Monday, May 23, 2011

The breakfast of couch potatoes

In Noia, Galicia, Spain, there's a stand that makes nothing but churros. There's always a large bowl of the most-recent batch of sizzling dough.

Churros y chocolate might actually be less healthy than a big bowl of Count Chocula. This breakfast favorite is constructed from a paste of flour and sugar that is deep-fried in oil. So far, it's just junk food, right?

Then it's served with what you'd think is hot chocolate, since it's hot, and it's chocolate, and it's served in a cup. And though it's treated as a dunking beverage for the churros, it's less a drink and more a sauce. It's thick, and dark, and it wouldn't be out of place drizzled on a hot fudge sundae.

If the fried dough and the sugar dunk aren't diet-busting enough, the portions will do you in. The donut portion of the dish is equivalent to about three unraveled fried crullers. The chocolate portion would cover a prize-winning banana split. All to get your day going.

It all tastes yummy, though, and you get a perverse pleasure out of not cleaning your plate. You simply can't.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Nibbling at the Death Coast

The northwestern corner of Spain is known as the Costa de Morte, or Death Coast, in the region of Galicia. This rocky shore of the Atlantic has swallowed up many fishing vessels over the centuries. It's appropriate we do some swallowing in return.

Galicia's many treasures include octopus, which is tenderized and cooked, then seasoned with olive oil, salt and paprika. It's called pulpo a fiera, but it really isn't spicy. The other dish here is razor clams, called navajas.

Many eateries offer a course called rationes, which roughly means portions. The conventional tapas constitute smaller portions of these dishes.

We expected that these dishes would simply have been an afternoon snack, but this twilight interlude made it largely possible to circumvent dinner altogether that night.

There are about a dozen dishes that show up on the rationes menus in most places, and our plan is to run out of species of fish before we run out of Death Coast.

Friday, May 6, 2011

The wedding is over. Let’s eat.

Our return to the UK wasn’t predicated upon the royal calendar, just on the arrival of the merry month of May. After a restless overnight flight, your body simply doesn’t know what meal makes sense. For me, that’s a great time for sausages, which work any time of day.

What struck me about this pub dish was the presentation. First, the notion of making the dish attractive – for the poster child of pub grub – was a surprise. And the presentation was appealing, even to my half-closed eyes. Second, I just don’t imagine cabbage to be a garnish on a lovely dish, but there it is.

Fit for a future king. Now get some sleep.