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tateharmann

Posts: 95
Joined: Mar. 12 2012
From: Minnesota, USA

I don't always drink coffee... 

But when I do, I prefer:



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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Feb. 17 2017 14:27:33
 
BarkellWH

Posts: 2913
Joined: Jul. 12 2009
From: Washington, DC

RE: I don't always drink coffee... (in reply to tateharmann

Having lived a total of eight years in Indonesia and Malaysia, I can attest to how good Sumatran coffee can be at its point of origin. There is a very flavorful (although quite expensive) coffee known in Malay and Indonesian as "Kopi Luwak." ("Luwak" is the Malay/Indonesian term for the Palm Civet, sometimes incorrectly called a "civet cat.") Kopi Luwak is made from coffee berries ingested by the Palm Civet, the beans of which are then excreted with the Palm Civet's feces and collected for processing as coffee beans. It is said that the flavor of these beans, and the resulting coffee made from them, is enhanced because the Palm Civet only chooses to ingest the finest coffee berries, as well as because of processes occurring in the digestive tract. It should be noted that Kopi Luwak refers to a method of processing coffee beans. It is not a "variety" of coffee.

Kopi Luwak is available in some shops in the United States, but one must be careful that one is purchasing the real thing. There are packages labeled "Kopi Luwak" that are not, in fact, the real thing, even though they may have been imported from Indonesia. (Shades of "genuine" Rolex watches one can purchase for $50 in Jakarta street markets.)

Bill

_____________________________

And the end of the fight is a tombstone white,
With the name of the late deceased,
And the epitaph drear, "A fool lies here,
Who tried to hustle the East."

--Rudyard Kipling
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Feb. 17 2017 15:12:47
 
estebanana

 

Posts: 7545
Joined: Oct. 16 2009
 

RE: I don't always drink coffee... (in reply to tateharmann

Civet coffee, good to the last drop.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Feb. 17 2017 16:10:52
 
tateharmann

Posts: 95
Joined: Mar. 12 2012
From: Minnesota, USA

RE: I don't always drink coffee... (in reply to estebanana

Haha oh man I've always wanted to try that stuff!!

Nothing better than a cafe con leche and some Vicente Amigo to start off your day, IMO ;)

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Feb. 17 2017 16:14:40
 
Piwin

Posts: 2533
Joined: Feb. 9 2016
 

RE: I don't always drink coffee... (in reply to tateharmann

I've been holding in a long rant on Spanish food (including coffee) for some time now. Spanish coffee + Spanish bread = grumpy Frenchman. Which means that grumpy Frenchman - Spanish bread = Spanish coffee, but I digress.
But I'm 3 glasses in (it's amazing how many things suddenly become edible with a reasonable dose of alcohol) and on my way to some flamenco so my discontent will have to wait.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Feb. 17 2017 17:48:29
 
Richard Jernigan

Posts: 2711
Joined: Jan. 20 2004
From: Austin, Texas USA

RE: I don't always drink coffee... (in reply to BarkellWH

quote:

ORIGINAL: BarkellWH

Having lived a total of eight years in Indonesia and Malaysia, I can attest to how good Sumatran coffee can be at its point of origin. There is a very flavorful (although quite expensive) coffee known in Malay and Indonesian as "Kopi Luwak." ("Luwak" is the Malay/Indonesian term for the Palm Civet, sometimes incorrectly called a "civet cat.") Kopi Luwak is made from coffee berries ingested by the Palm Civet, the beans of which are then excreted with the Palm Civet's feces and collected for processing as coffee beans.


Bill


I have only had kopi luwak in Indonesia, not having run across it elsewhere.

My regular order from the roaster is one pound each, whole bean, from Bali, Sulawesi and Sumatra.

But the way I brew it, with a filter, is not the same as kopi Bali on its home turf. There each cup has at least a quarter inch (6 mm) of sediment in the bottom of the cup when you finish it.

Spanish bread is, or at least used to be, so much better than American bread, that I was quite happy to eat it. The same was once the case with Mexican bread, but the Americanized Pan Bimbo and its relatives have steadily displaced real bread in Mexico .

Is there a Gresham's Law for bread? When American coins with no silver content began to appear, the silver ones promptly disappeared from circulation: bad money drives out good.

There was still real bread in Italy a year and a half ago.

