Wednesday, July 28, 2004

Juicy Sweeeeeeet!

(In which Lurid is mocked unmercifully.)

So a few days ago me, Lurid Archive and our friend A. were in this restauraunt in Barceloneta*, see? It's my favourite eatery for a numbert of reasons. One, it has really awesome food at about half what you'd pay on the main tourist drag round the corner: tasty, perfectly cooked and lots of it. Two, it is one of the grooviest-looking places in town, being done out with footie pix, images of tiny fluffy kittens, a fishing net on the ceiling with little witch dollies hung off it, a huge red meat-locker of WINE ect. Three: the orujo there is fabulous.

So anyway, there we all were. The menĂº that day consisted of various starters followed by the main attraction: choice of paella or arroz negro. (Arroz negro, my children, is rice cooked with nummy bits of dead seabeast and cuttlefish ink, hence the being black. In the touristy restauraunts they also add shedloads of food dye, so it looks more like it was cooked in engine oil. )

I am now back on the seabeast, but I plumped for a salad and a selection of tapas. Lurid and A. go for a menĂº with a huge heap of mussles to kick off and the black rice for a main.

This, as I have said, was not a touristy restaurauraunt. The Arroz arrives, and it looks so very good I almost** regret my salad'n'tapas. Unlike most places, which rely on the exoticism of the whole "Look! BLACK FOOD!" thing to carry the day, they had not stinted on the bits of actual fish. The whole was more sepia than actually black.

All of which threw Lurid, who called the chef back to check that this was the arroz negro and not the paella.

I don't think I've ever heard a chef growl before.

My Castilliano isn't good enough to properly render the stream of ire that followed, but here's the gist: "What? What? Of course it's the arroz negro! What's wrong with it? I cooked it myself! My arroz negro is the best! It's the best in Barcelona!" He shouted some things about cuttlefish ink, then he stormed off into the kitchen for a breather.

During the lull I explained to Lurid about the food dye and the abscence thereof and A. giggled. Then the chef re-emerged with his dudgeon unabated. By this time he'd abandoned reason in favour of English. "Black, black, what is black? It's a stupid colour! A colour for tourists who don't know better!"

Lurid by this time was practically prostrating himself in apology, but the chef was having none of it. He continued to tear strips off Lurid for awhile, then rounded on the table behind us. "What about you, eh?" he demanded of the terrified and boggling diners. "Is your food all right? Any complaints?"

They squeaked their approval of the food. Unmollified, the chef stalked round the room, glowering and snarling (and when I say snarling, I mean it literally; he was making a noise which can best be rendered as "SNHGGGRRRRRR!"). Then he put the football on, with much noisemaking to the effect that if the patrons didn't like it we could lump it.

I didn't stop giggling till well into desert. I have to say that my tarta Santiago was just a smidgen on the dry side, but was I going to complain?

Best. Seafood restauraunt. Ever.

*Barceloneta: former fishing village, now part of Barcelona proper, where you go for to eat tasty fishes.


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