22 November 2013

¡ Viva Las Vegas !

Our favourite local restaurant goes by the star-spangled name of "Las Vegas". Oh the glamour, the lights, the prawns! It never fails to entertain when you say, "I know, let’s go to Las Vegas for dinner". How extravagant! The food on offer at this culinary mecca to the stars is definitely not all glamour and flashing lights. More a single, non-energy bulb kinda glow. There's no molecular, pea-in-spit starter, no jus de framboise, no muddled or pulled anything. In fact, all they sell is good, simple food.

That's the great thing about most Spanish eateries, the food is simple. Consequently, the flavours aren't in constant strife with each other, they come through loud and clear and can indeed hold a conversation at a dinner table, so to speak. There's no overwhelming whiff of a mystery ingredient. You get what it says on the menu. Of course, this can be shocking to the uninitiated. You order fish, you get fish. If the chef is feeling a bit fancy that day, you may be treated to a limp lettuce leaf on the side, but in general, you'll just get a beautifully cooked bit of fish. Fantastic.

Apart from the delights of "chocolate mouse",  the Las Vegas menu also tries to tempt you with curious local dishes such as "migas". On many a menu this is translated rather directly as "crumbs". A plate of your best crumbs, please. It turns out "crumbs" is a mix of breadcrumbs, strangely, and lard. Some people, locals mainly, get very excited about their crumbs, but it's just not my cup of tea, I'll stick to the fish, gracias.

One thing I tried recently and did really like was ajo blanco. Again, like the beloved horchata, a slightly chalky texture, but this time not sweet but a touch vinegary and garlicy. It’s made of almonds, oil, vinegar and water, oh and a hint of garlic. I loved it, but can imagine other north europeans wouldn’t. I think it’s the colour. Where as horchata looks like dirty milk, ajo blanco looks like clean milk but certainly doesn’t taste of it. I think that’s the problem, it looks like milk so your brain has already told you, “that’s milk”, but surprise, it’s a sour garlic drink. Don’t put it in your tea.

Once you’ve managed to tell your brain, “don’t worry, I know it’s not milk, I’ll be fine”, you’ll be able to enjoy a pernod and water a la France, ajo blanco for lunch and a tasty horchata to cool down in the afternoon. My love of milky looking drinks however has never extended to Gaviscon. Although, I might need some at this rate. More crumbs anyone?
¡ Que aproveche !

No comments:

Post a Comment