RNJ
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Feb. 18 2017 17:00:08
 
BarkellWH

Posts: 2913
Joined: Jul. 12 2009
From: Washington, DC

RE: I don't always drink coffee... (in reply to Richard Jernigan

quote:

I have only had kopi luwak in Indonesia, not having run across it elsewhere.


It is produced only in Indonesia, and there only in Sumatra. Nevertheless, though rare (and expensive), one can occasionally find the real thing imported into the U.S.

Bill

_____________________________

And the end of the fight is a tombstone white,
With the name of the late deceased,
And the epitaph drear, "A fool lies here,
Who tried to hustle the East."

--Rudyard Kipling
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Feb. 18 2017 18:33:56
 
Richard Jernigan

Posts: 2711
Joined: Jan. 20 2004
From: Austin, Texas USA

RE: I don't always drink coffee... (in reply to Richard Jernigan

I should add that in Austin, you can actually buy real bread.

I have not made a direct comparison between bread in France and varieties bought from the local Texas French Bread in Austin, but I find it worth a slight detour to pick up a local loaf or baguette from time to time.

HEB is the largest grocery chain in Texas. I don't shop there regularly, but occasionally I go to the HEB Central Market here. It is a super size supermarket that caters to the local foodie culture. My nephew, whose management consulting firm has had a contract with HEB for about 20 years, once told me that the Central Market stores carried 19 varieties of apples. That may give you an idea of the size of the store and diversity of stock.

Once in a while I will stop by for a country style sourdough loaf from the on-site bakery and a bottle of New Zealand sauvignon blanc to go with seafood. They have a good selection of French, Italian and Spanish wines, but prices in the USA tend to steer me toward California reds.

The recent opening of "Total Wine" nearby may alter my habits slightly, since their prices are notably cheaper and their selection is even more comprehensive.

RNJ
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Feb. 18 2017 20:32:57
 
BarkellWH

Posts: 2913
Joined: Jul. 12 2009
From: Washington, DC

RE: I don't always drink coffee... (in reply to Richard Jernigan

quote:

The recent opening of "Total Wine" nearby may alter my habits slightly, since their prices are notably cheaper and their selection is even more comprehensive.


For decades I have had a copita of "Dry Sack" Amontillado Sherry as an aperitif before dinner. I usually buy six bottles at a time, as most places offer a ten percent discount with the purchase of six. I have made an interesting comparison in the Washington, DC area between the price of "Dry Sack" at "Total Wine" and the price at "Whole Foods." I would have thought that "Dry Sack" at "Total Wine" would be less expensive than at "Whole Foods," which is a high end emporium selling all kinds of sherry and port, as well as foodstuffs. But that is not the case. A bottle of "Dry Sack" at "Total Wine" is priced at $19.99, while at "Whole Foods" it is priced at $16.99. At another store I patronize specializing in a wide range of spirits and wine, "Dry Sack" was priced at $16.99.

Prices may vary depending on the market and other factors. In Austin, apparently "Total Wine" offers a cheaper alternative, but that clearly is not the case in the Washington, DC area, in which, at least in my experience, it is the more expensive alternative.

Bill

_____________________________

And the end of the fight is a tombstone white,
With the name of the late deceased,
And the epitaph drear, "A fool lies here,
Who tried to hustle the East."

--Rudyard Kipling
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Feb. 18 2017 21:13:54
 
Richard Jernigan

Posts: 2711
Joined: Jan. 20 2004
From: Austin, Texas USA

RE: I don't always drink coffee... (in reply to BarkellWH

Whole Foods originated in Austin. The first incarnation was a storefront on "The Drag" near the University. One prominent feature was a row of 20-gallon garbage cans--which never held garbage, as far as I know--that contained un-milled wheat, barley, corn, etc. sold in bulk. You could order a grist mill from the. Whole Earth Catalog (no relation) grind your own flour, start a sourdough culture, and you were ready to bake your own bread.

Whole Foods' present CEO was one of the hippies behind the counter. The headquarters of the company now occupies a multi-story building covering most of block of very expensive real estate in downtown Austin.

Whole Foods expanded the market for "organic" foods, prospering mightily in the process. They now face substantial competition from other more ordinary grocery empires who have put "organic" sections in their stores.

