filled with bakeries, restaurants and wine shops.  Lots of wine shops!

steepleThis steeple overlooks the town.

canalesCanele shops everywhere.

We had lunch at L’Envers Du Decor.  There are three areas to eat in this restaurant.  There is the back which is very dark and warm.  There is the bright and sunny front room and then there is the garden.  I asked to sit in the garden and even up front but they were adamant we were in the back.  Some ridiculous reason and they pushed us to only one menu.  Ends up in the front and in the garden you can order a la carte.  Note to self when I come back…and I will.  Don’t sit in the dungeon.

gaudetThe highlight of the afternoon is a private tour at Chateau Gaudet.  Their grapes sit on the edge of town and where they make the wine is in town about a 3 minute walk from lunch.

Our guide was Vince, who is part of the family that purchased these vineyards around 200 years ago.  He was wonderful.  He talks about making wine as he is giving you his philosophy on life.  The two are the same.  How he decides when the grapes are ready to be picked?  It is about the taste of the grape, the crunch of the seeds in his mouth.  As the season comes to head he checks daily and as he said “sometimes doing nothing is doing something”.

grapemachineThey make about 25,000 bottles a year.  It is an old school winery.  This is the machine where the grapes come in and they have 6 people overlooking the process including Vince.  They look for bad grapes and pull them out as they come shaking down the funnel.  This machine was only acquired in 1990.

barrelsHere is where the barrels sit until they are ready to bottled.  About 18 months.  I learned this.  The Dutch shipped the barrels to the UK hundreds of years ago.  They shipped them in 225 liter barrels which equal 300 bottles.  They measured the cargo space on a boat and the rooms could fit 50 barrels evenly in this size.  That is why wine bottles at 750ml.  All business and math.

bottlesinthecaveThe wines are kept underground in a limestone cellar.  The entire town sits on limestone.  There is a section that was cut off years ago where his Grandfather hid the wines from the Germans.  The wines are just stacked up by hand with dates on them.

chateauWe then tasted a few of the wines.  Vince talked about the bottles.  Sometimes when you open a bottle and the wine is like when you get up in the morning you can be grumpy.  It takes awhile to wake up.  Sometimes you just need a shower or even a cup of coffee.  You are the same person but you have come to life.  That is how wine is.  It is impressive how long this family business has continued to survive.  Their own grapes, their own wine making and their own sales.  Another bit of knowledge.  When the aged wine is put back into the large vat to ready for bottling they would add egg whites so that all the bitter tannins would fall to the bottom.  So what did they do with all the egg yolks?  They made caneles.  Preserving every item that they had in those days.  Hence all the canele shops.  Quite genius.

carWe then drove around St. Emilion before going back to Bordeaux for dinner.  I am pretty sure we have a similar picture in Napa when I was pregnant with Jessica 23 years ago.

operahouseforadrinkDrinks at the Opera House before dinner.  A beautiful room with windows open everywhere so you can feel the breeze and hear the city.

Our dinner was at Bistro Gabriel which was fine but certainly nothing to write home about.   It was a long time and it was our last night before making another move to the Loire Valley as we wind down the trip.


A day in Bordeaux

parkWe got up in the morning and began our day.  It was beautiful outside although rain was coming later in the afternoon.  We strolled through the park and walked over to the Centre of Contemporary Visual Arts.

museumThe physical museum is amazing.  The installations were all cutting edge contemporary art.

rooftopwhiterocksWe walked all the up to the roof where they have a little cafe.  Worth the walk up there.  One on side is an installation called White Rock Line by Richard Long.

rooftop rocksOn the other side is the Grey Rock Line.

fred gettingthruPeople were definitely smaller when they built this building.  Fred couldn’t even get out without bending down.

marketWe got on the tram and got off near the Marche des Capucins.  Their open air daily greenmarket.  It is really old school and very cool.

herbmanThis is the herb man.

herbmanmoreHere is the other side of more herbs.  If I were in NYC I would have taken one of each home with me.

butterstrawberryjamYou know you are back in France when you see a fridge with just massive butter and a huge tub of beautiful strawberry jam.

oystersWe sat down in one of the restaurants inside the market and had some oysters.  Elderly guy just sits there and shucks.  So great!

fernandThen we walked over to the area called Fernand LaFargue.  Lots of great shops and cafes on small windy streets.

herbshopLoved this spice shop.  They carried everything from curries to vanilla sticks to oregano.

potterThis guy had a kiln and potters wheel inside and was filled with his own ceramics.

lerayonLe Rayon Frais is a mens concept shop.  Very cool stuff.

conceptshopThis was another mens shop.  Very fresh.

