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Tapas, Cuban Style

I got a call about a belly-dance party in Spring Valley. I'm sure my neighbors heard my car tires burn rubber. When I arrived, the place was SRO. I found space in the kitchen with the food and booze. I didn't have a problem with that.

I glanced at the couple next to me, who looked familiar. The guy resembled the actor from Beauty and the Beast . Though I knew it could be dangerous, I told him. "Yeah, I hear that all the time," he said. "When my wife and I went to Aerosmith in L.A., everyone thought I was him. Maybe that's because in L.A. they are more used to seeing stars. My wife wanted to tell people she was my personal assistant."

This couple told me that I looked familiar and we soon realized where we had met. I wrote about a party they hosted on top of a building downtown.

As we were talking, an Asian woman kept walking over to get drinks. The fourth time she came in, I said, "You're drinking everything." She said, "Oh, I try a little of this and a little of that." When I saw her later, she said, "I wanted water. But there is none. So, I had to settle for a beer."

I went for a piece of cake that I saw in the living room and overheard someone say, "Man, I want to see some cobras coming out of baskets." His friend replied, "I want to see some younger belly dancers. Don't get me wrong, the ones here are hot, but I want to see a few younger ones."

They looked at me and asked, "Do you agree?" I said, "Hey, I want to see some chocolate cake, and I see some. I'm happy."

Since I brought a date with me, I knew better than to discuss the belly dancers. When I rejoined my date, however, she was talking to a guy. He told her that he sings Middle Eastern songs. When my date told him that she belly dances, he said, "Give me your card, maybe we can work together." I was standing ten feet away and said, "Hey, that's a great line, dude. Especially at a party like this." He insisted that he really was a singer, but my date rolled her eyes.

I believed the guy but gave him a hard time. I was told that he'd been asking belly dancers for pictures for his business. When one of the dancers said she thought that was odd, he said in defense, "No, I only work with professionals, so I need to see the photos." I wondered why, if he's looking at them, he needed photos. Shouldn't he have asked to see their moves?

One dancer asked me what I thought of the dances. "They're enjoyable, but I kind of feel awkward watching. I don't want them thinking I'm a perv." She said, "Just keep your eyes north, and they won't feel that way." I said, "What if I take out a dollar bill and try to put it in her outfit?"

I was talking to one guy who lost a cousin in Iraq. We talked about the war and then I asked him for details about his cousin. "A sniper got him in the neck. He was wearing full body armor. That was the only area that wasn't covered."

There were chocolate bars that everyone was raving about. As I tried one and commented about how good they were, someone said, "I know the recipe...I brought them." He turned over the tray, which read, "Chris's Famous Chocolate Truffle Bar Chews." There was a list of ingredients on the bottom.

We had a bit of a debate. I said "That's not the recipe. That's just a list of the things in the bars." He said, "Well, isn't that the same thing?" I said, "Maybe to most people. But I can't cook. So, a recipe would show me how hot the oven has to be...how much sugar I need to put in...things like that." He shook his head and said, "It's the same thing." He walked away and a woman came over and said, "I'm putting five of those in a bag to take home with me."

I talked to a guy named Steve who was a neighbor of the person throwing this party. He told me about his girlfriend's daughter Tiffany, who was runner-up to Miss San Diego. We talked about beauty pageants, and I brought up the movie Little Miss Sunshine and how it shows some of the lengths parents go to for their kids. He told me that there are parents who force their kids into things when the kids are too young. He added that Tiffany was 20.

I said, "I always thought high heels during the swimsuit portion are ridiculous. And, if this is Miss San Diego they were vying for, they should've worn flip-flops."

He told me that when Tiffany was in Vegas, she won "Miss Snow." We laughed about all the blond hair and blue eyes you see in pageants when he told me, "Yeah, she's black and she's Miss Snow ."

When I talked to Tiffany's mother about pageants, she said "Hey, keep in mind you're talking to a pageant mother. You can't get negative."

When I saw Tiffany dancing, I asked her mom if Tiffany could do other forms of dance. "Oh, yeah. She does hip-hop and R&B...tap. She does ballet, too."

A few hours later, my date asked if I was okay to drive -- she had been drinking. I said, "Yeah, I only had two glasses of wine." Someone said to us, "Hey, we were going to open this bottle of champagne. You have to have a glass." When he poured the bubbly into a red plastic cup, my date and I made our way to the door. I said, "Maybe I have had too much to drink. That knife looks like it's broken."