My old friend and motorcycle riding buddy Willie McK. owns a few hundred acres southeast of Austin, and sells produce in the local farmers' markets. Willie ridicules the "organic" labels in the supermarkets, saying products don't have to really be organic to qualify for the label, and you would go broke if you tried to raise stuff in truly organic fashion. For the last few years I have been meaning to ask Wiillie for more details, but when I visit we seem to get off on other subjects, for example his extensive solar power installation that not only powers his house, barns and stationary machinery, but also a couple of electric powered tractors and his Tesla.

RNJ
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Feb. 19 2017 6:23:38
 
Piwin

Posts: 2533
Joined: Feb. 9 2016
 

RE: I don't always drink coffee... (in reply to Richard Jernigan

In many respects, French bread culture is fairly limited, at least in scope. There's much less variety than, say, in Germany or other countries in Northern Europe where they do a good job mixing in cereals or spices. In France is very much focused on simple baguette-type bread. But they do it well.
The "barra de pan" in Spain looks, feels and tastes like plastic. They try to make up for it by drowning it in oil, which is an all to common strategy here. To be fair, their olive oil is indeed quite good. Another common thing is to glaze napolitanas or croissants in sugar, rendering it almost unedible unless you're use to extremely sugary foods, which I'm not (I'm the kind of person who has to dilute store-bought juice because I find the taste of "artifical" sugar too strong).
French bakers start working well before dawn and most will be open by 7am or earlier so that people can come buy their bread for the morning before they go to work. Here the bakeries open roughly at the same time as everyone else does so it's just about impossible to have fresh bread for breakfast if you're a working person. The best option still seems to be to have breakfast at the café. Unfortunately that's not the cheapest option.

As for coffee, I'm still looking for a decent blend over here. I've been lucky to be able to visit several coffee plantations in subsaharan Africa. For a while I had an agreement with a producer from Zambia which I was particularly fond of. Then I got send a "bad batch" which had me spewing out of both ends for a week. I'm rather reluctant to order anything from him again, although it was most likely just a freak occurrence.

I must have a fairly week immune system since I've always had trouble with the food over there. This has been the subject of laughter for many of my friends who have spent several years in Africa as part of the Peace Corps. Living with the locals, they don't have the luxury of protecting their digestive tracts like many expats do.
I do fine hacking it in the wilderness of temperate zones, but as soon as I get in those tropical zones, it's game over for me.

Other notable mention for "can't find anything worthwhile in Spain": honey.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Feb. 19 2017 7:45:55
 
estebanana

 

Posts: 7545
Joined: Oct. 16 2009
 

RE: I don't always drink coffee... (in reply to tateharmann

When I visited home last month the friend I stayed with always had good bread. A few loaves ere always tucked in the bread box. We toasted it if was day old, something about real good bread that is a day old I like. There is a different feel, firmer. I like to put butter and peanut butter on it. Have a chew on the crust. Or toast it and rub tomato in it and eat it as an open faced sandwich with a slice of cheese.

I love fresh hot bread too, of course. There is bakery here in my town in Japan that has baguette dialed in. In the morning they do have hot baguette. And pastries.

But Oakland, I asked my friend why he always has a lot of bread, he has to two elementary school kids so there is a need for bread, and since I was surfing the couch, he put in an extra loaf or me. I said Ok let me go grocery shopping so I can pitch in, he gave me a list of things he wanted, but no bread. Goat cheese, and raisins and some other stuff. I said why not bread and where do you get Acme bread, this is expensive bread. He said the bread is free, he gets it from a dumpster behind the bakery.

Now this did not surprise me, because I had heard of this before, that bakery that throws the day old bread into the dumpster, which only holds bread wrapped, not gross wet stuff. But he was coming back with fresh baked. He said the company closed the bakery front store because it was too expensive to have extra employees to run a retail shop in the store front. The company closed it. So when the trucks deliver fresh bread to the store route they pick up the day old and trade it for fresh baked. The surplus on the truck goes to a grocery outlet store that sells over stock from other stores, and the remainder on the truck goes back to the bakery and gets tossed in the dumpster. My buddy rides by on his bike every other day and picks up a loaf or two.

If he sets out early in the am or late at night he knows when to catch the end of the baking, there is bread coming out at different hours, he gets a fresh loaf or two. The workers and the company put fresh baked in the dumpster also, not as much as over stock day old, but enough that you can get lucky often. Since they don't have the retail store any longer they just put some fresh into the dumpster, and I doubt they lose money compared to employee salaries they paid for a retail store. The bread does not cost as much as the employees. They feed the gleaners, it's better they must think, than letting good bread spoil. I'm sure in Dec. - Jan. I ate four or five loaves of dumpster bread myself. Dark rye, batard, sour. All top quality. I feel pretty good about that. There were times when I was a child when all we had were beans and tortillas, so free bread is a lovely thing. Thankful.