garageplaceWe got back on the tram and made our way out to Le Garage Moderne.  This was wild.   This is still a full service car shop and also a bike and motorcycle shop but half of it is open up for art showings.  Many of the shops are using old buses as their offices.  This entire area is going through a huge transformation.  There is a large art gallery being built down the street and several very large apartment building complexes.  Come back in a year and this place will be a very different neighborhood.

othershopBack on the tram and we got off in the Chatrons area.  We were looking for something light to eat but was 2pm no one was serving lunch anymore. Very different than Spain where 2pm is about lunch time.  This area is about 15 large blocks from the La Garage Moderne area.  In between there are some large buildings that have been erected on the waterfront and some have new shops in them and others are still vacant and not yet finished.  Eventually these neighborhoods will just blend into the other.  Right now this area is just a few streets with stores and shops.

epicureshopsWe finally found a place to feed us.  They have a restaurant on the right side of the street and an epicure shop on the left.  They go back and forth in between them for food.  Super cute.

saladlunchWe had two specials of the day to split.  A shaved zucchini, arugula, smoked mozzarella salad with olive oil which was just perfect.

lunchmoreA glass filled with tartare of tomato, eggplant and a huge scoop of ricotta cheese.  Italian place.

chocolatehspWe were going to hit up the shops but the thunder and big ominous black clouds set in so we scurried back to the tram and went to the area where our hotel was.  I want to return to this area tomorrow before heading out of town to see St. Emilion.  It didn’t rain yet so we walked into this incredible chocolate shop around the corner from our hotel.  You serve yourself and these are house made treats vs Hersheys kisses!

hatstoreLike Paris, there are covered alleys in between buildings where stores are.  Always love a good hat store.  Got one for summer and one for rain.  Might come in handy later this afternoon.  Back to the hotel for a little relaxation before dinner.

sardinesDinner was at Petit Commerce.  We walked down to the restaurant passing many shops and other restaurants.  The food there is
simple grilled fish.  We had sardines, cuttlefish and a whole fish for two.  It was perfect.

hotelAfterward we walked back to our hotel and sat outside at a cafe and had an after dinner drink.  The city was humming.

beatlemanWe listened to the local musician play tunes from the Beatles.  Nothing loud all melodic.  It was truly a perfect evening.

Sometimes plans change

biaritzI have been in this movie with Fred more times than I’d care to admit.  Good thing is that I know how it ends.  I knew that Fred was not psyched about the last week of our journey.  As much as he had this romantic notion of driving through the countryside of Europe it is not always that romantic.  Sometimes there are beautiful sweeping views and other times it is merely a highway.  Some of the drives are long.  I saw this coming.

I got up the last morning of our time in San Sebastian all ready to pack it up and drive towards Portugal.  Here is the gist of the conversation.

F – I really do not want to drive anymore.  Well maybe we could regroup and fly?

Me – Fly?  We have a car that we have to drop off so how is that happening?

F- We would have to drive somewhere and drop it off and then get on a plane and then take two flights to get to Portugal.

Me – Not happening.

F -Oh look it is going to rain all week in Portugal.  How about we make a right instead of a left and drive up to Bordeaux, Loire Valley and then end in Paris by car.  Please.

Then I get on the phone and the computer and find places to stay.  We are booked in about 10 minutes in two hotels and I have extended our 2 day finale in Paris to four days.  Fred could not be happier.  I honestly could care less.

We drive up the coast towards Biarritz France.  An absolutely adorable beach town where surfing is abundant.  We pulled into the center of town, had lunch, and continued towards Bordeaux still listening to the Boys in The Boat and wondering if it will ever end.

rainbowBordeaux is wonderful.  The city is a UNESCO World Heritage site.  It is amazing that all the buildings are still intact from the 1700’s.  It is old, beautiful and happening.  We got into our room and it starts to pour outside.  Here is the aftermath.  Maybe it is a sign from the gods we made the right choice.

castle?We walked over to dinner at La Tupina.  Kind of love a town where you can check in and get into your restaurant of choice in under two hours.   Check out this amazing arc entering into one area of the city.

fountainA gorgeous fountain on our walk too.

latulipaLa Tupina was packed.  I kind of want to come back here in the winter.  Love the rotisserie fireplace.

chickenSupposedly this place is one of the best bistros in the world.  Not sure I believe it but the food was simple and just fine.  Had my rotisserie Brest chicken and that was all I needed.

Looking forward to exploring Bordeaux tomorrow.

Bilbao and back to San Sebastian

bilbaoWe drove up to Bilbao this morning to check out the Guggenheim museum.  Have to admit it was pretty awesome having my membership card with me and we were able to just walk right in.   The museum was opened in 1997 transforming the city of Bilbao into a cultural destination.  The city was a declining industrial town and  to revitalize the town they worked with the Guggenheim to create a new art museum.  It worked.  I have zero idea what the city looked like pre-1997 but it is obviously burgeoning now.

