Mérida, Spain has a long and rich history. Ancient ruins and objects are often found nestled against modern edifices. Excavation happens under and around more modern buildings. Our group of CCV students spent a day touring an ancient theatre, bridge, and circus.That evening we dined at Tabula Calda. We were treated to delicious cuisine made with mostly local ingredients–we were reminded of Vermont and the localvore movement! Manuel, the warm and funny owner, offered to take us on a tour of his restaurant; Julia Bardales and Chris Schepici volunteered their Spanish translation skills.
Fans of The Big Lebowski–El Gran Lebowski–immediately recognized the painting inspired by the characters played by Jeff Bridges and Sam Elliott. Several other paintings inspired by Hollywood legends and blockbusters adorn the walls of Tabula Calda. The painting of the Dude hangs over an ancient Roman archway. Tabula Calda was originally built by a wealthy family over 2,000 years ago to serve as their home. On a smaller scale, the restaurant resembles Mérida in that the old world spirit and architecture mingle with new world atmosphere and ephemera.