If only I could find a dumpster full of free coffee. ....

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Feb. 19 2017 11:31:08
 
Piwin

Posts: 2533
Joined: Feb. 9 2016
 

RE: I don't always drink coffee... (in reply to estebanana

That brings me back. When I was a student struggling to make ends meet, I'd get my bread on Thursday night from the dumpster behind the Muslim bakery, and on Friday night behind the Jewish bakery. Religious observance has its advantages apparently.
The Muslim baker has since become a bit more business-savvy and sells off whatever he has left late Thursday afternoon at a fraction of the normal price. Not free, but a good bargain and a good move to minimize waste.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Feb. 19 2017 11:45:57
 
BarkellWH

Posts: 2913
Joined: Jul. 12 2009
From: Washington, DC

RE: I don't always drink coffee... (in reply to Richard Jernigan

quote:

Willie ridicules the "organic" labels in the supermarkets, saying products don't have to really be organic to qualify for the label, and you would go broke if you tried to raise stuff in truly organic fashion.


I'm with Willie, but I would take it one step further. I think the whole idea of "organic," even it's truly "organic," is what the Germans would call "quatsch," i.e., nonsense. Just from anecdotal evidence and observation over a lifetime, I seriously doubt that people who stick to organic foods over the decades are any healthier or live any longer than those who don't. I have never seen a study that compared the two groups--those who swear by "organic" and a control group that does not--but if there were one, I would bet it would demonstrate no difference over the long haul between the two groups. Marta and I do not shop for groceries at Whole Foods. I just buy my "Dry Sack" sherry there because it is less expensive than at Total Wine or some other outlets.

One last thought on "organic" food. Several years ago there was a major outbreak of E-Coli in the U.S. When it was traced to its source, the source turned out to be--you guessed it--a farm growing "organic" spinach.

Bill

_____________________________

And the end of the fight is a tombstone white,
With the name of the late deceased,
And the epitaph drear, "A fool lies here,
Who tried to hustle the East."

--Rudyard Kipling
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Feb. 19 2017 13:18:58
 
tateharmann

Posts: 95
Joined: Mar. 12 2012
From: Minnesota, USA

RE: I don't always drink coffee... (in reply to tateharmann

The bread in Spain is nothing to write home about, for sure.

But I don't keep going back to Spain for the bread lol. I go for (including but not limited to):
Olives
Patatas bravas
JAMON
Chipirones
Cheeeeeese
Wine
I do like their coffee..
Tocino de cielo
Pimientos de padron

BTW, has anyone, ever...found delicious olives in the US? I sure haven't. I just gave up and started marinating my own :)

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Feb. 19 2017 14:01:40
 
Piwin

Posts: 2533
Joined: Feb. 9 2016
 

RE: I don't always drink coffee... (in reply to tateharmann

There's three items in your list I can agree with ;)
I've decided to live in Spain for several reasons but I'll have to admit that the food clearly wasn't one of them.
The strange thing is that Spain is surrounded by countries with rich culinary traditions and excellent food.
Spain feels like a culinary no man's land stuck in the middle.
But they have flamenco, so they still win.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Feb. 19 2017 15:17:19
 
BarkellWH

Posts: 2913
Joined: Jul. 12 2009
From: Washington, DC

RE: I don't always drink coffee... (in reply to Piwin

quote:

But they have flamenco, so they still win.


Flamenco and jerez. I consider a copita of jerez the finest pre-dinner aperitif in the world.

Bill

_____________________________

And the end of the fight is a tombstone white,
With the name of the late deceased,
And the epitaph drear, "A fool lies here,
Who tried to hustle the East."

--Rudyard Kipling
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Feb. 19 2017 15:36:33
 
Leñador

Posts: 5229
Joined: Jun. 8 2012
From: Los Angeles

RE: I don't always drink coffee... (in reply to tateharmann

Breakfast time in Spain is terrible. I do go nuts for jamon but besides that the food in Spain can leave a lot to be desired. Caracoles we're good, rabo de torro, morcilla....probably a couple there I'm forgetting but yeah, I don't go for the food....