Frank Gehry is the architect of this amazing structure.  I have many issues with architects and so I came with no expectations.  I was blown away by the building.  I’d love to know how the thought process went through this project.  The rooms are large airy and are lit with care.  As wonderful as the exhibits were today it was the physical building that I was in awe over.

Home-Small-Georges-Braque-Naturaleza-Muerta-4824x3984-560x462Unfortunately the third floor was closed where they house the permanent collection.  The second floor was an exhibit of George Braque to mark the 50th anniversary of his death.  He was one of the creators of cubism.  I have always thought he was second fiddle when it came to his friend Pablo Picasso.  It is hard to pull ahead of one of the greatest artists of all time.  The curation of the exhibit was great and like Miro, who we saw earlier this week, it is amazing how much new work with a new eye he was able to produce towards the end of his life.

seraI love Richard Serra.  Have made a point to see his work wherever we are and whenever Serra is being shown.   This is a permanent exhibit of the museum so the room it is housed in was built for the work.  I would guess that this room is over 250 feet long if not longer.  In the back there is a small room that shows videos and physical renderings of the thought process being this installation.  It is just awesome.

insidebilbaoThis photo is from the center of the building on the first floor looking up.  It as if the rooms were laid out first and then Gehry built around them thinking of light and space.

holzerJenny Holzer also has a permanent installation that can be seen from the first and second floors.  This picture does not do it justice.

My favorite installation of the day is called The Visitors.  The Guggenheim built a room that is dedicated to film and video.  They engaged Ragnar Kjartansson, an Icelandic performance artist who has visited Rokeby Farm in update NY many times over the years so that is where this piece was made.  He assembled a group of friends and filmed nine separate recordings, each of them by themselves are in different parts of the house (although they can all hear each other through headphones) singing lyrics based on a poem written by Ásdís Sif Gunnarsdóttir and musical arrangements by the artist and Davíð Þór Jónsso.  Some are on instrument only, others sing and play an instrument.  There is one group that is on the back porch of the large home on the property mostly just singing along.   When all these are put together in this large room, you hear the music which is like Indie melodic and you pass each video and watch each performer yet they are all on one stage yet they are not.  It is one of the most amazing installations I have ever seen.  We absolutely loved it.  You can get a feel for the whole thing on this video above.  Worth the ten minute watch.

steps on the sidebilbaoThe museum is amazing.  Even these stairs on the side are sloped just perfectly.  Outside there are a variety of large sculptures including a few from Jeff Koons.  Still thinking about the place.

mushroomeggThen we made our way back to San Sebastian for our final go at the tapas.  This is from Bar Zerko that is a little more innovative vs. your classic tapas.  This is chopped mushrooms with a fried egg over the top and a butter sauce on the side.  Pretty damn good.

seaurchinWe could have done a lot more damage at Zerko but we had other places we wanted to try.  So we just had the sea urchin.  Sea urchin on the bottom with a melted cheese over the top and little crunchy pieces of bread inside.  Really different.

boblimonWe ordered this in many ways by mistake but it was suggested and we did not realize it was dessert.  No worries we were able to return to our savory feast as we continued on our walk.  This is called Bob Limon.  A sweet yogurt topped with an oozing ball of fruit sauce that has a hint of passion fruit in it.  A touch of chocolate down the middle of the plate and a spongy tower that was like sponge cake.  Mix it all together and it is a winner.

cheesecakesThen we wandered over to Bar La Vina known for its cheesecake.  Here they are lined up for the taking.

cheesecakeBy baking them like this the ends are just a little burnt.  The cakes are so moist and creamy.  Amazing.

boq and octoBefore our cheesecake we had boquerones and octopus that had been marinated in vinegar.  I love these dishes.  So simple.

peppersWe also had a plate of hot peppers.

olivepickleOur next stop was A Fuego Negro where they supposedly plays hip hop but not while we were there which was a drag.  Each vibe is different in each place and this one felt a little touristy.  We had a stick of olives and spicy peppers which was quite good.

pickleplateI also got a pickle plate because I couldn’t help myself.  Rick would be happy.  It was ok not great.  Alas.

galleryWe had enough of the food and walked over to Elkain Arte Lanak.  It is really the one gallery in town.  It is located in a basement.  The front room is a revolving installation of new artists and the back room is a mixture of local artists.

purchasesI bought these three pieces.  Two sculptures and a photo.  It is being sent and I hope I love it as much as I did after drinking a few glasses of white wine in the afternoon with our divine tapas.

Siesta time!