If you can believe we ate after La Moraga, well, we did. It would be a light bite, we rationalized, just some jamon and cheese and wine.
Riiigggght. Spaniards might be tapas-land, but I don’t think the word “light” exists in their culinary repertoire.
Cris, his lovely wife Nadia and their 5-month old son Charlie took us to their local spot. The lights, as with most Spanish restaurants, were flourescent-sunshine bright. A couple of men stood at the bar watching futbol, drinking wine and smoking. A large family, down to the baby cooing her stroller, were having dinner. Everyone except for the kids smoked. Oh yes, I had forgotten that there are places, many places, where people smoke indoors. I had also forgotten that Spaniards do everything with their kids. On numerous occasions we would find ourselves sitting down to eat around 9pm, and there would be a family next to us, blithely smoking and eating and playing with their children. It’s kind of cool, and hilarious when you strike that against American standards of smoking indoors, with your kids, eating past 8pm.
So we went traditional. Eggs loosely scrambled with scallions and bacon, braised oxtail, fried pork cutlets (this was disappointing- tough as shoe leather and aside from copious amounts of garlic, parsely and oil, flavorless), patatas fritas.
We finished with classic flan and a dessert, leche frita or fried milk, that is great like french toast: the milk gets the consistency of soaked bread, and its sweetness from cinnamon, butter and a caramelized sugar. The Spanish do like to fry everything, and kudos to the Spaniard who successfully fried milk (hint: it’s done with sugar, eggs and flour).