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Feb. 19 2017 16:17:27
 
edguerin

Posts: 1522
Joined: Dec. 24 2007
From: Siegburg, Alemania

RE: I don't always drink coffee... (in reply to tateharmann

quote:

Breakfast time in Spain is terrible

I disagree. Tostados con tomate, zumo de naranja & cafecito sitting in the early morning sun on the Alameda de Hercules, Sevilla ....

As far as food in general goes: you have to know what to order, and where to go.
And even our French friends can't beat the seafood

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El aficionado solitario
Alemania
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Feb. 19 2017 16:52:52
 
Piwin

Posts: 2533
Joined: Feb. 9 2016
 

RE: I don't always drink coffee... (in reply to BarkellWH

I rarely buy organic, mainly because of the cost deterrent, but when I do it's mainly based on taste.
But I'll fully admit that the difference I see between organic and regular products may be fully subjective, like telling the difference between Coke and Pepsi, or just one of those things where the "status" of the product actually influences how much you enjoy it. I remember Malcolm Gladwell arguing that "rebranding" a product to make it seem like it has better quality is not necessarily a scam, since, in fact, we do end up enjoying that product more even if we couldn't tell the difference with a "lower quality brand" if we were blindfolded.

All of that being said, I fully understand the desire that organic food is trying to meet, or the fear it's trying to assuage. Part of the underlying problem is that, for obvious economic reasons, it's near impossible to fully study the side effects of a given chemical agent long enough to be 100% sure it's "safe". And we end up with entire generations of people with high blood levels of lead, even after we've corrected for it, to take just the example of the petroleum industry. When someone follows the scientific litterature and sees, for instance, that there seems to be no prevalent opinion on glyphosate and whether it's carcigenic or not, I can see why they'd be worried and, by sheer precaution, would choose to try and stay away from it. Add to that the instances of pesticides that were marketed for a quite a while before they had to be pulled off of the market for health reasons, like DDT, and I can see why people would be distrustful.

@edguerin
quote:

And even our French friends can't beat the seafood

You mean that stuff they fry as soon as they get a chance?? The Basques (traditionally the men) know their way around fish, that is true. Asturianos do a fair job too. The fish I've had in Andalucia, especially on the Mediterrannean side, I would give to the cats. And that's coming from a guy who used to pick up his bread from a dumpster. To be fair, it's easy sport for "ocean people" to sneer at anything that has to do with that big lake that is the Mediterrannean

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Feb. 19 2017 16:59:06
 
Leñador

Posts: 5229
Joined: Jun. 8 2012
From: Los Angeles

RE: I don't always drink coffee... (in reply to tateharmann

quote:


I disagree. Tostados con tomate, zumo de naranja & cafecito sitting in the early morning sun on the Alameda de Hercules, Sevilla ....

But I'm a fat American on vacation, I need huevos, or something substantial, bread for vacation breakfast just doesn't cut it, beautiful though the alameda is. I tend to find a place that serves a decent breakfast and go there daily then basically snack on random Spanish food all day, no big lunch or dinner.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Feb. 19 2017 17:20:22
 
Piwin

Posts: 2533
Joined: Feb. 9 2016
 

RE: I don't always drink coffee... (in reply to Leñador

quote:

I need huevos


Admitting you have a problem is the first step.

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J'ouvre une parenthèse. Si vous avez un peu trop d'air, je la refermerai tout de suite.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Feb. 19 2017 18:15:00
 
tateharmann

Posts: 95
Joined: Mar. 12 2012
From: Minnesota, USA

RE: I don't always drink coffee... (in reply to Piwin

quote:

quote:

I need huevos



Admitting you have a problem is the first step.


HAHAHAHAHA!

Oh boy - this is going downhill fast. I'm out! lol

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Feb. 19 2017 19:03:59
 
BarkellWH

Posts: 2913
Joined: Jul. 12 2009
From: Washington, DC

RE: I don't always drink coffee... (in reply to Piwin

quote:

quote: I need huevos

Admitting you have a problem is the first step.


Does that mean he will sing cante as a soprano the rest of his life?

Bill

_____________________________

And the end of the fight is a tombstone white,
With the name of the late deceased,
And the epitaph drear, "A fool lies here,
Who tried to hustle the East."