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I got a call about a belly-dance party in Spring Valley. I'm sure my neighbors heard my car tires burn rubber. When I arrived, the place was SRO. I found space in the kitchen with the food and booze. I didn't have a problem with that.

I glanced at the couple next to me, who looked familiar. The guy resembled the actor from Beauty and the Beast . Though I knew it could be dangerous, I told him. "Yeah, I hear that all the time," he said. "When my wife and I went to Aerosmith in L.A., everyone thought I was him. Maybe that's because in L.A. they are more used to seeing stars. My wife wanted to tell people she was my personal assistant."

This couple told me that I looked familiar and we soon realized where we had met. I wrote about a party they hosted on top of a building downtown.

As we were talking, an Asian woman kept walking over to get drinks. The fourth time she came in, I said, "You're drinking everything." She said, "Oh, I try a little of this and a little of that." When I saw her later, she said, "I wanted water. But there is none. So, I had to settle for a beer."

I went for a piece of cake that I saw in the living room and overheard someone say, "Man, I want to see some cobras coming out of baskets." His friend replied, "I want to see some younger belly dancers. Don't get me wrong, the ones here are hot, but I want to see a few younger ones."

They looked at me and asked, "Do you agree?" I said, "Hey, I want to see some chocolate cake, and I see some. I'm happy."

Since I brought a date with me, I knew better than to discuss the belly dancers. When I rejoined my date, however, she was talking to a guy. He told her that he sings Middle Eastern songs. When my date told him that she belly dances, he said, "Give me your card, maybe we can work together." I was standing ten feet away and said, "Hey, that's a great line, dude. Especially at a party like this." He insisted that he really was a singer, but my date rolled her eyes.

I believed the guy but gave him a hard time. I was told that he'd been asking belly dancers for pictures for his business. When one of the dancers said she thought that was odd, he said in defense, "No, I only work with professionals, so I need to see the photos." I wondered why, if he's looking at them, he needed photos. Shouldn't he have asked to see their moves?

One dancer asked me what I thought of the dances. "They're enjoyable, but I kind of feel awkward watching. I don't want them thinking I'm a perv." She said, "Just keep your eyes north, and they won't feel that way." I said, "What if I take out a dollar bill and try to put it in her outfit?"

I was talking to one guy who lost a cousin in Iraq. We talked about the war and then I asked him for details about his cousin. "A sniper got him in the neck. He was wearing full body armor. That was the only area that wasn't covered."

There were chocolate bars that everyone was raving about. As I tried one and commented about how good they were, someone said, "I know the recipe...I brought them." He turned over the tray, which read, "Chris's Famous Chocolate Truffle Bar Chews." There was a list of ingredients on the bottom.

We had a bit of a debate. I said "That's not the recipe. That's just a list of the things in the bars." He said, "Well, isn't that the same thing?" I said, "Maybe to most people. But I can't cook. So, a recipe would show me how hot the oven has to be...how much sugar I need to put in...things like that." He shook his head and said, "It's the same thing." He walked away and a woman came over and said, "I'm putting five of those in a bag to take home with me."

I talked to a guy named Steve who was a neighbor of the person throwing this party. He told me about his girlfriend's daughter Tiffany, who was runner-up to Miss San Diego. We talked about beauty pageants, and I brought up the movie Little Miss Sunshine and how it shows some of the lengths parents go to for their kids. He told me that there are parents who force their kids into things when the kids are too young. He added that Tiffany was 20.

I said, "I always thought high heels during the swimsuit portion are ridiculous. And, if this is Miss San Diego they were vying for, they should've worn flip-flops."

He told me that when Tiffany was in Vegas, she won "Miss Snow." We laughed about all the blond hair and blue eyes you see in pageants when he told me, "Yeah, she's black and she's Miss Snow ."

When I talked to Tiffany's mother about pageants, she said "Hey, keep in mind you're talking to a pageant mother. You can't get negative."

When I saw Tiffany dancing, I asked her mom if Tiffany could do other forms of dance. "Oh, yeah. She does hip-hop and R&B...tap. She does ballet, too."

A few hours later, my date asked if I was okay to drive -- she had been drinking. I said, "Yeah, I only had two glasses of wine." Someone said to us, "Hey, we were going to open this bottle of champagne. You have to have a glass." When he poured the bubbly into a red plastic cup, my date and I made our way to the door. I said, "Maybe I have had too much to drink. That knife looks like it's broken."

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