--Rudyard Kipling
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Feb. 19 2017 19:23:06
 
Richard Jernigan

Posts: 2711
Joined: Jan. 20 2004
From: Austin, Texas USA

RE: I don't always drink coffee... (in reply to Leñador

First time I went to Spain by myself at age 18, the first place I stayed was a relatively inexpensive pension in Madrid. The first morning I asked the desk clerk where to get breakfast. He suggested a bar in the same block.

It was a working class place. Most of the customers seemed to be in the building trades, getting ready to go to work. They didn't pay much attention to me until they heard my Latin American Spanish, then I got a little ribbing.

I asked the bartender what he had for breakfast. The answer was molletes and coffee. In Mexico molletes are day old bolillos, split and toasted, sometimes with butter. In Madrid that morning they were day old bolillos smeared with fresh tomato paste and toasted. I asked for cafe con leche. The coffee tasted burnt, the milk was thin and watery. I asked for orange juice. The bartender looked at me as though I were an oddball, rummaged around in a small refrigerator, and came out with a miniature bottle of brilliantly orange colored battery acid. I felt obliged to choke it down.

A couple of the customers at the bar asked me whether I was going to join them with un traguito, so I went for it. I was served a small glass of paint thinner with a very high alcohol content, which the bartender insisted was brandy. I never had brandy for breakfast before, and I don't remember having it since, but for the hearty tradesmen it was an essential part of the meal.

I was prepared thus for further adventures in Spanish gastronomy.

As recently as three or four years ago I stayed at a decent hotel in Triana, since all the hotels in downtown Sevilla seemed to be booked up. The nearest place to eat was a tapas bar, where the food was villainous and the staff were rude. I ate once at a better place a little further from the hotel, much better food and service. When I went back I was told I couldn't sit where I wanted to, though the restaurant was empty. I simply walked out without a word.

But I've had some great meals in Spain, for example a stew of jugged hare at the Restaurant Pedro Romero in Ronda, after I had become more prosperous, and before the restaurant was overrun by busloads of tourists from Marbella.

In Granada the tapas and raciones at Bodegas Castañeda just off the corner of the Plaza Nueva have always been great, as well as the gazpacho on a hot day. In the Albaicin, just across the street downhill from the Plaza San Nicolas, there is a restaurant with an outdoor terrace. The food and wine are respectable, and the view across the Darro of the Alhambra and Generalife with the snowy Sierra Nevada behind them, reflecting the red-violet rays of the setting sun, is one of the world's greatest sights.

The cocido madrileño was delicious at that restaurant a couple of blocks off the Paseo del Prado in Madrid where it is the specialty. In fact there are a number of good restaurants in Madrid, including a few hidden gems. Years ago on a freezing day in midwinter I wandered into a place on a side street near where the main Union Musical Española store used to be, not far from the Puerta del Sol. The modest restaurant specialized in seafood. I ordered a hot-pot of merluza and vegetables, with grated yellow cheese melting on top. I happily washed it down with some decent white wine. Never could find the place again.

Now that I think of it, in Madrid there was Antonio's. I'm sure Antonio is long gone now, he was a fair amount older than I. The specialty at Antonio's was thick steaks. If you happened to sit where you could see into the kitchen, you saw the huge iron pots of boiling olive oil. The steaks were marinated, then flung into the boiling oil and fished out when they were done just right. The house made lemon sherbet was great.

When corridas still started at 4 PM in Madrid, the place to go afterward was El Callejon. The callejon is the narrow passageway between the wall in front of the seats, and the other wall that actually borders the sand. None of the waiters at the restaurant made it to Las Ventas, but they watched on TV, and could discuss the fine points with the diners. They served a roasted shank of lamb, and stewed spinach with whole cloves of garlic, doused in lemon juice. El Callejon has been closed now for decades.

Botín used to be good. The main dining room downstairs was pleasant. The location in Arco de Cuchilleros just off the Plaza Mayor was convenient, Bernabe's shop used to be just across the street, with three beautifully decorated masterpiece guitars in the shop window. Contreras was in Calle Mayor. But they tell me Botín is now trampled by tourists and the food has gone downhill.

I haven't been to Horcher in decades, but it was still the bee's knees in the 1960s. Grand luxe, tuxedoed waiters, serried ranks of silverware, the whole bit if you wanted to wear your good suit and put on the dog. They say the room is still nice, the service good, but the food is old fashioned.

But in Italy, where we spent six weeks year before last, I can't remember a bad meal anywhere...well, come to think of it, I can recall one that was indifferent, but not actually bad, as many have been in Spain and elsewhere.

The only other place I have been that could claim such a record is south Louisiana. We lived in Baton Rouge for two years, and made it fairly often to New Orleans. Never had a meal that was less than good, and had several really great ones, some of them in places we just wandered into.

RNJ

I just realized that the phrase to "put on the dog" is obsolete, even in Texas. It means to behave in an ostentatiously prosperous manner. "Putting on the dog" has something of an ironic slant, both in description and in execution.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Feb. 19 2017 21:15:48
 
estebanana

 

Posts: 7545
Joined: Oct. 16 2009
 

RE: I don't always drink coffee... (in reply to Piwin

quote:

You mean that stuff they fry as soon as they get a chance?? The Basques (traditionally the men) know their way around fish, that is true. Asturianos do a fair job too. The fish I've had in Andalucia, especially on the Mediterrannean side, I would give to the cats. And that's coming from a guy who used to pick up his bread from a dumpster. To be fair, it's easy sport for "ocean people" to sneer at anything that has to do with that big lake that is the Mediterrannean


I've had grilled Pompano in Valencia and Ibiza that was great. And grilled fish in Sevilla, just never order fried pescados...yuck. In general, as a person who eats gleaned dumpster breads, I am a fish snob having lived in a country for many years now that could teach France how to cook or how not cook the fishes.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Feb. 20 2017 2:05:31
 
Richard Jernigan

Posts: 2711
Joined: Jan. 20 2004
From: Austin, Texas USA

RE: I don't always drink coffee... (in reply to estebanana

A couple of hours out of the water, speckled trout is better than flounder. The next day, even if they have both been on ice all night, the flounder is better.

In 1961 we got stuck on the beach at Isla del Carmen at the southern extremity of the Gulf of Mexico. It took us three days to get our pickup unstuck.

One big plus was a school of pompano that hung out off the beach. It got too hot to work at about 10 AM, so we repaired to our hammocks under the palm trees for a nap. When the sun started to get low in the afternoon, we grabbed our rods, caught a few small fish for bait, and waded out chest deep into the water to fish and keep cool. Those pompano, grilled over a coconut hull fire, were delicious.

Then we worked all night trying to dig the damn truck out of the sand.

RNJ
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Feb. 20 2017 2:31:17
 
estebanana

 

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Joined: Oct. 16 2009
 

RE: I don't always drink coffee... (in reply to tateharmann

Pompano is delicious. I caught a few small ones about a year an half ago, but have not seen them since. I grilled them with salt.

We also have what are called Flatheads, here called Kochi. I've gotten a reputation around town for catching them. Here it is considered a special fish, but elsewhere - oh yeah flatheads, huh, big deal. They make a fantastic nabe soup. Kochi cooked in water with cabbage makes it's own broth.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Feb. 20 2017 2:50:46
 
Piwin

Posts: 2533
Joined: Feb. 9 2016
 

RE: I don't always drink coffee... (in reply to estebanana

quote:

I am a fish snob having lived in a country for many years now that could teach France how to cook or how not cook the fishes.


Oh I would bow before a Japanese chef any day if we're talking about seafood. Or at the very least tip my hat to him.
I'll rest my case against the Spanish with this: a culture that values its food doesn't go around having massive food fights every year. It's really fun but I was taught to not play with my food value it for its taste and not for its aerodynamic properties.
Obviously all of this is a generalization. There is good food to be found in Spain (somewhere...) and there is bad food to be found in France.

@Richard Jernigan
quote:

The only other place I have been that could claim such a record is south Louisiana

It seems to be a national passtime in France to diss American food. I've never really understood it as everywhere I've been in the US there have been some decent things to eat. I think French tourists probably just never get over the fact that there are fast-food chains everywhere and must assume that's all there is on offer.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Feb. 20 2017 4:23:09
 
estebanana

 

Posts: 7545
Joined: Oct. 16 2009
 

RE: I don't always drink coffee... (in reply to Piwin

quote:

I think French tourists probably just never get over the fact that there are fast-food chains everywhere and must assume that's all there is on offer.


What is a French tourist?? I've only seen half a dozen French people in the US between 1981 and 2013- you mean to tell me the French actually go outside of France?

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Feb. 20 2017 7:01:41
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